Obama Writing off Ohio, and white working class voters

Fresh off the heels of denials by Obama’s operatives that they are writing off white working class voters, there is new evidence that they have in fact given up keeping this key demographic in their election day coalition—at least in one crucial swing state.

Background: Over the Thanksgiving holiday NYT reporter Thomas Edsall caused a stir when he wrote of the Obama reelection strategy…”All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up of… voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment— professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.”

And say Times reporters Jack Calmes and Mark Landler “Obama plans to deal with the decline in white working class support in Rust Belt states by concentrating on states with high percentages of college educated voters in Colorado, Virginia and New Hampshire.”

Obama’s men have denied giving up on white working class voters. Yet it does appear that Edsall is right, judging by the stunt Obama has pulled in Ohio.

The Department of Agriculture recently suspended the auction of leases for gas and oil drilling on 3,000 acres of federal land in Ohio in order to “study the effects of drilling on forest land.” (Trees) Never mind that the Wayne National Forest is already the host of 1200+ oil and gas wells now in operation. Never mind that the once dead steel industry planned to hire new workers to supply the steel needed for the now suspended drilling operations in Utica Shale. By one estimate, the administration just whacked 200,000 jobs, as in white working class private sector jobs.

Meanwhile, TransCanada is exploring ways to ship its tar sands oil to China, now that Obama has said no to allowing the construction of a pipeline to ship the oil to the Gulf Coast, another move that will cost thousands of white working class jobs and billions of new private sector investment.

I ran into Pat Caddell last week in New York, who told me he plans to soon pen an article on Obama’s strange reelection strategy of kissing off the  working class. Indeed, it does seem strange that a democrat who keeps wailing for Congress to pass a jobs bill would deprive American workers a paycheck in order to appease the tony Hollywood green beans and tweed jacketed professors who hug trees and nightly gather around solar cells to sip scotch and pontificate about a fossil fuel free world.

I suspect those newly unemployed steel, oil and gas workers in Ohio will have something to say about that next year.

And I also suspect that Obama just insured that Ohio will be an important Republican target in 2012.

There is a lesson of course, for candidates running for public office. Watch how your opponent responds to the pressure from interest groups in his own party (in Obama’s case—environmentalists versus jobless workers). Never hesitate to take advantage of an opening your opponent might leave you.

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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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