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On Guns and the Politics of Perception

A famous saying is that Social Security is the "third rail" of American politics (touch it and die), but there's a case to be made that gun control is an even more dangerous issue.

Democrats, who during the early 1990s embraced efforts to restrict access to guns to their electoral detriment, have largely abandoned that cause over the last few election cycles -- an acknowledgment that many Americans in rural and exurban congressional districts value their right to bear arms and have little interest in ceding that right, no matter how artfully the issue is attached to getting tough on crime.

In fact, a number of pro-Second Amendment Democrats were elected to the House in swing seats in 2006. including Reps. Heath Shuler (N.C.), Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), Baron Hill (Ind.) and Jason Altmire (Pa.).

In the coming Louisiana special election to replace Rep. Richard Baker (R) in the 6th District, the Democratic nominee -- state Rep. Don Cazayoux -- is touting his support for the Second Amendment in a new ad:

The spot features Cazayoux's parents. His mother proclaims that Cazayoux's "father taught him how to hunt" as a picture of Cazayoux and his dad holding up pheasants (we think) appears on the screen.

Thus it should come as little surprise that Barack Obama's comments that small town Americans "cling" to their guns and religion has created such an uproar.

For many Americans, including those in Republican-leaning districts like the one Cazaoux is seeking to represent, a candidate's position on guns serves as a stand in for whether or not he (or she) is one of them.

During the 1990s, Republicans used Democrats' support for gun control to paint the party as out of touch with the average voter. Using these tactics, Republicans transformed themselves into the party of the common man and sought to portray Democrats as the party of elitist liberals on both coasts.

Like it or not, it worked. Republicans used the gun issue -- and other cultural touchstones like abortion -- to consolidate their support in the South and rural areas across the country. It's not by chance that Republicans won two presidential elections and won majorities in the House and Senate during that time as well.

The ground Democrats' gained in 2006 was due in no small part to the party's decision to deemphasize these cultural issues or, at the very least, seek to redefine their beliefs outside of the traditional frame with which Republicans has used to pigeonhole Democratic candidates for much of the last decade.

Do Obama's remarks set back this cause in a significant way?

Hillary Rodham Clinton, not exactly an uninterested observer, thinks so. She argues that Obama's comments will allow Republicans to go back to the playbook (Democratic candidate is an out of touch elitist, beholden to constituencies on the two coasts) that, she argues, led to the defeat of Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.

"I don't think he really gets it that people are looking for a president who stands up for you and not looks down on you," Clinton said at a forum for the Alliance for American Manufacturing in Pittsburgh today.

It's impossible to know now -- 72 hours after Obama's comments came to light -- just how much of an impact they will have on voters' perceptions about the Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania and beyond into the general election.

Quick -- and not terribly credible -- polling done in Pennsylvania suggests that Obama has been weakened by the hubbub. Take those results cum grano salis until more reliable and detailed information comes out.

But, always remember that perception is every bit as important as reality when it comes to presidential politics. This episode has the potential to alter the way in which many voters in the country perceive Obama. For that reason, it is worth the full-court coverage it is receiving.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 14, 2008; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

Maybe the 2nd Amendment is important to you, but you don't see it as being more important then the Social Welfare programs you hope the Liberal Democrats Clinton and Obama will bring to you.

If there is any ONE part of the US Constitution you should NOT sacrifice for some perceived promises of social comforts, the 2nd Amendment is the most important one to protect.

If your candidate does not believe you have the right to protect your own life, then what rights will your candidate save for you?

If my choice was to vote for a solid pro-2nd Amendment Liberal Democrat vs a Republican (RHINO) candidate who was agaisnt the 2nd Amendment, I would vote Democrat every time.

Will you Libs who support the 2nd Amendment actually vote for Clinton or Obama?

Scary.

Posted by: Max Grobnik | April 21, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

To you Libs who don't support the 2nd Amendment, then you should be happy with voting for either Clinton or Obama.

To you Libs who DO support the 2nd Amendment, then if you read just one article about Barack Obama, then this is the one article that you should read:

Barack Obama's Slippery Oratory
by Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President
NRA Standing Guard - April 11, 2008

To understand Barack Obama on the Second Amendment, you have to know about the clash of character between the then-Chicago state senator and an ordinary citizen who exercised his right to armed self-defense in violation of a local gun ban.

That citizen was a 52-year-old resident of Wilmette, Illinois, who, on Dec. 28, 2003, woke to find that, during the night, his home had been invaded by a career criminal; a thief who stole household items, keys and the homeowner's car.

The victim, Hale DeMar, described his fear in a letter to the Chicago Sun- Times: "For me, the seconds until I found my children still safely tucked in their beds were horrifying . . . The police were called and in routine fashion they came, took the report and with little concern left, promising to increase surveillance. Little comfort, since the invader now had keys to our home and our automobiles. The police informed me that this was not an uncommon event in east Wilmette and offered their condolences . . ." Not 24 hours after the first burglary, the thief returned. Using DeMar's house keys, the man entered the home, this time setting off the alarm system, automatically notifying the security company. Given the previous night's lackluster response by police, DeMar was prepared, armed with a handgun-legally purchased years before and kept in a safe. But under Wilmette's gun ban, that firearm in the home was illegal.

DeMar confronted the criminal, and believing his children were in danger, shot the burglar, who then fled the home.

"Until you are shocked by a piercing alarm in the middle of the night and met in your kitchen by a masked invader as your children shudder in their beds, until you confront that very real nightmare, please don't suggest that some village trustee knows better ... "If my actions have spared only one family from the distress and trauma that this habitual criminal has caused hundreds of others, then I have served my civic duty and taken one evil creature off of our streets, something that our impotent criminal justice system had failed to do, despite some thirty odd arrests, plea bargains and suspended sentences." The burglar, who was arrested after driving DeMar's stolen SUV to a hospital, had an extensive criminal record.

Cook County prosecutors ultimately declared DeMar's use of a firearm to be justified. But Wilmette village officials pressed nonetheless to prosecute him for illegal possession of his handgun-a charge punishable by a huge fine and jail time. A town official was quoted in Reason magazine saying, "We need to set the example that we're trying to protect our citizens." And he said, DeMar-by possessing a legally purchased handgun-"is endangering innocent civilians." The outcry of the Illinois public was heard all the way to the state capitol.

As a result, the Illinois House and Senate passed legislation in May 2004 to protect citizens who use handguns in self-defense in their homes or businesses despite local handgun bans.

The House accepted the DeMar selfdefense bill by a vote of 86-25 and the Senate moved the legislation on a 38-20 vote.

And here lies the seminal moment for state Senator Barack Obama. When Obama turned thumbs down on the bill, he voted against the most basic element of the Second Amendment- the right of defense of self and family- the reason that millions of Americans own firearms.

When the governor vetoed the bill, Obama once again voted against a citizen's right to self-defense.

Despite his vote, the veto override passed the Senate and the House by overwhelming majorities, thereby enacting this bill into law.

Now, fast forward to today's slippery oratory of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama just three years from being an unknown state senator-now morphed by the media into a spellbinding u.s. senator seeking to be president of the United States.

Using words like "protecting sportsmen," Obama is now saying that he believes in the Second Amendment ... but with almost universal exceptions, all of which he lists under the heading of "common sense gun safety laws." "Common sense gun safety" and the Second Amendment? Like endorsing the D.C. gun ban, which outlaws armed self-defense in the home-now being challenged before the u.s. Supreme Court. Obama, who as president would be in the position to nominate justices to that high court, has declared that the d.c. ban doesn't violate the Second Amendment.

"Common sense gun safety" and the Second Amendment? In a "1998 National Political Awareness Test," he pledged to support a "Ban [on] the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons"-meaning most handguns and many rifles and shotguns that you and I own.

"Common sense gun safety" and the Second Amendment? Like demanding that the federal government preempt the 40 hard-won state laws creating Right-to-Carry.

Here's how the Chicago Tribune put it: "Obama said he opposed allowing ordinary citizens to carry concealed weapons and that a federal law banning concealed carried weapons except for law enforcement is needed." "Common sense gun safety" and the Second Amendment? Like the draconian proposals funded to the tune of $18,000,000 by the rabidly anti-gun Joyce Foundation while Obama was an activist member of its board of directors.

Obama's alleged support of the Second Amendment is utterly cynical and false. Barack Obama is not for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms; he`s out to destroy it.

http://www.nodakoutdoors.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=418899

Posted by: Max Grobnik | April 21, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Guns are not the problem, crime is the problem.When the peaple are disarmed they
are not governed they are ruled.Has no one
paid any atention to the fact that in areas
with high gun ownership the crime rate is
very very low. If guns are outlawed only
outlaws will have guns.

Posted by: John T. | April 18, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

So what are people just now realizing that Obama is a anti-gun rights liberal fascist?
Really? And Clinton come on! They where the ones who brought that ridiculous so called "assault" weapons ban. And the democrats lost the congress for it. Hillary Clinton has advocated reinstating that useless, failed, unconstitutional ban. And as for Obama, the man has pushed and voted for banning hand guns and countless other anti freedom bills in Illinois. Even McCain sponsored a bill that would basically destroy gun shows all over America. But McCain is still far far from those gun facsist Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton.
.
.
Although myself as a Libertarian/Republican (basically someone who believes in the principles of freedom) can see that Hillary as disgusting as she is, is not as bad as Obama. I here commentators on the news saying how Obama does not carry the resentment that Hillary does with GOP voters, well I got news that is simply not true, anyone with a brain and a little time to think can see Obama is worse then Hillary.

Posted by: John in Texas | April 15, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

With this slip, Obama showed what he really is: Just another leftist big-city politician who has contempt for the electorate.

Posted by: LeChat | April 15, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

An issue can be minor (plant an oak tree or a pine tree in the park); or major (War in Iraq). But its nonsensical to say one side of the issue is making a big deal out of nothing while the other side is justified in its concerns.

If guns, gays and abortion were truly trivial issues then liberals wouldn't fight so hard to ban guns, enact gay marriage, and protect abortion. A person is certainly entitled to fight for these causes. But it is disingenuous for him to claim the the very thing he has made an issue of is suddenly trivial when the other side disagrees with him.

These things are major issues precisely because liberals made them issues. Guns were owned without much ado for 190 years until liberals made this an issue in the 60s. The idea that marriage would be between anything other than a man and a woman would have been considered utterly ridiculous until around 15 years ago. There was overwhelming consensus that abortion should be legal until around the 1920s and prior to 1973 suggesting that it was a constitutional right would have gotten a person flunked out of law school.

In short, these things were non-issues until liberals made them issues. Liberals may think its a good thing to fight for these causes. But criticizing conservatives for making them issues is akin to blaming Poland for starting the Second World War.

The "What's the Matter With Kansas" thesis is that: 1)voters in flyover country would choose the Democrats' socialist economic policies if only they would quit voting on guns and abortion; and 2)this is irrational because guns and abortion are not important issues.

If these postulates are correct then shouldn't Democrats abandon gun control and abortion rights? Or is is they who are being irrational when they lose elections because they cling to the very issues they call unimportant? Or maybe these issues are, in fact, important.


Posted by: TJ | April 15, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The furor surrounding Mr. Obama's comments aren't solely the result of media attention.

Words have meaning.

Posted by: Dave | April 15, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

All you have to do is look at Obama's voting record on guns to see where he stands.When he was a Stste Senator he voted to ban gun shops within 5 miles of a school.I think that tells the whole story about how he feels about the Second Amendment.

Posted by: Ron | April 15, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"If you can afford it, you could donate the "economic stimulus" check to your favorite charity"

mnteng, I'm not eligible for one, but thanks anyway. It's a good idea. My 'favorite charity' today is the IRS.

That is a big reason why I suport McCain; with him at least my taxes won't go up. Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton would impose the single largest tax increase since World War II.

Among other proposals, McCain said he would:
-Raise the tax exemption for each dependent child from $3,500 to $7,000.

-Require more affluent people -- couples making more than $160,000 -- enrolled in Medicare to pay a higher premium for their prescription drugs than less-wealthy people.

-Offer people the option of choosing a simpler tax system with two tax rates and a standard deduction instead of sticking with the current system.

-Suspend for one year all increases in discretionary spending for agencies other than those that cover the military and veterans while launching an expansive review of the effectiveness of federal program.


Sounds pretty good to me.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 15, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

'BTW, I wondered how McC could conflate AQI and Iraq in the same way. He has access to more of the facts than we do. I thought perhaps he had strung two separate known threats into one sentence by inattention.'

