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Opinion: Doug Thompson

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Primaries: The end begins
By Doug Thompson

Nevada was bad news for Barack Obama and South Carolina for Mike Huckabee. For Obama, the results are particularly grave.
Some readers may remember that I was going to talk about Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s blunder regarding Martin Luther King, Jr. this week. John Brummett said what I was going to say, only better, in his column in The Morning News on Saturday.
Suffice it to say that giving an ambitious, unscrupulous politician credit for crossing the goal line in King’s victory was beyond dumb. Dr. King died for his ideals. Lyndon Baines Johnson had none. Crediting Johnson for doing the right thing under pressure – passing a civil rights act to ensure rights that should have been guaranteed by simply being human – is exactly the type of “momma knows best,” “be grateful for what we give you” type of liberal white elitism that drives everybody else crazy, white or black. Clinton should avoid such talk like the plague.
Now, why do I think Nevada is a very bad sign for Obama? Because the last unknown factor in the Democratic primary was, which way will John Edwards voters go once Edwards isn’t a factor.
Nevada was the first Democratic primary where Edwards clearly wasn’t a serious factor. Overwhelmingly, it appears, Edwards working-class voters went to Clinton.
In hindsight, this isn’t surprising. Obama’s supporters have always tended toward the college-educated well to do, the young and the ideological. In short, a lot of people who support him have good jobs that provide health insurance or who, to be blunt, don’t have a lot of people depending on them.
People closer to the economic edge who have kids, especially ones who have had their ArKids First benefits kicked around like a political football, are more interested in the government actually and reliably provide necessary services. They are more interested in managerial competence than sweeping though nebulous promises of change that rolls over the partisan divide from a guy who’s struggling to win his party’s primary.
Are you a Democratic voter interested in justice? Interested in not having U.S. attorneys who summon a voter fraud probe every time people with your pigmentation go vote? Then you’re probably a Hillary Clinton supporter. Worried about the economy and not having a job soon? Then you probably want a Clinton’s steady hand on the tiller. Interested in having consumer protection services that keep lead-based paint out of your toddler’s mouth? Then you’re probably a Clinton voter.
These sorts of thing – not pandering – are why the Clintons have always done well among black voters. Black voters are far more likely to be poor, actively discriminated against and treated by the justice system as guilty until proven innocent. Like every other constituency, they’re more interested in action than talk. During the Clinton years, they saw action.
Working people support Edwards and Clinton. Working people – particularly working women, for whom an unplanned pregnancy would be a financial and personal disaster – choose Hillary if Edwards is not an option.
Worse, Obama continues to show something very close to annoyance when people don’t vote his way. Somebody tell him this “man of destiny” act has worn thin. Is this how he’s going to cope if he’s elected president and the partisan divide fails to disappear? What’s he going to do, pout really hard?
I said it after New Hampshire. Here it comes again. Barack Obama needs to admit he’s contributing to his own defeat and change something. He’s hoping to avoid that by winning in South Carolina with its large black vote.
The man would rather risk defeat than admit he made mistakes and lost races he should have won. He got important union endorsements in Nevada. Significantly, he didn’t appear to get the union members’ votes. This is serious. He prefers to ignore it.
A guy who’d rather lose than admit he made a mistake. Sounds familiar.
As for Huckabee, he’s just proven that he can’t win an evangelical Southern state. This begs the question: What good is he?
I don’t mean to give Huckabee the short shrift here, but what else is there to say?

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