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Wooing Those Reagan Democrats

Posted on Sep 8, 2008

By Marie Cocco

    Patriotism won’t put food on the table. Admiring the pluck of a mother who hunts moose won’t keep the bank from foreclosing on the house.

    I know, Sarah Palin has a personal and political style that aims to win hearts in working-class America. She has that aw-shucks, tilt-of-the-head, Ronald Reagan way about her. Heck, as a one-time hockey mom myself, I chuckled with recognition at her description of herself as a pit bull with lipstick.

    If you talk to a Democrat who’s been around awhile—not someone who is reciting talking points for the Obama campaign—there is a nervousness that feels like the jitters of so many election years past. Some admit to being a bit freaked out by the potential impact of the one-two punch the Republican ticket now represents: John McCain with his iconic biography of military service and sacrifice. And Alaska Gov. Palin, with her “I’m-one-of-you” authenticity. “She not only energized the Republican base,” a longtime Democratic campaign veteran told me. “She is going to make a real run for the Reagan Democrats.”

    The liberal bloggers who seem to spend hours each day (do these people ever work?) tapping their self-determined political wisdom into their computers hold Reagan Democrats in contempt, of course. Throughout the primaries, when working-class white voters in states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio—and, yes, in the botched Michigan contest—voted for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama, the reason the bloggers invariably cited was racism. They mocked Clinton’s argument that these very states were pivotal to anyone who hoped to win the electoral votes necessary to gain the White House. The counterargument of the chatterboxes—and indeed, of the Obama campaign—was that Obama would run a “50-state campaign” that would upend all the old calculations and coalitions.

    Well, guess what? The electoral map for this fall looks, with few exceptions, an awful lot like it always has. Whoever wins two of these three big, aging and economically stressed Rust Belt states is likely to be the next president.


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    Obama comes to them with all the potential and all the liabilities he showed during the primaries. Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who is the state’s economic development director, says Obama has to throw away the podium and retire the big speech that proved so effective in securing the nomination, steps the Democratic nominee already has taken as he meanders from one town hall meeting to another. “You don’t connect with voters behind a podium or on ‘Meet the Press,’ ” Fisher told me in an interview. “You connect with voters when you talk to them directly.”

    For all his factory and shop-floor visits, Obama has yet to gain traction with union voters—a pivotal Democratic constituency everywhere and more so in the industrial battleground states, according to several sources. Though labor leaders are fully on board, Fisher says, rank-and-file members don’t yet feel a “comfort level” with Obama. “I would agree that there’s still much work to be done,” Fisher says.

    Obama, with his mixed-race heritage and his Ivy League demeanor, always was going to be a difficult sell. Now the job is tougher. Not only is Palin a potential cultural touchstone for those still smarting from Obama’s description of working-class voters as “bitter,” but she’s even got a husband who’s a member of the steelworkers’ union! 

    Still, the August unemployment report gave another disastrous accounting of the dire state of the economy, with unemployment soaring to a five-year high. Taxpayers now are on the hook for bailing out mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae—the price tag is estimated to be at least $25 billion. The bailout should sound the dirge for the hands-off, a-tax-cut-is-all-we-ever-need approach to the economy espoused by the Bush administration and its Republican allies, including McCain.

    McCain must make the breathtakingly hypocritical argument that those who have run things into the ground these past eight years should be trusted to dig us out. Obama has to run with the baggage he brings from the primaries—that is, the lingering resentment among white, working-class voters toward a candidate who seemed to believe he could win without them.

    I’m not usually in the prediction business, but here is a sure bet: Whichever side loses is going to undergo one heck of an internal bloodletting.
    Marie Cocco’s e-mail address is mariecocco(at)
    © 2008, Washington Post Writers Group

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By cynner, September 9, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@“I cannot believe that they ACTUALLY believe it’s the Democrats’ fault when the last 8 years the GOP has controlled all of Washington, and, for the last 2 paralyzed Congress.”

The Dems and Obama need to read Joe Bageant’s book, “Deer Hunting with Jesus” to get a good idea on why “they” believe it’s the fault of the Democrats. 

I read it and wept.

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By Folktruther, September 9, 2008 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

I’m glad you agree, Truthreader.  But just reading isn’t good enough: you have to TELL the truth because very soon this will be the only form of resistence that will not be repressed.  And they will increasingly restrict the Internet to make these truths undeliverable even under the mainstream pseudo-progressive truth.

