Friday, May 9, 2008

Schmidt on Obama and the White Working Class


Thanks for forwarding THE HUFFINGTON POST (Richard GizbertHillary's $6.4 Million is a Wise Ivestment, for 2012Posted May 7, 2008 06:06 PM This is not really a case, as some have suggested, of throwing good money after bad.)

Now that the Clinton phenomenon is sputtering to its final termination, more and more people should enjoy watching one of the things Barack Obama does best: winning over white working class and rural voters.

Many people in the media missed the facts about Obama first time around, especially since many of them were being spun by the Clinton machine. It's a variation on the White Blinddspot, and very funny to watch, since it will have been so widespread nationally (from AFT to the major pundits to, of course, the Republicans).

In late 2001, when the Democartic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat here in Illinois was still a pipe dream for Barack Obama, he began slowly building his base. A key was the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which endorsed him against the regular Democratic Party guy, setting up a screaming confrontation within "labor" over the endorsement. For months, I had to listen to very savvy political people swearing at me saying that (a) nobody with that name could get the nomination and win the Illinois seat in the U.S. Senate less than two years from 9/11 and (b) Illinois was not ready to elect another black senator (theoretically, Carol Moseley Braun was such a bad act that she had ruined the "seat").

Obama went out, after getting the nomination, and charmed people all the way from here to the Mason Dixon Line. Remember, southern Illinois is farther "south" than some portions of the Confederacy, and has some of those traditions (some of the worst Klan activity in the "North" in the 20th Century was in Illinois and Indiana).

Day after day, people would report, first wide eyed and then just chuckling, about how Barack Obama would go to some meeting in a place where there were no black people and leave with grandmothers wanting to bake him pies. In those days, Michelle wasn't as front and center, but she was a similar asset.

The Clintons have taken their nastiest shot, and truly deserve to be remembered forever for it. But they didn't write any script that's going to save the McCain campaign. Once Barack Obama rests up (and he's good at that, too) for the next rounds (which begin with the AFT convention in certain ways) it's going to be fun watching all those pies being baked from Portland, Maine to San Diego.

George Schmidt

On the Clinton attempt to destroy Obama, check out Bob Herbert in today's NY Times.

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