by Lawrence Albright
Florida's importance in the electoral equation was further confirmed this week as both vice presidential hopefuls made the Sunshine State a key stop on their itineraries.
In an appearance at Coachman Park in Clearwater, Governor Sarah Palin repeated her attacks on Senator Barack Obama's association with former SDS activist and Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers, stating that "[Obama] is someone who sees America as 'perfect enough' to work with a former domestic terrorist who targeted his own country."
The Obama-Ayers connection is an old non-issue. Senator Obama and Ayers live in the same Chicago neighborhood and served for a time on the board of directors for a non-profit organization. Obama has condemned Ayers' activities with the Weather Underground, which took place when Obama was all of eight years old, as reprehensible.
But by raising it in Florida, where an overwhelming majority of people are most concerned about the future of health care, Social Security, and hanging on to their homes in the face of substantial foreclosures and high insurance premiums, is an indication of how out of touch and desperate the GOP standard bearers are with the electorate.
Senator Joe Biden has scheduled several appearances in the area today.
Florida has long been considered a solid Republican state, but that assumption is no longer true as the registration of new voters over the past several months has resulted in Democratic majorities in several key counties. Inspired by the prospect of change, Obama for America committees have flourished in many communities formerly considered "safe ground" for the GOP. These committees include significant numbers of independents and disaffected Republicans. Labor walks have been very well attended throughout the state.
Nothing is being taken for granted, neighborhoods canvassed, and new voters registered for the election. The deadline for registering new voters was this past Monday, October 6th.
"I am cautiously optimistic," said one senior citizen. "McCain was for privatizing Social Security and had my money been put in one of the major investment firms I might have nothing now. Most of the people here in my senior-only community understand that. That's why we're voting for Obama."
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
by Lawrence Albright