So you have to tell it simply, clearly and again and again, so people become more familiar with what initiately seems outlandish and surreal to them.  they’ll think that you are crazy at first, like the people who hear for the first time that the 9-11/anthrax homicide was a false flag operation.  And often it takes weeks and months before their opinions change, and they may not notice the change.  But you will.

The time of the bourgeois Democracy of the American power system is over.  The American power system is now driving the American people into the groud, and they are doing it with both parties.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

You know what? If the American people are so stupid as to put their heads in a noose of christo-fascism, it means America as an ideal has failed.  And Ronald Reagan’s “Shining City On a Hill” is no more.

An older professor, when I was in college, had been in Germany in the 30’s as a student and said “It was truly sad to watch a nation stripping itself of its culture.”  I had hoped I would never know how he felt, but I’m feeling it now.

I imagine this is what Christy Mathewson felt as he watched the 1919 World Series as an analyst, and KNEW that it was clearly fixed and the White Sox were throwing it.  And that was just a little boys’ game.

I find it utterly beyond belief that more Americans buy this BS by McCain and Palin and care more about moose gutting and flag waving than they do about losing their jobs and their homes—and their children.

I cannot believe that they ACTUALLY believe it’s the Democrats’ fault when the last 8 years the GOP has controlled all of Washington, and, for the last 2 paralyzed Congress.

It’s like playing blackjack against the house. No matter WHAT you do you cannot win….and even if you can and should, the other side is counting the votes.

An inept, half-senile emotionally out-of-control old man whose heroism is 40 years past, and an uneducated, unethical, lying, nasty ignoramous with a nice figure are going to beat two articulate, capable and talented people because of crackpot BS.

Folks, this stuff is important. Medals and gams aren’t how you pick your leaders.  Brains, ideas and ethics are how.

Harry Truman said if someone’s beating on you, sooner or later you are going to figure out who that is.  And that’s the Palin-McCain ticket.

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By wish i knew, September 9, 2008 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, I’ve been reading you on these boards for awhile now, I love your passion.
As my Grandpa always used to say: “Keep on fighting the good fight, don’t let the bastards get ya down.”  ahahaha

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By truthreader3, September 9, 2008 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To folktruther,

You got it absolutely right. I agree with you 100%.

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By wish i knew, September 9, 2008 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

OK - change of tune - WTF are we believing POLLS FOR???

Yes, McCain should be losing by a mile. But he isn’t. And aside from all the other reasons we have all read and listed on TD ad nauseum, the one glaring reason could possibly be BECAUSE THE MEDIA GETS RATINGS WHEN THE RACE IS CLOSE. RATINGS = $$$.

THIS IS NOT OVER PEOPLE. We need to stop defeating ourselves. Keep getting the word out.

And if you need proof for a reason to stop the momentum of total neocon domination, read Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”. It’s a real eye-opener. Not a liberal fluff piece by any means - but a work of hard-hitting journalism cited by real sources from within the cabal dating back 30+ years.

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By KDelphi, September 9, 2008 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

Hey , I’m here to learn! If that sounds like a cliche—its not anymore! I’m a work in progress. But I think I’m headed in the right direction.

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By Folktruther, September 9, 2008 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Paragraphs make your stuff look better, KDelphi.  Skip a line between them.  there aren’t many socialists on TD and we want your stuff to be easily read, particularly by the less Educated.

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By KDelphi, September 9, 2008 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, I agree on alot of this. I really liked Edwards and i dont give a damn what he does in bed—I feel bad for Elizabeth—but when she hesitated to endorse Obama, because of his non-comprehensive health care plan, a “neo-liberal” blogger said that that was ok—she’d die soon anayway. EMOTION is WAY too prominent in this race.But that is the way Am. popularity contsets work. I am a little unsettled that they are running for “commander in chief”—how bizarre. A populary elected CIC.
I notice that Edwarsd was absent (I think Bill Clinton’s massive support, despite his “affair”, shows that most of the Am people just really dont care)at the DNC. Sad. The only angry voice for the poor, that was universally trusted by unions. Sure he was filthy rich—but he knew what it was like to not be!He would have provided single-prayer (only he and KucinciH). But the DNC decided he was “too angry” and then, he had sex. (dumbass)So he was silenced.
The GOP doesnt do that.DeLay, Reed, Rove, Gingrich, the married/re/re/Guilliani. They all spoke. Guilliani made me puke. But, they stick together. I wish the Dems could. But they take support for granted—who else wil the poor vote for? True liberals? Well, it turns out, despite peoel on the porch with torches (adn someone burned my Kucinich sign)(no torches—just kidding—barely)that alot of them wil vote Nader, a few Palin, and many—just not at all.
The Dems should be MILES ahead. 
I learned how to do paragraphs…LOL
Nannie on CD told me—seriously I did not know. I am here to learn!

