So, let me set the stage: Jennifer Bendery and John McArdle write an article on Roll Call [subscription required] on the the political dynamics of President Clinton being a campaign proxy for President Obama throughout the 2010 cycle.
The article does well in explaining were the public and Obama disagree on policy and how Clinton manages to somewhat close that gap. For example...
Clinton is likely to be more appealing to Democrats than Obama would be for a number of reasons, one longtime Democratic media consultant said. For starters, Clinton, a centrist Southerner, has more flexibility to campaign in different regions of the country than the current president.
Additionally, “You can always count on Bill Clinton to not only excite the base but to make a very pointed and rational economic argument. Voters think we got it absolutely right in the 1990s, economically, when he was president,” said the media consultant.
... In the qoute above we see that on economics in particular even Democrats would like a more centrist fiscal agenda, one like we had in the 90's. You know, when the Republicans controlled the purse strings.
But I digress, back the the Roll Call article. In West Virginia, where coal is king, we have our next example...
Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) said it would have to be Clinton, and not Obama, to come stump for anyone in his home state since people are not supportive of Obama’s stance on the coal industry.
“The EPA is probably the most hated three letters in West Virginia right now,” Rahall said. “People associate Obama with the EPA so he would not be well-received right now.”
...On the Environment and Energy, again centrist to Republican sentiments there. Rahall then goes on to Clinton...
By contrast, West Virginia Democrats view Clinton as one of them, he said. “He’s a Southerner,” Rahall said. “He gets down to the nitty-gritty, asking the personal questions that show a concern and care.”
... Bill Clinton, whether you like him or not, has a skill as a man and a politician of being able to make you feel he empathizes. He feels your pain. It's not much different than those who would have liked to have a beer with Bush even though they may not agree all that much with him. Obama is woefully lacking in this skill set.
The article then closes with it's singular Republican quote, take it away Brad Todd...
Clinton “will raise them some money in Southern districts. He’ll cost them a few votes. And by showing up, he will highlight the Democrats’ embarrassment of their own president,” Todd said.
Well said Brad. Well said.
Now, I think I have given you a pretty good synopsis of the Roll Call article [do be sure to read the whole thing if you can] and you'll notice that there was disciplined focus on policy matters. To me, this is the standard of quality journalism. To others it is just an avoidance of the real reason why Obama would be bad on the trail.
This brings us to the subtitle of my post. From Josh Marshall of TPM...
Ok, so that wasn't the real head line, but is it really all that different than what he meant with this: "Obama Oddly Unpopular in Former Slave States"?
And he doesn't stop there...
What strikes me about the Roll Call article is that there's not a single mention in the piece that Barack Obama is ... well, black.
[emphasis in original]
I can here the internal dialog Josh began to have in his mind still wafting through the ethereal plains: "Whaaaahhhh!!!! They are focusing on the content of his character instead of the color of his skin. Quick inject race and images of slavery into the news stream. We must maintain the meme*. SOUTHERN STRATEDGY!!! Yeaaarrrrghh!!! *POP*"
Oh, no doubt Josh tries to cover his fourth point of contact...
I don't want to make it like Obama's unpopularity in a lot of parts of the South is solely or even mainly tied to his race. I don't believe that. Not just because I don't want to paint with too broad or over-stating a brush. But there is actually some very relevant evidence to the contrary.
But then he doubles down in his closing...
All that being said though, c'mon ... You simply can't explain this phenomenon without taking the President's race into serious account.
No Josh, you simply can't. You can't do it because you still haven't learned the basic lessons of the Civil Rights movement, the abolitionist movement, or the movement to make this nation a nation of free men; which we embarked on upon declaring these words as self evident truths..
all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
It has taken the blood of many patriots and the toil of many generations to remove the stains of racism from this land, all against the wishes of racialist hacks looking to inject race in order to avoid accepting the failure of their political ideology.
I think it's time you stop Josh. You are hurting the country.
Aaron B. Gardner
Crossposted on Conservative Pundidtry
* FYI, as an update: meme sustained. The Hill's Blogger Breifing Midday Roundup