He Really Doesn't Get It - Does He?
by alegre, Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 07:54:25 PM EDT
I'm sure you've heard about this one by now but I've just gotta chime in here guys. From ABC News...
Mayhill Fowler is reporting on the Huffington Post that at a fundraiser in San Francisco this week, Obama put the blue collar voters of small town Pennsylvania on the analyst's couch:
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
And here's what Hillary had to say in response while she was at a "Solutions for the Urban Economy" town hall in Philadelphia, PA earlier today (press statement)...
Hillary Clinton Reacts to Sen. Obama's Newly Discovered Characterizations of Pennsylvanians
"I saw in the media it's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter. Well, that's not my experience.
"As I travel around Pennsylvania , I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive, who are rolling up their sleeves. They are working hard everyday for a better future, for themselves and their children.
"Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them, they need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them, who works hard for your futures, your jobs, your families."
And thanks to YouTube, we have a video of her statement...
Ok so back to that ABC article...
Let's skip ahead to the general election this is the kind of line that the right Republican opponent could turn into gold. If Obama wins the nomination, will the McCain campaign channel Rumplestiltskin and make this a successful talking point through the fall?
Grover Norquist, the anti-tax activist who leads an influential weekly meeting of conservatives, went as far as to argue that Obama's line would cost Democrats the White House.
"That sentence will lose him the election," Norquist told ABC News. "He just announced to rural America: 'I don't like you.'"
"Now you can vote against that guy not because you don't like him," Norquist added. "You can vote against him because he doesn't like you."
Add this to the long list of things they're going to go after him with in the general if he's our nominee.
Now this isn't the first time he's put his foot in his mouth when it comes to rural or small town America guys. Maybe it comes from his lack of understanding as to just where folks from small towns are coming from. Remember when he said he was surprised at how bright and articulate Iowans were?
But they also, surprisingly enough, even in rural Iowa, recognize the opportunity to send a signal to the world that, you know, we are not as ingrown, as parochial as you may perceive...
Ingrown? What the hell does that mean? Here's his performance on Nightline...
The reaction wasn't pretty. From Jeff Dinelli at the Left Coaster...
Well, Golly, Mr. Obama, on behalf of all us Midwesterners out here, you know, those of us who have to drive 'bout an hour er so to get to the Bears game or one of dem mooseums? We sure is lucky to have you out in the sticks with us so's we can grab hold of this opportunity to prove to the world we're not all inbred, cousin-kissin', voodoo doll stickin' hicks who wear our best white sneakers to church on Sunday before headin' to the all-you-can-eat buffet. Why heck, after diggin' yer pickup truck out of six feet of snow we may just invite you in for a plate of goulash and Jello salad, how'd ya like that, Mr. Obama?
He then quoted something BO said in New Hampshire...
"One of the great pleasures of running for president is to go to some tiny town in Iowa and you've got some guy in overalls and a seahat to say what do you think about the situation in Burma, and you're thinking that he's going to ask you about corn, and he asks you about Burma."
I don't know about you, but I get the sense he doesn't have very high expectations of the folks living in small towns in the Midwest or the Rust Belt. He's acting like those were compliments for cryin' out loud.
Dinelli has a word or two in closing for Obama and I have a feeling a lot of folks in PA are thinking pretty much the same thing right about now...
But you know what? Not all of us Midwesterners are so "nice" and "polite," especially when we're being called inbred overall-wearing dumbfucks.
Screw you and the horse you rode in on, Barack.
So anyway back to that comment of Obama's about the folks in small town PA. It looks like a lot's happened since I left work this evening. I had a meeting to go to and when I got home I found that Obama's put out an explanation of sorts, and Hillary's campaign ut out the following press statement in response...
Clinton Campaign Reacts to Sen. Obama's Explanation of His Characterizations of Pennsylvanians
In response to Senator Obama's comments this evening in Indiana about the remarks he made in San Francisco earlier this week, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said:
"Instead of apologizing for offending small town America , Senator Obama chose to repeat and embrace the comments he made earlier this week. It's unfortunate that Senator Obama didn't say he was sorry for what he said. Americans are tired of a President who looks down on them -- they want a President who will stand up for them for a change. The Americans who live in small towns are optimistic, hardworking and resilient. They deserve a president who will respect them."
WHAT SEN. OBAMA SAID THIS EVENING IN RESPONSE TO HIS SAN FRANCISCO FUNDRAISER COMMENTS:
I was in San Francisco talking to a group at a fundraiser, and somebody asked how, well, how are you going to get votes in Pennsylvania ? What's going on there? We hear that it's hard for working class people to get behind your campaign. Why is that? I said, well, look, they're frustrated. And for good reason. Because for the last 25 years, they've seen jobs shipped overseas, they've seen their economies collapse. They've lost their jobs, they've lost their pensions, they've lost their healthcare, and for 25, 30 years, Democrats and Republicans have said we're going to make your community better. We're going to make it right. And nothing ever happens. And of course they're bitter and of course they're frustrated. You would be too and in fact, many of you are. Because the same thing happened here in Indiana , the same thing happened across the border in Decatur , the same thing is happening all across the country. Nobody is looking out for you , nobody is thinking about you.
And so people end up - they don't vote on economic issues because they don't expect anybody is going to help them. And so they end up voting on issues like guns and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage and they take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and the things they can count on. But they don't believe they can count on Washington . So I made this statement - here's what's rich. Senator Clinton says, well, I don't think people are bitter in Pennsylvania . I think Barack's being condescending. John McCain says, oh, how can he say that, how can he say that people are bitter. He obviously is out of touch with people
Out of touch? Out of touch? John McCain, it took him 3 tries to finally figure out that the home foreclosure crisis was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he's saying I'm out of touch? Senator - Senator Clinton voted for credit card sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt after taking money from the financial services companies, and she says I'm out of touch? No, I'm in touch. I know exactly what's going on. I know what's going on in Pennsylvania , I know what's going on in Indiana , I know what's going on in Illinois . People are fed up. They are angry and they are frustrated and they are bitter they want to see a change in Washington . And that's why I am running for President of the United States of America .
Maybe one reason I can relate to Hillary is that she's spent time in towns like my hometown in Michigan (another Rust Belt state). She's right at home in PA - her dad was born and grew up there and she spent a lot of time in the state as a girl. Here's what she had to say in an interview on KDKA today...
"I'm lucky because I have a pre-existing relationship with Pennsylvania going back to my father being born and raised in Scranton, and literally I spent so much time in Pennsylvania as a child and young women growing up that I feel very much at home," she says. "It's not a state that I have to look at a map and figure out where Pittsburgh is, or where Beaver County is, or where the suburbs of Philadelphia are."
"It's about who needs a President. There are places in our country that are doing really well," she said. "But there are other places where you really need to get to work to get those jobs growing again, to get universal health care for people, to have a new energy economy so that gas prices don't bankrupt families like there really putting a strain on today, to make college affordable again."
This woman gets it you guys. She's not about pointing fingers or characterizing us as bitter or clinging to our guns or bibles. Sure we have worries like everyone else and Hillary knows what keeps us up a night, but she's got a plan to address those everyday problems.
She's all about the issues and getting the job done guys. That's what I'm looking for in a leader.