“They don’t identify with someone who has gone to Columbia and Harvard Law School and is married to a Princeton-Harvard Law graduate. His experience with an educated single mother and being raised by middle-class grandparents is not something they can empathize with. They may lack a formal higher education, but they’re not stupid.”
If these Clinton supporters don’t care about Obama’s vice presidential pick, or that he is pro-choice; if they have no interest in learning about his personal story, and can’t empathize with his white, working-class grandparents and his single white mother; why on earth would they be swayed by his assurances that he won’t leave them behind? What Ferraro is essentially saying is nothing can change their minds.
What many, but not all, of those white, working-class voters have said or implied, is that they can’t relate to a black man, period. I find it hard to believe that they would relate better to a less educated, poorer black man, much less vote for one.
And how is it that these same voters can relate to a candidate who went to Yale and Wellesley, who, with her Ivy-League-degree-having-husband earned $109 million last year? Surely her race has nothing to do with it.
Ferraro says these voters are not stupid. Indeed they’re not. Yet she attempts to patronize them by implying they can’t relate to well-educated people. Do they relate better to liars?
As for Michelle Obama and her dual-Ivy League-degree-having self, she has more in common with the white working-class than Clinton. Unlike Clinton, Michelle Obama doesn’t have to pretend to be a product of a working-class upbringing. She actually is.
Despite Clinton’s photo ops on the back of pick-up trucks and swigging beer with “regular people” in bars, her only working-class experience is the one in her imagination, the same imagination that led her to claim she dodged sniper fire in Bosnia.
Sen. Obama may have had an atypical upbringing, but it was far less privileged than Clinton’s.
To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with wealth and privilege, after all most Americans aspire to financial well-being. There is something very wrong with trying to paint people who have worked hard for their achievements as elitist and out of touch. What’s elitist is feeling entitled to the presidency and looking down on those who would deign to challenge what you see as your birthright.
What I’m wondering is how Ferraro explains the millions of white voters who have lined up behind Obama’s candidacy. How is it that they can somehow “relate” to him and are not bumping up against the same mental barriers as the people who flocked to Ferraro to express their “common sentiment.” The same people Ferraro purports to speak for and represent?