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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Obama vs. Clinton: Ground Zero

Fort Wayne, Indiana has become ground zero for the Democratic nomination fight. I've already been called by an Obama representative, or at least my wife has (I answered for her; she's registered as an independent). The news is abuzz with rallies for Hillary at the park, or Obama at a local school, or Bill the Thrill at the convention center. Even the kids are excited about it.

I teach a bunch of fourth graders who are well aware of the candidates. They seem about as well informed as most of the adults. To them (and, I'm guessing, their parents) the question is: Do we want to elect the first woman or the first black man as president? Those students who mention policy say they don't want either to win because they'll raise taxes.

That statement shows the true color of Fort Wayne better than any. This is a heavily Republican town in a very Republican state. Sure, there are pockets of Democrats, mostly centered around downtown and the local college, but the vast majority here is conservative. Clinton, as I've written previously, couldn't even get one "Honk for Hillary" at the most crowded stoplight in town. Sure, the convention center is jammed when Bill comes to speak, but that's only because every liberal in the surrounding counties (including parts of Ohio) comes to see him. The rest of us just sigh and go on with our lives.

Frankly, most Hoosiers have lost interest, and I expect that voter turnout among Republicans will be quite low on May 6. I'm already hearing radio ads chiding Republicans to come to vote for local candidates even if they don't care to vote for our presidential nominee. Myself, I'm still going to vote for Romney, just like I voted for Alan Keyes three times in the past, without any hope of winning. I always vote for whomever I think is the best candidate, regardless of his chances of winning.

I think, in fact, it will be surprising just how many of us have that same mentality here. Indiana is used to having little or no say in the nomination process, but people still vote their conscience more often than not. Romney is fairly popular here, his faith notwithstanding. Mormons, after all, may be misunderstood as a group, but most people I know respect them as fellow-Christians. Had a certain "dirty trick" not occurred early on in the nomination process, a trick which kept Huckabee in the race so long that he even had to make fun of himself on Saturday Night Live over it, I'm quite certain Romney would have been the nominee. Oh well... Water under the bridge, as they say.

Still, the level of excitement over the role Indiana is finally getting to play is quite palpable, if limited to one side of the aisle. Operation Chaos (Rush Limbaugh's little gambit) is in full swing here, with Democrat operatives desperately trying to thwart any Republican sway in their nomination. Meanwhile, thanks to their invalidation of the Democrat vote in Florida, all of the liberals there who wanted their votes to count went for McCain, turning the tide in his favor.
(I wonder if that was a calculated move on the DNC's part.) Turnabout is fair play, unless it's Republicans turning the tables on Democrats.

1 comment:

  1. After all is said and done with the voting, it couldn't be much more interesting! Even though I am a Republican, I am watching to see how these two candidates handle themselves in this situation. Will they resort to mud slinging or will they try to maintain an attitude of fair play? It will say alot about their makeup. I love your comments and find them most enlightening - keep writing!!! Signed - Enjoying from the West Coast!

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