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By Folktruther, September 9, 2008 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

The strongest primary candidate for the Dems, KDelphi, was Edwards, who promised token economic reforms while being a memeber of the Bildenberg group. But the neolibs probably felt that they couldn’t control him.

So the Dems are in a horse race now despite eight years of Bush, and utterly unqualified Gop candidates.  The primary reason is that the media is Gop and implicitly supports McCain-Palin. And the media implicitly appeals to the racism endemic in the American people, especially as Obama has Elitist economic policies.

I can understand why McCain-Palin scares people, KAdelhi, notably McCain’s instability and Palin’s inexperience if McCain keels over.  But their foreign policies are both the RIGHT of Bush, because the Elite political consensus is going to the right ans the population goes to the left.

But they are both the enemies of the American people, whether they are neocons or neolibs, and they both will continue US militaristic policies which will drain money from any possible reforms.
McCain is more erratic, and stupid, but is stablity and intelligence desirable in one’s enemies?  Cheney is stable and intelligent.

The election is over.  The War on Terrorism has won.  Zionism has largely hijacked both US foreign and domestic policy and it relies on high tech militarism to maintaian apartheid Israel.  Both candidates support this policy.  You can vote for Obaden on the basis that he is more intelligent and stable, but his policies in office will not differ significantly from McCain, except perhaps that there will be less corruption.  But war, inequality, and oppression will continue and worsen, no matter who wins.

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By wildflower, September 9, 2008 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

It’s more likely the liberal bloggers are all unemployed like so many other working class Americans because, lets face it, the Bush adminstration hasn’t been too interested in putting food on the table for some time now - they’ve been busy doing other things like admiring the pluck of a mother who hunts moose.

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By KDelphi, September 9, 2008 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

My posts were not necessarily how I FEEL about the election. I dont give a damn about any of the candidates—they are all rich, they will be fine.I KNOW Obama would be somewhat better than McCain. But, for most voters, that just doesnt seem to be enough! Something is going very wrong here, the Dems should be WAY ahead. I am merely trying to figure out what that is. Since I sit right here in poor-ass OHio—I thought maybe I could shed some light. Part of the prob is , I believe , that Obama supporters become very hostile to any type of criticism amd assume that people who arent crazy about him are McCain supporters or PUMA. That is just not the case. I know you said that it is just your opinion—but a littel less defensiveness would become opbama supporters quite a bit, I think. Just word to the wise. Think of it as a likeable “critique”. Or ignore it completley. I could be wrong. SOMETHING is wrong!

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By Big B, September 9, 2008 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Hey wish i knew!

remember Walter Mondale? He said he would not lie to the american people, and that he would raise our taxes.
He was beaten like a gong!
Why? because you are correct, americans by in large think they are privleged, and should not have to sacrifice anything(except their freedom of course)
As long as we americans keep thinking we are the greatest nation in the world we will never again aspire to, or reach any great heights.
“ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!”
It’s time for all of us to put up, or shut up. There are many simple things we can all do to make our nation better. I have changed all my lightbulbs to low power florecents. I have put in a new low flow toilet and shower head. I have changed out to a new high efficiency furnace. I bought a smaller car(and I’m 6’5, that is a sacrifice!) Now I intend to vote against Mccain and eat a better diet!
Just imagine how much better off we would be if we all did these little things(especially the McCain part) My utility bills are a lot lower already! now we just need to work on this McCain thing.

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By wish i knew, September 9, 2008 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

If McCain and Palin take this one there will be a single party system. The neocons own the media, they have ruled most of the government, they are hated by the rest of the world. 

I am not a hard core democrat, I am hard core anti-neocon. I have researched PNAC, and tried to learn about the history of the last 30+ years of the plan that has been put in place for privatization and theocracy.

