MAJOR SPIN IN PROGRESS – The Obamans got a major punch Tuesday when Democratic voters in the Arkansas and Kentucky primaries sent in a major protest vote against the incumbent president.
The line being handed out is that "racism" was the cause. This wouldn't have happened, say the party liners, if Obama had been white.
Not so fast says old Washington hand Wes Pruden, editor emeritus of the Washington Times:
No one has ever suggested that “as Arkansas goes, so goes the nation,” but you might think the 42 percent of the Arkansas primary vote that Mr. Obama didn’t get has rocked the foundations of the republic. That 42 percent in Arkansas is similar – indeed, almost identical – to the vote against Mr. Obama in Kentucky and earlier in West Virginia. Donna Brazile, a Democratic strategist, says it’s the result of “race, resentment and fear.” The Klan is coming! The Klan is coming! With tar, feathers and rope.
No, says Pruden, and he's correct:
Tuesday’s vote against Mr. Obama is actually a protest against the party’s further slide to the left. Not so long ago Arkansas was the most loyal Democratic state, having never voted Republican. Then came the likes of George McGovern, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, white men all. Loyal Democrats swallowed hard, voted Republican, and waited for Grandpa to climb out of his grave, dusting off his Confederate uniform and looking for a hickory switch. But silence reigned in the graveyards, and old-line Democrats continued to swallow hard and vote Republican.
Some Democrats understand this. “It’s just that [some] voters are down on national Democrats generally,” Martin Frost, a former Texas congressman, tells The Washington Post, “and I don’t believe it’s due to race.”
Unless you’re an FDR or a Ronald Reagan this is what unpopular incumbent president, black or white, can expect. Lyndon B. Johnson was driven out of his race for re-election in 1968 when Gene McCarthy won 42 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary.
Maybe the white vote against Barack Obama isn’t about race, but reflects rage against an incompetent president who promised to change the old ways and now reveals himself to be just another pol with a Harvard degree and a hustler’s scheme to divide and conquer with the race card. We’ve heard this sad song before.
COMMENT: And we'll hear that sad song again, in part because it's sung in most of the universities of the United States that graduate our journalists.
May 25, 2012