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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, March 16, 2012

This time they mean it?

While the battle of the Republican base rages on, the unanswered question is: what about Barack Obama's base?

Pundits have long suggested the flames have been ebbing on the passion that drove Obama to victory in 2008. That fear may have recessed a bit as the Tea Party, libertarian and traditional wings of the GOP tear each other to shreds, but Conventional Wisdom suggests all wounds will heal in a common desire to oust the president.

A key element of the Obama base has undoubtedly been motivated by the GOP's attack on contraception. But what about a major piece of that foundation-- labor?

In years past, the support of Big Labor -- contributions, campaign workers -- has been touted as a solid foundation of any Democratic push. The reality is not quote as clear as blue collar men and women are more likely to answer the GOP's "values" siren call.

Is this year different? Vice President Joe Biden has been widely credited with a pithy, succinct description of the campaign's theme:
"Osama bin Laden is dead,” Biden said, “and General Motors is alive.”
Certainly the across-the-board hostility of the GOP candidates, particularly the son of an automobile industry executive -- may make things dicier for Republicans in key battleground states like Ohio and Michigan. So too may Romney's description of union leaders as "stooges."

But the forgotten factor, at least for now, has been the GOP assault on collective bargaining rights, exemplified by the battles in Wisconsin and Ohio, Equally forgotten is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is now facing recall and Ohio voters tossed out that state's legislatively imposed rights stripping.

The working class vote turning out in the GOP primaries and caucuses has likely been long lost to Democrats, driven more by social issues than paycheck ones. But those labor "stooges" are likely to have far greater success this time around motivating not just money and infrastructure but actual voters to cast Democratic ballots this time around.

That puts two highly motivated groups into Obama's column if and when the GOP reunites.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wondering and don't jump all over me about being racist, despicable and all that. I have wondered how many voters in the last election were swayed to vote for Obama because he was the first black candidate. They might be middle of the roaders fiscally conservative, socially liberal. But they wanted to be able to tell their grandchildren they voted that way, way back in 2008 (in post racial times which should be around 2050). I've always put the figure at 5%, but have never seen anyone even dare to ask the question. Just curious and I'm sure some voted for Barack only because he's black, just as some only voted for Mcain because he was white.

March 16, 2012 9:27 AM  

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