THE BLOG
05/16/2008 09:41 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Thinking About Hillary In The Heartland

PEORIA, ILLINOIS -- Duh! Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wins overwhelmingly in West Virginia, even as the pundits are trying to shove her out of the race while they ridicule her on television and in their columns.

Why do they hate her? Is it old fashioned sexism? Probably.

No one has told Sen. Barack Obama to "park my car" or "shine my shoes," while Hillary is told to "iron my shirt" and worse.

But the facts are the facts. Hillary wins where it counts. That's amazing, given the media hostility against her.

If the Democratic nomination system were the same as the Republican system, Hillary would already be the nominee today, since she has won most of the big states.

The proportional system gives Obama lots of delegates in the smaller states which likely will go Republican anyway. So he's ahead.

Superdelegates, who are supposed to correct problems in the nomination process. have been jumping on the Obama bandwagon, no doubt hoping for favors from Obama's administration if he wins.

That's a big IF.

As dogs and bodies are walked for exercise, I have been asking my neighbors, in the white, middle class suburb where I live in Peoria, Illinois (IObama's home state), their thoughts on the election.

Earlier this spring I found some supporting Hillary.

True, Hillary came in way behind Obama in the Illinois primary. And in Peoria. Nevertheless on my quiet, spacious, tree-lined street, people are mostly conservative, and some have been Republican voters in the past. No longer.

They hate the war and the corruption, and are ready to vote Democratic. But not for Obama.

McCain is looking good, two neighbors told me separately last week. One asked if it's true that Obama won't salute the flag. The other just said no way will he vote for Obama. He may write in Hillary.

These are not intellectuals or young people They're middle aged men, the kind of voters Hillary has won over elsewhere. The kind that make up the majority of the US electorate.

They're not thinking of the Supreme Court appointments under McCain, and they don't read the New York Times on line. They're more likely to watch Fox News.

And they're very suspicious of their own US Senator, Obama. They probably didn't support him for the Senate, the seat he essentially won in the Illinois Democratic primary out of a large field of candidates.

My intellectual friends at universities, including many women, swoon for Obama. He's different, they say.

(Wait until I tell them that he's started wearing a flag pin in his lapel, as the New York Times reported today. What? Will he do anything to win? Just like Hillary?)

As a former newspaper reporter, I've met Obama a couple of times. He's a bright, charming guy. I've also seen Hillary in person, where she was brilliant and charming, definitely the better of the two candidates, as she typically proved in the debates.

I went to work on my neighbors with the usual arguments: Obama is bright and capable, and he'll do fine as president if he wins. He's a quick learner. They listened politely.

That doesn't mean I don't prefer Hillary. She's a decade ahead of Obama in experience. Her health care plan is the only one that will work financially. End of story.

Sure my 19-year-old grandson and his girlfriend say they voted for Obama, after their mothers dragged them to the polls. Would they vote on their own? Who knows.

My son reports he was just too busy working to vote in the primary.

My daughter voted in the Republican primary because her friend was running for a local office. She's Obama's age but would have voted for Hillary.

So what ARE the national Democrats thinking?

Will they really throw the nomination to Obama, the black intellectual, to run against a white war hero?

I tremble for my country, as Thomas Jefferson once said.