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Blog of Mass Destruction

Bitter Taste

By The Reverend Published: April 15, 2008

Mrs. Reverend and I were away for a few days visiting family around the Columbus area. I haven't touched a computer for over 3 days. Not all bad, really.

I see we have a new non-controversial, controversy over some words spoken by Barack Obama. The Knee Pad agents, I see from the weekend video clips, are still being revived by smelling salts from their fainting spells caused by Barack Obama's truth telling. The one thing that makes media whores wring their hands, speak in tongues and collapse in shock is truth being spoken clearly by a political figure.

Let's review....

OBAMA: So, it depends on where you are, but I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre...I think they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to 'white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy.' That's...there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.

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 (laughter).

But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What's the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is -- so, we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama's gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we're gonna provide health care for every American. So we'll go down a series of talking points.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that 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.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing. Link

The context is clear. Obama was speaking of the cynicism many Americans, including myself, have towards government. Is there someone.....anyone....who doubts that Obama's contextual point is accurate?

In context it's clear that Obama was seeking to explain the difficulty he encounters with voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Illinois Senator is running on change and hope. Voters have heard all this many times before from politicians who simply go on to serve their bases.....the powerful and the rich.....after they are elected. Many Americans do not trust or believe any politicians because of this paradigm. I don't blame them. Obama was not blaming them. He was trying to explain the dynamic.

Within that framing came Obama's thoughts on what cynical-towards-government citizens embrace and trust, rather than trusting their government leaders. First he says that these folk are bitter. Bitter towards government leaders who say whatever it is they think voters want to hear yet forget all about those same voters, and their problems, after they assume power. I'm bitter like that towards many government leaders and I know many other folks who feel the same. Many voters, especially in forgotten, economically hard hit areas, are bitter towards politicians and government in general. Is there any doubt that this is so?

It is in Obama's speculative thoughts about what these bitter Americans embrace and believe in rather than trusting governmental leadership......where the cause of the Knee Pad hand wringing over the Democratic candidate's words is found.

Barack Obama suggests that these people, bitter and cynical about government's inability to deal with real world people problems, trust instead in guns and religion, they take their frustrations out on minorities and undocumenteds. These things, Obama suggests, are the visible manifestations of a cynical voting block repeatedly let down by corrupt and lying politicians. Frustration working itself out through alternative means.

Talk radio exists today because of this very dynamic. Divisive talk jocks feed the cynicism out there by giving listeners lightning rods through which they can run their frustrations with government to ground. Guns, religion, undocumenteds and minorities are constantly used as topics to fight over. Millions vent their frustrations over our nation's lack of political leadership by focusing on some group to hate. Many comments here on Ohio.com are made up using this very formula.

In short, Obama struck a nerve. He spoke the truth. Many Americans are cynical towards government. Many Americans distrust any and all politicians who make promises and offer hope. These folks are worn out and bitter from their disappointed expectations that government leaders actually should give a damn. Instead, many of these same folks substitute trust in government with trust in religious dogma, gun doctrines, and scapegoating.

Truer words have not been spoken, at least not recently.

And that explains the uproar by the slobbering Knee Padders. Whenever truth is spoken that clearly, as was also the case in Obama's speech on race, establishment media bordello workers nearly faint dead away.

Must be the bitter taste.

Here's a 2004 Charlie Rose interview piece with Barack Obama where this same issue is being talked about.....

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