Alex Massie

Obama’s Hillbilly Problem

Obama's Hillbilly Problem
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Via Ross, this map demonstrates the extent to which Obama has been crushed in Appalachia. The Redneck Arc shows the counties in which Hillary Clinton won more than 65% of the vote. When the final tallies from West Virginia and Kentucky are included, the areas currently white will be coloured pink too. As Ross says, this would seem to support the idea of a Vice-Presidential pick such as, say, Senator Jim Webb. I refer you to this post for more on why this might be a good idea.


In summary: "Webb's appeal as a running-mate is greater than that and greater too than the prospect of his being able to compensate, to some extent anyway, for John McCain's appeal to working-class white men. It's not hard to imagine Webb helping the ticket in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, to say nothing of the benefits his populism could potentially have in states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio. He may, in fact, be just the sort of culturally conservative Democrat Obama needs to balance his ticket."

Putting Webb on the ticket might send a reassuring signal to these voters. Sure, Obama wants to expand the battleground south and west, to Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico (states which will increase in importance in years to come as the rust and Redneck belts continue to decline in population and, consequently, electoral significance), but a Vice-President Webb would, as I've argued, be an effective partner for Obama's "Unity Ticket" - more effective and more plausible, I hazard, than an unconvincing - and unwelcome - shotgun marriage with Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE: Webb has a new book out! What fortuitous timing...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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