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Obama’s bitter roots

Posted by Richard on April 16, 2008

Last Saturday, one of our breakfast group said something along the lines of "can you believe Hillary's trying to make a big deal out of Obama saying some Americans are bitter?" This was news to us, but we agreed it seemed silly and not exactly important news.

Days later, it's still news. I've since read the complete Obama quote and gotten the whole story (including his non-apologies and the "clarifications" from his staff that just made it worse). Now, Clinton's criticism no longer seems as silly as it did when I'd only heard the short, Obama-sympathetic (probably NPR) version of the story.

Obama was speaking to an audience of rich liberal San Franciscans when he characterized the working-class people of fly-over country as bitter, gun-toting, Bible-thumping, bigoted yahoos. He thought his remarks were off the record, so it's likely that either (a) he was being candid and this is what he really thinks, or (b) he was saying what he thought these rich liberal donors wanted to hear.

Knowing something of Obama's background and ideology, I lean toward explanation (a). There's a decades-old joke that goes, "I love humanity. It's people I can't stand." This mindset is endemic in leftist circles, especially among the many in the socialist and far-left intelligentsia who come from an upper or upper-middle class background, attended prestigious schools, and are certain that the average American is an ignorant bumpkin who doesn't know what's best for him.

Tom Sowell addressed this phenomenon in his latest column:

Like so much that Obama has said and done over the years, this is standard stuff on the far left, where guns and religion are regarded as signs of psychological dysfunction – and where opinions different from those of the left are ascribed to emotions ("bitter" in this case), rather than to arguments that need to be answered.

Like so many others on the left, Obama rejects "stereotypes" when they are stereotypes he doesn't like but blithely throws around his own stereotypes about "a typical white person" or "bitter" gun-toting, religious and racist working-class people.

However inconsistent Obama's words, his behavior has been remarkably consistent over the years. He has sought out and joined with the radical, anti-Western left, whether Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers of the terrorist Weatherman underground or pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli Rashid Khalidi.

Obama is also part of a long tradition on the left of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for the purposes of the left, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings.

"The working class," said Karl Marx, "is revolutionary or it is nothing." That is, they mattered only insofar as they were willing to carry out the Marxist agenda.

Fabian socialist George Bernard Shaw included the working class among the "detestable" people who "have no right to live." He added: "I should despair if I did not know that they will all die presently, and that there is no need on earth why they should be replaced by people like themselves."

Similar statements on the left go back as far as Jean Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century and come forward into our own times.

Think Sowell and I mischaracterize Obama's ideology by comparing him to socialists and Marxists? If you haven't read Obama's Dreams For My Father (and I haven't; only excerpts), read this PrestoPundit post. According to Greg Ransom, Obama made it clear in the book that "his father's ideals were a driving force in his life," but never described those ideals. So Ransom did some research into the political life and writings of Barack H. Obama, Sr. This was one hard-core socialist dude — a man who railed against "weak-tea" African socialism and in favor of "scientific socialism" (a.k.a. communism), who was allied with communist Oginga Odinga against moderate socialist Jomo Kenyatta.

As I've learned more about Obama's history, friends, mentors, and associations, it's become clear that he's the most radical leftist presidential candidate of any stature since Henry A. Wallace. He's also charismatic, articulate, and able to speak in airy generalities that appeal to many people. That's a frightening and dangerous combination.

UPDATE: One of the really amusing ironies of this affair is that Hillary Clinton, a hard-core anti-gunner and liberal elitist par excellence, has been defending Christian gun owners. It was almost enough to make me tune in tonight's Democratic debate to see if she'd defend gun ownership. … Almost.

Instead, I settled for Stephen Green's drunkblogging of the event. Which included this profound observation: 

I’m an atheist and Obama is a churchgoer, and yet I get the feeling I have more respect for Christians (at least white Christians) than Obama has.


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One Response to “Obama’s bitter roots”

  1. Hathor said

    Read his book.

    Have you for got the bible belt? I am not speaking of just white folks.

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