Dean can't carry the south.
November 9, 2003 11:54 PM   Subscribe

Dean can't carry the south. The New Republic's Jonathan Chait writes in response to Dean's flag gaffe: "What's alarming here is not that Dean wants to win votes from guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks. It's that he thinks he actually can... His aggressive secularism, association with civil unions, and antiwar stance all make him culturally anathema in the South. This is one of the many, many reasons Dean would be squashed like a bug in the general election if nominated: Bush could take the South for granted, and concentrate all his resources on battleground states like Pennsylvania. "
posted by gregb1007 (47 comments total)
 
Hmmm ... Franklin D. Roosevelt was popular among the southern working class, and he was pretty pro-union, or so I hear. Also, Bill Clinton didn't carry that much of the South in either '92 or '96. I don't think Dean win the South can win by talking too much about social issues either, and it's on the whole a pipe dream, maybe .. but hardly stupid to talk about these issues that maybe everybody knows about and has read about, but hardly anybody talks about in public much anymore. I doubt Chait has thought much about it lately either, or ever in his career, in between hacking out trivial bits of obnoxious punditry in the New Republic and Slate, etc. The South is growing, y'know, and states like Minnesota are now said to be majority Republican in potential voter sentiment. It's about damn time someone started looking at the region much more carefully. (One could also argue, by the way, that social issues mean more to the South than they did before the post-WWII era - first because of race, and then due to the growth not only of religious fundamentalism, but the political exploitation of religious feeling.)
posted by raysmj at 1:25 AM on November 10, 2003


His aggressive secularism, association with civil unions, and antiwar stance all make him culturally anathema in the South

so, culturally speaking, the south holds dear good that old-time jesus religion, keepin' the nigras proles in their places, and a healthy attitude of support for that noblest of all man's worldly pursuits - the glory of foreign bloodshed. interesting.
posted by quonsar at 1:55 AM on November 10, 2003


well, based on the last few elections, the democrats' traditional stranglehold on the south has loosened, and it looks like no democrat can carry the south. Al Gore couldn't even carry his own state in the 2000 election.
posted by crunchland at 2:23 AM on November 10, 2003


Dean can't carry the south. And Bush can't lead America.

*sigh* I'm getting a little sick of hearing every pundit's opinion regarding an election a year from now. Really now, when has one comment cost anyone an election? And the deep readings and massive extrapolations regarding the flag comment are like peering into a crystal ball. Nothing but hand-waving and nonsenee. (this is not a criticism of the FPP, just on how the media is going crazy and over-analyzing this election right now)

We're still talking an election ONE YEAR away, we're still talking about a bajillion variables.

The worst part is that there's this assumption that voters are this uber-rational contigent who have the memory of an elephant. In a year no one is going to care that Dr. Dean said something stupid, or that Bush was AWOL, etc. If anything, the last two months before an election is when 99% of the people decide to get informed on who or who they aren't going to vote for. Articles like these and similiar ones at salon.com right now are for political neurotics (like myself and others here) and really probably have no bearing on a general election involving hundreds of millions of people.

It still fairly easy to run into 2004 voters, people who read the paper, etc who have no idea who Dean is or can't name him because they're mentally juggling 8 other names they see, at this point, as being largely unimportant.

Now to do exactly what I decry: what I haven't seen is how southern voters are digesting Iraq. A significant part of our military is from the south and considering Iraq is a PR nightmare (not to mention the lies, etc), I see very few pundits considering a military backlash against Bush et al for putting their sons in a Vietnam like situation and how this will play out a year from now.
posted by skallas at 2:45 AM on November 10, 2003


blah blah blah

Just give me a fucking leader with balls who is looking out for the best interests of a non-hyphenated America. Build it and they will come
posted by ElvisJesus at 3:17 AM on November 10, 2003


