Of Course They Are Bitter


Comments (Archived):

  1. awilensky

    I heard the comment that was originally taped, and the following uproar, and I dont get the controversy – isn’t stating the obvious? You dont have to be a small town factory worker to be ‘bitter’ over the softening economy; even I, a third tier analyst, have been getting bit by the contraction.I’m bitter. I want to be sweet, but I’m struggling.

    1. awilensky

      People are bitter in a rust belt, and they have every right to be since the last 4 administrations have sold of the meat of America’s specialized mid-sized manufacturing base (to say nothing of the major industrials – but I digress).And these bitter people know it. I know it. 85$ an hour analyst Wilensky knows that when contracts for minor, small ‘s’ product strategy go from closing rates of 1-2 months to 6-8+ months, we have a problem.Are you in the internet insular economy making plenty dough? Good, enjoy it; I am the leading indicator – when the telecoms stop retaining me, and the startups slow down my closing rates, then the capital and IPO runs dry, and the freemium ad supported model is shown to be a false and empty promise (I never click on ads on facebook, do you? I hardly ever click on sponsored links, do you?) we are in for a bad run.I could help some Web2 companies re-target for nthe verticals, and I am cheap date….but nit will be too late for many when they cant even hire me for 90 days. ran out of money building ad supported YAVSS and YASN.Bitter Bitter Bitter. Still a cockeyed optimist.

  2. Sri Panyam

    Interesting after all that hoola about “people are bitter and i am in touch”, there was no proposal of how he is going to make a difference.

    1. charlie crystle

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  3. Chad

    What are small town people thinking about his comment? Well, if they don’t go to church or own a gun, then they are sitting there saying what’s the big deal or that Obama’s right. But if they do go to church or own a gun, he’s making those people ask the question of themselves, “Why am a going to church or owning a gun?” Now if they answer, well, because I’m bitter, then Obama’s the next president of America. But nobody will answer the question that way. Because its not fucking true. People don’t go to church because Hillary Clinton signed a bankruptcy bill.It seems like every 4 years, there’s someone new coming along saying “I’m going to change things.” This guy is just that same guy, but is black, and gets donations on the internet.

  4. Antman

    Desparate is the word in my opinion, not the people of PA but McCain and Clinton. The status quo, as they know it, is being challenged and they don’t like it. Therefore they attack using diversionary tactics. “Hey look people, he doesn’t care about you, he just called you bitter, how dare he” It is remedial and condescending, the question becomes will the American people see it that way or are we too afraid of a different message? A side note, I like Obahma, I’m just concerned he is drawing the line or definition of the “rich” too low. Let me tell you, I ain’t rich!

  5. Alan

    Bitter is NOT the issue…. you’ve been spun.The issue is saying the love of guns and religion and fear of foreigners and free trade are the result of bitterness of government not doing stuff for these people.The issue is Barry saying one thing publicly and another to his private, liberal friends who he claims to not take money from.Get that…. faith in religion is only a way of dealing with the failure of our mommy government to do everything for us.Get that… holding to the constitutional right to guns is again another teet to suck on when mommy doesn’t do her job.Get that… religion is bad …. like fearing foreigners.There are so many levels to his hypocrisy that when I first read the transcript I thought they would never be able to produce live audio.Barry is revealed and has to spin.True believers fall for the spin just don’t get where the insult was.

    1. Dick Costolo

      Alan, that is not at all what he said, and the fact that you call him Barry is just another example of the same, tired Rush Limbaugh-sloganeering and belittlement-through-nomenclature that the republicans have been running on for the last 8 years. Why cloud the issue with facts when you can use “get that….”, “get that….” sloganeering over and over and change a comment about economic self-interest into “religion is bad”. This is what people have grown to hate about the Clintons and Bushes for the last 20 years. Politics has become hillary saying “i remember my father teaching me how to hunt” as a political response to thoughtful commentary about people voting against their economic interests. I’m sure a ton of people agree with you, which is why we find ourselves in an oligarchy where discourse has been replaced by bloviating and finger pointing.

