"Yes Thurston, those hillbillies are allowed to vote..."

Aside from the fact that I'm not a Clinton supporter, two things bother me about the news of Hillary Clinton's 2-1 victory in West Virginia last night.

One is the fact that while the story was reported, it was treated as a non-event, and buried on page A-4 of the Inquirer. This is part of the election, and while we're all sick of the election, it's an ongoing important national event, right? The margin is so close between these candidates that there's definitely still a race. Yet this huge victory by Hillary Clinton (second only to her Arkansas victory) is being treated as a trifling matter of political insignificance. It doesn't seem to matter that as Hillary warns, "no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia."

The Inquirer did report this odd little detail:

Obama also broke from his usual practice by wearing a flag pin on his suit jacket. He told several thousand people at the Charleston Civic Center that patriotism means more than saluting flags and holding parades.
The way this is being relegated to political insignificance, you'd almost think Hillary Clinton was Mike Huckabee eking out a small victory over John McCain.

Actually, I think I'm wrong with that comparison. Suppose that Huckabee won a state like West Virginia, even after McCain had clinched the nomination. I think it would be getting more ink than this. A lot more.

The other problem I have with this news is that the whole thing gives me the impression that either Obama doesn't care anymore, or else he's been given powerful reassurances that he doesn't need to care. Bad move all around. The man is running for president, and a failure to campaign creates the appearance that he doesn't care. The implication of this is that either he's lazy (which I doubt), or else he just doesn't care about the "hillbilly vote."

The conventional political wisdom right now is that McCain is poised to pick Mike Huckabee as his running mate. Perhaps an Obama deemed "out of touch with hillbilly voters" can be spun that way. I disagree with this approach, as I think McCain needs to reach deeper into that genuinely hurt and despairing group of Democratic voters who are sick of being spun as ignorant white rednecks and racists, and Huckabee is not the guy to do it. Psychologically, Huckabee will simply remind them that they really aren't ignorant rednecks, but still Democrats, and he will help them swallow their pride and vote for Obama after all.

Few GOP loyalists will agree with me, but I think Lieberman ought to be McCain's Veep. He's the leading member of the scorned and rejected class of normal people who are held in contempt by far-left party elitists who see them as defective (or "bitter) for believing in "outmoded paradigms...."

Like, say, the idea that an attack against your country deserves the strongest possible military response.


Do you have to be a hillbilly to think stuff like that?

UPDATE: Broken link fixed. And contrary to what I initially thought, the Inquirer did quote Hillary's statement about the importance of West Virginia:

"Every nominee has carried the state's primary since 1976, and no Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virginia since 1916."

UPDATE: I was out of commission last night so I wrote nothing about West Virginia. But for those who want more, Stephen Green drunkblogged the race (the word "race" is becoming a political pun), and Rick Moran analyzes the historical context in "Why Hillary Won't Give Up."

UPDATE: Regarding the flag pin, Byron York notes it's an on-and-off issue. (Via Glenn Reynolds, who's questioning the sincerity of the timing, or maybe the timing of the "sincerity.")

Hey, whatever. Married men have been known to remove their wedding rings under certain circumstances.

MORE: I forgot to mention race, but Ann Althouse covers it:

White. White. White. Race. Race. Race. Oh, you Democrats. You've really made a nice place for yourselves.
(Via Glenn Reynolds.)

One of these days maybe someone can explain why 67% is more racist than 91%, but never mind.... (It's probably racist to pose such questions.)

posted by Eric on 05.14.08 at 08:17 AM


Thinking in purely get-elected terms, Lieberman would be a good choice among independents and disaffected Democrats. Conservatives respect Lieberman, but his ascension to the ticket would confirm in their minds that McCain has become more liberal and will continue to move in that direction. The problem would not be the vote-againsts, but the stay-homes. I don't know whether that is a net gain or loss in November.

As for governance, I don't see how Lieberman moves us in a libertarian direction.

Lieberman as SecState or SecDef, though - I could get behind that.

Assistant Village Idiot   ·  May 14, 2008 8:35 AM

I'm convinced that McCain's selection as the Republican Party nominee is based almost completely on his likely attraction to voters in the so-called center and center-left. Since his positions on many important issues are at odds with mine, it is of little consequence to me whom he chooses as a running mate. It makes a lot of sense for him to calculate who would add the most electoral votes and that would be the selection since the new approach to running against the Democrats is to move as far to the left as possible while still being able plausibly to call oneself a Republican. AVI is right I think since if I have something better to do I could miss this vote. If not, I'll vote for McCain.

Bob Thompson   ·  May 14, 2008 7:03 PM

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