I am not a conspiracy theorist. Our government didn’t cause the terrorist attacks, but they sure took advantage of it to usher in a new era of diminished civil rights and freedoms, as they did in the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina that continues to this day.

It is about privatizing everything and running our entire country for-profit, pushing a free-market agenda, and making enough money to be above any ramifications of what happens to the US population as it gets pushed toward the brink of poverty.

This is way beyond Republicans vs Democrats. It is a fight for our democracy as it was meant to be.

I don’t give a shit that people think obama is an elitist. I don’t give a shit that people are racist. I don’t give a shit that people just don’t get that “warm fuzzy feeling” from him and don’t care to have a f*ing beer with the man. A vote for John McCain is a vote in favor of the neocon plan, and sends a message to the rest of the world that the neocon plan is what we are all about.

KDelph - you think the rust belt is suffering now?? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

An Obama presidency will not improve much in the next 4 years, it can’t possibly. And neither can Joh McCain.  We will probably see taxes raised at some point by either candidate - our economy is IN THE TANK.

The reason why we are not hearing our candidates speak about the economy is not because they are stupid - it is because WE ARE. Obama tries to be pragmatic but he loses polling points when he actually tries to tell the truth. People want to hear McCain say he wants nobody to pay taxes and everybody to be rich.

I get that this is my own perspective, and it is simply not shared by many. I respect that. But as I see it we have nothing to lose by making the neocons sit this one out. Just to give us, the American people, a tiny fighting chance to get our democracy back.

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By KDelphi, September 9, 2008 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

I just have to note, also—this has been up for 2 days. Almost no one has commented. Dems dont want to hear it. They need to, not because I say so, but because they should try to WIN, for a change!

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By KDelphi, September 9, 2008 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

I think Rendell said some very racist things. I dont know if he is a racist, truly, or was just shilling for Hillary. I lived in Appalachia for awhile—I KNOW that racism is stil rampant there. But, even in “almost all white” W.Virginia and KY. , only 1 in 5 people said that race was a factor.l (I think that they just like the Clintons alot, or think that they do) But 1 in 5, im the “supposed 2 most racist states i the Union “(if you have lived in the South ) is actually an improvement. And Hillary did not win by that much in those states.
In Southern Ohio, there are racists,(there are racist in Calif and NY , too—maybe towards races other than Af.Am.) It is just not what I hear from people in my neighborhood—could they be “not saying it to me”—sure. If people are racist, the ONLY way to change it (if, in fact, you can) if probably to show them—not just keep repeating that they are racist. Believe me, in my high school (gawd, long ago) there was integration in name only, with some exceptions (a small town in a rural county). But i was NOT raised that way and it felt very strange to me.  I think that, what is happening, is that the DNC underestimatee how angry alot of women , that liked the Clintons,were about a woman not being onthe ticket. If Obama didnt want Hilary on the ticket, he should not have put her there, regardless.
I think these conservative (for Dems) white women went for the “Palin crap”. It was clever, cynical and designed to pit poor whites against minorities, which the media has made the theme from day one, if you listten to the “code”.(It is easier—they dont have to do any homework)I think it is more about gender ( or, should I say—“Hillaryness”—alot of women screwed over by men that look like Bill—I’m serious now! People obviously dont vote rationally!), class, and unfamiliarity.
The Af Ams. in my neighborhood, are, as far as I know, (or they said) are voting Obama—but some voted Hillary in the Primary. The “Obama ” signs are down, I noticed—and McCain sign are up. My Kucinich sign was burned, as it was in 2004.
If you look at the voting patterns (how Obama won), it just does not bare out that racism was THE MAIN factor. Maybe I am in denial. Maybe my small OHio city is “special”.I kindve doubt it.It is , however, I think , second on Forbes list of “dying cities”. I voted for Hillary (domesrtic issues), but I am not attached to her—I dont tend to get attached to candidates. The city is about 70% minority. The upper class Dem Primaries went overwhelmingly for Obama.(Although most are Republican) They have far less contact with minorities, but if you live in these communities (which are vastly over-priced, because they have great schools) you have to be pretty well off, so they have more time to investigate a candidate; plus, they listen to what their kids say—they live where they live for their kids. They trust their kids. That’s just what i think happened.And what I think IS happening. Could be wrong.

