Because of some of the reading and other research I’m doing lately, I’ve been trying to understand politics as less of a rational, more of an emotional/psychological thing. The Obama-Clinton contest has been a good topic to pursue that possibility, since they agree on most policy issues and seem to inspire strong emotional positives and negatives in many voters.
So, during the couple of hours between the opening of the Xcel Center last night and the big Barack Obama I-can-now-say-that-I-will-be-the-nominee speech, I sat down next to various members of the audience and asked why they were for Obama.
My favorite such interview was with Michele Genereux of the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul. Genereux is a politically savvy, well-read woman of 60. I started the conversation noting that white women over 40 were supposed to be a stronghold of Hillary Clinton’s. So I asked Generux why she supports Obama. The answers included, in rapid succession, with me saying nothing and just scribbling down the reasons:
“I don’t say that I’m head over heels for him. But I’m sure not going to vote for John McCain.”
“I can’t write in Eugene McCarthy anymore, because he’s dead.”
“I don’t like the Clintons. I think Hillary Clinton is a very mean woman.” The explanation of this impression made reference to “travelgate,” which involved the decision of President and Mrs. Clinton to fire the travel office that they inherited when they took over the White House.
“I think he [Obama] is honest. He’s not connected with as many of the people already in politics” so it seems more possible that he will not turn out to be corrupt.
“He seems like a happy person. I think we do better with a happy person.”
“I love the way his wife dresses his children.”
Evolution of a candidate
Analysis by G.R. Anderson Jr.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday in St. Paul, like much of his campaign, had an authoritative and historical ring to it. The candidate changed and survived in the six months since Iowa.
Clinton supporters wowed with warm reception at Obama rally
By Doug Grow
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Sad but resigned, key supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton joined the thousands on hand to celebrate Sen. Barack Obama’s historic night. They came away impressed with the outreach and kindness Obama and his backers offered. For many, the healing process had begun.
How did the national media cover St. Paul last night?
By David Brauer
Primary night speeches: