30 September 2008
Can Obama sway the Scots-Irish? The answer is probably not
We looked recently at how the Democrats have managed to alienate the Catholic vote in the USA, now let's turn our attention to another group, the Scots-Irish. They normally vote Republican, but might be expected to switch given the state of the economy. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be happening.
If you only read one article about the USA and its culture then the one I urge you to take in is The Appalachian Problem by Peter J. Boyer, from the latest edition of the New Yorker. Boyer looks at the Scots-Irish, who make up the bulk of the white population in Appalachia and concludes that Obama just isn't reaching them. According to Dave Mudflat Saunders, a man who combines Democrat beliefs and Scots-Irish values:
Obama’s “Change” message... is too abstract, too vague, for the region. “Those people . . . were screwed by the English in Scotland and Ireland way before they came over here and started getting screwed,” he said. “They’ve been screwed since the dawn of time. And you know what? You ain’t gonna do anything with them, talkin’ about change. You know why? We’re all changed out. That’s all you ever hear, every election. Somebody’s gonna change some shit. Nothin’ ever changes. We get fucked.”What these people need to hear from Obama are concrete proposals that they can believe in, which will ensure that jobs return to their areas. What they are getting is either waffle, or policies that they know will tell against them. Thus when Joe Biden said, "No coal plants here in America," as he did recently in Ohio, that strikes directly at the heart of Appalachia with its coal mining tradition. As far as Obama is concerned he may very well have described the USA as the "Saudi Arabia of coal," but he is also on record as dismissing the whole industry as "dirty energy". What that means is that he flip-flops on policy matters: a waffler who flip-flops - the man is a Republican wet dream.
The problem is that Obama doesn't have those policies, and thus he has nothing to offer the God fearing, gun carrying, anti-abortion voters who are of Scots-Irish descent.