Pennsylbama

Not sure how I missed this:

“You’ve got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate,”

That would be Ed Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania. Tony Norman, the post-gazette columnist reporting the quote asked:

I know I have a habit of sometimes zoning out in these meetings, but it sounded to me like Mr. Rendell had unilaterally declared Pennsylvania to be Alabama circa 1963. Was he suggesting that Pennsylvanians are uniquely racist in ways that folks in the states Mr. Obama has won so far aren’t? By the way, Mr. Obama won Alabama on Super Tuesday, thank you very much!

Well, Pennsylvania has been rather famously described as Pittsburgh and Philly, with Alabama in the middle. If you come up from Maryland and drive along the turnpike to Pittsburgh, you’ll see several anti-abortion billboards–the kind with a bit of blood visible behind a “CENSORED” stamp. I like to call our state “Pennsylbama.”

That said, I doubt the issue in Pennsylvania has much to do with race.  Rather, I’d suspect that the high proportion of blue-collar workers, along with Western Pennsylvania’s roots in the industrial sector would explain any advantage she has here (I’m a little unsure of that last factor–how much does it matter that we used to have steel here, if we don’t now?).  Rhetorically, Obama is the candidate of hope, but no one feels hope in Pittsburgh (especially not during the winter).

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