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Friday, April 11, 2008

Oops x 2

posted by on April 11 at 13:15 PM

At a San Francisco fundraiser, Obama gets maybe a little too honest for his own good while talking about the roots of rural behavior:

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.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton brings up the Bosnia sniper fire mess all over again in an attempt to defend Hillary, apparently makes eight false statements in only 23 words while doing so, and gets politely told to keep quiet by Hillary in response.

“Hillary called me and said ‘You don’t remember this. You weren’t there, let me handle it.’ I said, ‘Yes ma’am,” Clinton said.

Is that all he said? Of course not:

RSS icon Comments



Posted by Mr. Poe | April 11, 2008 1:19 PM

Despite his anti-Hillary histrionics, Christopher Hitchens did make a good point about Bill's lack of decisive action in Bosnia, despite bringing it up in his campaign in '92. Considering that, Hillary really just shouldn't have broached the topic, period, whether the sniper story was true or not.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 11, 2008 1:19 PM

"Guns or religion or antipathy." Finally a national (albeit very religious) politician is putting religion in its place!

Posted by Levislade | April 11, 2008 1:23 PM

malkin's head to detonate in 3.... 2....

Posted by brandon | April 11, 2008 1:26 PM

So Obama tells it like it is, while the Clintons continue to lie and pander and you, Eli, somehow give these statements equal weight under the subject of "Oops x 2"? Wonderful analysis once again, Mr Sanders.

Posted by DOUG. | April 11, 2008 1:30 PM

I think Obama is somewhat on point there. It would be interesting to hear from people those comments could be directed at - not "community leaders", but actual people. Are they necessarily going to be offended? If you're real problems have been ignored for for 25 years, a little offended might be better than completely written off.

Posted by Dougsf | April 11, 2008 1:33 PM

@5, if I'm an O adviser, I'm sayin' "oops" too. If she's quick enough, Hill will drive this as an insult to blue collar PA.

Posted by clarity | April 11, 2008 1:39 PM

So Obama is in hot water for being too honest for his own good, and Bill Clinton for lying. Eh. Another day in the campaign.

Posted by tsm | April 11, 2008 1:42 PM

Obama's blaming the local economies for small town America bitterness is a fairly accurate statement. Tying it to God, Guns and "Get out of my town, stranger" attitudes puts the cart before the horse. Small town America has been religious for a very long time. Guns have been a part of small town life for a very long time. Xenophobia has been a cultural norm in most small communities since before the stone age. Instead of bitterness he should have said fear. In this context, such attitudes may be exacerbated by circumstances, but it is a liberal fantasy to believe that "small town america" will suddenly be nice if there were jobs around. Only cultural leadership and time (code for people dying off) will change such attitudes.

Posted by LMSW | April 11, 2008 1:45 PM

This is a very serious fuck-up for Obama. Very serious. Perhaps fatal. Does anybody really think those folks in Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia - you know, those gun-totin' religious people WHO HAVE YET TO VOTE won't be offended by this? Not to mention the damage this will do in the general election, should he get that far.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 11, 2008 1:47 PM

@5 wins.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 11, 2008 1:48 PM


It stands to reason that, if they had jobs, they might be more content to live and let live.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 11, 2008 1:50 PM

@5280, you are totally right, Obama screwed up beyond all pale!! He should drop out right now!! Drop out Obama, it is too late, your screw up is fatal!! Obama killed himself on the campaign trail! He may as well have said he fucked underaged boys while spitting on the American flag and using the pages of the Holy Bible as ass wipe.

Christ...these Hillatrons will say anything won't they?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | April 11, 2008 1:51 PM

I don't see how what Obama said can be classified as an "oops". I grew up in rural Indiana. He speaks the truth.

Posted by Michigan Matt (soon to be Balt-o-matt) | April 11, 2008 1:57 PM

We like it when he says in black churches straight up that homophobia and antisemitism are not cool, but if he fails to pander to small town hicks, he's in trouble? Nope. The whole reason Obama is winning (has won, truth be told) the Democratic nomination is that he isn't afraid of the voters, and he doesn't think they should be spoken to like they're simpletons and babies.

Posted by elenchos | April 11, 2008 1:57 PM

@14 - i second that (wisconsin).

Posted by some dude | April 11, 2008 2:03 PM

@9 and @12, I agree with both your statements.

Posted by Dougsf | April 11, 2008 2:06 PM

We shall see, elenchos. While what you say is almost certainly correct with the more "enlightened" voters out there, I don't think it's true in those states I mentioned earlier. I have lots of friends and relatives in PA and WV, and they honestly didn't like Obama very much in the first place. He's been gaining on Hillary lately because, truth be told, they really don't like her very much either, but something like this is going to hurt.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 11, 2008 2:07 PM

Well I heard that his middle name is Hussein, and he prefers orange juice to coffee.

