As a native-born, small-town Pennsylvanian, a son of native-born, small-town Pennsylvania parents - one from the coal region, one from Lancaster County - let me assure you that the so-called offensive, condescending things Barack Obama said about the people I come from are basically right on target.Yes, Obama's remarks may have been unwise because he should have known that the Rovian campaigns being run by both John McCain and Hillary Clinton would jump all over it and be aided by the corporate media and their infotainment that pretends to be news. But the reality is the politicians and the pundits reacted the way they did because it was on the money and hit a little too close to home. Baer concludes with this:
So, despite carping from Hillary Clinton and annoying yapping from her surrogates (really, it's like turning on the lights at night in a puppy farm), I take no offense.
What's offensive to me is suggesting that small-town, working-class, gun-toting and/or religious Pennsylvanians are somehow injured by a politician's words.
They've been injured from decades of neglect by political cultures in Washington and Harrisburg driven by special interests.
They're injured by a system of isolated, insulated political leadership that protects itself and the status quo above all else.
They've been harmed by a lack of political guts to fix a health-care system that works against the poor and forces middle-class families to pay more for less, while at the same time giving politicians the best coverage taxpayer money can buy.
They've been taken for granted by political parties and candidates who stay in power by - and this was the apparent gist of Obama's remarks - forcing attention and debate on issues tied to guns, religion and race (precisely because such issues resonate) rather than real problems such as health care and the economy.
So the question is whether Obama effectively defuses this, as he did the controversy surrounding his former minister. And that remains to be seen.
Just don't tell me that he insulted a state or, given his background, that he's an out-of-touch elitist.
And I especially don't want to hear such arguments from a candidate who spent decades in the bubble of a governor's mansion, the White House and the U.S. Senate, and under the blanket of $109 million income during the last eight years.
Pennsylvanians might cling to religion and guns. I hope they don't cling to stupidity.