SIGNED ‘BITTER IN PENNSYLTUCKY’: An Open Letter To America From The Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania


To Whom It May Concern:

We live in small towns and rural areas throughout Pennsylvania and we support Barack Obama for President.

A few days ago, Sen. Obama made some comments that his opponents are now using to make him appear as if he is something he is not. Instead of speaking to us honestly about how they intend to solve the problems we are facing, they are playing the same old Washington games that accomplish nothing.

obama_shep_print_final2_2.jpgWhat Sen. Obama said is that over the last 25-30 years, working class people in places like Pennsylvania have been falling behind, and that politicians in Washington haven’t been looking out for them. He also said that, as a result, many people have become frustrated, angry and even bitter about all the broken promises.

He was right.

The politicians who are now saying that we shouldn’t be frustrated are the ones who are out of touch.

People in the towns and communities we live in have seen their jobs shipped overseas. We’ve seen our pensions disappear. We’ve seen our health care costs skyrocket. We’ve seen everything from the cost of gasoline to a gallon of milk go through the roof.

As our families have struggled to make ends meet and our communities fought to stay intact, how has Washington responded? By giving tax breaks to the wealthy, rewarding corporations who ship jobs overseas, and turning the levers of power over to the lobbyists and special interests.

It’s easy to feel a little frustrated when you see these Washington politicians continue to ignore you. But it’s not the only emotion we feel. When someone comes along who is untainted by the system in Washington, who doesn’t take money from federal lobbyists or special interests and who promises that things can be different, we feel something else — hope.

That’s why we’re supporting Barack Obama. Others have come along and promised change, but failed to deliver. Sen. Obama is different than the rest. He doesn’t take money from the special interests, and he speaks honestly about the issues we are facing.

In addition to supporting his plans for jobs, health care and education, we believe that he can deliver on hishillarys_prayer_251x300.jpg promises to ensure economic opportunity for family farmers, to provide support for rural economic development, to promote renewable energy in rural America, to protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting, and to preserve open land for hunting and fishing.

Unlike his opponents who have been part of the Washington establishment for decades, Barack Obama understands the struggles we are going through. We welcomed him with open arms as he made his way through small towns and rural areas on his recent bus tour across the state. And we will work day and night from now until the primary on his behalf not only because he has heard our frustrations, but because he speaks to our hope that Washington can actually work for people like us.

John Fetterman, Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania

ObamaMONEY_1_1.jpgALLENTOWN MORNING CALL: Pennsylvania’s Democratic voters on April 22 will choose between two candidates in the presidential primary. Both are qualified to become the nation’s chief executive. They have more similarities than differences. But, The Morning Call recommends that Sen. Barack Obama be nominated, and we offer three reasons. The first is the quality of his campaign. It has surprised the experts by moving him close to the finish line against bigger, more established political machines and it has communicated his basic ideas well. The second is his message of hope and change. It conveys a vision of the nation’s future that is in tune with the tenor and consensus of most Americans. And third, and most important for the Democratic Party at this moment in history, there is Sen. Obama’s ability to inspire. MORE

NEW YORK TIMES: For the third time since Mr. Obama’s remarks were made public Friday night, Mrs. Clinton criticized him at length, saying his comments seemed “kind of elitist and out of touch.” “I disagree with Senator hillary_clinton_with_gunscropped.jpgObama’s assertion that people in our country cling to guns and have certain attitudes about immigration or trade simply out of frustration,” she said. She described herself as a pro-gun churchgoer, recalling that her father taught her how to shoot a gun when she was a young girl and said that her faith “is the faith of my parents and my grandparents.”

CNN: SCRANTON, Pennsylvania – After a weekend spent making direct appeals to gun owners and church goers, Hillary Clinton said Sunday a query about the last time she fired a gun or attended church services “is not a relevant question in this debate” over Barack Obama’s recent comments on small town Americans. MORE

ObamaMONEY_1_1.jpgSCRANTON TIMES-TRIBUNE: All of the myriad issues facing the next president of the United States coalesce into a single question: Who can best lead? For Pennsylvania Democrats, the best answer in the April 22 primary is Barack Obama. In a nomination campaign that has defied convention, Mr. Obama has energized an entire generation of voters that, for the most part, otherwise had checked out of political participation. That, at least, portends a new approach to governance that can help to dissipate the political miasma that has engulfed Washington at least since the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. MORE


FLASHBACK: “You know, [Bush] wants to divide us over race. I’m from the South. I understand this. This quota deal they’re gonna pull in the next election is the same old scam they’ve been pulling on us for decade after decade after decade. When their economic policies fail, when the country’s coming apart rather than coming together, what do they do? They find the most economically insecure white men and scare the living daylights out of them. They know if they can keep us looking at each other across a racial divide, if I can look at Bobby Rush and think, Bobby wants my job, my promotion, then neither of us can lookObamaClintonBashSEPIACROPPED_1.jpg at George Bush and say, ‘What happened to everybody’s job? What happened to everybody’s income? What … have … you … done … to … our … country?'” –Bill Clinton, 1991

FLASHBACK: Stepping up the Clinton Administration’s campaign against gun violence, Hillary Rodham Clinton used an emotional White House ceremony today to call on Americans to press Congress to ”buck the gun lobby” and pass several gun control measures…The Senate is to begin debate next week on a number of gun control measures, some of which mirror proposals offered recently by President Clinton. ”The senators need to hear from all of us,” Mrs. Clinton said. She urged voters ”to give them the encouragement to do what they know is right and to remind them that there are many, many millions of American voters and citizens who will stand behind political leaders who are brave enough to buck the gun lobby, wherever that may take us, so that they will vote for the measures that we know will save lives.” [May 9, 1999, NEW YORK TIMES]


EDITOR’S NOTE: I can’t believe it’s gotten to the point where we are willingly running NRA propaganda films from the early ’90s, but here we are. The reason why regurgitating the gun lobby’s crass anti-Clinton smear tactics is instructive is that it shows just how shamelessly chameleonic the Clintons have become in their pursuit of power, how amorphous and illusory their core beliefs are, and how their political barometer ALWAYS seems to trump their moral compass these days. They have come to resemble abused children that have grown up to abuse their own children. Has a decade-plus of right wing bullying and abuse so warped them that they now think it is somehow acceptable to wield gun-nut-hysteria as a cudgel to beat down the brightest rising star of their own beloved Democratic party? Sad to say, yes. Long ago the Clintons exhausted the unconditional love we lavished on them in the ’90s, as well as our willingness to forgive, forget or, when all else failed, look the other way — Mark Rich was the tipping point, if memory serves — and all that’s left now is a begrudging respect that diminishes by the day.

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