Cognitive Mileage

A Bitter America?

Posted on: April 14, 2008

I subscribe to John McCain’s newsletter to see what they are telling their supporters. I also respond to these newsletters when I feel they are misleading.

Obama recently made a comment about small-town Americans being bitter:

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 later realized that this was worded poorly and prone to distortions. He clarified the statement to mean:

So I said, well you know, when you’re bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country.

In today’s edition of McCain’s newsletter:

These hard working men and women aren’t “bitter”. They love their country, their faith, their family and their traditions.

My response:

I think you are wrong, Rick. My father lives in a small town in Kansas. He sounds thoroughly disillusioned with politics. He doesn’t really trust McCain, Obama, or anyone else to actually deliver on the promises they make about their presidency. For too long he has seen presidents enter office and not deliver on their promises.

These people may love their country. But they don’t believe in its politics. If my father votes for John McCain it will not be because he actually believes McCain will do something positive for America. He would probably vote for McCain based on religious preferences and because McCain is the most conservative of the three candidates. And that is exactly the point that Obama was making.

Hillary Clinton was also milking the comment for all that it was worth. Obama’s humorous and fairly light hearted synopsis of her reaction can be found here.


5 Responses to "A Bitter America?"

Hello Chris:

Thanks for your comment on my page. I have enjoyed reading your site.

Let’s see if your response to the column in question generates any response.

Rod Smith

Thanks Rod. And I would like to say that I definitely agree with the spirit of your blog as a whole and I think it is a great idea.

Have you read the book Difficult Conversations? It seems right up your alley and has done me a lot of good in my own difficult relationships.

I have not — and I will look for it — I’d STRONGLY suggest you read David Schnarch’s PASSIONATE MARRIAGE…. it might be the most profound work on human sexuality and relationships written thus far… It is not for the faint-hearted — very sexual and, in my opinion, never pornographic… some would disagree with me. I have met David but I receive nothing for promoting his book — I am not even sure he knows I do….

Have a wonderful day,

Rod Smith

Thank you for the recommendation. It sounds very intriguing.

The problem with the term “pornography” is that it is vague. What does a person mean when they say it? Hard core sex? Nude models? Videos? Pictures?

Is it pornography if you even mention body parts? Is it pornography if you even discuss sexual scenarios? The problem is that one cannot control what might arouse someone else. Something that is purely educational for one person can be sexually arousing for another.

Personally, I find a lot of hard-core sex pornography not to be that arousing at all but rather more often find it humorous, disturbing, or disgusting. But other people are turned on by it.

I guess my point is that the book might be “pornographic” for some people (in that it arouses them or even disturbs them) but not for others, depending on their experience.

And I hope you have a wonderful day as well! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the philosophical issues that I forget basic (and sometimes more important) human pleasantries.


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