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And I don't mean negative.

The key to an Obama victory in the primary and the GE now lies nowhere else but in the misty mountains of Appalachia. So strap on your geeek glasses and lets have some fun. We've got work to do.

I am writing this diary out of a desire to see Barack Obama win the primary and general election. There is no doubt that Appalachia is the absolute KEY area to electoral victory for Obama. With the Appalachian vote goes the potential swing of WV, OH, VA, NC, PA and potentially KY and TN depending on the numbers come November.

So far, Obama is under-preforming 44% in Appalachian areas. Tennessee hinted at it (-41), Virginia seconded (-61), and SE Ohio (-31) has made it exceedingly clear. But it can, and will be his.

Dive in with me to see how Obama locks up the primary, and crushes John McCain in the General Election.

Whether you are a 50-stater or a 50%+1 - 3 state advocate, Democrats MUST compete in these areas to win. There is no other way to achieve the Presidency.


We'll break this diary into 5 parts:

  1. Appalachian Tennessee (TN-01, TN-02, and TN-03)
  1. Appalachian Virginia (VA-09)
  1. Appalachian Ohio (OH-06, OH-18)
  1. Appalachian PA, NC, WV, and KY
  1. What the Obama campaign should do if it wants to improve its performance in Appalachia

Note: I selected "Appalachia" based on Congressional District and have focused on areas in the central and southern Appalachian coalfields:
OH-06, OH-18, VA-09, TN-01, TN-02, and TN-03.

This is not scientific, and if you'd like to make a case for additional districts to be included, I'd love to hear it.

I understand that there is a case to be made by going to counties, but again, this is not meant to be a scientific statistical analysis. I will not use the definition the Appalachian Regional Commssion (ARC) uses,  and include everything from MS to NY. I believe that Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia all have terribly different dynamics at play, as does downstate NY. I do think it is significant that the ARC map includes almost ALL of Pennsylvania.


PART 1: Appalachian Tennessee

Final TN Results (HC +13)
HC:54 BO:41

Appalachian TN Results (HC + 54)
HC:74 BO:24

Obama under-performs in Appalachian Tennessee by 41%

COUNTY    BO%       HC%        # VOTES       Margin %
Anderson    2558 (34%)    4886 (66%)    7444    (Clinton+32 )
Bledsoe      195(12%)    1399 (88%)    1594    (Clinton+76 )
Blount       3090 (35%)    5717 (65%)    8807    (Clinton+30 )
Bradley      1625 (28%)    4139 (72%)    5764    (Clinton+44 )
Campbell    326 (10%)    2854 (90%)    3180    (Clinton+80 )
Carter       745 (24%)    2366 (76%)    3111    (Clinton+52 )
Clairborne   276 (11%)    2138 (89%)    2414    (Clinton+78 )
Cocke        440 (19%)    1835 (81%)    2275    (Clinton+62)
Grangier     249 (16%)     1341 (84%)    1590    (Clinton+68 )
Greene      1038 (25%)     3181 (75%)    4219    (Clinton+50 )
Hamblen     1094 (25%)    3302 (75%)    4396    (Clinton+50 )
Hancock     56 (19%)    240 (81%)    296    (Clinton+62 )
Hawkins     650 (20%)    2623 (80%)    3273    (Clinton+60 )
Jefferson   775 (24%)    2470 (76%)    3245    (Clinton+52 )
Johnson    214 (26%)    600 (74%)    814    (Clinton+48 )
Loudon     1027 (29%)    2459 (71%)    3486    (Clinton+24 )
McMinn     897 (25%)    2637 (75%)    3534    (Clinton+50 )
Monroe     719 (21%)    2628 (79%)    3347    (Clinton+58 )
Polk         348 (14%)    2154 (86%)    2502    (Clinton+72 )
Rhea       405 (17%)    2026 (83%)    2431    (Clinton+66 )
Roane       1350 (27%)    3733 (73%)    5083    (Clinton+46 )
Sevier      1245 (26%)    3568 (74%)    4813    (Clinton+48 )
Sullivan    2541 (29%)    6162 (71%)    8703    (Clinton+42 )
Unicoi      205 (22%)    736 (78%)    941    (Clinton+56 )
Union       155 (10%)    1322 (90%)    1477    (Clinton+80 )
Washington  3258 (36%)    5731 (64%)    8989    (Clinton+28 )
TOTAL   25,481 (26%)    72,247 (74%)    97728    Clinton +54

Knox     16849 (47%)    19064 (53%)    35913    (Clinton+6 )
Hamilton 19831 (54%)    16562 (46%)    36393    (Obama+8 )

Note – The Percentages only include the Clinton/Obama vote percentages, and does not include Edwards, Dodd, Richardson, or any other candidate. This will, in my opinion, be more likely to pad Obama's percentage than Clinton's. I've also removed Hamilton County and Knox County because of their heavy reliance on the urban areas of Chattanooga and Knoxville, respectively. I'm from rural Hamilton County north of CChattanooga, so I know this part of the country.

The only counties where Clinton won by less than 30% are

  1. Loudon County - borders Knox County and Knoxville, and includes Lenoir.
  1. Washington County - Home to East Tennessee State University and Johnson City.


PART 2: Appalachian Virginia

Final VA Results (BO +29)
HC:54 BO:41

Appalachian VA Results (HC + 32)
HC:74 BO:24

Obama under-performs in Appalachian Virginia by 61%

On Feb. 12, we had our turn at the already enchanting Democratic and Republican primary elections.  The rest of February looked good for Obama, and most primaries and caucuses were in states with favorable demographics to the primary coalition of African-Americans, Independents, moderate Democrats, young voters, and upper-income Democrats that Obama had been successful with in Iowa, South Carolina,  Georgia and elsewhere. The Clinton coalition relies more heavily on seniors (65+), Latinos, and blue-collar workers. (I think its worth noting that this is an oversimplification on both candidate's behalf.)

After substantial weekend losses in Washington State and Maine, and with upcoming primaries in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, the Clinton campaign was looking at my state of Virginia as a kind of "firewall" state, which she had to do well in.

Virginia has an open primary, which means that you can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries (but not both.)

The demographics across the Commonwealth of Virginia are remarkably mixed.
There are lots of DC commuters in NoVA who lean Democratic but are still unpredictable in a primary because the area is growing so fast.
You have highly African-American Richmond.
You have farming, "piedmont-like" terrain and population in Central Virginia.
You have heavily military coastal areas in Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
You have large schools such as UVA (~20,000) and Virginia Tech (~27,000), not to mention University of Richmond, Radford, George Mason, William and Mary, and a slew of other institutions of higher learning.

You also have heavily Appalachian SWVA, which is all contained in the 9th Congressional District, and partially in the 6th. Being an Appalachian political nut, VA-09 is a district I took great interest in watching the returns from.

The campaigns had both had to cancel events in SWVA in the days leading up to the February 12th contests, due to devastating winds and wildfires, which shut down much of I-81 South leading up to the primary. Obama has traditionally outperformed his poll numbers in areas where he is able to campaign and raise his name recognition and profile. Clinton, on the other hand, seems to have the opposite reaction.  For instance, for some reason, Hillary Clinton was in Charlottesville on Monday. However, on Tuesday, she only garnered 24% of the vote in Charlottesville. So, in areas where there is no campaigning done, Clinton would be heavily favored because of her name recognition, and close ties (understatement?) to Bill Clinton - still very popular with blue collar workers in the Appalachian part of Virginia.

Well...its no secret primary day in Virginia was a blow-out win for Obama, who took the state by nearly 30 points - 64%-35%.

Virginia allocates a large number of its delegates proportionately, and Obama took each Congressional district by the following margins.

CD-01: Obama-66          Clinton- 34      (Obama +32)
CD-02: Obama-65          Clinton-34      (Obama +31)
CD-03: Obama-80          Clinton-19      (Obama +61)
CD-04: Obama-73          Clinton-27      (Obama +46)
CD-05: Obama-65          Clinton-34       (Obama +31)
CD-06: Obama-54          Clinton-45       (Obama +9)
CD-07: Obama-66          Clinton-33       (Obama +33)
CD-08: Obama-62          Clinton-37       (Obama +25)
CD-09: Obama-33          Clinton-65       (Clinton +32)
CD-10: Obama-60          Clinton-40       (Obama +20)
CD-11: Obama-60          Clinton-40        (Obama +20)

(CD=Congressional District)

The Appalachian 9th district showed a HUGE 61% difference from Obama's statewide margin. It is a very interesting district, which I think is a great place to dive into the confounding mystery and complex history of Appalachian politics.


The 9th is rated by the Cook Political Report of having a PVI of R+7, which means that the district voted 7% more Republican than the rest of the country in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential election.

However Democrats like Senator Webb, Governor Kaine, and Governor Warner have recently been able to carry several counties in the 9th, as part of their winning statewide coalitions. The 9th district is also represented in Congress by a moderate Democrat - Rick Boucher, who was just re-elected to his 13th term with 68% of the vote.

Boucher, therefore, should have a powerful grip on the Democratic apparatus in the area. In January, Congressman Boucher endorsed Obama, which should have boded well for Obama's chances in that part of the state. However, in the weeks leading up to the primary, Boucher (to my knowledge) did not make many public appearences or statements on Obama's behalf

While the 9th district is heavily Caucasian (93% according to census data), that can not by itself explain why Obama preformed so poorly here. Iowa Caucus-goers, for instance are 98% white. New Hampshire primary voters are over 95% white. Obama also convincingly won states like Idaho, North Dakota, and Alaska.

The 9th district is highly rural, which would slightly favor Clinton, although not by a lot,judging by Iowa voters' preferences. The 9th is also highly blue collar, at 36%. However, that is only slightly higher than the neighboring 5th district  (in which blue collar workers make up 32% of the electorate) where Obama took 65% of the vote. The fifth, however, houses the University of Virginia, and is 24% African American, compared to the 9th's 4% African-American population. The other neighboring district - the 6th, has 11% African American population, and is 29% blue collar workers. Obama also under-performed his state average in this district, carrying it by a margin of 9%. This is strong evidence that geography is in play as much as demographics.

The only noted presence (that I've seen) of Obama organization in the 9th district was in Roanoke. In Roanoke City, Obama won with by a respectable 57-42 margin. Obama, therefore seems to benefit disproportionately over Clinton from two key elements.

  1. Direct campaigning
  1. On the ground organization

Obama had a similar lack of organization (to my knowledge) in the 6th as in the 9th, with slightly more favorable demographics in the 6th.

So, Clinton had several things going for her in the 9th district.

  1. The Caucasian and blue-collar heavy demographics of the 9th district should have boded well for her.
  1. The fact that there was no direct campaigning by either candidate (although Bill Clinton did visit SWVA) benefits Hillary Clinton, who has a higher profile.
  1. There was little on-the-ground campaign or GOTV organization in those districts, which should favor Clinton.

However, none of these differences - singularly or together - should presuppose the giant 61% difference in results on behalf of Clinton.

PART 3: Appalachian Ohio
I  need some help with this area, as I have almost no experience in this area of the country.

Final OH Results (HC +10)
HC:54 BO:44

Appalachian OH Results (HC +42)
HC:71 BO:29

Obama under-performs in Appalachian Ohio by 31%

Obama performs slightly higher in OH than VA and TN because there was substantial campaigning done in OH.

In OH-06, Hillary took 66% of the vote in, and in OH-18 Hillary took 70% of the vote in. I still don't really understand Ohio as kos says, even on a "gut level." But both of these districts are represented by two Freshmen Democrats who have NOT endorsed a candidate according to the Hill. OH-06 is represented by Charlie Wilson, and OH-18 is represented by Zack Space.

Historically, many of these areas have a strong Democratic presence due to the long history a history of working-class labor battles. I can not imagine that the income brackets favor Republicans either.

If you have more insight into SE Ohio, please share in the comments.

PART 4: Appalachian PA, NC, WV, and KY.

The most pressing state...PA
The Appalachian Regional Commission includes almost all of western and central PA in its definition of "Appalachia."

Recent polls show Obama competitive in PA. All polls taken in the last 2 weeks show him within single digits. However, Hillary has blunted his momentum, will continue to throw the kitchen sink at him. To win this state Barack Obama will need every single vote he can get.

Obama also leads most primary polls in NC, where the population is buoyed by the central and eastern parts of the state. Now, NC has 15 electoral votes - as many as New Jersey. I will be the first to say that Obama can and WILL compete with McCain in North Carolina. Dems control the Governorship, have a majority in the Congressional delegation, and recently expanded our Dem majorities in the State House and State Senate.

In WV, polling from 2 weeks ago shows a commanding 43-22 lead for Hillary Clinton. WV is quintessential Appalachia.

I have not seen any data for Kentucky.

PART 5: What the Obama campaign should do if it wants to improve its performance in Appalachia

I want to first include Ohiobama's quote, the inspiration for this post, in its entirety. Emphasis mine.

Realizing the strategic error made in Ohio, go to rural Appalachian Pennsylvania FIRST. Do small town meetings in Appalachian towns BEFORE you do big rallies in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Visit with poor mountain families and coal miners. Show those people you are about them. Forget all national issues for a few days and talk about local issues. Find out what those communities want and speak to those wants. Don't send Oprah or Michelle to those areas; send George Clooney and John Edwards if you can get him. Don't jet around. Take bus tours with multiple stops in small towns. Pay attention to local history. Visit historic sites. Recruit new voters from the hollows as well as from college campuses. In fact, avoid the college campuses, they stigmatize you. Go out of order to the electoral calendar, visiting border areas of West Virginia when you are nearby. Prepare for North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia as you campaign in Pennsylvania. Issue a position paper on Appalachian regional issues. Hold an Appalachian summit that includes people from the parts of Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee where you already lost. Don't listen to national strategists. Bring in a group of Appalachian community organizers to advise you from organizations like the UMWA, Highlander Center, the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, and Southern Ohio Neighbors Group. Visit the same Appalachian towns that JFK did in the 1960 campaign. Show some humility and willingness to learn. Pray at very small churches, a lot. Say the words "New York" in connection to Hillary Clinton as often as you can. Make HER the urban outsider who doesn't understand. Show you're neither afraid to slam the Democratic political machine, nor afraid to take a walk in the woods.

Appalachia is the epitome of racial mixture in America. The people are of mixed Euro-American, African American, and Native American stock. It is natural turf for Barack Obama.

My suggestions are as follows:

A) Go There
Go to small towns like Sylvester, Dorothy, Whitesville, and Blair Mountain (site of the biggest labor battle in American History!)

B) Come out with a strong-position against strip-mining and mountaintop removal. Say you'll stop the dumping of coal waste into our water on Day 1.

For those who don't know, over 1 million acres of Appalachia have been recklessly bombed away by coal companies seeking to reduce their labor force. Over 474 mountains have been lost, entire communities destroyed, and economies suffocated as 90% of coal jobs are lost. 1700 miles of headwater streams that feed the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and Mississippi River have been buried and poisoned

C) COAL IS OVER. Work with industry and local people to make Appalachia the renewable energy center of the country.
Providing America's power is a source of immense pride to the people in Appalachia. However, we have 10-20 years of coal left in Appalachia, and we need to work to make renewable energy the economic engine of 21st century Appalachia. Help us make wind towers. Incentivise solar, and wind, and biomass, and micro-hydro power.

D) Finish what FDR, JFK, and RFK started
Address endemic Appalachian poverty aggressively. (You might even pick up a few key endorsements).Appalachia has some of the highest poverty rates in the country. A lot of that has to do with the mono-economy of coal. Encourage tourism. Encourage local businesses.

Free Image Hosting at

...lifting straight from Ohiobama

E) Issue a position paper on Appalachian regional issues.
Poverty, religion, coal/energy, tourism.

F) Show you're neither afraid to slam the Democratic political machine, nor afraid to take a walk in the woods.

This one will be tough. The Democratic machine in WV is not kind, and is deeply in the pocket of coal. This is exactly why we are so poor.

G) Wear a flag (not just a lapel) :)...and talk shit about George Bush.
DC has done Appalachia NO favors. Bush actually made it easier for coal companies to dump poisonous mine wastes in our streams, 1700+ miles of which have already been buried and polluted by mountaintop removal. The Democratic history with labor and working class issues is strong here.

You will need at least WV (5 EVs) and PA (21 EVs) to beat McCain. Having OH (20EVs), NC (15 EVs), and VA (13 EVs) while adding TN (11) and KY (8) to the mix will only help get you the 50%+ that Democrats have been working on for so long.

This is where the 50-state strategy brings you.

We look forward to seeing a Presidential candidate who stands with us and not the coal company CEOs.

We look forward to working with you.

And we look forward to helping you to a crushing win in Novermber.



Part 6: What Appalachia is and is not
Appalachia is...
The most beautiful place in the world.
Rich in cultural history.
(has...) a deeply divided political history, but one that shows a inner-conflict on race that is at once both progressive and "inexperienced" with racial diversity.

Appalachia is not...
A resource colony for the US.
A national sacrifice zone.

I think that the strongest thing you can pull from all this political data is this fact: It is more than simple demographics that sets Appalachia apart from the lowland south. The Appalachian political system is a distinct one. It is more complex than that of the "solid" south, and entirely more unique (and mysterious) than it is given credit for.

I will be very interested to see how the breakdowns are in Appalachian Kentucky(5-20), Appalachian Pennsylvania (4-22), and West Virginia (5-13).

I welcome your thoughts, corrections, and suggestions.
Three cheers for constructive dialog!

Full disclosure: I support, and have given money to Barack Obama, though I'll do my best to make the analysis here as objective as possible. I could write whole books on this wonderful enigma we call Appalachia.


  1. The issue of race keeps coming up. I don't have an answer other than what I gave in this post. But I want to say that I am very glad we are discussing it.
  1. If folks think I am over-stating the immensity of destruction from mountainop removal mining in Appalachia, Im not.

Southern WV, Southwest VA, Western KY, and should include north Central TN.

Please visit Appalachian Voices and to learn more about mountaintop removal to learn more about what you can do to stop it. Including asking your Congressman to co-sponsor the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 2169).

And THANK YOU everyone for the great feedback, constructive criticism, and thoughtful conversation. Its awfully refreshing. :)

UPDATE 2: Some historical comparison might also do some good. Check out what Kennedy did in 1960 against Humphrey in the WV primary. Tip o' the hat to HollowDweller!

Originally posted to faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:29 AM PST.

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  •  Tips and Thoughts (352+ / 0-)
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    Whether you agree, or disagree that Obama needs to focus on Appalachia, please leave your thoughts.

    Three cheers for constructive dialog!

    Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

    by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:29:31 AM PST

    •  It's the Mountains--Not Appalachia (13+ / 0-)

      Obama will win VA based on trending and other factors (the Republican Party in VA is in shambles). Depending on turnout levels, NC, GA, and MS could be in play with Obama on the ticket. NC will be in play; GA probably will be in play; MS is an outside shot.

      But look west--to where Obama holds substantial leads over McCain and Clinton trails McCain badly in states like CO, NV, and IA. Throw in NM and MO and you see where the map is going for Obama--to the South and the west. It's about time we stopped banging our head against the wall in Ohio and started going where the votes are ripe.

      If the perfect wind strikes Obama could win the following red states: IA, NM, NV, VA, MO, NC, GA, MS.

      If OH is lost but Obama can hang on to PA: win VA or MO and CO and you've just won.

      If PA is lost too, win VA, MO, CO, IA, and either NM or NV and you've won.

      Obama actually isn't that far behind McCain in Kansas of all places. South Dakota might be an outside possibility too--especially with the Republican Senate candidate there.

    •  Also Obama will win VA (7+ / 0-)

      Not on appalachia, but on population trends in Richmond and northern Virginia which favor Democrats. Putting Jim Webb on the ticket would be a good way to help in the rest of Appalachia.

    •  My thoughts are (9+ / 0-)

      You rock!

      This is good and excellent and I hope the campaign runs across or is given this information.

      I'm from North Carolina and I know what you speak of.  Obama needs to SHOW UP and ask for their vote.  He needs to talk about John Edward's issues and he needs to point out that poverty is color-blind and it is time we stop leaving these people out of the American dream.

      They need health-care and they need quality education.  They deserve a level playing field and Obama needs to go there and tell them how he'll do that.

      Great diary.

      Once the faintest stirring of hope became possible, the dominion of the plague was ended. ~Camus

      by ayawisgi on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:13:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, he should go, (11+ / 0-)

      but not to win.  The people in this region are like the people everywhere else.  They want to be noticed and they want to be asked for their vote.

      They know all about being insignificant.  They know all about being lied to.  They know all about being given the shaft.

      Truth, dignity, honesty and respect.  That's what they want.  That would be enough change for a start.  And it doesn't cost a whole lot.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:16:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah, Ohiobama

        But I don't think, in order to show respect, that you need, as the diarist proposes, to bash New York and avoid college campuses.  Respect for one thing doesn't mean you have to dis another.

        •  Ohiobama's words (0+ / 0-)

          And I think they are interesting thoughts. I wouldn't make NY or avoidng college campuses a priority, but it is a good topic for discussion.

          Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

          by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:31:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I also think Michelle would be GREAT (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          in Appalachia. I think the speech she gives about the shifting bar, and how hard it is to simply survive economically and provide for your family would really resonate.

          •  Michelle is great but.... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            faithfull, Sharon Wraight

            her story is an urban story, like so much of Obama's support and rhetoric and advertising.

            For Appalachia, Obama needs voices and themes that are specifically rural. Edwards has the rural appeal; George Clooney is from Maysville, KY.

            Look at the Ohio or Texas election maps. Obama is winning the cities and losing the entire countryside. The corrective must address that.

    •  Fantastic diary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daria g, faithfull, Fredly

      Thanks for the detailed info and great presentation.

    •  Incredible Diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daria g, jzso, faithfull, Fredly

      Excellent is every respect, and an impressively comprehensive effort.

      Wow, convinced me.

      O-man, are you listening?

      When harmonious relationships dissolve, respect and devotion arise; when a nation falls to chaos, loyalty and patriotism are born - Daodejing (paraphrased)

      by koNko on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:21:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here, here! (5+ / 0-)

      I loved this diary.  And, though many disagree and I too have my reservations, appealing to the peoples of Appalachia is one reason I think Jim Webb would be a good addition to the Obama candidacy.

      Webb from his book Born Fighting:

      "...the greatest realignment in modern politics would take place rather quickly if the right national leader found a way to bring the Scots-Irish and African-Americans to the same table, and so to redefine a formula that has consciously set them apart for the past two centuries."

      Obama may be that leader.  But he must talk more bread and butter and he must head for the hills!

      He's not Bambi, he's bulletproof.

      by Thaddaeus Toad on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:28:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      faithfull, Allogenes

      but if he brings Oprah along, it will be a slam dunk.

      John McCain - Like W. Only Older.

      by InsultComicDog on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:38:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  From a Clinton supporter... (8+ / 0-)

      This is exactly the sort of diary that should be filling the rec list.  Thanks for your hard work.

    •  An Edwards endorsement helps Obama in Appalachia (4+ / 0-)

      Bigtime !

      Very good diary.

    •  Don't forget NY: Alleghany Plateau and Catskills (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The are part of the region as well, with many democrats. Binghamton, Albany and Schenectady would be good places to hit.

      Binghamton is very democratic and SUNY-Binghamton is a fairly large school.  Good diverse population there as well.  (I am a bit biased, Binghamton is also my home town.)

      I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound - if I can remember any of the damn things. Dorothy Parker

      by Rogneid on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:51:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Notes on Appalachian Ohio (11+ / 0-)

      First, thank you for the post. Yoiu saved e work!

      In Ohio, you missed OH-02 and OH-03. Those are both fully Appalachian, but defy the pattern a bit because they include bits of urban Cincinnati and Dayton, respectively. The rural parts of those districts had some of the highest Clinton-Obama ratios.

      A big clue to understanding Appalachian Ohio is that it is controlled by the Deocratic machine, big time. In fact, the statewide machine has its roots in Appalachia, and has for 200 years, starting with Jacksonian Governor Robert Lucas, from Pike County, who also chaired the first national Democratic Convention.

      Lieutenant governor George D. Nye, from Pike County, controlled the statewide machine, inherited from his father, between the 1930s and the 1950s.

      Speaker of the Ohio House Vernal G. Riffe, from Pike County (astute readers may detect a pattern), inherited the machine from Nye and ran it for another few decades.

      Riffe's protege from neighboring Scioto County was none other than Ted Strickland, whose congressional district included Pike and Scioto, until Republican redistricting pushed him to OH-06, slightly off his home court.

      Charlie Wilson took over when Strickland became Governor. He is neutral only as a ploy. Strickland endorsed Hillary too early, creating a problem for the machine should Obama become president. These guys are smart -- they realized they needed to cover their bases or their asses and so a variety of machine Dems in Ohio endorsed Obama or stayed "neutral."  But all along the inside play was for Clinton and active sabotage of the Obama capaign was riffe -- oops, I mean rife.

      That's why the Appalachian vote was so heavily skewed, even against all the polls. Realize, this is old-style machine politics, as in "Request an absentee ballot, sign it, and give it unmarked to your township trustee."  Or you get a property tax increase, or....

      The machine exerted total control in its territory. Hillary went to Meigs County, at the heart of OH-O6. Bill went to Portsmouth, on the border of OH-02 and OH-06. Neither Obama nor any surrogate ventured to OH-02 or OH-06, and this displayed fear, which compounded the problem. If Barack Obama is afraid to come here, we certainly are not going to advertise any support for him -- was the thinking.

      The campaign assumed that OH-06 would split 3-2 in delgates for Clinton, just on general principle with no work. Instead it split 4-1, giving Clinton her biggest delegate haul in the state.

      Michelle came to Chillicothe, at the tip of Appalachian Ohio, as if reluctant to take the plunge. Her talk was remarkable, inspiring, fantastic. But not a single farmer was in the room (ok my organic gardening friend claims to be the exception). And Michelle opened her talk by thanking Mayor Joe Sulzer, the living ebodiment of the corrupt Dem. machine in Ross County. Obviously the campaign had not contacted or listened to a single insurgent Democrat in the southern part of the state. And yes, we tried to tell them.

      Well heck, if you stay away for months and then come in and thank the chief opponents of everything right and decent in America, well then, stay away. We don't need you. If the Obama campaign is not going to communicate with or assist local insurgents fighting the machine then there is no hope, and No, We Can't.

      In sum, the Obama campaign bowed in deference to Ted Strickland in Ohio, hoping to keep the Democratic waters calm, perhaps hoping to put Strickland on the ticket as a healing gesture.

      Instead Obama got a knife in the back. All those machine Dems will be rousting up votes for McCain in November, whatever they say, should Obama get the nomination.

      Some wake up calls need to be placed to the higher ups in the campaign. And yes, I've tried, but I need numbers.

      I hope one lesson learned is that Strickland can have no place on an Obama ticket, under any circumstance.

      •  I was surprised (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He didn't at least go to Athens (or send a surrogate).  That area of SE of Ohio seemed very winnable for him, and he lost it.  Very good post.  He can't be afraid to go into areas like SE Ohio and ask for votes.  If he does not make an effort in appalachian PA, he could see some very bad results in the districts . . . i.e 3-1 instead of 2-2 and 4-1 instead of 3-2.  I hope the campaign is getting the message.

        "I shall never surrender or retreat." --Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis

        by badger1968 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:14:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He did come to Athens County but... (0+ / 0-)

          it was 2 days before the primary with no notice at all and it was for one small town meeting in Nelsonville, a community outside of Athens.

          Here are the problems with that:

          1. Most county newspapers here are biweekly. By coming on the Sunday before primary day, the papers could not cover it, missing the entire point. By giving no notice, we Obama supporters could do no advance work or at least get notices in the paper that he would be coming.
          1. You don't make your single appearance in a church-going area on a Sunday unless you intentionally want to offend people. It played to the "he's really a Muslim" theme. If you do come on Sunday, it has to be to worship.
          1. Athens and Nelsonville are associated with Ohio University and are outside the mainstream culture of the area. It's at one end of the region geographically.
          1. There is a central core of southern Ohio which is the route by which the state was settled, along the Scioto Valley, from Portsmouth, through Pike County, to Chillicothe. (Pike is small but is geographically pivotal.) Strategically, you start in Portsmouth, work north to Chillicothe, and then if you have time, fan out to the east and west. The Clintons did this in 1992, 1996 and 2008. I told this to the Obama campaign in e-mails. Portsmouth is also the exemplar of an impoverished struggling city. Neglecting Portsmouth is just incompetent.

          My own feeling is that whoever proposed this cockamamie plan was either totally ignorant of the area or trying to sabotage his chances.

      •  thank you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ohiobama, majhula

        for ALL of this great info on OH, which I will be saving, and for the initial inspiration to get all of these numbers out of my computer and into a diary somewhere. It seems like it has stimulated good discussion.

        We should work together on more pieces like this focusing on Appalachia?

        Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

        by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:35:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Now this is the kind of diary I like on dKos! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      daria g, faithfull

      Excellent analysis and detail.  Get this up on the Obama site if you haven't already!  

      All I know of Appalachia is Pittsburgh and Wheeling.  It's mostly an enigma for me, too.  But your diary helps to demystify it quite a bit.  Wish I could rec it more than once!

      Sim, nós podemos!

      by SLKRR on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:09:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  agree entirely! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      faithfull, Allogenes

      he needs to find a style of campaigning and community organizing that works done there. I lived in Knoxville for a while and visited a lot of areas, and I think that his college student driven formula may not work as well. He might try to tap into church networks to get youth for example. Either way it's an area he can do well in -- given how well he did in downstate Illinois during his state campaigning. His message can play there.

    •  Read John Gaventa (4+ / 0-)

      His work "Power and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley" has a great overview of all the crap coal companies did to miners.

      btw, I went to school in the Virginia Appalachian Valley!  It is the most beautiful area ever, and the people are NOT racist, just increadibly poor and desperate.

      "Universal suffrage should rest upon universal education." - Rutherford B. Hayes

      by rdxtion on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:23:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  rec'd and tipped (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      faithfull, Allogenes

      Fantastic diary! How do we get this brought to the attention of David Plouffe et al?

      While we're at it, how do we get Barack into the Mississippi Delta for a day or two before Tuesday's primary? I can't imagine a much more powerful image than Obama pulling reporters with him on a tour of the Delta's rural areas to talk about the problems of poor southerners ... then he can swing up to the Pennsylvania mountains from there and continue the tour.

      Barack doesn't need any more focus on big rallies in the cities at the moment. He needs to seize John Edwards's mantle as working class hero in a hurry. Right now Hilary has surged ahead of him in the media narrative in that regard with her strong support in rural Ohio, I think.

    •  Great diary! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Obama has a lot of work to do. :)

      It takes a village... unless it is a caucus. -Hillary Clinton

      by Yoshimi on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:56:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  HIGHLY Rec'ed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      faithfull, Allogenes

      I swear, I was going to make a diary like this, but you have done a MUCH better job than I could have ever done.

      Someone needs to get this to the Obama campaign ASAP.

      First, he needs to go there and find out what the people need, and make sure it is what they also want.

      That area should be a Democratic stronghold. LBJ stood on that porch in Appalachia for a reason. Things have got better, but only about 50% of the counties in Appalachia are not economically distressed, so that means that 50% are still living in third world conditions.

      But it is vital that there be a connection made first. Changing things without knowing the area would be a huge mistake. The Obama campaign needs to meet the leaders in the local communities first.

      Great diary.

      It's not a sign of weakness to learn from a mistake. It's a sign of stupidity to keep doing the same things over and over without ever learning~Dave Dial

      by DAVE DIAL on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:16:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you, Faithfull (5+ / 0-)

      I had just put my head down on my desk about to cry, because tomorrow, I will head into rural Appalachia to visit in-laws who hold deep prejudice against African Americans and immigrants. Then I opened this diary about reaching out to Appalachia and saw the mountains.
      It is difficult and I was feeling like I wish that I could talk to a priest or a spiritual leader for advice on how to forgive racism in others and see the parts of them that are good and that connect us. We share two family members: my husband and my child...their son and grandchild.
      There is nothing that cuts to the bone as deep as racism to me. And I find myself in a great struggle not to discount my in-laws entirely and not even want to see them because of their racism. (I know that many in Appalachia are not racist, but, my in-laws are.)
      My sister is black, as are my two sweet nieces. I helped raise my sister from 2 months old when she was adopted-she is 14 years younger than I. Racism breaks my heart.
      But, I must journey to the in-laws and try to find some common ground.
      If we don't reach out to each other, learn to forgive,see beyond labels and talk...we will never move forward.
      We share a love of the earth and the beautiful mountains, cooking, gardening and good novels.
      I wonder what they will say about Obama. They know that we worked for his campaign in our city. I hope that I will be able to stay calm.
      Say a prayer for me?

      "Sorry dear, from now on only hermaphrodites of indeterminate color will be allowed to caucus." LeftCoastBreakdown

      by orphanpower on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:56:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Racism is not the only strike against Obama (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon Wraight

      in this region, or even the largest.

      No, the biggest strike against Obama is . . . his positivity. His tolerance. His anti-war stance.

      This is a region that, historically, is xenophobic, insular, clannish and belligerent. It is not about forgiveness and tolerance. It is not about brotherhood. It is about lex talionis and protecting your own. It is not about philosophy, intellect and reason. It is about being left the fuck alone. It is not about hope. It is about endurance.

      Those forces that buoy Obama to inspiring victories across the heartland are exactly those that fail utterly to resonate with highland Southern voters. They fail so utterly, they can actually drive the vote to a woman in a region that is historically as sexist as it is racist. Why? Because Clinton is the hawk, the scrapper, the down-and-dirty campaigner of the two.

      White voters in the formerly slaveowning, wealth-and-tradition coastal South like Barack Obama better than the hardscrabble highland Southerners ever will.

      Forget it. This region is not one he can gain any traction in. Which isn't to say he shouldn't go there and campaign -- only that he, and we, shouldn't expect a damn thing to come of it.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:58:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Byrd voted against the war? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I found your comment to be extremely over-reaching on your charges against Appalachia and the people here.  Pretty insulting actually. We don't need the racists to win, AND, we don't need the sexists to win.

        I did find this quote interesting:

        It is not about hope. It is about endurance.

        Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

        by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:02:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interpret it as you wish . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          . . . but you yourself point out that Clinton has kicked Obama's butt up and down the street in every highland district, and based on what I know, the diametric and dramatic opposition between Obama's gospel of cooperation and the highlander history of clannishness and belligerence seems like the most likely explanation -- far more likely, by itself, than racism, by itself. I just don't think you're going to sell "Hope for a better future that you yourself will help create" to a subculture whose entire history is one of being repeatedly exploited and having to fight, often literally and often against one's own neighbor, for every scrap.

          "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

          by Geenius at Wrok on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:25:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  good thinking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've done fieldwork in PA for a few campaigns and I tell ya, the approach outlined here is absolutely on the money.  Obama can landslide PA if he goes into the small towns and shows us he cares.

      ========================= ========================= Black pepper contains 32 known carcinogens. That's nothing to sneeze at!

      by 18038 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:03:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes! I have lived in many small towns in PA (0+ / 0-)

        and while they are  all different ( PA is NOT just Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Alabama in between ); small town people have serious economic concerns. As they are considerably  more impacted by job loss, rising food and gas costs, and low wages. For those who are working, wages and benefits are lousy.
        If Obama can appeal to them about Change in their Cost of Living, he can win in small town PA.

        Of course, every small town in PA is quite different. I live in a small college town, I got 5 miles down the road and I hit a rural, farming small town.

        PA is quite diverse and not as cut and dry as the MSM says it is.

        An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

        by wishingwell on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:29:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  He can mention that he'll give the EPA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      some teeth again.

      I lived just outside of Asheville in the mid-70s, before it was discovered and made wealthy.  It's beautiful country.  I don't think many Appalachians would object to stricter pollution controls.    

      Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions.

      by Ice Blue on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:08:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for this great diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      faithfull, Allogenes

      I'm not for Obama but I am from Appalachia and I am happy for all our candidates to pay attention to this region.  The mountaintop removal is just a tragedy.  my part of Appalachia is Maryland so we haven't had this happening right in our backyard but I know what's being done to our neighbors in West Virginia.  The economy is in trouble back home and the worse it gets elsewhere, the less the tourist dollars come in, and some of the small businesses I was so proud to see open in the past decade are slowly shutting down.  It is the economy, stupid.. it's beautiful back home and I miss the mountains a lot but there are so few good jobs.. all the industry shut down from the 70's to 80's.. most of my friends have left too.

      But, do visit the colleges.  The community colleges especially.  And hey I know there's some town-gown conflict everywhere but personally thinking it'd be a net positive to go to schools like WVU.  go 'Eers!  :)

      Competent leadership, for a change! | Hillary '08

      by daria g on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:08:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  great diary but I have a question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and comment in that I was raised in Central PA and I currently live here. I have lived all over the state of PA. Each county is like its own state, quite different.

      I never realized Central PA was part of Appalachia.
      Wow! Remember within PA is Penn State University, boasting one of the largest colleges in the nation. Culturally, academically, income wise, parts of Central PA are doing quite well. Parts of Central PA is plagued with low wages, factory closings, and loss of jobs.

      I just never realized I live in Appalachia. Central PA is certainly far from Appalachia that I have been in other regions.

      An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

      by wishingwell on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:18:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My first comment, for a spectacular diary (0+ / 0-)

      I don't know how to "rec" you yet, but I just wanted to add to the chorus of praise for this diary.  I could feel your love of Appalachia come through your post, and I could practically envision the people and the landscape through your descriptions.  So many excellent points, so little time.

      Please -- be tenacious and creative in getting this into the campaign's hands.  Two names that come immediately to mind are Sen. Rockefeller of West Virginia (who has endorsed Barack) and David Wilhelm (who is from the rural part of Ohio and was a former Bill Clinton staffer now working for Barack).

      Thanks for the read.

      •  Thanks so much for your kind word! (0+ / 0-)

        Your first comment. What a great honor!

        We are working with some folks to get this into the right hands, and I hope to be doing more research this week.

        Nothing is better than Appalachia! :)

        Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

        by faithfull on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 04:32:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary, (12+ / 0-)

    I was just thinking last night that he needs to do something bold, and something focusing on rural areas.  He has plenty of time now.  This seems like a smart and necessary area to hit.

    "There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always." -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by duha on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:34:14 AM PST

    •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

      I think that focusing on rural areas is important, and focusing on Appalachia can help deliver OH, VA, PA, WV, and NC in the general. Who knows...we may even bring TN and KY into play?

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:42:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The focus needs to be on PA now, and to a lesser (8+ / 0-)

        extent, on NC.  If he doesn't win PA, he'll be in a dogfight for the nomination until Denver, and he could end up losing that dogfight.  He obviously needs to win NC.

        If the "50 states" strategy is our approach, you've laid out the means to truly carry it out.   Your exceptionally detailed analysis shows an obvious gap in Obama's campaign and it offers a means to close that gap.  Obama has both the time and the $ to try this approach, but the focus has to be on PA.

        I gather that Rendell's popularity gradually recedes as you move westward from Philly.  I'm not sure that HRC has the ability to really organize in the Appalachian sections of the state.  Obama could confound expectations if he did organize there.

        I recall that Obama has been fairly chummy w/ the coal interests in S. IL, so I don't know how willing he would be to take on the coal companies.  At this point, however, he needs to take a few risks.  Plus, a ban on dumping coal waste and a push towards renewables are both excellent ideas.

        Thanks for your hard work in putting this excellent diary together.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:01:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I so hope (4+ / 0-)

    he does exactly as you suggest. I think that would win it. Great diary!

  •  Very impressive (6+ / 0-)

    What do you do to have such amazing data?
    Have you got access to the Obama campaign so they see this?
    I live in Greeneville TN and all they talk about is Clinton, the few Dems that are
    here, so I have a blog that makes it clear there are two sides and two candidates.

  •  good insight (4+ / 0-)

    I will do whatever I can to help.

    This is good strategy and we need more ideas like this!

    I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I lead you in, some one else would lead you out. - Eugene Debs.

    by cabaretic on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:38:26 AM PST

  •  Lot of really hard work here (8+ / 0-)

    Good job.  Appalachia is going to be very tough for Obama, but he should build as much of an infrastructure there now during this bonus primary time as he can.

    Calloused hand by calloused hand.

    by PocketNines on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:44:02 AM PST

  •  Terrific work. (3+ / 0-)

    Excellent suggestions too. I think he can make inroads with many of these voters.

    Seul l'incrédule a droit au miracle. - Elias Canetti Road2DC

    by srkp23 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:46:19 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this diary! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    copymark, faithfull, sap, teyigdhk, paintitblue

    I am hating how the Clinton campaign is working overtime to deny Obama.

    BUT, I love how the progressive Democrat message is reaching to many more communities in our country, thanks to Barack's belief in the 50 state strategy. This campaign has been the leader in the belief in the grassroots and in executing the strategy that really is about voters across the country.

    And, thanks to diaries like this one, I am learning about so many communities!

  •  I've gotta believe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That despite the fact that every area of the country is diverse and doesn't fit one pattern, there's a largish segment of Appalachia voters who given such a choice will vote automatically for the white candidate, given they both have about the same stature in the party. Obama can pick up the lion's share of the remaining vote, but it's like starting a 100 yard race 20 yards behind the starting line.

    In the same way, in the urban areas the 9:1 black vote for Obama moves Hillary back 20 yards.

    •  In a 100 yard dash... (13+ / 0-)

      ...I'd take Obama. :)

      I agree that many people will simply vote for the white candidate. But i think that Obama can make tremendous inroads into Appalachian communities just by showing up and paying attention. I don't think there is so much malignant racism in Appalachia as there is inexperience with racial diversity.

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:54:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  yah, it makes me sad to have to agree... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chicago Lulu, cybrestrike

      i grew up in southern WV and after leaving for 10 years, returned a couple of years ago.  i'm leaving again in a couple of more months.

      despite having many good qualities, this region is homogenous and intolerant.  the majority of people here don't like blacks and don't like gays.  they, however, love their guns.  even if they're not personally religous, they are still influenced by fundamental evangelicanism.  additionally, the meme that obama is secretly a muslim will be particularly damaging in this area.

      this state will go to hillary probably by double digits in the primary and then to mccain probably by double digits in the general.  

      white female > black male, but white male > white female.

      the original poster has some great suggestions and certainly some inroads could be made, but i'm afraid even flawless execution would not result in obama carrying this state in the primary or general.

    •  The black vote wasn't always 9:1 for Obama.. (8+ / 0-)

      ...In fact, it favored the Clintons, until of course they started insulting them.  And as I know you're a Hillary supporter (I recognize your tag), I'll ask you to correct your analogy.  Obama is starting AHEAD - he's in the lead, remember?  He has more states won, more voters counted for him and a bigger delegate count, with or without the super delegates.

      He has also made inroads into demographic territories that I know you're counting on to stay "racist".   Good luck with that silly wish of yours.

    •  You're likely right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, faithfull

      but at the same time, if nothing is done then nothing will ever change.
      With every person there at least stands a chance to make a difference if only by appearing. I agree with this diary. He should try at least.

      It is this simple. Vote Republican- Iraq is Forever. Vote Democratic- Iraq is history.

      by RElland on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:44:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You apparently (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      know jackshit about these people.

      Ive seen far far far more racism in Urban pa, mi and ny than in what this poster wants to define as "the appalachian voting block".

      You might want to read a little history (not the garbage taught you in high school) and see how this bullshit ignorant meme is just another repeat of the perpetual urban/rural political battle this country has fought from day one.

      BTW Stereotyping is a superset of racism. Racism is a subset of stereotyping. Think about it.

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

      by cdreid on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:52:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hate to have to clue you in, but... (0+ / 0-)

        Fighting Racism in Appalachia: A Progress Report from the Grassroots

        A little over ten years ago, Don Manning-Miller (1993) provided a sober assessment of racism's destructive consequences for community organizing in Appalachia. Drawing on his personal experience as an activist and organizer and the results of examining several well-known and respected regional groups, he made the case for racism as not only pervasive throughout the region's white population but also within its progressive, predominately white organizations purporting to work for social justice.

        As I said, every area is diverse, but there are some differences in the aggregate. It really doesn't matter how much you stamp your foot and play a buffoon.

        •  Ten years ago (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          This author bases his observations and reflections on his own experience as an activist and board member of a small, historically African American group in Jefferson County, Tennessee

          Well of course. Some guy from Jefferson county tennessee wrote a subjective opinion about the south and southerners so therefor... we're all racists.

          I guess as with racists, calling into question your very comfortable ignorant stereotypes could be expected to recieve a hysterical response.

          But then ive lived all over the southeast. Visited and talked to more people across the entire eastern half of the nation than most likely ever will. Such opinions are not to be considered when it is far easier to stereotype all  southerners as racist because apparently youve decided the stereotype all minorities... Irony is the word

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

          by cdreid on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:52:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You like the band Drive-By-Truckers? (0+ / 0-)

            Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

            by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 12:15:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Never heard of it (0+ / 0-)

              what kind of music?

              Weirdly a lot of truckers seem to want to be the modern day versions of the jazz/soul/gospel black singers of yore. Some even sell their cds' in truck stops (never bought any because its always country for some reason shiver). Of course Eddie Rabbit and a few others were truckers. Maybe living in a 6x6 box gives has some effect on the mind?

              I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

              by cdreid on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 12:22:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  As a New Mexican (5+ / 0-)

    I object to your categorization of Appalachia as the most beautiful place in the world.  That title belongs to the Valle Vidal.
    As an Obama supporter I heartily endorse your suggestion.  Wherever Obama goes, people like him.  Time to crank up the charm offense to 11!

    Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. --Molly Ivins

    by sap on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:50:03 AM PST

  •  I disagree, although it would be nice if race (0+ / 0-)

    wasn't such an overriding issue in these parts. There was a diary post on tuesday with stats on how important race was to the voters in Ohio. Are there any stats to suggest that is not as important a factor in any of these neighboring areas?

    Support democracy at home and abroad, join the ACLU & Amnesty International Your voice is needed!

    by tnichlsn on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:58:38 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary (4+ / 0-)

    Appalachia and the associated demographic are both a challenge and excellent opportunity for Obama.  I hope he hears you.  

    I also hope he sees it as more than electoral votes and strategy and moves to implement changes to help the people and the areas devastated by surface mining.  The coal mining industry has been perhaps the most egregious offender against the working man and the environment since before the Molly Maguires; hell going back even further in Europe.  The political clout bought with the profits is a tough fight for anyone; but like many diseases, sunshine can be a good cure.

    Obama does need to go there, and he needs to bring the pollution, poverty, and corruption to the fore.

    "Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up you get a lot of scum on the top." -Edward Abbey

    by rb608 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 05:59:14 AM PST

  •  Smaller, more intimate settings needed all over (6+ / 0-)

    There is time now (after Miss & Wyoming) to go back to a mode of campaigning something like we saw in Iowa - lots of smaller venues, really meeting the people.  Enough big rallies.  Be personal.  I think this analysis regarding Appalachia is great but I also think all parts of Pennsylvania can be handled similarly.  Don't work the big cities right now, work the small towns.  When people see Barack up close and personal, they are persuaded.

    Also want to second the suggestion that Barack say "Clinton" and "New York" in the same breath as often as possible.  So many people between the coasts see any connection with NYC as a negative all by itself.

  •  what is Obama's position (6+ / 0-)

    on strip mining and mountaintop removal? I couldn't find it on his issues page.

    "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

    by CaptUnderpants on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:00:55 AM PST

  •  No (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabbausaf, cybrestrike
    1.  He doesn't need OH, WV, KY, or TN to get to 270.
    1.  Like every other Democratic presidential candidate, he will win PA without the T.
    1.  Focusing on the other side's base will not work.  Should he try to make inroads?  Sure, and some of your suggestions are helpful.
    1.  There's a reason George Allen had his Macaca moment in this region.
    1.  Generations of racism won't vanish in seven weeks after a few photo ops.
    •  Disagree (14+ / 0-)
      1. Then he'd have to win FL. I'm saying that by focusing on Appalachia he can compete more fully in ALL of the above states.
      1. We should be favored in PA. But its by no means in the bag.
      1. Dems control WV, VA, and NC at the state level. Presidential candidate have just ignored them for so long that they vote for the Republican on the federal level. Reagan and Bush have, for unknonst reasons, had higher appeal to rural voters.
      1. Because George Allen is a dumbass with a history of racism.
      1. Appalachia does not suffer from "Generations of racism" the way the deep south does. It suffers from a lack of racial diversity. And you'll notice that I didn't mention photo-ops once.

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:09:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gecko, jeepdad
        1.  No.  If he holds the Kerry states and takes VA, or NC, or IA and CO (perhaps w/ MT and/or NV on top), he's there.  Doesn't have to win OH or FL.  If he wins either one he's already won those other states.
        1.  It's as much in the bag as it was in 2004.
        1.  I didn't say "ignore."  I said, "don't focus."  There is a clear difference.  Again, I don't think it's a good idea to start where you are losing.  The very first step is to nail down your base.
        1.  He wouldn't have said that in Fairfax or Richmond.
        1.  I take it you haven't been there.  I have.  I went to school with people from the Ohio Valley.  Trust me, racism goes back generations in that part of the country.  (Obviously, not everyone there is bigoted, but to pretend it isn't widespread is naive.)  The only difference is that until recently, many of the bigots continued to vote their pocketbooks.
        •  It's true (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybrestrike, Capt Morgan

          I live in Ohio, and once you leave the cities (which are relatively cool), the banjo music starts playing and the good ol boys start wondering what a colored is doing in those parts. Anywhere south of Columbus in Ohio is trouble (West Jefferson is an entire town of Klansmen), and southeast Ohio is the worst.

          Hell, I don't want Obama going there just for his own safety.

          •  I play the banjo (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But im not racist

            Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

            by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:43:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's the problem with you guys (4+ / 0-)

            You think that just because someone plays the banjo or lives in a secluded area, they are racists.

            It's not true. If Obama made Appalachia part of his agenda, you would be surprised how much support he would get. They have been ignored by everyone for years.

            And even the 'racists' there is not a hate filled kind(most of them), it's based on ignorance and non-exposure. The way to change that isn't by degrading them and wagging your finger, it's to show them someone like Barack Obama, and show them he cares and can even identify with them.

            There is a HUGE difference between being ignorant and a hate filled racist.

            It's not a sign of weakness to learn from a mistake. It's a sign of stupidity to keep doing the same things over and over without ever learning~Dave Dial

            by DAVE DIAL on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:50:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  YES! :) (4+ / 0-)
          1. VA is part of the Appalachian argument, as is NC. He'd need to win both (or 1+WV) to offset a loss in OH)
          1. Glad you are confident about PA. Hope you're right.
          1. Obama has nailed down the base. Democrats are turning out in record numbers to vote for him (and CLinton) in the primary . The base is IN.
          1. He used to have a neuse hanging from a ficus tree in his office in Richmond.
          1. I grew up in East TN, went to school in West NC, and live just east of the blue ridge in VA. I work for Appalachian Voices, and my college degree from Apalachian State was in Appalachian Political History.

          There. Now I got street cred? :)

          I think the race issue is an important one. And I don't have a perfect answer or anecdote. if nothing else, I'm glad to see folks discussing it.

          Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

          by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:00:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Discuss it in terms (3+ / 0-)

            Discuss it in terms of exposure and ignorance. Without making people feel dumb.

            I've seen people from Appalachia move out to the cities, and they usually move right in the most diverse urban areas.

            Once exposed to diversity and they find out that everything they were taught isn't true, people have ways of changing their minds.

            I know this because I had such an experience. I would have been called a racist during my younger years. Now I belong to the SPLC and try to bring tolerance and fight racism.

            The way to do that is not by more hate.

            It's not a sign of weakness to learn from a mistake. It's a sign of stupidity to keep doing the same things over and over without ever learning~Dave Dial

            by DAVE DIAL on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:56:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, Virgina (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Your point #1 includes Virginia.  To get that state, we need to talk to enough Appalachians to bolster our strength in the cities.

          So, while we're there, we might as well hear what WV and KY have to say.

    •  Wrong wrong wrong! (7+ / 0-)

      He doesn't need OH, WV, KY, or TN to get to 270.

      Like hell! He HAS to go there. He HAS to hit his opposition where it lives! He HAS to cause cognitive dissonance.

      Most of all, he has to visit SCHOOLS! Do you think kids in small towns anywhere EVER forget a visit from a presidential candidate?

      "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

      by Ivan on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:11:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that he has to go there (0+ / 0-)

        I disagree that he has to win there, and focusing on that region would be a mistake of colossal proportions akin to McCain focusing his campaign on Detroit and the Bronx.

        •  You're splitting hairs (5+ / 0-)

          Candidates should focus on wherever they are. How to allocate time and resources is always debatable. The point is to make the best tradeoff. Obama (and Hillary for that matter) need the GOP to spend cash defending what they consider safe territory.

          This is about people and not about numbers. You don't expect McCain to campaign in Appalachia calling for an end to moutaintop removal, do you? Obama has a chance to make Democrats for life if he does that.

          These states deserve a lot more attention from Democrats. How much depends on if the thinking is short-term or long-term.

          "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

          by Ivan on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:27:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  people in the Southern mountains (14+ / 0-)

            are natural born rebels, and I don't mean that in the Confederate sense.  In fact, just the opposite.  Eastern Tennessee rebelled against the Confederacy. West Virginia became a state by seceding from Virginia in the midst of the Civil War.

            Many mining communities in the region were in states of virtual insurrection off and on for decades during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  One of the key factors in the rebellious nature of the citizenry is a feeling of isolation from the outside world. If you've ever spent time traveling on the backroads through the area, you'll know why.

            In the early part of the 20th century, Populists, Progressives and Socialists all saw varying degrees of support in the mining regions of Tennessee. (I'm from there, so I'm more familiar with its political history than the rest of the region.)

            The part of the state in which I live, although culturally conservative, is deep blue.  There are counties surrounding my home town that have never been carried by a Republican presidential candidate.  The town of Livingston, TN which is 99.9% caucasian has an extremely popular African American mayor. These folks, though culturally conservative, are all still New Deal Democrats due to the loyalty of the older folks to the memory of FDR, and the stories they tell their kids and grandkids about how things changed for the better after Roosevelt came.

            For all of the reasons listed above, I think Obama could make inroads here that would last a very long time if the effort was put forth.  If he could reconnect people here with the part of their collective memory that identifies with the rebellious underdog and the unity and hope of the New Deal era, he would be very competitive against McCain and even more importantly would create conditions to incubate new Democrats who would soon populate local and state governments.

            Bush repealed Godwin's Law with a Signing Statement.

            by Mad Kossack on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:49:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Of course I'm splitting hairs (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I thought that was clear in my original third bullet point.

        •  That's a good point. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DelRPCV, faithfull, Mad Kossack, majhula

          Sounds like the region needs more than Obama can bring in a few weeks. Still, his presence there could be a great symbolic gesture that might resonate beyond the borders of the region. Someone needs to crack the door open, and it might as well be Obama.

          Don't Legitimize Fox News.
          "Democrats have the heart to care."

          by jeepdad on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:30:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  He needs strength in Appalachia... (10+ / 0-)

      ...for the Primary.  Might as well lay some groundwork for the GE.

      Besides, these are working-class people who are suffering from dirty air and poisoned water.  They are the Americans with the most to gain from our fixing the Health and Education systems.

      If we can't win these guys, then there's no point in even having a Democratic Party.  It may take 10 years, but Progressives need to start making our case to working-class Whites.  We need to start today.

    •  Ignorant View (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra Waites

      Yikes! This is so off base I barely know where to start.  I'll start with TN since I live there.  Democrats win in TN by cutting into Republicans margins in Appalachia.  If you do that you win.  It's the same general rule for KY although their western demograpics are different.  I know very little about Ohio, but it's  one of the penultimate "swing" states in the general so anyone who wants to win the election will have to go there.  As for WV it was a goddamn democratic stronghold until very recently. It shifted due to neglect, and will shift right back if Democrats actually try there.

      I actually get your point about not focusing on the other side's base.  However, that doesn't mean you cede regions.  Every vote counts in a statewide race.  It doesn't matter what area it comes from.

  •  I hope that (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decafdyke, theran, faithfull, sap

    one of our community -- Ohiobama -- reads this diary.  He has been arguing this point for weeks -- and was right about Obama not visiting the rural farmers.

    Great diary and thank you for all of the research.

    My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. Barbara Jordan 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:03:31 AM PST

  •  Beautiful diary (4+ / 0-)

    I can't speak to the politics of it, but your love for the uniquely American place called Appalachia shines through. I am thousands of miles away and suddenly very homesick for my country and those beautiful mountains.

  •  He has the substance they want. (3+ / 0-)

    He just needs to get his message out there, and that means organizing. He has seven weeks. Ready, set, go.

  •  So what are you waiting for? (4+ / 0-)

    I think this is a great diary. Congrats and thanks.

    But this is a grass roots campaign. You've got some really good ideas. Start a group, get people involved. Get people on the ground. Contact the campaign directors in each state and let them know what you're doing and where you think you could benefit from their help. Let them see your analysis (not that they don't already have their own) in full form. Let them know your plan in all its details. Set up a webpage where those of us who can't be on the ground with you can support you through paypal or something.

    You've got a good plan in my view and if you want to do something with it, I'll support you.


  •  I'm not sure how to say this, but I need to... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jeepdad, stevej

    comment. I won't generalize and say that everyone in the areas mentioned in the diary are racist. I live in OH-6, and I'm saying there are a lot of really racist people here.

    One of those Ohio freshman congressmen you mentioned belonged to a local fraternal organization that did not allow black people to join until very recently.

    •  All the More Reason (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Buckeye BattleCry, faithfull

      Barack Obama cannot eliminate racism, nor will he be able to overcome its effect on his campaign. However, if he visits areas where it is a problem, he will energize the non-racists, convince some of the almost-racists and perhaps even get some of the racists to say, "You know, he's not so bad."

      This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

      by Mr X on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:14:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love the kind of diaries... (8+ / 0-)

    ...where I learn something interesting that I didn't know before. Recommended.

    I support Obama because he will smite the Republican nominee hardest in November.

    by Devin on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:14:44 AM PST

    •  ...and kudos too, faithfull, for the title (0+ / 0-)

      I'm increasingly annoyed by diary titles that fail to give even the slightest clue to what the diary is about, and I never click on them.

      faithfull's title provided just enough mystery (like many, I'm sure, I thought Go There might refer to going negative but hoped not) to get my attention.

  •  wow great diary, about the flag wearing (0+ / 0-)

    If Obama suddenly starts wearing the flag/pin lapel wont that be spinned to great lengths by the VRW noise machine as "capitulation", pandering, etc?

  •  A suggestion for Obama (6+ / 0-)

    Anticipate the patriotism attack line with "Don't say I'm not proud of America"....  Then go on to explain that caring for something also means taking care of it.

    "Denounce and Reject" is the new double dog dare of presidential debates.

    by crystal eyes on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:19:22 AM PST

  •  Excellent, but really depressing diary. (0+ / 0-)

    Important information, even if it's not what I want to hear.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:20:30 AM PST

    •  Success starts with failure! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      or something like that? :)

      It just means we've got our work cut out for us. Obama has defied expectations this whole campaign, and I expect him to continue to do so.

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:05:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you look at the more traditional (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        map of Appalachia that includes northern GA and AL, etc, it perfectly correlates with the areas where Obama has been blown out by Clinton in contested states.

        Clinton blew him out 3-1 in northern Georgia, for instance.

        I'd like to think that Appalachian folks can be persuaded to pick him over Clinton, but after seeing what happened with Latinos I'm highly skeptical that hardcore demographic resistance can be overcome in a month.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:12:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  hmm (0+ / 0-)

          I dunno, Latino culture is waaaay different than Appalachian, more opportunistic for sure, and Catholic - generational loyalty and a long history with the Clintons. Appalachia doesn't sound like that at all.

          Cult leaders mis-inform and isolate their followers. Real leaders do the opposite. Get it straight!

          by Christian Coulon on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:42:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  also (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Latino voters who are new here are more likely to choose the establishment candidate than the rebel insurgent. Sounds like Appalachia's the opposite, once they learn the game

          Cult leaders mis-inform and isolate their followers. Real leaders do the opposite. Get it straight!

          by Christian Coulon on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:43:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  bingo (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Christian Coulon

            Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

            by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:49:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  as my grandmother used to say (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              (she who was born in a high mountain valley near Christiansburg)

              show us a losing cause, and we'll be first in line to sign up.

              I was never so lucky as to live in those gorgeous mountains, only visiting kith and kin throughout childhood and coming closest to being there for real during my college years at JMU in the Valley.  My adult life has been spent in the salt marshes of the Eastern Shore--but those ancient mountains are in the blood and I feel them sing out to me as soon as I reach the rolling Peidmont near Loudoun when heading back for infrequent reunions in Pulaski county.

              That map of mountaintop removal made me cry.

              Thanks for this diary, and for all the work you are doing w/Appalachian Voices.

  •  Completely Agree Mostly Sorta Totally (6+ / 0-)

    Obama is a bit hamstrung in that he cannot directly discuss race.  If he could, then I would love to see him go into Appalachia and talk about the history of poverty and racism in America.  Obviously he can't do that.  There isn't enough time and nobody wants to deliberate over the history of racism in this country.  He can't be seen as being angry at America.

    But the fact of the matter is that poor minorities have always had more in common with each other than different economic classes within the same race.  But the harsh realities of economics and the leisure classes do little to bridge the gap between cultures.  We see that currently with African Americans and immigrant Hispanics.  There is a divide there because there is animosity over lost jobs, neighborhood conflicts, different cultural histories and expectations.  And thus it always was.  The poor Irish and Scots in Appalachia had, to some degree, more in common with poor southern blacks, and for some time they worked together in the mines.  But it was just too easy to bust unions by splitting the miners along racial lines and igniting the flames of racism.

    You say that Appalachia is not racist but obviously that's not true.  Everywhere is racist, it's just a matter of degree.  And to the degree that Appalachia is a racist area, it is in the way that crushing economic impoverishment and lack of Federal intervention and a sense of paranoia and neglect foments divisions between all groups of people.  In those situations, race becomes one of the easiest things to recognize and use to further differentiate people.

    Anyway, I love your post.  I do hope Obama takes your advice but if he doesn't, then I hope someone takes your advice.

    •  That would misread Appalachia a lot (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      faithfull, Cassandra Waites

      It's an area that is in fact quite angry at the rest of the country for ignoring its needs, except when the rest of the country needs more coal or places to park retirement communities or vacation homes.

      How the Cherokee were treated then the Scots-Irish settlers of the hills by the exact same government is not so different.

      Lynch mob partipants volunteered, too.

      by cskendrick on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:06:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very nice work, faithfull... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan, faithfull, majhula

    This is what the 50-State Strategy is all about. Great work! :)

    Now go there, Obama and crew. :)

  •  Can Obama change deep, multigenerational (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    faithfull, Ice Blue

    views in a few weeks of campaigning? I have some doubts. But I love your ideas and if Obama can make some progress, it can pay big dividends for all Demcorats in the future.

    Don't Legitimize Fox News.
    "Democrats have the heart to care."

    by jeepdad on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:23:34 AM PST

  •  What a great diary!!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is just one of the very best. However, I don't agree with this as an exclusive strategy.

    I think BO needs to investigate, take legal action, or both, in regard to NAFTA. ...against the nefarious activities of Stephen Harper in Canada, and his complicity in subversive activities.

    I've expected that Bill Clinton would pull a Reagan hostage crisis stunt of some sort, doing an end run around domestic political campaigning by slamming Obama through surrogates.  That he would use his considerable influence in this way is disgusting.
    This is just the kind of thing that needs to be defeated.

    She has effectively disenfranchised the voters of Ohio who would not have voted the way that they did without this terrible mis-characterization of Obama's views on NAFTA.  Not only that, but the truth about this stunt should dash her chances at any consideration at the convention.

    This is exactly the kind of manipulative activity for personal gain that should exclude Hillary and Bill from political office.  We've had enough of the Clintons and the Bushes for one generation.

    Time to MoveOn.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -Mohandas Gandhi

    by ezdidit on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:24:34 AM PST

  •  The question I have for the Appalachian (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geenius at Wrok, stevej, faithfull

    areas is whether there's anything he can do to get them to vote for him, or whether he's better off focusing on people who can be persuaded.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:25:05 AM PST

  •  Cataloochee (6+ / 0-)

    if I recall correctly is Cherokee for "wave after wave", describing the view you post.   Makes me quite nostalgic.

    What a terrific diary, what a great idea.  This should absolutely be the tack he takes.

  •  Pander to the pot farmers? (0+ / 0-)

    Moonshine is so 1700s 1800s 1900s.


    Beautiful country indeed. People with an independent streak a mile wide. I'm surprised that they put up with that mountaintop removal business at all - (Remember the Green Mountain Boys?)

    But a paper on religion in Appalachia? I'm still stuck on that seperation of church and State thing, that thing Huckabee doesn't believe even exists.

    Lots of deep support for the military there too. I suspect McBush would be a tough match for Obama.

    Exiting the Constitutional Convention - when asked "What government do we have?" Benjamin Franklin replied: A Republic, if you can keep it.

    by SecondComing on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:27:33 AM PST

    •  Subsidized moonshine (0+ / 0-)

      would do the trick :)

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:11:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Er, the Green Mountain Boys (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      were from Vermont.

      Of course, the story they don't tell you in the history books about when the Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga is that they were all sitting in a tavern in Vermont and someone said that the Brits had a huge store of spirits at the fort.

      Them boys was all three sheets to the wind when they climbed into them boats, crossed Lake Champlain, and captured the fort.

      Soldiers are required to do their jobs when politicians fail to do theirs

      by leftvet on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:56:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Best strategy diary that I have read in months. (3+ / 0-)

    Hope that he adopts much of what you have proposed.

  •  Wow! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    monkee, faithfull

    Impressed with all the work you put into this.  Very interesting.

    All aboard the O train!

    by xyz on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:28:09 AM PST

  •  "downstate NY" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thm, ManhattanMan, brooklynbadboy

    great diary, but I have to correct one thing in it:

    "Downstate New York" actually refers to NYC, Long Island and Westchester and neighboring counties.

    They are not part of Appalachia.

    The map of Appalachia you refer to includes a number of New York State counties in the Southern Tier of Upstate New York. That's definitely not "downstate."

    You may want to correct that :-)

    •  Further correction. (0+ / 0-)

      Downstate refers to the lower counties like Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, and maybe Westchester (debatable). I grew up calling Westchester and everything north "Upstate."

      New York City is New York City. Thats it.

      Long Island is Long Island, but basically the bedroom and playland of New York City.

      I'm black, and therefore automatically vote exclusively for black candidates. You're white and choose only based on the issues.

      by brooklynbadboy on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:40:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  :-) (0+ / 0-)

        Long Island is Long Island, but basically the bedroom and playland of New York City

        I went to college with a guy from Brooklyn who had a similarly weird view of LI. Some of us asked him to draw a map, and he had Brooklyn and Queens occupying half of the island.

        I have lived on LI for over 50 years. Most people in Nassau and Suffolk hardly ever even visit the city.

        This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

        by Mr X on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:23:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  well (0+ / 0-)

        for those of us who live upstate, everything south of let's say Poughkeepsie is downstate, city and island included.

      •  I live in "downstate"? (0+ / 0-)

        God, I feel so less-than now that I don't live in the city!!!!


        - Tappan (Rockland County), NY

        Dissent is Patriotic

        by mwjeepster on Wed Mar 12, 2008 at 12:41:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Get a rope! :) (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for correcting me. As another poster said ,politics is a great way to learn about other communities.

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:13:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a great piece of work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, faithfull

    Lots of data here to absorb, but after just skimming it seems you've certainly done your homework.

    :::snark ahead:::
    Here in NE Ohio, we call this area you're describing "West Pennsyltucky" as it really is it's own country-within-a-country

  •  This is a great diary faithful. (4+ / 0-)

    Barack and the rest of us need to remember that this campaign/movement depends on trust.  Clinton, Limbaugh, and Canadian Tories helped undermine that trust where it was weakest.

    The big urban rallies, unfortunately, probably evoke a sense of being left out among certain very important groups of people--and really, part of Barack's appeal is that he can and does readily connect with many of these people ... when he puts the time in, visits with them, listens, and shares of himself with them.

    That is the foundation of trust that you need so when the dirt and lies start flying, people will know what to make of your response.

    That established, trusting relationship is the ultimate frame.

  •  Could Obama lose NC to Clinton because (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of the Appalachian areas?

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:33:49 AM PST

  •  Recommended and Tipped (5+ / 0-)

    We here at this site have been brought into the loop about this historic area of your country. And - you take it farther by providing a reasonable plan of action. Well done.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:34:39 AM PST

  •  Someone could write a similar diary (6+ / 0-)

    focusing on the entire southern half of Missouri -- another key swing state. The region has historic Appalachia ties and a very similar belief system. If Democrats can make even moderate inroads in rural Missouri, they'd have the state in the bag.

    Good job on the diary. Recd.

    Don't Legitimize Fox News.
    "Democrats have the heart to care."

    by jeepdad on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:36:01 AM PST

    •  That's what '50 states' is about: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jeepdad, Cassandra Waites

      Making inroads, not necessarily modest, everywhere. Then red states will go purple, and purple states go blue.

      Revoking inevitability everywhere.

      Great diary, faithfull. There should be more like this instead of all the infighting noise between Hillarists and Obamaniacs, a noise that hopefully never drowns the voices of those who think strategically - and care - about people and issues...

    •  Yup. We "Southern highlanders" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jeepdad, mamamedusa

      have a great deal in common culturally. The Highlander Center mentioned in the diary would be a great place for Obama to go (as it was for Rosa Parks). He literally should "go there!"

      Here's a snip from their "About Us" page:

      We work with people fighting for justice, equality and sustainability, supporting their efforts to take collective action to shape their own destiny. Through popular education, participatory research, and cultural work, we help create spaces -- at Highlander and in local communities -- where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible. We develop leadership and help create and support strong, democratic organizations that work for justice, equality and sustainability in their own communities and that join with others to build broad movements for social, economic and restorative environmental change.

      The founding principle and guiding philosophy of Highlander is that the answers to the problems facing society lie in the experiences of ordinary people. Those experiences, so often belittled and denigrated in our society, are the keys to grassroots power.

      "This chamber reeks of blood." -- Sen George McGovern, 1970

      by cotterperson on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:47:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Prove Your Premise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This diary is an interesting and detailed analysis. Appalachia is of course important, as is every region. And perhaps offers an untapped opportunity for Obama to gain votes, which is every politician's dream. But you don't even offer to prove your most basic premise:

    Whether you are a 50-stater or a 50%+1 - 3 state advocate, Democrats MUST compete in these areas to win. There is no other way to achieve the Presidency.

    You don't even prove how all those Appalachian counties are the key to swinging their states from Clinton to Obama. You say that they would, but you don't show how focusing on the Appalachian counties would bring a better chance of winning the entire state than, say, focusing more on the urban districts.

    And you don't at all prove that states with Appalachian regions are indeed necessary to winning the presidency.

    I'd say that the current polls showing Obama beating McCain 50:38% don't require Appalachia for a win. Obama wins California, Illinois,  New York and the Northeast, and plenty of small states with disproportionate Electoral Votes in that 12 point victory. You've got to add a section showing how Appalachia's votes swing their states and thereby the Electoral College.

    I'm not saying you can't prove that, only that you haven't. And I'm not saying that "only the 50%+1 of the Electoral College matters", because that's the basic fallacy that's making the country increasingly ungovernable by anyone. But you're saying that Appalachia is necessary to an Obama victory. If we're going to follow your equally cogent suggestions on how to win Appalachia, you're going to have to prove that your most basic premise is worth accepting. I'm looking forward to seeing you do so, as Appalachia is probably the most oppressed region of the US, and making it essential to victory could start to end that oppression by demonstrating its value.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:37:04 AM PST

    •  Great point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocGonzo, Femlaw

      I'm not unaware that this post lacks specifics on that information.

      I would love to go into an analysis of how a Democrat who takes WV and the Appalachian regions of OH, PA, VA, and NC wins, and I hope to you in the future.

      I think, for recent examples, you can look at the campaigns of statewide officials like Sherrod Brown in OH, M. Warner Tim Kaine and Jim Webb in VA, and Roy Cooper and Mike Easley in NC.

      You say:

      I'd say that the current polls showing Obama beating McCain 50:38% don't require Appalachia for a win. Obama wins California, Illinois,  New York and the Northeast, and plenty of small states with disproportionate Electoral Votes in that 12 point victory. You've got to add a section showing how Appalachia's votes swing their states and thereby the Electoral College.

      Focusing on Kerry + 1 is a terrible strategy. And so is banking your campaign off of polls taken 8 months out. Appalachia will decide if Dems can win VA, PA, O, and NC. I'll diary that soon.

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:59:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Premise First (0+ / 0-)

        Your overall argument would be stronger if you'd support the premise that states controlled by Appalachian votes are necessary to win the election. Then focus on how those states are controlled by Appalachian votes. If you're proving a counterintuitive (or just surprising or new) argument, it's more effective to start with proving the less surprising part first, even if it's not going to be as popular a subject, especially if the less surprising part is the more fundamental premise for your recommended action.

        I'm looking forward to seeing it in reverse, anyway. Better than not at all.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:48:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

          Though I think thats pretty obvious, and pointed to some specific examples in the states stated. I look forward to writing a more in depth diary on just that.

          Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

          by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:52:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is a good strategy to use (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    global citizen

    for the GE.  I have been recommending (to anyone who would listen) that Obama begin acting like the nominee and going out against McCain.

    He can dismiss Clinton's attack as "desperation" and focus on McBush.

    It's time to start the general folks.

    -6.5, -7.59. Is there a hyphen in anal retentive?

    by DrWolfy on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:39:14 AM PST

  •  organized money would freak out (0+ / 0-)

    if Senator Obama went and reached out to poor and working class whites, like Jesse Jackson famously did in 84 and 88. The last thing they want is for the working and middle classes of different races to realize there are no substantive differences between them.

    I agree with the diarist on one point: go to Appalachia.

    Unfortunately, both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are too compromised by organized money to "risk" talking to tough about class differences.

  •  Here's how you outflank Clinton (8+ / 0-)

    Hammer, hammer ,hammer, home that Obama is candidate of people, financed by people, not lobbyists and back room deal cutting Democrats that will forget them when this is over.

    He will have the ability to stand up for the people there since he was financed by real people.

    The people there have been at the mercy of corporations all their live.

    Hammer that home.  Clinton=special interests that oppress them.

  •  and the future (0+ / 0-)

    lies in the hands of the Hatfields and McCoys. A mirror of what Kos has become. I'll agree with the Webb VP. Southern, military, honest to the core.

    "no, how dare you sir!"-Jack Ryan

    by Rudykip on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:42:50 AM PST

  •  Faithfull I donated to Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ebbinflo, Mad Kossack

    from your page. Im so excited about your diary and your effort. I know it would be huge here in this forgotten part of TN.

  •  great diary - a suggestion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Get Obama to look at how similarly affected areas have recovered and rebuld their economy.  There are mining communities around the globe where coal has run out, leading to a community disaster coupled with an environmental one.  Why not build a strategy based on how such communities have recovered?   Hope is nice - but a real detailed plan would make a huge difference.  Showing up and feeling the pain won't be enough to change how people think.  It's a start, but we have to follow through.  I have to say though that this is a fabulous diary, and it showed me a side of the US that I haven't seen much of.  Thank you!

  •  faithfull, outstanding diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm in VA-09 - you did an admirable job describing it.

    As an election official, I worked the machines during the primary and got to hear all manner of racist commentary. At my precinct, Clinton rec'd 164 votes and Obama rec'd 32. So it went in most of the counties and precincts in the most rural areas. Roanoke and Charlottesville are (generally considered) another 'world' when it comes to voting.

    "The thing about life is you always have to keep something on the to-do list." Alan Shore, Boston Legal, 2-12-08

    by va dare on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:44:31 AM PST

  •  I wouldn't badmouth coal too much (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    monkee, Cassandra Waites, paintitblue

    Much to my treehugging chagrin, some coal companies in Cambria County, PA (Johnstown area) are actually expanding and hiring. The people here are happy about that. They want jobs. But they understand the damage.

    When talking about coal, he should always play up the responsibility of the coal companies to prevent and mitigate the immediate and long-term damage they cause. AMD is a huge problem all over PA, including my backyard. Responsible use, good jobs. Did I mention jobs? Jobs, healthcare and energy: these are the main issues here.

    There is a big push for wind and ethanol here. The first 2 PA ethanol plants will be built, or are being built right now, in Clearfield County. He should make an appearance there when he visits Penn State (maybe 45 minutes away). Clearfield County does have a surprising amout of Democrats for this area. Such a double appearance would get him soo much TV coverage, you can't even imagine. So many towns and counties in this area share TV stations/news coverage.

    I don't think he should shun the campuses. There are so many college towns in PA, and they are ususally the biggest employers in a county, and the most populous town of the county. He needs not just the students, but the employees to be involved.

    Anyway, great diary. I'm not sure what it is about Appalachia that doesn't like Obama. But the region is not monolithic. He can make inroads.

    Dewey, you fool! Your decimal system has played right into my hands!

    by Glacial Erratic on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:49:28 AM PST

  •  Fabulous diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sockpuppet, moira, paintitblue

    Obama's weakness is clear, working class whites and, in some states, rural areas. He is a natural -- talk about the 1,000,000 mostly small donors -- that is unique in American history in the primaries as far as I know. He has midwest roots and rural roots. He is self-made, only recently paying off student loans. He has not dwelled for decades in Washington among elites. He is comfortable and worked with everyday people with everyday problems.

    If he is going to win the Presidency he is going to need to win at least some of these states -- he already will win the urban and prosperous parts of many of them -- connect with the rest of them over most of the next six weeks. That is an excellent investment for November.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:51:31 AM PST

  •  Didn't Al Gore lose WV becaues they (0+ / 0-)

    thought he was too pro-environment at the expense of coal mining jobs?

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 06:58:12 AM PST

  •  Obama in Appalachia (0+ / 0-)

    Faithful you're cooking with gas!  No bs, this concept is very similar to suggestion I made to Obama campaign - comment section on website - concerning Ohio.  I think the bus tour is an especially good idea and best way to culminate it is a Springsteen or Mellencamp concert in one of smaller towns between Pittsburgh and Philly.  

  •  A big cheer for HARD but POSITIVE campaigning n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Fabulous diary. (0+ / 0-)

    And fabulous title too.  Catches attention and brings people into a substantive argument.  Plus visually it's beautiful.

  •  On clear lucky days (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, sockpuppet, Ice Blue

    I can see Grandfather Mountain from my office window and with it the Appalachians.

    But the fine outpost of Kings Mountain keeps me company most days :)

    Lynch mob partipants volunteered, too.

    by cskendrick on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:07:55 AM PST

  •  Post on needs fix (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I checked out your page on The text needs to be fixed it is spread across the entire page.

    When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom profit that loses.Shirley Chisholm

    by kiki236 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:21:25 AM PST

    •  The formatting is wacky (0+ / 0-)

      Need to take out the links to photos that aren't working (or fix them to work).  I'd hate to see the good work go to waste because someone decided not to read it because of the formatting problems.

      Sim, nós podemos!

      by SLKRR on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:28:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  tough to go against coal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama's been a really big supporter of rejuvenating the coal industry in southern Illinois so it's going to be hard for him to start speaking out in favor of eliminating coal mining in Appalachia.  

    Put on your jumping shoes, which are intellect and love--Meister Eckhart

    by smusher on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:24:54 AM PST

  •  Living in SW Virginia (5+ / 0-)

    I have to say I'm sitting on the fence here a bit regarding parts of this diary - which is excellent, btw.

    I agree with much of it. I think Obama will win Virginia - largely thanks to NoVA. And I think he'd do well to heed much of the advice here.

    I believe it was Woody Allen who said something like "Nine tenths of everything in life is just showing up" and I agree that it would be great for Obama to visit appalachian areas often. And while that will help, it will take more than visits to get their votes. They'll need to believe that he's going to do what he says because they've certainly been BS'd by politicians plenty of times in the past.

    My ex was from Eastern Kentucky - she's a "Coal Miner's Daughter", growing up about 20 miles from where Loretta Lynn was born. I spent quite a bit of time there and I must say, for the most part, it  wasn't "happy" time.

    The poverty is devastating. Obama must convince the people there that he's not just doling out platitudes and that he means what he says.

    Religion is very important to the people of E. Kentucky. For many people, it's all they've got. The republicans have unfortunately made inroads in this regard. It would blow my mind to see some run-down shack with a tarp over its caved-in roof, coal-smoke belching from a chimney and Bush-Cheney stickers and signs plastered all over the place.

    I'll impart a quick story here. The first time I visited my ex's family for Christmas (circa 1979) we went to her Grandmother's for Christmas dinner.

    Her (very large) family was gathered in a (very small) house. When it was time to eat I was horrified. Why? The men were served first and the women were not allowed to eat until the men had finished. Having been raised by a very feminist mother, this was anathema to me. I couldn't eat and got some pretty dirty looks from the men. I felt like I'd just stepped into a different century.

