The brouhaha started Friday when a California-based HufPo blogger named “Mayhill Fowler” posted an article about her experiences following the Obama campaign through Pennsylvania. The piece reads like a missive penned by an admiring explorer who wants to describe the denizens of some exotic foreign locale to the folks back in the civilized world. She writes:
In the midst of this harsh pastoral, Pennsylvanians are scrappy survivors. They complain (particularly about their governor and Clinton surrogate Ed Rendell, who doesn’t seem as popular as the media make him out to be), but they endure. They refuse to be bound to the broken temples of commerce and manufacturing, the vacant Beaux Arts hotels, the rotting nineteenth-century row houses, the abandoned sidings and once-grand railway stations that inscribe Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and diminish Pittsburgh and Lancaster. Pennsylvanians are remarkably chipper. In the end, the material world that once gave them prosperity has not defined them. On the contrary, Pennsylvania unfolds in an interlocking chain of Turkeyfoots and Allentowns, held separately and together by a sense of shared community, of humor, of history, and of abiding faith.
Then in the next paragraph she drops the nuke:
These qualities of hospitality, patriotism and endurance are exactly what Californians need to hear about Pennsylvanians. And when he spoke to a group of his wealthier Golden State backers at a San Francisco fund-raiser last Sunday, Barack Obama took a shot at explaining the yawning cultural gap that separates a Turkeyfoot from a Marin County. “You go into 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,” 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.“
To quote Gleason: “Oh, how SWEET it IS!” Just as Obama begins closing in on Hillary in Pennsylvania, he unwittingly insults the small-town poor voters of the entire state to an audience of snickering zillionaires in San Francisco – the Northern California Sodom to L.A.’s Gomorrah!
This gaffe is like an ice cream buffet the size of Jupiter – where does one begin?
We already know what the McCain and Hillary campaigns will do with it. And we know that Rush and Hannity will have a field day. Certainly we can parse out our own reactions. The really fun part’s happening in the Liberal Blogs and MSM, who are spinning furiously to deflect the damage. This the umptieth inning in a game that bloggers are calling W.O.R.M:
What Obama Really Meant…
Check it out:
- Marc Armbinder of The Atlantic describes Obama’s whoopsie as “… a classic Kinsleyian “gaffe,” where a candidate says what he means and then is forced to account for it.” Armbinder then goes on to account for it himself:
The elite media and most Democrats will say… “yeah.. .So? Obama is simply describing world as we know it.” His opponents and people who are inclined to view Obama as an elitist will say, “he is dismissing the culture and religion of working class whites.”
Indeed, the responses to Obama’s words have proven (to Obama allies) a part of his argument. Conservatives are already portraying Obama as liberal, elite, out of touch with the values of ordinary Americans — exactly the type of legerdemain that Obama was pointing to.
So there’s a debate to be had about substance.
Despite its pretense to objectivity (in the typical “But some say that…” technique journalists employ to insert their own bias into a story) this is a classic variant of the “Wedge Argument” wherein Liberals wring their hands and complain that the Sheeple are ignoring their dangling economic self-interest carrot for fear of the accompanying cultural and moral rot-stick hidden behind the back. And damn those Repuglicans for pointing it out!
- ABC News’ TheNote bemoans the Wedge issue angle as well:
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?
Any fallout from “that sentence” could trip up Obama’s own pollster who argued that the Democratic Party’s polling shows that “the traditional Republican wedge issues are way down.”
Did you notice the label? “…right Republican opponent”? How many times does ABC label Obama or Hillary as “The left Democratic candidate”? We’ll wait while you tally it up.
Some of the most entertaining reactions sprout, naturally, in the comments section. As noted above, “kinsleyan gaffes” pop up like mushrooms in a cow field on a misty morning.
fseidle said on TNR:
I think Obama is right.
People are angry. As for small town folk holding onto guns and religion. Hey,I’ve lived in small towns in Pa. and NC. Jesus is big and so are guns.
People are pissed.
Apparently “Big Jesus” and guns are equal evils in fseidle’s world.
- ltfHusseincrazy said on hufPo:
Once more Senator Obama has been taken out of context in order to fuel anti Obama sentiment from the more narrow minded among us. As I write my father sleeps behind me on my sofa where he has just declared that “Osama was makin’ fun of all the Pennsylvanians who own guns.” When are the news channels going to shut their ignorant mouths? When are they going to provide analysis that explains nuance to their viewers instead of getting them worked up enough to leave the TV on while they eat, complain, and do exactly what Senator Obama said they would do.
Ah, shut up the news – how nuanced. The poor silly dolts of Pennsylvania (including ignorant daddy asleep on the sofa – no doubt tired after a hard day at work) are being made to think they’re being insulted and condescended to. What fools!
What really warms the Beast heart is not so much that this particular gaffe may take OBM down. The MSM will pull their oars as hard as they can to get the Obama boat to safe water, and probably succeed. As in the Wright debacle, Obama will make a few nicely scripted speeches, the issue will be declared dead and anybody who brings it up later accused of bad taste and “Spreading the poison”. That’s de riguer for this race.
No, the best part is that several weeks from now it’s going to happen all over again! Obama can run from his words, but he can’t run from his own mind. No matter how carefully hidden, his world-view bleeds through sooner or later. And if he doesn’t say it we can always count on Michelle.
Categories: World Events