Democrats


 

 

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.


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From the time that he announced he was running for Governor more than three years ago, to his shocking, embarassing political downfall on Monday afternoon, I never cared for Eliot Spitzer. To me, he embodied the type of politician, so ambitious to rise in stature that he would do all he could to crush dissent.

Where he was once described as crusading, tough, principaled and ethical, the words most closely attached with the shamed New York governor are now arrogance, brashness, conceit and hubris. Spitzer’s meteoric rise will always be seen in the light of his trysts with high-priced hookers, rather than any of the good he did or may have ended up doing for his state.

I suspect that Spitzer never really cared so much about the end result of New York State because his eyes were set on other sights; Justice Department, State Department or maybe even the White House. To Spitzer, dealing with the disparate factions of this diverse state were likely an annoyance, he seemed so much the man to look down on others.


When it was announced here in Albany that he was involved in a prostitution ring, even his own party members seemed to chuckle. This was not a man well-liked by many of those who dealt with him. It was just not easy to have sympathy for the “Steamroller”, the “Sheriff of Wall Street”. Down in in the City, the Wall Street traders rejoiced, handing out cigars, buying strangers drinks and giving ecstatic high fives.

Although most of Spitzer’s high-profile targets from his days as New York Attorney General didn’t say it, we know that in their cavernous offices, behind their cherry wood desks they felt free to let loose their pleasure with his downfall.

One who wasn’t so mum, Kenneth Langone, a former New York Stock Exchange boardmember told CNBC he hoped that the Governor, who had once tried to bury him to make some headlines, would roast in the fires of his own hell.

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