Thoughts on West Virginia primary and aftermath

     It has become increasingly clear that both the Obama campaign and the media are of the opinion that the Democratic race is over and that Hillary Clinton should simply drop her presidential bid for the sake of "party unity." Apparently fooled that an Obama victory in a state whose demographics heavily favored him (North Carolina with its large African American population) somehow coronated him the Democratic nominee, the Obama campaign has deftly manipulated the announcement of numerous endorsements (superdelegates, John Edwards, etc.) to give himself an "aura of inevitability" and force Clinton to withdraw from the race. Now that he (is of the opinion that he) does not need to win greater numbers of pledged delegates, his whole "platform" of every state counts (except of course for Florida and Michigan)has suddenly disappeared, with Obama entirely disregarding several of the remaining contests for the simple reason that they favor Clinton. By not campaigning in West Virginia, knowing full well that it would be almost impossible to win more than 30 % of the vote, he sufficiently lowered expectations and managed to convince the media the next day to converge on John Edward's endorsement. This quick fix, however, was not enough to quite conceal Senator Obama's glaring weakness among working class white democrats, a fact which will likely be further accentuated in Tuesday's Kentucky primary. I know that many of you credit Clinton's win in this state entirely to lingering racism, a somewhat plausible suggestion given that a former KKK member represents the state in the senate. However, does that give me free license to insult the people of the numerous states, such as Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolin, North Carolina, etc., that Senator Obama won by relying almost entirely on the African American vote? I think not, so please extend the same courtesy to the voters in states that CLinton won, like West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A forty-one point blowout after the "nominee" has been annointed simply cannot be explained away so easily and polls show (see surveyusa) that Clinton would win (or almost win)this state while Obama would be crushed, a similar scenario to other states like Arkansas,Florida, Kentucky, etc. I am sure that come Tuesday Hillary Clinton's  greater than thirty point margin of victory in Kentucky will be once again viewed as the "same old racial politics" by many including the media. However, Obama, the so called uniter, is only further dividing the country by ignoring (and by many accounts insulting) a crucial voting bloc in the general election. From my last diary, you may have known that I live in Florida. Here, many people perceive Obama to be an "empty suit," saying that he has not elaborated on any finite foreign policy plans (though of course McCain's plans are simply to remain mired in Iraq) and has failed to fully expiate the association with Reverend Wright. These people, many of them hard working Democrats, are not racist; rather, they feel that Obama's lofty rhetoric and opposition to the full seating of the Florida delegates merit the loss of their support in the G.E.
        Senator Obama loves to claim that he has put together a winning coalition for the G.E. that is comprised of wealthy, educated "latte liberals" and of course his inordinate African American retinue. This starts to become reminiscent of George McGovern's crushing defeat, a low point in the history of the Democratic party. The point, however, strikes home; Senator Obama will not be able to win in November without the support of Clinton's base and from his campaign's condescending drivel toward the Clintons, it is clear that he has no desire to earn their support. In an Obama McCain matchup, I think that Obama would lose the popular vote by a relatively narrow margin but lose the electoral vote by a significant number. (see 1992 election) It is for this reason that I hope Hillary CLinton takes her campaign to the convention so that the elaborate and sophisticated plans that she has proposed can take effect. In short, I trust Hillary, not Barack, to get the job done right. Call me a Republican troll, an idiot, a traitor, or any other wonderful names that I have not yet been called by Obama supporters, whose attitude toward dissent is starting to resemble a reemergence of fascism. However, I am first and foremost a Democrat, albeit one who positively abhors the empty rhetoric of Senator Obama, who cannot stand the "100 years in Iraq" and "strict constructionist justices" polices promoted by the likes of John McCain. This was supposed to be the election where we choose the better of two candidates, not the lesser of two evils. I am an avid supporter of my local Democratic party officials and would campaign for them in the November election. However, neither Obama NOR McCain is qualified to assume control of the Oval Office. Call me a divider, user of Rovian tactics, I do not care. I like many other Democrats, feel that we need someone that we can count on in the White house, someone with a proven track record, represents ALL democrats even the "racist" blue collar workers, and who is well versed in foreign policy. Regrettably, this person is not Senator Barack Hussein Obama. It is clearly Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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Hillary and Obama run equally well among working-class white voters...

If you delve into the internals of the new Quinnipiac poll (the one which shows a 7% Obama lead for the GE), there's an interesting tidbit...

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It's Not About Race [Updated]

It's all over the blogosphere, the cable TV shows, the newspapers, it's tonight's top talking point from Obama surrogates.

It's Obama's rationale:  Defeats in West Virginia (and Kentucky next week) are because those white folks got a problem voting for a black man.

But sorry, that's wrong.  Not only is it wrong, it's hugely offensive to fair-minded white people.  That's right, most "hillbillies" and southern folk do not discriminate. Imagine how all those white people who voted for Hillary Clinton today feel having their votes explained away due to racism.  It's not going to help in November if Obama is the nominee, that much is for sure.

