Pennsylvania's "Bitter Clingers"
By Bill Steigerwald
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 23, 2008
Gov. Rendell first blurted the ugly truth about Western Pennsylvania back in February. "You've got conservative whites here," he said, no doubt thinking of the rolling hills and hollows of Western Pennsylvania, "and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate."
State Rep. David Levdansky from a district south of Pittsburgh echoed that line of thought to the New York Times at the same time. “For all our wanting to believe that race is less of an issue than ever before, the reality of racism still exists.”
And then, three weeks before the election and months after Barack Obama got caught criticizing small-town Pennsylvanians for clinging so bitterly to their guns and religion, Congressman John Murtha resurrected the shameful issue again.
"There is no question that Western Pennsylvania is a racist area," Murtha told a liberal Pittsburgh newspaper last week. “Obama's got a problem with the race issue in Western Pennsylvania," he told the Tribune-Review the same day, adding that on Nov. 4 the color of Obama’s skin could cost him 4 percentage points against John McCain.
Murtha quickly apologized for his gaffe. But as we all know, in politics "a gaffe" is usually when someone blurts out a common truth no one wants to ever hear spoken out loud.
In case you haven't noticed, the above gaffers are Democrats. And though they'd never admit it, they are clearly worried Obama might lose the state's 21 electoral votes not because of racism among Republicans or independents but within the ranks of their own party -- namely, the famous white, socially conservative, working-class, union-loving "Reagan Democrats" of Western Pa.