Saturday, April 12, 2008

Obama's Bitter Analysis: All the Bigots are Working Class

There are many ways to look at Barack Obama's bitter charge that working class folks in Pennsylvania cling to religion and guns and don't like people who are different from them because they've had hard economic times.

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.

What bothers me is the tiresome suggestion that antipathy, or an aversion to those who are different, is a trait owned by working class or poor folks. If hard economic times create antipathy, then poor people must be bigots. There is nothing new about this claim. There is a longstanding 'upper class' practice of attributing all of the negative traits of Homo sapiens to 'lower class' folks. Whites have done the same to Blacks. Men have certainly done the same to women.

Barack Obama made these remarks about "lower class" folks while he was among his "upper class" donors in San Francisco. Coming from a man who boasts of being the unity candidate, it is stunning to hear such a starkly "us vs. them" analysis. Alas, fear and distrust of those who are different from us is a human trait that is found among all economic classes.

Regardless of what Barack Obama meant to say, drawing lines of class division is no way to win an election. And this is just the latest instance of a display of arrogance by Barack Obama.

We had arrogance in 2004 with John Kerry. We have one Democratic candidate, and only one, who consistently exhibits the trait of humility. Obviously, she is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Obama reaches out to ordinary folks by complaining about high prices at the health food (organic) store:

“'Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?'” the senator said. 'I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.' . . The state of Iowa . . does not have a Whole Foods, a leading natural and organic foods market. Mr. Obama, perhaps sensing a lack of reaction from the crowd, moved along to the next topic."

Republicans have distributed Obama's bitter comments "to allies on Capitol Hill, to members of the Pennsylvania press corps, to talk radio hosts across the country, to Republican state parties and to the congressional campaign committee."

And see: Anglachel's Class Act -- "If they could just rise above their bitter and narrow particularity, then they would see the light and vote for The Precious."