>>Franklin D. Roosevelt was popular among the southern
>>working class, and he was pretty pro-union, or so I hear

you hear right, and it's not a coincidence
that the Civil Rights Act isn't FDR's baby. in fact,
FDR liberated Europe using segregated troops --
it was Truman (in a rare moment of common sense)
who desegregated them

even liberal hero Adlai Steveson ran in 1952
with Alabama's proud son John Sparkman as
running mate -- a Segregationist if there ever was one

when talking about Democrats and the South
we need to remember that it's all about LBJ,
and the Civil Rights Act -- how to do the right thing
and lose an entire region's electoral support
-- possibily forever -- with thr stroke of a pen

it's very true that poor Southerners decide
who they're voting for on the basis of cultural
factors (ie religion, civil rights, a strong defense --
ie the taste for killing dark-skinned, or Asian
in the not so distant past -- foreigners)
instead of voting with their wallets

on the other hand, deep down they probably know that
they won't have free health care even with the
Democrats (I humbly submit that not even Gore in 2000,
running during a huge economic boom, was in favor
of that communistic concept applied in every industrialized
country in the world except the USA, ie single payer
health care. as Bill Bradley asked, If Not Now, When?)

Let them vote with their guts, and ultimately fatten
the people who'll make literally a killing sending poor rural
Southern kids off to war. And anyway the Southerners'
faith in God will come in handy to pray not to get sick

Chait's piece makes a lot of sense -- Dean's idea
looks good, yes, but only on paper. and once again,
he managed to look arrogant and insensitive -- a doctor
with terrible bedside manners, indeed
posted by matteo at 4:31 AM on November 10, 2003


The bad thing about Dr. Dean's remark is that it appeals to a dying breed of Southerner (white trash rebel) while annoying and offending the growing southern demographic (urban, multi-racial, socially liberal, basically, yankee transplants and Southerners born in urban areas).

It's also a mass-media stereotype of the South that is less and less relevant.
posted by jpburns at 4:42 AM on November 10, 2003


The New Republican often misses the mark.
Remember how ardently they supported aWol and the Iraq attack?
Whistle ass Likudniks.
posted by nofundy at 4:52 AM on November 10, 2003


> The bad thing about Dr. Dean's remark is that it appeals to
> a dying breed of Southerner (white trash rebel)

If he really wants these votes, all he has to do is get his own pickup and put a big ole Confederate flag sticker on it. Wait, I want to get my camera.
posted by jfuller at 5:49 AM on November 10, 2003


Really now, when has one comment cost anyone an election?

Um, "read my lips?"
posted by rushmc at 5:55 AM on November 10, 2003


I always felt it was pretty obvious that Dean would have trouble winning in the south on his own. Northern democrats have always needed a southerner on the ticket. That's why I think Dean/Clark is the ticket with the best chance.
posted by jpoulos at 6:26 AM on November 10, 2003


I see very few pundits considering a military backlash against Bush....

This is a long and interesting story proposing that the military vote may veer away from the GOP. Personally, I don't see it because of the social issues, but it's thought provoking.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:50 AM on November 10, 2003


Crunchland - "....the democrats' traditional stranglehold on the south has loosened." Ummm, this comment refers to the Southern backlash - and consequent move to the Democratic Party -against (imposed) post-Civil War Republican Reconstructionist governments, right? Or have we forgotten Nixon's famously successful race-baiting "Southern Strategy" -so viciously contrived by Kevin Phillips- which (propelled also by resentment of the Civil Rights Act) has steadily hounded the Democratic Party in the South from one Post-Reconstructionist stronghold after another?

Where is this "Democratic Stronghold" of which you speak?
(I'd buy your statement if you substituted 'beleaguered outposts' for the term 'stronghold')

So - here's the question - what do the Democrats have to lose by a ballsy, head on attack on the (partly Republican provoked) national North/South cultural schism? They have already mostly lost the South. Should they now not attempt to regain it? - The national prospects of the Democratic Party are considerably reduced if it does not address this directly. To quote a nonpundit academic writing of Dean's statement (over at the American Prospect):

"...though he fumbled the rhetoric, burned himself politically and failed to develop his idea in any sophisticated way, the sentiment behind Dean's statement is exactly what the Democratic Party needs....A frank confrontation with the recent political history of race and class might just deliver Dean's mythic truck driver, along with the whole of American politics, to a more sincere discussion about equality. "

Meanwhile, as Skallas noted, the election is a year away - an awful lot can happen in the next 12 months to sway the electorate one way or the other. I wouldn't discount Jonathan Chait's analysis completely but there is in it, to me, too much of the shallow braying of the punditocracy for my tastes.
posted by troutfishing at 7:14 AM on November 10, 2003


His aggressive secularism, association with civil unions, and antiwar stance all make him culturally anathema in the South.

