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"Obama: The Shock of the Red" (NYT)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

A nice, hopeful piece for all those in the Obama camp.  From Timothy Egan:




Take a look at what happened on Tuesday in the nearly all-white counties of Idaho, a place where the Aryan Nations once placed a boot print of hate — “the international headquarters of the white race,” as they called it.


The neo-Nazis are long gone. But in Kootenai County, where the extremists were holed up for several decades, a record number of Democrats trudged through heavy snow on Super Duper Tuesday to help pick the next president. Guess what: Senator Barack Obama took 81 percent of Kootenai County caucus voters, matching his landslide across the state. He won all but a single county.


The runaway victory came after a visit by Obama last Saturday, when 14,169 people filled the Taco Bell Arena in Boise to hear him speak – the largest crowd ever to fill the space, for any event. It was the biggest political rally the state has seen in more than 50 years.


“And they told me there were no Democrats in Idaho,” Obama said.


Okay, so Idaho is the prime rib of Red America. Ditto Utah, where Obama beat Senator Hillary Clinton 56 percent to 39 percent on Tuesday, including a 2-1 win in arguably the most Republican community in America – Provo and suburbs, a holdout of Bush dead-enders. These states would never vote Democratic in a general election.


But those numbers, and exit polling across the nation, make a case for Obama’s electability and the inroads he has made into places where Democrats are harder to find than a decent bagel. Yes, Hillary-hatred is part of it. But something much bigger is going on among independents and white males, something that can’t all be attributed to fear of a powerful woman in a pantsuit.


Having gone through their Hope versus Experience argument, Democrats are moving on to the numbers phase, looking for advantages in the fall. If they want to parse the Geography of Hope, they can do no better than study what happened in red counties on Tuesday.


Overall, Obama won some big, general election swing states: Colorado, Missouri, Minnesota, and a tie in New Mexico, where they may still be counting votes from the 2004 election. All will be crucial in deciding the next president.


His victory in Colorado, by a 2-1 margin, defied most predictions. Four times as many Democrats turned out as were expected, typical of the passion level elsewhere. In Anchorage, Alaska, for example, traffic was backed for nearly a mile from people trying to get into a middle school to become part of an Obama avalanche.


But back to Colorado. Obama won the liberal enclaves, as expected, but then he nearly ran the table in the western part of the state – ranch and mining country — and he did it with more than Ralph Lauren Democrats. In booming, energy-rich Garfield County, for instance, Obama beat Clinton 72 percent to 27 percent.


“We won in places nobody thought we could win,” an exultant Federico Pena, the former Denver mayor, told a victory crowd on Tuesday night. Obama’s audience a few days earlier – more than 18,000 — was so big that thousands who couldn’t get in huddled on a frozen lacrosse field to hear him.


Now broaden the picture and look at the vote among white males, traditionally the hardest sell for a Democrat. While losing California, Obama won white men in the Golden State, 55 to 35, according to exit polls, and white men in New Mexico, 59-38.


Looking ahead to Saturday, when Washington State, Nebraska, and Louisiana hold contests, Obama should add another three states to the 13 he won on Tuesday. They’re all caucus states, each with distinct advantages for Obama.


His problem – and it’s a big one – is among Latino voters, and older women. He got crushed by Hillary among Hispanics in California and New Mexico. To win the West, Latinos have to be in your camp.


Only slothful thinkers still view Democrats in the West as Prius-driving latte-sippers along the Left Coast. The larger story is about home-grown identity. Eight of the 11 Western States have Democratic governors. The Democrats picked up two Senate seats in the West in the last two national elections, and are poised to pick up two more this year, in Colorado and New Mexico.


Early on, Obama took a chance on the West, sending paid staffers to places like Boise, Idaho and Wenatchee, Washington. And the Alaska office for Obama – that was a knee-slapper at the time, but no one’s laughing now. He won the Last Frontier state by a 3-1 margin Tuesday.


Obama has made cynics wilt, and stirred the heart of long-dead politicos in places where Democrats haven’t had a pulse in years. Cecil Andrus, the eagle-headed eminence of Idaho, a former governor and Democratic cabinet member, nearly lost his voice introducing Obama in Boise on Saturday. He recalled a time when he was a young lumberjack who drove down the Clearwater Valley to see Jack Kennedy speak in Lewiston, a day that changed his life.


“I’m older now, some would suggest in the twilight of a mediocre political career,” Andrus said. “I, like you, can still be inspired. I can still hope.”


