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Barack Obama to Rural Voters: I Canít Believe in You
Townhall ^ | April 15, 2008 | Mary Katharine Ham

Posted on 04/15/2008 12:09:05 PM PDT by vietvet67

Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned by Democrats from this week’s “bitter” brouhaha is that when you get advice about how to hook rural, white, blue-collar voters from a guy named Mudcat, you’d best listen.

Dave “Mudcat” Saunders—Democratic strategist, bluegrass enthusiast, and general pied piper of the “Bubba vote,” as he calls it—had a little-noticed fight with liberal bloggers back in June 2007 that perfectly presaged this week’s controversy.

“I have bitched and moaned for years about the lack of tolerance in the elitist wing of the Democratic Party, or what I refer to as the ‘Metropolitan Opera Wing.’ These are the people who talk of tolerance but the only true tolerance they ever exhibit is for their own pseudo-intellectual arrogance,” the then-Edwards adviser proclaimed in his typical profanity-peppered prose on Time magazine’s Swampland blog.

The liberal blogosphere, capital of the elitist wing, shot back in predictable, intractable style. MyDD’s Chris Bowers called Mudcat’s post a “work of paranoid genius” while a Daily Kos blogger seemed unclear as to “why the Democratic party should give respectful attention to rural voters (in any region of the country).” In short, Saunders was roundly criticized for deigning to criticize the liberal activist support of the blogosphere in the name of “rural, southern whites.”

Nevermind the fact that those rural whites are the key to Democrats winning back the South, much of the Midwest, and the Great Plains states, and subsequently winning national elections again. Though his electoral record is spotty (see Bob Graham and John Edward), Mudcat’s call for respect of rural whites is nonetheless important, and has produced results.

When his message has met up with the right candidate who was willing to listen, there were glimmers of hope for the future of the Democratic Party. In 2001, he and other advisers managed to turn the voters of southwest Virginia back into Democrats, fielding Mark Warner, whose pedigree was as effete as John Kerry’s. Mudcat helped the Connecticut native and Harvard-educated millionare cozy up to rural voters by serving up basic respect and a NASCAR sponsorship. The state of Virginia is now more purple than it’s been in quite some time.

Unfortunately for them, Democrats have chosen to follow the advice of another political acolyte with a somewhat less constructive approach. Thomas Frank, author of “What’s the Matter of Kansas?” gave voice to the feelings of another bitter political constituency in 2004: Those with “Redefeat Bush” bumper stickers on their cars and conspiracy theories in their hearts.

Those who woke up on Nov. 8, 2004 and thought, like the headline of a prominent British newspaper, “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?” needed an answer, and they found it in Frank’s bestseller. His thesis was that rural voters had been duped by Republicans into voting against their economic self-interests, and that if they could just be shown the error of their ways, they’d gladly become the big-government labor-loyal proletariat they should be. The fact that the Democratic ticket had looked and acted like a competitive line-up for Monty Python’s Upper-Class Twit of the Year contest had nothing to do with it, of course.

The fact that liberals chose Frank’s handbook for condescension over Mudcat’s more constructive message is telling. It’s a proposal for a fundamental shift in American politics—from a center-right nation to a center-left one—without any movement required on the part of the Democratic Party. It’s a plan built on wooing rural voters by first questioning their sanity, motives, and moral fiber.

To many liberals, views as detestable as conservative ones cannot be explained by anything other than mental illness and ill will, false motives and false consciousness. The “Blame America first” crowd became the “Blame the voter first” crowd, and the relatively sanguine results of 2006 seemed to validate their theory. It’s a political strategy without personal responsibility born of a political philosophy that eschews the same value, and it was always destined to fail.

Obama’s comments about small-town America, delivered to a group of rich liberal donors in San Francisco, were the utterly unsurprising culmination of a electoral plan built on disrespecting the very voters needed for election.

This week, Hillary Clinton gave Obama the critique someone should have given the Democratic Party four years ago. When asked why Obama wasn’t connecting with rural Pennsylvanian voters, Clinton explained “instead of looking at himself, he blamed them.”

The failure of the Democratic Party to take responsibility for its own electoral failures is perhaps a perfectly natural intellectual offshoot of a political philosophy that requires no one to take responsibility in their own lives, but it lies at the heart of Democrats’ problem with rural voters.

As a 2006 political science study of rural populations showed (and as anyone who’s actually lived in a small town could tell you), the "individualistic ethic and legacy of self- employment and home-ownership inclines them to adopt the self-image of the independent entrepreneur and property owner rather than that of the laborer in need of state regulation and protection .. Republican emphasis on personal effort, limited government and free markets fits comfortably within this self-image" (James G. Gimpel and Kimberly A. Karnes, University of Maryland).

Liberals routinely assume small towns are unfailingly desperate places filled with helpless people largely because they can think of no other explanation for people living in them. They project their own values on those communities, mistake proximity to a sushi bar with quality of life, and assume these people must be waiting for someone to rescue them.