With the holy roller contingent, maybe. But the south also has severe economic problems, and as matteo mentioned a disproportionate number of the bodies returning from Iraq are and will continue to be those of poor white southerners. Plus there's a large black population as well. So I wouldn't write off our brothers in Dixie just yet.

One stumbling block is that culturally speaking, the South has always been the left's scapegoat for the worlds problems (sometimes deservedly, sometimes not) which has tended to be off-putting. Also Dean is coming out of Vermont, which is not as different from the south as you might imagine. A large part of my family is from there. It ain't all ski resorts and college towns like Bennington and Burlington. Much of the state is very working class and rural and as redneck as Tennessee (in the best possible ways) so it's not as if the culture is completely alien to him. I dare say life in Appalachia or the Deep South would be more of a culture chock to Bush. So I wouldn't get all defeatist yet. I remember after Gulf War I everybody thought Bush Sr. was a shoo in, remember? didn't work out that way.
posted by jonmc at 7:21 AM on November 10, 2003


jpoulos - Dean/Clark.....Dean /Clark...Dean/Clark...Dean/Clark...Dean/Clark...Dean/Clark...Dean/Clark....Dean/Clark...

*...echoes through the skulls of the chattering classes....*
posted by troutfishing at 7:21 AM on November 10, 2003


Dean can't carry the south.
Dean can't shut his mouth.

Let them vote with their guts, and ultimately fatten
the people who'll make literally a killing sending poor rural
Southern kids off to war. Let them vote with their guts, and ultimately fatten
the people who'll make literally a killing sending poor rural
Southern kids off to war. And anyway the Southerners'
faith in God will come in handy to pray not to get sick


what a bunch of third rate garbage. your observation is about as fertile as deans chances of winning anything in the South. The South is swinging towards the repubs and you know it, wait...the Southerners'
faith in God will come in handy to pray not to get sick


WTF is that private Pyle...A Jelly donut?

matteo, get some good arguments.

even liberal hero Adlai Stevenson ran in 1952
with Alabama's proud son John Sparkman as


so? Stevenson lost because some guy from the Flint Journal (our proud local paper) snapped a picture of the bottom of Adalis shoe, which had a hole in it, like your observation.
Americans do not elect men with holes in there shoes, perhaps if the shoes where repaired, but i still say No White House for the cheap bastard who won't buy new shoes.
posted by clavdivs at 8:06 AM on November 10, 2003


jpburns got it right. Dean is out of touch.

jonmc I disagree, Appalachia culture extends as far west as mid-central TN in the foothills.. takes a break for the Mississippi Delta valley (that north-south "Deep South" region), then picks up again in the Ozarks not far west of Memphis and goes all the way into eastern Kansas and then south into Oklahoma and parts of north Texas. You oughta drive it, I was shocked to see Appalachia culture spread over such as vast area. Once you cross the Mason Dixon into Pennsylvania things changes quickly headed north by the time your in Vermont it might as well be Canada to someone from the south. I know what you mean about Vemont having a working class but things up there are divided between working class and non-working class, down south is diffrent.
posted by stbalbach at 8:10 AM on November 10, 2003


Did anyone ever stop and think that at least a third of Southern voters would never have a confederate flag on their vehicle, didn't hate Johnson for signing the Voting Rights Act and would never vote Republican. Those voters are called "black" or "african-american" voters.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:51 AM on November 10, 2003


I'd be surprised if he could - them there suthners are heavy folk.. I blame the aforementioned jelly donuts. Hmm.. Munchin time..
posted by Mossy at 8:56 AM on November 10, 2003


stbalbach - I seem to recall recently reading some hard empirical studies about the shifts in the political leanings of the South driven by economic and demographic shifts:

The rise of the affluent urban and suburban classes in the South is leading to changes in the classic political profile of the South - on the whole - as a socially conservative region. These new groups tend to be more libertarian - and so the republican Party is playing an increasingly risky game with it's gay-bashing, race-baiting, and kowtowing to the Fundamentalist right tactics.

