by Frank Schnittger
Sun Oct 19th, 2008 at 06:16:32 PM EST
Has there been a finer endorsement of Obama by anyone - never mind by a Republican?
And again outside the studio.
Obama's campaign has been showing signs of wobbling. The blow-out we saw a week ago has temporarily blown-out. This well-timed endorsement, combined with the record $150Million Obama raised in September should help to steady the ship.
Obama's lead in the national polls which peaked at an average of 8-9% has fallen back to 5-6%, although this decline has yet to manifest itself in the crucial state-by-state polls which will determine the actual composition of the electoral college. The evidence is that this decline started before the debate, but I haven't seen a convincing explanation of why this should be.
Obama won the last debate, the McCain campaign has persisted in its divisive negative tactics, and even their invocation of "Joe the Plumber" has backfired spectacularly. (Joe, it turns out isn't called Joe, isn't a qualified plumber, is delinquent in his taxes, didn't have plans to take over his boss' business, and would have to pay less under Obama's tax plan if he did).
The new McCain campaign tactic is to paint Obama as "Socialist" for his "I would like to spread the wealth" comment to Joe the Plumber. As Powell argued, is rebalancing taxes really such an un-American idea? However as ManfromMiddletown has pointed out, Obama may be having difficulty connecting to white working class manual or blue collar workers who formed an essential part of the Reagan coalition. This isn't just about racism, but genuine cultural differences between blue collar and white collar America.
I characterised this as follows in the comments to ManfromMiddletown's diary: "The Democrats want to make working class blue collar workers middle class (white collar) like themselves. The Republicans know they need servants and plumbers and mechanics to fix the car, and so they pretend to laud them because they don't want them to become like themselves, they want them to stay being servants, plumbers and mechanics.
The Dems have got to become the party of choice - yes we value you as servants, plumbers etc., if that is what you want to be - but we will also support you if you want to become something else. But it is your choice - not our ideology, values or snobbery which determines whether you should try to be something else.
But there is also something else happening. "The West" has given up on being competitive for manufactured goods in a globalised economy because it cannot compete with Chinese wage rates. Thus, out of economic necessity, there has been a flight (upmarket, or up the economic food chain in the value-laden jargon) from blue collar to white collar jobs - with blue collar workers seen as dead-enders who will never compete with the Chinese.
However, now, Globalisation has moved into a new phase with even white collar clerical, accountancy, administration and many other jobs being outsourced to India etc. - so that, finally, globalisation has become a middle class issue as well - which can lead to a new blue/white collar alliance.
With capital now fleeing the USA for more profitable havens there is the basis for a broadly based, nationalist alliance against global capital. However it has a lot of cultural/ethnic/class barriers to overcome before it can be a reality on the ground. Perhaps that is part of the dynamic which is driving Obama forward - a determination to overcome racial, class and cultural divisions which is preventing Americans from uniting in the face of an unprecedented challenge from Global capitalism - which has used the "free market" refrain to exit the USA for more profitable pastures abroad.
Global Capital, if this argument is correct, badly needs McCain to succeed in his "divide and conquer" tactics - re-echoed by Palin praising small town America as the true patriotic and real America in contrast to more anti-American urban areas. Michelle Bachmann has sought to make this division explicit:
Help me out here guys. Is the McCain campaign really proposing to go back to the McCarthy era? Is one half of America really going to try to brand the other half as anti-American? If this is the direction the McCain campaign proposes to take I could see the blow-out re-igniting and becoming an Obama victory of almost Reaganite proportions.
But to get back to the Powell endorsement, Pat Buchanan has just accused Powell of endorsing Obama because he is black. Has anyone accused Lieberman of endorsing McCain because he is white? Racism only works one way, apparently.