Yeah, the media is going into feeding frenzy.
The Clinton people, the McCain people, the media sensationalists, etc are all going to pile on right now.
The pundits will declare Obama dead just like they did during the Wright affair.
Obama supporters everywhere will be worried and sleep fitfully.
But the pundits are going to be wrong again.
This quote and the resulting feeding frenzy are a huge opportunity for Obama to get the attention of low-information small town voters who are skeptical of him and convince some of them to vote their pocketbooks instead of their culture.
Will he make the most of this opportunity? If his response to the Wright affair is any indication, I think he will.
The conventional wisdom is that Obama needs to prove he is an accessible, regular guy to win the votes of these people.
But let's face it, Obama is never going to "fit in" small town America.
Many democrats have tried. Remember John Kerry's hunting trips? What a joke.
Obama is right not to try to be a poser.
If he tried traditional pandering, he would barely move the needle with these folks, especially the ones who usually vote Republican when cultural issues rise to the forefront.
There's only one way he can win their votes: if he can convince them to elevate economic concerns over cultural concerns.
Indeed, cultural issues have been the blight of Democrats everywhere...and the republicans are counting on playing the God, guns, abortion, patriotism cards yet again.
Most of the time, Dems just hide in the corner and try to pander.
I don't know whether Obama intended for these comments to come out or not.
But if it is an accident, it's a good one and it gives him a huge opportunity.
First, it will eventually come out that his comments were more absolving than insulting to small town America for voting against its interests.
He is saying that they have been legitimately screwed and have a right to be bitter. Hillary and McCain will say that these people are singing Kumbaya every night, but Obama is going to be speaking a truth out there: people are bitter, but that doesn't make them bad people or racists.
The media feeding frenzy means that whenever Obama decides to respond on camera, he is going to get a ton of attention.
In particular, those low info voters who were supposedly slighted will be tuning in.
And I hope Obama will not try to backtrack on the essential point he was making, but instead use the opportunity to start convincing voters to vote their economic interests, not their cultural preferences.
When the spotlight is on him, he should present his economic plans that help those small town voters a lot more than McCain's do.
He can use the attention gained from the media revving up the culture wars to make an economic pitch to voters who otherwise might not have been tuned in enough to hear his pitch.
And once again, he can treat these folks as adults and say to them that he understands that times have been tough and that he gets their fears and bitterness and he wants to do something about it.
He can cast the Republicans as the snake oil peddlers that they are and show them that he has the best plans for their interests. Instead of pretending and pandering on cultural issues, he instead can make the case why these cultural issues should be secondary to economic concerns.
Will he offend and lose some who find what he says patronizing? Sure. But few of these hard core values voters were probably open to voting for him in the first place. And it's harder to paint a black guy as an elitist than a blue-blooded northeasterner like John Kerry who came from wealth and speaks in a stilted voice.
But I think some of them will take a hard look at his economic plans and decide to vote their interests instead of their culture.
Obama has, wittingly or unwittingly, made a huge shot across the bow of the people who demagogue cultural issues to sway voters and make them forget their own economic interests in the voting booth.
Obama is challenging the entire notion of voting based on cultural distractions.
Well, right after I published this diary I went to the kos frontpage and saw this response by Obama:
Bravo, Senator Obama, Bravo.
He is saying exactly what he should be saying.
This is going to be a net positive for him.