The other night, a black man asked Barack Obama a question. He said, “I voted for you in 2008, but I’m not optimistic. What have you done to earn my vote?” This was two red flags for Obama. First, it came from a 2008 supporter who is presumably a registered Democrat who has moved to undecided, and it came from a black man who is a member of a voting bloc Obama shouldn’t have to worry about –right?
This was a dangerous “ dog whistle” to other African-Americans that it is okay to doubt Obama and even okay to say so out loud in front of millions of people.
A new Gallup poll shows that enough blacks have already moved from “solid Obama” to “undecided” to be a problem for Obama.
Obama dropped the ball with that man. Instead of addressing the question of how he IS NOT better off now, Obama launched into a pre-rehearsed litany of “achievements” that were supposed to make the man say “Yeah, Obama killed Osama and cracked down on Wall Street. I feel much better now; I’m on board, brother!” Few observers this side of MSNBC think that is what really happened.
Forget the man’s race; Obama’s “non-answer answer” could not have made many other “undecided” voters happy either. CNN of course found that Obama had won, but its internal data shows Romney with a commanding 56/40 lead on who will handle the economy better. The number ballooned to 65/34 in Romney’s favor in CBS’ poll. The economy IS the issue of this race, whether the media acknowledges that or not. Rank-and-file Democrats heard that “dog whistle.”
Another “dog whistle” was Mitt Romney’s reference to Fast and Furious. This may still be a mystery to many Americans, but it is a very troubling episode for Hispanic voters. Univison, the Spanish-language television network, has done some very strong pieces explaining the responsibility AG Eric Holder and (by extension) Obama share for the torrent of deadly assault weapons that the Fast and Furious debacle delivered to Mexican drug gangs, who in turn killed hundreds of innocent people. It is very likely that Hispanic voters heard that “whistle.” A Florida poll has Romney actually leading with Hispanics 46/44.
Photo Credit: Geoff Livingston (Creative Commons)
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