Sunday, August 31, 2008

Give Props to "Sarah Barracuda"

Republican operatives can always lean on the penchance of Blue America (not necessarily liberal) to mock working class people and norms. The R's have mastered the art of "you think you're better than me" politics. It's the worst form of demagoguing, although the Democrats economic populism is a pretty close second.

But the Democrats are complicit in the Republican's gambit. The Obama camnpaign's initial response to the Palin pick smacked of "liberal elitism." Criticising McCain for picking a candidate that was mayor of a town of 9,000 may be rational, but it also signals to people in small towns that they are inconsequential. Are they saying that small town mayors are incapable of being effective administrators? Are small town people in general to stupid to govern?

Case in point, a new CNN poll has the election tied even after Obama's spectacular acceptance speech. While Galup saw an 8 point lead in its tracking poll on Saturday, that number is down to six today and will probably fall to 2-3 as the Thursday and Friday polling falls out of the three day average. This is all due to the popularity of the Palin pick among a god chunk of the public. According to the CNN poll, 38% view her favorably, while 21% view her unfavorably.

Why in heaven's name would 38% of people be excited about picking a candiate with 18 months of experience governing a state. Because she doesn't appear to be "better than" people in small town America. Obama with his fancy lettuce and fruity teas may not think he's better than those in smal towns, but he certainly exudes that vibe.

It would seem to be a tired trope. Like anyone could see that you shouldn't reward poor governance in one party with another chance to govern. But presidential politics is intensely personal. It's a symbolic decision about who represents me to the world and to my peers. For whatever reason, the Democrats are incapable of understanding that. If they would, they would pay all due deference to Sara Palin, celebrating her small town values and her personal story, and then go after how her and McCain's policies would be destructive to small town America.

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