Calling Obama elitist
Barack Obama showed his disdain for working-class Americans when he said they are "bitter" and "cling to guns and religion," said William Kristol in The New York Times. "Give me a break," said Ari Berman in TheNation.com. Oba
Hillary Clinton hammered Barack Obama for saying that working-class Americans were “bitter,” and “cling to guns or religion” as a way to “explain their frustrations.” (USA Today) Both Clinton, Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, and John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, said the comments were “elitist” and “condescending.” Obama said he was sorry if his wording offended anyone. He said he merely meant that Americans don’t vote on economic issues because they don’t think they can “count on Washington,” so they “take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and things they can count on.” (Time.com)
What the commentators said
Obama is “usually good at disguising” his disdain of small-town America, said William Kristol in The New York Times (free registration). But “the mask slipped” this time. Obama has “written eloquently” about his own religious beliefs, so “you’d think he’d do other believers the courtesy of assuming” they’d thought about their own.
“Give me a break,” said Ari Berman in The Nation’s Campaign 08 blog. “When Clinton was on the board of Wal-Mart and McCain was getting reprimanded for his role in the Keating 5 scandal, Barack Obama was a civil rights lawyer in Chicago.” And Clinton and McCain say it’s Obama who’s out of touch with “the struggles of working people.” That’s rich.
Obama clearly wishes he could take back what he said about the travails of Pennsylvania’s working class voters, said Robert Shrum in The Huffington Post. But regardless of how this plays in the state’s upcoming primary, “there is a powerful element of truth in his comments.” You don’t have to be a sociologist to detect “the frustration, anger, and yes, sometimes bitterness of people in depressed towns in the Keystone State who've had politicians promise them help that too seldom comes.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
Subscribe to the Week