But the man who owns a mechanic’s shop or a contracting business with his wife and raises a family in a house of his own on a decent chunk of land is not looking for the government to rescue him from anything. He has troubles, but he is not helpless; he may lack a Ph.D., but he is not stupid, and the suggestion thereof is not appreciated.

Kansas itself is a perfect example. At the time Frank’s book was written, the state had enjoyed lower unemployment numbers than the rest of the country throughout the 90’s and into the 21st century, and reported only 3 percent of its citizens living below the poverty line, as opposed to about 12 percent nationally.

Obama’s messaging has been a smashing success thus far in his campaign, and even has the potential, on its face, to speak to rural whites in a way other Democratic messages have not. He often sounds more positive about the American dream than Edwards and less cynical about the future than Clinton, which could work well if rural whites actually believed what he said.

“I’m asking you to believe,” reads the welcome message for his web site, “Not just in my ability to make change in Washington… I’m asking you to believe in yours.”

But this week he sent the same old Democratic message to rural voters, and they’re listening.

Barack Obama: He can’t believe in you.

Mary Katharine Ham is the managing editor for Townhall.com.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008; barackobama; bitter; bubbavote; democratparty; elections; elitists; obama; ruralvote; smalltown
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To: griswold3

Video, please!

Is he callin’ me a ‘cracka’?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Wiu_aunWgM

I’ll have to change my comment a bit. In this one when he delivers the “black” line, he’s more comfortable in voice, but not in a “black accent” like at the Annie Oakley speech.

Still, he knows his white liberal audience well.

A better quality of this video from someone else appeared a while ago at politico.com


21 posted on 04/15/2008 12:59:01 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Bender2

Maybe the Obamination should join his cousin Odinga’s cabinet in Kenya instead of gracing the rest of us with his prescence..


22 posted on 04/15/2008 12:59:43 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
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To: Bender2

"Hussein Obama’s big mouth, small brain, condescending, America-hating, grandkid-baby-terminating, born-alive-infant-abandoning, America-hating-wife, kooky-moonbat-America-hating-pastor, racially-divisive, race-baiting, crotch-saluting, America-flag-disrespecting ... chickens ... coming home to roost ...!"

For an inside look at the real Hussein Obama and his elite hate America backers at San Francisco where Hussein Obama made his elitist remarks,

Go here to see the thread with all The Pictures posted and Here to see another thread about it.

Lots of interesting comments on the threads.


23 posted on 04/15/2008 1:01:30 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (Hussein ObamaSamma's Pastor, Jeremiah Wright: "God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11")
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To: griswold3

This thread is useless without pics.

Of MKH. Not of Obama. Definitely of MKH.

}:-)4


24 posted on 04/15/2008 1:08:50 PM PDT by Moose4 (If you get robbed, raped, or killed in Durham County, NC today, thank a probation officer.)
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To: truemiester

NASCAR fans are just bitter, clinging to their guns and religion in the face of an economy that forces them to watch low-class cars like Chevys, Fords, Dodges and Toyotas. If Obama was president, NASCAR could afford to race Mercedes, Volvos and Saabs.


25 posted on 04/15/2008 1:17:15 PM PDT by MediaMole
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To: vietvet67

Cool. As part of the Metropolitan Opera Wing puts Obama that much closer to the ‘fat lady’ that is going to sing the end of his campaign!


26 posted on 04/15/2008 1:18:52 PM PDT by austinaero
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To: vietvet67
Liberals routinely assume small towns are unfailingly desperate places filled with helpless people largely because they can think of no other explanation for people living in them. They project their own values on those communities, mistake proximity to a sushi bar with quality of life, and assume these people must be waiting for someone to rescue them.

But the man who owns a mechanic’s shop or a contracting business with his wife and raises a family in a house of his own on a decent chunk of land is not looking for the government to rescue him from anything. He has troubles, but he is not helpless; he may lack a Ph.D., but he is not stupid, and the suggestion thereof is not appreciated.

BUMP!

27 posted on 04/15/2008 1:23:48 PM PDT by MamaTexan (** Government was not instituted to create the Law, but to preserve it **)
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To: semantic; Constitution Day
We had sushi down in eastern NC long before it became popular nationally. We just knew it by a different name: bait.

'La bonne cuisine est la base du véritable bonheur.' - Auguste Escoffier
(Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

28 posted on 04/15/2008 1:34:03 PM PDT by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: Shermy

Hmmmm...does nobamba have a Gollum personality?


29 posted on 04/15/2008 2:13:19 PM PDT by GulfWar1Vet (Maranatha!)
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To: Shermy; dirtboy

That Obamie, he shore be a caution. Yessum, he be sumpin else entirely.


30 posted on 04/15/2008 2:55:26 PM PDT by Kenny Bunk (GOP Plank: Double Domestic Crude Production. Increase refining capacity 50 percent)
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To: LonePalm
A variant of the horrible racist joke:

Never go fishing with a Japanese fellow
He's liable to eat the bait.

31 posted on 04/15/2008 2:59:11 PM PDT by Kenny Bunk (GOP Plank: Double Domestic Crude Production. Increase refining capacity 50 percent)
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