To understand the appeal of Mitt Romney among rural voters you have to understand a small town’s fascination with the “man on the hill”.  Usually in a every small town, the best, most expensive house, sits on the highest piece of ground and has a beautiful yard that is perfectly landscaped.  During holiday season, his colored lights look down on all those looking up from their houses below.

If you see him around town, you always say “hi”, and chat for a moment.  You don’t want to bother him, because he could pick up the phone and make your life a living hell.   But it’s the best house in town, and it molds your dreams, like if you won the lottery or got a promotion or got a surprise inheritance,  you too would see yourself as and want to be “the man on the hill.”

Just as men and women supposedly come from Mars and Venus, there is a cosmic difference between conservatives and progressives too.  Progressives tend to think with their brain.  If given a dichotomy between what their brain says and what their feelings say, they will choose the one promoted by their brain, and think they made the wiser choice.  Conservatives do it backwards.  Conservatives in the same situation, rely on their feelings.  If their feelings tell them this person is alright, then despite warnings being given by their brain, they trust their feelings instead of their neurons.

Neither side can help being the way they are.  Like Bones and Spock, they are wired that way…..

This explains quite a lot about the two…  That is why a progressive can get everything right, do a great job, have all his ducks in a row,  snatch the golden ring,  and then still lose at the last minute because he didn’t connect to what the voters were feeling…  And this is also why a  conservative,  who runs the country on his feelings, can mess up pretty bad over a long stretch until finally no amount of feeling can overcome the numerous neurons saying  this likable guy just isn’t working out……

Progressives see their leader as someone who will do this, this, and this for them…   Conservatives see a leader as someone who inspires them…

And for the most part, our electorate is split down the middle 50/50 and except for 2008 collapse, we’d  have a razor thin win every four years….

Progressives whose brains are working overtime,  do not necessarily like “the man on the hill.”  They’re smart; they know how he got his money and it disgusts them.  They see him as a less moral person than themselves, who if he didn’t break the law to get his wealth, at least caused a lot of people heartache and headache as he pulled their money towards him…  Though they might be envious of his money, they see many better options which that money could be put to use.  They might respect the money, but they dislike the man.

Conservatives see the wealthy, and wish they could be like that.  They really don’t have a broad perspective.  Their vision is usually just their town, and the “man on the hill” is the showpiece their town offers.   They almost gain a sense of pride in how well his grounds are kept, because they identify with that as being where they are from….  Even if their neighbor gets tricked out of her house by this same man, they will somehow rationalize that it had to be her fault; they still cannot get rid of their loyalty for “the man on the hill” because that means they would somehow then be unloyal to their town, and thus themselves.

A Progressive, who thinks everything through, just simply cannot see this..  It is beyond his comprehension.  How can you support someone who has no heart, who will trash you and take what you have, and leave you for dead in a heartbeat?  What on earth is motivating you?  What secret lurks deep inside of you, that would make you do something so terribly wrong to yourself,  to your aging parents, to your kids?    And hence we see the bubbling charges of racism….

It has to be racism the Progressive says.   He says so because racism is a concept the Progressive has been taught.  He can wrap his skull around racism because it is a hard concept he has learned about it…  He knows that racism is something that defies common sense, but exists anyway.  I keep to my own and you are not welcome…

But these conservatives would deny that.  In their mind they have no anti black feelings.  They all know someone who is black they will tell you.  That is not even close to why they prefer their candidate….

The truth depends upon how broad you want to draw the definition of racism.  If you want racism to be only a conscious effort, as in “I hate these people so I am going to make their lives difficult”, even though there are some like those in the Republican Party, they do not control or have much of an impact….  But if you want to go with the  subconscious definition, where one is more comfortable with the familiar, and will tend to choose what they know over what they don’t, then that broad definition may apply.  Be wary of using it because it applies to quite a lot of things, including progressives…..

The reality is that when it comes to who they would like to see as their “man on the hill”  in small town rural America,  it simply comes down to this:  Romney for whatever reason is who they are most comfortable wanting to be like.  Many of them have never talked to an African American.  They don’t know any, and in a forced social setting, it is hard to break down walls built up over a lifetime…

To conservatives these are changing times, and scary times.  They are dying off.  They are being replaced by people with darker skin, whether with African descent, Mexican heritage, or even from India or Southeast Asia.   For the rural person, it used to be the dry cleaning lady was Aunt Em; now she has a name that is so long it is unpronounceable….   Like Arlo Guthre’s City of New Orleans,  all across this great land, white America feels like it is fading into a bad dream…

So when you ask rural America who are you most comfortable with?  They first, look deep inside their hearts, then go with Romney.  And it is nothing negative against Obama;  it is just that when they look at both, first Obama and then Romney,  they are looking for the one who will  take over that “house on a hill”,  the one with an immaculate lawn, the one they sometimes want to own, the house that makes them proud they live in that town, the one they take every family visitor to see….   You see, Romney already reminds them of that “man on a hill” who right now is in their town.  “I can trust him” they feel, no matter how many facts, or how impeccable of logic,  or how exciting the presentation gets made by his opponent…..

They don’t vote with their head.  If you want their vote,  you have to go for their heart….

And I’ll leave you with an actual encounter while canvassing in Southern PA;  the subject here is an undecided voter…..

Knock, Knock.

TV (Giants game) volume gets turned down and a man is at the door)   Yes, “hello?”

“Hi, we’re with Team Obama.  Got something here for you, and were just making sure you were ok with voting on November 6th,  whether you needed a ride or anything..?   You haven’t made up your mind yet, have you?

“Naahhh… Still trying to figure it out…”

“That’s cool… that’s cool.  That decision is important, and we certainly don’t want to rush anyone to vote in a way they will regret…  Just think it over…  Any questions you might have that we can find an answer for you?   You can always call that toll free number on that card we gave you, and someone can answer your questions…  Mind if we ask what’s on your mind?”

“Well, I voted for him the last time, and nothing’s changed…  I’m feeling we can’t just be doing the same ole, same ole.  Something different’s gotta happen…”

“I hear you.  Believe me, we understand…  It’s a decision only you can make…  Do you want to hear  why I think so much of him I’m out missing the Sunday games?”


“First of all, I’m a numbers guy.   I look at numbers, and the numbers are off the charts… This guy has hired more people in three years than three presidents did their whole term…  I know if you are looking only at the finish line you’re saying, he’s not there yet…  but the thing is, he started so far back, and is right on the edge already, right now, of the finish line.  It’s like us making Usain Bolt because he’s so good, start  340 yards back  behind the rest of the pack to run a 100 yard dash, and he’s still almost up to the finish line ….  You wouldn’t say Bolt’s a bad runner because he didn’t win.  In fact, he probably broke a world record to make up that distance…  To me, it’s the same with Obama. ..  5 million new private sector jobs is amazing, even though the Republicans cut half a million government jobs to make him fail…   I’m in it, because “good” has got to win;  i can’t let ” good”, fail…  That’s not what America is about. America is giving each a fair chance…  and there’s only one guy running for president who is doing that…  Well sorry if I talked too much…”

“Oh, you didn’t.  I kinda glad I got to hear what you had to say….”

“Well, just look everything over and make the right choice for you… Just be sure to vote…  Not everyone does and that is just terrible..”

Use emotions…  Positive emotions.   Make them proud of their president,  and he, will carry their vote… Simply put, they’re not looking for facts.  They are looking for emotional acceptance.  If you do it right, they will have found their… “new man on the hill.” …