If one were to transpose Barack Obama’s recent remarks about Middle America and working-class, white Pennsylvania into a Clintonian context, mutatis mutandis, it would come out something like the following:
Hillary attends a fund-raiser of conservative bible-belters in the Midwest. Once among supposed supporters she reviews her problems of wooing inner-city African-American voters in Chicago that are for Obama by wide margins.
So she starts to explain, in sociological fashion, a little about these distant embittered folks, or whom she calls “they”:
“It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Then when the furor erupted, an anti-NAFTA Hillary would contextualize all that by saying she had mangled and conflated what she meant, but that in general her message was nevertheless accurate. After all, she only meant that there is a tradition of gun ownership and use in the African-American inner-city, that the black church (like Trinity) is a platform for the airing of economic grievances, that on occasion some bitter blacks resent wealthier whites and Jews, or Mexican nationals who take their jobs, and that those in the inner -city who are bitter, confused, and frustrated understandably in angry fashion lash out against unfair trade aggreements. And that it is “natural” that “they” do all these things.
And after that bigoted performance, her campaign would be summarily finished—whether or not a Charlie Gibson or George Stephanopoulos pressed her over the remarks during a subsequent debate.