Obama on small-town voters: Bitter, xenophobic, religious; Update: McCain camp unloads; Update: People “don’t need a president who looks down on them,” says Hillary; Update: Audio added; Update: Obama camp responds — weakly

posted at 4:44 pm on April 11, 2008 by Allahpundit

An outrageous Kinsleyan gaffe? Sure. But give it a day or so, to let the Jedi mind trick work its magic. Then the left will tell us what he “really meant”:

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…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.

What’s most offensive? The condescension displayed here by the intelligentsia’s candidate of choice? The sheer breadth of the stereotype, which would send Team Obama screaming from the rooftops if a white politician drew a similarly sweeping caricature of blacks? The crude quasi-Marxist reductionism of his analysis, which he first introduced in his speech on race vis-a-vis the root causes of whites’ “resentment” — namely, exploitation by the bourgeoisie in the form of corporations and D.C. lobbyists? Or is it the shocking inclusion of religion, of all things, in the litany of sins he recites? What on earth is that doing there, given His Holiness’s repeated invocations of the virtues of faith on the trail? Note the choice of verb, too. Why not just go the whole nine yards and call it the opiate of the masses?

If you missed the Standard’s post a few weeks ago on the various complaints about “distractions” that creep into Obama’s rhetoric, read it now. This is of a piece with it. Everything in the Obama universe, including gun rights evidently, that doesn’t fit his agenda is a byproduct of external forces conspiring to manipulate the masses to keep his agenda at bay. Exit question: How does Hillary leverage this? Does she dare get the video and stick it in an ad?

Update: She’s not going to get a video ad out of it. It wasn’t delivered as part of a speech; how could it have been, given the obnoxiousness of the rhetoric? He said it to a bunch of megarich donors in San Francisco last week. This is how he talks to the liberal elite.

Update: The best part of this story? It’s HuffPo, of all sites, that broke it. His disciples can’t even claim bias in the reporting.

Update: Here we go. Your move, Hillary.

Asked to respond, McCain adviser Steve Schmidt called it a “remarkable statement and extremely revealing.”

“It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking,” Schmidt said. “It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans.”

Follow the link for Jonathan Martin’s assertion that Republicans are itching to “play the elitism card” against Obama, which is journo-speak for “itching to show the public just how elitist Obama is in reality.”

Update: Score. Go for the throat, shameless liar!

“It’s being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who face hard times are bitter,” Clinton said during a campaign event in Philadelphia. “Well that’s not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania. I meet people who are resilient, optimist positive who are rolling up their sleeves.”

“Pennsylvanians don’t need a president who looks down on them,” she said. “They need a president who stands up for them, who fights hard for your future, your jobs, your families.”

Update: An intriguing quote from KP:

“It comes off very badly,” Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers said of the small-town America remarks. “They are things that I think in a liberal world sound totally normal, and outside of that world I don’t know that he appreciates how it sounds. And it just sounds very elitist, and it sounds like he’s looking down on people.”

Update: HuffPo’s posted the audio. Sounds like an accurate transcription to me.

Update: Obama answers. No denial, no clarification, just an awkward change of subject to McCain. When does he deliver the Great Speech on Condescension to get himself off the hook for this one?

“Senator Obama has said many times in this campaign that Americans are understandably upset with their leaders in Washington for saying anything to win elections while failing to stand up to the special interests and fight for an economic agenda that will bring jobs and opportunity back to struggling communities. And if John McCain wants a debate about who’s out of touch with the American people, we can start by talking about the tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans that he once said offended his conscience but now wants to make permanent,”


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For those who think this won’t affect Obama, I ask them to ponder the power of this one word:

Macaca.

Spc Steve on April 12, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Typical WHITE American people.

MadisonConservative on April 11, 2008 at 4:53 PM

Late to the party but fixed that for ya…

He keeps this up he might push me off my not voting for McCain under any circumstances mantra….please make this an ad in the general! This summarizes the liberal left’s opinion of us uneducated, bible thumpin’ rednecks. The hope he had in the red states just disappeared. This is the guy running on judgment…wow!

jwp1964 on April 12, 2008 at 10:45 AM

This summarizes the liberal left’s opinion of us uneducated, bible thumpin’ rednecks

They never thought you could use the internet without an opposable thumb. Dumb liberals.

JiangxiDad on April 12, 2008 at 10:53 AM

He worded the original statement in California clumsily but I think his overall point is fair, that often people will attach themselves to an issue or a specific cause because they’re disillusioned and don’t believe politicians will ever follow through on their economic promises.”

