The bitter thing, or the “politics of condescension” as The Weekly Standard labels it, just won’t go away for Obama. Hillary has now released a TV ad to complement her bumper stickers, featuring disgruntled Pennsylvanians expressing their disgust at Barack Obama’s comments. One woman harumphs that she doesn’t cling to her religion out of frustration or anger, she finds her faith “very uplifting.”

This is bad. Bad for Obama, bad for the Democrats, bad for the “ordinary folks” of Pennsylvania who feel kind of put out, but not so bad for Hillary who’s clinging to the bitter comment like a life raft.  That and talking up how her daddy taught her how to shoot while she knocks back shots of whisky at a local rust belt watering hole of a Saturday night.

As an incredulous Obama said in Steelton, Pennsylvania, “She is talking like she is Annie Oakley… Hillary Clinton is out there like she’s out in a duck blind every Sunday, she is packing a six shooter — come on she knows better.” But Clinton isn’t letting go of this one, why would she, asks Slate, when according to their Hillary Death Watch widget, her chances of winning the nomination have jumped 4.5 points to 14.2 percent.

Barack ‘Dukakis Gore Kerry’ Obama: With just a few sentences that emerged Friday and marinated over the weekend, Obama made himself into Mike Dukakis, Al Gore, and Kerry, all rolled into one effete, aloof, unelectable package. Or, at least, that’s how the denizens of Camp Clinton are playing it — and when they grab hold of a message frame, it’s hard to make them give it back. — ABC News

Clinton loves guns, whisky: CNN reported Saturday that Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton touted her experience with guns and hunting to a crowd in Indiana — The Huffington Post

Is John McCain Bob Dole?:  As McCain begins to speak, Salter and Schmidt position themselves so they can see both their boss and the giant flat-panel on the camera riser directly in front of him. The speech is short. It’s going smoothly. McCain is nearly done. “Their patience,” he is saying of the American people, “is at an end for politicians who value ambition over principle, and for partisanship that is less a contest of ideas than an uncivil brawl over the spoils of power.” And then … Oh, sh-t! The screen goes blank!
McCain is flying blind!  — New York Magazine

Pipe down Obama boys: This riveting Democratic primary campaign has provided us with its own stock characters: There are the young “Daily Show”-watching Obama-maniacs getting over their irony addiction by falling earnestly in love with the senator from Illinois. There are the pissed-off second-wave feminists, uptight and out of touch, howling as their dream of seeing a woman in the Oval Office fades. And then there are the young women caught between them. — Salon

Bush v nature: The Bush administration tried to do as little as possible on global warming and was alarmed when California, using a special power under the Clean Air Act, adopted more rigorous emission standards for cars than the federal government was willing to adopt. For the first time since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, the Bush administration last December refused to grant California a waiver allowing the state to set its own standards for global warming. The EPA’s own legal staff warned that the denial of the waiver was illegal. — The New Republic

Obama hits back: The response was signature Obama: Attack first, sort out the details later, if at all. No apology, no immediate regret, just a sharp counterattack. For a candidate sometimes mocked for being too soft to win a political fistfight, he has shown an uncanny ability to take a punch and then rear back and deliver one in return. When Obama responds this way, it leaves him open to charges that he’s undermining his so-called politics of hope. But, showing remarkable dexterity, he has a knack for using these flare-ups to pivot back to the central theme of his candidacy: that politics is broken, and he knows how to change it. — Politico

The politics of condescension: After their unexpected loss in 2004, Democrats were much too impressed by Thomas Frank’s treatise What’s the Matter With Kansas? which complained that they lost because middle-class voters were too stupid to vote their ‘real’ interests (which were presumably served by the Democrats), because conservatives wickedly played on their fears. (‘Fear’ is the Democrats’ answer for every vote they don’t get.) Whether middle-class interests are better served by liberalism is an open question–they did so much better, after all, under Carter than Reagan, and the Clintons did so much to help them get health care–but condescension remains an unpromising strategy. — The Weekly Standard

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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