But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. 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. — Barack Obama
Obama’s recent gaffe on small-town america demonstrates how isolated he is from the real hopes, dreams and fears of the average american, as well as the populist victimism that powers his campaign. Barack’s bitterness is transferred to all people he sees, and he assumes that most people are motivated by the things that motivate him. He takes the same narrow view of small-towns that all the elites do, whether they reside in Hollywood, New York, or Chicago, to paraphrase Barack from above:
People in small towns are narrow-minded, bigoted religious zealots with guns, and besides that they are bitter.
In the statement above he certainly doesn’t appear friendly towards religion or gun-owners, for he groups them with “antipathy to people who aren’t like them”, “anti-immigrant,” and “anti-trade.” That’s a large list lumped together, and like other poly-pundit populists, he uses vague words and fears to try to factionalate, fractionate, and fictionalize the small town electorate into victim categories useful to a populist progressive socialist such as he is.
His mirror image is Ron Paul, another polypundit populist coming from the opposite end of extreme politics. In the end both want to paint existing government, our institutions, our freedoms, and our business’ as some vast conspiracy against the common person.
You can only get so far with that kind of message, and once beyond the primary Barack will certainly founder on the rocks of American reality if he continues the course he’s taking.
People in small towns don’t expect the government to take care of them, and when someone tells them government is there to help, their hand reaches to cover their wallets.
People in small towns are not as prejudiced as the divided, segregated urban areas are. Indeed there are more interracial marriages per capita in small southern and western towns and suburbs than in the segregated urban regions that Barack draws his base from.
In 1970, shortly after laws of miscegenation were gotten rid of approximately 35% of the populace thought there should be laws against interracial marriage, nowadays less than 10% of the populace thinks that way, so prejudice and racism is clearly diminishing. What about the ten percent you say? Well some of them go to black liberation theology churches like the Reverend Wright’s, and others of them read stormfront and vdare.
Racial purism and tribal purism are diminishing and dying ideologies, and no matter how outspoken and annoying their proponents are, they just aren’t America anymore so the rest of us are tired of hearing from them, and of them. It really is time to move on to other things because in another few hundred years race and tribal identity just isn’t going to matter, we’ll all be some wonderful shade between cream and dark mocha, and wondering what the heck all that racial fuss was really about.
I guess it also takes a streak of bitterness to be religious, a surprise to the majority of the populace in the US who are largely religious (only 14% of the US population identifies themselves as “no religion” in census studies.)
Then there are those bitter gun owners, solacing themselves by shooting tin cans and things with fur, grumbling about the vast _____ conspiracy (that’s sarcasm, I’ll point out since I don’t use it that oft.) Somewhere between 40-60% of the electorate own guns, and Barack is going out of his way to antagonize them in his words above. (All surveys of gun ownership are variable year to year and disagree with other surveys – a variety of factors skew the statistics, first among them being reticence to report gun ownership to a government agency when surveyed.)
To sum up, victim hood is appealing to only a small percent of the American populace. In the general election populist tactics and statements such as this will get any candidate the big LOSE, so Barack’s handlers need to get on top of this fast…. and DKOS is quick to note the blow, and quick to rush to defense.
Small town America wants a lot of things, but most of them have to do with the future — they truly are hope-driven and not fear-driven as Barack and his elitist coterie would like us to suppose. Small town America’s dreams are enduring and ineradicable – talk of bitterness only firms them more.
This is best demonstrated by John “Cougar” Mellenkamp’s song “Little Pink Houses” – intended to be a cynical screed against America and a hosanna for victims, instead it turned into an anthem for conservatives — because in the end owning your own house is part of the dream. Even if it’s just a little pink house, it’s still your house, your land, and your dream , and that’s just cool beyond belief.
More on the breakdown of what was said and the attempt to recover by Barack at NRO from Victor Davis Hanson.