Dean has charisma, the ability to work a crowd, piles of money from his lumpen contributors, and mostly importantly balls (it seems)

Voters - southern or not - respect, above all else in a politician, balls. Does a Democrat with balls, who can match Bush's 200 million dollar campaign war chest, with (perhaps) a wrapped-in-patriotism war hero general as VP (who is busy lambasting GW's policies in the deftest of ways) have a chance against GW and the Republican machine?

If Dean refines his rhetoric to make bold and sincere appeal to the South...

I imagine this: "They say the South won't vote for a Northern Candidate. I think better of the South. I think the South is much bigger than that.......nothing can redress the abuses heaped on the South following the Civil War. But I would like to bring the two cultures together again - September 11th reminded us that we are all Americans, that when the going gets tough, we forget our differences and fight for common goals. Those southerners killed from the 101st, those from Massachusetts who have given their lives in Iraq - they fought not for the South or for the North. They fought together.....together. " (...sketches out plan for a phased pullout of US troops from Iraq which "maintains and preserves American honor and the sacrifices of those american soldiers who paid the ultimate price for their country" by bringing in a truly international force under the UN to manage the rebuilding of Iraq. )

I happen to think Dean is very in touch or - at least - on the mark and quickly learning. And he should hire me as a speechwriter.
posted by troutfishing at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2003


The rise of the affluent urban and suburban classes in the South is leading to changes in the classic political profile of the South

That's right, a shift TOWARDS the religious right. The suburbanites ARE the Neo-Cons, not the old stereotypical "trailer trash" redneck types, they voted for the old Democratic bosses for generations. Now the Suburbanite new money racist yankees are shifting everyone towards what they think is the right path, the one they brought with them in the last generation from the rust belt and mixed with the touches of "old time" religion from the bible belt creating the hybrid monster that is the Buckhead soccer mom with every available inch of her Escalade covered with magnetic American flags and her Libby Dole hair and fashion and her husband the regional manager of sales for Southeastern Meats.

What the south needs is a good economic downturn to dry up the accounts for all those folks that crowd into "zero-lot line" developments in places like Franklin, TN. Maybe if those folks get worried where the next meal for their spoiled, bloated offspring is coming from they'll realize that the world doesn't revolve around their 401K's and how puffy the sleeves of Jr. Church outfit are like their parents and grandparents did.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:20 AM on November 10, 2003


Facts in Dean's favor in the South:

A large black population. If you think blacks aren't pissed at aWol, reconsider.

Half the population is female. Bubbas need not apply.

A growing number of citizens are Latino.

The Cuban mafia is diminishing in strength.

aWol's record to run against.

A large percentage of white males in the South are neither racist and ignorant nor fundamentalist and stupid.

Dean has balls. Big liberal swinging balls. He loves to fight and it shows.

The military will swing away from aWol more and more every day and many of those troops are from the South.

But then again, never underestimate the gullibility of the American voters to be duped by slick, well financed political commercials and "political pundits" on the corporate whore networks.
posted by nofundy at 9:56 AM on November 10, 2003


pollomacho - No, actually not towards the Religious Right - towards more socially permissive attitudes, though the people you're talking about exist in great numbers too. But the overall drift is away hot button, red meat conservative social issues. Now, on the economy, taxes, foreign policy and everything else - that's a different story altogether.

All this means is that, in appealing to the New South, the Republicans need to tone down their "sin" bashing a little. But they are caught between this new, socially permissive crowd and the fundies.

nofundy - "...Dean has balls. Big liberal swinging balls. He loves to fight and it shows."

"Big liberal swinging balls". I LIKE it!
posted by troutfishing at 10:26 AM on November 10, 2003


This article requires a subscription

- did the article just expire?
- are you ALL TNR subscribers?
- who actually read the damn thing? because I can't.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:34 AM on November 10, 2003


"Big liberal swinging balls".

He should carry South Park, Colorado then
posted by ElvisJesus at 10:42 AM on November 10, 2003


On post-pre-view -- it didn't require a subscription this morning
posted by ElvisJesus at 10:44 AM on November 10, 2003


Did anyone ever stop and think that at least a third of Southern voters would never have a confederate flag on their vehicle, didn't hate Johnson for signing the Voting Rights Act and would never vote Republican. Those voters are called "black" or "african-american" voters.

heh. and we all know how successful they've been delivering Southern States to Democrats these last 35 years.


