Barack Obama’s recent comments about how Middle Americans are “bitter” and cling to God and guns have given the chattering class plenty to bloviate about in the post-Spitzer, pre-Pennsylvania primary epoch. Obama sounded suspiciously like Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas?, a 2004 book that expounded for a few hundred pages on the idea of cultural issues trumping economic disparity in politics. Frank pens a witty editorial for The Wall Street Journal, updating his thesis for the age of Obama and the 2008 election, while Bob Novak keenly suggests in The Washington Post that Obama keep the concept but ditch the rhetoric. Meanwhile, The Economist‘s man in Washington pragmatically suggests that voters will see through the petty controversy and consider the real issues at hand. Stay tuned — we’ll find out tonight.