A Kennedy Democrat for Raese

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 18 2010 12:35 PM

A Kennedy Democrat for Raese

CLARKSBURG, W.V. -- Fred didn't want to give me his last name. "I don't want to get anyone angry," he said, as he sifted through $0.99 T-shirts at a K-Mart here. "Last time [in 2008] I had neighbors who told me they'd stop talking to me if I didn't support Obama." And he still didn't support Obama. "I'm very much against why he's done. The stimulus, the health care bill, the" --  he searched for the word -- "cap on trade, trade and cap? Cap and trade."

Fred, a retired schoolteacher, was a Democrat for most of his life, but he voted against Obama in 2008. "I say I voted for Palin, but I guess I voted for McCain," he said. He knows Gov. Joe Manchin's family and backed him in the past. "He ran as a conservative, but he's changed."


How had Manchin changed? Fred couldn't pinpoint it; it was just, he said, that Obama was wrecking the country and Manchin was basically going along with it. And this makes him exactly the sort of voter who's powering Republican John Raese's surge into contention in the U.S. Senate race. The case against the stimulus, said Fred, was that "there really weren't any shovel-ready jobs and Obama had admitted this." The case against cap-and-trade was simpler. "I think Obama's trying to dismantle the country," he said.

Fred said that he still considered himself a Democrat; he registered as a Republican just to vote in their primaries. He was a Democrat, he said, because he'd supported the Kennedys, especially Bobby Kennedy.  "Jack Kennedy was the last of the real, so-called Democrats," he said. I asked him what Obama was doing that was so far to the left of what the Great Society Democrats (Bobby, not Jack) had done. "It's just much more extreme," he explained. "I've always been against socialism and communism."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.