Stevenson lost because some guy from the Flint Journal (our proud local paper) snapped a picture of the bottom of Adalis shoe, which had a hole in it

as a kind of a Stevenson buff I remember the photo very well (I also have some cool original 1952 memorabilia I'll be happy to share with you if you promise to send the stuff back), and I definitely appreciate your pride for a fine local paper and a great image, but really, if you think that photo cost him the election, you're way off in the minority of analysts. who simply think that they key of that (McCarthy-era) election was: 20 years of Democratic rule, Korea, Ike's great reputation, Stevenson's liberalism and aloofness (and his divorce). not a hole in the shoe (and you know very well that Sparkman was chosen to rein in Stevenson liberal instincts and assure the segregationists that President Stevenson wasn't going to fuck with the happy Southern Way Of Life)

I see that you can't bring yourself to write down a coherent argument and prefer to crap on my comment: sadly, clavdivs, it is a fact that poor, uninsured Southerners vote Republican clearly against their economic interests, simply because Republican flag-waving rhetoric, chest-thumping jingoism and anabashed sympathy for the Old South. hence poor Southerners end up getting tax cuts for the rich and subsidies to megacorporations but also patriotic rhetoric, anti-abortion federal judges, faith-based stuff, and National Sanctity of Life day. Good for them. I'm just sorry that they've been providing cannon fodder for various military-industrial-complex wars at least since Vietnam.
lately, a desperate bunch of even poorer foreigners hoping to get citizenship (if they manage not to get killed) are helping the South in providing soo-to-be-killed young men and women, so the burden is not entirely on their backs. but still, I think they'd deserve better. Dean may have been condescending, but Bush certainly is using their votes to accomplish some cynical BS

The South is swinging towards the repubs and you know it
I know it very well, as does anybody with a high-schoooler knowledge of post-1964 American History. why? because Republicans -- with their code words and stuff -- have succesfully cornered the racist vote.
I just hope W's ugly, unexcusable daytrip to Bob Jones University irked you as much as Dean's comments apparently did.

if it didn't, I'm not sure I like you as much as I thought I did
posted by matteo at 10:59 AM on November 10, 2003


To paraphrase a poster over at dailykos:

"As a southern male I'm so angry with Dean right now that I can barely stop my hand shaking while I sign my name to yet another check for his campaign."

Bash away. Bubbas love a good fight. And respects a good fighter. Perhaps Dean could change the reference to something about the WWF?
posted by nofundy at 12:54 PM on November 10, 2003


But the overall drift is away hot button, red meat conservative social issues

Hmm, too bad these folks didn't bother to show up to the polls last Tuesday in Mississippi.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:31 PM on November 10, 2003




Dean's idea looks good, yes, but only on paper

Dean's ideas look good to Democrats. Please understand that not everyone in this country thinks like a New Englander, which is why Bush would win in a landslide if he runs against Dean.

What really, really chafes my nads is that the one contender who could not only carry the South, not only kick GW's ass in military and foreign policy experience, but also has been a vocal opponent to Bush's tax policies -- namely, Clark, is being ignored by mainstream media.

This is how Bush is going to win. Dean is the media's Democrat darling. Clark is just "an outsider" treated as a footnote in just about every commentary I've heard or read. He should call himself General "Oh, right! Him!" Clark. The rightwing media will continue to trump a candidate so enormously left-wing that he'll never win, but with enough good sound bites he may just win the primary from Democrats who think we've been "too soft" on the GOP. "Dean's our answer!" they'll cry, and put up a man that is entirely unelectable, ensuring a victory for Bush.

Democrats of the world, unite! Think strategically, not ideologically -- or we'll keep getting our asses spanked. Put up an opponent to Bush that even Republicans would respect, and the election is a done deal.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:54 PM on November 10, 2003


"enormously left-wing?" You've got to be kidding. I'm enormously left-wing; Dean is a pragmatic, mildly leftish moderate who is willing to disagree with Bush and say so.
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:33 PM on November 10, 2003


Civil_Disobediant - I heard a decent amount of press about Clark before he had announced his candidacy. Remember - he threw his hat into the ring very late in the game.

