I think I may have the answer to Isaac's question about the confused people of Findlay from Eli Saslow's WaPo article. They believe all the smears about Obama not because they're stupid or racist; they believe them because they're Republican.
As valued reader R.Y. points out to me in an email, Findlay is the county seat of Hancock County, representing 54 percent of the county's population, and Hancock County
is as Republican as anywhere you can
find outside of Utah. Bush carried it with 71% of the vote vs. Kerry; 69% vs.
Gore. In 1996, Clinton won the state by 6%, but lost Hancock county 58-31 to
Dole (Perot got 10). In 1992, Hancock went 53-25-22, Bush/Clinton/Perot. Christ couldn't win there as the Democratic candidate, let alone a black guy
named Barrack Hussein Obama.
So, yes, Obama's not going to carry Findlay or Hancock county.But, if
you're going to front a interesting story about Ohio, run an overwhelmingly
white county, which was at least a toss up (a suburb of Columbus, say), or went
to Kerry--rather than one that votes overwhelmingly for the Republican even when
the Democratic candidate isn't assumed to be a black muslim from Africa looking
to sneak his family into the country.
I bet if Saslow had gone to Findlay in the run-up to the '04 election, he would have found people there who were doubting John Kerry's war record; or in the run-up to '92 he would have found folks who thought Bill Clinton had been recruited as a Soviet agent while at Oxford. In other words, Findlay's the kind of place that's fertile soil for nasty rumors about any Democrat, not just Obama.