April 11, 2008


Obama: No Surprise That Hard-Pressed Pennsylvanians Turn Bitter (Mayhill Fowler, April 11, 2008, Huffington Post)

[P]ennsylvania unfolds in an interlocking chain of Turkeyfoots and Allentowns, held separately and together by a sense of shared community, of humor, of history, and of abiding faith.

These qualities of hospitality, patriotism and endurance are exactly what Californians need to hear about Pennsylvanians. And when he spoke to a group of his wealthier Golden State backers at a San Francisco fund-raiser last Sunday, Barack Obama took a shot at explaining the yawning cultural gap that separates a Turkeyfoot from a Marin County. "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," Obama said. "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."

Obama made a problematic judgment call in trying to explain working class culture to a much wealthier audience. He described blue collar Pennsylvanians with a series of what in the eyes of creamy Californians might be considered pure negatives: guns, clinging to religion, antipathy, xenophobia.

I'm not sure this is what at least this lot of Californians needed to hear about Pennsylvanians.

For a candidate who's tried to hide so much of himself, portraying religious faith as a negative is rather revealing.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2008 4:40 PM

Nice, that will win him a lot of votes in PA. One hopes that Hillary, despite all the best interests of the party at stake, will not be able to prematurely derail this slow-motion train wreck.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at April 11, 2008 5:17 PM

...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."

Even though I know better, I still find it hard to believe that intelligent, ambitious, hard working individuals of any stripe, let alone the ones running for President, could be so intellectually elite that they would actually say this kind of thing in a public forum.

One thing though, I thought this guy was anti free trade, pro union jobs - and all, keeping the story straight is tough I guess.

Posted by: Perry at April 11, 2008 6:41 PM

This is reminiscent of Gary Hart's remark in June 1984 that his wife got to campaign in CA while he was stuck in Jersey.

Funny how Obama (like all Democrats) is obsessed with jobs from 25 years ago or more. I know that my 'job' has changed a lot since then, and I can be a lot more productive and a lot more competitive than in 1983. Lots and lots of today's best jobs didn't even exist then. And I doubt if any Democrat (or Republican, either) had anything to do with creating them.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 11, 2008 11:30 PM

Its Jimmah Part 2 - the malaise is already setting in...seriously, he's in the same league as Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: KRS at April 11, 2008 11:38 PM

Between Obama's colossal blunder, Bill Clinton's Tuzla defense, and Jay Rockefeller's anti-military insult of McCain, it has been a very bad week for the Democratic party.

How many editorials and press releases will we see next week of prominent Dems cautioning on Obama? The WSJ published two this week. More to follow. Hillary could win PA by 15-20 points now, and what will Bob Casey and Pat Leahy say then? "Ooops"?

Maybe Derb is right, and Gore will walk into the hall in Denver, shake his head at Obama and Hillary, and raise his hand. After round one, all bets are off.

Posted by: ratbert at April 12, 2008 12:44 AM

I forgot to mention the hearings with General Petraeus, and the announcement that Jimmy Carter was going to meet with Khalid Mashaal (the boss of Hamas) in Damascus. And Pelosi's bone-headed move to change the House rules for voting on trade deals.

A very bad week for the Democrats.

Posted by: ratbert at April 12, 2008 12:48 AM