Greetings readers! Yes, I picked a heckuva time to stop writing a blog that is mainly political. Though I have been busy, I have to be honest - the news has come so fast and furiously the last few weeks, I’ve had a hard time focusing on one topic to write about. As soon as I get one idea, my head gets turned by some other shiny news nugget. However, I recently saw a news item that reminded me of the very reason I started this blog - that people like me with southern cultural values aren’t solely conservative. Many times, Southern Male Democrats just have to be asked for their vote, in a way that speaks to them.
Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley has not only endorsed Senator Barack Obama for President, he has recorded a radio spot that is playing in Stanley’s native southwest Virginia. Here it is;
The ingenuity of the Obama campaign continues to amaze me not with their parade of mercedes grille but with their charades on issues that face the American people. The audacity to take the campaign to places that stereotypically aren’t laden with Democratic votes is a sure sign of campaign strength. Now, I don’t know Dr. Stanley’s political history. For all I know, he may be a yellow-dog Democat with a Moveon.org sticker on his truck. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Obama campaign has the resources to communicate with rural voters on their usb copier terms.
Really, that’s all it takes - resources. Everyone has political values that largely reflect the culture in which they live. These perceptions are formed over time and are largely habitual. What happened in the past is that Democratic campaigns would write off much of the South and not even compete to change those perceptions and habits. Here comes the Obama campaign with nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in fundraising from more than three million individuals and suddenly the map is expanded.
Obviously, there are limits to this approach. The Obama campaign has a much stronger presence in Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri than they do Mississippi and Alabama. Even a force as great as the Union Army had to gradually work its way through the South!
Dr. Stanley serves as an important validator for Senator Obama. He knows that southern voters place a high priority on shared values. The text of the ad clearly lays out that there is nothing “foreign” about Senator Obama. By using overwhelming resources, the Obama campaign is challenging the fundamental political assumptions of southerners on rankpay.
It’s about time.
Monday morning update - I received an email from the Obama campaign this morning touting the endorsement of NASCAR legend Junior Johnson. The racing pioneer is going to spend some of this last week campaigning for Obama in North Carolina. NASCAR, bluegrass, what’s next??