An Ol’ Broad’s Ramblings

March 25, 2007

Left, or More Left

Filed under: Opinion — olbroad @ 7:20

Obama and blue collars: Do they fit?
History says he must reach working-class voters — Hillary Clinton’s stronghold.

IN THE EARLY returns among the young, computer-savvy social networkers on the MySpace website, Barack Obama is running laps around Hillary Rodham Clinton. Obama’s MySpace page has attracted more than twice as many friends as Clinton’s unofficial page on the site.

Early returns? The primaries haven’t even started yet, and they’re already touting a “winner”. Do those of voting age really use MySpace? I thought that was a pre-teen thing.

Obama’s early support is following a pattern familiar from the campaigns of other brainy liberals with cool, detached personas and messages of political reform, from Eugene McCarthy in 1968 to Gary Hart in 1984 to Bill Bradley in 2000. Like those predecessors, Obama is running strong with well-educated voters but demonstrating much less support among those without college degrees.

Brainy liberals? (zipping lip) Ok, there might be well educated libs (one is my oldest sister), but how well do they understand the REAL world?

That trend may be exaggerated at the moment by the fact that Obama, a relative newcomer, is better known among better-educated voters, and it could be mitigated in the future by his potential appeal to African Americans. But it is not a pattern Obama can allow to harden. All of the candidates whose support fit that profile ultimately lost the nomination to rivals whose support was rooted in the blue-collar and minority communities where Clinton is strongest in early surveys.

Here’s a clue: Even if you don’t have a PHD behind your name, does NOT mean you are too stupid to see through the facade of the liberal agenda. Actually, I sometimes think the more educated, the less common sense.

Democratic professionals often describe this sorting as a competition between upscale “wine track” candidates and blue-collar “beer track” contenders. Another way to express the difference is to borrow from historian John Milton Cooper Jr.’s telling comparison of the pugnacious Theodore Roosevelt and the idealistic Woodrow Wilson. Cooper described the long rivalry between Republican Roosevelt and Democrat Wilson as a contest between a warrior and a priest. In modern times, the Democratic presidential race has usually pitted a warrior against a priest.

Interesting comparison. A pretty darn good president (Teddy R.) and a not so good one. Hmmmm….

Some candidates transcend these divisions. In 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was a warrior who quoted Aeschylus. Bill Clinton blended a warrior’s resiliency with a priest’s promise of transformative (“third way”) politics. But most Democratic candidates fall clearly on one or the other side of this divide.

Using Bill Clinton in the same sentence with the word warrior is beyond absurd! We all know what his “third way” was…or was it three way?

Since Obama entered the campaign, the question he’s faced most often is whether he is “black enough” to win votes from African Americans. But the more relevant issue may be whether Obama is “blue enough” to increase his support among blue-collar whites.

Just what the heck does “black enough” mean? The color of the man’s skin shouldn’t matter one whit. Nor gender. The fact that the Hildebeast is a socialist, and Barack is even more to the left than she is, will not bode well for either white collar or blue collar.



  1. […] People Are Saying Left, or More Left IN THE EARLY returns among the young, computer-savvy social networkers on the MySpace website, […]

    Pingback by Hillary Clinton » Hillary Clinton March 25, 2007 10:12 pm — March 25, 2007 @ 8:18

  2. Left, or More Left

    Trackback by University Update — March 25, 2007 @ 8:26

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