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With all the talk of endemic racism after his losses in WV and KY, I would like to point out that the cultural issues in that neck of the woods go beyond simple rascism and are more aligned with xenophobia. They don't trust anything or anyone that skews from their cultural norm. Just being from California is enough to set off alarms, even if you are a middle aged white guy.

I used to have a job that required work at Ft. Knox Military hospital 4 or 5 weeks a year, a task that existed like a cloud of dread over everyone that would be required to go. If you have never been to Hardin County, or taken a cruise down the Dixie Highway, aren't missing much. It's still a dry county(yep...still such a thing. And if anywhere would drive a person to drink, this would be it), and the only things surrounding the base are a few fast food joints, a Piggly Wiggly and an extraordinary number of used car lots and pawn shops. It is a pretty bleak place to have to live.

Our crew was your typical mix of California techies. A Multi racial, Multi gender mix of Black, East Indian, Vietnamese, Hispanic, White...A couple of biker guys with ponytails and beards, a couple of pierced and tattooed punks, gay, lesbian, a guy in a wheelchair...Your average cross section of America.

Let me tell you something...The folks around there wouldn't have voted for ANY of us. Hell, we could barely get served at Waffle House.

The entire time we would be deployed, the locals would treat us like the motorcycle gang from The Wild One just riding into town for a fun week of raping and pillaging. We were "different". It made the locals very uncomfortable, and they didn't try to hide it. At all.

So, If you think Baracks problems thru the Bible Belt are just about him being black, I would have to disagree.

It's  because he is different than they are. And they don't like it one bit.

Originally posted to Razorblade on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:08 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fort Knox is not Appalachia (4+ / 0-)

    You need to go east from Fort Knox to get to Appalachian Kentucky. Get off I-75 at London and head east on the Hal Rogers Parkway to Hazard. Go off the main road and you are in Appalachia.

    I live near Knoxville, TN, which is the heart of Southern Appalachia. But it's an oasis of sorts because of the educated population here. Head over to Cocke County, TN, or up to Scott and Morgan Counties near Brushy Mountain State Prison and you are in another world.

  •  Very insightful perspective (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, greycat, InsultComicDog

    thank you for sharing that experience.  

    So if I understand you correctly, HRC is winning in those areas because she is a known entity because she is Bill's wife.

    I guess the only way to test your theory would be to run a white woman who wasn't a former first lady against a black man.

    If you are correct, then Obama's selection of a running mate becomes even more critical.

    "...hope can find its way back to the darkest of corners" -- Barack Obama, May 6, 2008

    by SnowItch on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:14:08 AM PDT

  •  Spot on (4+ / 0-)

    This is a part of the nation that hasn't changed its demographic or racial mixture very much in the last 250 years. I remember seeing an old BBC documentary on English saying essentially that if you wanted to hear the way it was spoken back in 1750, that's where you'll hear it.

    The coasts change, the west changed through migration in the late 19th century. Appalachia didn't.

  •  and in what way... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, princss6

    do they identify with Hillary Clinton?

    do they think Chappaqua is Appalachia?

    Politics didn't lead me to working people. Working people led me to politics. -- Barack Obama

    by JackieandFritz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:16:19 AM PDT

    •  Hillary did not trot out her Chappaqua residency (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, esquimaux

      or her Yale degree or any of the other "foreign" trappings we know she has.  When she campaigned there, she was the scrappy fighter, not so far a stretch from the farmer or the coal miner.  Sure, it's a false persona in a class sense, but it was a lot more familiar to the folks in KY and WV than Obama, who visited only the urban centers of each state once and thus failed to present any persona besides the ones those voters encountered in the MSM blathering about Wright.

      The Obama campaign did write these states off for this round, figuring there were other battles to fight.  You can't be everywhere.  It's a gamble.  It's also not too forthcoming to the voters in Appalachia.

      •  Clinton has done well (4+ / 0-)

        in machine states.  The Appalachian states are nothing if not machine states.  The party heads get their marching orders and that's all, folks.

        "My whole world lies waiting behind door number three"

        by wozzle on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:35:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolutely agree. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wozzle, burrow owl, esquimaux

          The frenzy to cry "racism" is distracting everyone from the power of the machine.  The Clintons lined up that machine on their side sixteen years ago, when they entered the White House.  Rendell in PA was a big part of that construct in 1992, and it played out again this year.  Obama's experience is with the Chicago machine -- one of the toughest anywhere, but alien to the people in Appalachia.

