In several primaries and caucuses, Obama has shown strength among white-collar professionals with a college degree -- the so-called "Starbucks Democrats" -- while Clinton has won support from blue-collar workers with a high school degree, dubbed "Dunkin' Donuts Democrats."I'm a white-collar professional with a college degree who prefers Hillary Clinton and Dunkin Donuts. And I prefer DD on snobbish grounds - Starbucks tastes burnt to me. Though the past several months of reading liberal weblogs have certainly reinforced to me that I'm the odd man out.
Obama tends to be an intellectual candidate. Obama's appeal is aesthetic - you hear his rhetoric and feel inspired. It appeals to a cultured taste. Hillary pushes hard on bread and butter issues, policies to help people who actually need the help of those policies.
Obama's subject matter tends to the abstract. His rhetoric argues for loftier discourse. He acknowledges both sides of a debate and suggests transcendence. For example, in his most recent race speech, Obama talks about race relations and argues against familiar partisan bickering. And he doesn't throw Rev. Wright under the bus. He eschews modern political theater to argue for substance. On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart jokes that we're being spoken to like adults.
And Hillary, with her association with the Republican right-wing smear machine of the 90s, is a perfect foil to this sort of candidate. She is nothing but that political drama Obama wants to transcend.
Politics without conflict, though, is either impossible or really scary. Everybody has their own idea about the right way to govern, no two see eye to eye. When there's no conflict, something is really, really wrong. Consensus crowds out that diversity of thought and opinion. Now, anybody who follows public debate knows that it's very simplified and sometimes horribly wrong (like the coffee labels). But how do you differentiate wanting to transcend debate from shutting down discourse completely?
In its worst incarnation, that impulse to change the debate means oppression. But while I don't like Obama, I don't dislike him so much as to say that's his bag. I think it's more likely that Obama will sound to many people like he stands for little substantively, and he'll be bulldozed by opponents with clear language, opponents who draw clear lines around issues that people care about.