Someone from National Review – Could it have been the late departed and much missed Bill Buckley? – once said that discussions in college were so intense because they were “about nothing.”
The recent flapdoodle concerning Barrack Obama’s remarks on anger in small town Pennsylvania is much ado about nothing.
Here is the lead on the story from Reuters: “TERRE HAUTE, Indiana (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama came under fire on Friday for saying small-town Pennsylvania residents were ‘bitter’ and ‘cling to guns or religion,’ in comments his rivals said showed an elitist view of the middle class.”
It did not help that Obama made his remarks about Pennsylvania at a toney fund raiser in, of all places, San Francisco.
But at least the remarks were not the canned soup one has come to expect of politicians trolling for votes. Following Obama’s remarks, Hillary Clinton let loose a barrage of limp overcooked rhetorical spaghetti: She thought the remarks were condescending. Said Hillary, “Pennsylvania doesn't need a president who looks down on them. They need a president who stands up for them, who fights for them, who works hard for your futures, your jobs, your families.”
Actually, what Pennsylvania needs are jobs, which was pretty much Obama’s initial point: “You go into some of 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.”
One must recall that Obama’s sentiments were tailored to a specific audience of donors: liberal, gun hating, Californian, deep pocket agnostics.
The durable people in Pennsylvania's small towns do not turn to religion or guns from a sense of frustration. They turn to God for the same reason that people in, say, San Francisco turn to God (heh, heh).
The old Irish saying has it that God must love the poor, since he made so many of them. It is true that when one’s job has flown over seas because labor costs and benefits in the United States outpace the same labor costs and benefits in, say, India – people do get angry.
What President Obama may do about all this is anyone’s guess. The answer to that question would take all of us very far from pointless college discussions about nothing.