Anderson Cooper on CNN Tuesday night falsely claimed the public must not view Reverend Wright negatively, as a Democrat named Travis Childers in Mississippi’s third Congressional district managed to win a special election in which he was tied by the Republicans to Barack Obama’s radical mentor and pastor.
Cooper referred to this advertisement:
The commercial is vacuous, for it fails to establish a viable connection between Travis Childers and Barack Obama. Moreover, the opposition researchers of the Republican opponent neglected to cite specific actions or statements of Childers that may bespeak a commitment to the values Barack Obama upholds.
The advertisement did have an effect, however. Indeed, it elicited a response from Childers, who most probably cut the commercial as a result of polling data that revealed Obama was a liability in his northern Mississippi Congressional district.
Notice how Childers speaks directly into a camera that slowly zooms in to capture a frontal portrait of his bust. Also notice the setting: his kitchen, which affords a view of a barn. Authenticity and credibility had to be established with voters in the wake of the connection to Obama and Wright, and this would only be achieved with a narrative articulated within the confessional mode in a sequence that is unedited and captured in one long take. Obama and Wright, in other words, created a problem of trust for this candidate, who had to spend precious funds on a commercial in which he separated himself from the cause of his slip in the polls.
But notice how Childers does not mention the cause; he only mentions “politicians I do not know and have never met.” He had to separate himself from Obama, but he did not want to remind his constituents of any relation he may have with the man to which he was tied. He certainly did not want to remind them of Wright, who he avoided altogether in this commercial. Wright must have been too controversial a topic to broach in a region where the Southern Baptist Convention reigns supreme.
Also notice how he had to reiterate his pro-life and pro-gun stance. His political affiliation with Obama, who disparaged rural voters as so many xenophobes who “cling” to guns and religion, required him to assure voters that he did indeed share their rural values. This may also explain the setting of the commercial. But again, his affiliation with Obama and with Reverend Wright’s God Damn America Church compelled voters to question his commitment to rural Mississippi values: hence why he and his operatives cut this commercial.
Yes, Childers did win, but he only won by separating himself from Obama and Reverend Wright. One should also keep in mind that the DCCC outspent their Republican counterparts almost 2 to 1 during this special election. Will Childers and other Democrats in conservative districts have such lavish funding in November? Can they rely on low turnout during a Presidential year? Will they survive the large number of Republicans and conservative Democrats who will arrive to the polls in order to vote against a Presidential candidate who not only made derisive comments about guns and religion but also attended the God Damn America church for twenty years?
Childers had to distance himself from Barack Obama in order to win the special election in northern Mississippi. And Republicans knew they could complicate his bid for Congress with a commercial that highlighted his shared Party affiliation with Obama and Reverend Wright. Campaigns that are funded conduct polls, and they cut their advertisements accordingly.
But do candidates running for the US House and the Senate desire to confess to the camera that they are the people they claim to be? Do Democrats running for the House and the Senate desire to reiterate again and again their commitment to guns and religion and other aspects of rural life during a competitive reelection bid? Do Democrats running for Congress desire to spend precious funds on commercials that ultimately remind voters that their political Party has embraced an inner city elitist who is woefully out of touch with voters in rural and suburban America?
Barack Obama is a liability for Democrats. Everyone can cite the victories in recent special elections as evidence to the contrary, but candidates for Congress do not cut advertisements wherein they are confessing to the camera unless the standard bearer of the party is someone who throws their credibility into question.
Did I mention that Clinton won West Virginia by a 41 point margin? And did I mention that more than half of West Virginia Democrats view Obama as untrustworthy? 52% of West Virginia Democrats also believe Obama shares the views of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the controversial pastor whose God Damn America Church Obama attended for 20 years. Clinton wins these voters; Obama cannot and did not. And he certainly will not win the votes of rural Independents and Republicans if rural Democrats find him radical and untrustworthy.
Clinton can provide coattails to Democrats running in rural and conservative districts. Obama, on the other hand, will force these candidates to spend money on advertisements and mailers that establish their credibility with voters who own guns and practice religion. If superdelegates hope win the White House and increase Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate, they will cast their votes for Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, who is yet to win a primary in one of the swing state states we must win in November.