    Fortunately this old (and to me, revolting) custom changed not long after but I tell the reader this to give them some idea because some of those customs are still there in some parts, clinging to life to this day.

    The illiteracy rate is staggering. My ex's mother could barely read or write. I remember my very first visit to their home. Everyone had gone somewhere, leaving me alone. I went to look for something to read. The only things I could find were a bible and a phone book. No books. No magazines. Nothing but a TV that got 3 channels.

    Regarding coal: the coal dynamic has changed big-time in the past 30 years. Back in the 70's there were many small, independently owned, below-ground coal mines and strip-mining wasn't nearly as  commonplace as it is today. The Union was strong and there were plenty of Democrats and relatively decent employment prospects with high-paying jobs.

    Today huge corporations work the coal in E. Kentucky and hire few locals. The same locals see these companies come in and to paraphrase Jimi Hendrix, "stand up next to the mountain and chop it down with edge of their hand". It's horrible because it's easy to see that at one time, the area was gorgeous. Today the streams run brown and oily. There are carcasses of cars and washing machines and junk along the banks. The water actually smells. It's awful.

    They're not happy about that, obviously. Strip mining is now king and the locals feel taken advantage of - for good reason.

    I also lived in East Tennessee for almost 10 years, in the Great Smoky Mtns, where tourism is king. (The Great Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park is the most visited Nat'l Park in the US) High gas prices will hurt them severely in Sevier County - home of Dollywood, Gatlinburg, etc. Without tourism and an economy that can support it (i.e. lower gas prices and some disposable income) that place is doomed.

    Anyway, now I'd touch on what seems to be the crux though regarding Obama: Racism. You can bet your bottom dollar it's alive and well in those mountain hollers but I'd agree that it's different than the racism that exists in the deep south. Cotton was never king here. There just aren't many black people at all in the "hollers" of Eastern Kentucky so the racism is really the distrust of anyone who is different and not black people, per se.

    Lastly, I'd agree 100 percent with the diarist with this part:

    Finish what FDR, JFK, and RFK started
    Address endemic Appalachian poverty aggressively. (You might even pick up a few key endorsements).Appalachia has some of the highest poverty rates in the country. A lot of that has to do with the mono-economy of coal. Encourage tourism. Encourage local businesses.

    It's going to be tough to encourage tourism in E. Kentucky after the place has been trashed like it has by the exploitation of coal. A program not unlike the Civilian Conservation Corps that would clean up the mess that Big Coal has left behind would go a very long way to grab their attention.

    They are proud, religious people who don't mind hard work. I believe they'd love to see their streams and rivers and roadsides cleaned up and a federally-funded program to do that would be very welcome and very successful, I think. Once that's accomplished tourism would be a distinct possibility but so much of that area has just been turned into a vast, open-air, toxic junkyard that I don't know of too many people who'd want to visit the place as it is now.

    Obama's message of hope will certainly help. It's all that most of the residents have anymore. But in addition to hope, social programs that are  specific to the plight of Appalachia would go a very long way towards the residents there actually trusting Barrack Obama and thus giving him their vote.

    So in addition to showing up there during his campaign, it would obviously be very important for him to deliver the goods and convince them that he can and will. If he can do that, I think he has a shot. But I do believe that it'll be a long shot, nonetheless.

    Once again, excellent diary!

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:28:48 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary, one caveat (5+ / 0-)

    This is a great piece, with one complaint:

    "Say the words "New York" in connection to Hillary Clinton as often as you can. Make HER the urban outsider who doesn't understand."

    I would rather not have our candidates playing the kind of nasty, regionalist, rural-urban slash-and-burn that the GOP does.  When Republicans trash cities and the coasts, we complain (rightfully) about their divisiveness, pseudo-populist anti-intellectualism, coded racism (FEAR THE GHETTO!) etc.

    Winning votes by trashing Democratic base voters is a poison pill.  Especially because Obama's appeal so far has been this broad-based, "we are all Americans" narrative.  Please let's not get all Yankee-bashing if we can help it...especially since there's plenty else that can be done to appeal to voters in Appalachia (regional concerns, going to local churches, attacking the stagnation on Capital Hill all you want.)

    That scary liberal lesbian-cuddling Jew-having Puerto Rican Day-parading GOP caricature of a state produced a pretty good advocate for rural development (FDR,) a pretty good conservationist (the other, fatter Roosevelt,) and a pretty good voice on poverty (Bobby Kennedy.)

    Take the high road please.

    "You go to Kos with the signature you have, not the signature you want."

    by mischaDC on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:29:02 AM PST

  •  Isn't this Limbaugh Territory? nt (0+ / 0-)

    Be careful what you shoot at, most things in here don't react well to bullets-Sean Connery .... Captain Marko Ramius -Hunt For Red October

    by JML9999 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:29:40 AM PST

  •  I opened this diary with gritted teeth ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    faithfull, Caesura

    ...and I'm smiling now.
    (Tipped and rec'd.)

    Why do people insist on following those damn chickens across that bloody road?

    by MT Spaces on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:39:01 AM PST

  •  Don't forget the role of the Feds (0+ / 0-)

    You can't really discuss Appalachia acurately without discussing the extraordinary role of the federal government. The federal Appalachian Regional Commission still coordinates development policy. Federally owned TVA provides the electricity, much of it from the only federally-owned nuclear power plants. Coal mining is less iportant as a jobs producer now, but area politicians still look to the huge nuclear industrial sector in the region, which includes:

    1. Oak Ridge in TN
    1. Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin TN
    1. The depleted uranium munitions plant in Jonesboro TN
    1. The Paducah KY uranium enrichent plant
    1. The Maxie Flats KY low-level radioactive waste dump
    1. The Piketon OH site where the Bush Administration still would like to turn into a storage dump for all the spent nuclear fuel that can't go to Nevada until Harry Reid dies
    1. The Savannah River Site in South Carolina, where the Bush Adinistration plans renewed nuclear reprocessing
    1. A proposed new GE uranium enrichment plant in North Carolina

    The extensive interstate highway system in Appalachia was actually built to connect and defend these nuclear installations.

    The huge federal presence gives Appalachia special voice in presidential politics, and must be at the core of any regional policy approach, especially as many of the nulear projects are now only proposed or pending redevelopment.

  •  This diary is... (5+ / 0-)

    DKos at its best.  Accolades and thanks!

    And Obama, if you're reading this: Nothing succeeds like success.  Go there!

    Loyalty comes from love of good government, not fear of a bad one. Justice Hugo Black.

    by Pondite on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:42:01 AM PST

  •  I think you're radically misreading (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patrick B

    the places you're talking about. Maybe a result of trying to use statistics to understand people rather than meeting them.

    In NC and TN the cities of Asheville (nc), Nasheville and Knoxville dominate the areas youre talking about. Those are also the only places a campaign visit or standard "tactics" can have an effect. Thing is at least asheville is far bluer than the rest of the region as likely the other two cities are. The NC area in your map is actually pretty affluent. Land values are through the roof. However that aside the people you seem to want to reach just arent reachable via candidate visits etc. The entire area is by-choice rural. People continually move farther into the mountains as more northerners retire or move here. The only effective ways to reach them are via tv and radio ads. As the daytime dj's tend to be moronic idiots who tend to slip in racist/rw garbage based on totally false assumptions about their listeners that would seam to mean only pay media.

    And your issues are radically WRONG. Mountaintop removal isnt a "voter issue" and you'll be tossing money into the wind.

    NAFTA is the issue. OUTSOURCING is the issue. Immigration (illegal) is the issue. Workers rights. Right to organise. Those are the issues.

    If Edwards would run for Governor and get right to work tossed, especially if we did the same in SC, North Carolina would turn blue. Followed quickly by Tn and then someday perhaps even SC though the racism there makes it pretty hard. Especially considering the rampant vote fraud and discrimination the Fpers here claim doesnt exist.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

    by cdreid on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:43:37 AM PST

    •  Poverty is still a huge issue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, Ice Blue

      The wealthy retirees do not eliminate the problems with poverty in the foothills and mountains of NC and TN. They hide the statistical poverty.

      Mountaintop removal mining is a big issue in West Virginia, but not North Carolina. This diary does not get that wrong. Appalachia is not one simple region, but a complex geographic area with multiple issues.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:54:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thing is (0+ / 0-)

        this diary does seem to miss the point that this isnt some "unified untapped electorate". It views "them" as the next "soccer mom". Which of course was itself complete nonsense. You reach "appalachian people" by reaching the "working class" who are of course, most of america whether the pundits and the media want it to be true or not. By fighting for the working class, as a certain other Democratic candidate did, you win in all areas. Call it the "300 million americans" strategy. Whereas now we have the "3 million trust funders" strategy.

        I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

        by cdreid on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:46:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Casting a broad net on "we" appalachians (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Understanding that Appalachia is a place of immense cultural diversity and differences. I'm sorry that didn't come across more in the piece.

          Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

          by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:53:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

            i liked it a lot. But ill guarantee people like markos (no insult to markos. He's a statistics/polisci geek) will view it as a new "group" to target. So if you thought it was a slam on the piece my writing talents obviously failed as usual. I thought it was fascinating and would love to see more.

            One thing i think would be astoundngly useful and interesting is subdividing the south and east into more useable identifiers somehow. And that can of course only be done by someone like yourself. Many of us dont even understand our own regions (I do NOT get north carolinians). Asheville is an center of ART and even recording industries of all things. Fifty miles away across the SC border youd think youd been transported into the 1850's south. East in charlotte/greensboro you have extremely metro cities. Whereas Raleigh/durham are intellectual centers in every meaning of the phrase. Go northeast SLIGHTLY and you'll find the very stereotype of "hillbilly" in the WV/VA/NC mountains.

            I just believe the "dividers" are wrong. Its urban vs rural. White collar vs blue collar. Union/nonunion. Just opinion though.

            I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

            by cdreid on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 12:31:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  One of the best diaries I've read this year (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SLKRR, clambake, Virginian in Spain

    You need to continue to attempt to contact the Obama campaign until you have reached them. This analysis, this insight, this passion is incredible. Get this in his hands.

    Please raise my taxes and fix the roads that are tearing up my car.

    by niteskolar on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:00:25 AM PST

  •  WOW! (0+ / 0-)

    This is a tremendous piece.   I think that the advice is good for our GE candidate, regardless of who they are.    

    I also think that the assessment reinforces the case for Hillary Clinton to be our nominee.  

    These border areas can tip a number of crucial states our way if we care enough to invest in them, (Obama or Clinton).  

  •  Fresh from the echo chamber -- great work! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Your thoughtful, detailed analysis is refreshing. Thank you for taking the time to present the case so thoroughly.

    Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it. - Harry S. Truman

    by parker parrot on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:17:49 AM PST

  •  excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    well thought out, with specific advice. I totally agree about coal and it's devastating environmental effects; mountaintop removal is destroying communities and no one at the national level is taking up the cause for these folks.

    Harry Taylor for Congress, Courage is Contagious

    by Fredly on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 08:22:38 AM PST

  •  I love the Smokies (0+ / 0-)

    and most of my extended family is on the Cumberland plateau.    This is some of the deepest red areas in the nation.  IIRC a few of those districts haven't had a Democrat represent them in congress since the Civil War.

    Plus, campaigning in these areas would be hard.  There's no airports capable of handling a campaign enterage for hundreds of miles.  The population is sparse, just a few thousand people per county in most places.  The geography makes it take forever to travel even a fairly short distance.  

    I just don't see it being remotely practical given how few swing votes there are likely to be.

    Race is a big issue in southern Appalachia.  In some of those places where the KKK is still alive and well I'd be scared for his safety.

  •  Great diary and analysis (0+ / 0-)

    and shows your real love for the area, too.  

    You might want to run through and check some of your numbers for typos; for instance, this doesn't look right:

    Final VA Results (BO +29)
    HC:54 BO:41

    Appalachian VA Results (HC + 32)
    HC:74 BO:24

  •  Your diary is amazing, but Obama will never win (0+ / 0-)

    in those areas.  People out there won't vote for a Black guy, period.  Even if he was running against Marvin the Martian, who openly wants to destroy the Earth -- MM 55% / BO 45%.  Swing voters went to Marvin the Martian because they said he was a known quantity.

    When asked if race was a factor, 20% of voters openly said yes, 80% of those voted for Marvin over Barack.

  •  Great Diary...& here are a few insights from OH (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SLKRR, faithfull, gloryous1

    I pretty much agree with your premise & analysis.  Obama has to do much better here in order to trounce McCain in the general election.  During the primary campaign in Ohio, he spent almost all of his time in the major urban areas.  He should start spending a little more time applying the 50 state strategy to the county level.

    I live in central OH (Franklin County/Columbus).  Looking over the statewide results yesterday, I was surprised by the size of HRC's margins in the rural, and especially the Appalachian areas, of the state.

    See the OH county results tabulated here...

    and take a look at the OH county results map here...

    Ohio has 88 counties.  HRC won 83, Obama won 5.  Obama won four of the six biggest metro areas (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Dayton), but HRC took Toledo, Akron/Canton and the whole rest of the state.

    HRC's biggest margin over Obama was in Scioto County (Portsmouth) which is spilt in half between OH-6 to the east and OH-2 to the west (mean Jean's district).  She trounced him there 81% to 16%, with John Edwards pulling in 3%.

    In two counties in OH-18 (Noble & Monroe) Edwards took 6% of the total.  His message still resonates here.  He also took 6% in one of the NW counties (Putnam).  In the counties won by HRC, Edwards pulled in an average of 2.2%.  In the counties won by Obama, he pulled in an average of 0.9%.

    At my "gut level" I feel that there are several demographic factors that worked & are working against Obama in the the appalachian and rural areas of OH:

    - The poverty rate and unemployment level in these areas is higher.  His message of "hope" is not reaching the gut level. The "I'm a fighter" resonates much stronger.  He needs to start getting tougher to win over these people.

