Barack Obama doesn't quite get it. The voter he has the hardest time reaching is the white man in the blue-collar. Now, I see why.
On the third night of the Republican National Convention, Romney, Guiliani, - and especially Sarah Palin - gave Obama a good old fashioned political lashing. At a campaign stop in Pennsylvania the following day, a man stood up and asked Obama how he would respond. Basically, Obama told the guy, "I won't." The man appeared disappointed.
Over the next 50 days, Barack Obama will be campaigning in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, and yes, Pennsylvania again, looking to connect with that same breed of man - the one who asked, "What are you going to do about it?" That man is blue collar America. He doesn't care about college degrees and bestsellers. He wants to know, "Are you going to hit them back?"
There is something primal about a man who regards a willingness to fight as the hole card that stands between him and eternity. It defines him like nothing else. He is secure there. For that man, fancy adds will not do.
I grew up in Woodland Park, Michigan, a small African-American enclave in Newaygo County. Woodland Park is banked on three sides by white communities; at is back, M-37. One of those communities, Walkerville, is just west of "the Park."
Most of the men of Walkerville were farmers back when I was coming up, and baseball players, and fighters. They were good men, tough men. And though it was during the 50's and the 60's, when race relations were tenuous nationwide, the men of Walkerville respected the men of Woodland Park because the men of Woodland Park would fight.
Chances are that most of the men of Walkerville are leaning toward John McCain in this election. I didn't know that for certain yesterday. But after seeing Obama turn the other cheek, I'm pretty sure today.