Barack Obama and Hank Williams, Jr.
Dan Martin has some advice for Barack Obama: Listen to some Hank.
Barack Obama’s candidacy enjoys broad support and seems to be unified in ways most candidates could only dream of prior to the internet and text messaging age. Obama’s wide support, horizontal networking, and ability to inspire various demographics have thrust him within reach of the Democratic nomination. Still, if Obama cannot reverse trends among poor rural voters he may fall short in November. In short, I suggest Obama spend the time associated with airplane flights and drives to speeches listening to “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams, Jr. over and over again. If Barack finds his inner Bocephus and understands those lyrics, Obama cannot be stopped in November.
If Obama can talk to voters who can plow a field all day long and catch catfish from dusk till dawn, he can compete for rural votes due to the uncertainty injected by the global economy in areas that had previously been largely shielded from change. If Obama can recognize that some voters can make their own whiskey and their own smoke too and respect that there aren’t too many things that country boys can’t do, he will likely steal a few red states and win the whole thing with ease.
The problem, of course, is that Obama (and Hillary, for that matter) are more like Hank’s friend, whose grandfather taught him to be a business man and who used to send him pictures of the Broadway nights in exchange for homemade wine. Further, it’s just incredibly difficult to simultaneously appeal to affluent elites, Obama’s base, and the rural poor. Indeed, that’s the reason Obama and Clinton have had such a bitter nominating fight, since she’s managed to pick off the latter group, at least within the Democratic nominating electorate.
Still, Dan’s right about the recipe for Democratic success. The last two Democrats who’ve won, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, managed to pull it off. Then again, they had Southern accents and grew up in rural America.
Dan’s secondary suggestion, an Obama-Webb ticket, would help bridge that gap more easily than donning hunting apparel and chomping on some Beechnut.
Photo credit: Rolling Stone