I have to admit something here… I am bitter. I am bitter about the economy. And, I am bitter about the war. Barack Obama is right that people in this country are bitter. Where Barack Obama got it wrong however, was in drawing the condescending correlations that he did about small town and rual Americans, while talking to a group of wealthy donors in San Francisco.
The thing is, people don’t “cling to guns or religion” because they are “bitter” about the economy. They cling to “religion” because “faith” is a grounding force in their lives and they cling to “guns” because they believe in the 2nd amendment.
Mike Allen pointed out on Politico that “Obama’s views might have been received very differently if he had expressed them in public to Pennsylvania voters, saying he understood and could alleviate their frustrations.” Touche…
Hearing second hand that Barack Obama was talking about small town Americans in the manner he did, was a slap in the face.
He was talking campaign strategy with wealthy donors who wanted to know how he was going to utilize their investment in his campaign and win over those voters. He statements, meant to not go past that event ended up caught on tape and now the Obama campaign has been on overdrive to ease the pain.
Allen lists 12 reason why “bitter is bad” for Obama and he’s right on the money with some of them:
- Some people actually use guns to hunt — not to compensate for a salary that’s less than a U.S. senator’s.
- Some people cling to religion not because they are bitter but because they believe it, and because faith in God gives them purpose and comfort.
- Some hard-working Americans find it insulting when rich elites explain away things dear to their hearts as desperation. It would be like a white politician telling blacks they cling to charismatic churches to compensate for their plight. And it vindicates centrist Democrats who have been arguing for a decade that their party has allowed itself to look culturally out of touch with the American mainstream.
The problem with Barack Obama in my opinion is that he doesn’t come off to middle of the road voters as a candidate who is listening to them. He’s speaking at them, he’s speaking about them, but he’s not listening to them.
Hillary Clinton established herself early on as the candidate who was listening to the needs of the voters. She established herself early on as the candidate who was paying attention to the voters who were “invisible” to politicians on Capitol Hill.
Now, knee deep in the controversy over his “bitter” remarks, Barack Obama is telling voters he understands that he “didn’t say it as well as” he “should have.” But he’s still not getting it right. What happened when Barack Obama’s statements were exposed was a gap in his thinking was also exposed. He simply doesn’t get the “Heartland.”