Obama's Comments on 'Small Town' Voters- Sadly, he nailed it

by nvrgnbk 79 Replies latest jw friends

  • SixofNine

    "Michigan State, Oklahoma St Texas A&M and a whole list of other colleges are making great strides forward in environmental work daily...plus creating ways for us to feed ourself and the world."

    Yep. You aren't likely to find too many global warming deniers in the research facilities of those schools. Unfortunately, you are likely to find them among the elected officials of Michigan, Oklahoma, and Texas.

    It would be so nice if you folks would turn your guns on them. That job is a bit messy for my soft hands and delicate constitution ;).

    But I'd be happy to gut them for you.

  • wings

    I have an easy response. I'll just wait an see what John Stewart has to say about it. Then I'll comment.

  • lonelysheep

    LOL Wings

    What he said was right and it is a needless big deal. I'm from a small town and he's right. I've spent enough time in and near PA. There wasn't anything wrong with what he said. My thoughts were that he understands how and why [SOME] people express themselves the way they do.

  • hillbilly

    Obama for the record

    " Gun Control: Barack Obama says he won't take folks' guns away as long as they're hunters. But when the hunted are his constituents, well, that's different: He opposes concealed carry and the right to self-defense. There's something about an election that brings out the sportsman in a Democratic presidential candidate. Recall John Kerry's sudden fondness for hunting four years ago. And speaking in Idaho earlier this year, Barack Obama told the crowd, 'We got a lot of hunters in the state of Illinois, and I have no intention of taking away folks' guns.' Except he does. In a 1996 questionnaire, Obama wrote that he 'supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.' He says now that the survey was filled out by an aide who misrepresented his views. Yet his record since then is consistent with that view. Never mind that Illinois and the other 49 states have a lot of two-legged predators... On the subject of the total ban on gun ownership in the District of Columbia, a Second Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Nov. 23 Chicago Tribune said Obama believes in the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional... Obama's Web site says: 'He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting'... Not, apparently, for you to protect your wife and children." -- Investor's Business Daily

  • avishai

    >>>>>People acting as if pedophilia, homophobia, illigitimate children, suicides, and murders don't exist in their city. That isn't *smart*. That's ignorance.<<<<
    I did'nt say any such thing. My brother was molested in a small town. I was beaten for being supposedly gay in a bigger one, and jumped and beaten up in a SF for being "white" in the wrong place. That kinda stuff happens EVERY WHERE, and I'm aware of that, but to blame it on small towns is every bit as ignorant.

  • avishai

    Yep, the whole "hunting" thing is a red herring. The second amendment says nothing about guns for hunting.

  • avishai

    >>>>Oh please Avishai, you're not a country mouse, so quit effing acting like it on this forum. You're 100% liberal, deal with it.<<<

    No, I'm not. I'm socially liberal for the most part, and I'm fiscally conservative. Which is why the Bush govt. disgusts me. I'm also agianst the govt. getting involved in my life unless it damn well needs too. That's why I'm pro-choice, pro-legalization, and pro-gun.
    As for the "country mouse" thing, that's exactly what I'm talking about. People assume because I am literate, well spoken and socially liberal that I grew up in a city. I've spent the majority of my life in rural areas, and I live in one now. I've lived in big city's, but for instance, I went to the last two room school in Oregon, 25 kids in the whole school, grades 1-6. Like hillbilly said, assuming that I am either one way or the other is silly, just because I live in the sticks does'nt make me religious, racist, or homophobic. Which is the stereotype that Obama is promulgating, and I for one am a lil' offended.

  • nvrgnbk
    Which is the stereotype that Obama is promulgating

    I don't think that Obama was suggesting that all citizens living outside of metropolitan areas are "religious, racist, or homophobic."

    I think he picked up on a vibe he was getting from the majority of rural Pennsylvanians and commented on it.

    As a personal observer of what rural, and some not-so-rural, Pennsylvanians say, think, and do, I think he got it right.

    In Parts of Pa., Racial Divide Colors Election

    SLIDESHOW Previous Next
    In Barack Obama's candidacy and in his own interracial marriage, William Geary, a regular at American Legion Post 733, sees hope for race relations in America. (Michael Williamson - The Washington Post)
    By Krissah Williams Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, March 23, 2008; Page A01

    HARRISBURG, Pa. -- At American Legion Post 733, the day begins around 10 a.m., when the first men trickle in, turn on ESPN, order a whiskey or a gin and tonic, and start talking about sports. Most were born and raised here, and are retired from the nearly shuttered Bethlehem Steel mill nearby or work the night shift at local warehouses.

    Ten minutes down the road, at American Legion Post 420, the ritual is the same, except it starts late in the afternoon, after quitting time. The men have similar drinks, similar jobs and a love for the same football team -- the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    But when it comes to race and politics, these are two separate worlds. Post 733 is almost all black, its members energized by the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.); Post 420 is almost all white, its members debating whether to vote for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in next month's Pennsylvania primary. They all agree with Obama on this: The chasm he talked about in his speech on race in America is real.

    In his remarks -- prompted by an uproar over controversial sermons by his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- Obama challenged African Americans to move away from the black-vs.-white "stalemate" and embrace "the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past." He urged white Americans to acknowledge that "what ails the African American community does not just exist in the minds of black people."

    Yet in the two worlds of these veterans, Obama's speech was one more dividing point. Rather than bringing the men in Post 733 and Post 420 closer together, it seemed to highlight the gap between them.

    Dan Dowett, 64, a white Air Force veteran who worked 36 years as a crane operator and caster at the steel mill and hangs out at Post 420, said Obama got it right when he talked about the distrust many blacks and whites have for each other. But the best speech in the world couldn't persuade Dowett to vote for him.

    "A lot of what he said was true. There is a race problem in this country that has got to be addressed," Dowett said a couple of hours after watching snippets of Obama's speech on the news. But "he's going to back a preacher that to me sounds like a treasonous person?"

    At Post 733, Ross Mounds, 63, a black Army veteran who worked 30 years at Bethlehem Steel, said the controversy over Wright is just the excuse some whites are looking for not to vote for a qualified black man.

    "Anytime we are in anything, they are going to try to inject race in there," said Mounds, who sees truth in Wright's statement that "racism is how this country was founded, and how this country is still run."

    "When we look at the powers that be, the majority are white," Mounds said.

    How Obama does in attracting working-class white men will be a critical test for him in Pennsylvania, which, like Ohio, is dotted with fading industrial towns that have long histories of racial segregation and uneasy relations between blacks and whites. In Ohio's primary on March 4, Obama lost badly to Clinton among such white male voters.

    Harrisburg's population of nearly 50,000 is 55 percent African American, 32 percent white and 12 percent Hispanic, and the city is surrounded by predominantly white suburbs, including the sad mill town of Steelton, where American Legion Post 420 is located.

    Before Bethlehem Steel went bankrupt in 2001 and later sold its Steelton mill, the workforce there was racially mixed. But the workers who labored together and passed each other on the street lived separate lives. Obama's candidacy and his call for a new racial dialogue have not bridged that gap.

    The racial lines between the seemingly similar groups at the two American Legion posts aren't hard and fast, but they shape the way the men see the presidential campaign.

    At Post 733, Mounds identifies with the "black anger" Obama described, built up in his lifetime by years of what he sees as racial slights. He pushed his drink aside at the post's bar and said he sees in America a white power structure that pays more attention to white children who go missing than to black children, incarcerates black men at a higher rate than other groups and still sanctions clubs that are for white men only.

    "Something's got to be done. Not for me, because I'm no spring chicken, but for my children and my grandchildren," he said as Earth, Wind & Fire blasted on the sound system.

    Back in Steelton, Mark Willits, 48, said firmly that the focus on race is the "worst thing that could have happened to" Obama's candidacy. "It's a shame that's even an issue at all," said Willits, who works in construction and will probably vote for McCain. "Nobody's happy."

