Who knew that being an elitist was far worse than being a racist?
When Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama refused to disavow his pastor and campaign faith adviser, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, it ended up being a mere blip in an overlong and over scrutinized campaign. Obama more or less turned the Wright sound bites to political advantage by using the dustup as a springboard for a major speech on race. The Obama speech got great marks from the media elite, but like the Wright comments, it didn’t really move the needle much either. Maybe because he’s African-American, the electorate had already baked in the notion that sooner or later he’d discuss race issues. In other words, yawn.
On the other hand, suggest that the reason he’s not getting any real traction with angry White voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and other industrialized states is because they are too busy clinging to their guns and their religion for refuge and suddenly you have a public relations disaster of the first order. Interesting what a 24-hour news cycle and an endless supply of bandwith will do for the political process.
Think what you will about Obama, but he’s no more of an elitist than anyone who ran for president during this cycle, save for maybe Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. That’s hardly a sin. Americans expect their president to be from the moneyed and educated upper class. If they didn’t, Kucinich and Paul wouldn’t have been considered such jokes.
The real problem with Obama’s comments in San Francisco is not that they revealed him to be an elitist. It’s that they revealed most of the rest of us as myopic about the real problems facing this country and that’s a reality we’re not ready to face. At its core, Obama on the one hand and his critics on the other hand seemed flummoxed that bitter White guys in middle America aren’t instead taking refuge in the affairs of their own country. Why should they?