OK, say you are right about this just being clumsy wording. Should we therefore expect more of this during his Presidency? And if so, will he post someone on the corner of the stage whenever he speaks (like a sign language interpreter)who furiously “waves off” what Barry just said like an errant fighter approaching an aircraft carrier to land and signals a “second pass”? Otherwise, just how WILL we know when to believe that what he said is what he meant?

How does that work in national security situations? Or in bi-lateral negotiations with all those nations and groups he wants to reach out to? So when he insults the Iranians, does he just yell “do-over”? Does he send a minion to explain that he really meant to say?

For all the mocking of George Bush we have endured for the past 7 years, Obama speaking extemporaneously is no better. It is getting tiresome to have his defenders always explaining to us nimrods how nuanced he meant to be, but somehow it all just came out wrong when he said it. Face it: he is a racist, elitist, socialist who views typical white people with contempt. Not great credentials for a Presidential candidate.

in_awe on April 12, 2008 at 11:03 AM

He is wrong about the economy of small towns. Most small towns are less expensive to live in, and have a less stressful lifestyle. People are far from bitter in small towns because of economics. Those that are tend to move into the cities or immigrate to other places within the country for a better paying job. In fact it is the big cities that are populated with the bitter rejects of small towns.

This is the trend throughout the whole world. I’m a resident of Moscow, Russia, raised in a relatively small town. I feel the same.

Sokrovenno on April 12, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Please, someone tell me though, what makes us think this guy is no longer seen as a viable candidate among most Americans? We, as a society, are right where the liberals want us. We do not question anything anymore. We’ve replaced reason with emotions in everything we do (e.g. schools, public policy, etc.) Everything is based upon one’s “perspective.” Anyone who has studied logic and reasoning would see that Obama’s arguments are not eloquent, but riddled with fallacy after fallacy. I see outrage here and on other conservative sites, but really, do people care anymore? How many people actually read books (other than Harry Potter) rather than watch trash TV or flip through People magazine? People get their news/opinions from news anchors who have no real expertise in anything besides drama class and modeling. How else could we justify the use of such cheesy, brainless campaign commercials? I feel insulted by the fact that politicians think they work, but then again, they wouldn’t use them unless they worked on the majority of people. Jesus said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” It’s a shame we’ve forgotten the second part of the verse.

Send_Me on April 12, 2008 at 11:31 AM

Ahhhhh. The morning after Dixie Chics part II. I love the smell of nepalm in the air.

THE CHOSEN ONE on April 12, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Not sure if this recent gaffe is getting play on the “other” stations since I don’t watch them anymore, but it has run on the Fox Saturday morning financial shows during a news break.

Have to wait and see what comes out on the Sunday morning political shows.

Probably dead by Monday.

Nothin’ to see here folks, ya’ll just move along now…

TheCulturalist on April 12, 2008 at 12:14 PM

Wow – just caught up w/this story! Holy cow…

When does he deliver the Great Speech on Condescension to get himself off the hook for this one?

Yes – I think it’s time to call for a National Discussion on Condescension.

Given that Obama is as qualified to lead us on this one as on the other discussions he plans on having with us, what could possibly go wrong?

RD on April 12, 2008 at 1:00 PM

He is wrong about the economy of small towns. Most small towns are less expensive to live in, and have a less stressful lifestyle. People are far from bitter in small towns because of economics. Those that are tend to move into the cities or immigrate to other places within the country for a better paying job. In fact it is the big cities that are populated with the bitter rejects of small towns.
This is the trend throughout the whole world. I’m a resident of Moscow, Russia, raised in a relatively small town. I feel the same.

Sokrovenno on April 12, 2008 at 11:06 AM

You are forgeting about the major compnent of those who commute to their jobs in the larger cities – the cost of gas.

Smalltowns do cost less to live in but there are many smalltowns across America that do not have the good paying jobs for their populations. So those people get up early get into their cars and commute to the nearest cities. This is very common in Western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of WV, where people perfer to drive to their jobs rather than take public transportation. And in the far reaches of Western MD they have to drive relatively far to the train station if they decided to take public transportation anyway.

They commute to Loudoun County VA or outside the District of Columbia. The largest town in that area had industries in the 60s and 70s such as Mack Trucks, Fairchild Hillar, Pangborn Industries, which are all gone. My mom and I visited an elderly lady there who told us back in those days no one was forced to commute for a good paying job, the jobs were there for them. And the blue collar jobs were abundent.

The cost of gas has become as issue for many commuters across America.

My aunt and uncle live in Allentown, PA. My uncle is retired now but he owned a garment mill there, he was a clothing manufacturer for many companies in the Garment Center. He commuted into NYC a few days a week on a bus before he retired in 2002. And it’s the same thing there.

