OK, the polls suggest that Bittergate is not registering much if at all with Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania, and everybody in the blogosphere is probably sick unto death with the interminable parsing, but I will indulge myself in one more close reading of the text in question, courtesy of Colin McEnroe’s useful reprinting of the entire thing.
So it’s not surprising then that 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.
The operative question is: How do people “explain their frustrations” by clinging to these several things?
With respect to the latter three, it would be in the form of: Our economic troubles are the fault of 1) affirmative action; 2) all these illegal immigrants; or 3) NAFTA and other free trade policies. Why cling to guns as an explanation? Maybe because we blame the people who want to take away our guns for our troubles. And religion? That’s easy. Our religion teaches us that God puts us, like Job, to the test. But we will prevail if we just, in the words of the contemporary Christian hit, cling to the Cross.
The point is, what we don’t cling to is the hope that some politician, especially some black politician named Barack Obama, will actually do something to relieve our economic distress. Because 1) Barack Obama looks like just another one of those untrustworthy politicians; and 2) he himself seems to be the incarnation of at least a couple of the things we blame our frustrations on.