No, Mark. He said it on three different occasions, before Leiberman corrected him. And then later, Lieberman changed his mind -- because McCain's neocon advisors told the press that it wasn't a mistake. No, they said, Iran is backing its mortal enemy, al queda. This is on advice from McCain's closest advisor [many accounts of this] Bill Kristol, who wants war with Iran on any and every pretext.

So this all part of laying of the groundwork for regime change in Iran. Funny how much it looks like Iraq, isn't it? Funny how many people are falling for it again.

"Sen. John McCain has done it again.

For the third time in two days, the Arizona Republican has pushed the definitively false statement that the terrorist group Al-Qaeda was getting assistance from Iran, even though he was publicly ridiculed for the same false assertion on Tuesday.

This time, in a statement from his campaign honoring the fifth year anniversary of the war, McCain wrote:

"Today in Iraq, America and our allies stand on the precipice of winning a major victory against radical Islamic extremism. The security gains over the past year have been dramatic and undeniable. Al Qaeda -- with support from external powers such as Iran -- are on the run but not defeated."

On Tuesday, the senator, appearing in Israel, made a nearly identical assertion that al-Qaeda was leaving Iraq to retool and regroup in Iran.

It was, he said, "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 15, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Mark,

Eugene Robinson has a good column in today's WaPo about "seeming" to be "one of them."

Quinnipiac: HRC 50-44 -- exactly where they were a week ago. The pollster says there's no noticeable effect (that word was apparently dropped but I'm sure that's what he meant) from the "bitter-cling" flap. It will be interesting to see if he late deciders break for Hillary, as they have in some of the recent primaries. If you're Obama, you have to hope for some backlash from HRC's shrill attacks on him (could yesterday's shouts of "no" at the union speech be a harbinger of that?) to help close the gap. The big unknowns in PA remain the newly-registered people and the AA turnout. It's very telling that Rendell and other HRC surrogates are now calling a 6-point win a landslide for her. I still think it'll be HRC by ten points or less -- not big enough to make a big delegate difference, and not small enough to chase her out of the campaign.

On to NC and IN.

Posted by: jac13 | April 15, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

We are now on about the sixth explanation for the SF statement. We have disingenously fixated on the word bitter,that its HC's fault, we heard that the media just misunderstood what he was saying, that he is the only candidate who knows anything about Pa values, claimed the comment was clumsy yesterday and today's word, its all about the syntax. Maybe by next Monday we will finally hear the words wrong or offensive.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 15, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

jac,

Several columns yesterday placed most of the fault for the tone of the D Primary on HRC; Dionne, Cohen, and others.

I woke up wondering how a law prof could have stepped into it like BHO did in SF. The question was [as paraphrased by me] whether race played a part in his failure to "close" with certain demographics. Suppose the correct answer was a simple "yes", but BHO was unwilling to concede that point - and spun some half thought to avoid calling a slice of the electorate "racist". I am not excusing the lame and false analogy he made, and it will not matter why he made it to those voters who do feel insulted, I am just speculating.

BTW, I wondered how McC could conflate AQI and Iraq in the same way. He has access to more of the facts than we do. I thought perhaps he had strung two separate known threats into one sentence by inattention.

FWIW, I do think BHO cut HRC much more slack on her "misstatements". However, he has repeatedly taken McC's statement that we could keep troops in Iraq for 100 years IF they were not under fire and misrepresented it as 'McC's 100 year war", which does not bode well for the GE.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 15, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Mark -

While I can't muster great enthusiasm for complimenting any of the candidates for high-mindedness this election season, in my (admittedly biased) view, BHO has tried,mostly successfuly, to stay on the high road, and has seldom taken up the cudgles when an opponent has screwed up. Sure, his surrogates have, but the intensity with which Hillary has personally jumped into every perceived opening ("Wright wouldn't be MY pastor," etc.) is graceless at best and cynical at worst.

As for this current, media-manufactured controversy (see Ed Kilgore's piece this morning on RCP), I take a philosophical view: if Obama is to have a chance against McCain, he might as well be tested now. I'm hopeful that his considerable campaigning skills that have carried him this far will once again be on display. I'm encouraged that most blog posts are supportive and indicate that lots of people are not offended and view this flap as a phony concoction.

This morning's Quinnipiac PA poll should tell us a great deal.

Have a good day, Counselor.

Posted by: jac13 | April 15, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

It's getting obvious that Obama should have sat is behind down in the Senate and began doing the work of the people of Illinois and then ran for President. We were doing just fine without BHO. The party will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory because we have another snob who will win the nomination.

Posted by: Jeff in Illinois | April 15, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

jac13, I finally watched my recorded "John Adams" last night and I was reminded of the Federalists' pressure to declare war on France partly in order to secure the Party's position for the election of 1800. Perhaps there is nothing new under the Sun.

Meanwhile, this faux pas by BHO has raised the glee level of his opponents. That is the nature of campaign operatives. Do you remember only a week ago how gleeful HRC's opponents were about Bosnia? Or how gleeful many Ds were when McC said Iran had aided AQI?

The campaigns tend to drive Americans apart. The candidates must pander, it seems, and make no "errors".

That is ridiculous; it goes against our everyday experience dealing with people in the workplace, in our neighborhoods, in our own families, who disagree with us.

All this to say that I too had high hopes when this season began, and now I remember what happens every four years.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 15, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans will only be able to "go back to the playbook" if they can get Hillary to let go of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 15, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a hypocritical lying racist.

As a life-long Democrat I think Obama is the absolute worse thing to come along in a year when we were almost guaranteed to win the White House.

I will not vote for Obama under any circumstances.

The Dems super delegates better think real hard about backing this loser.

Posted by: dennis | April 15, 2008 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a hypocritical lying racist.

As a life-long Democrat I think Obama is the absolute worse thing to come along in a year when we were almost guaranteed to win the White House.

I will not vote for Obama under any circumstances.

The Dems super delegates better think real hard about backing this loser.

Posted by: dennis | April 15, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Leichtman -

I fear that your closed mind will simply not permit any light to permeate that is inconsistent with your view of the world, to-wit: "the crowd was booing Obama." What? Of all the people who were there or have watched the tape, you are the only one who saw/heard it that way. Proof-positive: Obama had already been there; why wouldn't they have booed him to his face, rather than wait until Hillary mentioned his name to start booing him?

The most disturbing thing I've heard since this faux-scandal (which Chris really is flogging to death, far in excess of his coverage of Hillary's Bosnia fantasy) was the report that HRC's campaign operatives were walking around grinning and gloating on Saturday like a bunch of juveniles -- as if this were high school and they had just beaten their cross-town rival. Not a thought given to her ultimate chances of winning and the destruction she'll have to wreak to get there.

And when she talks about this in her speeches there's no conviction; she's just repeating the lines her handlers have written for her.

I dearly hope that the blogs I have read are really representative, that few people really were insulted by this, and that everybody sees how transparently opportunistic she is being -- as usual -- with little or no discussion of policy.

I used to think people were overly cynical who said she knows she can't win this time and she's just trying to cripple Barack Obama so she can run in 2012. I'm starting to believe it.

The year started out with such promise for the Democrats . . .

Posted by: jac13 | April 14, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks,

1. From which of my comments have you elucidated my opinion on immigration matters? Is it simply that I'm a progressive democrat, and therefore unable to think for myself? Quite interesting.

2. Leaving aside the exact nature of our disagreement on that issue, the use of the phrase "illegal horde" is likely to garner you no friends. Undocumented workers gets your point across just fine, thank you.

3. The market for trade labor has displayed some price depression as of late. It might be due to undocumented workers, but it might also be due to prefabricated foreign-manufactured goods (not exactly the same problem as internal undocumented workers), or to commoditization of the product at hand and resultant increases in price elasticity in the market. It also may reflect a shift in the power of unions to negotiate favorable collective bargaining agreements, or management's resistance to such agreements in the face of lowered margin expectations. In any event, the problem of the job market simply cannot be explained solely by undocumented workers. It's a complex economic phenomenon, and a comprehensive solution that takes into account all the realities of the market is the only option.

4. All of this aside, that wasn't my point. My point was that the United States economy, for a variety of reasons, is generating a large number of jobs in the entry-level service and retail sectors, and regressing in manufacturing, industrial, and technical positions. To claim that a certain number of new jobs is a good sign for the economy ignores the fact that not all jobs are created equal. Whether the jobs we should honor in this country are dealing with adverse effects as a result of undocumented labor is another point entirely.

Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't resent the taxes I just paid either, only my money that will go down the drain to China via the "Economic Stimulus" handout.
Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 14, 2008 9:12 PM

If you can afford it, you could donate the "economic stimulus" check to your favorite charity (or charities). The money will eventually end up stimulating the economy because charities need to buy services and products. But maybe we can do some good with the stimulus money too. Ours is going to Habitat for Humanity and Second Harvest.

Posted by: mnteng | April 14, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Here's some more. Retail stores are going bankrupt at an all time record pace. More than 1,000 stores and chains have gone out of business already this year. All of this, as a direct result of he "global economy" - http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/15/business/15retail.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&ref=business&pagewanted=print

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 14, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

crt12 - You and other apologists for the illegal horde keep blathering on about present living wage jobs. Well, let's talk about living wage jobs period. In 2000 a skilled capenter made $22 an hour. Now they make $10. A drywall installer or painter made $21 an hour, now it's minimum wage or a meat packing job that paid $18 an hour in 1990 and now pays exactly half that. 66% of construction jobs are done by illegal workers. In Oregon, the RV industry employs illegals in about half their jobs, which is why the salary has dropped to an average of $10 an hour with no medical benefits. Illegals, in competition with American's, are engaged in a bidding war for jobs with disasterous effects on wages and benefits. The same is true f the "global economy". When corporations can scour the world for the cheapest labor and facilities, American's will suffer until they are reduced to the same third world status of those poor slaves with whom they compete. Now do you get it? Globalization, guest workers, illegals, are all part f the same Ponzi Scheme being run by Wall Street investors and corporate hacks to wring every dime possible from this country. You cannot oppose one without opposing the other and you cannot speak in front of one audience opposing any of them and speak in front of another audience supporting any of them. They all cheat workers, they cheat tax payers, they cheat our children, and they cheat this country.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 14, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

April 14, 2008
'Bitter'-gate Fallout
Posted by BLAKE DVORAK | E-Mail This | Permalink | Email Author
Rasmussen has some bad numbers for Obama:

Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters nationwide disagree with Barack Obama's statement that people in small towns "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." A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 25% agree with the Democratic frontrunner while 19% are not sure.
Also, Rasmussen found, moderate voters disagreed with Obama 51-27. Whether Obama's comments make a difference in PA or the remainder of the primary, you can be sure the GOP will trot them out (along with some other stuff) in the general against him.

http://time-blog.com/real_clear_politics/

Posted by: VAMMAP | April 14, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

proud as I recall W was the one taking credit for the stimulus bill, he refuses to take any action against China's devaluing the yuan and oppressive trade and intellectual property violations. No one likes China controlling our economy but I blame W's policies driving down the dollar for 7 years for causing that.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

http://www.pollster.com/

That jump posted in the American Research Group is verified at Pollster.com
Note: The national poll referred to above couldn't possibly reflect the Obama flak this early. Local polling is more immediate and will set the trend for a change in the national polling. Remember Hillary is already up in every state, except two, NC and Montana.

Pennsylvania Dem Trend Sensitivity
Time for a look at the sensitivity of our trend estimators. ARG has a new Pennsylvania poll out showing a 20 point Clinton lead. (In PA)
Those are just two polls; but momentum from this could build

Posted by: VAMMAP | April 14, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman,

How many of those jobs were for steamfitters, plumbers, carpenters, mechanics--jobs that can feed a family and offer upward mobility?

And how many of those jobs were for baristas, retail assistant managers, telemarketers--jobs that result in massive numbers of working poor and underemployment at all age and education levels?

I thought so.

Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

First of all the Huff Post is ultra Liberal and anti-Clinton.

A poll came out today at Philadelphia Weekly: the OMG Shocking Poll, Obama is 20 points down since he made his"bitter" remark. April 14, 2008

"And now ... Obama is 20 points down. Since it was done like, yesterday, it must be that we're all really bitter 'cause Obama called us bitter. I hate it when politicians tell the truth..."

Done on April 14, 2008 •
Clinton: 57%
Obama: 37%
American Research Group

http://americanresearchgroup.com/

Posted by: VAMMAP | April 14, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Mason - I am old enough to remember the El Dorado and Lincoln Savings and Loan Scandals and Mr. Keating. The Keating Five were Alan Cranston (D-CA), Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), John Glenn (D-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), Donald W. Riegle (D-MI), all U.S. Senators accused of helping Keating. Both Glen and McCain were proven o have had no knowledge of Keatings business dealings and were cleared. Both also repaid for the trips they took on Keating's private plane.

What you bring up, however, does have a lot to do with he present mess. That mess, which up to the present collapse of our Wall Street Banks, was the direct result of deregulating banks... some lousy legislation brought to us by a wholly Democratic Congress and Senate. The stupid twits in charge of COngress, not having learned from those mistakes, deregulated Wall Street Banks and removed inner locking corporate responsibility laws back in Clinton years in 1990's. The Republican's, on the other hand, passed some bankruptcy legislation under Bush that will make his matter far worse than anyone can imagine right now.
Did you know that food pries are at a 20 year high right now, and that the rate of inflation for food prices is tracking that of oil? Food, basic food, pharmaceutical drugs (the copay has just been upped, across the industry to 50% - if you are a woman and use, say, Fosimax for osteoporosis, plan on paying $41 a month for that alone) and along with fuel and bank interest rates on any loans and bank fees (got a credit card? Use a check card?) are on track to inflate at *above* to 25% over the next year! All this to pay for the mortgage bail out of home builders and bankers. Not one lousy dime for actual people defrauded, though. All compliments of your Democratic House and Senate. Outsourcing is due to increase over the next five years to where half of al present non-service sector jobs will end up in India and CHina and Vietnam and other Asian countries. All within the next five short years! Today, right now, 90% of new engineering hires are Indian and CHinese "guest workers" here on H1-B visa's while nearly half of our own engineers cannot find work in the-technology sector. Like it or not, globalization, free trade, trading jobs for foreign policy suppor, whatever you want to call it, coupled with unbridelled corporate greed are going to CRUSH you and me and virtually everyone else in tis country. Not in the far distant future, but beginning right now and eating it's way through the American Middle Class like cancer over the next two or three years. Obama and Clinton have signaled loud and clear that they think you are silly and primitive and bitter for blaming this mess on free trade. I think you, anyone, is a fool, an idiot, a suicidal moron, for even considering supporting any Democrat that doesn't come flat out and say "I'll end free trade" and "I'll end work visas, but especially the H1-B and L-1 visas" and "I'll enact draconian laws to punish individuals and companies for hiring illegal immigrants" and "I'll round up and deport any illegal immigrant taking a job that would have supported an American before they depressed wages and benefits to the extent that such jobs no longer pay a living wage". THAT would lead me to believe they begin to understand what is taking place in this country. I don't think they do and I don't think they will. Instead Clinton and Obama will dance around, make vague promises to study the problem to one audience and vow to continue this suicide run to other audiences, until our children are starving and the country is trashed. McCain came out over the weekend and said how disgusted he was with Wall Street's greed. He is trying to figure out what he will do about it. The one thing you can count on, he WILL do something about it and here a likely more than a few Wall Street cockroaches out there tonight making plans for their new home in Dubai if he is elected.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 14, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, As Hillary bares her fangs, the daily Gallup tracking poll shows Senator Obama widening his national lead to 10% points over Hillary as voters react negatively to Hillary's mini fit.
-------------------------------------------

April 14, 2008
Gallup Daily: Obama Numbers Holding StrongMaintains, a 10-point lead over Clinton for Democratic nomination
USA Election 2008 Gallup Daily Americas Northern America PRINCETON, NJ --

Barack Obama, who has come under attack by his presidential rivals for describing small-town voters as "bitter," seems to be weathering the storm to this point as far as voters are concerned. He maintains a 10 percentage point lead over Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, 50% to 40%, according to the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking.

Posted by: New Era | April 14, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"You go into some of 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." FULL speech here...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mayhill-fowler/obama-exclusive-audio-on_b_96333.html (33:20-36:07 for further context)
The meaning.......The wedge issues typically used by Republicans in past election cycles (Guns, Religion, Gays, Immigration), is how and why many small town voters eventually express their frustration with government. The list he provides, "Guns or religion, anti-immigrant sentiment, anti trade sentiment" are VOTING habits. Meaning they become the ISSUES that people vote for instead of the more inclusive and frankly more important issues. Do not mistake this statement to mean I don't think "wedge" issues are not important. On the contrary they most certaintly are. But are they the ONLY reason a voter should vote or choose a candidate? The translation is that after sooo much apathy, mistrust of government, a feeling that government doesn't speak to them, cannot help them, sadly all too often all that is left are these wedge issues. The sentiment is that they have, in many respects given up on effectiveness of government with the other important policies (Jobs, Healthcare etc) and then become easier to sway with those wedge issues. Katrina is yet another example of how many people have become jaded with government. After all where were they when they were needed? Wedge issues are simply platforms. Abortion...pro-life, pro-choice...yes or no. Gay marriages...yes or no? Guns, more freedom to own and less regulation to do so....or more regulation and less access to some guns....yes or no. They are "Thumbs up or thumbs down" type policies. After the apathy Obama describes settles in, he accurately points out that in many instances these wedge issues seem more "realistic," more upfront, more of a reason to choose a candidate. After all, why not choose a candidate in this fashion given that the rest of the issues are seemingly a pipe dream to solve? One only has to look at this current nomination process to see evidence of that. Gender and Race, gender and race. Sound bites, quotes out of context, binding the words of surrogates to the candidates they represent. The bitterness he describes is real. Our government is broken, people are disillusioned, cynical, and quite frankly sick of the status quo. Real change seems to be the catch phrase resonating with voters, even McCain and Romney had the gall to include "change" in their stump speeches and placards. Obama rightly points out that the other real issues, have in too many instances, been abandoned out of apathy and cynicism and what is often left are the wedge issues. The irony is that with enough focus on this quotation we are actually doing exactly as he describes in the quote. With our focus on the parsing of words we actually instill the type of apathy and knee-jerk wedge issue voting he characterizes. We become what he describes, after all doesn't the debate over a paragraph without its context become simply a wedge issue bumper sticker? Sorry if Obama's message isn't well received. Sorry if the truth he speaks, without the much needed context, leaves a bad taste in your mouth. God forbid.....and speaking of God, lets get back to religion, gender, race, guns, and gays. Its sooo much easier than having to think, apply context or dare I say it, actually find the intended meaning.
http://www.philly.com/philly/polls/17657034.html?submit=Vote&17657034=Y&oid=2&mr=1&cid=8500281&pid=17657034 Not too surprising is that PA voters actually get the context.

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 14, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Considering the audience to whom Obama was speaking, the location, the fact that he did not speak those words directly to the people he was referencing, is why everyone has chose to use that word to describe his comments. And they were correct in doing so.

Let's not forget Hillary didn't make the statements. And today pundits and Obama surrogates are desperately trying to bait Clinton and switch the conversation away from Obama and on to her.


It's illogical to rant on about Clinton's financial status, when that's not what is at issue. It's totally irrelevant, though pundits have used it frantically all today in order to try to take the pressure off Obama.

When Republicans start calling you a "snake oil salesman" you've got to know that whatever perception people had about Obama in the past has been irreparably changed by this remark and other behaviour that's catching up to him..


Posted by: VAMMAP | April 14, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman writes " just paid our taxes and I don't resent the taxes I just paid, only my money that went down the drain in Iraq,"


I don't resent the taxes I just paid either, only my money that will go down the drain to China via the "Economic Stimulus" handout.

Actually, I don't resent that either...I just don't wish to have my taxes go way up to support a govt run mandatory healthcare program where the liberals decide how much insurance I should have.


Just Say NO to the Nanny State in '08!

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 14, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Mark, no, I don't. It's a fair question, though. I'm not an attorney, I haven't read the fine print, but I feel comfortable assuming that a trade pact agreed to by the Bush administration and the Uribe administration has toothless, window-dressing labor and environment provisions.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Also, from the True Facts department: the excellent Tom Frank, whose name I see bandied about in this thread and who probably is the most incisive commentator on our political scene today, is the son of my mom's one-time boss, and apparently he and I were acquaintances back in the day. My brush with greatness.

Here's a good summary of _What's the Matter with Kansas_ that appeared in the New Statesman: http://www.newstatesman.com/200408300012 that seems very relevant today.

Posted by: novamatt | April 14, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

actually 400,000 new jobs were created in Pa b/w 1993 and 2000 so this constant misinformation being promoted by Sen Obama and his supporters stating that the Clinton Admin was exactly the same as the Bush Admin in regards to Pa is just factually wrong and an equivalency that Sen Obama incorrectly repeats.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

DON'T BE DUPED !!!

Large numbers of Republicans have been voting for Barack Obama in the DEMOCRATIC primaries, and caucuses from early on. Because they feel he would be a weaker opponent against John McCain. With Hillary Clinton you are almost 100% certain to get quality, affordable universal health care very soon.

But first, all of you have to make certain that Hillary Clinton takes the democratic nomination and then the Whitehouse. NOW! is the time. THIS! is the moment you have all been working, and waiting for. You can do this America. "Carpe diem" (harvest the day).

I think Hillary Clinton see's a beautiful world of plenty for all. She's a woman, and a mother. And it's time America. Do this for your-selves, and your children's future. You will have to work together on this and be aggressive, relentless, and creative. Americans face an even worse catastrophe ahead than the one you are living through now.

You see, the medical and insurance industry mostly support the republicans with the money they ripped off from you. And they don't want you to have quality, affordable universal health care. They want to be able to continue to rip you off, and kill you and your children by continuing to deny you life saving medical care that you have already paid for. So they can continue to make more immoral profits for them-selves.

Hillary Clinton has actually won by much larger margins than the vote totals showed. And lost by much smaller vote margins than the vote totals showed. Her delegate count is actually much higher than it shows. And higher than Obama's. She also leads in the electoral college numbers that you must win to become President in the November national election. HILLARY CLINTON IS ALREADY THE TRUE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE!

As much as 30% of Obama's primary, and caucus votes are Republicans trying to choose the weakest democratic candidate for McCain to run against. These Republicans have been gaming the caucuses where it is easier to vote cheat. This is why Obama has not been able to win the BIG! states primaries. Even with Republican vote cheating help.

Hillary Clinton has been OUT MANNED! OUT GUNNED! and OUT SPENT! 4 and 5 to 1. Yet Obama has only been able to manage a very tenuous, and questionable tie with Hillary Clinton.

If Obama is the democratic nominee for the national election in November he will be slaughtered. Because the Republican vote cheating help will suddenly evaporate. All of this vote fraud and republican manipulation has made Obama falsely look like a much stronger candidate than he really is. YOUNG PEOPLE. DON'T BE DUPED! Think about it. You have the most to lose.

The democratic party needs to fix this outrage. Everyone needs to throw all your support to Hillary Clinton NOW! So you can end this outrage against YOU the voter, and against democracy.
The democratic party, and the super-delegates have a decision to make. Are the democrats, and the democratic party going to choose the DEMOCRATIC party nominee to fight for the American people. Or are the republicans going to choose the DEMOCRATIC party nominee through vote fraud, and gaming the DEMOCRATIC party primaries, and caucuses.

Fortunately the Clinton's have been able to hold on against this fraudulent outrage with those repeated dramatic comebacks of Hillary Clinton's. Only the Clinton's are that resourceful, and strong. Hillary Clinton is your NOMINEE. They are the best I have ever seen.

"This is not a game" (Hillary Clinton)

Sincerely

jacksmith...

Posted by: jacksmith | April 14, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

MY FELLOW BITTER, STUPID, WORKING CLASS PEOPLE.

YOU MIGHT BE AN IDIOT, TOO :-(

If you think like Barack Obama, that WORKING CLASS PEOPLE are just a bunch of BITTER!, STUPID, PEASANTS, Cash COWS!, and CANNON FODDER. :-(

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think Barack Obama with little or no experience would be better than Hillary Clinton with 35 years experience.

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think that Obama with no experience can fix an economy on the verge of collapse better than Hillary Clinton. Whose husband (Bill Clinton) led the greatest economic expansion, and prosperity in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think that Obama with no experience fighting for universal health care can get it for you better than Hillary Clinton. Who anticipated this current health care crisis back in 1993, and fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds to get universal health care for all the American people.

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think that Obama with no experience can manage, and get us out of two wars better than Hillary Clinton. Whose husband (Bill Clinton) went to war only when he was convinced that he absolutely had to. Then completed the mission in record time against a nuclear power. AND DID NOT LOSE THE LIFE OF A SINGLE AMERICAN SOLDIER. NOT ONE!

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think that Obama with no experience saving the environment is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose husband (Bill Clinton) left office with the greatest amount of environmental cleanup, and protections in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think that Obama with little or no education experience is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose husband (Bill Clinton) made higher education affordable for every American. And created higher job demand and starting salary's than they had ever been before or since.

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think that Obama with no experience will be better than Hillary Clinton who spent 8 years at the right hand of President Bill Clinton. Who is already on record as one of the greatest Presidents in American history.

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think that you can change the way Washington works with pretty speeches from Obama, rather than with the experience, and political expertise of two master politicians ON YOUR SIDE like Hillary and Bill Clinton..

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

If you think all those Republicans voting for Obama in the Democratic primaries, and caucuses are doing so because they think he is a stronger Democratic candidate than Hillary Clinton. :-)

Best regards

jacksmith...

p.s.

If you don't know that the huge amounts of money funding the Obama campaign to try and defeat Hillary Clinton is coming in from the insurance, and medical industry, that has been ripping you off, and killing you and your children. And denying you, and your loved ones the life saving medical care you needed. All just so they can make more huge immoral profits for them-selves off of your suffering...

You Might Be An Idiot, Too!

You see, back in 1993 Hillary Clinton had the audacity, and nerve to try and get quality, affordable universal health care for everyone to prevent the suffering and needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of you each year. :-)

Approx. 100,000 of you die each year from medical accidents from a rush to profit by the insurance, and medical industry. Another 120,000 of you die each year from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don't die from. And I could go on, and on...

Posted by: jacksmith | April 14, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"You go into some of 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." FULL speech here...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mayhill-fowler/obama-exclusive-audio-on_b_96333.html (33:20-36:07 for further context)
The meaning.......The wedge issues typically used by Republicans in past election cycles (Guns, Religion, Gays, Immigration), is how and why many small town voters eventually express their frustration with government. The list he provides, "Guns or religion, anti-immigrant sentiment, anti trade sentiment" are VOTING habits. Meaning they become the ISSUES that people vote for instead of the more inclusive and frankly more important issues. Do not mistake this statement to mean I don't think "wedge" issues are not important. On the contrary they most certaintly are. But are they the ONLY reason a voter should vote or choose a candidate? The translation is that after sooo much apathy, mistrust of government, a feeling that government doesn't speak to them, cannot help them, sadly all too often all that is left are these wedge issues. The sentiment is that they have, in many respects given up on effectiveness of government with the other important policies (Jobs, Healthcare etc) and then become easier to sway with those wedge issues. Katrina is yet another example of how many people have become jaded with government. After all where were they when they were needed? Wedge issues are simply platforms. Abortion...pro-life, pro-choice...yes or no. Gay marriages...yes or no? Guns, more freedom to own and less regulation to do so....or more regulation and less access to some guns....yes or no. They are "Thumbs up or thumbs down" type policies. After the apathy Obama describes settles in, he accurately points out that in many instances these wedge issues seem more "realistic," more upfront, more of a reason to choose a candidate. After all, why not choose a candidate in this fashion given that the rest of the issues are seemingly a pipe dream to solve? One only has to look at this current nomination process to see evidence of that. Gender and Race, gender and race. Sound bites, quotes out of context, binding the words of surrogates to the candidates they represent. The bitterness he describes is real. Our government is broken, people are disillusioned, cynical, and quite frankly sick of the status quo. Real change seems to be the catch phrase resonating with voters, even McCain and Romney had the gall to include "change" in their stump speeches and placards. Obama rightly points out that the other real issues, have in too many instances, been abandoned out of apathy and cynicism and what is often left are the wedge issues. The irony is that with enough focus on this quotation we are actually doing exactly as he describes in the quote. With our focus on the parsing of words we actually instill the type of apathy and knee-jerk wedge issue voting he characterizes. We become what he describes, after all doesn't the debate over a paragraph without its context become simply a wedge issue bumper sticker? Sorry if Obama's message isn't well received. Sorry if the truth he speaks, without the much needed context, leaves a bad taste in your mouth. God forbid.....and speaking of God, lets get back to religion, gender, race, guns, and gays. Its sooo much easier than having to think, apply context or dare I say it, actually find the intended meaning.
http://www.philly.com/philly/polls/17657034.html?submit=Vote&17657034=Y&oid=2&mr=1&cid=8500281&pid=17657034 Not too surprising is that PA voters actually get the context.

Posted by: feastorafamine | April 14, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

you are right I am not blue collar. But I seriously would like to know why Sen Obama is polling so poorly among Catholics. I am certain there are many states greatly influenced by large numbers of Catholic voters. Zogby has a monday show on Potus and said that Sen Obama is polling at no better than 28% among Catholic voters in Pa., can you let us in why you think that is happening and what that would mean for Nov. The story of Ester incidentally is the Jewish story of Purim, I was impressed that a Methodist would even have any idea what Purim is. Actually I sensed HC had a deeper connection with her faith that she was brought up with and that Sen Obama's responses were less religiously based and more policy answers. I grant you that Obama is stronger in Colorado, Va and Minn , Alabama and Miss. I think any Dem will be strong in Va this year even HC and having worked in '04 in Denver for JK, I believe that with the conservative Pueblo vote and the nexus to McCain's Az that Colorado will be problematic for either, whih leaves us with an advantage in Minnesota which is always a problem and states like Alabama and Miss,who cares. N. Carolina which I would never count on and Minn are the only real states where Obama has a real advantage. If he starts out with both Fla and Ohio and now possibly Pa, being problematic he is giving an enormous advantage to McCain. I will be giving the nominee a second look after the convention, right now I just don't care for either the experience or arrogance of Sen Obama. And no I don't speak for you or your religion or blue collar voters and I ask the same respect of you. But neither does that mean that those who have worked in Dem politics have not had feedback from those voters as I believe I had in '06 in the Ohio campaign. Can you honestly tell me that Sen Obama can be a serious general election nominee by attracting only 30% of Catholic voters nationally?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

The epitome of elitism is less about one's life, and more about how one's off-spring lives as the mark of a true elitist is the legacy of abundant wealth and privilege one bequeaths the next generation.

When we look at Senator Clinton, we see the legacy of wealth and privilege:
• Clinton's daughter attended the most exclusive private school in Washington, D.C. (Sidwell Friends)
• Clinton's daughter attended one of the most exclusive--not to mention expensive--private universities in the United States (Stanford)
• Clinton's daughter was lavished with a six figure job by friends of her parents upon graduation
• Clinton's daughter serves as a board member for the ultra-exclusive School of American Ballet (the official academy of the New York City Ballet)
• Clinton's daughter does not engage of any real charitable work to speak of; rather, she focuses on her career at a hedge fund (which specializes in distressed debt--meaning they make their money by devouring business owners in financial difficulties.) The business Clinton the Younger engages in is not only elitists, but savage--when there is blood is not the water, the money sharks circle for a quick kill

Posted by: Catherine | April 14, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"old machine-style political politics"
------------------------------
Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 8:16 PM

Wow, I'm dumb. I think i meant machine-style politics.

Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

the old machine-style political politics
___________________________________

Posted by crt12

"political politics"? Wow, that guy's a moron.

Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

and let me ad, having a miserable and detested GOP opponent, typical white pennsylvanian, to run against.

caey was on CNN but apparently not even his biggest Pa fan could justify what was said. Might he be worried that those sentiments might come back and reflect on his support in your state?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman,

I will admit to a mistake. I meant Ed Rendell, but was typing rather quickly in an effort to get home and grab dinner. I truly don't know Gov. Strickland; I'm unimpressed with his endorsement, but retract any adverse inference I might have made about him. Sorry.

Nevertheless, I warned you about making this about my sentiments or my background as it relates to Southwestern Pennsylvania. I'm a devout Catholic, I attend church weekly and attend Tridentine Mass whenever I can find a service. I've chowed down on venison that was alive that morning, and would still be if my grandfather hadn't gotten lucky (a quite rare occasion, as he is not the best hunter in the world). I'm of Southern and Eastern European descent. My other grandfather sold his guitar after an accident at the Glassport Copperweld prevented his fingers from being effective at strumming and picking. I know the difference between a blue hard hat and a white one. I know these people. I am one of these people. You are not.

And you can see from that statement exactly what reservations I do have about outsiders. I'm kind of ashamed of them, actually. It is xenophobia--like the defeated postbellum South, we've learned to distrust outsiders because they don't relate to us in a genuine manner. It is a weakness, as (frankly) is our inability to move away from the old machine-style political politics (with their familiar faces and familiar refrains) to something that, while likely effective, appears new and strange.

This grows from a generation of crumbling infrastructure and marginalization. It's not an "economic dilemma" for which we are rushing towards a scapegoat. It's a disillusionment, a fear of hope in a land that's rather hopeless. Obama spoke about this phenomenon frankly in Philadelphia, he spoke about it clumsily in San Francisco. He treats us like we're adults. And I for one appreciate it. It sounds like the Pittsburgh audience today did as well.

I can't argue with the polling numbers you present because I can't verify them. It's likely that he has a tough time with the groups you cite, especially Catholics. That one I do know, even though I don't understand it personally as a Catholic--Obama is obviously the person more connected with his faith...did you see how long it took Hillary before she remembered the story of Ester last night? She was blatantly stalling--and furthermore, she tacitly admitted that she's a C&E churchgoer this weekend. I guess what I would say is that Kerry had a wide lead over Bush at this point; ironically, so did Howard Dean. I simply cannot believe that, once the bitter primary fight is over, people won't take a second look at the Democratic nominee, no matter their allegiances in the primary. Put simply, those numbers will change substantially. Further, your focus on PA, OH, and FL to the exclusion of the rest of the map is the root cause of Washington DC circa 2000-2006. As much as I disagree with H Dean, his 50 state strategy is the single most important initiative for Democrats in the 21st century. Sen. Clinton will get absolutely mopped up and down the ticket in states where Sen. Obama simply will not. I realize that's no more convincing to you than your OH/PA/FL Catholic/EEur argument is to me, but I think reading the entrails at this point is more confusing than you admit.

Again, sorry for slighting your boy in OH. Simple mistake. But please don't ever presume to speak for my religious or political leanings. It exposes the weakness of your arguments to an all out counter-attack. As I've learned in the trial environment, never ask a question when you don't know the answer.

Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DP
Bob Casey, his potentially most effective surrogate in PA on this, did not lead the PR charge on Saturday

Anyone know why Casey was not out front on Saturday? I find that very strange...
-----------------------------

Despite the nat'l press describing Casey as an influential Dem, he is not. He has been in the senate several years and we haven't heard hide nor hair of him since he was elected. I think he jumped on the Obama bandwagon for publicity. He is a zero.

Someone mentioned his defense wasn't very good. Casey is a terrible politician and has only won statewide office due to his being the son of a former governor.

I bet even Casey is embarrassed about this situation.

Posted by: Typical White Pennsylvanian | April 14, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

no jd I am a 55 year old lawyer and investor. My point is correct. There is absolutely no tax rate that is ever low enough or good enough for the GOP, ever, so lets shut everything down unless it serves the needs of the GOP in this country b/c they and especially the top .01% of this country are the only ones who count. 9% is Ok but 10% isn't; 29% or 20? OK JD you don't like a 10-31% rate Mr. Grownup we will let you dictate to the country what is a reasonable tax. My family had a succesful year, just paid our taxes and I don't resent the taxes I just paid, only my money that went down the drain in Iraq, except I am grown up enough to understand that that is not my call. Just wish that my taxes were instead being used to help ease our healthcare costs. But enough already with the personal insults, it reflects poorly on you.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

i can not stand the thought of four years of watching hillary nod her head in agreement with herself. but i hope we all vote democratic whichever canditate comes out the winner. they more or less agree on most issues so we are arguing over style. both are rich, smart and elite. so what?

Posted by: doazido | April 14, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

10-31% tax rate are confisicatory according to Mr. GOP, he thinks that they should be zero and that we should close down all roads, bridges and tunnels(except those to his home of course), and the military, and let the rnc now start funding them.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 7:41 PM

Yeah, that was the argument. Well stated, Leichtman.

