Throughout the election one doesn't have to wait too long before they hear the media laud the "independent" or "centrist" voters being the prize of both parties in winning the 2008 Presidential election, I for one believe that it will be played out in the Appalachia regions of Northern Georgia, the Carolina's, Virginia, West Virgina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. As someone who comes from proud Scotch-Irish stock(Much like these voters), I for one can attest that when it comes to elections we prefer candidate that walk the walk and talk the talk like "the folks" rather than some poll generated, egg-head from academia. As an observer of this election season, I believe Senator McCain has truly tapped into this community by selecting Governor Palin as his pick for his Vice-Presidential running-mate. Whether it's Senator McCain's extensive family tree of military service dating back to the Revolutionary War, or Governor Palin's devotion to family, working with her hands in the family fishing business, her support of the Second Amendment after a life time experience of hunting and defending oneself in the wilds(Not the Grizzly Adams type but something similar to that of Appalachia)of Alaska, all in all this comes off as a truly authentic who is "one of us" rather the faux act that we see when Senator Obama, formerly of Occidental College, Columbia University, Harvard Law, the University of Chicago, and ventures out of his comfy confines of the posh Hyde Park region of Chicago in an effort to be one of "the folks".(One only has to look at the states and regions where Obama lost to Hillary to understand why McCain has a chance of winning the votes.) I believe that Michael Knox Beran summed up the problem that confronts the Obama campaign in his most recent piece over at National Review Online. Here's a sample of Beran's wonderful piece:
Instead, conscious that no blue-state Democrat has won the White House since JFK nearly half a century ago, he’s signaling to swing voters in purple-land that he’s a less stereotypically bluish pol than Michael Dukakis or John Kerry, the last two blue men atop the Democratic ticket.I know a lot of things could happen between now and then, but from from my vantage point, I believe Senator McCain is making great inroads with "Jacksonian" America with his recent selection of Gov. Palin, his military service, his constant fighting of the entrenched politicians in Washington, and his straight talk, while Senator Obama is pulling his hair out to find a way to appeal to the voters in Appalachia while retaining his liberal base.
Obama, in this reading, is not a post-partisan idealist but a brilliantly partisan realist. He knows full well the depth of the divide between blue states (molded, David Hackett Fischer demonstrated in his classic history of American folkways, Albion’s Seed, by the cerebral culture of New England) and red states (shaped by a Backcountry fightin’ faith of guns ’n grits ’n God). That ditch couldn’t be bridged by the high communitarian oratory of Pericles himself.
Is Obama right, then, to bet that his post-partisan communal-values rhetoric, however meaningless it is as a governing philosophy, will convince purple people that he’s different from the repudiated blue-state partisans of the past?
Or, conversely, has McCain been the shrewder tactician in dusting off his red-state credentials and telling blue-blooded America to take its hoity-toity hauteur and shove it? In emphasizing his red-state warrior heritage and choosing, as his running mate, a backcountry girl, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain is betting heavily on enthusiastic reddish constituencies in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and southern Ohio showing up at the polls and making the difference in a close election.
Critics of the strategy contend that whatever gains McCain makes among energized reddish voters will be offset by losses among independents turned off by red meat.
If McCain’s strategy works, it will be in part because Obama’s efforts to cast himself as a new kind of blue-state pol aren’t working. Obama has so far been unable to close the electoral sale because, though he comes from the midwest, he hasn’t broken with a bluish style of leadership that drives much of the rest of the country crazy.
According to Professor Fischer, the New England civilization that molded the culture of the blue states valued learning, piety, and high moral seriousness. The Massachusetts Bay Colony man didn’t “kill” time, he “improved” it. He didn’t crack jokes, he reflected on “how displeasing it must be to God . . . to play the fool.” The New England virtues, though in many ways admirable, tend to degenerate into the self-righteous preachiness that gave the Puritans a bad name.
Sen. Obama, with his books, his learning, and his eloquence, seemed at first to resurrect all the promise of the New England tradition. Here was a Harvard man who recalled the best traditions of the university, not the holier-than-thou arrogance of the political-correctness seminary that fired Larry Summers for failing to tow the line.
But when, in San Francisco, Obama mocked backcountry folk who cling to guns, religion, and racial revulsion, he revealed the flip side of the New England ethos, its conviction of its own superiority.