Skip to comments.W Virginia keeps distance from Obama
Posted on 05/12/2008 2:54:17 AM PDT by personalaccts
W Virginia keeps distance from Obama By Andrew Ward
Published: May 11 2008 20:13 | Last updated: May 11 2008 20:13
Like most people in Mingo County, West Virginia, Leonard Simpson is a lifelong Democrat. But given a choice between Barack Obama and John McCain in November, the 67-year-old retired coalminer would vote Republican.
I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wifes an atheist, said Mr Simpson, drawing on a cigarette outside the fire station in Williamson, a coalmining town of 3,400 people surrounded by lush wooded hillsides.
EDITORS CHOICE Editorial comment: Obama profits not from Jeremiah - Mar-23Obama wins support from Richardson - Mar-21Editorial Comment: Democrats dirty tricks - Mar-12Obama under fire over Nafta memo - Mar-03Obama feted in Clinton country - Feb-06Obama secures early win in the glamour stakes - Feb-05Mr Simpsons remarks help explain why Mr Obama is trailing Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, by 40 percentage points ahead of Tuesdays primary election in the heavily white and rural state, according to recent opinion polls.
A landslide victory for Mrs Clinton in West Virginia will do little to improve her fading hopes of winning the Democratic nomination, because Mr Obama has an almost insurmountable lead in the overall race.
But Tuesdays contest is likely to reinforce Mrs Clintons argument that she would be the stronger opponent for Mr McCain in November, and raise fresh doubts about whether the US is ready to elect its first black president.
Occupying a swathe of the Appalachian Mountains on the threshold between the Bible Belt and the Rust Belt, West Virginia is a swing state that voted twice for George W. Bush but backed Democrats in six of the eight prior presidential elections.
No Democrat has been elected to the White House without carrying West Virginia since 1916, yet Mr Obama appears to have little chance of winning there in November. Recent opinion polls indicate that Mrs Clinton would narrowly beat Mr McCain in the state but Mr Obama would lose by nearly 20 percentage points.
West Virginia is hostile territory for Mr Obama because it has few of the African-Americans and affluent, college-educated whites who provide his strongest support. The state has the lowest college graduation rate in the US, the second lowest median household income, and one of the highest proportions of white residents, at 96 per cent.
A visit to Mingo County, a Democratic stronghold in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields, reveals the scale of Mr Obamas challenge not only in West Virginia but in white, working-class communities across the US. With a gun shop on its main street and churches dotted throughout the town, Williamson is the kind of community evoked by Mr Obamas controversial comments last month about bitter small-town voters who cling to guns or religion.
If he is the nominee, the Democrats have no chance of winning West Virginia, said Missy Endicott, a 40- year-old school administrator. He doesnt understand ordinary Americans.
Ms Endicott was among roughly 500 people who crammed into the Williamson Fire Department building on Friday to attend a rally by Bill Clinton, the former president. He told them his wife represented people like you, in places like this, and urged voters to turn out in record numbers on Tuesday to send a message to the higher-type people who were trying to force her out of the race.
Local leaders said Mr Clinton was the most important visitor to Williamson since John F. Kennedy passed through during the 1960 election campaign. Mr Kennedys victory in the West Virginia primary that year was a crucial step towards proving his electability as the first Catholic president. Nearly five decades later, the state appears less willing to help Mr Obama break down barriers to the White House.
None of the 22 Democrats interviewed by the Financial Times at the Clinton rally would commit themselves to voting for Mr Obama if he became the nominee, and half said they definitely would not. The depth of opposition is particularly striking considering that Mingo County is one of the most Democratic places in West Virginia, having cast about 85 per cent of its votes for the party in the 2006 midterm elections. If Mr Obama cannot win there in November, he has little chance of carrying the state.
Most people questioned said they mistrusted Mr Obama because of doubts about his patriotism and values, stemming from his cosmopolitan background, his exotic name and the controversy surrounding anti-American sermons by Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor. Several people said they believed he was a Muslim an unfounded rumour that has circulated on the internet for months despite the contradiction with his 20-year membership of Mr Wrights church in Chicago. Others mentioned his refusal to wear a Stars and Stripes badge and controversial remarks by his wife, Michelle, who described America as mean and implied that she had never been proud of the US until her husband ran for president.
