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.
It's a pretty remarkable statement, really. If we go back 25 years, we're going back to the first Reagan administration. We are also back in 1983, which is precisely when things got better, pretty much everywhere. If things were better in the Pennsylvania towns of Obama's imaginings more than 25 years ago, then we must assume that the Carter era was a time of great economic progress. No one seriously believes that, of course.
Then we have the image of people "clinging to guns." What do you suppose Obama means by that? Are there a lot of hunters in rural America? Of course - I knew plenty of hunters growing up in a small Midwestern town. I'm not aware of any compelling reason why people who like to hunt and who are responsible shouldn't "cling to their guns."
And they also "cling to their religion." Why on earth is that a bad thing? Obama seems to imply that their religion is wedded to "frustration." How would he know that? Did Pastor Wright tell him that?
And their supposed "antipathy to people who aren't like them"; is Obama able to look into the hearts of people and know these things?
And "anti-immigrant sentiment"; is sentiment somehow actionable? If so, which sentiments?
And then the money idea - "anti-trade sentiment." Gee, last time I looked, the enitre Democratic Party apparatus has been quite vocal in opposing trade agreements. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have contests condemning NAFTA pretty much on a daily basis. Meanwhile a potential treaty with Colombia, our most consistently reliable ally in South America, languishes in the Congress. The construction of the sentence implies that "anti-trade sentiment" is somehow less than desirable. If so, why is Obama on record opposing trade agreements?
One of the obvious premises of the Obama campaign is that we need to get past our prejudices and move on to a better understanding of the world. As the campaign unfolds, it becomes increasingly apparent that what Obama actually wants is to replace one set of prejudices with another. Maybe he'll succeed.