Can Obama Be a Working-Class Hero?

He needs to win over voters who don't drive hybrids. It could be a long uphill fight

Scout Tufankjian / Polaris

Nothing makes me feel sorrier for the once powerful local bosses of each political party than the spectacle of a modern nominating convention. In their glory days, these wily neighborhood sloggers would listen to speeches, size up the appeal of each candidate against hometown tastes, wheel, deal and finally make the thousands of individual decisions that would eventually choose the nominee.

Today there is only one big decision to be made, and the job belongs to a TV programmer, not a political boss. Conventions are little more than soundstages now. Everything from the backdrop to the...

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