For example, Pennsylvanians are racists, don’tcha know.
Joyce Susick is the type of voter who might carry Barack Obama to the White House – or keep him out. A registered Democrat in a highly competitive state, she is eager to replace George W. Bush, whom she ranks among the worst presidents ever.
There’s just one problem.
“I don’t think our country is ready for a black president,” Susick, who is white, said in an interview in the paint store where she works. “A black man is never going to win Pennsylvania.”
Susick said her personal objection to Obama is his inexperience, not his color. “It has nothing to do with race,” she said.
If Susick is right about Pennsylvania voters, it presents a major hurdle for the presumed Democratic nominee. Democrats have carried Pennsylvania in the last four presidential contests, and Obama would have to offset a loss of its 21 electoral votes by taking Republican-leaning states from John McCain.
Although the writer admits that gauging voter sentiment on race is “notoriously difficult,” he has no problem entitling the piece “Racial attitudes pose challenge for Obama,” now, does he?
The Obama camp agrees, of course, that people who would vote for Clinton, but not him, are racists. Why not? It’s the option that allows Obama to take the least responsibility for his own alienating actions and radical associations.
“He just doesn’t appeal to me, and not because of race, definitely,” she said in an interview in which race had not been mentioned.
Such comments are all too familiar to Richard Akers, who phoned dozens of prospective Pennsylvania voters as an Obama campaign volunteer in April. Democrats often explained their opposition to Obama with “excuses that were not rational or valid, as I saw it,” said the retired bank director from Johnstown, another hotbed of Clinton support.
“To me, it was almost a code,” Akers said. “‘He doesn’t wear a flag pin.’ It seemed like code for ‘He’s not one of us.'”
Uh, Mr. Akers? It’s not code.
What it is, is the repetition of a narrative: Barack Obama is anti-American.
As I noted a long time ago, this narrative has been partially crafted by the right-wing scream machine (remember the viral email from the RNC about how Obama was a secret Muslim?), but unfortunately, it has been reinforced quite strongly by the actions of Obama himself. He doesn’t wear a flag pin, and, instead of saying “Oops! I forgot it today, thanks for reminding me!”, made up some ridiculous holier-than-thou excuse for not wearing it. The Jeremiah Wright mess, as I also predicted a long time ago, made a big impression on white working-class people.
But even some likely voters who are largely sympathetic to him are troubled by his ties, now broken, to a former pastor who cursed the United States and accused the government of possible conspiracies against blacks.
Kate Tanning, a Pittsburgh antiques dealer who was lunching with friends in Bedford, rejected Obama’s claim that he did not know of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s most bombastic statements even though Obama attended Wright’s Chicago church for 20 years.
“That’s the one thing about him I can’t believe,” she said.
No kidding! That’s because it’s not credible. Not even bitter racist hillbillies like Pennsylvania voters are fooled by Obama’s myriad flip-flops on Reverend Wright.
Unfortunately for Senator Obama, the challenges he faces winning over voters like these – I call them Clinton Dems – are great, and getting larger every day. As the GaffeTastic Express careens through the summer, I predict that the gloves will come off the McCainStream Media, and that more and more unflattering stories about Obama, and his chances in the General Election, will come out.
Is it too little, too late?
We’ll see. August is a long way away, and as we know, Obama and Hillary are separated by only 125 pledged delegates at this point. No one is the official nominee until AFTER the Convention. If you are a Clinton supporter and don’t think Obama can beat McCain, you can sign my petition (which I am sending to Howard Dean every week until the Convention), or check out the other activism opportunities over at The Confluence.
Fasten your seat belts – it’s going to be a bumpy ride.