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Old 04-11-2008, 07:36 PM   #1
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Obama Slams Small Town America

On the Huffington Post, there's a transcript of Obama describing people in small towns in Pennsylvania and the Midwest.

Here's the transcript:

Quote:
OBAMA: So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre...I think they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.

Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).

But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. 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. So it's not surprising then that 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.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mayhil...a_b_96188.html

Harsh words, but I think Obama might've hit a nail there. But at the same time I feel he might've lost the working class vote because someone is going to feel offended and insulted by what he said.
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:32 PM   #2
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Eh, I wouldn't call it a 'slam' as the intent was clearly empathetic, but reductionist dimestore social analysis like that is better left to pundits and private campaign strategy meetings; too much risk of sounding patronizing.
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:36 PM   #3
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Yeah, that's hardly a slam. Though I'm sure that'll be the headline on Fox News...
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:20 PM   #4
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I come from one of those towns. There is some truth to it. I'm not going to say that I haven't heard anyone say they wouldn't vote for Obama because he's black because I have, but I haven't heard it much. I won't say it's not a big reason, whether I'm hearing it or not. I'm not seeing a huge clinging to religion or guns. I see distrust of what is different. I don't always like what I see but I understand some of it.

I wouldn't call my area anti-Obama as much as I'd call it pro-Hillary (The Republican contingent is anti-Hillary, but this is a Democratic area) For all their recent millions, the Clintons project a down to earth, populist appeal. Obama comes across as an elitist here. And elitists have never been much help to the people here. She's comfortable with us. She's available. She's called into our talk shows and walked in our parades. When she came to speak here, she called the local stagehands union to make sure union workers were used. (Even though both she and Obama were in Wilkes-Barre the same day and were set up by the same production company, Obama's setup did not use union workers. I understand Obama's campaign requested union workers, but Hillary's campaign made sure) Little things like that.
There's a sense she would be our president in a way that Obama would not--not because he is black, but because of the personal way she connects.

We're not sophisticated here. Hell, we aren't even sophisticated enough to have a Cheesecake Factory. We're sub Cheesecake Factory. But we're not particularly stupid either. We're pragmatic.

The New York Times had an article recently. I didn't post it because I usually do my political discussions elsewhere now--offline. But I know this region some and the article had to do with Obama's having to change his oratory coming into Pennsylvania. I'll link the text, but basically the article made a couple of key points that are true in my area and I'm certain in similar towns in PA. First, that change to us often means a worsening, since we've been made so many promises that haven't been kept (ie, lied to). The second is we like details. We don't much like "blather". That was the word used in the article, but not one I hear around here. Must be the difference between steel and coal regions. But we get the gist.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/us...blather&st=nyt
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:56 PM   #5
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Good that there is a candidate ready to put these working class yobs in their place.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:04 PM   #6
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I'd never even heard of Cheesecake Factory myself until Irvine mentioned it the other day. They really aren't all that widely distributed though.

Since he seemed to also be broadly speaking about "small towns in the Midwest"--I agree with you that the mixing of Rust Belt imagery with clinging-to-guns-and-religion imagery sounds a bit off. I also agree about smalltown Rust Belt voters liking "details" (plus it's always been my impression that Midwesterners in general distrust 'ideological'-seeming candidates whether left or right, but maybe that's the transplanted Southerner in me misreading things). I do think though that out here at least, plain old name recognition goes a long way, makes people feel like they know what they're buying, and Hillary's got lots of that.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:51 PM   #7
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To me, "elite" seems most often a code for "intellectual" and some inherent distrust thereof. I am not sure when we evolved into a society where people feel smugly superior when they are less informed and less educated, and there are occasions on which I feel some people actually take pride in being ignorant about the world.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:09 PM   #8
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I am a Clinton supporter, I see nothing wrong with what he said.

All due respect. Folks need to grow the fuck up.

I like Obama more and more, I just don't think he's as electable.

Silly nuance.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:33 PM   #9
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Don't think there was any evidence of anyone taking particular offense. That was just a possible supposition of the thread starter.

Elite can also signal that there may not be real understanding of the problems of the working class, that one deals more comfortably in the world of ideas than in the world of the people he/she represents--a disconnect. I'm sure there is some truth to what anitram says, but that is not the only unease. I think it was a good part of the lack of enthusiasm for Kerry in addition to his being insufferably dull.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
So it's not surprising then that
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.


Are these "they" and "them" people
"typical white people" ?


And that is an Obama term.
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:08 AM   #11
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I'm sure that everybody will find out when the Rovian election ads come out.
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:42 AM   #12
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This has nothing to do with Rove.


This is all over the place.

Along with the Rev Wright blow up, and hatchet job he did on grandma.

He is really digging a hole for himself.

Obama stepped in a big pile here.

And needs to do more than keep stomping on it.




We have an inexperienced candidate saying idiotic things.

McCain got quite a bit of benefit out of his 2000 run. This time he is staying cool.

Hillary has been baptized in fire with the 92, 96 and impeachment horrors.


Obama is not ready, this campaign will serve him better if he does not get the nomination, too bad his small state strategy worked so well.
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
"People don't vote on economic issues because they don't expect anybody is going to help them," Obama told a crowd at a Terre Haute, Ind., high school Friday evening. "So people end up voting on issues like guns and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. They take refuge in their faith and their community, and their family, and the things they can count on. But they don't believe they can count on Washington."

What the hell is Obama saying?



People vote against gay marriage because they don't think they can count on Washington?

Count on Washington for what?

To discriminate against gay people?

Is this what Obama's change will be?

To let people know that they can count on him to ban gay marriage?

And put assault guns back on the streets?
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:01 AM   #14
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The other two canidates... MLK and 7/11, what do we do?
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Old 04-12-2008, 01:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


7/11, what do we do?
711?
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