Bittergate: The untold story, from Mayhill Fowler
Mayhill Fowler in HuffPo on "bitter ... cling to" (interestingly, she writes it was the cling to, not the bitter). A fine, interesting retrospective on winning, "losing," how the discourse gets shaped, and who gets credit (all senses). The bottom line:
If [Obama] did not figure out how to talk about small-town Americans [that is, working class Americans who live in small towns like those in PA that the banksters have de-industrialized] to more worldly coastal folk then even if he were President he would get no chance at "change."
But who wants to talk to the unterbussen, anyhow?
The night before Haverford, I was fidgeting in a Pennsylvania school gymnasium while waiting for Hillary Clinton and weeping over a dog. Senator Clinton, of all the candidates, brought out the pet-mania in a supporter. Canine attendance at her events was a phenomenon of the trail, and I had begun to take photographs of the various dogs, all wearing Hillary regalia, many squeezed into little Hillary costumes. On the evening of Monday, April 14, however, I realized that this penchant signaled more than enthusiasm. It was a sign that here sat a room full of losers--their loss magnified by their obliviousness to the reality that their candidate also was a loser. By April, despite Clinton victories in Texas and Ohio and a likely upcoming win in Pennsylvania, no one in the press, except for those prone to Super Delegate conspiracy theories, believed that Clinton would get the Democratic nomination.
But this was the time when Hillary Clinton, nourished perhaps by the respect she had received in the poor Hispanic communities of Texas, began to get her voice and a receptive audience--always now in a town's meaner streets and not, as only a season before, in the nation's professional enclaves [the "creative class"], which had begun to drift into the Obama camp. Here filling the gym risers at the Bristol Borough Junior-Senior High School, listening to John Mellencamp's "Small Town" and chanting Hillary-Hillary-Hillary! were the working class folk who would stick with her until the end in South Dakota because she, more than any other candidate in decades, was finding a way to speak to the many and varied losses in these Americans' lives.
This is retrospect.
Obama never found a way to speak to these Americans in the campaign, and after a year, he hasn't. That means he hasn't tried and doesn't care. That's a recipe for right wing populism. Well done, Democrats, and especially the "progressive" access bloggers who did so much to help this process along!
UPDATE 2012-09-17 I turned out to be wrong about right wing populism. If Romney was willing to do what it takes to win, right wing populism is what he'd be doing. But the backers of the legacy parties won't permit that, hence the surreal nature of the campaign.