Sunday, April 13, 2008

Oh, give it a rest

I know Hillary Clinton has to cling to every potential weakness in Obama's candidacy to boost her own, but this whole "bitter" thing strikes me as pretty weak tea. His recent comments, of course, were as follows:
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 antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
My main problem with this statement is that it seems to buy into the "What's the Matter with Kansas?" rationale that working class whites are leaving the Democratic Party due to cultural appeals. As we know, that isn't true. That aside, while Obama is right to talk about declining Rust Belt prosperity and voter anger, it's unwise to suggest that people cling to guns or religious because they have nothing else to live for. People are rightly offended by that. But Hillary is seizing this crumb and trying to make a ten-course meal out of it:
The people of faith I know don’t "cling to" religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich.
Right, Hillary. Barack Obama, a church community organizer, doesn't understand why people embrace religion. Weren't we just attacking him as a religious zealot? Or a crypto-Muslim? But this is my favorite part of the NY Times' coverage:

David Saunders, a Democratic strategist and rural advocate, advised John Edwards’s presidential campaign but is now neutral. He said he believed that Mr. Obama’s comments would offend rural voters.

“It could mean he’s rendered himself unelectable,” Mr. Saunders said. “This is a perfect example of why Democrats lose elections.”

That's why Democrats lose elections? Could it have something to do with Democratic strategists who like to criticize Democratic candidates in the newspapers?

Again, the game here is basically for the superdelegates, and the candidates are pretty close in terms of policy stances, so it makes sense for Hillary to be bringing up questions of electability. But she expects us to believe that this comment has made Obama unelectable? Whereas there's nothing that makes her unelectable? Like, I dunno, the fact that she's Hillary Freakin' Clinton?

Better gaffes, please.

No comments: