Okay, I thought it would blow over. A comment on my blog actually predicted that this little rain shower that began behind closed doors in the Foggy City would swell into a tropical depression, and whaddya know. We may even be heading for a full-grade tropical storm if the Clintons can’t find another self-defeating maneuver to stop the gracious amount of momentum the gaffe has received.
Now, loyal readers of course know that I’m an Obama supporter. Naturally, I was inclined to put the most positive spin on his statement. In retrospect I think he chose his words poorly, but it seems ludicrous that his mild comment could be used by Clinton or McCain to show that they are somehow more authentically in tune with rural voters.
Still, BO hasn’t done the best job killing this one. I think his intention was better stated by Lancaster, PA’s mayor, J. Richard Gray:
I don’t think he’s demeaning religion or guns. He’s saying the use of those issues as wedge issues plays on the bitterness that people have and diverts attention from the real economic issues, like the disparity between the wage earner and the rich.
The tragic thing to me about Obama’s now regrettable comment is that he was caught in the act of doing exactly what he pledges is his greatest strength: building bridges. He was at an intimate meeting of well-heeled Bay Area liberals, and he was explaining to them why they should care about what rural Pennsylvanians think, and why in the end, there are core social and economic goals they can all agree on. Just as he did in the race speech, he was able to step out of the room in a rural town hall with farmers and factory workers, and into a room on the other side of the country with left-leaning rich folks (and probably a few homosexuals, eh?) and share his same message of hope: simply, let’s come together and improve things. And he does it without the pandering or shape-shifting that has come to typify Clinton’s need to win at all costs or McCain’s fumbling attempts to court a divided electorate.