This kicked off the second biggest political rally in Idaho history. And the first? That was when President Dwight Eisenhower came to visit. Last week his granddaughter, Susan Eisenhower, made a small bit of family history on her own. She said that if Obama is the nominee, “this lifelong Republican will work to get him elected.”


Edited by stins - Mon, 25 Feb 2008 23:45:08 GMT
post #2 of 6

I guess I can't delete a post. I tried to post a video, the same one I put on Myspace, so you've prolly seen it Cristina, but it didn't work, so I tried to delete and it won't let me. So, I guess I can still ask the question, 'shouldn't someone who expects to be our leader, at least pretend to show reverence for our national ensign?' The video I tried to post here shows Obama standing with Hillary and a handful of others while the national anthem is being played. He is standing through it with his hands crossed in front of his waist and he's bobbing like a kid who's gotta pee.


I don't like the 'change hippie' but I'm not trying to slander or debate. I'm just thinking our leader, should feel reverence for the country he leads. You can hate the gub'ment and the beauracracy, but our freedoms were secured by people, us, your next door neighbor's son, and countless others who deserve remembering and reverence as pieces of the national ensign that is our constant reminder of what has been sacrifcied and gained. Being able to 'choose' to drive a Prius or drive to work or go to a gym to work out or fight against some policy or ideology in the gub'ment you don't agree with is something that is too easily forgotten and taken for granted.



Edited by navyjohn - Sat, 29 Mar 2008 15:45:22 GMT

Edited by navyjohn - Sat, 29 Mar 2008 15:58:26 GMT
post #3 of 6

I don't really put much stock on how the candidate is acting during the national anthem or whether or not he's wearing a flag pin.  I don't do that stuff either, but it doesn't mean I care any less about our country or its actions and future direction.  I think that sort of symbolic stuff tends to detract from the real important issues at hand.

post #4 of 6

So, should we not be proud of our country or the people who have given their lives so that some punk kid can go to college at home and complain about the 'system' that supports his whiny a$$? If you don't support and appreciate the warmongers who make this awesome country possible, you can at least show some reverence for a few minutes while the National Anthem is playing, especially if you hope to be the leader of this country.


What if someone goes to a girl's home and meets her father. Even if he doesn't agree with the father's way of thinking, he still needs to show respect if he hopes to be 'elected' to the position as 'taker of the precious daughter'. He can be all 'justified' and say that 'he doesn't agree with that kinda thing, man'. But, that is just going to make him sleep alone. Just because someone is sheltered in their spoiled Starbucks life doesn't make the rest of the country just go away, even if it's ignored.


There are proud patriots and, most importantly, veterans who sacrificed their freedom and lives even and appreciate what we have created here and the freedoms that so many take for granted.



post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by NavyJohn:

So, should we not be proud of our country or the people who have given their lives so that some punk kid can go to college at home and complain about the 'system' that supports his whiny a$$?

I didn't say that.  I just don't equate pride with symbolic gestures like the national anthem or flag pins.  They're just symbols.


I think the guy who actually wants to improve the country is more patriotic than the guy who does the symbolic stuff and then makes our country a worse place.

post #6 of 6

I don't believe in the 'symbolic' gestures either, in most cases. The empty gesture slogan on the yellow ribbon on an SUV equates to religious 'paying off of guilt'.


However, I believe there are certain few things that require reverence, such as honoring our National Ensign and the ones who sacrificed to make it possible or calling someone 'doctor' because he did medical school or calling someone 'sir' because he is your senior, in age or status.


I really don't care if the punk kid at Best Buy has any repect for me when he calls me 'sir', but I have earned the right to be called sir and it's good practice for him and maybe he'll actually realize that there is meaning to what he's saying. Kinda like most of the stuff I teach my kids. They prolly have no idea why yet, but one day they will get it and already be practiced in doing things like valuing someone's opinion, or giving of yourself to help someone else, or adapting and overcoming, regardless of the challenge.


Again, I don't agree with the made-up crap like yellow ribbons with empty slogans on the SUVs of people who have no interest in sacrificing more than 1.50 to 'show' their support and pay off some guilt. These, to me, are marketing ideas to sell stickers, etc. However, the honors that we give to things like the National Anthem and Ensign are things that were created by and for people who fought and died for the freedoms that we often take for granted. They have earned the rememberance. We are not giving some empty cheer like, 'bring our troops home', or 'change'. We are just taking a moment to remind ourselves of why life is what it is and what was given so that we can enjoy the spoiled life that we do.



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