Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, February 08, 2008

Obama Charms The Rubes

Who'd a thunk it? Obama convinces Idahoan that he's for God, guts and guns.

I really wish that I had gotten to hear Barack Obama's speech in Boise. Obama has shown a talent for adopting the accent of his audience. When he's up north addressing the high-born, he can sound like a Boston Brahman. When in the south, he adopts a southern drawl and deletes a few words from his vocabulary. In the 'hood, he can produce a convincing Snoop Dog impersonation. I'm just wondering: When he assured Idahoans that he was a gun-toting bible thumper just like them, did he deploy a western twang?
Adopting what he must have inferred was a typical regional inarticulation he sought to comfort those in the audience who might fear that he was a typical, gun-grabbing liberal: "There are people who say, `Well, he doesn't believe in the Second Amendment,' even though I come from a state — we've got a lot of hunters in downstate Illinois. And I have no intention of taking away folks' guns."
His words in Boise contradicted his former stand on the Second Amendment. He has previously advocated "banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns."
This prompted his irony-proof opponent, Hillary Clinton, to remark that, "Well he has to speak to his own record, which has obviously changed over a relatively short period of time."
Does anyone else recall Hillary's one week 180 as regards drivers licenses for illegal aliens? Or perhaps she's hoping that nobody will remember that, until recently, she supported the war.
However Obama said it, his God and guns message must have gone over well as Obama scored 79% of the vote on Super Tuesday and seems to have vacuumed up all of Idaho's few delegates. Certainly Idaho is a state where a Democrat can be forgiven for using Ronald Reagan's name in a non-pejorative context.
The condemnation he absorbed from his primary opponents after calling Ronald Reagan a "transformative leader" was easily the shrillest and fieriest of the campaign. At least we know that the left does acknowledge the concept of sin even if those of us on the right don't quite grasp the left's moral priorities.
In any event, very few of Obama's Idaho fans were struggling with the conundrum frequently described by the mainstream media. More than once I've read or heard that black women were struggling with their decision. Should they vote for Obama because he's black, or should they pull the lever for Hillary Clinton because she's a woman?
It's too bad that those black women weren't Republicans. According to post-Super Tuesday voting analyses in the Politico and the Washington Post, Republicans and Democrats took their voting decisions via very different routes. Democratic votes were divided largely along race and gender fault lines. In other words, it was all about tribalism, victimology and identity politics.
Republicans cast their votes according to ideology. Republican voters need more than a photograph to make their decisions. Republican must listen to the speeches and familiarize themselves with the candidates' records. And considering that conservative talk radio was almost unanimous in its opposition to John McCain, we can dispense with those clichés about the Republican voters marching in lockstep to the orders of Rush Limbaugh.
Unfortunately, for Republicans, the only passion is in opposition to its candidate field. Familiarity with John McCain's record explains the grumbling in the Republican base. His McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill is an egregious trampling of the First Amendment. Along with Ted Kennedy, he tried to bestow citizenship upon illegal aliens, and then insulted those of us who opposed this scheme as "nativists" and "racists," although Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, he assured us that he now "respects" us.
Mitt Romney has lately portrayed himself as the only true conservative in the field. This self-characterization conflicts with his senatorial campaign against Ted Kennedy when he tried to convince voters that he was more liberal than Kennedy himself. And his reign as Massachusetts governor was far from conservative.
And finally, there is Mike Huckabee. Huckabee has revealed a frightening unfamiliarity and naiveté in foreign affairs along with a propensity to sink into a simple-minded populism indistinguishable from John Edwards'. And his record on ethics while serving as governor of Arkansas lent credence to Bill Clinton's defense of his own tenure - "honest by the standards of Arkansas."
If nothing else, Democrats have enthusiasm in their favor. As for me, I'm with Jackie Broyles.

No comments: