Democratic Flop-Sweat

Jonah Goldberg offers a funny and astute analysis of why Barry, despite enormous advantages, can’t seem to gain traction:

…The winds at the Democrats’ backs are hurricane-force gales, and yet there’s Obama holding steady, like a young Dan Rather in his schoolgirl rain slicker, immobile and unmovable.

Ask the typical Obama supporter why this should be so and you’ll get a range of answers. Some just stare at the poll numbers the way my late basset hound would look at me when I tried to feed him a grape: with pure unblinking incomprehension. Others act like the guy who sits alone with his shopping bags at the public library, muttering about Fox News conspiracies and how Karl Rove-like aliens are doing terrible things with probes of proctological exactitude. Still others just shake their heads at the racism of anyone who could possibly have a problem with a very left-wing politician with almost no experience, who often sounds like his campaign slogan is: “People of Earth! Stop Your Bickering. I Am From Harvard, And I’m Here To Help.”

Perhaps therein lies the answer to this supposed mystery. Indeed, perhaps there’s no mystery at all, and Obama’s problems are the same problems Democrats always have at the presidential level: He’s an elitist.

Oh, I know. Upon reading that, some liberal spluttered herbal chai tea from her nose at the injustice of this whole elitist canard, and the earnest Ivy League interns at some liberal magazine have burst into laughter, offering the appropriate bons mots from Balzac at the preposterousness of such a suggestion, saying: “Don’t you conservatives understand? Democrats care about the little guy. They’re on the side of the proletariat – I mean workers – and as Obama has so eloquently put it, if the workers would only stop clinging to their silly sky god and guns, they’d understand that.”

Liberalism is often a problem at the presidential level. Cultural liberalism is a burden. Haughty cultural liberalism is a disaster in the making. For good or ill, the presidency is a cultural institution as much as it is a political institution. And it’s fundamentally a culturally conservative one. Fair or not, many perceive Obama as a cultural outsider. This week, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said of Obama’s friendship with former left-wing domestic terrorist Bill Ayers: “They’re friends. So what?”

Psephologist and columnist Michael Barone noticed during the primaries that, with the exception of the black vote, Obama’s support within the Democratic Party is comprised almost entirely of cultural liberals. He dubbed this intra-Democratic split a divide between “academics and Jacksonians.” The Jacksonians are working-class, culturally conservative whites. The academics are the same people who formed the base for Howard Dean, Bill Bradley, Michael Dukakis, Gary Hart, George McGovern and other successful presidents in the anti-matter universe where Spock has a goatee.

In this universe, however, you need Jacksonians more than you need academics to win a general election, which is one reason why no non-Southern Democrat has won the presidency in nearly a half-century. It’s not that voters love Southerners, either. Rather, Southern Democrats simply seem more Jacksonian (even so, only Jimmy Carter won with a majority of the popular vote).

Obama may still win, of course, proving that America is not only ready for a black president, but a cultural liberal as well. If he loses, though, you can be sure Democrats will claim he lost not because he is a black and more charming Michael Dukakis, but simply because he is black. Because liberals are never wrong.

Gerard Baker, Times of London columnist, seems to agree with Jonah:

There’s trouble in paradise. Cancel the coronation. Send back the commemorative medals. Put those “Yes We Can” T-shirts up on eBay. Keep the Change.

Barack Obama’s historic procession to the American presidency has been rudely interrupted. The global healing he promised is in jeopardy. If you’re prone to emotional breakdown, you might want to take a seat before I say this. He might not win.

How can it be, you ask? Didn’t we see him just last month speaking to 200,000 adoring Germans in Berlin? Didn’t he get the red carpet treatment in France – France of all places? Doesn’t every British politician want to be seen clutching the hem of his garment?

All true. But as cruel geography and the selfish designs of the American Founding Fathers would have it, Europeans don’t get to choose the US president. Somewhere along the way to the Obama presidency, somebody forgot to ask the American people.

And wouldn’t you know it, they insist on looking this gift thoroughbred in the mouth. Who’d have thought it? You present them with the man who deigns to deliver them from their plight and they want to sit around and ask hard questions about who he is and what he believes and where he might actually take the country. The ingrates! …

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