Conor Friedersdorf is asking people to send in election news from their neighborhoods.The latest oneis too depressing for words:
I am a third year law student here in Columbus, Ohio, the capitol of Buckeye Nation. My wife and I have lived here for the past four years, but we were both born Midwesterners, me, in Indiana and my wife, in Akron, Ohio. We live in the northern suburbs of Columbus, just south of Delaware County, one of the fastest growing counties in the US, and a GOP stronghold.
I work in a law office for a Fortune 500 Insurance company and it is a very conservative office. Everyone there loves Palin, including a life-long Democrat secretary who despises Obama. Several of the attorneys have attended McCain and Palin rallies here in Ohio. This Brooks/Krauthammer/Will-type elite derision of Palin just does not resonate with GOPers here, even with bright white-collar professionals (not that blue-collar equals dim!). I've heard several of them say, she understands us, she is like us, she gets where we are coming from.
Interesting. White-collar Midwestern attorneys say Palin "is like us." Another excerpt (emphasis mine):
My neighbor and his wife are United Food and Commerical Workers union members and they are McCain folks, mostly because they still think Obama is a Muslim, as do my other neighbors.
Repeat after me, folks: Obama is not a Muslim . Last time I checked, Obama belonged to the United Church of Christ, a rather liberal Protestant denomination. I suspect the fact of his middle name being Hussein has something to do with the misconception, regardless of the fact that he was named after his father, who left early on. His middle name is Hussein, so he must be a Muslim. Either that, or his childhood years in Indonesia when he was sent to a Muslim school are the reason. By that reasoning, my middle name is Edward (like King Edward VIII) and I was sent to a non-religious public school, so I must be atheist (or at least agnostic) British royalty (boy, would that come as a surprise to my priest). Anyway, back to the poster:
Speaking for myself, I was originally attracted to Obama's seeming embrace of George H.W. Bush's foreign policy. My heart lept at a possible return to realism! Since then, I must admit, I am incredibly taken with the Palin pick. No, she may not be at 100%, but dammit, she does understand us. She's worked in a factory, lacked health insurance, and is worried about paying for her kids' college tuition.* People here are loving that, including myself.
OK. I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't give a tinker's damn whether or not a President, or a Vice President, "understands me." I don't care whether or not he (or she) knows what it's like to be a Californian, to have grown up in a single-parent household, to have been an adult re-entry student at a university, or to have changed one's religious affiliation. I don't care if he knows what it's like to be underpaid. I don't care if he knows what it's like to have worked in a fast-food restaurant. I don't care if he knows what it's like to drive a pickup truck with 200,000 miles on it. I don't care if he knows what it's like to do or be anything I've done or been in my life.
What I do care about is whether or not he's intellligent and thoughtful--preferably, far more intelligent and thoughtful than I. I would like him to know something about the world, and to have the good sense to surround himself with the best advisers possible. I want him to be cool and calm, and not react to potential threats, whether terrorist attacks or intercontinental ballistic missiles, on the basis of emotion or misplaced religious zeal. I would be delighted if he had some experience of the world outside the U.S., because the one area in which the President has the field pretty much to himself is the area of foreign policy. I wouldn't choose a brain surgeon on the basis of whether or not he understood me, nor would I choose the pilot of a plane on which I was about to fly on that basis. Why would I choose a President or Vice President that way?
(Postscript: I seriously doubt the Palins have to worry too much about paying for their kids' college education.)