Well, it has finally happened. Barack Obama has done what Democratic candidates for president invariably do — he has revealed the profound sense of unearned superiority that is the sad and persistent hallmark of contemporary liberalism. Obama’s statement today that small-town folk “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” may be the most distilled example of this train of thought I’ve ever seen.
Obama’s astonishing sentence offers a syllogistic string of superciliousness: Gun ownership is equated with religious fanaticism, which is said to accompany hatred of the other in the form of opposition to immigration and support for trade barriers. It drips with an attitude so important to the spiritual well-being of the American liberal — the paternalistic attitude that says, “Oh, well, people only do thing differently from me because they are ignorant and superstitious and backward” — that it has survived and thrived despite the suicidal impact it has had on the achievement of liberal political goals and aims.
This sort of liberal caricature was so prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s that it helped convince tens of millions of die-hard Democrats that their own party no longer had their best interests at heart — that it, in fact, viewed them as some kind of enemy, as a reactionary force for evil — and led them to pull the lever first for Richard Nixon in 1972 and then for Ronald Reagan in 1980.
One thing, though. Like the yahoos whose portrait he has drawn with the subtlety of a juvenile delinquent scrawling an obscene image on a high-school-bathroom-stall door, Obama has declared himself an opponent of free trade. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Because by his own description, his stance on trade makes it likely he’s got a gun and he will train it on you to try and get you to convert to Jeremiah Wright-ism.