Well, at least she didn’t promise them coal mines


It was no surprise to anyone that Hillary Clinton would win the Moutain State, West Virginia yesterday in its Democratic primary contest. She beat Barack Obama by well over 50 percentage point and demonstrated once again that when it comes to appealing to ignorant, embittered, maginalized white folks, she can beat the Senator from Illinois.

There is a compelling case that many are making that due to the fact that Sen. Clinton does so well in rounding up votes from the rough-around-the-edges crowd (white folks in particular), she should be the nominee. After all, someone’s gotta beat McCain, right?

I wont deny that Clinton does well with lower educated white folks. The polls show it, the history indicates it and even some of the comments made from some of the people who came out less to vote for Hillary but to vote against Sen. Obama. Among their complaints about the man who could become the nation’s first black president, that he’s Muslim, hates America, doesn’t salute the flag.

These of course are all nonsensical. Sen. Obama is not Muslim, has lead the Senate in reciting the pledge (which is of course a pretty empty gesture) and also seems to embody something extraordinarily American, which is that someone from lower middle class origins can rise to prominence here and do well with a good work ethic and a thirst for education. That of course should be a selling point for any candidate, Democratic or Republican. Then again, when you’re dealing with hillbillies, it aint so easy to get these things across.

What should be exponentially troubling to most folks about the Clinton campaign is it willingness (purely Machiavellian) to play to the demographic of embittered, willfully ignorant, racist red necks. By saying that, I’m not implying that people who don’t vote for Obama are racist, but that in those hot under the blue collar contests that the junior senator from Arkansas…errr, New York has one, the specter of race, more particularly, the fear of a black man in the White House, is a factor. Just take the polling done recently. A good portion of those who voted for Clinton over Obama said race was a factor for them. Put simply, “we don’t want no nigger prezdent.”

Of course the polling firms don’t word it so strongly, but it doesn’t take an Appalachian linguist to know what they’re saying out there in West Virginia. Some folks just don’t want a black president.

The Clinton campaign however is desperate. They need to make a compelling case that the party needs to scrap Obama and they need to do it fast. Instead of arguing that the policies of their camp are more sound or that Hillary has a better voting record in the Senate than Obama, they play up their appeal among white voters. Hillary Clinton has come out and said it. She told USA Today last week that she does better not only among whites, but less educated whites. In other words, she polls well among the people that are more prone to believe Obama prays five times a day facing Mecca, that he refuses to put his hand over his chest during the pledge and that he fundamentally hates America. Ironically, however, Sen. Clinton polls way better than Obama among those who she has the least in common with. That is of course unless Hillary really is a stuck-in-her-ways banjo-picking, dirt track redneck. Knowing her penchant for trying to be all things to all voters, it’s not that hard to believe she’s considered that route.

In the end, Obama may not poll well among a certain section of white people. We all know that. I’m not a big fan of Barack Obama, but I’ll vote for him over Clinton and McCain any day. Why? Because I trust him more and find him more credible on the important issues of our day. I don’t have any advanced degrees (just a bachelors), but I can tell you that the ones who have the least to benefit from Clinton and McCain are those who work the night shift or pour coffee in a truck stop for a living. Why? Case in point and one that I always go back to; there can be nothing worse for working class America than the Iraq War. Not only is every dollar that we commit to that sham likely to come out of some project or initiative that could better help provide sound health care, education or economic opportunies that benefit most, the ranks of those who must fight it are from working class poor.

Of course there are those who will tell you that it’s working class people who are concerned about our freedoms so much that they don’t mind sending a kid off to battle to ensure our liberty. That’s nonsense though, as this war has done less to ensure our freedom and safety than it has to create an even more unstable situation in a part of the world we should aim not to rely on for anything. The more committed we are to Iraq, the less committed we are to ourselves and that is especially true of how we approach the growing number of Americans living in rural and urban poverty, without living wages and completely without health insurance and the ability to save money and make money.

The big turd in the punch bowl for the Clinton campaign is the two obvious arguments that are being missed here. The first is that Democrats will generally speaking vote for Democrats (it’s unfortunate sometimes) and whether the nominee is a white woman or a mixed-race black man, the lever they press will have a D next to it. The second is that people who hold on to racist notions often hold on to other discriminatory ideals. If it’s not Senator Obama’s race that will become a factor it will be Hillary Clinton’s gender. West Virginia is the state that brought President Bush two elections. It’s likely for the third straight election they’ll go for a Republican. There’s no need to pander. There’s no need to bend the ideals of the Democratic party to fit the whims of a percentage of willfully ignorant rubes in that state. You can sell your soul, but in the end it is required of you.

I don’t make any claims that Obama is a great politician. But one thing is refreshing about him and that is that he has come out and said things to various constituencies that may not like it. Case in point, he told voters in Indiana he thought ethanol was a bad idea because it drives up food prices and that a federal gas tax holiday was a bad idea because it doesn’t account for real savings or ensure that there wont be price goughing. Refreshingly, many people in Indiana with white skin understood that argument and agreed with it. Some even cast their ballot for Sen. Obama.

In the end, we can’t continue to pander to hillbillies. Doing that has only gotten us in enough trouble. A hillbilly’s wet dream currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and we’re worse off because of that. That said, we can’t simply nominate Hillary Clinton because she can, by virtue of pulling in the hillbillies, bring home the vote. It should be the merits of her argument that propel her to office, not her ability to stand on a flatbed or visit a speedway to give a speech. Obama may not poll well among less educated people, but in the end, why should we embrace people who hold idiotic views on what it means to be a secure and thriving nation. I for one believe that no matter what happens in November, you can’t cut off your nose to spite your face. If you pander to assholes, you’ll have to deliver for assholes. Of course, in saying this, I could be simply reflecting my own Muslim, plege-hating and anti-American views.

Better yet, vote for HillBilly. She can win the hillbillies.