*You are, what, 12 yrs old?*

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama Duke's racist views are a product of listening to Rev Wright the past 20 years. We do not want our children growing up in a world where Obama is in charge as he turns our country into a socialist society where Obama and Michelle act as our daddy and mama.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

10-31% tax rate are confisicatory according to Mr. GOP, he thinks that they should be zero and that we should close down all roads, bridges and tunnels(except those to his home of course), and the military, and let the rnc now start funding them.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

What happened to this story in the LA Times? This is what the media should be discussing and confronting Hillary to see if she will also refuse to make cash payments to the Philadelphia Democratic Machine.

Flush with payments from well-funded campaigns, the ward leaders and Democratic Party bosses typically spread out the cash in the days before the election, handing $10, $20 and $50 bills to the foot soldiers and loyalists who make up the party's workforce.

It is all legal -- but Obama's people are telling the local bosses he won't pay.

Posted by: Steve | April 14, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

"I don't agree with John McCain on a lot of issues but at least I KNOW he isn't going to be blowing smoke in my ear."

That's because he'll be too busy blowing in some lobbyist's ear.

Posted by: bondjedi | April 14, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Chris
I would like to ask you to ask yourself one simple question and then for you to expound on it in a post.
Do you really want your children growing up in a world where Hillary Clinton, and Bill, are in contrrol. The drama, the sex and the corruption? Really?...ReallY....
Not dissing Hillary or Bill for that matter but being honest about their time at bat.....more drama and sex and lies then the previous 20 added together. Do you want that again? If not then perhaps you need to put journalistic endevors aside and for once? Take a stand.

Posted by: Deanna | April 14, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Bob Shrum was on Meet the Press yesterday, and on Hardball a few minutes ago defending Senator Obama and promoting his nomination. That should certainly send a shudder down the backs of all Obama supporters.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

MIBrooks -
You think that Wall Street greed has caused a calamity for the US, yet you're going to vote for one of the Keating Five?

Huh. Never underestimate the power of self-deception.

Posted by: Mason | April 14, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

drindl - And, what, pray tell, is the difference between an anti-union neocon and a Democrat that supports "free trade" and amnesty for illegals? Illegal immigrants have had a disasterous effect on wages and benefits, where a skilled carpenter's wages have fallen from $22 an hour in 2000 (with medical benefits!) to $10 an hour today? Where "free trade" results in the offshring of millions of jobs, of whole factories, of technology? Where "free trade" means working 70 hours a week for years for a big hi-tech company and then find yourself replaced by a cheap Indian guest worker courtesy of the H1-B visas - a stink bomb created by and passed into law by a Democratic Congress and Democratic President! Your union is an empty shell, something that exists to protect the salaries and benefits of a few lucky public employees who never pass up an opportunity to raise taxes so that they can have even larger salary increases, even better benefits, even if it means rtens of thousands of actual working class people loose their homes. Forget it! You are living in a fantasy world if, especially after what they have said and done, you think Obama or Clinton is going to make your life any better. If you had the dignity and courage it takes to be a genuine liberal, you will vote against them just to send a message to the party elite in Washington. For myself and for my family, though, I believe that the current economic disaster we are entering into has been caused by unfettered Wall Street greed, by corporatioons running wild and without any regulations, and by free trade. John McCain is the last man standing that appears to have the honesty and integrity and willingness to recognize that and do somethijng about it. Trusting Obama or Clinton is akin to leaving your future, your life savings, your children, with a pedophile bankrobber. In the end, of course it's your funeral, as they say. Just don't ask me to participate in your act of suicide.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 14, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Americans should learn to take the bitter truth. That's way Bush got away with all is lies because 80% of the people want to be conned. If small town Americans get their feelings easily hurt, then they deserve to wallow in their poverty and lack of progress. Obama obviously cared that election came and nothing happened to this people while the politicians became richer (Bushes, Clintons, McCains, Cheneys, Rice, - these people enriched themselves in the millions!!) Hillary should stuff it. She is sickening and bad for the Democratic party.

Posted by: M. Stratas | April 14, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Came on Cilliza. This is getting embarrassing. Journalistic ethics?

Posted by: WChris | April 14, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

'I don't agree with John McCain on a lot of issues but at least I KNOW he isn't going to be blowing smoke in my ear.'

really? why? he's in bed with the anti-union neocons, so why would you think that?

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Caronte - You Obama people keep conveniently forgetting that Obama also denigrated working class people's concerns about "free trade" in the same speech. In other words, all of those Ohio and present PA speeches about his opposition to "free trade" are just so much hot air. This makes Obama on a level with Clinton and all of the other politcial hacks - they all say one thing at election time but promptly forget it once in office... or in front of a suitable audiance. Well, I'm sad and "bitter" about being fooled and lied to. I don't agree with John McCain on a lot of issues but at least I KNOW he isn't going to be blowing smoke in my ear.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 14, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Brad K,

At the same time, recent polls show Hillary leading Obama by almost 20 points in PA. Could you explain that? Mr Tamborine is headed for a disaster ... mark my words!

Posted by: Caronte | April 14, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile in Michigan . . . a new poll released today shows Obama edging McCain 43-41, while McCain leads Clinton decisively, 46-37.

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080414/POLITICS/804140415/1361

So much for Hillary's argument that Obama "can't win the big swing states," and the argument advanced by her supporters and surrogates that Obama has permanently alienated Michigan voters by not agreeing to recognize the results of Michigan's illegal primary.

Posted by: Brad K | April 14, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Last week Obama said he thinks he's had trouble winning over working class voters in part because they have become frustrated with economic conditions, "get bitter" and then explain their frustrations by clinging "to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them".

The fact is that working class voters were benefited from Bill Clinton's economic policies and don't buy Obama's cookies because the Obscure Candidate never has been close to this group and doesn't understand their ways and needs

Posted by: Caronte | April 14, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks27----

Sorry, it sounds like you are the one who has been in the weed patch. Obama will be POTUS.

Posted by: Brendan | April 14, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

'Drindl, do your posts about Colombian suppression of trade unions convince you to favor a CFTA that has enforceable ILO rules or to oppose it, leaving America with no leverage to help the trade union movemnet in Colombia?'

Mark, it depends on the structure of the agreement. It's all in the details. and when you say 'enforceable' that rather depends on whether who is in power actually chooses to enforce it. But do you not think that an agreement with a govrnment that engages in outright murder is not legitimizing it? How far would you go, for instance? Just to take an example, would you have approved of an agreement with, say, Hitler, so we would have more 'leverage'? I'm not being snide here. I'm just asking.

And I agree with bsimon here--
'Depends on how you define wealth redistribution'

Bush's tax cuts have overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy. So what we have had IS redistribution upwards -- the tax burden has shifted disproportionately to the middle class.

And as far as their situtation improving, the middle class may have a few more things, but that simply reflects that 'stuff' is cheaper -- partly because of importation of products made in other countries, that has increased our trade imbalance and lost jobs here. The wealthy have gotten MUCH wealthier, but the middle class' incomes have remained stagnant for years. Plus, big one -- health care. Fewer people can afford it now than they could a few years ago. That's far more important than what kind of TV you have.

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Boutan, "Huge" being the operative word here.

Gosh, how disappointing, I always pictured him as much better looking.

:)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 14, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Ok... so this is HUGE (for regular posters at least):

I just busted USMC Mike in the background of this video of an Obama rally!

He is the guy in the red t-shirt... and he keeps applauding! Look around the 3 minute mark for where he stands up with an ovation that tickles ALL the senses.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc9PepjyDow

USMC... an explanation?

Posted by: Boutan | April 14, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks27, you figure wrong.

Posted by: jlama | April 14, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Never trust a government that doesn't trust its own citizens with guns.

Benjamin Franklin

---------------------------

Welcome aboard mikeB!

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 14, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Once you start down the path of confiscatory tax rates in order to fund give-aways to constituents, simultaneously increasing politicians' power and creating a huge dependency among the gullible who vote for them, then you've gone too far IMHO."

JD, I humbly agree with your humble opinion, as I gird myself in preparation of writing a rather sizable check to Uncle Sam on the morrow.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 14, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama lost my vote. And, it wasn't just guns, it was a demonstrated bigotry, a complete inability to understand ordinary American's. Something that hasn't appeared in the polls Chris, but I'll bet you lunch on it - Obama will loose Oregon in the primary. Every single former Obama supporter I know, around 40 people, have deserted en mass. Some will vote for Cltinon, most of us simply wont vote, but Obama has lost us. Based on that, and these are pretty mainstream types of Democrats, I figure Obama's candidacy is toast. Remember what I said months ago about wanting McCain around in case the wheels fell off? Well, they have. Go McCain! McCain 2008 (but, please, God, not Romney for VP. Ms. Rice or Colin Powell!) I'm a registered Democrat, but my party has been smokin' something that made them go looney this year.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | April 14, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Novamatt,

Do you think we have more leverage on Colombian union busting with no CFTA? I think that by writing enforceable ILO standards into CFTA an Admin that wanted to could help the trade union movement in Colombia.

The argument that we do not make treaties with bad guys is striking in its trade echoes of neocon foreign policy.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 14, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

How much is enough? When that question is asked about our nation's richest citizens, its viewed as class warfare. But they feel no qualms turning back to the middle class, who sees its share of the pie shrinking, and telling them they should be happy with what they have. What's wrong with this picture?


Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 5:28 PM


Here's the thing: It's not up to the government, at least not the federal government, to determine 'how much is enough'. Enough is whatever someone wants to make, whatever the market will pay him/her for a service or product.

The fact that the pie has grown ever larger is definitely good, and the fact that entrepreneurs can make major coin is part and parcel of what America's all about - opporunity.

The quality of life has most definitely risen among the middle class. 30 years ago, what was the standard? One car, a 1200 sq foot house, one TV (certainly not plasma...), etc?

I have no problem with taxation per se, as long as it covers the services that the Feds are supposed to provide (the military comes to mind). Once you start down the path of confiscatory tax rates in order to fund give-aways to constituents, simultaneously increasing politicians' power and creating a huge dependency among the gullible who vote for them, then you've gone too far IMHO.

Obama and the audience he spoke to both ridiculed small towners as not being smart enough to go along with this program. I find that very revealing.

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

The only person who is "elitist" and "out of touch" here is Hillary Clinton, for running such a vicious campaign based on lies, deceit and willful ignorance/misinterpretation against a fellow-democrat and an honorable man. Shame on her. I hope she will learn to be gracious and humble when November rolls around and she is FINALLY cut down to size.

Posted by: vmunikoti | April 14, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"I'd expect to see less wealth redistribution and class warfare rhetoric from the Democratic nominee."

Depends on how you define wealth redistribution. If any progressive tax is decried as wealth redistribution, your expectations are unrealistic. What I do expect to hear from Obama is more of what he's already talked about: creating American jobs by investing in technology research & education.

Over the last 30 years we've seen wealth redistribution where the haves & have-mores are growing their share of the pie, at the expense of the middle class. Conservatives often argue "The middle class's quality of life is higher than its ever been - they should be happy with what they have." This may appear to be, at fist glance, a sensible argument; but these same folks never seem to ask whether the haves & have mores should be happy with what they have. How much is enough? When that question is asked about our nation's richest citizens, its viewed as class warfare. But they feel no qualms turning back to the middle class, who sees its share of the pie shrinking, and telling them they should be happy with what they have. What's wrong with this picture?

Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

should read out of work steelworkers

Posted by: leichtman | April 14, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I deeply resent your calling Ted Strickland, a religious man, an honorable governor a hack. Maybe that is why its clear that you don't understand religious and gun owner sentiments and would have preferred Ken Blackwell a real piece of work.

Actually I worked out of the Cleveland state office but visited with values voters throughout Ohio during my time with the Strickland campaign. So its now patronizing to out of work steelers to tell them that we don't believe that it is their economic dilemna that blindly leads them to love their religion and respect their religious values. Interesting spin on the term patronizing. The folks that I spoke with in Ohio were often ethnic Eastern European and Catholic voters, which polling shows Sen Obama now attracting less than 30%. So Sen Obama is down 18% in Florida, doesn't connect with Ohio and he is struggling in Pa. That crt12 sounds like a great general election strategy and should certainly be comforting. That is not an attack on Sen Obama as you so defensively and repeatedly proclaim, but a realistic, electorial perspective that you choose to conveniently ignore.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

There is another possibility that hasn't been brought up yet, at least by me: it's not out of the realm of possibility that Obama was merely playing to his audience when he made that stupid comment.

