Daily News; by Michael Goodwin; April 13, 2008
Having grown up in one of those small Pennsylvania towns Sen. Barack Obama sneers at, I know what really makes people there “bitter.” It’s slick-talking politicians who look down on their beliefs and values.
Small-town people get doubly “bitter” when those pols have the gall to ask for their votes while demeaning their lives. See, even hicks don’t like being played for suckers.
When they accused Obama of being out of touch for saying small-towners “cling to guns or religion” out of frustration, Sens. Hillary Clinton and John McCain were too kind.
Snob-ama is not just out of touch. He’s from another planet.
He might consider going back there, because the White House now looks out of reach. All the more so because he later added opposition to gay marriage as another sign of benighted bitterness.
Snob-ama’s lame concession yesterday that his mistake was “I didn’t say it as well as I should have” only makes the repeated smear worse. He should get off his Ivy League horse and apologize to the millions of Americans he insulted. As it stands, he has confirmed he doesn’t understand or respect them.
Through his warped vision, if you own a gun, oppose gay marriage or want our nation’s borders sealed, you’re just bitter over your lousy job. Amazingly, he even sees the embrace of God as a reaction to the bad economy.
As gaffes go, they don’t get much bigger. Then again, it’s not a gaffe when you believe what you’re saying, as Snob-ama clearly does.
The trouble started when the Chicago Democrat, after saying Washington had failed to stem the tide of lost jobs, dropped a bombshell on his fellow Americans by saying: “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.”
In one sentence, Snob-ama de-legitimized every choice people in America are free to make. It’s arrogance on steroids, fueled by a secular, elitist view of middle America as filled with ignorant red-necks.
Turn his screed around and it comes out this way: If the hicks had good jobs, they wouldn’t need God or guns. Then the borders could be wide open for the enlightened world to come here ’cause our hate would vanish.
Such a dark view of heartland hearts is not very Christian and suggests Snob-ama really did hear the rants of his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The mentor who led him to Jesus Christ seems a bitter man who wraps his hate for America in the trappings of religion.
If Wright’s typical of religious people, God help us. Thankfully, he’s not. For the people I grew up with, faith is about salvation and at least trying to love thy neighbors, even as they gossip about them. For many, faith begets hope, charity, hard work and patriotism.
They don’t “cling” to faith as a bitter reaction to immigrants or free trade, as Snob-ama uncharitably put it. His notions are especially strange coming from a biracial candidate who is his party’s front-runner only because he won millions of white and black votes.
Of course, people in small towns want good jobs, good education and good health care. And they don’t like it when their government rewards companies that ship jobs overseas or when it lets in poisoned foods and toys.
But faith in small-town America is not faith in the big government Snob-ama sees as the salvation. It’s faith in God and commitment to family, community and country. Those are the small-town ideals I still cherish, 40 years after I decamped to New York.
My hometown is little Lewistown, Pa. (pop. 10,000), where my life-long friend Jim Johnson was at work yesterday. Jim, who remains shocked by the Rev. Wright’s rants, says his plumbing and heating contracting business is feeling the economic slowdown, but he isn’t waiting for Snob-ama to save him.
“What he doesn’t understand is that we don’t necessarily look to the government to solve our problems,” Jim told me. “We don’t think of the next government program as the answer.”
We talked for a few minutes about our children and about the scholarship program for local athletes Jim and I helped start. As usual, we laughed a lot.
And there wasn’t a trace of bitterness.