It was said
behind closed doors to the chablis-and-brie set of
San Francisco, in response to a question as to why he
was not doing better in that benighted and barbarous
land they call Pennsylvania.
Dr. Schweitzer, home from
Africa to address the Royal Society on the customs
of the upper Zambezi, Barack described Pennsylvanians in
their native habitats of Altoona, Aliquippa, Johnstown
"And it`s not surprising
then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or
antipathy to people who aren`t like them or
anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a
way to explain their frustrations." [Read
This is the pitch-perfect Hollywood-Harvard
stereotype of the
white working class, the caricature of the urban
ethnic—as seen from the San Francisco point of view.
Linus clung to his security blanket, Barack is
saying, out-state Pennsylvanians, bitter at the world
that has passed them by, cling to their
guns and naturally revert to ancestral bigotries
against "people who aren`t like them"—blacks,
Though he sees himself as a progressive who has risen
above prejudice, Barack was reflecting and pandering to
the prejudice of the class
to which he himself belongs, and which he was then
A few months back,
Michelle Obama revealed her
mindset about America with the remark that,
"for the first time in my adult lifetime, I`m really
proud of my country." Barack has now revealed
how he, too, sees the country. The Great Unifier divides
the nation into us and them.
The "us" are the privileged cosmopolitan elite
San Francisco and his
Ivy League upbringing. The "them" are the
folks in the
small towns and
rural areas of that other America. Toward these
folks, Obama`s attitude is not one of hostility, but of
paternalism. Because time has passed them by, Barack
believes, they cannot, in their frustration and
bitterness, be held fully accountable for their
atavistic beliefs and behavior.
Though neither mocking nor malicious, Barack`s
remarks are, nonetheless, steeped in condescension.
Inherent in his words is that these folks in Middle
Pennsylvania are in need of empathy, education,
assistance and perhaps therapy.
His remarks are of a piece with his
address on civil rights that liberals have compared
favorably to Lincoln`s Second Inaugural.
Note, from that
Philadelphia address, the highlighted words.
"Most working- and
middle-class white Americans don`t feel that they
have been particularly privileged by their race …
as far as they`re concerned, no one`s handed them
anything. … They … feel their dreams slipping
away … opportunity comes to be seen as a zero
sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense.
affirmative action helped forge the
Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited
fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk
show hosts and conservative commentators built entire
bogus claims of racism while dismissing
legitimate discussions of racial injustice and
inequality as mere political correctness or reverse
In Barack`s mind, black anger and resentment at
"racial injustice and inequality" are
"legitimate." But the
anger and resentment of white folks, about
affirmative action, crime and
forced busing are born of misperceptions—and of
"bogus claims of racism" manipulated and exploited
by conservative columnists and commentators to keep the
racial pot boiling and retain power, so the right can
continue to do the bidding of the corporations that are
the real enemy.
Barack has stumbled into the eternal failing of the
left-wing populist. He cannot concede that the anger of
white America—that its right to
equal justice has been sacrificed to salve the
guilt-besotted liberals—is a legitimate anger. The
truth that Barack dare not speak is that
reverse discrimination is pandemic and that the
folks in Middle Pennsylvania have a valid grievance that
ought to be addressed.
So, Barack sought in Philadelphia to redirect their
resentments distracted attention from the real culprits
of the middle class squeeze—a corporate culture rife
accounting practices and short-term greed; a
Washington dominated by
lobbyists and special interests; economic policies
that favor the
few over the
Barack is not wrong here. Corporations, out of naked
deserted America. And the Clinton and Bush
administrations have been unresponsive to the
social impact of deindustrialization. But Barack
cannot concede that
white Americans are today`s
A gifted candidate, Barack, after stumbling for 48
hours, has regained his footing with his witty
ripostes about Hillary being "Annie
with her "six-shooter," spending her Sunday
mornings "out on the duck blind."
Obama`s remarks about small-town America told us
little about small-town America, but a lot about Barack.
He is yet another
cookie-cutter liberal who has absorbed and
internalized the prejudices of that blinkered breed. He
is an African-American John Lindsay,
the great liberal hope of the Nixon-Agnew era, of
Frank Manckiewicz once said: He was the
only populist he knew who played squash every day at
the Yale Club.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to VDARE.COM readers;
his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.