  6. S.t

    http://corner.nationalrevie…here’s a snippet”2. “They”. This evokes Michelle’s similar “they” (as in the “they” who raised the proverbial bar on the Obamas), and likewise suggests both hostility and a certain us/they contempt for a slice of America that the Obamas apparently know very little about—but for the first time in their lives are rapidly discovering.3. “They cling to guns or religion”. This is revealing for two reasons: one, Obama has been trying to finesse his position on guns to appeal precisely to gun owners and thus we start to see that his repositioning is cynical to the core; two, “cling to religion?” No rural Pennsylvanian clings to religion more than Obama himself, who for 20 years sat silent in the pews, while a hate-spewing minister damned his country and most everyone else. The question is not why Pennsylvanians “cling to their religion”, but why do the Obamas still cling to the Trinity Church that seems far more extreme than anything I’ve seen in rural America.”

  7. S.t

    Here’s Newt Gingrich on regarding Obama’s anti-white working class, anti-religious, anti-gun rights —“If you go to the most expensive private school in Hawaii and then move on to Columbia University and Harvard Law School, you may not understand normal Americans. Their beliefs are so alien to your leftwing viewpoint that you have to seek some psychological explanation for what seem to be weird ideas.They can’t really believe in the right to bear arms.They can’t really believe in traditional marriage.They can’t really believe in their faith in God.They can’t really want to enforce the law on immigration.Therefore, they must be “bitter” and “frustrated.”This is the closest Senator Obama has come to openly sharing his wife’s view that “America is a mean country”. Not since Governor Dukakis have we seen anyone so out of touch with normal Americans. It makes perfect sense that it was in a fundraiser in San Francisco that he would have shared the views he has so carefully kept hidden for the entire campaign.”

    1. m

      Newt Gingrich, Friend of Man.

  8. S.t

    http://newsbusters.org/blog…”Obama Channels Marx on Masses’ Reverence for Religion”By Mark Finkelstein | April 12, 2008 – 07:56 ET “Religion is the opiate of the masses. — Karl Marx, 1843It’s not surprising that they get bitter, they cling to . . . religion . . . as a way to explain their frustrations. — Barack Obama, 2008”

  9. BarryO

    Let’s compare what Obama actually said in San Fran (version 1) to the furiously spun version in this video (version 2). 1. Note how version #1’s ‘cling’ becomes version #2’s ‘vote about’ and ‘take comfort from’–as the condescending dismissal becomes empathetic understanding. 2. Note how version #1’s ‘religion’ and ‘antipathy to people who aren’t like them’ becomes version #2’s ‘faith’ and ‘their family and community’ –as fundamentalist xenophobes now become beleaguered folks who band together against the unfairness. 3. Note how version #1’s ‘anti-immigrant’ becomes version #2’s ‘mad about illegal immigrants’ –as the nativist who opposes all immigrants, legal and illegal, now becomes understandably angry only about those coming here illegally. 4. Note how version #1’s ‘as a way to explain their frustrations’ becomes version #2’s ‘they get frustrated about’ as the misguided scape-goaters become those who react understandably to adversity. 5. Note no explanation in version #2 for version #1’s ‘anti-trade sentiment’–and no wonder since Obama himself is embarrassed that so far he’s voiced far more ‘anti-trade sentiment’ than those he caricatured. 6. Note how version #1’s ‘And it’s not surprising then they get bitter’ becomes version #2’s ‘your’ and ‘you’ and ‘Thats a natural response’, as the condescending use of the embittered and distant ‘they’ now morphs into a kindred ‘you’ and the quip ‘not surprising’ becomes the sympathetic ‘natural.’ 7. Note how version #1’s idiotic logic that Middle-America has only become religious or pro-gun in the last 25 years as a result of job loss is simply omitted.

  10. BN1019

    First it is important to note that Obama was NOT ridiculing small town values to a bunch of San Francisco elite but rather resonding to a question about how he was going to approach voters in PA. There is a big difference. The one sentence that people are getting worked up over has to be considered in the context of the whole response to the initial question. Also while I am sure he has been thinking about what he said for a while his comments in SF were not scripted so doesn’t it make sense that when he talked about the feelings of small communities in a scripted appearance that he would say things in a better manner.I think using the word cling was his major mistake. In the beginning of his answer he used the word cynical several times and if you look up the word bitter in the dictionary it will say marked by resentment or cynicismIs it not true that poor people who vote for Republicans ARE voting against their own economic self interest? Therefore what Obama said makes complete sense.

  11. awilensky

    Oh, and BTW – why all the furor? because he said something that is true! People hate that.Tell me the rust belt is not bitter, go ahead, tell me. Then get me a Walther PPK and take me to Shull for the peach services.

    1. awilensky

      pesach, rather. peach would be ok too.

  12. leon trotsky

    I am a commy pinko European. I am glad you US citizens have the right to bear arms – because you have so many wackos and crack heads that eventually you will all shoot each other to death. I am glad you stick to your distorted models of Christianity so that your kids will grow up ignorant of biology and that the new industries that will grow from scientific knowledge will be owned and run outside the USA. I am glad your economy and the dollar are turning to shit because that way you will not be able to afford to send your armies to foreign countries and kill innocent people. I am glad your working class is so dumb that you continue to vote for people who take you closer and closer to the economic abyss – so you will not longer consume so much fossil fuel that you are murdering the planet. I am glad there is a collapse in the sub-prime market so those who make a quick buck out of the poor and needy become so obvious that even those who also trust their pension funds to them begin to realise them for the crooks they are. If you ain’t bitter you’re either stupid or an exploiter. As S.t said, a normal American.

    1. andyswan

      I love unwitting characatures.

    2. Mo

      Bubble has burst, I am not talking about the US Housing market, the one where Europeans think they are living in a bubble immune from US economic slowdown.http://www.iht.com/articles… (via Hacker News, Thank Fred for hooking me on to HN)

  13. Timothy

    Not funny, Fred. Completely offensive. Don’t you think any of your readers come from small Midwestern towns, own guns, or take their religion seriously? You ought to apologize.

    1. BN1019

      It is completely offensive if you take what he said out of context and are unabe to think critically about situations. I grew up in a small town in TX and went to church every Sunday yet I am not offended. I’m sure some people will be offended and that is their right but the amount of uproar by both Clinton and McCain and those on TV is ridiculous. They have no idea about small midwestern towns.

    2. fredwilson

      Apologize for what? Posting a video? I didn’t say why I posted it.

      1. Timothy

        Sorry Fred. Perhaps the joke is on me – I missed the double entendre of your headline (I think). That will teach me to post when I’m tired. …which means I should apologize. So I do.

        1. fredwilson

          The headline was not meant to signify anything. Its a non entendre actually. I am happy to accept your apology but I was not asking for oneFred

  14. chartreuse

    I hear a lot of the msm elite saying how offensive this was. How come I don’t hear any PA people saying they were offended?Um, maybe they weren’t.And maybe telling us that they should be is what’s really offensive.

    1. scott crawford

      Strong second to that. People seem to be reacting to the observation that people need to cling to something stable amid all the socio-economic instability as a put down. Is it the word cling? Is it the fear that maybe people have about had enough of the abuse? Seems like another case of fear-based denial.

  15. martin_english

    The empiracl evidence, as far as the voters of PA are concerned, is that no one in washington cares about them. Whether this has made them bitter or not, they certainly have the righ to be. The Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and BUSH II administrations repeatedly said “We will look after you”, then failed to do so.This is the point of Obama’s comments – not the one liner that cause John McCain (of all people !!) to call Obama an elitist.

  16. Guest

    This is an absolutely brilliant essay on these same issues from June 2004. I highly recommend it!http://www.nypress.com/prin…Notice this key quote:”This explains the mystery of why Bush still has a chance of winning in November, even though most Americans acknowledge that his presidency is little more than a series of slapstick fuck-ups with apocalyptic consequences. Inspector Clouseau meets the Book of Revelations. Close to half of this country will support Bush simply to spite that part of America that it sees as most threatened by the Iraq debacle. ” G.W. Bush did win… and the rest is history…

  17. andyswan

    Actually, most people in these states do not feel it is the government’s responsibility to keep their low-skill jobs in place. They do, however, believe that the government should protect their “clingy” attitude towards religion, self-defense and other pesky little Bill of Rights issues. That’s why they vote GOP despite the disaster that is Bush…Dems basically give them no choice. (I mean…come on…FREAKIN MCCAIN is gonna take this thing???)Is the conclusion to Obama’s thinking that “if we give them jobs, they will give up their guns and Gods?”I don’t disagree that there is a LOT of Marx under the “fresh face” of Obama…..

