Monday, September 22, 2008

Obama sort of loses a supporter

One of Ann Althouse's sons, an Obama supporter, has written a blog post about "how Obama lost me." This has lead to an argument among Professor Althouse's commenters as to WHY Jac Althouse Cohen has decided he "lost Obama" (though if you actually read his post, it is not really that Obama lost a supporter, but that the supporter lost the landslide he was expecting). And of course, some pro-Obama commenters are playing the race card.

My theory with Obama from the beginning is that he was the "liberal yuppie candidate", not the black candidate, not the left wing candidate. He was originally the candidate primarily of the white, liberal, urban well educated upper middle class. Until recently I lived in the Lincoln Park section of Chicago, on a block where there were $5M homes owned by hedge fund guys (mine was worth a lot less than $5M). I knew two other people who for certain were voting for McCain.

Obama was "one of us" in that he was well educated, wealthy enough, but not super wealthy, with the two nice kids and the appropriate disdain for the distant suburbs. Obama was the logical result of the changes in America's demography and economy, and especially the Bush years. The urban, liberal upper middle class thinks it is now their time. The spiritual forefathers of today's Obama supporters were the "best and the brightest" who backed JFK.

After JFK's assassination, those folks found themselves out of government. LBJ was from more of a traditional hardscrabble Democratic Party background as was Jimmy Carter. Clinton promised these folks an in, but in the end, Clinton was a moderate Republican. Nixon was from small town Republicanism, Ford deeply rural America and Reagan (despite his Hollywood background) was small town America. Bush 41 was in many ways the last gasp of the old GOP WASP establishment and his son is more in sympathy with the new evangelicals. No one has come from that urban liberal background.

So that is why I think Obama has become the new champion. He represents for the first time in almost 50 years that the urban, liberal, yuppie demographic has a chance at power.


Rodak said...

Obama didn't grow up in Chicago, you know. He is no more "urban" than Bill Clinton. That said, the various presidents you name may not have been yuppies themselves, but you can bet that the majority of the men and women staffing their offices--the people who really run the government--were. The term "yuppie" is a relatively new one, but the station is not new, although its numbers have swollen since WWII along with the college-educated segment of the population.
You can stick your head in the sand if you like, but the truth is that the primary difference, demographically, between Obama, Dubya, Bill Clinton, et al., is his blackness.

Anthony said...

Obama did not grow up in Chicago, bt then again many yuppies did not grow up in cities either -- it is a state of mind. And while yuppie is a relativly new term, they have their (our? am I a yuppie, even though I am 41?) anecedents.

As for race, if Obama was white, HRC would be the Democratic nominee and Obama would probably be working at a law firm in Chicago.

Rodak said...

As for race, if Obama was white, HRC would be the Democratic nominee and Obama would probably be working at a law firm in Chicago.

Yes, that's exactly my point, Anthony--they're all "yuppies." Obama's difference is that he's black. I.e.--he's the BLACK candidate, first and foremost.