Post below recycled from Taranto. See the original for links
Is Barack Obama the next George McGovern? John Judis of The New Republic thinks so, and the Pennsylvania primary results bear him out:
If you look at Obama's vote in Pennsylvania, you begin to see the outlines of the old George McGovern coalition that haunted the Democrats during the '70s and '80s, led by college students and minorities. In Pennsylvania, Obama did best in college towns (60 to 40 percent in Penn State's Centre County) and in heavily black areas like Philadelphia.
Its ideology is very liberal. Whereas in the first primaries and caucuses, Obama benefited from being seen as middle-of-the-road or even conservative, he is now receiving his strongest support from voters who see themselves as "very liberal." In Pennsylvania, he defeated [Hillary] Clinton among "very liberal" voters by 55 to 45 percent, but lost "somewhat conservative" voters by 53 to 47 percent and moderates by 60 to 40 percent. In Wisconsin and Virginia, by contrast, he had done best against Clinton among voters who saw themselves as moderate or somewhat conservative.
Obama even seems to be acquiring the religious profile of the old McGovern coalition. In the early primaries and caucuses, Obama did very well among the observant. In Maryland, he defeated Clinton among those who attended religious services weekly by 61 to 31 percent. By contrast, in Pennsylvania, he lost to Clinton among these voters by 58 to 42 percent and did best among voters who never attend religious services, winning them by 56 to 44 percent. There is nothing wrong with winning over voters who are very liberal and who never attend religious services; but if they begin to become Obama's most fervent base of support, he will have trouble (to say the least) in November.
Judis's colleague Jonathan Chait has a rebuttal in which he notes that Judis's own book, "The Emerging Democratic Majority" (Ruy Teixeira, co-author), "argues that the elements of the McGovern coalition have expanded to the point where they can form the base of a politial [sic] majority."
Yet Judis's numbers suggest that since the last pre-Pennsylvania primaries--that is, since the revelations about Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and Obama's "bitter" comment--Obama has increasingly become the candidate of blacks and academia. His appeal has become more selective, and that may not serve him well in November.
Another Unsavory Obama Associate, Official Blogger a Communist?
The list of Barack Obama associates that hold views that clash with mainstream America is getting longer every day and now we can add another notch in the "anti-American" column of Obama campaign workers and supporters. This time we find that the Obama campaign's official blogger, Sam Graham-Felsen, has spent time in France participating in labor riots, has written for a socialist magazine, hung a communist flag in his home, and was a fan of Marx while at Harvard.
Is this a case of the media not vetting another Obama associate? Why have we not heard of this man before and why is the media silent on him? After the stories of John Edwards' anti-Catholic bloggers, you'd think that the media would have been on the lookout for campaign blogger related stories. Yet, this guy and his questionable past has been ignored by the same media that tried to give Edwards' bloggers a pass.
A fellow that blogs at a site called "Common Ills" did a lot of leg work to dig up some of the publicly known utterings of Mr. Graham-Felsen prior to his elevation as the Obama campaign's official blogger, so he deserves the credit for raising a "red" flag on this one.
What we know for sure is that in May of 2006, Sam Graham-Felsen wrote a short piece in the socialist magazine Socialist Viewpoint describing his participation in some French labor riots. Then, back in 2003, Graham-Felsen also wrote a piece for the Harvard Crimson praising Noam Chomsky, known for blaming the United States instead of the terrorists for the attacks on 9/11, and advising him to "tone it down" in order to fool people enough to get his anti-American message out.
Graham-Felson praised Chomsky for having "taken on (what he perceives as) the ultimate bully - the United States," and gives Noam some unsolicited Graham-Felson advice.
The 'Great Uniter' only for some groups
Barack Obama's meteoric rise on the political scene is built on the premise that he, more than any other candidate, can unite the nation's divisions and bridge the gap between black and white, Republican and Democrat, poor and rich. In South Carolina, The State echoed other endorsements, "Sen. Obama's campaign is an argument for a more unifying style of leadership. ..American unity - transcending party - is a core value in itself."
