May 24, 2012

THE SPIRIT OF '68:

Tar Trap? Charlotte Convention Could Backfire for Obama (Matt Taylor May 23, 2012, Daily Beast)

[W]hile polls show Barack Obama and Mitt Romney neck-and-neck in the state, the president's choice to hold the convention there could come back to haunt him, given the convergence of angry labor unions, an unfortunately named venue, embarrassing local political scandals, Occupy Wall Street protesters, and the voters' decision this year to pass a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions.

Democrats will be deciding whether or not to add a party plank in line with Obama's personal declaration in support of gay marriage, which came just days after North Carolinians voted overwhelmingly against it. That vote led more than 30,000 people to quickly sign a petition from a New York-based marriage-equality group to move the convention elsewhere, though timing and logistics alone render that functionally impossible.

The president might be able to contain any bleeding of Southern white support in the wake of his move on gay marriage with aggressive populist rhetoric that makes the Democratic Party's base fire on all cylinders, said Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, a strategist who has helped Democrats like John Edwards and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner hone their cultural appeals to rural Southerners.

"If Obama can strategically place himself as the anti-Wall Street candidate, then that far exceeds the gay question," said Saunders.

But the economic backdrop is far from ideal for the president looking to sell voters on the Obama recovery. North Carolina's unemployment rate has persistently been above the national average, at 9.4 percent last month, and Charlotte is the world headquarters of Bank of America, a bailed-out megabank so closely associated with the financial collapse of 2008 that Occupy Wall Street has devoted a campaign specifically to breaking it up. Protesters will be on the streets of Charlotte taking aim at the bank even as President Obama delivers his acceptance speech--at Bank of America Stadium. And labor unions are fuming that the convention is being held in a so-called right-to-work state (where union membership or dues cannot be required for employment).

Posted by at May 24, 2012 5:45 AM
  

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