Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another Twist on Obama's "Bitter" Comments

There have been many reactions to the recently published private remarks by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama that people in small towns turn to God and guns (and vote Republican) because they are bitter over their economic situations.

Conservatives and others who hold God and/or guns dear have criticized Sen. Obama's "elitist" dismissal of their deeply held beliefs. They have been joined in that criticism by Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, elitist liberals have expressed regret or anger that the candidate is paying a price for saying something that they regard as accurate.

In contrast to that latter group, buried within this article on the role that "Reagan Republicans" will play in today's Pennsylvania primary is the suggestion that voters decide based on matters related to God and guns during GOOD economic times, and that the faltering economy is pushing them into voting Democrat based on economic, rather than social, issues.

The author of the piece doesn't seem to notice that the following statement is ironic in light of Sen. Obama's recent comments, even though he refers to trouble over those comments later in the piece:

"When the times get a little tougher and the emphasis is on the economy, on jobs, on health care, more of them tend to shift to be Democrats. When times are good, the emphasis is on abortion and guns and patriotism," said pollster G. Terry Madonna, who directs the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. "This is as good an environment for Democrats to win them as possible."

That is correct, and those liberal elites, including Sen. Obama, who think otherwise get it exactly backwards. In addition, this understanding has the merit of showing respect for those voters. It is not that people change their views on God, guns, or the economy during good or bad times. Rather, different issues take priority based on what people are experiencing.

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