While We're on the Subject of Condescension...


... isn't there something a little condescending about responding to youropponents' remarks about rural Pennsylvanians "cling[ing] to guns" by suddenly claiming to be a gun enthusiast yourself? Here's Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Indiana on Saturday:

You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught be how to shoot when I was a little girl. You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It's part of culture. It's part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter... As I told you, my dad taught me how to shoot behind our cottage. I have gone hunting.

The former First Lady might be the last person in America I can picture in a treestand--and yet she's still managed to carve out a pretty successful political career. So the idea that undecided Pennsylvanians would a) care whether or not Clinton has a deep understanding of hunting culture, b) believe that she does by simply learning that she shot a few rounds as a kid and c) consider that experience reason enough to choose her over Barack Obama strikes me as somewhat patronizing. Especially when she told the Newspaper Association of America during her 2000 Senate campaign that "there isn't a more important task" than passing gun-safety laws. Understandably, Obama took aim and fired, criticizing Clinton on Sunday for pandering (above). "She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsman, how she values the second amendment," he said. "She's talking like she's Annie Oakley. Hillary Clinton is out there like she's on the duck blind every Sunday. She's packing a six-shooter. Come on, she knows better. That's some politics being played by Hillary Clinton."


That said, while Obama's Annie Oakley jibe was on target, a second swipe earlier today missed the mark. Speaking to steelworkers in Pittsburgh, Obama claimed that Clinton's working-class affectations were phony. "After all, you've heard this kind of rhetoric before," he said. "Around election time, the candidates can't do enough for you. They'll promise you anything, give you a long list of proposals and even come around, with TV crews in tow, to throw back a shot and a beer." The Illinois senator was, of course, referring to this photo-op at the Bronko Restaurant and Lounge in Crown Point, Ind. yesterday, where Clinton reportedly chased a shot of Crown Royal with some Old Style beer:

Sorry, Barack--but as the New York Times reported in 2006, Clinton's no stranger to booze, having challenged John McCain (behind closed doors) to a vodka-drinking contest on a 2004 Congressional trip to Estonia. What's more, Obama himself wasn't particularly reluctant to invite the cameras inside when he visited a Pennsylvania sports bar a few weeks back.

"You know I got a beer down there," Obama said to a male patron. "What do they call it? A Yuengling?"

"Yuengling," the man confirmed. "Like you didn't know."

"Trying a Pennsylvania beer, that's what I'm talking about," said Obama, his sleeves rolled up, smiling. "Is it expensive, though? ... Wanna make sure it's not some designer beer or something."

Ah, politics. Alcohol may be the only appropriate response.