Saturday, April 12, 2008

Obama on Pennsylvanians

I am not from a small town in Pennsylvania, but I am married to a small town Pennsylvania girl. And, I am deeply offended by Senator Obama's comments about small town Pennsylvania folks. Here's what he said at a fundraiser in San Francisco:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

This is insulting on a number of levels.

First, he is putting religion in a category along with things he would consider bad - guns, anti-immigrant sentiment, and anti-trade sentiment.

Second, he is assuming that small town Pennsylvanians are unthinking, uncritical racists who can't distinguish between their economic situation and their beliefs about other issues. He is assuming that people can't have an opinion about guns, religion, or illegal immigration independent of their economic situation. Obama is trying to explain how someone might take a different position than orthodox liberalism.

You can't believe in gun rights because you have considered what the 2nd amendment says; you have to be mad that you are poor. You can't be a person of faith because you believe the Bible or in Jesus; you have to be mad that you are poor. You can't oppose illegal immigration because you believe porous borders are bad for both our economy and national security; you have to be mad that you are poor.

This suggestion is elitist, condescending, and insulting. And it doesn't seem like something the great uniter of America would or should say.


Ron said...

Agreed - all good points... I'm pretty sure he would have lost the whole primary had he lumped in 'being a Steelers fan' with guns, God and apathy.

Talking to dad last week, he mentioned he was going to vote for Obama which suprised me. I wonder if he changed his mind?

ness said...

i disagree.

Ron said...

Disagree with... the Steelers?

Matthew said...

I don't guess it matters, but I suspect Obama just said the those things to suck up to his target audience at the time (he's a politician--it's what they do) but doesn't actually believe what he said. I doubt he's thought enough about people in Pennsylvania to have much of an opinion for good or ill--he just said what he thought his target audience wanted hear.

And that is as close as I will ever come to defending anything he does or says. He doesn't seem to be the compulsive liar as Hillary is (why would anybody lie about that whole Serbia thing like she did--jeez), but that's no reason to elect him president.

The thing one needs to remember about politicians is that they spend so much time portraying themselves as something they think the people want to see, they tend to forget who they really are. Looking at any politician is like watching a commercial or a music video--just a play of light and shadow.

Anonymous said...

Matthew, Agreed - all good. I wanted add that politicians and most pastors have much in common.

Matthew said...

Ah Anonymous, I see you are once again kindly sharing your wit and wisdom with us again.

How delightful.

Now that you've told us about all the things you hate and are against (let's see, organized religion, politicians, all institutions, Giulianni, etc.), what exactly are you for? Furthermore, what exactly are you hoping to achieve by posting here? Venting? Hoping Robb will convert to nihilism and intern with Michael Savage (I wouldn't hold my breath on this one were I you, I really wouldn't)? Just busting chops for kicks? What's the deal?