His promise of unity rings hollow when he discounts a significant segment of the voting population. What a surprise it must be to America's white workers that Obama's campaign manager David Axelrod writes them off because "[t]he white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections, going back even to the Clinton years." Aren't they included in the great national healing.
Obama's dismissal of a group of Americans which he hopes to serve brings to mind another "healing" predecessor, Jimmy Carter. Bob Shrum, former presidential speech writer, recounted that in the 1976 presidential campaign, Carter was convinced that Jewish voters were favoring Henry ("Scoop") Jackson. "Jackson has all the Jews anyway," Shrum quoted Carter as saying. "We get the Christians." Who will be the next group excluded by the great "uniter"?
OBAMA AND SMALL-TOWN AMERICA
Barack Obama caused quite a stir a fortnight ago when he told a suburban San Francisco fund raiser that small-town Pennsylvania voters were "bitter" about their economic plight. As a consequence, he added, "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them..." As political comments go, it was a self-inflicted "twofer". Not only was Obama's sociological analysis delivered in a place synonymous with permissive liberalism, but also it raised questions about the candidate's sensitivity to the lives of the hard-working, small-town voters that he was so intensively trying to woo.
Yet as controversial as they were, Obama's remarks basically have reflected the contours of his vote-getting appeal. By and large, he has succeeded thus far by rolling up the vote in urban areas with their large minority population, and penetrating populous white-collar suburbs and the growing exurbs beyond. Yet in many places where new subdivisions give way to countryside, the Obama vote noticeably begins to ebb. There, his only consistent support has come from the occasional oases of academe that dot the rural landscape.
Al Gore showed back in 2000 that a Democrat can narrowly win the fall popular vote with the cities and a fair chunk of the suburbs. Yet to win the electoral vote, their nominee needs to do a bit better. In short, the party has become quite expert at winning 48 percent of the vote, but it takes a special Democrat able to draw votes in small-town America to bring that extra 3 percent that would ensure victory. Quite possibly, Obama has the political skills to do it. But his tepid primary showings in rural parts of key battleground states such as Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania places the burden of proof on him to demonstrate that he can do it.
To be sure, Obama has run quite well in the rural areas of caucus states, where turnouts are low and his impassioned group of supporters can dominate. He also has run well in the rural portions of many Southern primary states from Louisiana to Virginia that boast a significant African-American population. And he has held his own in rural sectors of other primary states where a less partisan, even libertarian brand of politics is practiced, as in upper New England and many sparsely populated states west of the Mississippi River.
But as the Democratic primary campaign has moved into the key battleground states of the industrial Frost Belt, Obama has hit a brick wall in his bid for rural votes. In Missouri, Obama took only six of 116 counties (including the cities of St. Louis and Kansas City). In Ohio, he carried just five of 88; in Pennsylvania, only seven of 67.
In Missouri, his votes were very well placed, enabling him to win the Democratic primary by a margin of barely 10,000 votes. He won the state's two major cities (St. Louis and KC), populous suburban St. Louis County, two counties in the center of the state that include the state capital of Jefferson City and the large academic community in Columbia (home of the University of Missouri), and one rural county in the northwest corner of the state. That was it. Hillary Clinton swept the rest of Missouri.
In Ohio, Obama's vote was even more contained. He carried only the urban counties that include Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton, plus one county on the outskirts of Columbus. Not a single county in the broad swath of rural Ohio went his way, as he lost the primary to Clinton by 10 percentage points.
In Pennsylvania, the Clinton margin was similar and so was the political geography. Obama won big in Philadelphia, with its large African-American population, carried two of its four suburban counties, and took a pair of counties on the outer orbit of greater Philadelphia. The two other counties that he carried were in the center of the state, and each contained a major academic institution. As for the rest of Pennsylvania, it was essentially a vast wasteland for Obama.
One can only speculate as to why small-town Democrats in these states have so completely turned their backs on him. It could be pronounced racial attitudes; cultural differences with the liberal Obama; deep sentiment for the Clintons; horror at the sight of his poor bowling skills. Whatever it is, rural resistance to Obama seems particularly strong in these states that are so critically important to the Democrats come November.
Yet Obama's problems are not new for the modern Democratic Party. Rarely in recent years has it nominated a candidate with much small-town appeal. Since the current primary-dominated era of presidential politics began almost 40 years ago, the Democrats have selected only one candidate capable of winning a majority of the nation's 3,100 or so counties -- Jimmy Carter in 1976. And only one other Democratic nominee since then has even come close to carrying a majority of counties, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.
Their common denominators: Both hailed from small towns in the South with the simplest of names, Plains and Hope; both served as governors of their states before running for president. And not coincidentally, they were the only two Democrats to have won the White House since 1968. Winning the cities and many of the suburbs can get Democrats close to the Oval Office. But only the candidates who can show appeal in rural America have had the key to open the door.
"Jimmy" and "Bubba" brought an understanding of small-town America to their campaigns that transcended their regional roots. They were able to win hundreds of rural counties across the country that Democratic presidential candidates normally do not carry, enabling each to mount winning presidential campaigns that included key battleground states such as Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The challenge for Obama, and indeed for Hillary Clinton as well if she is the nominee, is to find a way to relate to these "God and guns" voters. It won't be easy for the former, a longtime resident of Chicago, or for the latter, a product of the nation's burgeoning suburbs. But for either, it could be the key to winning the White House this fall.
THAT WAFFLE WAS MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN YOU THINK
Obama's now-famous remark: "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" has been much noted. Google has over 19,000 mentions of it. And the message taken from it has generally been that Obama is a haughty elitist who does not like to be questioned. I think that there is much more than that to it, however. Read the following report from last month to put it in context:
Early morning trainers and exercisers at the Greenville, Miss., YMCA on Mississippi primary day last Tuesday got a taste of Sen. Barack Obama's reclusiveness, which the traveling press corps has learned to accept.
After speaking at Tougaloo College on Monday night, Obama went to the "Y" at 6:30 a.m. for a workout. He greeted nobody and did not respond when people there called out to him. That aloofness has been the pattern in the Democratic presidential candidate's behavior toward reporters who cover him.
After finishing his workout, Obama returned to his gregarious campaign mode with a visit to black-owned Buck's restaurant in Greenville before leaving the state. He won Mississippi comfortably against Sen. Hillary Clinton.
The above quote and the waffle remark are both telling us the same thing: That Obama has difficulty keeping up his "nice guy" image. Keeping it up quite simply wears him out. It is not who he really is so keeping up that image tires him and he just HAS to rest from it. It is not who he really is.
And as someone who has studied psychopathy (I have a couple of academic journal articles on the subject) that is very familiar. Psychopaths also typically present a "nice guy" image -- something that sucks in the females wholesale. The psychopath says and does all the right things and people promptly put their trust in him. And then when they least expect it, he "goes bad" on them. "Why did he do that?" is the typical distressed response, "He was so nice and then he went and did ....".
The sucker in the story gets very thoroughly betrayed and has no clue as to why the psychopath suddenly changed. The answer, of course, is that the nice guy act was all a pretense in the first place and because it was not genuine the psychopath just could not keep it up for long. The "change" that distressed the sucker was the mask being dropped and the psychopath reverting to his true type.
And that is what we see in both reports of Obama's behaviour above. By the time he got to his waffle he just could not keep up his act, even under the full glare of media scrutiny. He HAD to have a rest from acting. So the Obama we see on the campaign trail is just a false front for the very dismal soul that lies beneath it. If America elects Obama, it will not get what it voted for. It will get a horror. An entire nation will have been conned.
Bill Clinton is a psychopath too. He too is known for suddenly "losing it" at times. But Slick Willy was led around by his penis. Obama will probably be led around by the hate that he sucked up in listening to 20 years of Jeremiah Wright's preaching.
(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)