Thursday, July 01, 2004

Bust that faux rural image, please

For more on the rural voters and West Virginia, we were just about to blog about this nice article, when nevsky pointed out that it's at The Smirking Chimp, even better cuz it comes with comments.

They think rural voters, the key to Dubya's win last time, aren't so sure of Dubya. And why? Something along the lines of Iraq, Iraq, and Iraq.

We bring attention to a notable discussion on images at the end:
In Moorefield, as in much of small-town USA, McDonald's has replaced local Chat 'n Chews as the place where locals chat and chew. Recently, Pauline Funkhouser and Joyce Wolfe, both retired, were in for coffee after a morning of church work.

Funkhouser typifies Rove's picture of the rural voter. She offers no specifics in explaining her unwavering support for Bush, talking in personal terms about a man she has never met.

"I like him as a person, really," she said. "He is down to earth. I think he would fit in right here with us today. If he came in and sat down there, we could talk about things."

Mark McKinnon, Bush's media strategist, likes to talk about an "instinctive attraction" for residents in rural America. It's an asset McKinnon believes will be magnified in the race against Kerry.

"It was true with Gore. It's more true with Kerry. People see Kerry as a big-city, Northeastern senator who has no clue about rural voters," McKinnon said, noting results from a recent focus group convened by the campaign.

"We asked voters, 'How many of you can imagine George Bush filling up his own car at the gas station?' Half the respondents said they could see that happen. We asked the same about Kerry. Not a single person thought they could see John Kerry filling up his car," McKinnon said.

"That tells you people think he is elite, aloof and arrogant, and George W. Bush is more of a Bubba. Rural likes Bubba."
Which leads me to think that any Kerry strategist who can follow up on this ought to be designated a genius. Please, oh please, pretty please. Bust that image of Dubya filling up his own car because he ain't no bubba. This is the guy who doesn't like to walk on ground, brings his own crew of chefs when he travels, and can't cope with questions from real journalists. Either that or even better, Kerry can define his image on his own terms. In the meantime, Kerry can coast cuz he's got F911 out there clearing the path for him.