Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Death by a Thousand Cuts

Despite the media-engendered, Kennedy-esque aura around him...despite his support from the legions of left-wing radicals in the Democrat Party...despite the phalanx of young college kids willing to serve as his foot soldiers and the masses of African Americans who have made his candidacy their own cause, Barack Hussein Obama is damaged property. Nothing shows that more than his pathetic performance in the West Virginia and Kentucky primaries where the primary electorate was working class white folks, the people that any Democrat must have to win the presidency. Obama has failed miserably to reach this vital demographic and his failure goes beyond those two states. His performance in that demographic was similar in Ohio and Pennsylvania; once again, states the Democrats must have.

There are many reasons offered as to why Obama cannot connect to working class whites. There is the elitism factor, the Wright factor, the Michelle factor, the Hillary factor, and...for those kool-aid drinkers who see no flaws in their candidate...the racist factor. To these supporters, racism prevents these working class whites from voting Obama (as they are clinging to their guns and religion, but I digress...). However, Obama's performance in Iowa and in the early western state caucuses brings this assertion into great question.

The real answer is is all of the above in combination (except perhaps the racist part) and none of them individually. Obama has been exposed. He came into the campaign as a veritable tabula rasa, a blank slate. This coupled with a pleasing personality, lofty-sounding rhetoric, and a careful and slick but undefined message, enabled millions of people to see him as the personification of their hopes and dreams. As any good actor knows, a skillfully-handled, underdefined persona allows the viewing public to project themselves (their hopes, dreams, fears, etc.) onto the actor such that he or she is seen to be the exact person that exists in the mind of the observer. The actor cannot help but be admired because he is them. The same happened to Barack Obama. All, poor, white, black, brown...saw themselves and their hopes in Obama. He was both their everyman and their savior.

What happened? Simply, the blanks on Obama's slate began to be filled in. His twenty-year association with Jeremiah Wright, a preacher of radical leftist, anti-American, and possibly racist views, called into question the belief by some that Obama was the "post-racial" candidate. His statements in liberal San Francisco that working class persons were "clinging to their guns and religion" demonstrated elitist views that, while welcome in San Francisco, were anathama to middle class America. Michelle Obama's comments that she was proud of her country for the first time and that America in 2008 was a "downright mean country," were poorly received in most of the country where America is still seen as a land of opportunity. Lastly, Hillary Clinton's continued presence has given many in the Democrat electorate something that, while unattractive, looks much better than Obama. Obama's position is unenviable.

Will Obama lose? Probably, but nothing is certain in such an anti-Republican year. While McCain holds little attraction to the large majority of conservative Republicans, he is the perfect candidate for them in such a bad year. The question is not whether he can win or not but what will a McCain victory do for the future of the Republican party. That is an entry for another day.

As for Obama, if he loses he has no one to blame but himself. The blank slate approach was wise because an otherwise filled-out slate in his case was unelectable. Now, the real Barack is being seen and much of the public is getting buyer's remorse. The super-delegates fear to vote for him but also fear not to because of his delegate lead. Hillary has seen the weaknesses and hangs around like a circling buzzard over a wounded and dying animal. The only difference...the wounded animal has the Democrat nomination all wrapped up.

Barack Obama, we hardly knew ye and thank God for that.

-- Submitted by B. Bryant

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