The Spectacle Blog

Prof. Obama on Small Town Americans

By on 4.11.08 | 4:57PM

Barack Obama, in full academic mode, offers this rumination of small town America:

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.

On the one hand, this quote represents an elitist attitude by Obama in that people's desire to own a gun or to practice religion is given a negative connotation, being diminished as "a way to explain their frustrations" and put in the same category as "anti-immigration sentiment." But moving beyond that, it is utterly incoherent. What on earth does the decline of manufacturing jobs and the shift to a service economy have to do with gun ownership? Who loses their job at a steel mill, and decides, "Man, I'm really pissed off that I lost my job. I better go purchase a rifle." Did Obama watch the Deer Hunter to prep for the Pennsylvania />/>primary and just mix up the scenes? I don't get it.

Expect for the Clinton campaign to seize on Obama's comments any minute, with a sense of outrage that he linked the Clinton and Bush era job records.  

UPDATE: I see Shawn linked to this earlier, and like him I am also baffled as to what problem Obama would have with anti-trade sentiment given his campaign.

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