“This is not really an Obama area.”

I grew up in Kennett, Missouri, the county seat of Dunklin County. So when I heard the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a front-page story (by Todd C. Frankel) about Bootheel politics, I headed for the paper’s website to check it out.

I wasn’t really surprised to learn than Dunklin County was Obama’s worst showing in the primary. Just 18 percent.

But then I was heartened to learn that the Obama campaign has two office in the county and that Sheryl Crow’s momma and daddy volunteer for O.

They have a Republican campaign HQ but if I read the story right it’s a first for Dunklin County.

The story quotes Ronnie Johnson who’s “voting for McCain. Or rather, against Obama.”

“He is reluctant to explain this at first — “You don’t want to know why,” he says.”

“The others on the porch goad him. And Johnson, a lanky 20-year-old white man who works as a meatcutter at a grocery store, starts to talk about an issue that has persisted throughout the campaign: race.”

“It is not just that Obama is black, Johnson says. He has heard that Obama is Muslim. (Obama is Christian.) He also has heard rumors that Obama refuses to salute the American flag, and that Obama has promised that black men will have more rights than white men. (Independent fact-checking groups say these rumors
are false.)”

“He’s white,” Johnson says.

The story concludes with a couple of demographics:

“Dunklin is one of the poorest counties in Missouri. The unemployment rate hovers near 9 percent. More than a quarter of the population lives in poverty.”

Not sure we’ll see this clipping on the Chamber of Commerce bulletin board.

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