    Gary Lamke, 53, sitting at Post 420's bar a few feet from Dowett, said Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Clinton supporter, was correct when he said last month that there are some conservative whites in the state "who are probably not ready to vote for an African American candidate."

    "Some of these people still believe the woman should be home taking care of the baby, and they are not going to vote for a black. That's just what they believe," Lamke said, a Schmidt beer in his right hand. "There's prejudice in this country that's never going to go away completely. My stepdaughter's with a black man and went and had a baby by him. I'm okay with it, but that's me. I was raised around black people. If they vote Obama in, I won't lose a wink of sleep because of his color or his policies, but I'm voting for Hillary."

    For his part, Dowett may do something he never thought he would do: "For the first time in my lifetime, I might vote for a Republican," he said.

    He long ago wrote off Clinton, blaming her husband's embrace of globalization for the demise of the U.S. steel industry. If independent candidate Ralph Nader doesn't make it on the ballot in Pennsylvania, Dowett might vote for McCain, figuring that at least he would look out for senior citizens and veterans.

    Dowett said he has nothing in particular against Obama but still can't quite get comfortable with him. Obama "could have thrown [his preacher] under the bus, but he didn't, and that shows loyalty. I respect that," he said. But Wright's words still sound to Dowett completely un-American. They strike him as carrying baggage from the past that he believes black people need to get over.

    "I believe the country has softened on race relations," Dowett said. "How am I going to put this without sounding prejudiced? The fact that we have a [black] man running for president of the most powerful country in the world says a lot. . . . You see, Bill Cosby was right on when he says, 'Black people should not be complaining about the past and being persecuted by white people. Why don't they go out and do?' Bill Cosby tells it the way it is. Forty years ago to today, there's no comparison."

    Down at Post 733, named in honor of Ephraim Slaughter, a black Civil War veteran, the men and a few women argued that racial politics are never far below the surface in Pennsylvania. Many said they think that the lack of support for Obama from working-class whites in recent contests has been racially motivated, though Obama's aides have said they see the issue as more generational than racial.

    Renee L. Hartford said that when Wright came to Harrisburg several years ago for a revival hosted by black pastors, she thought he preached black empowerment, with parts of his message as controversial as the incendiary sermons that made news recently.

    "At the time, his message was very much what we needed to hear," she said.

    Still, some see reason to believe that the black-white divide is getting smaller -- one person at a time. Decades ago, a buddy of Post 733 regular William Geary married a white woman, and soon afterward they were welcomed to the mill by a burning cross. But 15 years ago, Geary, 75, fell in love with and married his wife, Ellen, who is white. Her white co-workers and family came to the wedding and celebrated.

    When he hears black or white folks make comments about his marriage, he is quick to tell them, "This is the best woman I ever had in my life."

    To his mind, the millions of white people across the country voting for Obama are proof that many are ready to step across the racial divide -- though he said time will tell if it's enough to get the man elected. "I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime," Geary said.

    That's all.

  • avishai

    >>>>>Some stockbroker type liberal from NYC who thinks we need to save the planet ... those guys tickle me (and cost me tax money) Little do they know that we are stewards of the land. If we screw up the valley we go broke.<<<<

    The stockbroker a-holes on both sides are responsible for this.

  • SixofNine

    "and I'm fiscally conservative."

    Everyone considers themselves fiscally conservative. The only mettle of whether you truly are or not is if you advocate policies that will, in the LONG RUN, turn out to be good for American societies health (remember people? yeah, those creatures for whom all this policy shit either works for or against) and have a positive fiscal return on investment.

    Mindlessly parroting "lower taxes, smaller government" does not make one (and I'm not saying you do this, Avishai) a fiscal conservative, it makes one a numbskull who operates on faith based economics. Government needs to be however damn big it needs to be. The important thing is that it works. Which takes these ignorant cynics who keep saying "government can't do anything right" to stfu and get busy helping the rest of us make government do things right. Worthless bitches.

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