As Huffington Post reporter Mayhill Fowler tells it, at first, she didn’t want to report what she’d heard from the mouth of the messiah.
“I was not initially going to write about Senator Obama’s remarks about Pennsylvanians. Because, frankly, I didn’t want to bring down the campaign,” Fowler told CNN’s Kitty Pilgrim (one of the few sane women on that channel).
Then she thought better of it: “I gave it more thought and I decided that the remarks bothered me enough that I wanted to write them up.”
Fowler follows Obama around in her capacity as a roving reporter. Here’s what she overheard and recorded, as Obama attempted to “explain” rural Pennsylvania to “a group of his wealthier Golden State backers at a San Francisco fund-raiser last Sunday”:
“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.”
Against the clucking and cooing of the Obama groupies at CNN (also known as “the best political team”), William Schneider, CNN Senior Political Analyst, and a rarity on that channel for rendering an objective, unbiased, close analysis, said this:
“Well, it’s certainly true that a lot of voters are angry and bitter over the war, over trade, over the economy. But he got into trouble for one precise reason, and that is because he said that people turn to religion and guns, by which I assume he means things like hunting, and that they criticize trade and illegal immigration because they are bitter and frustrated with their lives. Now that’s a causal assertion: religion, guns, and criticism of trade and illegal immigration because they are bitter and frustrated with their lives. (My emphasis)
“A lot of voters are going to find that statement untrue and insulting to their values and condescending. So I think to be fair we have to hear a fuller explanation from Senator Obama of what he meant. Maybe an explanation and maybe an apology would be in order. But we need to hear more about what was his intention in making that causal statement.”
In response, the Obama campaign spokesman, Tommy Vietor, changed the subject:
“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 for [sic] the special interests and fight for an economic agenda that will bring jobs and opportunity back to struggling communities. If John McCain wants a debate about who is 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 he wants to make permanent.”
As Schneider then pointed out (in the face of the furrowed faces of his CNN female colleagues) that the Obama response fails to explain “the assertion that people’s bitterness and frustration are causing them to turn to religion and anti-trade sentiment and criticism of illegal immigrants… a lot of people are going to find that condescending and insulting.”
Let me depart from Schneider, who asked merely that Obama furnish “a fuller explanation.”
What you just heard was Obama unplugged. This is the real Obama. Why would anyone who cares about truth want an apology or a retraction? Obama finessing his visceral alienation from authentic America is Obama lying. Why would anyone wish to be lied to? Obama saying he’s sorry is Obama simply vowing to keep a lid on his disdain for traditional patriotic Americans, so that the high farce of electioneering can continue.
This value judgment, like the saga of Rev. Wright, is extremely significant for what it tells us about who Obama is and what he disdains: guns and God—not the God of Rev. Wright, but the God white, rural, gun-toting America carriers close to its heart.
Update (April 13): I notice a tone of contempt for rural, economically unsuccessful Americans has crept into a comment below. The pejorative “Archie Bunkers” for this segment of the population is of a piece with Obama’s slamming of the same people. There is no difference between such comments from my valued reader and the stance of contempt toward “Those People” taken by Obama—the observations are coming from the same “place,” except that our commentator is an economic conservative.
Here’s the issue that utterly evades most who’ve been making light of Obama’s bad-mouthing of God-fearing, white, rural, gun-toting America: These Reagan Democrats or protectionist Republicans are first and foremost wedded to God, guns, and small-town existence. Their lack of success and adaptation—looked down upon by my valued commentator—is secondary to who they are. Obama’s attack was leveled not at their failure to adapt economically—that’s government’s shortfall, in his worldview. Obama assailed these people for their “outrageous” fealty to a God that is not his (I remind you, I am irreligious, but sympathetic to faith), and affinity for their own (they dislike the invasion of their country).
Conservative or left-liberal, if you’re with Obama—justifying his viscerally hateful comments—you’ve been indoctrinated in a hatred of the people of this country (and I don’t mean the new-arrivals).