People are not happy in general. He told my sister and brother this morning on the phone that people there in the Lehigh Valley for the most part agree with what Obama said, the only people who are offended are the ones who would have never voted for him in the first place.

AprilOrit on April 12, 2008 at 1:01 PM

For those who think this won’t affect Obama, I ask them to ponder the power of this one word:

Macaca.

Spc Steve on April 12, 2008 at 10:25 AM

Yes, but Mr. Allen had a lovely noose in his office, don’t think the general pub will see Obama like they saw George.

George also lost mostly because of the political shift in Northern VA from Republican to Democrat.

That huge voting block of transplants from other states wouldn’t have voted for him anyway.

AprilOrit on April 12, 2008 at 1:17 PM

He told my sister and brother this morning on the phone that people there in the Lehigh Valley for the most part agree with what Obama said, the only people who are offended are the ones who would have never voted for him in the first place.

AprilOrit on April 12, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Right. Libs/Dems like him, others don’t. We call them Republicans and Democrats.
You ever see Welcome Back Kotter? Had a character that was always talking about his relatives…
btw, while gasoline is much more expensive than recently, it’s not above the normal inflation adjusted price increase. It was about $.90/gal in the late 70′s. That would be somewhere btwn $4-5/gal. today. And that’s without letting anyone drill for more oil, or build more refineries, or switch from transported liquid fuel oil to heat homes in the NE.

JiangxiDad on April 12, 2008 at 2:42 PM

btw, while gasoline is much more expensive than recently, it’s not above the normal inflation adjusted price increase. It was about $.90/gal in the late 70’s. That would be somewhere btwn $4-5/gal. today. And that’s without letting anyone drill for more oil, or build more refineries, or switch from transported liquid fuel oil to heat homes in the NE.

JiangxiDad on April 12, 2008 at 2:42 PM

I remember a while back, when O’Reilly was getting himself spun up into a bluecollar frenzy over high oil prices and the manipulation conspiracy he felt was the cause, an older gent called him up and put him in his place. Instead of pissing and moaning about fuel prices, he had actually put a pencil to paper and calculated that, even with the recent increase in fuel prices, he was spending less per mile to drive due to the advances in fuel economy compared to the late 70′s, early 80′s period. Mr. NoSpin had NoReply…

Then, to demonstrate his vast knowledge of the commodity markets he launched into a live ad pontificating about what a great investment gold had been for him and that we all needed to get onboard with him.

If he really knew what he was talking about he would have known that the price of oil and the price of gold are very much related.

I guess it’s only Spin if someone else is doing it.

TheCulturalist on April 12, 2008 at 3:06 PM

If he really knew what he was talking about he would have known that the price of oil and the price of gold are very much related.

I guess it’s only Spin if someone else is doing it.

TheCulturalist on April 12, 2008 at 3:06 PM

Yep. Although subject to supply and demand, their price fluctuations are indicators of the value of the dollar. I’m always surprised at how otherwise intelligent people are largely ignorant of basic economics. I’d include BOR, McCain, Obama, don’t know about Clinton, and even Rush to a certain extent.
As an aside, it occured to me last night for some reason that the arguments about returning to a gold standard are fairly moot at this point. It is now so easy to buy gold or a proxy fund for gold, and the transaction costs are so low, that practically anyone can turn their dollars in for gold. I have, for some of my cash savings. That would tend to support the notion that the dollar is not tremendously inflated, although it does fly in the face of what feels right. Nevertheless, I certainly am not letting the value of my dollars erode. There are many ways to easily invest in commodities of all different stripes, foreign currencies, etc. Never have so many investment options been right there at the tip of your fingers.

JiangxiDad on April 12, 2008 at 3:19 PM

The condescension from Kirsten Powers is amazing. Kirsten, do you understand that the intelligentsia are the first to go into the concentration camps / ovens? Figuratively speaking, of course, unless your buddies actually succeed in what they really want to do…..

Think_b4_speaking on April 12, 2008 at 3:24 PM

I sure hope this is the one big gaffe that we’ve been waiting for. What an elitist snob! I guess he was trying to take a different angle from Kerry’s “Can I get me a huntin’ license here?” with his statement that rural PA is obstinately clinging to guns. Here’s to you Barack Obama: keep clinging to your shovel and by all means, please dig yourself deeper and deeper.

Linlou on April 12, 2008 at 3:25 PM

I’m not buying this as a major gaffe. Sorry but does this come as a surprise as to how liberals think? There really isn’t anything untrue about what he has said here. The most inartful (to use the current favourite word) thing, perhaps, is to include religion in a list of things that might otherwise be taken as negatives. But it isn’t frankly incorrect to say that people in times of trouble or need turn to religion. In this regard this is much more of a “mis-speak” than Hillary telling us how she dodged sniper fire, or thumb-wrestled the emperor of Japan to win world war 2 or once drank a gallon of yak’s milk for a bet.

schiehallion on April 12, 2008 at 8:45 AM

So people in Small Towns in times of trouble turn into racist Xenophobes? Are they all racist or just the ones that lost their jobs?

Also, do they only turn to guns when they lose jobs? If so.. How can they purchase the guns and ammo?

Next, is it the only time that people in small towns turn to religion? If so, how do Churches survive? they have to get money from somewhere, a poor person cant tithe(hard to get 10% from 0)..

Chakra Hammer on April 12, 2008 at 4:08 PM

JiangxiDad on April 12, 2008 at 3:19 PM

yup, the degree of ignorance at all levels is staggering.

even more so considering that w/ IRAs and 401s citizens need to have at least some clue, otherwise they will get enroned.

odd how that works out for elitist libs though. “so, mr/mrs citizen, u got screwed by an evil corp, huh? don’t u worry your little public skool brain about it. just pull the lever for me and i’ll make it all better”

TheCulturalist on April 12, 2008 at 4:36 PM

He worded the original statement in California clumsily but I think his overall point is fair, that often people will attach themselves to an issue or a specific cause because they’re disillusioned and don’t believe politicians will ever follow through on their economic promises.

Typhonsentra on April 12, 2008 at 8:26 AM

In other words, Comrade Marx, they’re victims of false consciousness. Sheesh.

———–

About the difference between city folk and the rest of America: OF COURSE they’re different.

Take a look at an electoral map of America. It’s a vaaast red ocean with some tiny blue islands.

Those tiny blue islands? Those are “cities.” They suffer the most from liberalism, but keep voting for liberals. While, ironically, thinking they’re smarter and better than the rest of us.

Of course there are differences. Of course they’re more secular. Of course they don’t believe in gun rights as much. Of course they think the hicks outside of their cities are being misled with irrelevant issues; that’s why those hicks don’t vote the same way the smart city dwellers vote.

Of course the Sun rises in the East.

misterpeasea on April 12, 2008 at 6:18 PM

For all the mocking of George Bush we have endured for the past 7 years, Obama speaking extemporaneously is no better.

What are you saying, Bush couldn’t pronounce ‘big words’ during his original campaign! I mean I’d never heard anyone speak who sounded like a bigger idiot. Bush speaking extemporaneously is a disaster waiting to happen. Most domestic policy is coordinated out of the VP’s office, as many insiders have explained . What does that tell you about Bush’s capacity?

I give both parties credit for fielding intelligent candidates in this race, even when I don’t agree with their positions. Hopefully the country has learned its lessons- brains do matter.

bayam on April 12, 2008 at 8:53 PM

The fact that an invited “billionaire for Hillary” operative went to the billionaire row party, had the speech recorded in secret, then gave it to the HuffPoo, normally Obama’s playground, to give Hillary the opportunity to get back on top, at the most critical time, is Shakespearean.

She’s so full of caca, and in the same billionaires’ laps, and might get away with it because Obama’s naivite made him say such stupid things in San Francisco, in the bossom of idealistic, rich, elitist, billionaire filth.

If she does, imagine the wrath, the hell Pelosi, Reid, Richardson, the Kennedys, and a slu of others will pay.

Entelechy on April 13, 2008 at 3:01 AM

I, as AP, would gladly wait to hear “The Great Speech on Condescension.”

As it is not likely ocming anytime soon, I can only “hope” that the GOP has enough money to make all the ads on “the two sides of Obama.” Quick quotes about Imus, then Wright. Quick snippets on unity, then on typical white people. Hope…bitterness. Hold me back folks, I’m just gettin’ started here….

The mind boggles at the possibilities.

For all the hypocricy, the doubletalk, there is only one man here…who must be rejected for the high position requiring judgement and integrity.

Lockstein13 on April 13, 2008 at 3:19 PM

Why not just go the whole nine yards and call it the opiate of the masses?

I wish some candidate finally did.

freevillage on April 13, 2008 at 9:06 PM

Follow the link for Jonathan Martin’s assertion that Republicans are itching to “play the elitism card” against Obama, which is journo-speak for “itching to show the public just how elitist Obama is in reality.”

This is in sharp contrast to AllaPundit, whose anticipation of a 100% predictable reaction to an obviously offensive remark by a Republican Congressman is nothing short of impressive.

freevillage on April 13, 2008 at 9:09 PM

Obama is a Malcolm X fan in his own words:

Malcolm X is my hero

MSimon on April 14, 2008 at 12:44 AM

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