Well, Barry got trounced last night. No surprise there, really — West Virginia is Clinton country. Most people were predicting a 10 to 20 point victory margin, but it ended up being more like 40. What does this say about Clinton’s campaign? What does it say about Obama’s? What does it say about West Virginia?
Clinton is done. There’s nothing she can do about it. West Virginia is a nice score, but doesn’t net her many delegates, and certainly not enough to stop Obama. Plus she’s 20 million in the hole, and owes tons of money to the small mom & pop vendors who make her signs and pamphlets. (Yet she’s good about paying the giant cable companies for her slick ads.) Dana Milbank of the Washington Post compares Hillary’s campaign to the Monty Python‘s infamous dead parrot sketch. Funny. And true.
Obama soldiers on, flag lapel pin and all. It’s clear he’s gearing up for the general election against John McBush, and he’s not gonna let the big defeat in WV distract him. Hillary trumpets the fact that no President since 1916 has been elected without carrying the state. “John Kennedy didn’t have the number of delegates he needed when he went to the convention in 1960," she told supporters, "but he had sumpthin‘ equally as important — he had West Virginia behind him." [My emphasis; her opportunistic adoption of the local parlance.]
The New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd suggests Obama will have real trouble turning West Virginians his way come the general. That’s why his campaign is redrawing the electoral map to concentrate on states previously considered unwinnable by Dems. It’ a calculated risk, but it could pay off.
There’s really no way to look at the situation in West Virginia without stating the obvious. In a state whose white population tops 95 percent, only one conclusion can be drawn. WV is chock full of racists. This is something the news networks are reluctant to come out and say; instead, they offer anodyne statements like "West Virginian voters are white and socially conservative." Translation: they call black men "boy," and talk gleefully about lynching on call-in radio shows.
An entire state that indulges in open bigotry and willful ignorance. And this is Hillary’s base! Maybe the question souldn’t be why Obama can’t win the undereducated, white and old people vote, but rather why Clinton can’t win the educated, young and BLACK vote?
We should just put West Virginia behind us. If they want to wallow in pre-Civil War fantasies about white superiority while the rest of America looks to a post-racial future, I say let ’em. Better yet, let’s annex the state and set up reeducation camps like they did in China during the Cultural Revolution. Okay, that’s going way too far.
America’s racist past is its racist present, at least in pockets of the country. I find this heartbreaking, as I do Clinton’s willingness to embrace this sad fact for the sake of political expediency. That’s why the so-called "dream ticket" is a joke.
I’d love to see Chuck Hagel as Barry’s veep. Anti-war Republican, Vietnam vet, good guy. Who do you think should be on the ticket?