Dean, meanwhile, has been pressing the flesh for many months longer than Clark and - although the mainstream media tuned him out at first too, has become undeniable for his ability to work a crowd and far more importantly - for his campaign's unprecedented success at online fundraising, which has no doubt, tapped into a rich vein of liberal anger at GW Bush. But Dean hardly started out as a media darling. Far from it: he just became impossible to ignore for the fact that he has mobilized a new financial force in politics, the petit-donors who, massed, can wield considerable political force.

You may be right about the South - maybe, but Dean certainly can - if he's smart - use his "the little people support me" stick to great effect.

It's amazing to think of given the deep pockets and institutional connections of the mainstream democratic contenders - Dean can threaten to possibly go head to head with Bush in campaign spending. And, there is the wild card of the enthusiasm of his supporters - impossible to quantify, but real nonetheless.

This doesn't mean that he won't be squashed like a bug, but think: this is a new thing in recent American politics, the candidate buoyed along on a tide of little donations.

I have a lot of respect for Clark's intellect, his long service to his country, his judicious and surgically precise use of language, but at base he comes off - to me anyway - as more of a patrician than Dean and less of a politician able to tap into the populist vein Dean aspires to.

Will Dean flop in the South? Maybe, and maybe his campaign machine is running on liberal fumes and will just conk out when it crosses the Mason-Dixon line. But the harsh reality is: Clark doesn't have the $, and this is partly his own fault. He started late. So: can Dean be stopped at this point? And can the South warm to an east coast liberal? Well, at least Dean is thinking about the issue. Stay tuned.
posted by troutfishing at 5:35 PM on November 10, 2003


MetaFilter: Now with big liberal swinging balls

Dean is no liberal -- if only he were! He's anti the Iraqi invasion, but most of his views are to the right of the majority of the Democratic membership (and probably well to the right of most metafiltrians.) He's unlikely to win against Bush, but this is more to do with Dean himself than any of the issues (when did issues last count in a US presidential election anyway?)

He's a short man who is short on charisma, and unfortunately both things count for plenty in this age of the politician-as-terminator. I'm surprised that no-one has previously identified these two major failings.
posted by cbrody at 5:40 PM on November 10, 2003


Meanwhile, in parallel DeanFilterLand, CunningLinguist shows that Dean may actually be on the right track with his comments, as troutfishing also hopes above.
posted by cbrody at 6:11 PM on November 10, 2003


a candidate so enormously left-wing

Looks to me like you've been buying into the right-wing propaganda. Dean is about as close to a centrist as we've seen in a while.

And Clark is a terrible candidate and will fade quickly as he deserves to (IMO, but we shall see).
posted by rushmc at 6:16 PM on November 10, 2003


I have a lot of respect for Clark's intellect, his long service to his country, his judicious and surgically precise use of language, but at base he comes off - to me anyway - as more of a patrician than Dean and less of a politician able to tap into the populist vein Dean aspires to.

I'd rather have an honest patrician than the ridiculous ersatz Average Joe-wannabe that Dean seems to want to paint himself as. Having your governor's portrait depict you in flannel doesn't make you a man of the people; going on about Confederate flags doesn't make you one of the people. Living paycheck-to-paycheck makes you one of the people, and I don't think Dean's got to worry about that one. Neither does Clark, of course, but at least he doesn't think we're stupid enough to believe otherwise.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:15 PM on November 10, 2003


assure the segregationists that President Stevenson wasn't going to fuck with the happy Southern Way Of Life)

I see that you can't bring yourself to write down a coherent argument

you start first.

not the holy hole wholly?
people remember the hole.


why? because Republicans -- with their code words and stuff -- have succesfully cornered the racist vote.


-Matteo

right.
posted by clavdivs at 7:30 PM on November 10, 2003


IshmaelGraves - You're talking about reality and I'm talking about popular perception, about how Dean or Clark will be perceived (in my opinion) by the majority of Americans.
posted by troutfishing at 7:57 PM on November 10, 2003


Looks to me like you've been buying into the right-wing propaganda.

You've got blinders on if you think the American people aren't going to be buying into it. You have to forget the truth of the matter. The truth is a great salve after you've lost the fight. But the truth is not public perception. If it were, Bush would have been impeached by now.

You want to know what Mom and Pop in the breadbasket think about Dean? Dean is from a New England hippy state, he was against the war in Iraq (which means he hates freedom), is against military spending (which means he'll leave us open to attack), is in favor of civil unions ("I now pronounce you man and man" -- ha, how crazy!), is anti-God and anti-guns ("Southerners must stop basing their votes on race, guns, God and gays.")

