Monday, April 27, 2009

Gutter: Somebody's getting clingy


Remember when Barack Obama said this?

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then 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."

He was so off-base about that, wasn’t he? How dare he make such statements? Those comments were an affront to the gun-loving, God-fearing, Constitution-misunderstanding people of our fair Commonwealth, and every proud American with a magnetic yellow ribbon on the back of his truck took offense at the suggestion that he was clinging to guns as some sort of reactionary instinct.

Clinging to guns…what a load of crap. That elitist doesn’t know the first thing about the heart of Pennsylvania.

Oh wait.

From today’s Post-Gazette:

The publisher of The Outdoor Wire, an online publication for the outdoors industry, even credited Mr. Obama with sparing the gun industry the same kind of slump that has decimated the automakers.

Sales of guns and ammunition are surging nationwide, largely because gun enthusiasts and first-time buyers are afraid the president is going to push for gun control.

The increase has reached record levels in recent months.

And furthermore…

As for Mr. Rendell, he recently joined Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in urging Congress to renew an assault weapons ban and asked the state Legislature to pass a lost-and-stolen-gun reporting law and allow local firearms regulation.

Moves like those fuel a simple mentality: Stockpile while you can.

And furthermore…

"I'm not worried about it, but I know everyone else is," said Mr. Casato, 66. "Any time you have the Democrats take over, [gun advocates] feel they're going to infringe on gun rights.”

And furthermore…

…it's safe to say that many gun owners don't trust the president. The surge in sales actually began during the election, when then-candidate Obama emerged as the front-runner. It intensified after he won.

And furthermore…

Many of Anthony Arms' customers are worried about home invasions, he said. But others are clearly concerned about the political climate.

"I always ask them why they're buying guns," said Mr. McCall. "They say they're afraid they're going to be banned and then they won't be able to get them."

And finally…

Those who oppose gun control of any kind say there already are enough gun laws and look at such measures [such as bans on assault rifles] as the beginning of a ban on all guns -- or even confiscation of their weapons.

A fear of “confiscation of their weapons?” Sounds to me like someone’s clinging to their AK. And the rush to buy guns - "I've been in this business for 33 years," said Mr. Romanoff, "and there's never been this demand." - is further evidence that Obama’s “cling to guns” claim wasn’t that far off-base.

Of course, by associating Obama’s comments with this story about rising gun sales - a surge in gun sales? - I’m playing into the same misunderstanding that made the whole thing a controversy last year:

The point of Obama’s statement wasn’t the “cling to guns or religion” part; the point was the “why” behind that clinging.

The jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

That was the real crux of what Obama was saying, and can anyone deny it? Drive down to Clairton or Homestead - the real Homestead, not the Waterfront - or Braddock, and tell me what you see. And those places are just in the Pittsburgh area.

It was probably poor syntax judgment to juxtapose “bitter” with “cling to guns or religion” and thus associate the two. But the underlying truth of Obama’s statement was impossible to deny then and looks even more accurate now.

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