Barack Obama offers himself as the antidote to Washington’s partisan gridlock. There’s no question that voters are sick and tired of politics as usual. But for many Americans, Obama’s diagnosis is a bitter pill to swallow.
I used to live in San Francisco. I had a quaint apartment in Russian Hill but I left because I’d had enough of the city’s anything-goes values. A mansion in Pacific Heights is the wrong venue to riff on what ails small town voters.
Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, rightly notes that Obama’s words will come back to haunt him if he’s the Democratic nominee:
This could be the kind of political issue that Karl Rove and the Republicans use to beat us over the head with and that would be a tragic thing.
In 1984, President Reagan coasted to victory mocking “San Francisco Democrats.” A generation later, San Francisco is still out of touch. Exhibit A: A taxpayer-funded “Sanctuary City Outreach Campaign” to promote illegal immigrants’ access to public services.
While I loathe guns, I appreciate that hunting is a tradition. (Think Otis Redding, Carla Thomas and “the Georgia woods.”) I’ve had countless conversations with black folks who told me they bonded with their grandfather or father while hunting.
And few communities “cling to...religion” more than African Americans. For most of our history, “leaning on the Lord” was all we had. We proudly lift our voices and “sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us.” Indeed, faith sustained Hurricane Katrina survivors through those dark days when they were abandoned without food or water.
Obama has since expressed deep regret for his words:
So I said, well you know, when you’re bitter, you turn to what you can count on. So people vote, they vote about guns or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community and they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country or they get frustrated about how things are changing. That’s a natural response.
Americans in small towns and big cities are indeed mad as hell about illegal immigration. Last year, outraged citizens shut down the U.S. Capitol switchboard in protest of John McCain’s amnesty bill, which was supported by Obama and Clinton. American voters rejected this bitter pill as an assault on national sovereignty, a threat to national security and an affront to the rule of law.