I just saw a FOX News exit poll statistic that 77% of the people in West Virginia said race was NOT a factor in their vote.  I absolutely believe them.  I believe that a different African American candidate could be much more successful than Obama among some of the white segments where he's struggled.  I have been trying to shout this point from the rooftops:  It is not Obama's skin color that gives voters pause.  It is a collection of other issues, mixed together.  It's Rev. Wright damning America, plus "bitter small-towners clinging," plus friendships with guys like Rezko and Ayres, plus Michelle's patriotism gaffe, plus the flag pin problem -- all of that combined with the experience gap, the weak name recognition -- all together, there's the answer.

It's not race, so please stop.  If Obama becomes the nominee, I'd suggest that a more effective way to win votes in November is to deal head-on with the liabilities listed in that last paragraph.  Playing the race card may have had some limited use in the primary season, but it will be the kiss of death for Democrats as a general-election strategy.

Obama lost West Virginia today by whopping double digits.  Convenient as it may be to blame it on racism, that's a costly error.

UPDATE: In the comments to this diary, twinmom makes a great point:

I'd take it a step further (2.00 / 4)

I don't even think this victory has anything to do with Obama. It isn't a rejection of him... these people LOVE HILLARY! These people believe with all their hearts and minds that Hillary should be our next President. She connects with them, she speaks to them, she gets their enthusiastic support and votes.

Personally, I've never lived in a state that went for Obama. I've lived in RI, NY, MA, NH, CA, NM, PA. Racism doesn't explain why those votes went for Hillary. I don't know a single person that I'd ever in a million years call racist. I know literally hundreds of loyal Clinton supporters and their motivation is exactly like my own: Pro-pro-pro-pro-HILLARY! Not everything is about Obama. :)


Cross posted at texasdarlin

TexasDarlin, all rights reserved
Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign

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To Hillary from WV

Dear Hillary Clinton:

Since you like to bombard me with e-mail and recorded phone calls, I know you must be interested in me. After all, I'm a lower-middle-class (family income around $50K) white guy living in West Virginia... working a part-time teaching job (I got laid off a couple of years ago as a well-paid computer consultant to the IRS and folks in their sixties aren't readily re-hired in that field).

I live in Shepherdstown, where you visited on Tuesday. I didn't get close enough to see you (parking was a real drag and driving around looking for a spot on $3.71 per gallon gas was a real bummer), but I know you were really there talking to me.

I've been listening to your USA Today interview quote on TV yesterday and today... you know... where you distinguished between hard working white guys who you appealed to and Obama didn't. Frankly, I thought we had gotten beyond thinking about ourselves as black or white this year. I went to an Obama support meeting here in Jefferson County last month and there were members of several racial groups there... and many of us were white (I think we were all hard working, too, but I'm not sure about Asians or Hispanics or the African-Americans who were there... you'll have to let me  know.)

We get to do early voting in the WV Primary and I'm afraid to tell you that I already voted last weekend. And I voted for Obama.  Of course that was before you let me know how hard working white folks were supposed to vote.

So I guess what I want to say is "Sorry". And could you have your folks stop calling me and e-mailing me? I feel bad enough as it is.

- Blue Collar Bill

Under The LobsterScope

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Can Black Police be Color-Aroused?

In the Sean Bell case in New York, the police couldn't get an all-white jury in New York City, so instead they got an all-white judge.    Brilliant!

Not for nothing has the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association forsworn jury trials for cops indicted in the Bronx. Two decades ago when Officer         Stephen Sullivan went on trial for fatally shooting Eleanor Bumpers, a black grandmother, he did not appear before a jury. [In the Bronx juries are predominantly black and Hispanic.] Instead, he was tried before a specially selected white judge, who acquitted him. NYPDConfidential

But, this case demonstrates something else much more subtle and useful that I've been saying about color-aroused behavior.  One of the police officers who killed Sean Bell was Black, and he's the one whom the Police Benevolent Association put before the cameras after the acquittals.  Why?  Because the PBA knows that Blacks believe that "only whites can be 'racist' ", as a matter of doctrine.   So, once we learn that one of the police officer culprits was Black, that will take much of the wind out of our angry sails.  The New York Times reports:

In Harlem, Willie Rainey, 60, a Vietnam veteran and retired airport worker, said that he believed the detectives should have been found guilty, but that he saw the case through a prism not of race, but of police conduct. "It's a lack of police training," Mr. Rainey said. "It's not about race when you have black killing black. We overplay the black card as an issue." NYTIMES
The fact is that when society does not value Blacks as much as it values whites, this affects everyone's behavior, regardless of their skin color - both Blacks and whites.  When a Black police officer considers employing lethal and unnecessary force force against a Black person, OF COURSE he considers the fact that he knows there will ultimately be no consequences for doing so.  He acts in the knowledge that if he shot a white person 50 times, he might well be executed in some states.

The New York Times says,

Sean Bell has become a symbol of what they describe as police aggression and racial profiling in black neighborhoods. Had Mr. Bell and his friends been white, they said, the police would have responded less aggressively, and Mr. Bell might still be alive.  NYTIMES
But that NEVER happens, police shooting white people as they shot Sean Bell, because everyone knows that even a police officer cannot shoot a white person 50 times!  Certainly a Black police officer would not be permitted to do so!    

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