Either way it doesn't reflect well on Obama and/or San Francisco donors.

I suppose that it's possible that the stereotype is dated, but if so, I'd expect to see less wealth redistribution and class warfare rhetoric from the Democratic nominee. Somehow, I doubt that will be the case.

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what polling you are talking about Chris, but I would be interested to know. Obama is steady on Gallup and the blogs are by in large Obama positive.

Posted by: Brendan | April 14, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

JD writes
"In my experience, the leadership of nation's liberals have little regard for the decisionmaking of right-leaning small town America."

Isn't that an outdated view of what liberals' leaders are doing? I suppose the answer depends on who is the 'leadership of the nation's liberals'. If its Howard Dean, I'd say you're wrong: his so-called '50 state strategy' is designed to address the very charicature you're suggesting. Perhaps its more appropriate for the DLC.

Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

MarkInAustin:

Actually, we had Ron Paul in town for a speech the other day that was pretty well attended (~1500). You know, I guess I have a libertarian streak in me because I like some of his positions, but I can't get past the gold standard thing.

Oh, and Chelsea was here recently too. I don't think anyone asked her about Lewinsky though. Must be because Penn State students are so well-behaved.

For me, the best part of this protracted D campaign is seeing the energy of the younger generation. They're really going out and getting involved doing stuff for their candidate.

Posted by: mnteng | April 14, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, your comments are usually pretty reasonable, but I couldn't disagree with this more

**********

I'm suggesting that San Franciscans largely don't give much thought to the rubes in flyover country, much less imagine themselves leading the rubes anywhere.

This assessment ignores the political leanings of San Franciscans, instead stereotyping them as the kind of self-absorbed urbanites who don't have the faintest clue about how people in small-town america live.

Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 4:47 PM


**********

In my experience, the leadership of nation's liberals have little regard for the decisionmaking of right-leaning small town America. Obama's comments merely brought that attitude to the forefront.

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

and would that include the $30 billion to Bear Sterns,funding of KBR and Blackwater?

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

This absolutely does NOT deserve the attention Hillary wants it to get. This is exactly what she did with the "Muslim" issue. "We're not saying it's a problem but THEY may think it's a problem even though we know it isn't a problem, so it will become a problem.

The problem is Hillary can't win the nomination and she's doing everything she can to cause an Obama wreck hoping that she might somehow pull something out of the political Carnage. And the WaPo is helping her. I guess, both were cheerleading Bush's invasion of Iraq, what do you expect?

Posted by: thebob.bob | April 14, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman,

You spent two months in Youngstown. I still have relatives in blast furnaces. I presently fit the mold of a latte-sipping elite, but it wasn't without decades of scratching against the grain. Let's try not to get into a battle about rust belt street cred. You'll lose, and you'll offend me greatly.

Further, McKeesport and Monessen are not fine communities. They're backwaters, places marred by environmental detritus and exploited by the crime that offers the only opportunity and solace to a forgotten people in the world's most prosperous land. That's the point, and you're too busy attacking Sen. Obama at every turn to realize it. Please, Sen. Clinton and her followers, don't patronize us by talking about our spirit our or blue collar ethic. I would much rather be accurately described as bitter and clinging to the past and xenophobic and angry (or at least having somewhat understandable tendencies towards such thoughts), than be inartfully caricatured as some combination of John Henry and Steely McBeam. It isn't true and gives short shrift to the real issues facing the industrial midwest. So, incidentally, does the election of hacks like Strickland. If you really want to do some good for us, let us tell you how we feel for once--Sen. Obama did that with his bus tour, and he reported the results accurately.

JD,

Here's the issue with your crisis control argument re: Sen. Casey. Most folks weren't subjected to Sen. Casey's election campaign against former Sen. Santorum. Really, it was as if the Pennsylvania democratic party got together and said, "Man, people really hate Rick Santorum [ed. note--for good reason]. Do you think we could win this even if we put up the stupidest person in the state with a famous name? Does John Kruk still live here? No? Well, then how about Casey's kid?" My point is, if you need someone out in front of an issue, speaking artfully to diffuse it, Sen. Casey is NOT your man. I'm not saying that Sen. Obama has handled this correctly, or that he shouldn't have had someone out there, I'm simply noting that Sen. Casey may have been shelved on purpose.

Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Mark, if I take what you said as stipulated, then yes I agree completely; any so-called conservatives betray that doctrine when manipulating the Federal government to provide financial benefits as you describe, either through subsidies, protectionism, or maintaining monopolies through regulation (rent seeking).

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

mnteng, as usual you are definitely onto the next big issue for discussion.

"Next thing you know, we'll be discussing why Hillary had a shot of Crown Royal instead of Jack or Wild Turkey. Does she hate America and love Canada?"

That really tickled me.

Any news from State College?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 14, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Obama's comment had anything to do with gun ownership, or restricting it.
It had a lot to do with stereotypes; something Obama(especially) should be trying to avoid. The perception aspect is more crucial. If some of the tarnish is wearing thin, as some have suggested, that is a serious problem for Obama. He needs to keep himself (and his candidacy) above the fray. Obama's connection with working class voters seems to be weak, not that this has changed.

Posted by: JNoel002 | April 14, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

JD at 4:30P - Moving the goalposts is AN issue, absolutely!

I just did not think it was the only issue. The CFTA looks like a win-win to me and the D bashing of it seems so much like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 14, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Are you suggesting that San Franciscans are not largely liberal? That the gang Obama was speaking to wasn't among the elites that run his party?"

I'm suggesting that San Franciscans largely don't give much thought to the rubes in flyover country, much less imagine themselves leading the rubes anywhere.

This assessment ignores the political leanings of San Franciscans, instead stereotyping them as the kind of self-absorbed urbanites who don't have the faintest clue about how people in small-town america live.

Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

CC writes:
"It's impossible to know now -- 72 hours after Obama's comments came to light -- just how much of an impact they will have on voters' perceptions about the Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania and beyond into the general election."

Right. But let's talk about this thing ad nauseum. What are we up to, at least 4 different threads and how many thousands of comments? Are you kidding me?

Next thing you know, we'll be discussing why Hillary had a shot of Crown Royal instead of Jack or Wild Turkey. Does she hate America and love Canada?

Ugh.

Posted by: mnteng | April 14, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, help me out here, as I cannot follow your line of thinking.

Are you suggesting that San Franciscans are not largely liberal? That the gang Obama was speaking to wasn't among the elites that run his party?

Of course, I never said that the tee shirt I referred to was the basis of such an attitude; it does demonstrate the condescention and patronizing attitude many (most?) in the Democratic party have towards those who do not fall in line with their doctrine.

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

JD, actual libertarian minded conservatives, like you, think about a minimal federal government that does a few things and does them well.

Unless you are defining Wall Street Rs and neocons out of the conservative hunt, you are outnumbered by BigGov types who just want the largesse to flow their way.

bsimon and I are both moderates who are on your side of the fiscal middle on most issues.

The words "conservative" and "liberal" have conveyed so little for so long.

And I do think that R strategy - not conservative strategy - but R strategy - has been to play to Guns, Gays, and Abortions in lieu of the broad range of issues that confront us. If that strategy has been cynical, it has also been elitist - in the sense that the players were in it for the power, not for the principle, IMO.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 14, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

JD writes
"I actually respect people's choices of politicians, whether I agree or not. Not sure where you get your 'projecting' comment based on my history of postings here, but now you have the opportunity to explain yourself"

Your claim that 'liberal elites', who apparently either come from or entirely make up San Francisco, intend to lead the masses of 'rubes' in flyover country appears to be based on a humorous T-shirt that you don't find to be funny. Given the irrational bent of that line of thinking, I'm left to conclude that you have some suppressed feelings of your own about the so-called 'rubes' in flyover country, that you project on the so-called liberal elites of San Francisco.

Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"People should get over it"

Yeah, pixie, those bitter gun-crazed, religious nut, bigoted, xenophobic typical white people should just get over it. And I meant that in a good way.

Posted by: BHO | April 14, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

bsimon next time try cutting and pasting my "entire statement" stating how the Strickland campaign in places like Younstown and Cleveland, equally down and out communities, deal with religion and supporting candidates who they believe share their religious values and why the very important electoral state of Ohio will view those comments.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

6 new polls today, including two from the Indiana and North Carolina primaries show good news for everyone. Clinton expands in Indiana, Obama leads big in NC. In general election polls, Obama looks weak in Florida but strong in North Carolina. Full roundup here: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2008/04/monday-polls-mixed-general-election.html

Posted by: Daniel | April 14, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Mark, the issue isn't whether Columbia's free trade agreement is a good thing for America; the issue is, Pelosi and Reed have moved the goalposts, changing the fasttrack rules to prevent an embarrasing vote (for Democrats).

If they feel that the trade agreement rewards Columbia inappropriately, then they should vote against it. But to do what they did is childish and manipulative.

How far the Democrats have come, going from the free trade party (of JFK and even Clinton) to in-the-pocket of the unions.

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that the pack of jackals has thinned to two - dingbat drindl and bahgdad bob Lichtman.

One sees hate, envy and conspiracy everywhere, the other never sees it no matter what.

even LOUD and DUMB seems to have abandonded the moonbats and begun to behave. ever notice how the pre-k aspect of the blog emerges when drindl arrives?

but she is amusing - in a freak show kind of way. reminds me of the bearded lady in more ways than one.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 14, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: What's the Matter with Kansas was a political/sociological study. Writing a book about economics is one thing, campaigning by using sociological attributes to voters by a politican is different. Don't think Thomas Frank's analysis would be looked at as blaming Kansans for voting against their economic interests only making a sociological/political statement that voters don't appreciate.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

In a Philadelphia Inquirer poll 68% of 5000 respondents say that they no not find Obama's comments offensive.

Posted by: Donal McAuliffe | April 14, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Barack was not making a judgement statement about people, he was merely stating fact. When people see others losing their jobs around them, factories closing down in their towns, worrying about being able to pay the heating bill, etc, etc, they become bitter and angry at their government and other "scapegoats". Barack merely stated that in the most difficult of times, people cling to what they grew up with, with things that are as natural to them as their need for food and water. For some people, this is religion and for others, their need to carry guns.

People should get over it and move on. He was speaking truth and making the point that our government needs to recognize this and work to help those people who feel as though they have been abandoned.

PG

Posted by: PeixeGato | April 14, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

sorry bsimon, I actually respect people's choices of politicians, whether I agree or not. Not sure where you get your 'projecting' comment based on my history of postings here, but now you have the opportunity to explain yourself.

And you're right, the book you mention was exactly focused on that issue. Of course, that betrays the stereotype of the left: they tend to think of government's role in terms of what they will provide (financially) to its constituents, and the re-distribution of wealth.

Righties tend to think of (federal) government in terms of doing what it is chartered to do (defend the country, resolve disputes between the states, deliver the mail, etc).

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

leichtman writes
"I don't need to visit Monessen or McKeepsort ... to understand how offensive Sen Obama's words are"

your faux outrage is tiresome

Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, do your posts about Colombian suppression of trade unions convince you to favor a CFTA that has enforceable ILO rules or to oppose it, leaving America with no leverage to help the trade union movemnet in Colombia?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 14, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

cr1 "Again, if you don't believe the kind of alienation to which Sen. Obama spoke actually exists, go visit Monessen or McKeesport". I don't need to visit Monessen or McKeepsort cr1, I am sure they are fine communities, to understand how offensive Sen Obama's words are. I spent 2 months working in Sept 2006 in Cleveland and Youngstown Ohio as an organizer for the Ted Strickland's northern Ohio campaign manager, places that are equally beaten down with strong ethnic Eastern European religious roots who won't like being told that it is their economic bitterness that bonds them with their faith. I was in their homes and churches speaking to them about their values and religious beliefs. It was exactly that outreach to religious voters that gave Ted Strickland an enormous and very important victory over Ken Blackwell that would not have happened with that kind of comment, that is for sure. Ted Strickland is a gun owner and reveared preacher who was able to connect with rural and Ohio religious voters, something Sen Obama will not do. Not only will his message not sell in Pa, but it will be toxic in most of Ohio and Ark, Tenn, Tx and all of the south.

