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April 17, 2008


I'm becoming more and more convinced that Obama was being patronizing to the SF donors. Offer them the story they want to hear, take their money, etc.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that Obama was being patronizing to the SF donors. Offer them the story they want to hear, take their money, etc.

And upon what evidence do you base this burgeoning belief?

Addendum: Especially in light of the fact that Obama made a similar comment in 2004 on the Charlie Rose show and Bill Clinton makes a similar comment in his memoirs (in other words, this isn't a strange comment emanating purely from Obama's addled mind).

The article you quote is very interesting and informative but I don't think it quite shows that Obama was "wrong".

For example, "trusting the government" (Bartels' term) is different from what Obama said, which was more along the lines of "trusting that the government will respond to your specific (regional) economic needs".

Also, Bartels introduces the right to abortion as a proxy for "social issues" but I don't believe Obama was grouping all social issues together or that he was talking about political affiliation and a stance on social issues.

Certainly, I don't think Obama was talking about how a stand on a specific issue influenced a vote in the prior Presidential election. I think he was talking more about which issues people focus on in general - which issues people feel they have a say in, or which issues are given political prominence.

I'll add that the degree of 'political prominence' may may be based strongly on outside sources (the media, for example).

Bartels also implies that Obama said that small-town, working-class voters were more likely to connect religion and politics. But here Bartels ignores what Obama said in the debate on that point : that he wasn't speaking of religion as a voting booth issue.

Another thing I took from the article was that urban voters who were ‘conservative’ across social issues were more uniformly pro-Bush in the last election, as compared to to the non-urban voters who were also ‘conservative’ on social issues.

That’s interesting but it seems unrelated to Obama’s comments, either original or follow-up.

let’s define the people Mr. Obama had in mind as people whose family incomes are less than $60,000 (an amount that divides the electorate roughly in half)

That's quite a straw man. Suddenly Obama was describing half the electorate! Where's the evidence he meant anything of the sort? Certainly not in the 450 word transcript of Obama's original remarks (http://thepage.time.com/transcript-of-obamas-remarks-at-san-francisco-fundraiser-sunday/).

Of course, you could also assume Obama was speaking of the segment of the population who do cling to guns or religion or anti-immigration rhetoric, rather than assume he was speaking about every blue-collar worker in rural America.

This has to be the most over-analyzed statement of the current election. The punditry is furious at what they think Obama must have meant, rather than the words he actually said. On the rare occasions that someone bothers to actually ask the man on the street, it turns out that they aren't particularly offended by his words after all.

The $60,000 income level is flawed for a simple reason: cost of living is much lower in small towns. While $60,000 may divide the population in half, a $60K household in York would be well above the national median in measuring household income indexed by cost of living.

Furthermore, I would hazard to guess that Bartels' definition of small town is overly restrictive. I understood Obama to be including cities as large as Scranton (pop. 76K) in his statement. Certainly he would have included Norristown (pop. 31K). What was Bartels' cut-off for "small town"?

I would use any people living outside MSA's of over 200K with household incomes of 35 or 40K.

At the time, Brendan, as you may recall, Frank replied to WTMWWTMWK, and you should link to that too. Can't immediately find a link.

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