Conservative commentators have questioned Mr Obamas patriotism for months and the issue is expected to be one of the Republicans main lines of attack if he wins the nomination. The American people want a president who loves their country as much as they do, said Whit Ayres, a Republican strategist. Obama supporters believe patriotism is being used as code to harness racist sentiment.
Josh Fry, a 24-year-old ambulance driver from Williamson, insisted he was not racist but said he would feel more comfortable with Mr McCain, the 71-year-old Vietnam war hero, in the White House. I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president, he said. Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008
So if whites don’t vote for Barack Hussein Muhammad Obama, they’re, ipso facto, racists? Thank goodness for the privacy of the voting booth. I suppose the left will demand public voting in 2012...
The MSM’s job this week is to paint West Virginia as a demographic aberration of racist bumpkins who don’t matter on a national level. They have to marginalize Hill’s impending landslide.
These guys are harness racists...
Wow, if Obamao is blown out in WVa, he will have to spend buckets of time trying to cozy up to rural voters.
where I’m at right now the local dumbassrat HQ has everything Hellirty. Noting of Barry. Across the street, Barry has a office on the second floor of a building that has maybe 10 people working there.
No we’re (meaning those of us in WV) are not racist. We’re just old school. :)
Excellent slur of a rube from W. Virginia. Only thing Andrew Ward left out was the white sheet.
What really irks me is the double standard we have in this country today concerning race. 90 some percent of blacks vote for the black candidate and race never gets talked about or reported in that light. 20% of the beasts supporters say they can't vote for Hussein and they're called a bunch of racists. Let me put it another way: If I state that I am going to vote for John McCain because he is white, what makes me any different than a black person saying he is going to vote for Obama because he is black, well half black. Both statements are equally racial in tone and context and both are equally as wrong.
Barry just needs to learn how to appeal to Byrd's constituents.
“I’m an old Gauley river rat and just hate to see you guys unfairly dumped on.”
The Gauley and the New River area is simply beautiful!
“The Gauley and the New River area is simply beautiful!”
Unless you’ve been caught in the Town of Gauley Bridge’s Speed-trap...
Gee, did they edit out the part about the banjo music playing in the background? This is the drive by media's slap at (once again) at small town America. Shame on them for portraying West Virginians as inbred illiterates. Obama's poor showing...is just that a poor showing representing the notion that possibly the people presented with his candidacy opt to choose his rival. Maybe West Virginians see in Obama what their neighbors in Ohio and PA did...that he is (even next to Hillary) an uber lib. That maybe people living in the 'rust belt' don't see liberal policies as the 'answer.' Nahhhh....its just 'easier' for the MSM to paint w/that broad brush...WV=rural rubes; OH=too mainstreet; PA=too bitter. How about Obama=way too liberal?
“Unless youve been caught in the Town of Gauley Bridges Speed-trap...”
I think that’s called their revenue generator.
I’m not sure where “Sheets” Byrd stands but my guess is that he endorses Clinton 100 percent and Obama 50 percent (his white side of course).
seems like he forgot the “as he fondled his assault rifle”
in that comment.
You're right, that white sheet thing is rather passe.
You say that as though it is something bad???
There they go again. Insinuating that folks who do not trust Obama are idiots or racists. It just will not wash. It’s the folks who believe anything Obama says who are the stupid ones.
I am tired of hearing that any reference to Obama’s early ties to the Muslim faith are totally untrue. One would have to be outside our universe to be unaware that Obama was a Muslim as a child. The liberal news media think that by saying that this is not so, will make it so. It is clear that Obama’s religious convictions will play a large part in this election cycle. It is hard to hide the truth about it. Clearly he was a Muslim for about 25 years of his life, even though he may not have been a devout one. Then he meets and marries Michelle who is a radical, black power, feminist, and he joins Trinity church. There he listens to Rev. Wright’s rants against the country, and against all white people for 20 years.
Now, Obama wants us to like him and believe his lies.
I still have never seen proof or heard him say that he was ever baptized himself.
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