Larry Elder

"Bitter," says Sen. Barack Obama, the man of hope and change, about those who live Pennsylvania, small towns and the Midwest.

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania," Barack Obama said two Sundays ago to the Brie-and-chardonnay crowd at a fundraiser in San Francisco, "and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years, and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate, and they have not. And 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."

I spent nearly 20 years living in the Midwest. I attended law school in Michigan, and moved to and lived in Ohio for another 15 years. I married a woman from Menominee, a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Her strong, values-oriented, working-class parents produced a doctor and two computer engineers.

Yet people living on the East Coast and West Coast, and those with "superior education and breeding," often dismiss those living in the Midwestern and other states, especially small towns, as existing in "flyover country."

Where to begin with Obama's statement about bitterness?

"Cling" to guns? Never mind that many people in this country hunt, grow up in a "gun culture," and believe strongly that guns provide self-defense. This belief holds in both good times and bad -- not a result of some new phenomenon over "bitterness."

"Cling" to religion? Obama here insults all religious Americans, 80 to 90 percent by some polls. Obama apparently believes one embraces religion out of bitterness, not due to spirituality, values, belief in or the acceptance of and submission to a higher power. Perhaps this explains why Obama clung to the Trinity Church of Christ for 20 years, with its anti-Semitic, anti-white, anti-American, conspiracy-believing pastor, Jeremiah Wright. If Obama attended the church out of "bitterness," surely, his reasoning goes, others do so as well.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit