A comment I just read over at Greg Sargent’s Plumline Blog (Washington Post) made the suggestion that the blue-collar demographic is sliding towards Obama and away from the GOP because they increasingly perceive the GOP as “bottom feeders”.
Now, it’s always fun to use that particular derogation against those one doesn’t think much of but in this particular case I think it not merely an imprecise metaphor but one that points in exactly the wrong direction. Though I’m quite messing up the metaphor, I think we’d be much closer to the truth of things if we went with “top feeders” instead. Let me explain.
The most fundamental narrative theme used by the right to describe Obama has been that he is “the other” – black, Kenyan, professorial, ivory tower, arrogant, Harvard, doesn’t love America, socialist, etc etc. This isn’t merely or even mainly a consequence of his race because it is the same strategy used with some variations all the time (Kerry, Gore, Pelosi). Race is just one aspect which can be and has been used (Limbaugh, notably) to make citizens think Obama isn’t like them, doesn’t understand them, and doesn’t care about them. Nothing unusual in the GOP trying to paint Dem candidates as snooty elitists and their own candidates as truck-drivin’, plaid shirt and bluejean-wearin’ regular folks. That’s boilerplate. Parasitic elite versus hard-working and victimized Joe Regular.
Take the marketing of Dubya. They even went so far as to buy a frigging ranch for backdrop (parodied wonderfully here… http://bit.ly/wDNFII ) which when he left office was replaced with a house in the snooty, rich-guy part of Dallas where he lives now. They knew his real life and real “top feeder” social position was exactly what they had to avoid in getting voters to identify with him.
Which gets us to Romney v Obama.
Particularly now, where almost all citizens are hurting financially while a few at the top are rolling in it even while many up there contributed to this economic disaster (and often helped it along for their own gains) Mitt Romney is just about the worst character the GOP could advance as a “voice of the regular guy”. Everybody knows that’s baloney cut an inch thick. And he’s not helped by being such a social maladroit who cannot help but portray himself as Richie Rich – born into great wealth and power, lived a life in social circles of others like himself, really NOT aware of nor familiar with the circumstances of almost everyones’ real lives.
By comparison and contrast, Obama’s life and values are really far closer to that of almost all Americans and we get that intuitively. Add in Obama’s naturalness with people, his humor and friendliness, his dedication to his kids and family and you’ve set the stage for the blue collar demographic to swing away from the GOP and towards the Dems in November.
To put this in a more concise manner, who and what almost all Americans are beginning to understand they need to reject is the continuing abuse of their life situations and opportunities by the top-feeders.