I'm reminded of the scene in Contact where Jodi Foster is asked if she believes in God. She makes the statement that it doesn't really matter, and after all, she's the scientist who figured out the code, she's a spokesperson for the international language of science... but of course those fools can't look past their stupid, silly beliefs and so she doesn't get to meet the aliens. Every intelligent person watching the movie is outraged, but this is the reality you must deal with. People are stupid, gullible, fearful little insects too busy raising their kids and paying bills to care about the truth. Find a way to appeal to the God-lovers, the people who don't understand The Gays, who think the best thing the United States can do in foriegn policy is to kick some towel-head ass.

Every time I see some brainless waste of oxygen talking about how Clinton ruined this country, the Arabs are ruining this country, the Gays are ruining this country, the Jews are running this country -- I repeat this mantra in my head: These are voters.

Like it or not, there's no IQ requirement for suffrage. These are your constituants. These are voters.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:17 AM on November 11, 2003


You want to know what Mom and Pop in the breadbasket think about Dean?

Right now? Most of them think nothing at all about him—many have probably not heard his name yet.

What they will think of him by election time will depend upon whose memes are more powerful, his or Karl Rove's. It will be a battle, no doubt, but I don't see the outcome as a foregone conclusion as you do.

I agree, however, that given the shortsightedness and complacency, and the lack of education, awareness, understanding, and sophistication of many voters, it's an uphill battle.

You have to forget the truth of the matter.

Never! That way lies the most unimaginable horrors.
posted by rushmc at 6:24 AM on November 11, 2003


Find a way to appeal to the God-lovers, the people who don't understand The Gays, who think the best thing the United States can do in foriegn policy is to kick some towel-head ass.

I've been saying that around here for months now. Or at the very least to recognize that peoples emotions are usually legitamite but misdirected. Because after all, it's difficult to put any of your ideas into practice unless your the dude with the seal sitting in the funny shaped office. The people who refuse to recognize this I find suspicious, because if you aren't willing (within reasonable moral paramenters) to do what you have to do to make a difference, I have to wonder what their real motives for yammering on are.
posted by jonmc at 6:55 AM on November 11, 2003


There's one giant hole in this debate: Dean is pitching right now to liberal audiences. He will try to shift his rhetoric, if he wins the democratic nomination, for a broader national appeal. He can't change the fact that he didn't support the invasion of Iraq, but he sure can put the lid on the other hot button issues which incense many average Americans.
posted by troutfishing at 10:10 AM on November 11, 2003


And besides, Iraq isn't going so swimmingly lately. The situation, of course would be utterly different had Saddam Hussein actually posed a REAL WMD threat - then the casualties being suffered daily by the US troops might make sense to the American public. And yes, Saddam was a vicious dictator who killed hundreds of thousands (at least) of Iraqis. But if the US invasion was simply about confronting bloody dictatorships, we could have started by invading Guatemala to stop the resurgence of the sort of violence which has taken the lives of several hundreds of thousands there over the past several decades (mostly civilians).

But since the justification for the invasion of Iraq was based on a gassy fussilade of odious lies.......
posted by troutfishing at 2:03 PM on November 11, 2003


because if you aren't willing (within reasonable moral paramenters) to do what you have to do to make a difference

Therein lies the rub, for we will all differ on what constitutes "reasonable moral parameters."
posted by rushmc at 3:43 PM on November 11, 2003


Here's a photo from gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson's consecration in New Hampshire that suggests there are already activists who vehemently oppose Dean simply because of his support of gay rights. Whether this is anything that will catch fire with the rest of the electorate remains to be seen.
posted by jonp72 at 5:05 PM on November 11, 2003


Maybe carrying the South is a lost hope anyway. Recently, Democratic incumbent governors from the South have had a terrible record of losing to Republican challengers; Roy Barnes in Georgia and Don Siegelman from Alabama in 2002 and now Ronnie Musgrove from Missouri. Now if these rather conservative governors who wouldn't dare talk about gay rights or repealing tax cuts don't get traction in the South, I don't see how Dean or any other Democratic candidates can stand a chance.
posted by gregb1007 at 8:11 PM on November 11, 2003


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