          •  the only problem with your theory is that... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            25 percent of her voters ADMITTED that they voted for her based on race.

            And there must be a healthy percentage that did so, but were ashamed to admit it to a stranger conducting exit polls.

            Politics didn't lead me to working people. Working people led me to politics. -- Barack Obama

            by JackieandFritz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:51:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am not saying race is not a big factor;... (0+ / 0-)

              ...only that the influences affecting any vote are more complex than many here at DKos want to concede.  Even if we guess that twice as many voters made their decisions based on race, that leaves the other half.  Were they all older women?  We're extrapolating from insufficient data, a flaw any social scientist would attack in a heartbeat.

              Just speaking as someone who saw the (partly Appalachian) PA primary up close, race was an issue but hardly the biggest one.  The machine was a killer for Obama.

              •  Part of the sad truth.. (0+ / 0-)

                is that folks in Appalachia are more interested in using the power of their racism than doing what is in their self-interest...

                If self-interest was important, they would never have voted for bush... twice...

                Politics didn't lead me to working people. Working people led me to politics. -- Barack Obama

                by JackieandFritz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 12:03:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  They are nostalgic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for the better economy durring the Clinton administration. They want a third term for Bill Clinton. They may even assume, or hope, that he would really be running things in a Hillary Clinton administration.

  •  I beg to disagree. No dem is going to win (5+ / 0-)

    Appalachia.  The only difference will be one of degree (how much will they lose by in that area).  I agree that making an effort to show that one understands the values of people in Appalachia would go a long way to cutting down that margin, but it still will not erase it.  This is an area that has become increasing conservative, mainly due to what one would call cultural issues (what some deride as God, gays, and guns).  This is simply not an area Dems will pickup, not that thart is an excuse for not trying, but to believe that Dems (whoever they are) will be competitive in Appalachia is foolhardy.

    •  I almost agree (0+ / 0-)

      the Democratic Presidential candidates are rarely going to do well in Appalachia. But blue dog Democrats can be successful in local, Congressional, and statewide races.

      John McCain - Like W. Only Older.

      by InsultComicDog on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:27:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  These demographic realities (4+ / 0-)

      might as well be faced now.  Hell, they should have been faced a year ago.  With Obama as the nominee, we will lose the Southern and Appalachian vote, big time, and there are an awful lot more racists than there are non-racists in these areas.  People that are not native to these regions just don't get it.

      I am a native Southerner, and lived for four years in Appalachia.  That disgusting video of WV voters is the norm, not the exception, and we should all understand that.  We will have to concentrate our fire in other states where this systemic, cultural racism is not such a factor.  Driving up the popular vote where we are already going to win is not going to help.  We have to drive up the urban votes in PA and OH to counterbalance the "Bubba" vote in the rural areas of those states.

      No politician ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the American public. PT Barnum, paraphrased...

      by jarhead5536 on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:56:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  by the way.. (0+ / 0-)

    the locals still call it this -- link

    Politics didn't lead me to working people. Working people led me to politics. -- Barack Obama

    by JackieandFritz on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:18:56 AM PDT

  •  You say Barack's problem is not race that he is (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Getreal1246, rmx2630, malharden, princss6

    not "one of them". Do you then think that Hillary IS one of them.  I live in southern OHIO, spent alot of time in WV, PA and KY....It is race, they are and around here we are racist...Hell, people were not even ashamed to tell strangers they were racist.

    •  It's not just race (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      there's also a distrust of intellectuals.

      John McCain - Like W. Only Older.

      by InsultComicDog on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:29:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The fact that they are openly racists (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is progress.  Not that they aren't scary and dangerous, but I have always felt that things like this are much more dangerous when hidden out of view and allowed to fester unchecked.  It may take time, but if they are willing to voice their attitudes you at least have a fighting chance to help them see the light.

      Boycott all Corporate Media with dishonorable journalistic standards. Obama vs McCain 2008

      by psdunc on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:42:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My cousin Nancy called from WV (4+ / 0-)

    last night and I asked her about the primary results there.  She said she doubted a democrat could win in Appalachia and no way a progressive democrat would ever win there. Many are racist and they are very conservative. They feel a womans place is in the home.  They are poor and they feel as if the rest of the world has written them off, therefore they just withdraw from the world.  They voted for Hillary in the primary, but most of them would not vote for her in GE.  My father came from Arkansas.  He left there before high school, but he remained stuck in that mentality.  I went to college and my brother drove a truck and my father could never understand why I earned more money than my brother because I was a female.  He didn't even think women should go to college.  It made them want more and to be independent from men.  The saddest part of Hillary's argument is that the racist white working class are voting for her . Why would anyone want to shout that from the rooftops?  But then again she and Bill started out in Arkansas.

    Boycott all Corporate Media with dishonorable journalistic standards. Obama vs McCain 2008

    by psdunc on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:34:20 AM PDT

    •  this is a very telling statement (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssgbryan, greycat, buddabelly, malharden

      They voted for Hillary in the primary, but most of them would not vote for her in GE.  

      I have been looking at the exit polls in states which include parts of appalacia.

      The most interesting unexamined phenomenon is that
      Hillary wins big from voters who will not vote for their chosen candidate in the general election

      About 9% of voters in the Kentucky democratic primary were voters who

      1. voted Hillary
      1. said they would vote for McCain in the general.

      about 1-2% of voters fell in the same camp for Obama.

      I dont think this is just a "limbaugh effect" - I think many of these are conservative Dems who will not vote for either dem presidential candidate.

      I appreciate your insight here.

    •  You touch on something lost on most... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      biscobosco, greycat, malharden

      Clinton embraces the folks from Appalachia who openly vote on racist terms, because it is beneficial to her.  What she, and many others, are not recoginzing is that these racists have cast a vote for her only because of the pale nature of her skin, and that these same voters will quickly abandon her when the opportunity arises to vote for white male candidate because of their long rooted and quite backward beliefs.  

      Clinton loves to claim misogyny against those that are not supporting her, but if she earned the nomination she would quickly feel the sting of true misogyny as these voters suddenly abandoned her for reasons of her only being a woman.  Much was made when the (planted) men stood up at her townhall meeting with the sign that said "Iron My Shirt".  I wonder if her supporters would have the gaul to display much indignation when those same "hard working WHITE voters" ended up being the main factor in her very defeat?  Fortunately, we likely won't be subjected to that scenario playing out and suffer through the obvious results.

  •  I won't forget my time in that area.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UndercoverRxer, esquimaux

    I was out in the back woods and will never forget seeing a little white clapboard house with rebel flags flying proudly out front...and a sign out front that read:

    The Rebel Shop: For all your rebel shopping needs.

    I hit the gas peddle and never looked back.

    •  I say Let Them Simmer in Their Stupidity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Barack should not invest the time to cajole them over to his side.  If the Appalachian citizenry believe that John McBush has something to offer them, then so be it.  Vote for him.  Confirm what is readily evident: you are generally small-minded, afraid, and unwilling to join the 21st century.

      Somewhere in Texas a Village is missing its Idiot.

      by RoddieH on Wed May 21, 2008 at 09:52:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I spent part of a lousy summer job... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      working in the Kentucky coal country (near Hazard) in the early 1980s.  My memories are vivid.  I was sampling stream water and sediment, and was supposed to collect samples upstream of house.  In that area, roads followed streams.  Economic status was pretty much correlated with distance from the main road - the poorest, least well educated families lived at the upstream end of the "hollow."  These were the people who I had to introduce myself to and ask permission to go on their land.  It was the worst poverty I've seen in the US, more like third-world areas I've visited.

      Corruption was rampant in local and county governments, and government services were non-existent - no trash pick-up (therefore, trash dumped along every stream) and the worst maintained roads I've ever driven on.  Families had been cheated by coal companies, and poisoned by the contaminated groundwater they drank.  I wasn't from around there, and I was a scientist (an undergrad, but still...), so I was commonly mistaken for a "spy" from the coal companies, and not made to feel welcome.

      It actually helped that I'm a woman - I wasn't taken seriously enough to be considered a threat.  I only had a gun waved at me once, while another member of the team (working alone - I said it was a lousy job!) had a warning shot fired his way when he didn't leave fast enough.

      The land was beautiful, but I was thankful to leave the area safely.  (They don't call it "Hazard" for nothing, apparently!)

      In contrast, the non-coal area of Kentucky that I was in (briefly) did not feel nearly so dangerous and isolated, although it was also poor.

      It's been a few years, but I suspect that not much has changed in many of those hollows.

  •  Jim Webb talked about Appalachia this morning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, greycat

    on Morning Joe.  He said that those are his people and he understands them.  He says it is NOT necessarily about racism but about a lack of understanding.  He said that there is COMMON GROUND with African-Americans and Appalachia people.

    Obama/Webb '08 or Obama/Kaine '08

    by Drdemocrat on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:05:47 AM PDT

    •  Well, he can help us understand why (3+ / 0-)

      2 out of 10 voters identified race as an issue for them in post-voting polling yesterday.  If 20% were honest enough to admit it, is it not reasonable to assume another 10 or 15% of the electorate felt similarly?

      I'm not into bashing the folks in Appalachia.  But if they can't see the Republicans offer them NOTHING, and Obama is truly a breath of fresh air, and they are clearly stating race is a problem for them, that adds up to my questioning their integrity.

      As for Jim Webb, he is a very smart and capable guy.  But I don't think he is being entirely frank here.

      Somewhere in Texas a Village is missing its Idiot.

      by RoddieH on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:09:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I actually think that perhaps these (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        people ARE just being honest when in other states other may NOT have listed "race" as a reason to vote because than they would see themselves as racists but in fact it may have been a reason.

        If 2 in 10 state race in Appalachia than let's look at the FLIP side which means 8 in 10 say it is NOT.

        Obama/Webb '08 or Obama/Kaine '08

        by Drdemocrat on Wed May 21, 2008 at 11:55:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think Obama could win RE election in Appalachia (0+ / 0-)

    Once he had his foot in the door and became a known quantity.

    In fact I have gone to a couple speeches by Jesse Jackson here in Charleston WV where a couple thousand people showed up to hear him speak.

  •  When a segment of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, greycat

    population, isolated in a mountainous area (isolated both topographically and culturally) still refers to strangers as furriners, flatlanders, city slickers, snobs, etc. there's not much hope for the immediate future.  When they say that college graduates have "too much book larnin'" and still call atheists and agnostics "communists," there's a problem.  When it's obvious that, as my daddy used to say when referring to farm animals, "it's too much kin to itself," there's a problem.

    I'm one of these people, and have lived here all my life.  Everything is subjective here.  Critical thought is not a common trait, even though it can happen.

    My aunts used to ridicule me by calling me "different" because of my love of animals and refusal to eat them, because I wanted to take piano lessons and go to college, because I never had children, because I loved classical music and hated honky tonk, because I made good grades in school, because I read Shakespeare, because because because.  I was rejected by my own gene pool, which is very stagnant and has been here for over 200 years.

    It's pretty simple.  We need new blood here.  Barring a huge paradigm shift in the next few months, there is no way the voters here will go for Obama.  He's different.  Which means deficient.    

    •  My husband has a similar story. (0+ / 0-)

      The main thing he learned in school was to hide his intelegence. He left Kentucky in his early 20s, though we did move back there for a while.
      One of Appalachias biggest exports has always been its young people. I think this explains some of the distrust of anyone who is different. The wider world lures the children away. If they come back they are never the same.

      •  True. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        third Party please

        My only sojourn out of here was for a few years in the 70s when I worked at Fort Campbell, which is not that far in distance, but light years away in cultural differences.  For the first time in my life I worked with Asians, blacks, Yankees, all kinds of people I had never seen or been around except in pictures or on tv.  When I moved back home, I was "differenter" than ever.  That brief escape saved my sanity.  The main thing I've had to deal with since then is my own intolerance of my own people.  Still working on it.

  •  Obama doesn't have an Appalchian problem... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    malharden, princss6

    Appalachia has a racist problem..or similar...was spoken last night on the MSNBC show about 10:45 CDT yesterday.

    Oh, and that Hillary-Bot who kept moving the goalposts, hillarious!

    Rachel Maddow was right on when she talked about the age issue with women and the primaries. They are finding sexism in things that most people under 60 don't see as sexism, and are running the risk of becoming the right wings stereotype of the "bitter feminist".

    I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

    by UndercoverRxer on Wed May 21, 2008 at 10:13:14 AM PDT

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