Further clarification of Obama's remark

Barack Obama has had several things to say about his "cling" remarks (the cling part is much worse than the bitter part, as several others have noted). But I just read (via Ed Morrissey) some other remarks in the speech. The context clarifies Obama's now-famous words: [emphasis added by Ed]

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.

Obama is calling the clingy folks racists. The crowd's laughter is the key, as Ed notes. These Obamawere rich San Franciscans sharing a chuckle over the crude provinciality of their fellow countrymen. The kind of people who give America such a bad name among the overseas elites. It was Obama pandering to the prejudices of his crowd. These people congratulate themselves on their own enlightenment when they support an Ivy Leaguer raised by a white grandmother in the best schools who happens to have black skin. The more open-minded of them acknowledge a certain charm to rural Appalachian culture manifested in folk arts like clog dancing. 

This is the secret to the potency of this incident. Message loud and clear: Obama's friends are laughing at the majority of Americans. That is the very definition of elitist.

According  to Mayhill Fowler, the blogger who broke the story, and whose crude recording of Obama's words is the only version so far available, there were other video cameras running during the speech. Somewhere, out there, there may well be another version of the event recorded in greater fidelity, and with pictures. Will one surface? Or will class solidarity among the rich prevent the proles in Pennsylvania from seeing the candidate's statement about them and judging for themselves?

Bob Herbert of the NYT thinks Obama knew what he was saying, but didn't go far enough:

Senator Obama has spent his campaign trying to dodge the race issue, which in America is like trying to dodge the wind. So when he fielded the question in San Francisco, he didn't say: "A lot of folks are not with me because I'm black - but I'm trying to make my case and bring as many around as I can."

I rarely agree with Bob Herbert, but I do wish the man who called for a national discussion would be honest and lead a conversation from his heart and soul, not from his carefully manufactured public persona. Actually, I should say personas, for the man seems to behave differently with different crowds. I bet he doesn't talk the same way at Trinity United Congregational Church as on Billionaire's Row in San Francisco.

So Barack Obama should tell us about their false consciousness
, and maybe invite his former south Chicago neighbor Thomas Frank to tell them What's the Matter with Kansas, Midwestern and Pennsyslvanian small towns, and pretty much most of flyover country. 

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

illustration by Otto Veblin
Barack Obama has had several things to say about his "cling" remarks (the cling part is much worse than the bitter part, as several others have noted). But I just read (via Ed Morrissey) some other remarks in the speech. The context clarifies Obama's now-famous words: [emphasis added by Ed]

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.

Obama is calling the clingy folks racists. The crowd's laughter is the key, as Ed notes. These Obamawere rich San Franciscans sharing a chuckle over the crude provinciality of their fellow countrymen. The kind of people who give America such a bad name among the overseas elites. It was Obama pandering to the prejudices of his crowd. These people congratulate themselves on their own enlightenment when they support an Ivy Leaguer raised by a white grandmother in the best schools who happens to have black skin. The more open-minded of them acknowledge a certain charm to rural Appalachian culture manifested in folk arts like clog dancing. 

This is the secret to the potency of this incident. Message loud and clear: Obama's friends are laughing at the majority of Americans. That is the very definition of elitist.

According  to Mayhill Fowler, the blogger who broke the story, and whose crude recording of Obama's words is the only version so far available, there were other video cameras running during the speech. Somewhere, out there, there may well be another version of the event recorded in greater fidelity, and with pictures. Will one surface? Or will class solidarity among the rich prevent the proles in Pennsylvania from seeing the candidate's statement about them and judging for themselves?

Bob Herbert of the NYT thinks Obama knew what he was saying, but didn't go far enough:

Senator Obama has spent his campaign trying to dodge the race issue, which in America is like trying to dodge the wind. So when he fielded the question in San Francisco, he didn't say: "A lot of folks are not with me because I'm black - but I'm trying to make my case and bring as many around as I can."

I rarely agree with Bob Herbert, but I do wish the man who called for a national discussion would be honest and lead a conversation from his heart and soul, not from his carefully manufactured public persona. Actually, I should say personas, for the man seems to behave differently with different crowds. I bet he doesn't talk the same way at Trinity United Congregational Church as on Billionaire's Row in San Francisco.

So Barack Obama should tell us about their false consciousness
, and maybe invite his former south Chicago neighbor Thomas Frank to tell them What's the Matter with Kansas, Midwestern and Pennsyslvanian small towns, and pretty much most of flyover country. 

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

illustration by Otto Veblin