    1. Mo

      “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. ” – Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right by Karl Marx Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher February, 1844

  18. BenParis

    I tend to agree with Andysman with regards to people’s attitude in southern states. I am talking from a non-American perspective (I am not a US citizen), but I think I can express my European point of view on the current campaign. indeed, I am still not sure what is the reason why people have been so emotional about Obama’s speech on religion, and on southerners propensity to stick to their Gods and guns…Yes Christianism states that men suffer on Earth, and should praise god to accept them in Heaven, so it’s easy to make parallels with religion for peope’s losing their jobs and suffering from it. Obama’s communication was definitely playing that chord, but is it so surprising from a presidential candidate trying to debate on faith and look convincing.Then I am not sure about Karl Marx because, not being an expert, I think half of KM’s theory on the Revolution of the “Proletariat”, and the necessity for masses to change their own fate, dealt with economic issues. Besides, KM was not condemning capitalism as an economic system, but rather the use which was made of this economic theory…So, I don’t think that Frank Marshall being Obama’s mentor at an age when every thinking youngster wants to be more radical and revolutionize society, represents such a big deal. And it doesn’t make Obama having been tempted by communism.We should confront Obama on serious economic and political issues with real questions and expect for something else a doctirnale eloquence…

  19. m

    cheese, moved.

  20. jackson

    What I gather from reading the comments is that although we’re seeing a number of voters who would have otherwise voted republican swing Obama’s way simply because of a need for change, there remains a deep division in this country along the same old lines: guns, religion, sexuality, ect…,The mistake is to regard these differences as regional. Though you do see a higher percentage of certain thinking in certain localities, you’ll find like minded folks in every corner of our country.My advice to Obama would be to tone down the regional aspects of these discussions, less trouble for him.

  21. sdhouston

    What do I get for my federal taxes? Our public schools are failing, Social Security is insolvent, Medicare & Medicaid are run by a corrupt government that uses taxpayer money to overpay the corporations that run it. Our military is in shambles, our economy is on the brink of complete collapse and all our leaders can think of to do in order to solve the problem is to use our tax dollars to bail out the mistakes of corporations while Americans end up homeless and broke. And stuck with the bill.Do people understand how much money we have spent in Iraq? Seriously really, get a grip and really GET how much money has gone down the hole? And even if they do, do they realize that the Iraq bill, from a dollar perspective, HASN’T COME DUE YET??? The shit going on with the economy right now has NOTHING to do with the THREE FUCKING TRILLION DOLLARS that this clusterfuck in Iraq will eventually cost us.$3,000,000,000,000 / 300,000,000 = $10,000/ea.That means that RIGHT NOW, without ANY interest, each and every American in this country is in for $10 fucking K. On top of our current federal and state income tax burden.Now, I pay for electricity. I pay for internet. I pay for television and I pay for my phone. The tax I pay at the pump covers most of the cash either state or federal government spend on shit like road repairs, but whatever. I pay for the gas to heat my home and cook my food. I pay a shitload at the hospital and even pay tax on some of that shit. I pay sales tax. I even pay retail tax, even though the corporations pass ALL their taxes on to me when I buy their shit. So what the fuck do I get?A military that is now broken. An infrastructure that is crumbling. A justice system that favors their own, the rich and the politicians, and if to add insult to injury, herd me like a fucking piece of cattle and actually go out of their way to find a reason to make me pay them for some bullshit slight.So what the hell is a rational guy supposed to do? What did our forefathers do, when faced with this kind of bogus farce of representation, when bullied into paying for something they don’t even want or need?When a man with a checkbook has greater sway than a million voices, OR EVEN ONE FUCKING VOICE, then hasn’t our grievance become that of the founders of this country?

    1. S.t

      there’s TEN FUCKING TRILLION DOLLARS of crude under Iraq…& the last measure of proven oil reserves was done before the Iran-Iraq War…there’s only ever been 2000 wells drilled in Iraq, as opposed to, say, Texas, where there’s been over 500,000 wells drilled.Declare victory, make Iraq a US territory (or, a state?), pay for silly liberal social programs, make SDHouston (‘rational guy’) chill

  22. S.t

    Well, this should seal it for Obama –SENIOR HAMAS OFFICIAL OFFERS SUPPORT FOR OBAMAhttp://cameron.blogs.foxnew…(even though I don’t agree with the ‘Hamas-problem-for-Obama’-thing. Isn’t an endorsement from terrorists a badge of honor for Dems?)

  23. S.t

    It’s gotta be a heckuva thing having your poitical career get started in the living room of domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh’s role modelObama’s terrorist connections – William Ayers http://www.youtube.com/watc