Yes, senator, you could’ve handled this one better.

I know Obama did not intend to insult anyone in Pennsylvania, but he played right into the hands of those who parse words for their own benefit.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, and Barack is right.  It was hard as hell watching the steel mills close.  When I was young, we would watch the workers pour slag on the next mountain over from the top of our street.  The glow of the molten stone as it slid down the hillside somehow added to the heat of summer, even though we were a few miles away.

Barack was right.  Some people in Pennsylvania are bitter.  They did not see the middle class prosperity of the 90s.  Instead, they did fall through the cracks.  While the riverfront in Homestead may be thriving, there are many Homestead residents who did not get the new jobs.

The senator from Illinois is right.  Dead on.  People do cling to God and guns when all else is lost.  That is not a slam at religion or the first amendment, nor is it “elitist”, as the senator from New York insists.  While many in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh might be better off, there are plenty of people in the center of the state who never saw the prosperity of the 90s, and they’re hurting now.  They’re especially hurting as gas prices approach $4.00 a gallon.

Something has to give, eventually.  Senator John “McBush” McCain will ruin this country if he wins.  We cannot win Iraq, especially since no one knows what “winning” entails, exactly.  We need to leave, and allow Iraq to move in whatever direction the people there wish it to move.  As Dahr Jamail says, “Many Iraqis have come to believe that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is just as much a dictator as Saddam Hussein was.”

We’ve won nothing, and the people of Pennsylvania will be paying over $4.00 a gallon for gas soon enough.

Look, Obama was right.  Quit the silliness and stop with the election rhetoric.

Here’s what Obama said.  Please read all of it:

Obama in context

Here is the larger context of Obama’s comments as reported on the Huffington Post web site.  Please read it all:

“The places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people are most cynical about government … everybody just ascribes it to ‘white working-class don’t wanna work — don’t wanna vote for the Black guy.’ … There were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today — kind of implies that it’s sort of a race thing.

“In a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government that when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn’t buy it. And when it’s delivered by — it’s true that when it’s delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism,” Obama said to laughter.

“So the questions you’re most likely to get about me, ‘Well, what is this guy going to do for me? … we’ll give you talking points about what we’re proposing — to close tax loopholes … roll back the tax cuts for the top on perent. Obama’s gonna give tax breaks to uh middle-class folks and we’re gonna provide healthcare for every American.

“Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. 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.

“Now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you’ll find is, is that people of every background — there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you’ll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I’d be very strong and people will just be skeptical.”

He’s not being elitist. He’s being honest.  People in Pennsylvania are hurting.  Twist that any way you wish.  It’s the truth.