Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Keen Tactics

There's an interesting analysis in the usually perfunctorial The Atlantic today:

A National Journal analysis of recent polling results across 11 states considered battlegrounds shows that in most of them, Obama is running considerably better than he is nationally among white women without a college education. Obama's gains with these so-called "waitress moms" are especially pronounced in Heartland battlegrounds like Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Combined with his continued support among other elements of his "coalition of the ascendant," including young people, minorities, and college-educated women, these advances among blue-collar women have been enough to propel Obama to the lead over Republican Mitt Romney in the most recent public surveys in all 11 states (albeit in some cases within the polls' margins of error).

Democrats say blue-collar women have been the principal, and most receptive, target for their extended ad barrage portraying Romney as a plutocrat who is blind, if not indifferent, to the struggles of average families.

These "waitress moms" have voted Republican in every election since 1980. Except 1996.

Mitt Romney is the ideal candidate to alienate them completely, if you think about it, and nearly every substantive misstep he's made has alienated them further.

For instance, choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate. Now, normally blue-collar workers believe in balancing the budget. Indeed, it is to them that the whole "sitting at your kitchen table, trying to balance your checkbook" trope is directed ("If you can do it, so should the government," conveniently ignoring the fact that the wife/husband/single parent doesn't have to support corn farmers and oil companies and two wars.)

These are the values voters, the people who believe in Jesus and the Bible and who overlap with people who believe them even more than an addict believes in his next fix.

But Ryan has full-throated talked about cutting Social Security and Medicare: these are the very programs that waitress-moms have been paying into for decades because they have to and because they don't earn enough to sock away in an offshore account for retirement.

Faux pas number two -- if you're running for President for a total of 7 years, you might want to think about cleaning up your ledger a bit. That includes the dancing horse, which oddly does not appear on the 2011 Romney return: Faux pas #3.

But I digress...

When you threaten a person's planning, you can expect blowback. It doesn't matter if you buy the car off the lot they were eyeing (in which case the blowback is as mild as a muttered curse) or take away the tens of thousands of dollars they sock away for 50 years hoping to live off at retirement, there's going to be some reaction.

Many of these waitress moms, most of them actually, make less than the median $50,000 a year for a family of four. That means they struggle, sometimes they need help, or they at least know someone who occasionally needs a hot meal and help paying the heating bill.

You know, the 47%? So that tape did Romney no good with this group, either. It may have been red meat to his constituency, but his other supporters heard that, and I'm thinking a goodly number cemented their opinion of Romney.

That's pretty much four strikes, although Rafalca might be just a foul tip, since many of these moms either have had a horse under them at some point, or have neighbors who own.
So no matter what, these voters are lost to Mitt and no amount of "zingers" in the debates is going to turn the tide.
Add to that the entire backdrop of Republican attacks on Planned Parenthood and birth control covered by insurance, and women are pretty angry.
I can't imagine why they'd take it out on the guy who is most emblematic of their issues.