Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes says President Obama doesn’t understand “Bitter America” like Florida Rep. Allen West and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — and he aims to set the record straight in his book “Dispatches from Bitter America: A Gun toting, Chicken Eating Son of a Baptist’s Culture War Stories.”
The book’s title is a play on then-Sen. Obama’s 2008 remarks to a Democratic fundraiser in San Francisco.
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama said then, during his presidential primary battle with Hillary Clinton.
“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 toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
As a self confessed product of that “Bitter America,” Starnes said the soon-to-be president’s remarks didn’t sit well with him.
“I was offended as an American,” Starnes told The Daily Caller.
“When he delivered those remarks, I remember thinking, ‘Wait a second. Most of my family carries a gun and goes to church, sometimes all at once, and we don’t seem to be all that bitter.’ The truth is that I believe President Obama holds ‘Bitter Americans’ — people like me — in contempt. And yet, truth be told, we’re not bitter. We’re blessed.”
Starnes says what may be surprising to some reading his book is that “Bitter America” is not some neat geographical area. It can be found all over the country.
“I discovered that there are ‘Bitter Americans’ from coast to coast,” he said.
“I even found some living among the liberals in my Brooklyn neighborhood. These are people who love America, who love the traditions and values that make this country great. If you believe the Mainstream Media, the folks who live in ‘fly over’ country are the anomalies. But in reality, it’s the folks who live in the big cities who are the anomaly. Most of the United States shares the same values: God, family, country. These are the values that make us strong.”
But though Starnes argues that “Bitter Americans” lack enthusiasm for the president, he says they aren’t too excited about Mitt Romney either.
“People are sick and tired of Democrats and Republicans,” said Starnes.
“They have trust issues. There is a sense among conservatives that the Republican Party only wants their votes, not their values. It’s this idea of ‘shut up and do what you’re told.’ There’s a reason why folks like Sarah Palin and Allen West are resonating with conservatives. It’s because they not only talk the talk, but they walk the walk. Voters respect that.”
Read TheDC’s full interview with Starnes about his book, what “Bitter America” thinks of Mitt Romney and much more below.
Why did you write the book?
I grew up reading the works of Lewis Grizzard and Erma Bombeck. I was an odd duck of a kid: 14 years-old and reading “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” Let’s just say that I learned how to run real fast. But I appreciated how Grizzard and Bombeck used humor to discuss serious issues. That’s what I wanted to do with “Dispatches From Bitter America.” I wanted to tell stories about what is happening in our country — but I wanted to make sure folks were alternately horrified and amused.
Mark Levin told me I was able to convey the gravity of the situation without wanting to jump off a roof. In 2008 I was assigned to cover the Obama campaign. I traveled from coast to coast and met so many people who were — and still are –concerned about the direction of our nation. I realized that contrary to the Mainstream Media, folks in New Hampshire and Mississippi have quite a bit in common: patriotism, family, God. I wanted to tell those stories.