Earlier we heard the word clumsy to describe Sen Obama's words now from you "poor sentence structure". What excuse will we hear tomorrow that he stuttered when he said it? How about being honest and just call it Dumb and Insensitive.

incidentally it was that outreach to gun owners and religious voters that Howard Dean has worked on for 3 years that has now been undermined by an irresponsible,clumsy and poor sentence structured statement.

No one likes to be talked about telling them sociologically your are doing this b/c you are bitter.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

drindl,

Dave! and leichtman responded to your post to me, and I also think that until Rev. Wright BHO had kinder treatment from the press than did HRC. The combo of front runner status and some self-inflicted wounds has made the playing field more level between BHO and HRC, recently.

McC has courted the press for years and I do not fault him that. He has given them unguarded moments that they have relished and they treat him kindly. It is not a "political" matter in the partisan sense. It is the result of staying very unscripted off camera with them. I cannot think of another public figure who has been as persistent in opening up to the press.

Perhaps DP Moynihan was when he was alive. The press loved him, too. JB has a good relationship with the press, but not as good as McC.

Neither D would fair as well as McC in the Fall with the press. That did not help McC beat GWB, if you will recall.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 14, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"It seems small town Americans are prickly about having their feelings caricatured by hyper-ambitious, Harvard-educated, self-styled Messiahs for the entertainment and ego-massaging of Left Coast beautiful people. As crazy as that sounds."

http://chrismatthewsleg.wordpress.com/2008/04/13/chris-matthews-leg-confident-obama-meant-small-town-americans-are-bitter-gun-crazed-religious-nut-bigot-xenophobes-in-a-good-way/

Keep spinnin', snObama. You're going to land right back into the gutter with your bowling ball.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 14, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

JD writes
"to say that the liberal elites in San Francisco don't view the 'rubes' in flyover country as masses to be led is denying reality."

JD, you're projecting.

The point that Obama was making wasn't even a new one. Wasn't the book "What's the matter with Kansas?" basically about why people in 'red' states voted against their economic interests in favor of voting for social issues?

Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The gop's talk about 'freedom' and 'democracy' is all talk. they routinely embrace the worst dictators, the most murderous tyrants -- you think Columbia is so swell, proud -- why do you people love fascism so much? Just wondering...

"Columbia has the worst record in South America for human rights abuses. Firefighters, nurses, teachers and others are all routinely tortured and murdered for the 'crime' of trying to unionize. A trade pact with this fascist country legitimizes this mass murder and will demean the United States even further in the eyes of the world.

As the International Trade Union Confederation reports:
"...there has been no let up in the murders, attempted murders and death threats in Colombia and that the authorities appear to be no nearer to carrying out a full investigation into the crimes committed almost daily against the trade union movement."

The murdered trade unionists come from all sectors, including teachers, bank, factory, and health workers.

Ironically, several of the murders this year took place around the march "For the Dignity of Victims" held in Colombia earlier this year. On March 6, 2008, over 200,000 people participated in the "March Against State Terror" in Colombia. Between March 4, 2008 and March 11, 2008, hundreds of organizers and human rights activists were threatened. The organizer of the march and four other human rights spokespeople were killed, along with four trade union leaders for the Confederation of Colombian Workers.

Colombia is the most dangerous place to live if you are a union leader, activist or member: 3,000 have been murdered since 1985, according to an annual survey of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.Others place the numbers of dead far higher.

"Colombia has a long and appalling record as the most dangerous place on earth for trade unionists, with dozens of killings taking place each year. Only a tiny fraction of these have been investigated properly. The government must fulfill its responsibility to protect trade unionists and end the culture of impunity which has reigned for so long", said ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.'

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

crt12 - great points. By all standards, I am one of those ivy-league elitists and a business student, not a sociologist - I cannot speak for the "working class" voters in question.

My argument is that the Obama camp did not effectively manage the public perception of the story. You may be right, and it may actually backfire for Clinton (and McCain), but the story is undeniably alive - therefore, it has to be managed.

Posted by: DP | April 14, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

and about that election... looks like Repubs won't pick up a single seat... shame about that.

"The GOP's single best pickup opportunity in the Senate right now is against Louisiana Dem Mary Landrieu -- but a new poll finds that she holds a solid lead over her Republican challenger, suggesting that this year's Senate map could be very rough indeed for the GOP.

The numbers from Rasmussen: Landrieu 55%, state Treasurer and ex-Dem John Kennedy (R) 39%. If Landrieu prevails this November, then the GOP is likely to be shut out on Senate pickups again, just as they were in 2006."

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

proud can't seem to resist running the same old 30-year old tired stereotypes -- that democrats are 'elite'. this from a member of the Billionaire Party.

Fear is all you have, proud, so that's all you and your party have -- that and tired Limbaugh stereotypes. he's a great one for that -- calls himself a regular guy but just happens to be a mega millionaire who belongs to the most expensive country clubs. just like your yuppie coke-sniffing Yale frat boy cheerleader president, who managed to convince you he was a 'regular guy' -- a regular guy who got chauffered to his private school in CT.

But then you folks are easy to fool, obviously.

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

You all are making an editorial choice to attack Obama on the remark and it is fine but don't pretend you are doing it because people care.
People care because you are doing it.

Posted by: Benjamin | April 14, 2008 2:51 PM


I actually agree with this, but don't blame Chris. Every talking head show on Sun morning was discussing Obama's gaffe, clearly it's newsworthy in the context of a hotly contested campaign.

The critical thing is this: does this give some insight or a window into the man's heart and soul? For a guy who doesn't have much of a public record to run on, people will grasp at virtually anything to get to know the guy better.

I suspect that most on the left don't find it as newsworthy, because most on the left wholeheartedly agree with the guy. Most of us have seen the tee-shirts showing the red states from the last election, with the caption 'Dumbf*ckastan'; to say that the liberal elites in San Francisco don't view the 'rubes' in flyover country as masses to be led is denying reality.

Posted by: JD | April 14, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"drindl you have obviously never watched Keith Olberman's nightly rants against HC or Matthew's nightly mysoginists statements on Hardball attacking HC and Bill."

You're right -- I seldom watch TV. I find most of it mindless and juvenile, especially the repulsive humper Matthews. There's something seriously wrong with his mind.

However, I did read a transcript where Matthews stated, "the press loves McCain. We're his base."

Reporters actually admit that they are biased in his favor.

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Condescension towards the people by the party that loves them has a lineage that goes way back.


"Stevenson was the first leading Democratic politician to become a critic rather than a celebrator of middle-class American culture--the prototype of the liberal Democrat who would judge ordinary Americans by an abstract standard and find them wanting," and since Stevenson, there have been many such.

Gary Hart and Michael Dukakis were brought down by this failing, as was John Kerry, whose 2006 swipe at George W. Bush and those forced into the armed forces brought this response from some servicemen:

"Halp us, Jon Carry--We R Stuck HEAR N Irak."

After their unexpected loss in 2004, Democrats were much too impressed by Thomas Frank's treatise What's the Matter With Kansas? which complained that they lost because middle-class voters were too stupid to vote their 'real' interests (which were presumably served by the Democrats), because conservatives wickedly played on their fears."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/988uusqe.asp?pg=2


('Fear' is the Democrats' answer for every vote they don't get.)


Posted by: proudtobeGOP | April 14, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Leichtman - I guess that's my point on Casey. By the time Casey got on TV, the train had long ago left the station. What about SATURDAY? Did they think Casey wasn't going to be effective in his own state, or did Casey have some reservations?

Clinton had nearly every PA mayor, Rendell, Vilsack, etc. on record Saturday. Obama was largely in denial mode, and I think only had one PA mayor and Axelrod on record.

Again, it's not about what's really true, it's about managing public perception. I think Obama did not actively manage this crisis and lost control of it.

Posted by: DP | April 14, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Seems like pretty good timing to have this come out today."

yea considering that HC may have opened up a 20% lead in Pa and a 26% lead in Pittsburgh, voters should really care what another billionare for Obama believes. That is exactly what Sen Obama should promote. I went to S.F. and had billionaires bundle $16 million for my campaign, now I have a local billionaire who supports my insults to Pennsylvanians. Great message; hope he takes your advise Steeler fan.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

drindl - "Don Tax You' Jeezus, could the gop get any more juvenile?"

This question coming from a supporter of the party that gave us John McSame and Gen. Betray-us...

Posted by: Dave! | April 14, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

HRC did a grave diservice to women and young girls alike this past weekened.

She sent them a loud and clear message that the only way to advance as POUS is to act like a man by toting guns and drinking whisky and beer.

This is exactly the type of bad behavior and misperceptions that women have been fighting to as part of there quest for equality in the workplace.

I have absolutely nothing against owning guns, hunting, or drinking. I do however think it is a travesty to use those activities as examples of what it takes women to succeed.

It is a sad day in American that not a single newswriter, blogger, or political pundent made these observations.

Posted by: Sylvia, CA | April 14, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha ha! Look at the anti-Obama dopes here, thinking what they say will matter. He's going to win and there is nothing you can do about it.

Dems will eventually snap back to reality once Hill and her race-baiting leave the picture as planned. Maybe the Repubs who don't cross over to Obama and back the lost cause John McBush will finally get the picture and leave the country.

Posted by: Learn how to say Obama because you'll be screaming it later | April 14, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

DP/Leichtman:

Again, conceding (as Sen. Obama has) the poor sentence structure (which indicates Sen. Obama's difficulty shooting from the hip as much as anything else) I'm having a difficult time ratcheting up the opprobrium for what he said. Sen. Obama made astute observations about a part of the country that most people stopped caring about thirty years ago. Again, if you don't believe the kind of alienation to which Sen. Obama spoke actually exists, go visit Monessen or McKeesport. And I'm not saying (as some of his supporters have, regrettably) that rust-belt Americans are truly stupid or ignorant or racist. What I am saying (and what Sen. Obama meant) is that they're hurt. Forgotten. Disdained by a country led by folks who refer to their once-proud region as "fly-over country." And after enduring that insult for more than a generation, most folks have decided to take their ball and stay home. Not literally from the voting booths, mind you, but from the debate that currently informs the chattering class. Rather than consider their opinions valued on the topics of the economy and the war (when decisions have been made contrary to their best interest for 30 years), they "cling" to certain issues because that's all they trust the government with, that's all they can hope for. Now, he left out that we also cling to football in the face of that insult...but my point stands.

Really, what I find offensive in all of this is the feigned outrage of folks who simply don't understand the mindset of the industrial midwest. It's why Hillary got jeered today in my hometown. I imagine it's these same folks who wanted cheap steel, cheap cars, cheap glass, and cheap energy when living in the big cities, who sold all of us down the river a generation ago.

Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

once again listen to the actual audio. The boos were directed towards Sen Obama's comments. Keepp repeating it and spinning it, maybe there is someone out there who will believe your spin.

Let me guess, this is today's Obama strategy to deal with his screwup, blame HC and her supporters. Really lame.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

drindl - "Honestly, Mark, don't you think that the media is MUCH harder on Obama than anyone?"

LOL. I realized you typed that with a straight face but... LOL.

No! I think for most of this campaign he has gotten a free pass. As I predicted back in January (while he was cruzing along with his unblemished rock star status), he would actually have to start trying to articulate some of his positions and there would be slip-ups that would start to tarnish his shine. I honestly think that he is now finally on a level playing field with the other two.

Posted by: Dave! | April 14, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I see that the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had planned to stay neutral, just came out for Barack Obama following his Alliance for American Manufacturing address today. Perhaps this is a sign that Hillary has over-reached.

Please, Chris, help us out with your handy endorsement ladder on evaluating this one. And isn't the timing (of this or any) endorsement also a factor? Seems like pretty good timing to have this come out today.

Posted by: Steelers owner endorsement | April 14, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

drindl you have obviously never watched Keith Olberman's nightly rants against HC or Matthew's nightly mysoginists statements on Hardball attacking HC and Bill. I seriously can not remember the last positive statement that either have made about Hillary or Bill.

you said: "Honestly, Mark, don't you think that the media is MUCH harder on Obama than anyone?"

this is such a joke. Until this week anything that Sen Obama has said or done has been treated by the media as god's gift.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is putting her foot in it with a lot of Dems -- even many of her own supporters are tired of her attacks on Obama.

"CNN reports that Clinton was booed at the union event today in PA for attacking Obama:

"I understand my opponent came this morning and spent a lot of his time attacking me," she said at the beginning of her remarks here.

Many in the crowd responded with audible groans, and a few shouted, "No!"

Obama spoke to the same forum earlier in the morning and ribbed Clinton for doing a shot of whiskey in front of TV cameras on Saturday in Indiana.

Clinton continued, "I know that many of you, like me, were disappointed by the recent remarks he made."

This time, a louder, sustained chorus of "No!" emanated from the audience. Clinton soldiered on.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Cazayoux's R opponent apparently is pals with deranged nazi/white supremacist David Duke. Figures...

"In Louisiana's Sixth District, the situation is a whole lot muckier. Former state Rep. Woody Jenkins' 1996 campaign for U.S. Senate paid $82,500 to a phone-banking firm that was tied to none other than Klansman/Neo-Nazi David Duke for the right to use Duke's voter list.

After allegedly contracting with the firm on the basis of Duke's personal recommendation, Jenkins then attempted to conceal the payments when the Duke ties became more and more apparent. Jenkins' defunct Senate campaign later agreed to pay a $3,000 fine for the concealment.

The Duke affair has become a major issue in the Louisiana race.

The contest is considered a toss-up, and might just end up changing party hands. In a sign of how seriously the cash-strapped NRCC is treating this, they're running an attack ad against Dem candidate Don Cazayoux, wittily calling him "Don Tax You."

It remains to be seen whether taxes are scarier than payments to Neo-Nazis, but we should find out in about three weeks."

'Don Tax You' Jeezus, could the gop get any more juvenile?

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

drindl - it is OK to sign your hateful and despicable posts. we all know its you. It always is.

Posted by: kingofzouk | April 14, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

dp you are correct in stating that Sen Obama continues to deny that what he said was offensive b/c he honestly does not believe that it was. I was really looking for some humility, I screwed up but those sentiments are not in my heart kind of statement, but instead he clings to his stubborness that what he said was essentially correct; that small town voters are bitter and that is why they turn to religion and guns. Maybe after 10 tries he will finally get it right and just say I was wrong but that is not what is in my heart. Seems like that would be a simple way to address it rather than letting it just linger for 8 more days.

and casey was his spokesperson yesterday on CNN, he just did a very poor job, maybe that reflects that he too is a politician and maybe he was not honestly comforted by the statement or maybe casey is just a lousy spokesperson the more likely explanation.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"People don't "clint" to gun, it is part of their heredity."

There is something seriously wrong with the way your brain functions -- or rather, doesn't. What are you trying to say? People inherit guns, or it's in their DNA?

Never mind. I should realize that people as racist and right wing republican as you are always mentally challenged.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, Mark, don't you think that the media is MUCH harder on Obama than anyone? I scan lots of papers-- domestic and international -- and this silly statement by Obama has gotten blanket coverage domestically. Wall to wall.

In Europe, there's simply astonishment that anything this inconsequential could get so much press. People rightly feel political discourse here has gone into the toilet -- or the sandbox.

Posted by: drndl | April 14, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama supporters seem to be "bitter" about the coverage of demeaning comments from him :-)

People don't "cling" to religion, it is part of them

People don't "clint" to gun, it is part of their heredity

People are not "hateful" towards immigrants, they are against government inaction regarding "illegal" immigration

Elite "caucus" (Coc* and As*) going Democrats and their candidate don't seem to understand that.

Posted by: Seed of Change | April 14, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

In a Heartfelt Answer to a Question about small-town America Barack, although tired, said in earnest: "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone...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." What Barack meant in Essence -- which is the Clear-Cold Truth, unlike Hillary's Bosnia Fabrication and Continuing Performances, is that in General, Small-town America, due to a loss of jobs producing frustration and bitterness and with time on their hands, similarly to the Negros in Slavery time, who turned to Religion & Music for an outlet, small-town Americans turn to Religion, Hunting and yes, some blame the current conditions on Immigrants when they should be turning their blame on Politicians who allow employers to higher immigrants for a much lower wage than Americans would go for. He never said religion or hunting (music) were bad, because people tun to them for an outlet when they have lost hope in their government and with extra time on their hands in a way to channel their frustration and bitterness. The Wording could have been better, however I am sure this was due to Barack being tired and on the campaign trail for over 15 months. What he could have said instead, which are synonyms for bitter are that People are Resentful, experiencing Pain, and Prolonged Discomfort, due to harsh and painful economic conditions. However, the fact that McCain, Clinton and others are trying to take a poor choice of words and to make nothing into something-- blowing it out of proportion -- and playing politics as usual, is despicable in an atttempt to get you to see things not as they are but as distortion. People in small-town America have experienced a loss of jobs in a greater degree and opportunity than Cities and suburban America, with very little to look forward to and time on their hands other than to go to church, hunt, and visit their local taverns, and for the young, many join the Military, and so many small town Americans have become bitter and disillusioned. Obama never stated that it was wrong that they turned to Religion and Guns due to time on their hands and/or a loss of hope, culture, plays, theaters, etc., they for an outlet turned to religion and guns.

In a larger picture, people in general all over America, are bitter over high gas prices, increased food prices, loss of jobs and hope, high education costs, increased mortgage costs and foreclosure, loss of jobs that leave the country and move to India and/or China, and as hard as it is to say, some people are bitter over immigration and the loss of jobs due to companies hiring immigrants for a much lower wage than Americans would go for -- in an America that does not resemble the one we used to know and believe in. We have even lost the respect and admiration of other countries around the world due to the demise of the America we love and believe in. As Barack points out, we should not blame the Immigrants but the policies that have caused this chaos.

America, we have to ask ourselves, which is more eggrecious, a politician telling us the hard truth, the things we may not want to hear but need to hear OR a politician telling us a Fantasy/Lie, like the Bosnia Sniper Fire fabrication and PERFORMANCE, things we did not need to hear because not Truth, and which is a betrayal of the public trust and a deeply flawed Character Issue. There was a time that politicians was the most Honest Game in town -- George Washington, Honest Abe, Thomas Jefferson these are just a few examples, but they were men of high ethics and moral character who would not dare to tell the public a bold face ... for their own personal gain, it just was not done. And to say that Obama is an elitist, is like coloring Sen. Kerry a deserter, which they tried and was somewhat successful at, and look where it got us, into a war that should never have been waged and a host of other woes that only True Change from the bottom-up can Transform. I hope the people will see through Clinton and McCain's politicking, Distorting and twisting his words and Message for their own political gain and rally to Obama's aide who in all honesty is trying to Change Washington from a Power Broker to Power People, because in the end it will be the people's voice and votes that matter. Barack Obama in his attempt to speak the clear-cold truth to America has produced a crisis effect, can we handle the truth, seeing things as they are -- the good and the bad, because that is the only way we can change things for the better in America to look at the hard facts and stop trying to sweep them under the rug or have politicians tell us that things are Great, when they are terribly wrong. They are not right and people are bitter, but we have a chance for Hope now; We have a Chance to Change, that hope -- that change is in the body of Barack Obama! Let no one fool you because if you do, you are saying you rather hear a lying politican than one who speaks Truth!

Posted by: Angellight | April 14, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Teflon John McCain.
It seems like all the U.S media follows Fox News' direction.

Posted by: american08 | April 14, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

cc: incidentally I am sure we would not be reading your venom about Smiley had he done the politically correct thing and endorsed Sen Obama.

Posted by: Leichtman | April 14, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

A non-issue being formulated by non-issue, non-investigative reporters, like you. This WILL backfire on the Clinton campaign, in fact, it already is. Read the Top Blogs over the internet... PA voters could give a damn about this issue. Other state voters, as well. In fact, many people "on the streets" are chiming in together to say that the mainstream media is as desperate for something to talk about as Hillary is desperate to turn this campaign around.

This is not the election of 2000 or 2004. Voters are rising up to say they want CHANGE, and that will include changing the bloviations from talking heads on the mainstream media and pundits who play to the old material in the last two decades who seem to have lost their ability to report facts rather than distortions.

Posted by: GMAB | April 14, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Underlying drindl's accusation is the fair point that for every soundbite BHO or HRC have given to Rs, McC has given one back, or so it seems.

An equal opportunity critic could make a Fall video that would keep everybody from voting, at all, I fear.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | April 14, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Since this post is largely about perception and candidate PR, I find this 'episode' fascinating, especially as an MBA student currently taking a class right now in crisis management (think Exxon Valdez).

This would be a crisis of 'public perception' and it's surprising to me that the Obama team:

a) continues to largely deny that his comments were offensive or wrong (in our class, denying the crisis)

b) Bob Casey, his potentially most effective surrogate in PA on this, did not lead the PR charge on Saturday

Anyone know why Casey was not out front on Saturday? I find that very strange...

Posted by: DP | April 14, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

As Benjamin said, YOU CC, are part of the problem. How many columns have you done now on a meaningless off the cuff remark? How many days have you spent on this? Is there anyone at the WaPo who hasn't written about it yet?

Yet John McCain can say the most outlandish things, he can sing about bombing iran, he can make egregious errors on everything from who'S fighting whom in Iraq to the economy and it never even gets printed. But every single thing any Democrat says gets completely blown out of proportion by the corporate media.

IT'S ONLY AN ISSUE BECAUSE YOU MADE IT ONE.

Posted by: drindl | April 14, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Trey, what proof is there that Obama hates women? The fact that he's running against one?

Posted by: Dave | April 14, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Do Obama's remarks set back this cause in a significant way?"

No. Or, not in the long run. Sen Obama wasn't taking a position on the gun issue, he was pointing out that voters were selecting candidates based on the gun issue rather than economic self-interest.

His competitors are trying to portray his comments as being 'out of touch' with rural Americans, but that interpretation requires a deliberate misrepresentation and/or misunderstanding of what he said. Perhaps journalists (I'm looking at you, Chris) should report on what he said, rather than what the spinners claim he said.

Posted by: bsimon | April 14, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

This is your sixth post on this. I know you want everything Obama does to be an issue, but give it a rest. It's the elitist inside beltway press, telling regular americans they can't be bitter for, over paid sham reporters like you getting tax breaks while we all got screwed. We can't be bitter that your fellow journalists helped spread false stories that got us into a war with Iraq. The people who are elite and disconnected, are you and your inside the beltway pundits.

Posted by: Julian | April 14, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

One of the more insightful commentaries on what's behind the kerfuffle. I look forward to Wed nite and seeing if Obama can sell the connection he's made between hanging on to symbols of strength and solidarity when you have no leverage to reach your aspirations - and when the political class and the upper class could give a s**t.
It's interesting also that he didn't speak negatively about these folks, if anything, his insight spoke to empathy for their powerlessness. The furious spin put on this by Clinton and McCain says volumes about their fear of his making a meaningful AUTHENTIC connection with this silent majority (to use an old reference) of PA voters.

Posted by: dburck | April 14, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

obama , he's now allowed the USA to see what he is...

an elitist male who hates both women and the American working class.

He's used religion to get votes, dumped Wright when it cost him, pandered to everyone and his brother.
Some day he ought to get a real job

Posted by: Trey | April 14, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

REALLY? CC...you gave one post to Hillary's Bosnia comments. This is your sixth post (if I'm counting correctly, not including all the updates) on Obama's SFO remarks. Meanwhile, Sen. Clinton was openly jeered today when trying to criticize Obama's comments. I'm not a huge fan of his wording, but his point was valid and even empathetic to the mindset of rust belt americans (let it be known, I was raised in SW PA and love it there, but if you haven't been in towns like Glassport or Clairton or Youngstown, you simply don't understand the ennui and disillusionment that we feel). Further, and the crowd's reaction to Hillary bears this out...nobody cares about this.

Also, I felt that your differing reactions to folks in the Q&A (to Clinton supporter: "there's one view on the bitter comments..."; to Obama supporter: "Sen. Obama, thanks for joining us") makes it clear where you stand on this. I don't know if you actually like Hillary, or simply want to see this campaign continue out of self-interest, but the over-emphasis of this story is rather clear.

Posted by: crt12 | April 14, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

For all the media (dare I say, elite,) spin, the fact is that Obama is right. If the government promises help and doesn't deliver, the only thing people whose lives have been ruined can do is turn to a higher power for help.

Posted by: corinthian | April 14, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

What a self-serving argument.
It would NOT have the potential to change the way the country perceives Obama IF it did NOT get the full-on overdone coverage it is getting.
You all are making an editorial choice to attack Obama on the remark and it is fine but don't pretend you are doing it because people care.
People care because you are doing it.

Posted by: Benjamin | April 14, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Wh

Posted by: Anonymous | April 14, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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