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Beyond the Starbucks drinking elite

That’s a line from the latest article on Sen. Barack Obama, as he makes a much heralded media push to win over the hearts and minds of blue collar workers and red state voters. Ironically, I read the article tonight at a Starbucks, cashing in a gift card someone gave me.

That Obama (who’s secret service code name – Renegade – is decidedly one of the coolest secret service names out there) needs to move beyond the elite crowd is pretty much common knowledge. To do this, he’ll give a speech tomorrow in Iowa entitled “Reclaimin g the American Dream,” which as politico.com reports, will seek to expand Obama’s base beyond the “NPR-liste ning, Starbucks-dr inking, Prius-drivin g, Times-readin g” stereotype that has become a shorthand for his appeal to the party’s elite.

Obama’s “Reclaimin g the American Dream,” speech comes on the heels of an article in Time Magazine that talks about Obama’s red state appeal. Per Time:

Political organizing for Democrats in red states like Nebraska can often feel a bit like leading AA meetings. But that hasn’t deterred more than 300 Nebraskans from forming a dozen groups for Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and they aren’t the only ones. On Monday, the Obama campaign announced that over 300 Iowa and New Hampshire Republicans had decided to cross party lines to support Obama. At Obama events in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia, a good 20% of audiences routinely raise their hands when emcees ask for Republicans in the crowd. A “Republicans for Obama” website has 11 state chapters with 146 members. An August University of Iowa even found Obama running third in the state among Republican candidates, behind Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani but ahead of both Fred Thompson and John McCain. And a national Gallup poll this month also found that nearly as many Republicans like Obama — 39% — than the 43% that dislike him, compared with the 78% of Republicans who held an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton.

Then there’s the Obama machine in South Carolina, which is seeking to highlight the candidate’ s strong faith background, and his commitment to civil rights. Sure, Obama flubbed it when he brought on an anti-gay pastor to lead a major campaign concert in the Palmetto State (notice the backtracking and media floundering that ensued), but the results of his “40 Days of Faith and Family” tour across the state will certainly surpass any fallout from that rookie mistake. Need proof? Obama appeared in the town of Manning, SC last week for a campaign stop. A whopping 25% of the town showed up! (A poll released last week showed him ten points behind Hillary Clinton in the state. The next one won’t.)

What does all of this mean? Probably a number of different things, but my take is that instead of getting rough in response to Hillary Clinton’s campaign (like many activists and pundits are imploring him to do), Obama’s going to do something that’s probably much smarter – he’s going to aggressively make the case that he’s more electable than Clinton is, in places as varied as Iowa, South Carolina, and as Time magazine suggests, Nebraska. Might that argument have enough sway to pull him through Iowa and New Hampshire? It’s hard to say. But it’s a valiant effort at moving his campaign to the next level (something that, sadly, Bill Bradley couldn’t do in 2000).

Stay tuned. The Iowa caucuses are less than two months away (January 3). (Need even more proof that we’re getting nearer to the caucuses? It snowed nearly 3 inches in my hometown last night. Winter and Iowa are almost here!)


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3 Responses to “Beyond the Starbucks drinking elite”

  1. Wow! I didn’t even know the Nile flowed all the way to western Pennsylvania - that IS one long river!

    I still don’t think the American people are more apt to vote for a democratic, black man named “Obama,” any more than the allegedly “liberal” and decidedly divisivee (through little fault of her own) Hillary. I wish I was wrong, and I’d love to be surprised, but I doubt it. I’m afraid American racism and misogyny still run pretty deep. God, I hope I’m wrong.

    JMJ

  2. Even though I still think Hillary will win the nomination due mostly to an adoring MSM and a powerful machine, I underestimat ed the dislike for her that comes from the left wing of the Dems. This does leave a sliver of an opening for Obama and to a lesser degree Edwards. As a GOP voter I am unsure as to who would be harder to defeat in the general. Obama or Clinton. IMO Edwards would not stand a chance in the general. I agree with JMJ that Obama’s name and color will ultimately be a negative for him but not so great that it cannot be overcome by his charisma. I think that Clintons support by the MSM will probably put her into the general but she (and her husband) will generate voter turnout on the right to vote against her. Also, there is the possiblility that if she is nominated the far left will just not show up to vote as they feel that she has sold out, or it may prompt Nadar to run again as he doesn’t like her either. Obama may be the harder to defeat because he does not carry the baggage she does but his battle to win the nomination is uphill at best. This is why predictions are so difficult as they always seem to involve the future. Hell, watch it turn out to be Kuccinich vs Paul.

  3. As much as I’d like to see a woman president, I don’t trust Hillary as far as I can throw her.

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