Verner column: Obama needs to reach out — way, way out
By Chris Verner
After poring over reams of exit polls and studying the entrails of a ritualistically sacrificed superdelegate, I can finally reveal the real reason that Sen. Barack Obama has trouble connecting with white, working-class, rural voters.
He doesn’t talk enough about flying saucers.
If Obama hopes to shed his elitist image and connect with mainstream America, he needs to make the government coverup of UFO visitations a major talking point. This is the main reason he got clobbered in Kentucky and West Virginia. While Obama polled well among upper-income, urban residents, Hillary Clinton totally dominated the alien abduction demographic. And make no mistake: This is a formidable voting bloc.
In 1997, a CNN/Time poll found that 80 percent of Americans think the government is hiding knowledge about extraterrestrial life forms. More recently, a 2003 Fox News poll found that 34 percent of Americans believe in UFOs, and 11 percent “aren’t sure” ó probably because their thought waves have been disrupted by remote brain scans being conducted by Pleiadian starships. In fact, Ronald Reagan owes his 1984 re-election in large part to the millions of Americans who realized that Reagan’s “Star Wars” defense initiative ó ostensibly conceived to shield us against nuclear ballistic missiles ó was in fact an ingenious project designed to neutralize the Romulan death cruisers already massing behind the comet Hale Bopp in preparation for an attack on Earth. (Fortunately, using his extraordinary political skills, Reagan not only persuaded the Romulans to return home peacefully; they also donated several dozen light sabers to the freedom fighters in Nicaragua.)
If Obama is wise to the lessons of electoral history, he will cease heaving gutter balls and talking about reviving Rust Belt industrial might in a futile attempt to show his solidarity with blue-collar America. Instead, he will organize a fact-finding tour of crop circles and demand that Congress hold hearings on the inexplicable mutilation of large farm animals.
The UFO coverup isn’t the only area where Obama shows a stunning disregard for Middle America’s most cherished beliefs. He also has neglected our obsession with assassination conspiracies. Out here in the heartland, we’re deeply bitter about the fact that, after 45 years, the government still won’t come clean about the death of JFK. According to an ABC News poll conducted in 2003, 70 percent of Americans think there was a plot involved in the murder of President John F. Kennedy, and 68 percent believe the U.S. government participated in a coverup of the facts.
That’s even higher than the percentage who believe the Free Masons are in league with the Trilateral Commission and the Illuminati to form a One World Government ó yet, how often have you heard Obama drop subtle references to “magic bullets,” Mafia hitmen or the grassy knoll? It’s as if the man has been zombified by his former minister’s absurd blatherings about the AIDS epidemic being a government plot against black Americans. What patriotic citizen could countenance such a thing, when we know that, in reality, the AIDS rumor is a disinformation campaign created by the government to deflect attention from its ongoing coverup of CIA involvement in the JFK conspiracy? No wonder mainstream Americans were so aghast at some of the things the Reverend Wright has said. Rather than condemning America for the lingering taint of injustice and racial inequality, Reverend Wright should be damning the Warren Commission for supporting the “lone gunman” theory.
Finally, if Obama expects mainstream America to have confidence in his ability to master the subtle intricacies of foreign policy in an increasingly dangerous world, he needs to make frequent references to Saddam Hussein’s involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Oh, sure, you chardonnay-sipping elitists and the lap-dog liberal media may scoff at such beliefs as the foolish delusions of simple minds, but out in fly-over country, people know what they know. A 2006 poll conducted for CNN revealed that 43 percent of Americans believe the former Iraqi president was personally involved in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. While there isn’t a shred of evidence to support the Saddam-9/11 link and the numbers have declined from the 69 percent who held such a view in 2003, that 43 percent represents American voters whom Obama must reach out to if he hopes to become the leader of the free world. Obama needs to make the Saddam-9/11 connection part of his standard stump speech, particularly when trying to seal the deal with all the disaffected Democrats living off the grid in neo-Nazi survivalist camps in Montana.
Will retooling his campaign theme along these lines help cement Obama’s bonds with working class, rural Americans? Proably not. Voters aren’t stupid. They know that leadership abilities, intelligence and a grasp of the issues can only carry a candidate so far. What they really hunger for ó besides fresh Cheetos and cheap gas ó is a catchy campaign slogan that resonates with their deepest hopes and most fiercely held beliefs.
Something like: “Obama 2008 ó because the truth is out there.”
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Chris Verner is editorial page editor of the Salisbury Post.