Thursday, August 21, 2008


The New York Times just sent a reporter to rural Pennsylvania and found skepticism about Obama's race and patriotism and qualifications. That's compatible with every other story about Obama, and so that's the headline ("Rural Swath of Big State Tests Obama").

This, because it doesn't fit the master narrative, isn't:

...As for Senator McCain? He [George Timko of Raccoon Township, Pennsylvania] shook his head. "He keeps talking about being a prisoner of war back in Vietnam. Great. The economy stinks; tell me his plan."

... Mr. McCain quickens few pulses. Vietnam, where he served in the military and was held captive for more than five years, seems distant. And not all laugh at his commercials poking fun at Mr. Obama's "celebrity" status.

Fifty yards down the gravel road from Mr. Timko's home, Brenda Goff, 55, a pharmacy worker who describes herself as a "Hillary girl" but is fine with Mr. Obama. As for Mr. McCain?

"I don't like his commercials -- it's like he thinks we're stupid," Ms. Goff said.

... Only 2 of 38 people interviewed -- most in random door-knocking -- favored remaining in Iraq.

...Mr. [Art] Seckman [of Hookstown] puts no faith in Mr. McCain. "He looks tired, and he's gung-ho about war," Mr. Seckman said. "I was a Hillary guy, but Obama sounds honest and he's young and he understands the modern economy."

He paused, and laughed, "Maybe, funny as it sounds, it’s time for a black man to fix this mess." ...

The master narrative of the past couple of months is that Obama is a weak, flawed candidate because he's an effete arugula-eater, and because he offends the sensibilities of Hillary voters, and because he's black and foreign and a fellow-traveler and leads a youth cult and has no experience and no heroic backstory and is too skinny and won't eat chocolate or learn to bowl or beat his chest in an effort to invoke memories of the Cold War.

So if that's the case, why isn't McCain beating Obama by 40 points in rural areas? Why hasn't McCain closed the sale?

The master narrative is never that McCain is a deeply flawed and therefore unappealing candidate, a guy who won't reject GOP orthodoxy on the two most important issues, the economy and the war, and is paying for that. The master narrative is, at worst, that McCain is unfairly being punished for the sins of his predecessor, to whom he has absolutely no connection whatsoever, really, despite his down-the-line embrace of virtually all of his predecessor's policies and campaign tactics. The master narrative is that if McCain loses, it will be because he took on an impossible mission -- not because he personally was a guy we didn't want as president.

No comments: