Sunday, September 7, 2008

Why McCain May Have Won The Battle And Lost The War For Working Class Women

From today's LA Times:

UNIONTOWN, PA. -- Trish Heckman, a 49-year-old restaurant cook and disappointed Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter, watched last week as the country's newest political star made her explosive debut.

She followed the news when John McCain introduced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, paid attention to the raging debate over her qualifications, even tuned in to watch her dramatic speech at the Republican convention.

But when it came down to an issue Heckman really cares about -- sending a daughter to college on $10.50 an hour -- her desire to see a woman reach the White House took a back seat to her depleted savings account.

"I wanted Hillary to win so bad, but I saw Sarah, and it just didn't work for me," said Heckman, taking a break in the empty courtyard of J. Paul's restaurant in a downtown struggling to revive. "I have no retirement. Obama understands it's the economy. He knows how we live."


When Palin belittled Obama's history as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side -- suggesting he was a do-little activist while she, as the former mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska, had "actual responsibilities" -- Sandy Ryan, 59, clicked the remote.

"That's enough of that. I switched over to 'House Hunters,' " she said with some disgust over dessert with a group of women from the senior housing complex she manages.

One of a dwindling number of coveted undecideds, Ryan gets a firsthand view of retirees forced to choose between food and medication. She is not convinced Obama has the experience to be president, but Palin only reinforced her concern that McCain would mean four more years of divisiveness and gridlock.


If these women are any indication, the threat to Obama's camp is not that they will side with McCain but that they will stay home..........

But those disenchanted voters could be balanced by newly inspired ones, such as Jennifer Glisan, 23, an emergency medical technician who saves lives every week but cannot afford health insurance. Clinton's gender was enough to awaken her political interest, but Palin's failed to hold it.

"I think Palin is a fake. She will run the economy into the ground," Glisan said after catching glimpses of the vice presidential nominee's speech between emergency calls.
"I have to kill myself every day at work to earn enough to pay for gas to get there. I think Obama is sincere. I think we need a change."


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