I have to say that the editorial writers of the New York Sun hits the nail on the head today in an editorial titled "The San Francisco Democrats" with regards to Barack Obama and his recent comments about the folks of rural Pennsylvania(and rural America if I say so myself.) when they wrote the following:
Now while their is no doubt that Obama is a prime example of what the late Jeane Kirkpatrick deemed "San Francisco Democrats," I believe it's also accurate to deem the junior senator from Illinois as a career opportunists who will say and promise one thing to one group and say something diametrically opposed to what he says to another crowd in an effort to get votes. One can only imagine what other revealing details we'll discover about Senator Obama as the months go by. I for one love seeing the great rhetorician get himself in trouble with his silver tongue.
To begin with is the idea that religion is, like anti-immigration sentiment, a kind of bigotry that appeals to bitter people who don't know better. It's the idea Karl Marx had in mind when he wrote that religion is "the opium of the people." With all the attention paid to Mr. Obama's attendance at the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, we had been under the impression that he had a more positive view of the role of religion in American life. His comments suggest that he was influenced by his mother, who "had a healthy skepticism of religion as an institution," Mr. Obama said in a 2007 speech quoted in this week's Time magazine cover story on his mother.
We've got nothing against skepticism, and skepticism of organized religion is a healthy and longstanding tradition in American politics, from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson on down. The constitution proscribes any religious test, ever, for any office or public trust. Yet neither is hostility toward religion, or derision of the sort Mr. Obama voiced in San Francisco, likely to resonate with a majority of American voters. It indicates an error of judgment by Mr. Obama. Many Americans, after all, come to religion not out of bitterness but out of faith and tradition and even reason.
Then there is the mistaken notion that interest in firearms is a symptom of jobless desperation. What about the counterexample of Charlton Heston, the successful actor who was president of the National Rifle Association? Or, for that matter, what about Americans from Vice President Cheney to Justice Scalia who enjoy hunting?
Finally, an aspect of the comment that has gathered less attention but is equally egregious is Mr. Obama's lumping of anti-trade sentiments as among the false refuges of the embittered jobless. Mr. Obama himself has been stoking that anti-trade sentiment on the campaign trail. He has assailed Senator Clinton's advisers for supporting a free trade deal with Colombia and he has faulted her for the North American Free Trade Agreement that her husband signed into law. For Mr. Obama to give guests at a San Francisco fundraiser a free trade message while campaigning in Ohio and Pennsylvania for protectionism is the sort of cynicism from which we had hoped Mr. Obama would be a change.