Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rednecks, white voters and blue-state excitement

DENVER — Lee Spencer is a gun totin' redneck who loves to hunt and fish.

It says so right on his shirt, at least about the redneck part.

He's a Missouri good ol' boy, about 60. He comes from a town call Rolla, smack in the middle of the Missouri, between Springfield and St. Louis.

Right now, though, he's standing with his buddy Tony outside the entrance of the Pepsi Center, the site of this year's Democratic National Convention, holding a sign reading "Rednecks for Obama."

His mid-western drawl is thick as he talks about why Barack Obama is his candidate for president.

"People are voting against their own interests," he said of many of his fellow rednecks which, like him, may make $30,000 a year and have a tough time affording health care.

He said he can't understand why his fellow rednecks would want to vote for a Republican, a party he claims does little to help the average working man.

"He's the right man for the job," Spencer said of Obama. "I trust him."

Spencer added "I'm not worried about Obama taking away my guns" — apparently a fear among many of his friends who said they "wouldn't vote for that black son of a gun."

Spencer said he does what he can to try to convince them otherwise, assuring his friends Obama has no interest in stripping away the right of law abiding gun owners to head into the woods and hunt.

Spencer said he and his buddy are not part of any officially funded Advertisementgroup or coalition, but just part of an unlikely growing base of support for Obama.

He said they came to Denver on "their own dime" to show support. Tony's daughter, who happens to be a doctor, set up their Web site, and took six months off work to volunteer for Obama's campaign, Spencer said.

A redneck's daughter who is a doctor? Sounds kinda nouveau-redneck.

On Obama's official campaign Web site there is a profile of a group called "Rednecks for Obama in '08."

Another post on the site lists a group called "Southside VA Rural Rednecks fer Obama."

Visitors to the site are allowed to create groups, blog and make friends and list events, which creates ample opportunity for a robust social networking environment. And it appears the rednecks are taking part.

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