I'm with the media commentators on the substance of the issue and on the unconvincing opportunism of Clinton's/McCain's response. However i do think that the presentation could have been a bit more nuanced. Obama's original statement did sound a bit like something from an academic commenting on the social/political issues in the 'rust belt' rather than a politician empathising with the people who are experiencing the negative effects of these changes. He did better in his follow-up comments (as shown on the youtube clip). As so often, Gary Younge has a good take on this, reporting from Uniontown, Pennsylvania at:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/14/uselections2008.barackobama
I think you are right about Obama getting the tone slightly wrong. He was trying to say something that had truth and sympathy in it, but the word "cling" was not what he would have put in a script if he had had a chance to write one. To be fair, he has come out and said the same thing.However, he was saying something important about people's feeling/experience that they cannot get anything changed economically and therefore the rise of these less important identity issues as defining fault lines in politics. One of the things I like about Obama is that he is prepared to talk about difficult issues, not just spout meaningless and cynical soundbites that are designed, essentially, to hoodwink voters. I believe it is going to have very little impact on Philadelphia. People are too intelligent for that (she is going to win but he is likely to do well in North Carolina and effectively knock her out of the race if she has not already been persuaded to stop the damage she is doing to the Democratic party.) In the long run it might turn a lot of superdelegates against her (the cynical attempt to twist the words of a fellow Democrat surely cannot play well among other senior Democrats) and also it may harden Obama's base. I think Clinton's campaign is now entirely destructive. Even if she were to win somehow, she could not win the presidency because there are so many people who have been totally turned off by her screeching campaign (black people, young people, and of course the large numbers of republicans and independents who disliked her all along). The thing I personally dislike most about her tone is there is a subtext of entitlement beneath everything she says. Its like: "I, as a Clinton who has waited her turn, am entitled to be President."
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