Oklahomans on the Couch

Denver Nicks, of The Daily Beast, explains Oklahomans’ general dislike of Obama:

President Obama is from many places, including one (Indonesia) outside of the United States. He is a living mosaic who neither looks nor speaks like any president this country has ever seen, and represents a cosmopolitan, ultra-modern worldview that is, whether he likes it or not, in direct opposition to the essence of social conservatism.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Oklahomans on the Couch

  1. Jared says:

    I was surprised to see that Obama did not have more support in Oklahoma. I do not deny that social conservatives went for McCain, but my own experience on the ground was quite different. What I heard consistenly around here was “Obama is a far-left socialist–do you really want to pay higher taxes for a bigger government?” In short, the loudest voices I heard opposing Obama were the Joe-the-plumber types, not the Rick Warren types.

    My impression is that the failure of Obama to gain more support in Oklahoma was a leftover sentiment from the democratic primaries, where Hillary won Oklahoma with the message “Obama is far left and Hillary is the sensible moderate.” I think that message stuck. That was my experience in middle America, for what it is worth.

  2. santitafarella says:

    Jared,

    I think that your Joe-the-Plumber types v. Rick Warren types is interesting, but I suspect that when a stranger—or only casual acquaintance—asks you for the reason you are not voting for somebody that you will tend to give your least controversial reason first.

    In other words, you may have a list that looks like this (from least controversial to more controversial): (1) I don’t want higher taxes; (2) Obama is a socialist; (3) Obama supports gay rights; (4) Obama is black, and will give my tax money to blacks.

    You’re likely to say the first two things to a stranger, but THINK the other two things, and say it to your spouse (but nobody else).

    I’m just questioning, in other words, how easy it is to get an honest answer from a “social conservative” talked to on the street.

    And I also wonder how Joe-the-Plumber gets removed from social conservatism—and is treated as merely an economic libertarian. It’s Joe-the-Plumber who tends to sympathize with orthodox religion (even if he may not be a regular “born again” attendee). He will tend to have a very clear definition of “normal” that accords with traditional religion, and excludes gay people, blacks, urban liberals etc. as not “real Americans.”

    He’ll also tend to have an authoritarian’s admiration for military shows of force, and be suspicious of the media when it reports on war (as Joe-the-Plumber displayed in his own recent “reporting” from Israel recently).

    Just some thoughts. Not trying to get in a big argument.

    —Santi

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