Eli Saslow's Washington Post article about the attitudes of voters in Findlay, Ohio, has been a popular topic of discussion at TNR.com this afternoon, with three different posts on the Plank. In his post, Isaac tries to understand the citizens of Findlay without being pinned as a typical elitist. In response, commenter DDovenbarger noted why Obama's successes in life may turn away "Flag City" voters:

I am not sure we have a non-derogatory word for the opposite of a meritocracy.  The difficulty with understanding the good citizens of Findlay and similar places is that they are--and have been--the places to come from--that is, those who achieve merit in school, army, or profession, move onto to other places with higher salaries.  What is left behind, is a serious, and often good-hearted, collection of those who either never succeeded on the same scale as others, or simply did not buy into the idea of merit and progress.

For them, Obama is a hard sell because he so clearly made it where he is because of his ability.  So while, on one hand, they give applause to the American dream of someone coming from little and becoming a lot, the know from personal experience that reaching for the American dream also empties their towns and diminishes local church attendance.  

However, change comes even there.  A generation ago, no one in my town would have driven a 'foreign' car.  You drove GM or Ford.  How did it come to be that almost overnight I saw farmers buying all sorts of foreign goods, Kabota tractors for goodness sake!  Change in these towns does spring from personal endorsement and example.  Obama's best hope is to have good people there endorse him.   As Malcolm Gladwell pointed out, if you get some local mavens onto something, an idea can spread like wildfire.  Conversely, if the false rumors being spread develop a bit of a stench in the eyes of people respected in those communities, McCain's chances will unravel even more rapidly.

--The Editors