Bitterness is baked into this very Web site. There's a passage in the META information up front that says, fairly unequivocally, "A bitter, dying man takes one last shot at the society that perturbed him; well, maybe he's not dying, but he's definitely bitter."

Of course, we're all dying, albeit at different rates; "health," I am inclined to believe, is nothing more than a slower-than-normal downward spiral. (If "downward spiral" seems unduly harsh, well, Nine Inch Nails is playing in the background as I write.) And maybe some of that bitterness is due to knowing that The End is inevitable and not knowing what to expect afterwards.

However, absolutely none of it is due to anything Barack Obama imagines:

You go into some of 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. 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.

Points that need to be made:

Communities do not "regenerate."
The very word suggests that the process is somehow on autopilot: you combine ingredients A, B and C, wait a while, and you've got your Utopia. The number of times this has actually happened, from the beginning of recorded history through a week ago Tuesday, is right around zero. Academic types, for whom the real world is a statistical outlier, nonetheless continue to argue for America as their petri dish, and they can't understand why someone might object to being a laboratory specimen.

People become bitter for many reasons, not always political.
Of course, if you're the sort of person who insists that "the personal is political," bless you and please be on your way: you're part of the problem, not part of the solution. I came by my bitterness by observing the results of both Gresham's law, which applies to ideas no less than to currency, and the Peter Principle, which applies to all of our hierarchies, occupational as well as political. Those of us who have cynicism thrust upon us by the interaction of those two metalaws tend to resent it greatly.