What kind of person is named Hussein doesn't drink coffee?

Goddamn islamo-mormons, that's who.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 11, 2008 2:10 PM

i'm from rural PA. he's dead on.

Posted by ironymaiden | April 11, 2008 2:13 PM

look at that: obama still isn't treating us like idiots. he's doomed. we are idiots.

Posted by max solomon | April 11, 2008 2:21 PM

Even if Obama is right on, people don't like to be called out on their insecurities. This will likely be played up and blown out of proportion by FOX "News" and its ilk but I think the Obama campaign has been pretty skilled at conducting damage control. I'd love for Obama to say something along the lines of, "Look, I may say things that annoy you, but I'm gonna work hard to help make your lives better. The other guy may tell you what you want to hear, but he's gonna ultimately screw you over with his policies."

Posted by Bub | April 11, 2008 2:24 PM

This debate over HRC v BHO has become wearisome. The 'debate' on this forum has deteriorated into taking snipes at each others candidates.

Posted by Tiresome, Tediuos, Boring, UnInteresting | April 11, 2008 2:30 PM


Ha! Exactly.

This whole argument--was Obama *too* honest?--reminds me of the typical Q/A during every financial crisis:

Q: What if my bank fails!
A: Up to $100k of your deposit is insured by the FDIC, backed up by the full faith and credit of the US Government.

Q: What if the FDIC fails?
A: You'll have bigger problems than your bank account.

If the country is too stupid or deluded to accept the hard facts of our situation, more than the Obama campaign is in big trouble.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | April 11, 2008 2:32 PM

Obama's comments will mostly only piss off conservatives, so who cares.

Posted by Todd | April 11, 2008 2:32 PM


But every thinking man will vote for him.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 11, 2008 2:35 PM

@12 it's true even Brecht said "first comes the food, morals follow on". what this means is that food is a precondition for moral action. A job does not in and of itself lead to moral action. My point was that people in small town america had jobs before the last 25 years and were religious, gun toting, xenophobes then as well.

This does not mean that people cannot change. With Education, leadership, etc people may change. Ironically, Change is more possible during times of stress. Perhaps if small town America were given more attractive options, they might lose some of their provincial attitudes. These would have to be very attractive options.

Posted by LMSW | April 11, 2008 2:35 PM

@22 on being called out on their insecurities: you got that right Bub. It has to be done very, very carefully. Most times peoples defenses go right up. Still Obama may be able to pull it off. The key is to tell people these painful things, validate their feelings and help them feel supported.

Posted by LMSW | April 11, 2008 2:45 PM

@20 - as am I. Look, most Pennsylvanians are practical - they would rather have a truth-talker than a tightrope-walker.

Hils comes across as the latter, Obama as the former.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 11, 2008 3:05 PM

this is one of those cases where the harsh truth could have been delivered in a friendlier manner. i think obama's matter-of-fact approach to answering questions helps. but sometimes he reaches out with his answers more than others.

for instance, in his race speech, he talked about blacks being angered and justified, and whites being angered and justified. clearly the blacks in america have more to be angered about, but not dismissing some of the white anger made the message more palatable to whites.

in regard to religion, which is perhaps more touchy than race, the same spoonful of sugar might have made the message easier to swallow. most people who cling to guns or religion tend to think they actually like their guns and religion -- they don't think that if they had a job, maybe they wouldn't be so nra-ish or religious.

Posted by infrequent | April 11, 2008 3:56 PM

I, too, have relatives in small towns in the Midwest and South. He speaks the truth. Guess what? They appreciate folks who tell the truth, whether they like it or not. They abhore liars.

Posted by You figure it out | April 11, 2008 6:02 PM

from swimming freestyle:

"Barack Obama is a remarkably eloquent man and turning into a remarkably capable politician. But if the Senator believes it's smart to insult voters from a state critical to your success, he's hit one of the worst false notes yet in his campaign.

Yeah, I know what his campaign said, and that may have been what he meant. But a sophisticated candidate doesn't refer to voters in language that can be construed as derogatory or insulting. Obama asserted Pennsylvania voters are bitter and so simple and lacking in maturity and intelligence that they address their frustration by clinging to primitive and reactionary crutches rather than addressing their problems in constructive ways.

It's divisive. And not the way to attract the voters you need most."

Posted by Jay McDonough | April 11, 2008 6:12 PM

itís not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who arenít like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Now I like Obama but remarks like this can only come from an elitist snob Ivy League college boy weenie. Immagrant took my job, so I can't afford a vacation cottage on a lake like Hill's grampa did, so there's no fishing or waterskiing for me, just collecting carts in the Wal-Mark parking lot. And guns and Jesus were good enough for our forefathers when they fought for freedom from effete Europeans like this Barry O'Bama.

Posted by Hillary's starting to look good. | April 11, 2008 9:37 PM

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