Ben Smith’s trying to turn this — I think — into some dark insinuation by Happy Jack that the gun-totin’, Bible-thumpin’ knuckle-draggers of Pennsylvania might yet be driven to more sinister depths of despair. I think that’s a bad rap. Put aside the fact that he’s flatly wrong about what causes terrorism; neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night shall keep the conscientious liberal from applying a Marxist matrix to jihadism, so let’s just accept it for argument’s sake. The point is, he’s not necessarily suggesting anything beyond the idea that people in dire economic straits sometimes resort to desperate measures. In the U.S., per Obama’s remarks, it means voting Republican. In the Middle East, per Cafferty’s gloss, it means joining AQ. An intriguing choice of analogy, which I’m happy to believe is innocent but which my intellectual superiors at MSNBC would surely say denotes at least an unconscious bad faith motive. Oh well.
Keep talking, though, Caff. You, Obama, all the various liberals who just can’t see the goshdarned problem with what he said, keep on talking. The Messiah himself has finally expressed “deep regret” for his choice of words, but if anything deserves the patented Obama “time for an honest national conversation on this subject” treatment, the dogmatic liberal read on the root causes of values-voter yahooism surely does. You could make it a theme of the convention: “What’s The Matter With Rednecks (And Any Other Prole Who Votes Republican)?” TNR seems less interested in that than in shrieking at Hillary for daring to acknowledge the halogen-bright condescension of what Obama said, but they shouldn’t be so hard on her: If it’s any consolation, I’m sure privately she doesn’t see what all the fuss is about either.
Update: Ace notes a point I missed: Cafferty actually dismisses the conservative read on Obama’s comments — before embracing and agreeing with it.
Actually, Jack Cafferty and Jeffrey Toobin both get doubleplus bonus points for first claiming that Obama never meant to imply that economic privation drives people to Jesus, firearms and xenophobia, and then immediately adding “But Obama’s right, economic privation does drive people to Jesus, firearms, and xenophobia.”
Ummm…. Jack and Jeffey, I know you’re really super-smart guys, being on TV and all, but I’m afraid if this is as “simple” and “obvious” as you assert, you’re going to have to choose between the defenses 1) he didn’t mean anything so patently offensive and absurd and 2) but by the way he’s 100% dead-bang balls-on right.