    - The loss of manufacturing jobs in the small  towns throughout these areas has been devasting. I think his campaign's response to & handling of the NAFTA "leak" did him damage here.

    - Democrats in these areas are much more conservative (blue-dog) in nature.

    - Overall education level in these areas is lower, and job opportunities for higher educated people are hard to come by. Young people leave home for college (if they can afford it) and don't come back (count me among that number, and that was 38 years ago). The population is aging.  The energy of youth does not exist here.

    - Voters here are more easily swayed by the so-called "red-state values issues" (the war against terror/islamic fundamentalism, church vs. state separation/integration, gays, guns & abortion) and are much more likely to support them over their base economic interests (i.e. the "what's the matter w/ Kansas?" phenomenon).  The Rovian gay marriage ban strategy in the 2004 general election got a lot of these people out to the polls.

    - It's unfortunate, but many voters there still are suspicious of the nasty "he's a closet Muslim" slime going around.  I wouldn't like to see it, but maybe he needs to start attending Sunday services in small churches in these areas.

    - And lastly, and most unfortunately, while it may not be prevalent at the conscious level, I believe his race is a factor at the subconscious "gut" level.  These areas are whiter and more conservative than the urban centers, and have a closer link to the ugly parts of our history.  

    •  Thank you THANK you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      For this excellent information. DKos at its best. I plan to write up something on why the Appalachian areas are the key to winning these staets, and I'll give you and several others LOTS of credit for the info on OH.

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:18:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i think race is a big factor (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Everyone likes to point to states where obama won the white vote, as if the white vote is the same in every part of the country.  

      But it's not.  Growing up in the northern outposts of Crackerland (i.e. Pennsyltucky), I can say that the "white" vote in a place like Maine is very different than the white vote in Appalachia.  Likewise, the white vote in a place like Wisconsin or Iowa is not like the white vote in Appalachia.  If you look at those places where Clinton trounced Obama, you find a lot of crackers. (I realize its offensive of a term, but I got crackers in my family and by & large they hold varying degrees of racist beliefs.  After a while, you just get tired of listening and arguing about their "lazy Mexicans"/"damn illegals"/"welfare moms driving Cadillacs" bullshit opinions.)

      I just don't see how a lot of high falutin' rhetoric about "them thar evil coal companies" and "all us po' folks need to stick togetha' " is going to change hearts and minds in a couple of months.  These people who, when persons of color are not in the room, will let the occasional "spic" or "nigger" fly when telling "jokes" or, more likely, complaining about the woes & ills of the world.

      Does this mean all these folks are secretly members of the KKK? Of course not - they laugh at the ridiculous white supremacist boobs paraded around on the Jerry Springer Show as much as the rest of America does.  But it does mean that when a black man is running for President, they are going to be a lot more open to hearing and remembering the negative things they hear about him and easily overlook the good things.  And it means when in the privacy of the voting booth, when choosing between a white lady and a black man (or a white McMan and a black man), their impulses will naturally lead them to pull the lever for the white candidate.  

      Is this locked into stone? Of course not.  But as others have said, its hard to see how Obama is going to overcome all this in the next few months, especially when he also has to spend time in all the OTHER districts and states, in particular those where boosting turnout of "his" voters might yield far greater dividends.

      Liberals drive me crazy. Unfortunately, conservatives are even worse.

      by goblue72 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:23:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with a lot of what you say, (0+ / 0-)

        but I also think that if ever there was a chance for somebody to start "cracking" the cracker bias that gets passed down (or up?) from one generation to the next, that chance exists NOW.  Barack & Michelle should seize it, go there, look 'em all straight in the eyes like W did to Pooty-Poot, and give 'em all some real "straight talk".  A real up- close and personal visit may just open up a lot of those hearts and minds.  And it could go a long way to thwarting Johnny Mac's influence over these people.  I say you gotta try.

        •  generally agree (0+ / 0-)

          There's no real harm in trying and at least making some appearances in these areas.  I think I just get a little frustrated with some of the cursory arguments that get made about Obama and the white vote and the conflating of the white vote in places like Maine or Iowa or Wisconsin with the white vote in places like Ohio or Pennsylvania or Tennesse or Kentucky.  

          Liberals drive me crazy. Unfortunately, conservatives are even worse.

          by goblue72 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:45:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  This reinforces Faithfull's argument (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        faithfull, Ohiobama

        The sort of people you're describing—those who have a bias due to ignorance rather than a sense of racial superiority—are exactly the sort of people Obama needs to meet. People who talk about welfare queens and illegal immigrants burning the flag are generally people who have no exposure to the people they're denigrating. The stereotype is all they know. What happens when Obama shows up in their town or county? They can see the reality of this man with their own eyes and are less likely to be informed by stereotypes. And they're likely to be impressed that he came out to hear their concerns.

        Here in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick did something similar. He campaigned heavily in the western part of the state, a relatively rural area that generally gets ignored in elections (as you can pretty much win a Mass election by carrying the metro Boston area.) He emphasized that he was running for Governor of Massachusetts, not just of Boston. That message resonated with voters there. As a result, Deval won almost every town in the state.

        Obama will carry the cities. If he can blunt Clinton's advantage in the rural areas, he could carry the state.

        •  Bingo! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

          by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:55:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Disagree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sorry, but not all predominantly white areas are the same.  The western part of Massachusetts is NOTHING like the central part of Pennsylvania, and certainly nothing like the hollers of Kentucky.

          I lived in Massachusetts for 12 years.  The western part of the state (the Berkshires) is techinically "rural" but its a rural defined by being a short 2 hour drive from Manhattan, a rural defined by being a summer resort for the affluent and educated coastal elites with Tanglewood (summer home of the BSO), Shakespeare festivals, modern dance festivals (Jacob's Pillow), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, etc.  Its also home to a number of highly ranked, elite liberal arts colleges like Amherst, Williams, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, etc. - with Northampton being ground zero of the "latte drinking" crowd.

          All these things heavily flavor the cultural and politcal makeup of the region, to skew towards a surprisingly (for outsider) liberal spectrum.  This is the part of the state that when Shannon O'Brien ran for governor against Mitt Romney (and lost) was one of the few areas of the state that went for Shannon over Mitt - in fact, IIRC, it went for Shannon ever more than Boston did.

          Its not surprising that the Berkshires would go for Deval.  I would have been surprised if they DIDN'T.

          Again, its a fallacy to just go "its a majority white/rural" area and then treat it to blanket analysis.   Its the same stupidity that treats the Latino parts of the country where Mexicans are the largest Latino group the same as area where Puerto Ricans are the largest Latino group or where Cubans are.

          Liberals drive me crazy. Unfortunately, conservatives are even worse.

          by goblue72 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 01:15:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Understood. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            A couple of things, though. When I was referring to western Mass, I was referring to the area outside 495, not just the Berkshires. So technically central Mass as well. What you describe is more of a liberal archipelago (Amherst, Northampton, Tanglewood/Mass MoCA) that extends to the NY border. There's a lot of space in between. But...
            My point was not to say that western MA equals central PA. It doesn't. Just that these towns in between the art festivals and whatnot tend to be overlooked by politicians and it created a lot of goodwill for Patrick when he campaigned there. That's the point I'm making in my second paragraph above: if you pay attention to voters who are usually overlooked, you can reap rewards.

  •  Total tip for doing this. I hope you mail this (6+ / 0-)

    and I mean SERIOUSLY hard copy mail and email it to the Obama campaign. No joke. They need to hear voices from those in the know.

    Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    I, too, think he needs to get boots on the ground. He'll have 7 weeks. He should hit the ground running. Go to wherever they'll have him in PA. He can do it.

  •  My wife is in Appalachia this week (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    She is at the John Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina, taking a week-long course in tin-smithing, to be followed by a weekend of weaving.

    It really is a beautiful part of the country.  Tourism does well, but could do even better, and help replace the coal economy.

    If you are interested in the folk school, check out

  •  Fantastic diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Wow, what a terrific diary. A labor of love ;-) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    faithfull, gloryous1

    I'm at work so I can't dedicate the time to this diary that it deserves, but I will dig in when I get home this evening.  I've sent myself the link just in case it drops off the rec list.  And BTW, rec'd with enthusiam!

    Practice random acts of kindness.

    by Sally in SF on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 09:52:26 AM PST

  •  This is a great diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    faithfull, panana

    Thank you for your constructive feedback and criticism.

  •  Outstanding work. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    faithfull, panana

    Thorough, and doesn't sugar coat what Obama is up against.

    But with very concrete suggestions of what to do about it.

    Hopefully the campaign will pay close attention to this advice.

  •  Sorry, I'm late (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    faithfull, Ohiobama, evdebs

    Wow, this diary is incredible.  Between you, DT and Adam Siegel, this topic has generated some of the most in depth, well-researched and informative diaries ever posted on this site.  

    Obama, with his emerging new technology /green jobs message would certainly do well to heed your advice.  And your region seems like a natural fit for him (with a bit of work).  His message of hope, with some added detail, would hopefully serve as balm for your wounded region. Ohiobama nailed it yesterday, as you noted above.  Hopefully, you both sent the campaign your excellent insights.

    I will be attending a public interest environmental law conference at the University of Oregon this weekend.  There is a panel on mountain top removal.  The panelists are Bill Price, Alice McKeown and Teri Blanton. Do you know these folks?  

    Keep up the good work.  

    Dogs have so many friends because they wag their tails instead of their tongues. -Anonymous

    by gloryous1 on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 10:25:33 AM PST

    •  Oh my lord (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you are in for a treat.

      Bill and Teri were two of my inspirations for working on the issue of MTR. They are going to knock yall's socks off.

      I have also enjoyed the MTR diaries, and lok forward to the day when all the attention on the issue results in something passing congress and being signed by the President that stops mountaintop removal forever.

      Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

      by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:03:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Huh?! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm down to here, and still there's no mention of the Blue Ridge parkway?!

    Quite possibly the most dramatic scenic drive on Earth.

    And it takes two days. At least. At the very least.

  •  You're No JFK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Reading this fine post, I'm reminded of the infamous Dan Quayle/Lloyd Bentsen debate.  Everyone remembers Bentsen's infamous smackdown of the poor doe-eyed Dan.  But I always saw it as a missed opportunity.

    If I remember it correctly, earlier in the debate, a media questioner-- Tom Brokaw I believe-- asked a question along the lines of "Senator "Born with a silver spoon in mouth", have you actually had any dealings in your life time with poor people?".  And Quayle answered, incredibly, that, why yes he had just had dinner with a poor family recently, and he was VERY IMPRESSED by the fact that they were so appreciative that a VERY FAMOUS AND POWERFUL SENATOR such as himself would take time out of his busy schedule to have dinner with them.  Un-freaking-believable.

    The JFK question was posed shortly after--- and while Bentsen's response is now infamous, I thought if only he could have contrasted Quayle's ridiculous answer to the question before with JFK's committment to Appalachia from the campaign of 1960, he would have reminded the world once again why there IS a difference to this day between a government of Democrats as opposed to the country club/Mary Matalin "let them eat cake" set.  

  •  obama has a very steep hill to climb... (0+ / 0-)

    ... we should be a bit realistic and note that obama has a very very tough hill to climb in this area (even if the top of it was blown off).  clinton would outperform obama in this region against mccain.

    •  Indeed he does (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ohiobama, PoliticalJunkessa

      But Obama doesn't necessarily have to win rural counties, just cut into Clinton's support enough for his advantage in the cities puts him over the top. In Ohio, Clinton took some counties by 70% or more. If Obama had campaigned in those rural areas, he probably could have lopped at least 10 points off that advantage.

      •  And he can more than make up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for his slagging support among rural people by how much he increases turnout in urban areas and small cities. but I think he is bound to increase turnout everywhere

        Oh, the hills are groaning with excess, like a table ceaselessly being set.

        by faithfull on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 12:17:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  terrific diary! sorry that I... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    don't have time to read the comments right now, so if I'm just repeating what's already been said, my apologies.

    But yes, Appalachia is extraordinarily beautiful, still, despite the efforts of some humans to literally destroy it. I don't know enough about electoral strategy to know if this is a good idea, but I do know that it's the right thing to do.

    And if anyone gets the chance, visit Pine Mountain, in Kentucky right by the Virginia border. What an extraordinary place.

    -8.25, -6.26 Pardon our dust, sig line under renovation in order to serve you better.

    by snookybeh on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 11:51:39 AM PST

  •  That was beautiful. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Oh my god, that was a wonderful thing to read.

    You can't get away with the crunch, 'cuz the crunch always gives you away

    by dnamj on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 12:01:25 PM PST

  •  Far too late to the party. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    faithfull, PoliticalJunkessa

    Don't know how I missed this, and I would have entirely if va dare hadn't put me onto it in Top Comments.

    Simply beautiful.  I'd rec it ten times if I could.  I think something changed and deepened, something essential, in Bobby's heart on his travels in Appalachia.  And I really think Barack could speak to people's hearts there the way Bobby did.

    It's too late to add much more to the wonderful comments above, so I'll just give y'all a song.  This is what it feels like to have an Appalachian heart:

    Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable. --G.K. Chesterton

    by Progressive Witness on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 07:41:11 PM PST

  •  Great job! I can feel your passion (0+ / 0-)

    Yours is the first diary I have posted in.  Just wanted to say well done.  I could feel your love for the people and landscape of Appalachia.  You need to be relentless and creative in getting this into the hands of the Obama campaign.  Two names that come to mind immediately are Sen Rockafeller of West Virginia (who has endorsed Barack) and David Wilhelm (native of rural Ohio; former Clinton staffer, now Obama backer).  Be relentless!  

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