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Posted by on May 14, 2008 in At TMV | 7 comments

Good Olde West Virginny: Wild, Wonderful, White Bread, Wacist . . . Or What?


I have a theory about West Virginia, the state with the “Wild and Wonderful” slogan and the first bearer of good tidings for Hillary Clinton since her accountant told her it was okay to lend herself another few million bucks in her quest to defy gravity.

West Virginians aren’t irredeemably racist as some commentators portray them, they just don’t like any politician who is not a white male, and despite her lopsided 41-point victory there yesterday Clinton is no Mountain Mama, merely their version of sloppy seconds.

After all, 30 percent of West Virginia Democrats voted for George bush in 2004 over that girlie man John Kerry.

Furthermore, those all-important undeclared superdelegates are not going to be moved by the results of a primary election that hasn’t mattered since 1960 when JFK beat HHH, and whose voters personify the concept of a backwater state.

West Virginia ranks toward the bottom in household income and other quality-of-life indicators among all states, and apparently in viewing positively the coming of the first serious black candidate for president, as well. How else to interpret this staggering fact: Two in 10 people leaving polling places in the Mountain State unapologetically said that race was a factor in who they voted for, which I would translate to mean that it was a factor for a substantial majority of voters who would never utter such a thing to a network exit poller.

And although he had dropped out of the race 15 weeks ago, a white guy by the name of Edwards got 7 percent of the vote. Dunno. Maybe it was his haircut, but white guys did really well in the Republican primary, too.

This suggests a couple of things:

Obama’s race will be a huge factor in the fall and the big question is whether people who will not vote for the nominee simply because of his skin color and/or because they falsely believe he is a Muslim can be offset by new Democratic voters who don’t give a fig about race, already registered blacks, more affluent white voters and Independents.

My own view is that they can, and American is an election cycle or two away from race, gender and sexual preference not being determining factors in the success of a national candidate.

Despite Clinton’s belated apologies for her campaign’s seeming obssession with race (as in belabor Obama’s vulnerability because of his blackness 19 times and then apologize the 20th), expect to hear more such talk in the run-up to the primary next week.

That is in the state of Kentucky, which is a lot closer to West Virginia than Oregon in more than distance and will be another “symbolic” victory for Clinton.

This is not to say that people who are disinclined to vote for a black are her Great White Hope, because there is no hope for her with Obama holding a big lead in popular votes, pledged delegate votes, opinion-poll positives, contributions and endorsements, and is currently picking off uncommitted delegates by a 4-1 margin. (As it was, Clinton’s 12 delegate gain in West Virginia has been more than offset by superdelegates migrating to Obama.)

Besides which, the mainstream punditocracy has dutifully fallen in line behind NBC News blowhard Tim Russert, who in a moment being compared to Walter Cronkite telling LBJ that the Vietnam war could not be won, declared after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries last week that “We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be, and no one is going to dispute it.”

Me too, and the version of this story at my own blog was bumped by two that are far more important — a development in the Pat Tillman case and the latest setbacks for the Bush torture regime.

Well, maybe not everybody has gotten the message. Just ask folks in the Wild and Wonderful State.

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