Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beaver County Above The Fold

The unsettled presidential leanings of Beaver County, Pennsylvania (one-time campaign stomping grounds of yours truly), were featured in a story above the fold on the front page of today's New York Times. In fact, the story's dateline is Raccoon Township.

From Michael Powell's report:

To roam the rural reaches of western Pennsylvania, through largely white working-class counties, is to understand the breadth of the challenge facing the two presidential candidates. But this economically ravaged region, once so solidly Democratic, poses a particular hurdle for Senator Obama.

From the desolation of Aliquippa — where the Jones & Laughlin steel mill loomed at the foot of the main boulevard — to the fading beauty of Beaver Falls to the neatly tended homes of retired steel workers in Hopewell, one hears much hesitating talk about Mr. Obama, some simply quizzical or skeptically political, and some not-so-subtly racial.

Powell closed with this gem of a quote:

Nationally, the Obama campaign shies from talk of race, preferring to argue that the poor economy will dominate this election. Such delicacy holds no purchase here. An organizer with the United Steelworkers met with 30 workers in Beaver. He could not have been blunter. Mr. Obama, he told them, stands for national health care, strong unions and preserving Social Security.

“Some of you won’t vote for him because he’s black,” the organizer concluded. “Well, he’s a Democrat. Get over it.”

The photo above is credited to David Ahntholz for The New York Times. His caption: Ivan Stickles talked of false rumors that Barack Obama did not shake hands with troops in Afghanistan, “I don’t have the time to check out if it’s true, but if it is, it’s very offensive.”


Scott E. Crawford said...

Obama might be hurt by the corruption scandals that have plagued the Pennsylvania state democrats. There may be a lower Democratic turnout here in Beaver county, but I don't see a Republican competing here for a long, long time, unfortunately...

Stacy said...

Paul - Excellent article. It does a good job of describing the attitude here. I had tax collector office hours yesterday, and no one seemed to know who they were gong to vote for in the Presidential election. I was amazed. Obama's choice for VP didn't help folks make up their minds. We'll see who McCain selects. Take care. Stacy Dunks Zeno