Even Tighty-Whitey, Suffering From an Advanced Case of GOP Fatigue, May Find Obama a ‘Change They Can Believe In’
The current Big Media obsession with poorly-educated, working class whites and the Pampered Punditocracy’s eye-rolling epidemic of fretting and fressing over how’ll they’ll vote reminds me of a guy I used to know I’ll call Joe. A construction worker, he’s the perfect model of the uneducated working class white man; an opposite-of-valedictorian high school graduate born into an ancestry of fetid racism — ignorant, suspicious and viciously disparaging of other cultures, religions and colors.
Joe was notorious for going off on ‘Archie Bunker’ rants about black people, assuring the listener that he ‘knew’ they are lazier, dumber and more prone to crime, deception and drug addiction than whites, regardless of the fact that he’d met very few dark-skinned people in his life. But the really confounding thing about Joe’s racism, the head-shaker that brings the palm to the forehead and a wince to the eye, is that he knew two black guys, Carl and Eddie, that he worked with and considered close friends — he played poker with them, went out drinking with them, had them over to the house for dinner many times, they were guests at his wedding, and he’s even gotten into fistfights defending them. (Of course, he doesn’t share his low opinion of black folks in general when Carl or Eddie happen to be in the room.)
Once I interrupted one of his Boneheaded Bigot ravings to ask, “What about Carl and Eddie?” He paused for a few confused seconds before he spit out, “They’re the exception to the rule!”
There are sadly a lot of working class whites out there like Joe and it’s impossible to argue them out of their bigotry — how do you change someone whose beliefs are based on twisted mythology and inherited delusion rather than logic and fact? As comedian Ron — yes, it’s his name — White said, “You can’t fix stupid,” but I’m convinced most white racists aren’t stupid, just ignorant, misinformed and terrified of the unknown. The population of West Virginia, for example, is about 97 percent white and most of the state is badly-educated and rural. The majority of these bumpkins have never met anyone of another color in person, and, like Joe, wild-eyed myths and misperceptions about those with darker skin pass from generation to generation like a family Bible.
There is also the fact that most of Game-Boy Viagramerica has not really started paying attention to the presidential race yet; I’d bet the majority of West Virginians knew little about Hillary Clinton’s policies when they voted for her last Tuesday, only that she is the wife of a former president they liked and, most importantly, that she’s white. Barack Obama, meanwhile, was an unknown scary black man with a funny name who might be some kinda Muslim with a crazy Christian pastor or something.
So Hillary Clinton can celebrate her huge victory among the descendants of the Hatfield and McCoy ‘Mountaineers,’ but she’s no fool: she must know her 41-point win was largely based on her skin color and not her ideas or her personal qualities.
Obama, unless he starts wearing a turban, praying five times a day to Mecca and using the word ‘Jihad’ in every other sentence, is the Dem nominee no matter what Hillary does at this point; the numbers, and Edwards’ recent endorsement, say so. (She can reflect at leisure on why, if she’s the tremendously capable leader she claims to be, she didn’t vanquish this supposedly weak and naive upstart sooner and had no plan to campaign for the nomination past Super Tuesday on Feb. 5th. She might also try to figure out why, what with her resources and alleged crack campaign staff, she couldn’t sweep the remaining primaries following her surprise defeat in Wisconsin. And, while she’s at it, maybe tinker together a good explanation of how someone who says they respect democracy could claim victory in a state where their chief opponent’s name wasn’t on the ballot.)
The Elite Caucasians who spew opinions from the isolated glass Towers of Babble in New York or sound-proofed studios in Washington, as far from understanding the America west of Manhattan or the Potomac exurbs and east of Brentwood or Rodeo Drive as Bush ’43’ is from speaking fluent Farsi, have lately been flapping their jaws excitedly over the impossibility of Obama being elected without bringing in the cracker vote.
In the first place, this is mumbo jumbo — if Obama gets 90 percent of the black vote, 60 percent of the Hispanic vote and 35-40 percent of the white vote in the general election, as is likely, he can win over the dispirited GOP and the creaky McCain campaign, linked to a president with the highest disapproval rating in history and a war America doesn’t want.
But Obama might do much better than that with white folks, judging from the results of the last three special Congressional elections — all were in previously ‘safe’ Republican districts and in every case — even after the full Swift Boat of slimy negative ‘kitchen sink’ campaigning by the Republicans and their 527 allies — the Democrat won.
As Obama has shown in Wisconsin, where he was down by 20 points and won by 17 in a white working class state, once he starts campaigning and the people get to know him, he wins.
Even in states like West Virginia and areas like rural Pennsylvania and southern Ohio, once he is the Dem nominee and campaigning against the befuddled McCain and the loathed Republican Party, many of the downtrodden, Bush-battered white people there might suddenly discover he’s Joe’s ‘exception to the rule.’
I do find the portrayal of these voters as all Archie Bunker-ites, or mostly, as about as offensive as any rational person would find portraying most O’Bama voters as bass thumping, low slung/underwear showing black skinned punks… but I hope you’re right about the racism factor. Yet I fear that less than the concept that Barack’s ability to talk will win the election when competing with intentionally skewed sound bites.