The Times of London ponders the lessons Obama needs to learn from Deer Hunting With Jesus by Joe Bageant, a redneck socialist, about the hardscrabble redneck town where he grew up and lives today.
It’s partly a scathing portrait of a small Virginia town divided by money, class and race; mostly it’s a lovesick and frequently hilarious rant about the poor, hopeless working-class Americans who “stay dumb and drink beer and vote Republican because no real liberal voice, the kind that speaks the rock-bottom, undeniable truth, ever enters their lives”.
Recent polls show Obama is doing surprisingly well with working class whites, who used to be, and still could be, the natural constituency of the Democratic Party. But the Democrats need to a) listen to rather than ignoring or insulting them, b) shut up about guns because rifles in the country are way different from handguns in the city, and c) demonstrate that a Democratic plan will genuinely make their lives better.
For more, check my review of the book from July 2007.
Joe Bageant website.