Friday, April 11, 2008

Barack Obama, John McCain and those "Bitter" Pennsylvanians (UPDATED, UPDATE II)

Greg Sargent put up a short post about the latest "outrage" over an Obama speech. The McCain campaign was quick with a response.

Asked to respond, McCain adviser Steve Schmidt called it a "remarkable statement and extremely revealing."

"It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking," Schmidt said. "It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."

But wait, wait my friends. Wasn't John McCain just quoted saying something very similar in the New Yorker back in December 2007? Why ...
Anti-immigrant passion also owes much to the disproportionate influence of a few small states in the nominating process. National polls show that, as an issue, immigration is far behind the Iraq war, terrorism, the economy, and health care as a concern to most Americans; a recent Pew poll shows that, nationally, only six per cent of voters offer immigration as the most important issue facing the country. But in Iowa and South Carolina, two of the three most important early states, it is a top concern for the Republicans who are most likely to vote. “It’s the influx of illegals into places where they’ve never seen a Hispanic influence before,” McCain told me. “You probably see more emotion in Iowa than you do in Arizona on this issue. I was in a town in Iowa, and twenty years ago there were no Hispanics in the town. Then a meatpacking facility was opened up. Now twenty per cent of their population is Hispanic. There were senior citizens there who were—‘concerned’ is not the word. They see this as an assault on their culture, what they view as an impact on what have been their traditions in Iowa, in the small towns in Iowa. So you get questions like ‘Why do I have to punch 1 for English?’ ‘Why can’t they speak English?’ It’s become larger than just the fact that we need to enforce our borders.”

Whoa! Johnny. Johnny. Johnny. I realize they didn't have the intertubes during the Civil War, but talk to your grandchildren more and they'll get you up to speed. Oh, and Google is your friend.

UPDATE: David Sirota, blogging at Open Left, beat me to the punch and caught the McCain connection earlier. Here's his take on it.

UPDATE: Al Giordano on Hillary's attack:

Clinton said she’d seen in the media that “my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter.”

“Well, that’s not my experience,” she continued. “As I travel around Pennsylvania, I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive, who are rolling up their sleeves. They’re working hard every day for a better future for themseves and their children.”

“Pennsylvanians don’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, and your families,” she said, implicitly casting Obama as an elitist.

Telling rural Pennsylvanians they should feel victimized by those words is telling them they should become as insufferable and over-sensitive as the urban and suburban PC “offense junkies” that see themselves in, and are rallied by, Clinton’s professional victimhood.
How will all this play out? Advantage Obama. Watch his response to the attacks. The fact that he does so in front of a crowd in the Rust Belt (Indiana), and then receives a standing ovation is priceless.

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