We've talked a bit on Curmudgeon's Corner about how given the math, Hillary's main path to a victory centers around just waiting around and hoping Obama stumbles and falls. This thing yesterday is exactly the kind of thing that should have both Hillary and McCain jumping up and down with glee.
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest ... 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.Note the "..." of course. This is a small bit of a much larger statement. And in context what he says makes sense as part of a larger semi-academic analysis of why certain voters tend to prefer to vote on "values issues" even when it appears to go against their direct economic interests. Of course, even with the FULL CONTEXT the statement will rub a lot of people the wrong way, and offend many others. Let alone when you take just the little bit above with no context what so ever. People are already having a field day with it.
-- Barack Obama, 6 Apr 2008
There is some truth to this. Even John McCain has expressed a similar sentiment about immigration politics.There are tons of comments around on these comments and their potential effects, this is one of the first I saw that seemed to give somewhat of a real analysis rather than just "Gotcha!" posts from the right side of the blogosphere. :-) Of course, I've been doing some other things, so I'm about 23 hours behind in Google Reader right now, so I'm sure a ton more has been said by now. :-)
But the perilous words for Obama are "bitter," "cling to," "guns" and "religion." Those disinclined to put themselves in Obama's head will read the sentences and see Obama dismissing both religion and American gun culture the opiates of the masses and suggesting that their faith and lifestyle are the product of their bitterness. Voters may believe that one's position on cultural issues is a better reflection of their inner values than one's position on economics.
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."
Despite his working class upbringing, Obama's hyperconfidence sometimes translates as holier-than-thou, elitist, aristocratic, Dukakis-esque. Republicans know that these attributes aren't popular in middle America, so they will use every opportunity to remind independents and moderates about them.