Thursday, March 20, 2008


The press reaction to Barack Obama's race speech is starting to seem like the a window into the thinking of the media on just about every subject: Yes, journalists and pundits are from an educated, somewhat elite, more or less socially liberal substratum of our society, and at first they responded to the thoughtful, intelligent, sophisticated, grown-up speech with praise. But now they're saying to themselves, "Eeeuuw -- I'm from an educated, somewhat elite, more or less socially liberal substratum of our society. I suck! The people whose take on the speech really matters are blue-collar guys sitting around in a bar in the Rust Belt on a Tuesday. And curiously, their opinions sound remarkably similar to RNC press releases and Rush Limbaugh transcripts! Woe is me, I'm such an out-of-touch elitist! These blue-collar folks really know what's important!"

The reporters are out of touch, but not in the way they think -- they don't understand that the words they hear when they make their anthropological field trips to the blue-collar bar almost certainly bear the influence of right-wing talk radio and faux-Joe Lunchpail print pundits. They're not necessarily the earthy, visceral, spontaneous reactions of The Common Man.

But now we're seeing the beginnings of a feedback loop: right-wing bloviators cherry-picking the parts of the speech that feed white anger and downplaying the rest (including Obama's criticisms of his own community), blue-collar whites firming up their rejection of Obama, and the press going to more and more blue-collar bars.

Which is why I think Hillary Clinton really has a much better shot at the nomination than Adam Nagourney of The New York Times does:

...Without new votes in Florida and Michigan, it will be that much more difficult for Mrs. Clinton to achieve a majority in the total popular vote in the primary season, narrow Mr. Obama's lead among pledged delegates or build a new wave of momentum.

Mrs. Clinton's advisers had hoped that the uproar over inflammatory remarks made by Mr. Obama's longtime pastor that has rocked his campaign for a week might lead voters and superdelegates to question whether they really know enough about Mr. Obama to back him. Although it is still early to judge his success, the speech Mr. Obama delivered on race in Philadelphia to address the controversy was well received and praised even by some Clinton supporters....

I think you're going to stop hearing that the speech "was well received" soon, after a few more reporters head down O'Malley's to see what the common folk think.


Polling evidence is starting to show problems for Obama:

A new set of polls by SurveyUSA shows that Barack Obama's electability has taken a serious drubbing as a result of his recent setbacks, and he now does much poorer than Hillary Clinton does against John McCain in the three tested states:

Clinton (D) 50%, McCain (R) 44%
McCain (R) 50%, Obama (D) 43%

McCain (R) 48%, Clinton (D) 46%
McCain (R) 53%, Obama (D) 39%

McCain (R) 53%, Clinton (D) 43%
McCain (R) 64%, Obama (D) 28%

But does any of this really speak to the question of Clinton's electability? Right now she's looking better because she's kicking a fellow Democrat, who happens to be black and a perceived hero of yuppies and a perceived favorite of yuppie-scum reporters -- but if she gets the nomination, she'll lose Obama as a foil and the only person she'll have to attack is a white male war-hero Republican saint. So won't she simply become the unpleasant bitch again? Won't these head-to-head numbers change very quickly?

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