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By G.Anderson, September 9, 2008 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

“And, I know everyone is say8ng it—that doesnt make it not true. If Dems cannot win after 8 yrs of W—what good are they?”

After 8 years of W., and an economy that’s ending the hopes and dreams of many millions of Americans, if the Dems can’t win in November, then as a political party they will be finished. Take note Hillary. 

All the Dems have to do is listen to their enemies, to find out why and how this happened. Half truths are always the most difiult to refute, because on some level they hit home.

The Democratic party has been taken over by some special interests of it’s own, the ones that are now revenge voting for McCain.

Party unity, no way. Their going to have to watch from the sidelnes as our country makes another right turn.

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By Ray, September 9, 2008 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How any sane person who is even remotely intelligent thinks that Sarah Palin is ready to accept the role and responsibilities of President of the United States of America is beyond me.  If we elect these fools to run our government after seeing what Republicans did after controling the House, Senate and Presidency for 6 years, then we get what we deserve.  You can bet it will result in a worsening economy, a dollar that continues to lose value, another War, this time with Iran, and higher oil prices.  And the biggest bonus of all, the continuing eroding of personal freedom all in the same of “security”.

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By Big B, September 9, 2008 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

I hope that I’m wrong, but here in western PA in the middle of the old union rust belt, It sure looks more and more like race will be the deciding factor in this election.
During the primaries, our gov “fast” Eddie Rendell, predicted correctly that Pennsylvanians were not ready to vote for a black man for president.
Now it looks and sounds as though we are ready to not vote for Barry again.
While I cannot speak for the Philly end of the commonwealth, I do know this area, including the panhandle of WV and eastern Ohio. The people here are primarliy older, ex-blue collar mill hunks(a term of indearment in our area) Who still shop at the same stores, go to the same churches, drive the same cars they did years ago. They also still live in the same neihborhoods, ones that are divided by race and religion as well as class. A mixed marriage is between a catholic and protestant.
I have been to the american south where racism is still rampant, and it looks and sounds much like many areas up here in PA.
Race relations in our nation have not come nearly as far as many progressives think they have. The immediate problem with that situation is that the dimmos have put all their eggs in Barry’s basket. They have gone “all in” with a black candidate that, because of his color alone, cannot win in many areas of our nation because we are not yet the “liberal” society that we some day hope to be.(well, some of us anyway)
I have examined all the aspects of this race, and all advantages go to dimmos. A failed war, an economy in shambles, a president and his party deemed as unpopular and out of touch with regular americans. How then can McCain still be within 10 points of Barry? Hell, he shouldn’t even be in the rear view mirror! But there he is. The only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that race is playing a pivitol role in the decision making process of many people, not just in the dim and backward states of PA, WV and Ohio, but everywhere.
Are we really still just dumb beasts that vote with our guts and not our brains?
This election could ultimatley show us a true reflection of our nation.
We may not like what we see.

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By KDelphi, September 8, 2008 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

This is important, folks. I am, once again, undecided. Back off—alot of peple are—esp. in Ohio. I was NEVER a “Reagan Democrat”. I broke from the Dems, I think, twice. And it sure as hell wasnt for a Republcan! The way the comentary is going, the map WILL look the same. And the peopel who cannot seem to stop talking about how “stupid” everyone is, will be just fine—no matter who wins.The reason I am undecided again, is that Palin (and McCain) terrify me. But, for most of my neighbors (we cant all afford to live where we would like)that wil not be enough. The problem is, that people in Blue states just have no idea what it is like RIGHT NOW in battleground states. I know you THINK you know how bad it is in the Rust Belt—but you dont.I know you think it’s racism, but—for the most part—its not.You dont have to listen to anyone. Obama does not have to speak to working class peoples’ problems at all. But I can assure you, they will feel that they dont have to expend the gasoline to vote.I voted for Hillary—I actualy thought her domestic policies were more progressive. It doesnt matter at all now.People that were “all hung up” on Hilary werent gonna vote Obama, anyway, But they are a small number. The rest could probably be convinced. But no one even seems to be trying.In fact, I would say that the opposite seems to be true. It is harder to be smug, when you have to stop and think that, Bil Clinton is the only two term Dem since FDR. That is ridiculous. And, I now everyoen is say8ng it—that doesnt make it not true. If Dems cannot win after 8 yrs of W—what good are they?

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