I have no doubts that Obama is becoming more a politician every day. But everyone once in a while, he goes back to simply be an observant, intelligent, curious human being, and when he speaks the thoughts that come with being such a person aloud, he finds himself in trouble.
Here’s the quote that got him into troube, as well as the paragraph before it:
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 toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Specifically, there are two words that have caused a stir: “bitter” and “cling.”
“Cling” has been a problem, and Obama himself has said it was a poor choice, although recently he’s been pointing to this, which supports his point:
Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”
And while I consider the folks at crooksandliars.com to be a bit too black and white about things, one of their bloggers (who prefaced her comments by giving her background, which involved growing up in a lower class town) made a very good point: Obama’s comments were only considered “elitist” by, well, the elite. The people he’s actually talking about had no problems with it.
Because he’s right.
In that same speech, Obama also makes a point that people become so disenfranchised by what their government can accomplish with regards to their economic health, that they only vote on social issues. And, in many ways, they’re simply letting their views be heard, they’re not really voting for any real actions. It’s more like a survey than an election.
Think about it: how did Bush win a second term? He made gay marriage an issue. And yet how big of an issue is gay marriage in the daily lives of most Americans, particularly those in the heartland?
But most Americans don’t think their government can really help them. And it’s been like that for years. And they’re bitter.
Shocking, isn’t it, that there’s a politician out there who not only recognizes the situation, but actually speaks out about it?