Wednesday, March 5. 2008
Philip Weiss: Obama Is Brilliantly Marketing Leftwing Answers to an American Majority (as Reagan Marketed the Right). I remain lukewarm on Obama, regardless of how critical I feel about Clinton and her crowd. I haven't made any effort to find out what Obama's issues or positions are -- in some ways, the most attractive thing about him is his inscrutability. But Weiss' comment, quoted at length here, strikes me as interesting:
I wouldn't go that far, but it strikes me that Obama's discretion will stand him better for actually facing tough problems like this when (if he is elected) he actually winds up having to face them -- and whoever becomes president will have to face knottier problems than any candidate wants to acknowledge right now. Clinton, on the other hand, is already tripping herself up: if you think she's anti-Wall Street now, wait till you see who her Secretary of the Treasury is. One reason populism has so little credibility as a campaign tactic is the follow-through -- the obvious example is Bill ("it's the economy, stupid") Clinton in 1992.
Tony Karon: Obama and the 'Jewish Vote'. A pretty strong endorsement of Obama from a resolute outsider. As I recall, Fareed Zakaria wrote something similar, arguing that Obama's real advantage is that he doesn't automatically take the kneejerk groupthink position on everything (especially world affairs). In other words, he's able to see and respect other perspectives.
I haven't seen much in the way of breakdown data, but offhand it sure seems like Clinton's margins over Obama are coming from white catholics whose ancestors immigrated in the early 1900s and joined the party of Al Smith. They were overwhelmingly working class when we had such a thing, and they became fervent American patriots by embracing the morays of the country around them, most ominously white racism -- the desegregation fights in Boston was an eye-opener. Most have since moved up into the more/less middle class, and many have broken for the suburbs and the GOP, but they still form the core of the regular party machines from Boston to St. Louis, and they're especially strong in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Of course, it's possible that Clinton has some other appeal than race, but I can't tell you what that is. Anyone in Ohio who voted for Clinton over Obama thinking Clinton is more opposed to NAFTA just plain forgot who gave us NAFTA in the first place.
In Salon, Alex Koppelman wrote about a poll claiming that 25% of Clinton's primary supporters would defect to McCain against Obama compared to 10% of Obama's supporters who would switch to McCain. That sure looks like one measure of racist criteria. (Don't have any reports on how many Obama supporters would vote for Nader over Clinton and McCain, but I know of some who would. I don't count myself among them, at least yet.)