I've been impressed by Barack Obama in this campaign -- though his domestic agenda is far too liberal for me I've not felt put off by any of his rhetoric nearly so much as his comments about small town voters in Pennsylvania. They're a reminder that he buys into the Marxist strain of thought shared by most Democrats -- as many noted in response to What's the Matter with Kansas, it's dubious to imagine that were everyone economically secure, gun culture, religious faith and values voters would disappear from American politics.
One thing I like about Obama is his seeming ability to understand plausible arguments offered by people who disagree with him. Hillary Clinton says she's a fighter -- she'll go to Washington and fight off those nasty Republicans. Obama casts himself as someone who understands that Republicans aren't nasty people -- someone who'll aim to persuade and compromise to pass an agenda that the GOP would nevertheless ultimately disagree with.
That's why these remarks may be particularly damaging to Obama -- they call into question whether he really grasps the mindset of those whose beliefs differ from his own. Should he be elected I hope these remarks prove themselves an anomoly, or that he is at least chastened by the controversy they've generated, for there is value in someone whose views are moderated by an appreciation for the strongest objections to them.
In any case, I can't say that his blunder makes me prefer Senator Clinton as a potential POTUS, for I've no doubt that she too has elitist contempt for small town voters who like their guns and their religion. Quoth Mrs. Clinton:
"You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It's part of culture. It's part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter."