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"I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks"
June 16, 2005 6:50 AM   Subscribe

"It's a moral argument. How morally right is it for our Democratic nominee for president to tell 60 million people, 'You don't matter to me'?" An interview with Dave "Mudcat" Saunders on how Democrats can get the Bubba vote. (via the revealer)
posted by pandaharma (144 comments total)

 
Warner-Edwards 2008
posted by brucec at 7:09 AM on June 16, 2005


bubba needs to get his fat ass into an accredited university
posted by a thousand writers drunk at the keyboard at 7:21 AM on June 16, 2005


It's a stink-bomb lobbed at fellow Democrats--or as Mudcat often calls them, "f--in' Democrats," the northeastern liberals who he feels have contempt for his culture, and whom he dislikes more than he dislikes Republicans. (While the "foxes" in their tale are Republicans, Democratic leaders aren't so much hens as they are "possums--the ones who roll over and play dead.")

Right on.
posted by jperkins at 7:34 AM on June 16, 2005


I think what pisses off southern voters most is when a candidate appears phony. When you ride around on a Harley or pretend to go hunting or any of the other ridiculous photo ops that campaign managers come up with, it looks stupid because it is stupid.

If you're a northeastern liberal, and you want to impress someone from the South, here's a suggestion: Be real. Act like who you are. STOP TALKING TO PEOPLE LIKE THEY'RE CHILDREN.
posted by fungible at 7:38 AM on June 16, 2005


Well, it was a nice read and all that, but speaking as someone who spent part of his life growing up in the south, that's all confarned howrshiat. . .
The problem here isn't getting the bubba vote, the problem is cleaning up the crap on the ground that is corrupted politics today. The place to start is the voting system, specifically going back to paper ballots from electronic machines that are easily manipulated (look at the past two elections), doing away with the electoral college and prosecuting all the damn lyers and sleaze merchants out there (every neoconservative politician that ever grew horns and a tail, republican *or* democrat).
Until then, this country will still *miraculously* vote republican every single damn time.
If the system was not rigged, there would be no need to go after the damn 'bubba' vote. You may as well be a dog chasing it's own tail with that kind of strategy. 'He's a good dog, he just don't hunt...'
I think the fact that this article came from 'The Weekly Standard', a conservative publication says a lot too.
'Oh, we're the republicans, let us help you to win more elections, we're sooooooo sorry you keep losing.'
But of course, it's just easier to just chase this mythical bubba vote, believe that 'perhaps someday they'll let us print out a receipt from that rigged electronic voting machine then everything will be okay and otherwise turn a blind eye towards a system that simply does not work for the greater good no matter how much you argue for it.
posted by mk1gti at 7:38 AM on June 16, 2005


i LOVE it when the rightwingers give us advice -- they very obviously have only our wellbeing in mind.
posted by yonation at 7:40 AM on June 16, 2005


Howard Dean and Mudcat would get along well.

I can't believe I'm saying this but for once I actually just read a good Weakly Standard article.

I just wonder, did he REALLY put deer shit in his mouth? I ain't believing it, I think he pulled a fast one just like "Cravin Moorehead" did.

On preview, mk1gti and yonation both make good points.
posted by nofundy at 7:42 AM on June 16, 2005


Liberals and left-leaners will learn to completely refocus their frustration when they realize that the Democrats aren't the solution, but part of the problem.
posted by graymouser at 7:50 AM on June 16, 2005


what mk1 said.

Have these jokers ever won any national races? Any primary races even?

And how patronizing are they? Rural voters and southern voters just need to be appreciated? Poor babies. The GOP appreciates them plenty--talking codewords for them, like "states rights" and anti-gay and religious "family" stuff, but they do nothing for them at all. What can you say to people who vote against their own interests?
...The data suggested formerly Democratic rural voters were voting Republican out of habit, and largely on cultural issues, but they weren't necessarily satisfied customers. Jarding says 25 years after the Reagan Democrat phenomenon, "they said they hadn't gotten a damn thing for that vote. 'Our infrastructure is falling apart, we don't have any jobs here, we can't make a living.' According to Gersh's research, they were pissed off. Gersh said, 'They're voting Republican, but they're not Republican. You can get them back.' I said, 'How do I get them back?' He said, 'That's your job, I'm just telling you they're out there.'" ...

If people don't want to vote for the party that cares about them, and actually does stuff for them, no amount of talking or catering to them will help. They're voting Republican on social issues, while their neighborhoods and options for a better life deteriorate. They need to wake up--The GOP never gave rural voters a TVA, or SS, or anything.
posted by amberglow at 8:09 AM on June 16, 2005


And if making them feel good because they're white and Christian is what they want to hear, and that's the thing that gets them to the voting booths...well, then they got what they paid for: bad infrastructure and no jobs and no living.
posted by amberglow at 8:13 AM on June 16, 2005


Metafilter: Cravin Moorehead
posted by caddis at 8:22 AM on June 16, 2005


I just wonder, did he REALLY put deer shit in his mouth?

They were Raisinettes™; said so at the end of the article.
posted by effwerd at 8:29 AM on June 16, 2005


Interesting read; thanks pandaharma. Thanks also for turning me on to The Revealer. That looks like an interesting site. They have an interesting article now called Making Torture Beautiful about the NYT Magazine article last Sunday which was discussed in this thread. As surmised, the photographer, Andres Serrano, is the same Andres Serrano who did the controversial "Piss Christ."
posted by caddis at 8:30 AM on June 16, 2005


Since when is the Weekly Standard so concerned with Democrats doing well in the South?
posted by clevershark at 8:36 AM on June 16, 2005


the source does bother me, but remember they got to keep their readers aware of 'threats' that are out there from the Democrats, just like I hope Air America Radio is going to tell me about efforts of Republicans to convert Yankees
posted by brucec at 8:37 AM on June 16, 2005


I wouldn't let the source bother you. This does sound like good advice and the Democrats definitely need to target this demographic. It bugged the hell out of me that the Demos were even with the Republicans in funding last year but abandoned some states while the Repubs managed to target most of them.

On the other hand, NASCAR branding is a great idea but it probably would have backfired for Kerry. It would have seemed about as sincere as his staged hunts.

And the Revealer is a great site, one of the best on religion. They often post articles like this on how Demos get it wrong when approaching people of faith.
posted by pandaharma at 8:49 AM on June 16, 2005




This article is spot-f-ing-on. Granted, it probably wouldn't have done Kerry a bit of good, since he was a wishy-washy phony, but a straight talking Howard Dean could've (would've?) won if he'd been paired with this guy and had been given a chance by the Dem party leadership and the media.

Considering all the bitching on this site about how the Republicans have abandoned their supposed principles (they have), I can't believe the skepticism. Amberglow, while it's nice to think that the country would recognize your intrinsic rights, wouldn't a good stopgap be the right for the States to decide for themselves?

Republicans have all but abandoned "their" principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and federalism. Howard Dean embodied these principles and those the Democrats used to hold.

51 percent, people. How much of the "Bubba" vote would it have taken to tip those scales? Kerry probably couldn't have pulled it off, but a revitalized party could, and Dean just might be the man for the job.
posted by kableh at 8:55 AM on June 16, 2005


FFS Amberglow... Did you even read the article? He talks about nearly turning a Bush loving, gun-toting Republican, and all he does is framy things right!

While Jarding is more of a traditional Democrat than Mudcat, he's just as peevish when it comes to recent Democratic behavior toward rural and southern voters: "If you say to them, 'You're voting against your own economic interest,' is that true? Damn right, it's true. But it sounds belittling. It sounds like you're saying, 'You're an idiot.' No, Democrats, you're the idiots. They're voting on their values. They're voting on something out there, because the other side gave them something to vote on. You've given them nothing...

Spot fucking on.
posted by kableh at 8:58 AM on June 16, 2005


graymouser

The problem isn't the democrats; it's the parties.

Right now, you have only two real choices in politics, Democratic or Republican.

If you're a deeply religious individual with leftist economics, or a gay businessman who supports governmental deregulation and lower taxes, then no party represents all of your interests.

The real problem for the Democrats is that right now, the Republicans have done an excellent job at convincing the two kinds listed above that their interests are better served by the Republican party.

And another thing...

A lot of people keep talking about how politically brilliant Republican party is. While it's true that they've had a decent amount of success recently, look at who they've been up against: Gore and Kerry. Sorry, but I'm pretty sure that most people without their heads up their asses could have beat them in an election without breaking a sweat. Now look at the two previous elections: Clinton ran against Bush, who came across as a wimp from the Northeast, and Dole, who was more of a robot than Gore was. The only reason Bush won his term was that he ran against the even wimpier and emotionally dry Dukakis.

Elections are run on personality. While it's true that many liberals are centered around cities, particularly in the northeast, I don't necessarily thing it's in the nature of Democratic candidates to be that kind of person. It just has happened in the recent elections, that's all.

The thing Bush was smart about was making sure people identify him with Texas, not with his upbringing in Massechusetts or his college years at Yale. In a sense, up to a certain age both Kerry and Bush had virtually identical backgrounds (although Bush was heir to a political dynasty). I'm pretty sure that his current drawl was learned, and he did what he could to seem like a man who would be handy at a ranch (consider Laura Bush's comments about his early ranch experiences).
posted by Deathalicious at 9:23 AM on June 16, 2005


And if it wasn't for Perot, Clinton never would have gotten in at all.

Considering all the bitching on this site about how the Republicans have abandoned their supposed principles (they have), I can't believe the skepticism. Amberglow, while it's nice to think that the country would recognize your intrinsic rights, wouldn't a good stopgap be the right for the States to decide for themselves?
No. Not when comes to equal rights and civil rights--those are absolutely non-negotiable, and it's not ok anywhere in this country to relegate others to second-class status--it doesn't matter what the populations of those states want either. The majority of Americans were against interracial marriage in the 60s, but they were wrong. Have we learned nothing from previous civil rights battles? States rights is most often code for hateful, unConstitutional attitudes that hurt other Americans. There's no special Southern way of life that needs defending or coddling. There's America--we have to all live under the same laws and rules and Constitution. You can't allow people who hate to impose their morals or prejudices on the rest of us, and states rights is often used to do just that. It's wrong.
posted by amberglow at 10:00 AM on June 16, 2005


the fact that national Democrats don't talk about that more is a sin, and one reason many are unhappy with our party, too. (but, unlike rural southerners, we're not voting Republican--we're fighting to fix it)
posted by amberglow at 10:01 AM on June 16, 2005


A lot of people keep talking about how politically brilliant Republican party is. While it's true that they've had a decent amount of success recently, look at who they've been up against: Gore and Kerry.

And Clinton against Dole; a real toughy (although I believe Clinton could have beat anyone). But the Presidential elections are only a handful of the thousands of elections that took place over that same period... Congressional, state, local, etc. I don't think it's wise to limit your rebuttal to just the Presidential elections.
posted by Necker at 10:02 AM on June 16, 2005


one thing i have to wonder about in analyses of recent elections is this:

why is bush just barely winning somehow proof of the republicans enjoying great success at getting their message out?

i am absolutely certain that if kerry had won with bush's margin of victory, instead of hearing about how how successful the democrats are at getting their message heard and how their message is resonating with people on some level the republicans can't reach, we'd instead be hearing how the democrats can't take this slim margin of victory to be good news. in fact, we'd probably still be hearing crap about how good the republicans are at getting the message out and how they're poised for great success in the near future.

what the fuck? every single thing the democrats do is overanalyzed by every single person with even a slight interest in politics; anything the republicans do is viewed as brilliant and strategic by everyone, even when it doesn't pan out.

how on earth can the democrats possibly do anything right in this environment?
posted by lord_wolf at 10:05 AM on June 16, 2005


Amberglow: No.

That's the point of federalism. The federal government shouldn't have a say one way or another. If that's the concession we have to make to get someone in the White House who isn't a downright evil oil-whore, well, I'm ready to make that concession.

Right after the election was the time for all that F the South and Jesusland nonsense. Like the quote I cited, we're not going to get anywhere telling Southerners that they're stupid and their values don't matter.

Where's jonmc when you need him?
posted by kableh at 10:11 AM on June 16, 2005


This "Mudcat" guy sounds to me like as genuine a southerner as the Beverly Hillbillies. This guy is a caricature. I call shenanigans on him. Besides if he was so good, how did he get saddled with a sleeper like Graham in the first place? He sounds like a Texas "cowboy" with his armani suit tucked into his cowboy boots to me.

The Democrats could start winning more than the south if they would just quit taking GOP bullshit and calling it soft peddle words like "disingenuous." What does that mean anyway? Call somebody a liar when they lie, don't be a pansy. People will respect you and they might even vote for you. McCain almost pulled that off, but he wimped out and listened to his "handlers" in stead of going for Bush's jugular.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:15 AM on June 16, 2005


how on earth can the democrats possibly do anything right in this environment?
Very good point. They're still calling Bush popular, when every single polls says the opposite.

Like the quote I cited, we're not going to get anywhere telling Southerners that they're stupid and their values don't matter.
We're not saying that at all. We're wondering why the hell we all have to cater to their values (many of which are clearly unConstitutional and would be better suited to a theocracy), instead of them caring about jobs and the infrastructure and economy and opportunity.

They make their choices, and go with the GOP. They don't get what they want morally, and they don't get jobs or a good economy, and they get false wars (which the poor disproportionately pay for in lives). A reminder: Carter was the most moral president ever, and he was soundly defeated, despite being Southern and a good Christian.
posted by amberglow at 10:23 AM on June 16, 2005


and what Pollomacho said.
posted by amberglow at 10:24 AM on June 16, 2005


The left and democrats have some decent ideas ... the problem is in delivery.
People will rather buy something from somebody they get along with, than somebody smart.
People want somebody that makes them feel that their interests are understood and considered.
The Republicans are doing a much better job of this than the Democrats. It has nothing to do with idealology and everything to do with outreach.
But, that seems to be changing ... so this next election cycle should be very interesting ...
posted by forforf at 10:35 AM on June 16, 2005


We're not saying that at all. We're wondering why the hell we all have to cater to their values (many of which are clearly unConstitutional and would be better suited to a theocracy), instead of them caring about jobs and the infrastructure and economy and opportunity.

Framing. They do care. That's half the point of the article. It's all about framing, and right now the GOP is winning that game.

Further, you can't tell them their values don't matter. And by and large, they think states' rights trump the federal government (gun laws?). If the people in bum-fuck West Virginia want to pass a law banning gay marriage, let them, then let the constitutional challenge begin.

They make their choices, and go with the GOP.

Again, RTFA. It's because the Dems dont offer them anything at all. Fuck, Amberglow, I'm a bleeding heart and _I_ could barely stomach Kerry. I was voting for ABB, not Kerry.

They don't get what they want morally, and they don't get jobs or a good economy, and they get false wars (which the poor disproportionately pay for in lives).

Right, but the GOP at least gives them lip service. And now look at approval for Bush's war, which is rapidly waning. Kids are dying over there, and even the South doesn't buy this rhetoric anymore. What was Kerry's answer? "Well, we can't just cut and run" Well as altruistic as that is, they don't care and _I_ don't care.

A reminder: Carter was the most moral president ever, and he was soundly defeated, despite being Southern and a good Christian.

I wasn't alive when Carter was prez, so forgive me if this doesn't carry much weight for me. I do know that my mother - another bleeding heart - said that while he was quite possibly the best person to ever be president, he wasn't very good at the job.
posted by kableh at 10:35 AM on June 16, 2005


So, we should just give them lip service, even though it'll drive away many, including us gays and lesbians and working folks who care more about jobs and the economy and gas prices and education, just because rural folks want lies about morality and "family values"? It sounds to me that you're saying we should be more Republican-sounding. What kind of a choice is that? We should sound less different from them? If anything, we should sound MORE different.
posted by amberglow at 10:39 AM on June 16, 2005


That was an interesting read. And that guy is a riot, but he is certainly the real deal. A good old Southern Democrat; my favorite kind of politician. And he is right that the biggest failure of the Democratic party was abandoning the South and Southern Democrats.

No Demoract has been elected since Kennedy that hasn't been a Southerner or won some Southern states. To be indignant (if not downright rude) to what once was a strength of the Democratic party is sheer stupidity on the part of Democrats.

This Mudcat guy is great. Thanks for introducing him, though it is a bit sad that one only hears about him from a color piece in the Weekly Standard.
posted by dios at 10:39 AM on June 16, 2005


Why should we ape the GOP's false rhetoric? It's insane, and a strategy that's sure to lose.
posted by amberglow at 10:41 AM on June 16, 2005


and working folks who care more about jobs and the economy and gas prices and education,

Obviously you didn't read the article because Mudcat brings this exact point up. Southern Democrats believe in these things, and that is what the Democratic party should go after. One shouldn't write off an entire segment of the population because your biases leads you to believe that the whole segment is opposed to your one pet issue.
posted by dios at 10:42 AM on June 16, 2005


And he is right that the biggest failure of the Democratic party was abandoning the South and Southern Democrats.
That's only if Southern Democrats=rural or hateful white folks. We do very very well in the South among minorities and the educated.

By supporting Civil Rights, our party lost millions of racists. We should see that as a failure? NOT.
posted by amberglow at 10:43 AM on June 16, 2005


Good lord. Dios is the sane one in a thread once again.

Amberglow, I really think you aren't parsing this. Or maybe your indignation at being a second-class citizen in the eyes of so many is clouding your judgement.

It sounds to me that you're saying we should be more Republican-sounding. What kind of a choice is that? We should sound less different from them? If anything, we should sound MORE different.

That's not what I'm saying at all. Kerry was Republican-lite. He didn't offer the South anything compelling that might sway them.

By and large the Republicans cater to big business and the super-rich. Their few concessions are aimed at small business owners (as many of the conservatives on this site point out on occasion), but in the end it really isn't much. Hell, I know more than one small business owner who is paying out the arse for health insurance and sick of it. These are the same people who get dismissed as the "greedy rich" and they're sick of it.

I live in Florida. Do you know how much some of these landscaping companies bring in? These are the small business owners that are voting Republican. They may make over $100 K a year, but they're being taxed into the ground and paying ridiculous amounts for insurance. Those tax breaks for "the rich" went to them too. They aren't rich. They live in my mom's neighborhood (she makes about 40K/yr).

Again, I don't think you've parsed the article...

After hours of listening to Mudcat talk about how he hates foreign interventions but supports a robust military, about how he detests high taxes and profligate spending, about how he can't stand demonizing all rich people as greedheads, and how he's fervently pro-Second Amendment, I tell him he sounds an awful lot like an old-school Republican. Why not save some time and just become one? "Because since the beginning of time, the big sonofabitch has kicked the little sonofabitch's ass," he says. "Republicans are the big sonsofbitches. And I happen to like the little sonsofbitches. They're my people."
posted by kableh at 10:52 AM on June 16, 2005


and dios: I always read the articles, unlike some i could mention--in fact, had you read this thread you would have seen text I quoted from it.
posted by amberglow at 10:55 AM on June 16, 2005


kableh, when the little sonsofbitches refuse to vote based on their economic interests, but vote instead on a religious or other basis, then how do you get them to vote for you instead of the guys who have been selling them those very issues for years? If it's by speaking of their "values" and how we share them then it's exactly what i said it was. The Republicans lie to them continually. And they buy it, repeatedly. All the GOP has to do in 06 and 08 is talk about gay marriage and values again, and those people will vote for them again, whether they have a job or not, whether they're currently happy or not. They already see the Democrats as godless heathens, and that won't change, no matter how much we talk of their values.
posted by amberglow at 11:01 AM on June 16, 2005


telling Southerners that they're stupid

although........ nevermind, you're right
posted by nervousfritz at 11:02 AM on June 16, 2005


I think that getting rid of the EC would be a good thing because it effectively isolates minority parties at the state and district level. I don't think it's just a matter of reaching out to "bubba." As a progressive in the middle of a "red state," I feel like I get a lot of shit because I live in the wrong zip code, the wrong district, and a state that sends the wrong EC votes.

The "values" thing is not just about church and state and gay rights. It's also about sports, recreation, music, and food. So you have this stereotype set up of the dumb hick who likes nascar and fishing, country music and grits. This is in contrast to the enlightened urbatine who likes basketball and movies, progressive rock and salads. We have the nascar dad set up against the soccer mom.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:02 AM on June 16, 2005


I think the article correctly targets strategies that will bring in more votes for Dems down South. You have to speak to the things that matter, and frame them in ways that make the listener care. The GOP successfully portrayed the Dems as the party of a bunch of West and East coast liberals who look down their noses at the rural south. They were successful because they were not entirely wrong. So the party thumbs its nose at the rural South and they wonder why they lost them as voters? It's not just the racism issue.
posted by caddis at 11:03 AM on June 16, 2005


when the little sonsofbitches . . .

You illustrate my point so nicely.
posted by caddis at 11:04 AM on June 16, 2005


Elections are run on personality.

True. I still think a Brooklyn Guy could play well in the South, if he just was who he was. A southern candidate would add some tactical advantages.

Rendell or Edwards are the 'personality' guys of the party.


Carter was the most moral president ever, and he was soundly defeated, despite being Southern and a good Christian.

...Look at '76 rather than '80. Carter won the Presidency. Then his performance sucked and he lost. Nobody's saying the southern charm is gonna innoculate you forever.


In fact, Carter's '76 victory is actually the best evidence that the Southern tactical strategy can work well for Dems. Given that Ford took New Jersey and California, without a Southern candidate the Democrats would not have won in 1976. People forget how close that was. Ford came darn close to winning.
posted by brucec at 11:05 AM on June 16, 2005


Amberglow, you get what I'm saying about framing, right? It's been discussed quite a bit on the past... And the consensus is that the GOP has been much, much better at it.

Don't be so glum. We kicked that bum McAucliffe out of the DNC and got Dean in there. We're going to turn this party around.

Kerry was a good man, but a piss poor candidate. The GOP saw that and ran with it. They framed him in a way that he couldn't come back from.
posted by kableh at 11:10 AM on June 16, 2005


Also, what KJS said.

(sorry to keep posting so much... All this bitching about Dean has me fired up, and I think this article is spot on)
posted by kableh at 11:10 AM on June 16, 2005


Considering FoxNews' success using veiled racism, fear, jingoism to get the NASCAR viewer, is it immoral for Democrats to not use veiled racism, fear and jingoism?
posted by surplus at 11:21 AM on June 16, 2005


And he is right that the biggest failure of the Democratic party was abandoning the South and Southern Democrats.

when he signed the civil rights act of 1964, lbj commented "i think we just gave the south to the republicans."

so, actually, you know, making the country live up to the ideals referenced in the founding documents is abandoning the south?

it often seems to me that people who accuse the democrats of ignoring the south are giving that sometimes noble, sometimes tortured region of our country a free pass on the issues in its history, and not really giving a thought to how that history affects its voting patterns. it's as though we're supposed to assume that voters in the south are these perfect, rational actors who sprang into being only about 8 years ago, with no regionally-shared memories of the past.

plus, i think that, as always, republican success is being greatly, greatly exaggerated. i really think the political commentary in this country has taken on the tone of sports commentary when there's a team the broadcaster clearly favors and for whom he can't hide his enthusiasm. like when the lakers were making their title runs a few years ago, whenever an opposing team made a play, you'd hear something like "here's bruce bowen for the spurs with a three. got it. HERE'S KOBE BRYANT WITH A HUUUUUGE 3!"

similarly, every republican victory nowadays is HUUUUUUUGE and represents how brilliant they are, while the democrats "eke out wins" and "manage to capture" seats and positions.

what's up with that?
posted by lord_wolf at 11:23 AM on June 16, 2005


It seems like you want to punish the South for their history. Get over it. Punish them for the present, OK, but I think you will find a lot more tolerance in the South than you imagine. You miss the point of the article if you think it means that we have to start allowing cross burning again for the Dems to retake the South. Just stop looking down on them and treat them like people. Find what you have in common, and it is much, rather than your differences.
posted by caddis at 11:31 AM on June 16, 2005


republican success is being greatly, greatly exaggerated

good point lord wolf.

you could write a whole article about how, since 1994, the national Republicans have lost the Northeast's values.
posted by brucec at 11:34 AM on June 16, 2005


Another thing that might help is proportionate representation. Rural states are hugely overrepresented in the House, Senate and electoral college. Fix that and clean up the voting system (I've more than a suspicion that the exit polls were a truer measure of the vote than the actual "count") and I believe you could skip the spin. Americans are a little brighter than the outcomes have indicated, because the outcomes are seriously twisted. I believe democracy can and does work -- we just don't have one.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:37 AM on June 16, 2005


Find what you have in common, and it is much, rather than your differences.

Social Security is coming to mind.
posted by brucec at 11:37 AM on June 16, 2005


I'm a Republican voting Southerner(not currently living in the South, but born and raised there) and I think this analysis is pretty much spot on.

To reduce the Southern vote to a matter of who can bash gays the most or use the most veiled racism reflects a dramatic misunderstanding of Southern culture.

Sure, we have our racists, and our homophobes, but what we mainly have are a lot of independent minded country folk. The key to the South is populism, and it always has been.

The States' Rights issue is not merely cover for racism, its an expression of the fundamentally populist nature of the South. We don't like people telling us what to do, especially Northern elite Yankee types.

You don't need to pander to the racists or bash gays to play to this vote. You do need to be willing to understand that deriding Southern culture, and trying to force change on it that it's not ready for is the surest road to backlash and failure.

Right now, I consider myself a Republican. Not because I'm a racist, and not because I'm especially religious. I'm a Republican because I know there are people in the Republican party who stand for letting me and my state work through our problems on our own. They might not be the majority within the party these days, but they do exist. If you could convince me, and people like me, that the Democratic party would be better home for people who think this way, then you would win the South.

The first step to that, however, is to stop acting like you hate us(which many of you do). Hating us is the best way to drive us into the arms of the Republicans.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:47 AM on June 16, 2005


Look, this article does indeed point out what is wrong with the Democrats in the south. The fact that they hire guys like "Mudcat" or "Mudbug" or what ever stereotypical name he's calling himself rather than educated southerners that aren't just there for color. The party is full of the kind of people that hang up rusty crap that took a guy 5 minutes to build in his garage and call it "outsider art". They find guys like Mudfish here and fall for his crap because he's as grippingly honest as a Billy Bob Thornton script.

I've seen a lot of Presidential candidates speak to southern audiences. Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Dole, Kerry, Bush Jr., Nader, Gore, Edwards... more. I've got to say, of the Democrats the only one that really touched the audience (no pun intended) was Bill Clinton (seen Hillary, not good at all). Clinton was not afraid to engage the people, to come down to them and talk (though he basically did without the south in '96). Edwards had the makings, but it was clear early that his handlers held the reigns and not Edwards.

Bush Jr. plays this part, granted not as well as Clinton did, but he does well. we don't need someone to pander to ideologues or partisan interests in the south. We need someone who will talk to people, not at people and will listen (or make the audience feel like they do). Most importantly, the guy has got to be "honest" (or again, make the audience feel like he is).

You bring me a '92 Bill Clinton and that'll be your boy in '08. He could be a flaming gay abortion doctor and he could take the whitehouse if he just isn't afraid to get down in the dirt with people "genuinely". Ok, maybe not flamingly gay, maybe more of a bear.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:49 AM on June 16, 2005


i get the framing thing, but the real question is what is it that you're framing? I've been talking about common issues we all share--jobs, economy, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. Those things are not what drove the "bubba vote". We talk about those things endlessly, but they don't get media attention when there are hot-button issues to focus on. Getting people to vote based on fear always is stronger than the bread-and-butter issues that are more important. What is it exactly that needs to be framed? Those bread-and-butter issues, or those hot-button issues? For me and many others, those hot-button issues ("values") are non-negotiable and against what this country stands for. You have people who are scared of diversity and equality, and ran away from the Democratic party ages ago.

You illustrate my point so nicely.
Taken directly from the article, and the words they spoke.

Carter's win in 76 was directly a response to Watergate and all the corruption. He was clean and good, and Ford was a placeholder who did nothing. There was also a whole crop of GoodGovernment Senators elected around the same time--Schumer's one of them--All a response to Nixon.

you could write a whole article about how, since 1994, the national Republicans have lost the Northeast's values.
Exactly, except for the wealthy corporate values. The South is not some magical place with "special values" that need to be addressed. It's part of America, even tho many there don't want to be. Every person in the South who's not a "bubba" understands that.
posted by amberglow at 11:49 AM on June 16, 2005


lord_wolf: so, actually, you know, making the country live up to the ideals referenced in the founding documents is abandoning the south?

it often seems to me that people who accuse the democrats of ignoring the south are giving that sometimes noble, sometimes tortured region of our country a free pass on the issues in its history, and not really giving a thought to how that history affects its voting patterns. it's as though we're supposed to assume that voters in the south are these perfect, rational actors who sprang into being only about 8 years ago, with no regionally-shared memories of the past.


Not really. I'm assuming that people everywhere are irrational voters. But what I see in the current regional rhetoric is something of an all-or-nothing approach. If you hate cross burning and homophobia, you must also express contempt for the accent, grits, nascar, fishing, country music and church potlucks.

George_Spiggot: Another thing that might help is proportionate representation. Rural states are hugely overrepresented in the House, Senate and electoral college.

I say, get rid of the EC entirely. If you live in a state that is not in play, and has a late primary, you get squat. Your local and state candidates are not going to get coathooks from whistle stops. Your state party benefits less from fundraising and spending, and minority parties have no play in the national elections.

Without the EC, democratic voters in Tulsa and republican voters in NYC are just as valuable as the undecided in Ohio.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:56 AM on June 16, 2005


Amberglow, I think you're profoundly misunderstanding American politics when you say the South is not a place with "special values"

Every part of America has its own special values and culture, the Northeast's values are different from the Midwest, are different from the West etc. Even within broad regions, the values of New Hampshire say are profoundly different from those of Rhode Island.

Part of the point of a federal system is that while we are all Americans, people from different parts of America are quite different. We need to try and preserve those differences because trying to ignore or destroy them is bound to fail.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:58 AM on June 16, 2005


It seems like you want to punish the South for their history. Get over it. Punish them for the present, OK, but I think you will find a lot more tolerance in the South than you imagine. You miss the point of the article if you think it means that we have to start allowing cross burning again for the Dems to retake the South. Just stop looking down on them and treat them like people. Find what you have in common, and it is much, rather than your differences.

Couldn't agree more. And the article reads:
Since his own great-grandfather got his shoulder blown out by a yankee at Seven Pines, Mudcat is a proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. But he wants it made absolutely clear that his celebration of heritage doesn't mean he's some racist--a common misconception, he says, which is why his fellow Democrats reacted to Dean as though he'd advocated electrocuting puppies.

Many of Mudcat's hunting buddies are black, and he points out that he hasn't shot any of them. In fact, he regularly pronounces against the racists who have tarnished his culture. He keeps a loaded shotgun set against a wall in his dining room, not only to "blast varmints," but also to warn any racists who've heard his taunts and want to stop by for an unfriendly debate. "I'd shoot one of them, and not feel a thing," he says.
posted by jperkins at 11:58 AM on June 16, 2005


I'll go along with amberglow on this one: It's *America*, damn it, the land of the free and the home of the brave, not 'Murica', the land of the ignorant, racist redneck.
You're talking about throwing everything this country was founded on and has existed for since it's founding for *Alabama Man*!!!
Better that the country should just split up and go it's own way than end as 'The South Shall Rise Again'
Go chasing the southern vote? How about 'Hey, let's run like lemmings off the cliff chasing phantoms'
I would rather pursue something more relevant like reforming a deeply corrupt and nepotistic system that bears no resemblence to what the founding fathers intended.
posted by mk1gti at 12:02 PM on June 16, 2005


While Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, speculates that Mudcat and Jarding will "probably be ignored" by their party, he calls their line "one-third true, two-thirds hokum. It's a Carville-lite act with a NASCAR twist, aimed mostly at neurotic urban liberal reporters who love the southern fried two-fisted-damn-Democrat'n'proud-of-it noble savage shtick."

Republicans are right on once again.

Class politics are where it's at. Folks under the poverty line are the new hot demographic. The whole rural angle will be dead in the water once gas really starts to get expensive. I'd bet under 10 years.

Stumpy McStinkalot could have beat the Republicans in 1976. Jimmy Carter is a great man and a good president, but he was a horrible politician.

Punish them for the present, OK, but I think you will find a lot more tolerance in the South than you imagine.

Blacks were really only allowed to vote in the 1960s. Many of those racists are still alive and Democrat.

Btw, what ever happend to slavery reparations.

Without the EC, democratic voters in Tulsa and republican voters in NYC are just as valuable as the undecided in Ohio.

Which is why the EC will never change. America has built a broken system. The only way to kill the EC is to amend the constitution, and amendment ratification involves the same rural advantages of the popular voting system. I'd love to kill the EC as many as anyone, but I can't see it happening. Proportional representation is even more likely than that, IMO.

"I'd shoot one of them, and not feel a thing," he says.

Not the kind of guy I'd like to identify with. I'm not a Democrat, so good luck with that.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:03 PM on June 16, 2005


I would rather pursue something more relevant like reforming a deeply corrupt and nepotistic system that bears no resemblence to what the founding fathers intended.

Does the fact that the South is where the Democrats had (note the past perfect verb tense) historically been getting their wins not computing or are you trolling?

And after the comments that I've seen in this thread, I no longer have to wonder where Southerners get off talking about being talked down to by a bunch of Goddamn Yankees with superiority complexes.
posted by jperkins at 12:16 PM on June 16, 2005


I'll go along with amberglow on this one: It's *America*, damn it, the land of the free and the home of the brave, not 'Murica', the land of the ignorant, racist redneck.

Which is why we libs need to embrace federalism. It's an idea that Republicans once embraced and which would serve us well. That and the former Republican ideals of limited federal government and fiscal conservatism. GIVE THE SOUTH SOMETHING TO VOTE FOR.

Quoth the article:
I can't make you vote for a Democrat," Mudcat continues, "But I can make you look at one." By the time we all take the fraternal leak in Mudcat's yard, Bobby the Eye Doctor, the former die-hard Republican, is ready to look, assuring Mudcat, "You know what? I vote for the person, not the party."

The fact of the matter is that most of those state marriage amendment deals are unconstitutional. But the state level is where it belongs, not at the federal level. Again, if West Virginia wants to pass a law saying gays can't be wed, let them. Then challenge it. Don't tell them their values (however perverse and anti-American they might be) don't matter.
posted by kableh at 12:19 PM on June 16, 2005


You don't need to pander to the racists or bash gays to play to this vote. You do need to be willing to understand that deriding Southern culture, and trying to force change on it that it's not ready for is the surest road to backlash and failure.
Well, we'll stop deriding when you stop deriding us as all elites. We're mostly working class and lower-middleclass in the Northeast and you don't realize that--we care about jobs and money because we have to--it's more expensive up here. We don't pine for a day when only white men were in charge--we're not all white men, and we're too busy trying to keep our heads above water. Quite frankly, we don't give a shit about you either way, until you try to change our laws and constitution and make us unwelcome. We're all different colors and hold all different jobs--We're the America of today.

And forcing change is what we do best up here, so that we all can benefit from being American, not just so that the wealthy can, or that white men can, or that straight people can. From Lincoln on it's been true.

I'd like to see just how big a bubba vote Clinton got in 92. I bet it's smaller than people think.
posted by amberglow at 12:25 PM on June 16, 2005


It seems like you want to punish the South for their history. Get over it. Punish them for the present, OK, but I think you will find a lot more tolerance in the South than you imagine.

That must be why Mudcat has a gun to protect himself from racists. All that tolerance.

The States' Rights issue is not merely cover for racism, its an expression of the fundamentally populist nature of the South. We don't like people telling us what to do, especially Northern elite Yankee types

Emphasis added.

And after the comments that I've seen in this thread, I no longer have to wonder where Southerners get off talking about being talked down to by a bunch of Goddamn Yankees with superiority complexes.

It ain't just New England, dude. Every other part of the country thinks the South sucks, too. Maybe you've got political clout, but that don't make you better than the bunch of Goddamn ignorant bigot Dixie yokels that you are. God bless ya'.
posted by fleacircus at 12:27 PM on June 16, 2005


We do deride everyone as elites, just the politicians, who by and large are. Southerners have no problem with honest hardworking people, even if they're yankees.

The problem is, there are plenty of elites in the North, and they hate us. Take for instance your post, Amberglow. In a few short paragraphs you feel the need to
1)Point out how much harder you have it(it's more expensive up here?)
2)Accuse Southerners of being racist
3)Claim to the "America" of today

This kind of hate filled rhetoric is exactly the kind of thing that is turning off Southern votes, until the day your party gives up on the anti-Southern bigotry of you and your ilk you will have trouble winning elections, and rightfully so. You can't tell 100 millions people that their culture is trash without expecting some consequences.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:37 PM on June 16, 2005


"We do deride" should be "We don't deride", obviously
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:39 PM on June 16, 2005


Every other part of the country thinks the South sucks, too. Maybe you've got political clout, but that don't make you better than the bunch of Goddamn ignorant bigot Dixie yokels that you are.

What a load of hate filled BS. Oh yeah, you got you some tolerance their fleacircus.
posted by caddis at 12:40 PM on June 16, 2005


"there" sheesh.

We are all in this together in this country. The GOP has successfully turned the Red states against the Northeast and West coast and vice versa. Look at the revulsion expressed against the South by some here. That really is disgusting. It is not that much different than expressing hatred of minorities. It has the veil of "we don't like you because of what you do or how you think" but its broad application belies that deceit. Stop and think about what you are saying - you hate the South, the Southern man. That doesn't sound much different to my ears than "hate the French, hate the Puerto Ricans, hate the gays, etc." Stop the hate.
posted by caddis at 12:53 PM on June 16, 2005


Every other part of the country thinks the South sucks, too. Maybe you've got political clout, but that don't make you better than the bunch of Goddamn ignorant bigot Dixie yokels that you are.

I'm posting this from fucking Chicago - grew up within two hours of here. And a Yankee isn't just someone from New England.
posted by jperkins at 12:53 PM on June 16, 2005


It's not 100 million people at all--it's clearly just one strata of white Southerners. And it's not the majority.

I don't see any black Southerners going on and on about "Southern culture" and "special values" and "states rights" or saying that we have to respect their specialness and cater to them. I don't see any Hispanics doing that either.

And it's not hate-filled rhetoric. Hate-filled rhetoric is what has persuaded many white Southerners to vote against their own interests--and it didn't come from Democratic mouths, but from the GOP and "family values" organizations and preachers.
posted by amberglow at 12:54 PM on June 16, 2005


I am constantly amused at people who are quick to call politicians fascist showing that the same people are themselves ideological fascists. "Either you believe and share my values across the board, or you are bigots/racists/hateful/ignorant/etc." Ideological fascism is just as lamentable and unenlightened as political Fascism.
posted by dios at 12:54 PM on June 16, 2005


Pointing out that we're in fact not the elites we're painted as is not in any manner shape or form hate-filled rhetoric. I'm accusing these "bubbas" (as the article so fondly calls them) of being racist--damn right i am. Show me some black "bubbas" and i'll stop doing so.

dios, when it comes to the Constitution and our rights as American citizens--you're exactly right.
posted by amberglow at 12:58 PM on June 16, 2005


Stumpy McStinkalot could have beat the Republicans in 1976

That's a 2005 revisionist view. The election map of '76 doesn't bare that out.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election%2C_1976

Ford was recovering, the short-term economy had a decent year in '76. Ford was able to pulll off a win California and New Jersey.

Carter carried every Southern state except for Virginia, and barely won a few of his states. Overall it was 50 to 48%. Not exactly a Democrat landslide.

Carter's victory came only because he could carry native Southern states. Otherwise we would have had Ford worrying about Iranian hostages


I'd like to see just how big a bubba vote Clinton got in 92. I bet it's smaller than people think.


'92 Clinton won Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. And the election.
posted by brucec at 12:59 PM on June 16, 2005


I don't live in the South, but only the completely blinkered could deny that the South has always been a scapegoat for America's problems. There's ugly history in the region, but was New York City founded by an interacial commune that handsomely compensated the Indians, because I must have missed that. But people who would die before uttering even an inadvertent racial or ethnic slur, will spew "redneck," "hillbilly," "white trash," and "bubba," without blinking an eye. People who gasp at imitations of an Asian or Hispanic accent, will gladly use a drawl as shorthand for stupidity. This is, in a word, hypocrisy. And a certain amount of projection.

We don't pine for a day when only white men were in charge--we're not all white men, and we're too busy trying to keep our heads above water.

Most southerners I've known say the same thing. And please don't paint the Northeast as some kind of multicultural utopia, because even a cursory look around will tell you otherwise.

People want some quick and easy group to blame for the ills of the universe, be it whites, blacks, men, women, gays, straights, northereners and southerners (and variations on this happen in countries all over the world). As far I'm concerned, we all need to step up and take a bite of the shit sandwich cause none of us are innocent.

Show me some black "bubbas" and i'll stop doing so.

Amber, blacks have been moving to the south in large numbers over the past 25 years. And they might not call themselves "bubbas," but many black southerners I've known are very culturally similar to their white counterparts in many ways. And rural southern blacks are often derided by urban northern ones, as well.

It's way more complex than anyone likes to admit.
posted by jonmc at 1:05 PM on June 16, 2005


Come to the South, you'll see all kinds of black "bubbas." The culture this article calls "bubba" culture, redneck culture, Southern culture, it's all a product of the blending of Southern white and black culture, and both sides partake of it.

Sure, there are some racists in the South, and that's part of the culture. But there are racists everywhere, and racism to one degree or another forms part of the culture everywhere. The bulk of Southern culture, however, has nothing to do with race.

The hate comes when people like you, Amberglow and Fleacircus, start hating the whole culture. You treat us all like we're ignorant hicks, and that includes the blacks.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:06 PM on June 16, 2005


You know, one thing that Mudcat's portrayal of Southerners, and those of us in the West share is a deeply held populist sentiment. Given that, as a westerner, I find Mudcat's call for Democrats to woo the southern voters to be nothing more than a call for pandering to another form of special interest., just one that has a lot of votes attached.

Maybe that's too harsh, but it sure seems that there's an implied threat ... "pander to us or lose forever". That's hardly true. The West can be just as valuable as the South, especially considering that we are growing a whole new breed of straight talking populist candidates out here; candidates that will not only appeal to westerners, but to Mudcat's southerners as well.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:12 PM on June 16, 2005


amber, blacks have been moving to the south in large numbers over the past 25 years.

that's b/c the factory jobs that drew them out are gone, and many of us have strong familial roots in the south.

when blacks are moving back to the south they are, by and large, moving to urban areas, especially in and around atlanta. (disclaimer: i'm going by what i've observed and what my friends and family tell me)

rural southern blacks are often derided by urban northern ones, as well.

rural southern blacks are often derided by urban southern blacks as well. read some zora neale hurston. or sit and talk to my mom and some of her brothers and sisters, who grew up in the rural south, and hear what it was like for them when they moved to big (or even "big") cities in the south.

as you say, it's way more complex than anyone admits.

i think we'd all be better off if everybody in america stopped playing the fucking victim card. women, blacks, southerners, northerners: everybody keeps going on and on and on and on about how they're just oh so noble, good, and wonderful, but at the same time they're "the last group it's okay to make fun of," subject to non-stop, baseless derision from people in the out-group, blah blah blah.

can we all grow the hell up, please?
posted by lord_wolf at 1:25 PM on June 16, 2005


can we all grow the hell up, please?

I'd expect an ignorant Cheesehead to say that ;).

*hands lord wolf a brat with kraut and a Schlitz*
posted by jonmc at 1:28 PM on June 16, 2005


"pander to us or lose forever". That's hardly true.


Don't have to pander, but i think a little more reaching out than Kerry did would help. One or two states...let's say Arkansas and Florida, would be nice.
posted by brucec at 1:29 PM on June 16, 2005


*hands lord wolf a brat with kraut and a Schlitz*

Bring enough for everyone?
posted by Necker at 1:34 PM on June 16, 2005


*puts on apron, fires up grill*
posted by jonmc at 1:35 PM on June 16, 2005


Amber: "We don't pine for a day when only white men were in charge--we're not all white men..."

I don't know many folks down here pining for the old days either. There may be a few but no more than anywhere else where the population is racially mixed.

As for us all being "white men" 65% of the population in the city where I live (Memphis) will be surprised to find that they are white. I think a good number of folks in Atlanta, New Orleans and any number of other cities in the south would feel the same.

I've lived in the South all my life. I'm here everyday. I know very few people who voted Republican because of religion or any sort of distaste related to race or sexual orientation. We laugh at the religious zealots just like a large part of the population in other regions of the country.

The majority of us are not gay hating bible thumpers. Have you ever been to the South?
posted by Carbolic at 1:44 PM on June 16, 2005


i'll have to pass on the brat since i'm a vegetarian, but i'll take a couple o' them schlitzes. :-)

also, i'm a native floridian, currently in texas, who loves cheese, but i ain't no cheeshead. nuff respect to my cheeshead brothers and sisters, tho'. ;-)
posted by lord_wolf at 1:45 PM on June 16, 2005


Know what Strohs spelled backwards is?

Yep.

Shorts
posted by Necker at 1:47 PM on June 16, 2005


I don't hate the south at all--I have relatives in Atlanta, and in FL (except it's funny--no one is talking about them when they talk of the South). I just refuse to pander to it, and think it's not us who needs to reach out to white southerners but rather the opposite. If they're not happy, they know they're more than welcome to vote with us. They choose not to, and there are reasons why.

"Reaching out" means what exactly, in terms of white Southerners? No one has actually said what that entails, except for statements about us deriding them and that that's why they vote GOP. I'm terribly sorry economic and equal rights messages don't work for them, and i'm sorry they're so easily turned off by us. The feeling is mutual.
posted by amberglow at 1:52 PM on June 16, 2005


I don't think this is really terribly complex - and I don't think "reaching out" is or should be the same thing as abandoning our positions on core moral issues of the democratic party. I'm a liberal democrat, and I live in North Idaho and ran for the state senate here in '04, and I can suggest a few ways to reach out that were helpful to me.

One way is to talk about issues that are important to all of us, in ways that will particularly resonate with rural folks, sportsmen, that type of thing. Mudcat does this in the article by talking about environmental quality and pollution concerns is ways that will resonate with sportsmen - such as poor water quality killing off the trout. We did the same thing here by talking about dredging of our quite polluted river to build a new Hagadone Hospitality marina for the hoi polloi as being a good opportunity to stir up the toxic nastiness embedded in the river bottom and kill off just about everything living downstream.

Another aspect of reaching out is to not come off as a phony. No one believed John Kerry was really into NASCAR, or shootin' off big guns - and it came across as condescending when he'd intermittently try to be "a regular joe" - we know that's not him, and it just embarrasses everyone involved because it comes across as totally disingenuous.

Not to mention the fact that Kerry had no chance to “out redneck” Dubya – not because he’s the “real deal”, rather because he’s had twenty five or so years to perfect his down-homey Crawford shtick.

Democratic candidates need to be respectful of where people are coming from, have a compelling vision of what we all share in common, and where we need to be going as a nation, and need to show some sack, and make it unequivocally clear that they are not going to back down on what they stand for and what needs to be accomplished to get us where we need to be.
posted by stenseng at 2:07 PM on June 16, 2005


Frankly, Amber, you can fuck off with that "the South needs to come to us."
You know why? Because there ARE MORE OF THEM THAN YOU. And y'know what, I'd like to win an election more than I'd like the Amberglow Stamp of Ideological Purity. Sorry. And if that means that gays can't get married in every state for another ten years, but we get universal health care, well, I can deal with that.
I agree with 90% of your positions, pal, and I'm willin' to tell you that you're being a condescending prick and are actively working against your own interests. You think the south is retarded for voting Republican when it screws them economically? You're really fucking retarded for insisting that they come around to your rigid ideology. As a gay, as a liberal, every time you smugly declare that the South should come to you, you're saying that you really don't want to have equal rights enough to look for compromises that work.
And I'm not talking pandering. I'm from the North (Michigan), but I've got a lot of rural, Southern family. They were all New Deal democrats that have turned into Republicans because they're scared of teh gay. Y'know what? I can talk them into supporting politicians that support gay rights by framing the conversation in terms of what they want and what their motivations are.
So, y'know, frankly, as long as you and mk1gti want to keep handing out copies of The Spark on street corners instead of doing anything that will actually get your way in politics, I'm gonna have to tune your bullshit out. If you don't like it, you're free to vote for LaRouche. His acolytes prize the type of rigidity that you exhibit.
posted by klangklangston at 2:10 PM on June 16, 2005


amberglow: I don't see any black Southerners going on and on about "Southern culture" and "special values" and "states rights" or saying that we have to respect their specialness and cater to them. I don't see any Hispanics doing that either.

Well, I think that's primarily because in our dominant culture, minorties are all one homogenous mass. However, I've read African-American lit that was keenly aware of regional traditions.

jonmc: I don't live in the South, but only the completely blinkered could deny that the South has always been a scapegoat for America's problems. There's ugly history in the region, but was New York City founded by an interacial commune that handsomely compensated the Indians, because I must have missed that. But people who would die before uttering even an inadvertent racial or ethnic slur, will spew "redneck," "hillbilly," "white trash," and "bubba," without blinking an eye. People who gasp at imitations of an Asian or Hispanic accent, will gladly use a drawl as shorthand for stupidity. This is, in a word, hypocrisy. And a certain amount of projection.

Hammer, nail, bang!

Carbolic: As for us all being "white men" 65% of the population in the city where I live (Memphis) will be surprised to find that they are white. I think a good number of folks in Atlanta, New Orleans and any number of other cities in the south would feel the same.

Shhhh! They think that the entirety of the U.S. between the coasts looks either like Dukes of Hazard, or the Waltons.

amberglow: "Reaching out" means what exactly, in terms of white Southerners?

Well, here is an example. Ted Rall a few months back wrote an essay talking about how sources of news, information and culture are so damn inferior away from the coasts, and then he dropped the bomb that it was a "miracle" that Dems got 40% of the vote in some traditional red state.

It wasn't a miracle at all. Behind that 40% is a fair amount of heartfelt politics, and a lot of work by volunteers that Rall had just made invisible and irrelevant, because clearly they did not have the resources to understand the issues, and did none of the work of getting people to polls.

So a part of it is not writing off the work that gets done in "red state" communities as pointless or irrelevant. Rather than writing off entire blocks of zip codes as just filled with redneck jesus freaks, start looking at ways to leverage that activism.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:21 PM on June 16, 2005


klang, you might want to take a break. amberglow has a good question:

"Reaching out" means what exactly, in terms of white Southerners?

I would change this to be "any southerners", but it is a good question. Anyway, you and amber are both running a little hot right now. You might want think about being on the same side for a while. 'just suggesting.

And stenseng, pleased to meet you. I get excited whenever I encounter a MeFite within 350 miles of my local.

On preview, KJS is my new hero!
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:29 PM on June 16, 2005


stenseng writes "he’s had twenty five or so years to perfect his down-homey Crawford shtick."

Actually he had a lot less time than that. Dubya had probably never even heard of Crawford until advisors told him to buy a ranch there to prop up his 'rancher' image. In 1999.

You can't make this shit up. Google it if you'd like. Dubya is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American public AFAIK. There is absolutely nothing genuine about him. He's a die-hard Christian -- except that he rarely ever attends services. He's a rancher -- but only since his travel schedule left him practically no time to do whatever ranchers do. He's supposedly a straight shooter, but the positions he takes from day to day are diametrically opposed to views he's expressed in the past (often on record).

But to come back to the main point, given that he'd lived up till 1999 in various apartments in Austin, I'm not quite as shocked as many were to hear of his ill-fated attempts to milk a male horse...
posted by clevershark at 2:29 PM on June 16, 2005


If you don't like it, you're free to vote for LaRouche.

Don't forget about Leonard Peltier.

What were we talking about again?

the South has always been a scapegoat for America's problems

Immigrants, blacks, Jews, communists, atheists spring to mind.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:30 PM on June 16, 2005


My, this thread is just a hoppin!
I guess this is where I throw a monkey wrench into the works: This country is and always has been a melting pot.
Look around you. Black, Hispanic, Asian, now east Indian, Pakistani, Arabic, middle European, etc. It's all evolving and growing and whether you want to accept it or not, minorities are gaining on caucasians in many areas, including, especially, education. That means more informed voters. That means powerful minorities that aren't going to take racist, intolerant nonsense in the shorts like they used to have to. That means in years past when they had no choice but to take it they will have memories. And payback on the agenda. You can count on it. So that means you can argue all you want about 'The southern redneck vote counts'. Or not, it really doesn't matter. Da White Man's Time in this country gets closer to running it's last legs every day.
Speaking for me personally, I spent part of my childhood growing up in Virginia so I know what it's like growing up in a southern state and for minorities, it's still no fun. Yeah sure, there's some integration, some attempts to put the past behind them, but grasping onto fundamentalist religion and listening to your local preacher tell you that you should vote republican 'cause 'that's what the good lord would want' isnt' democracy, that's bullshit. Everybody knows it, no one likes it and one way or another it will be forced to stop.
So klangklangston, you go ahead and put on your little pity party, your time is a comin' son, and there's not a god-damned thang you can do about it.
Get ready to call Sahib 'Mr Sahib' and smile when you say that, son. And put a good shine on them shoes!
posted by mk1gti at 2:31 PM on June 16, 2005


Clevershark - you're wrong on one point, which is that Dubya really IS the fratboy who spouts malapropisnms with a texas twang, the kinda guy most likely to tell dirty jokes at a poker party, or choke on a pretzel watching football - there's not much phony about that- as a public political figure, he's a total fraud, but as a personality, he's pretty authentic, and I think that's where a lot of folks get suckered, the difficulty in separating the personality from the policy.

Oh, and 'sup Wulfgar - you wanna go shoot some shit sometime?=)
posted by stenseng at 2:35 PM on June 16, 2005


And to add a little to what KJS said, why not give a little financially, to important campaigns in redstate areas. If we have a disproportionate amount of the power, don't we offer the best return on investment?

The locals will know who the talent is at populist politics that will win the South and the West. The Washington power centers of the Democratic elite, would have us believe that we can win with vision alone. Vision only extends to the horizon, and this won't do. If populist connection is what you need, then trust the local populace to get the job done. In regions where hard work gets things done for not much money, giving the money and letting us do the work seems pretty sensible. But that isn't how the Democratic party operates. They throw money at high profile races, and neglect that fact that we can work too ... if we have the money to do so.

Don't dis us as succumbing to the GOP as if they are friends. In many red states, it's just that the GOP looks like they give a hoot. Fine. But wouldn't it be spiffy if local campaigning for locally attractive candidates could not only win hot-spot races but rather twice the races that were considered "important"?

I don't think anybody has to pander to anybody else. Just help us do our job on the local level. The rest will follow.

on preview: stenseng, I'd like that alot ... especially if we could go shooting while we're shooting some shit. I'll buy. My email is on my website, and my website is in my profile.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:47 PM on June 16, 2005


Frankly, Amber, you can fuck off with that "the South needs to come to us."
You know why? Because there ARE MORE OF THEM THAN YOU. ... You think the south is retarded for voting Republican when it screws them economically? ... They were all New Deal democrats that have turned into Republicans because they're scared of teh gay. Y'know what? I can talk them into supporting politicians that support gay rights by framing the conversation in terms of what they want and what their motivations are.

No, there aren't more of them, and there are less of them every day--read mk1's comment above. What you don't get is that no one needs to go anywhere. They're happy enough with the GOP to vote for them, and it's not for economic or pocketbook reasons, nor is it for civil rights reasons--that's just how it is.

There are many many millions of non-voters to get all over the country (single women, new citizens, young people, etc), so these "bubbas" really aren't important, except to the media, and in their own minds--Just like i'm not important. But I know i wouldn't vote against my economic interests ever ever--it's too bad that doesn't get addressed--here or anywhere. That tells me that other things are more important to them--their "motivations", as you say. And the 60 million quoted in the article came right out of their ass. That's 1/2 the number who voted in total in 2004, and guess what? Half of them weren't "bubbas".

Fear of the other trumps economics or healthcare or everything--and it's not about talking to people differently. They're not infants, and will vote the way they want for whatever reasons they want. They're buying what the GOP is selling--fine. We can get more than enough votes elsewhere, and trends are our way, not the "bubbas".

I guess it's more important to insult me than to answer my question? "Reaching out" means what exactly, in terms of white Southerners? Let's see some concrete ways that wouldn't be construed as pandering or faking, and let's see why they work, and stats that show it.
posted by amberglow at 2:51 PM on June 16, 2005


Wulf, that's exactly what Dean's doing now, all over the country. And that's something that all local people have wanted, all over the country.
posted by amberglow at 2:53 PM on June 16, 2005


Amber, if fortune smiles, I'm going to see Gov. Dean on the 16th of next month. That's right, way out in the MON*. That's why I like Dean. He understands that each region is important, and more important still, the people who do the work deserve the benefit of a hardy "the DNC gives a crap. Whooohoooo". That includes the South.

*middle of nowhere
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:00 PM on June 16, 2005


First, I want to make clear that to me anyway, reaching out to rural voters is NOT code for abandoning equal rights for glbt folks, or any other issue core to Democratic principles of social justice and equal opportunity - I have gay family members - equal rights for ALL Americans is non-negotiable to me. Rather, reaching out to rural voters has more to do with being a straight shooter, not playing a part, not condescending to them, and focusing on the majority of issues which we all share in common.

I can verify what Wulfgar is talking about from a resources standpoint. In a red state like Idaho, money always flows up the chain, not down. In presidential years, local candidates in Idaho are told from they are pretty much on their own financially, and local parties are constantly under pressure to raise pretty much ALL the money for local races, as well as supporting our statewide and national candidates. This is ass backwards in my humble opine, and hopefully it looks like Chairman Dean agrees. For the first time in a long time, so called red state local and state candidates are going to start seeing somewhat substantial financial and organizational support from the state and national parties, and all I can say is it's about goddamned time.

(oh, Wulfgar, I was definitely talking about shooting some shit, whilst shooting THE shit - I've got a crazy old russian infantry rifle that kicks like a mule that I haven't gotten out to shoot in far far too long. I'll email ya.)
posted by stenseng at 3:04 PM on June 16, 2005


so these "bubbas" really aren't important, except to the media, and in their own minds--Just like i'm not important. But I know i wouldn't vote against my economic interests ever ever-

Every voter is important.

I vote against my economic interest almost every election because I think the little guy needs a break. The Bush tax policies have already saved me a ton of cash, but they are still wrong for this country.
posted by caddis at 3:07 PM on June 16, 2005


You people are totally discounting the KKK vote. I mean, they have the whole solidarity thing down.

Get off yer high horse and cater to these vote-bearing citizens.
posted by dreamsign at 3:08 PM on June 16, 2005


And if making them feel good because they're white and Christian is what they want to hear, and that's the thing that gets them to the voting booths...well, then they got what they paid for: bad infrastructure and no jobs and no living.
posted by amberglow


Actually, cnn just ran a piece from a couple of days ago about the job outlook, and it was actually highest in the south.
posted by justgary at 3:18 PM on June 16, 2005


caddis, the Bush tax cut saves me about $800 a year. The increase in my power bill, since Republican politics raped the only truly profitable publicly owned utility service in the country (Montana Power). my power bill is up $1200 a year. I'm sorry, but this state generates enormous amounts of power through hydro-electric dams. Why am I paying California power rates? Oh, right, Republican politics. My tax cut was a subsidy to the power industry, and I won't even go into how much more gas is costing me.

I'm sorry, and I know that we agree on these matters. But anyone who thinks the Bush tax cuts have really saved them money, is either rich, or an idiot.

Now is that insulting southerners, or an observation of fact? I don't think people in the South are stupid, but I have to wonder what the hell their thinking is ... as I do my own statesmen.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:24 PM on June 16, 2005


I, personally am going for the snail-eating Morroccan immigrant vote . . .
posted by mk1gti at 3:27 PM on June 16, 2005


Immigrants, blacks, Jews, communists, atheists spring to mind.

I said "a" scapegoat, grimm, not "the." And you're right. My point is this, we love to trot out stereotypical toothless rednecks as the representation of American racism, when 1) there's plenty of outer borough Jews and Italians who bitch endlessly about the "moolies," and "schvartzers," and use racist realtors to keep them out, NTM some of the most homphobic shit I've ever heard has come out of urban, northern black and hispanic mouths, so nobody's innocent and 2) the stereotypical redneck (mening working class southern white male) is relatively powerless himself, in the grand political scheme of things, he dosen't make public and corporate policy, in fact he's getting screwed right along with the rest of us, even if many of them are too blinkered to see it.

Reaching out to southerners would mean simply this: not approaching them from the jump as ignorant racist hicks, which is what many in this thread are doing.
posted by jonmc at 3:28 PM on June 16, 2005


so these "bubbas" really aren't important, except to the media...

I actually agree with this. As you characterize them (extreme racist, white, gay bashing, bible thumpers) they really aren't very important because there just aren't that many of them. The media loves them because it keeps you watching the news. If you depend upon the media rather than personal experience for your opinion of the region you will never get a clear picture of what we are really like.

There is a whole lot more to the South than that relatively small subspecies. I run into that sort of "Bubba" ever once in a while and am surprised they still exist at all (admittedly I don't spend much time in the rural areas any more).

Southern whites reaching out? Being constantly characterized as a cross burning redneck by those we are expected to reach out to probably has a chilling effect on that possibility.
posted by Carbolic at 3:33 PM on June 16, 2005


about the job outlook, and it was actually highest in the south.

That's because the jobs are going to where the standard/cost of living (take your pick) is the lowest.

The Bush tax policies have already saved me a ton of cash

National debt today: $7,786,439,534,447.57

National debt Bush inherited: $5,807,463,412,200.06

Your share of this additional debt: $12,666.

How much have these tax cuts saved you again, caddis?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:41 PM on June 16, 2005


There is a whole lot more to the South than that relatively small subspecies. I run into that sort of "Bubba" ever once in a while and am surprised they still exist at all (admittedly I don't spend much time in the rural areas any more).

Carbolic, the article is about "bubbas" and rural southern voters, not all Southerners--that's why we can't discuss this normally--you guys immediately take it as an attack on all Southerners every single time.

Heywood, we had a SURPLUS when Clinton left office. Bush inherited money and blew it all then borrowed trillions to give those tax cuts.
posted by amberglow at 3:47 PM on June 16, 2005


As you characterize them (extreme racist, white, gay bashing, bible thumpers) they really aren't very important because there just aren't that many of them.

false, as evidenced by all the anti-gay marriage initiatives that passed in 2004, and the close interrelationship of the CCC and the southern republican parties.

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

The man who uttered these words was demoted, but just down to chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:51 PM on June 16, 2005


we had a SURPLUS when Clinton left office

technically, it was right on the line, counting the SS surplus, here are the true ending national debts for each FY of Clinton's 2nd term budgets:

09/30/1998 $5,526,193,008,897.62
09/30/1999 $5,656,270,901,615.43
09/29/2000 $5,674,178,209,886.86
09/28/2001 $5,807,463,412,200.06

Granted, this small rate of growth was more than sufficient, if maintained, to put the country on track to have a very good bill of health.

But after ~9 years of boomtimes of the 1990s the business cycle WAS going to spin down... there's only so many new cars, refrigerators, skidoos, etc. people feel the need to buy.

And actually the taxcuts aren't that big, not trillions, just tens of billions here and there. Over 10 years it will add up into the 1-2 trillion range, tho. Ah, here's some numbers:

Top 1% of taxpayers get $116B in tax rebates this year
Next 4% get $28B
Next 15% get $58B
Next 20% get $43.6B
Remainiung 60% get $46B

for a total of $300B in additional monies borrowed from China, Japan, and of course that top 1% above, LOL. What a racket.

But the current deficit is equal parts tax cuts and rising federal spending. Admin apologists, trying to play the laffer curve here, "look at the job growth!", but fail to mention all the good numbers include public sector jobs.

Remove the $2.xT Uncle Sugar is redistributing each year and see where we'd end up, LOL.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:11 PM on June 16, 2005


At the beginning of this thread I commented about how the whole 'chasing the bubba vote' is just a diversion from the real issues at hand, which is the right wing conservatives practicing a politics of divisiveness instead of inclusion. Example: liberal northeasterners hate southerners. Southerners are rednecks that should be loathed and despised by liberal elitists. You can't trust northerners, you can't trust southerners, you can't trust me, you, your neighbor, your corner merchant. Fear all.
Well, look at how this thread turned out.
It should all be about inclusion, and it doesn't have to mean that all white southerners are racist or bubbas or that all who do not come from the south are elitists or liberals. What it should be about is all of us working together to make this country a better place and letting conservatives keep us all from doing this by keeping us at each others throats is exactly what they want.
So screw going after the bubba vote. It's a diversion, it is not relevant.
Work on something relevant, such as uniting instead of dividing. Know your true enemy. It is not you, and it is not me. It is those in D.C. yanking our chains each and every day and laughing as we want to tear each other apart on a long-perpetuated lie.
posted by mk1gti at 4:19 PM on June 16, 2005


Heywood: The Bubbas described in the article aren't the ones being describe by some in this thread. In this thread "Bubbas" are being characterized as bigoted, gay bashing, bible thumpers who want impose their ideas about morality on the rest of the country.

The way Southerners are being characterized by some here would be no different than if I were to characterize Gays as promiscuous, disease ridden, pedophiles who want to recruit our children over to their team.

It's bullshit on both counts.
posted by Carbolic at 4:37 PM on June 16, 2005


What mk1 just said. Unfortunately, the conservatives are using gay-bashing and bible-thumping to good effect, the playing the victim card when liberals respond.

My fundie mom, much more of a big-government liberal than I, since she is a boomer who grew up in the era of JFK & LBJ, basically believes Dems are the party of Satan, and there's not much that's going to change her mind (she just called me bitching about how her Medicare plan is adding copays for her prescriptions starting next year -- she didn't take too well to my comment 'that's what you get for voting republican!').

btw, this from kableh was horribly wrong:

That's the point of federalism. The federal government shouldn't have a say one way or another"

The federal constitution is a document guaranteeing rights to all americans -- fuck with these rights in your state or locality long enough and expect your fellow americans to come over and put a boot in your ass.

The way I see it as a lefty-lib, the Constitution is in the business of mandating protections, not limitations, on liberty. I do think the Feds are spending an order of magnitude too much right now but that's another can of worms.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:39 PM on June 16, 2005


I mean Amber rather than Heywood
posted by Carbolic at 4:39 PM on June 16, 2005


Bubbas are where you find them. At dinner I attended - when the governorship of Washington state was still being contested - I sat across the table from a man who castigated Christine Gregoire and Hillary Clinton as being ugly. . Not a word about competence...
posted by Cranberry at 4:47 PM on June 16, 2005


This was a man from the blue state of Washington in the blue state of Oregon.
posted by Cranberry at 4:48 PM on June 16, 2005


In this thread "Bubbas" are being characterized as bigoted, gay bashing, bible thumpers who want impose their ideas about morality on the rest of the country.

well, for one, every state (other than the small N.E. states) has its bubbas in the rural areas, people who strongly believe in the their calling to save the country from secular humanism, who truly do believe that "God Bless America" claptrap and don't want to see this divine goody bag taken away due to them evil democrats with their evolution and gay rights agendas.

Bubbadom is a confluence of a lot of cultural stuff: conservative End-Times Christianity; xenophobia/ignorance of other societies/cultures; american exceptionalism; prejudice and outright racism.

I don't know what the answer is, but the fpp here is just framing it more ("You don't matter to me! I'm calling the waambulance!"), and Dean's recent mouth-flappings haven't improved the situation.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:50 PM on June 16, 2005


well, for one, every state (other than the small N.E. states) has its bubbas in the rural areas,

There's parts of New Hapshire, Maine and Vermont you need to visit.
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on June 16, 2005


yeah, that's why I qualified that with small; I was thinking Connecticut and R.I. actually, these are the deepest blue states.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:59 PM on June 16, 2005


There is also a problem with the term "Bubba" and I don't know that at times it doesn't cause some confusion regarding the meaning of the person using the term.

When I use the term, and I assume "Mudcat" would use it the same way, I mean a relatively simple guy who isn't much interested in the details of politics and whose biggest concerns are his next meal and when deer season opens. I wouldn't characterize Bubba a a champion of diversity but he's no klansman either. These are the same fellows who would be characterized as white blue collar workers if located in Queens or the midwest.

In the South it's actually most often intended as a term of endearment.
posted by Carbolic at 5:07 PM on June 16, 2005


Good point Carbolic. While there is a stronger correlation of bible-thumping to exurb/rural conservative voters, growing up in rural areas of California I could get a glimpse of what Bubba was all about. Now, Bubba's wife is going to want to go to church etc. but Bubba himself isn't so involved in that stuff.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:17 PM on June 16, 2005


Heywood, if my tax savings exceed your calculated expense shouldn't I be happy? WELL I AM NOT! These tax changes are BAD BAD and really BAD! The real bottom line: we have an increasing number of working people at the bottom of the income scale, working mind you, not loafing, yet unable to meet their monthly expenses not to mention recreation or whatever. This is EVIL! With this, BushMonkey gives the wealthy a big tax break. You can laugh at the low income "bubbas" who voted for this travesty, and they probably deserve a bit of that, but how do we solve the problem?
posted by caddis at 6:16 PM on June 16, 2005


caddis
How do we solve the problem? I think it'll be something like storming Baron Frankenstien's castle in the end. . .
"Burn the Witch ! ! ! Buuuurrrrrrnnnn ttthhheee Wiiittttcchhhhh ! ! !
posted by mk1gti at 6:24 PM on June 16, 2005


I certainly don't expect our legislators or representatives to bail us out of this, nor do I expect the electoral system to help us, or big business, nor do I expect 'the system' to correct itself. What else does that leave?
posted by mk1gti at 6:26 PM on June 16, 2005


Maw, get me mah shootin' ahron ! ! !
posted by mk1gti at 6:26 PM on June 16, 2005


Recipe for a Democratic Presidential win:

Dynamic Candidate: too bad Bill can't run

First principles: the Democratic party is the populist party, the party of the people, not the rich people of the coasts, not the minorities, but all the people, and especially the little people of all kinds. Big tents are Dem values not GOP values.

Reasonableness: Protect the environment, but save most jobs; protect the worker, but don't kill the business; more importantly: remember fiscal responsibility, remember Federalism; AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, OF ALL, OF ALL: it is not a fight between liberals and the rest of the world - we all basically want the same thing we just approach it differently.
posted by caddis at 6:41 PM on June 16, 2005


Caddis makes good points.

I have to admit I have gained a new appreciation for Bill Clinton over the past few years. I'm not a huge Bush II fan I just preferred him to Gore or Kerry.

Another thing people need to do is quit reacting so heatedly to the haters, religious zealots and scaremongers. I think the outrage they elicit from liberals has a much bigger effect on the red staters you're worried about than they do. "Must be something to what they say look how heated up it gets them liberals."

Don't talk about it as gay "marriage" right off the bat. Calling it marriage puts it into a religious context for these people and that threatens them. The religious nutballs have them convinced you want to take over their churches. What gays need is a union that the states recognize with the same state granted rights that heteros have.. Get the rights and then worry about what it's going to be called after the fact.

Spend more time and energy exposing the human side of the issue. The ways not having a state recognized marriage/union affects the rights of committed partners when it comes to determining medical treatment in extreme circumstance or complicates their ability to own property together. Explain the economic inequalities like how unfair it is that married hetero couples without children get the marriage tax break but a gay couple that is just as committed has to file as singles. Point out that that same hetero couple can add their partner to their company's group health plan but in many cases the same advantage is not available to the gay couple. I think taking that approach would win over a significant percentage of the nay sayers. If I'm wrong I'll be right in there with you to fight for those rights and I think a lot of other people who are silent on the subject at the minute will be too.

Maybe the Dems need to start asking themselves WWBillD.
posted by Carbolic at 9:45 PM on June 16, 2005


ARRRGH.

I never thought I'd say this--dios is SPOT ON and amberglow is dead wrong.

The attitude that all southerners who aren't democrats are clearly rural, hateful racists is why most southerners HATE DEMOCRATS IN THE FIRST PLACE. Northern liberals are hated in the south because they treat us like simple fools whose economic problems were all brought upon ourselves and are too stubborn/ignorant to accept help. The majority of southerners vote Republican for two reasons. The main reason is Republicans seem like the only party who even gives a shit about the South, and somewhere far in the back is the "values" thing. To the South, the Democratic Party seems to be wrapped up in social issues they may or may not agree with but they DEFINITELY aren't concerned with, and is either apathetic towards or downright disdainful of the South.

When southern Democrats (such as myself) talk about winning back the South, we aren't talking about giving up our core values to win over hardcore fundamentalists and Klan members--we're talking about winning the average folks we grew up with, the ones whose primary concerns are economic--remember, Tennessee was a pretty solidly blue state for a long, long time thanks to TVA (I come from a family of hardcore TN dems). We need to remind the south that we're the party who brought them TVA and we're the party who wants to help them, that the Republicans are the ones who really represent the upper-class snobs. We have to stop allowing the Republicans free reign over the South, and in doing that we can keep these campaigns from becoming mired in "values" (which the government generally shouldn't have much of a concern with ANYWAY) and keep focused on the real issues--the fact that the Southern economy is in shambles, that the soldiers sent to fight and die in a pointless war are overwhelmingly Southern (and poor), etc.

The only democratic presidential wins in 35 years were Southern men--that's a fucking fact. And they won with SOUTHERN SUPPORT. You can call us whatever you want, but you aren't going to win without us, so you need to stop acting like you're better than someone and get down here and talk to us. All this anti-Southern rhetoric in these comments, to me, is just as bad as any racist diatribe I've ever seen (and let me remind you that the South has a sizeable minority population, and while racism is still alive here AS IT IS IN THE WHOLE FUCKING COUNTRY, on the whole we get along just fine). Your hateful attitude is WHY we've stayed poor and disadvantaged, and it's why you will continue to lose and continue to make all of us suffer.

On preview: Carbolic's comments on gay marriage are DEAD ON.
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 10:05 PM on June 16, 2005


One thing I've noticed here as well is a good dialogue taking place on this thread about this subject and similar topics than usually takes place on me-fi.
Maybe there's hope for us all yet. Think uniters, not dividers. That goes for all of us regardless of political stripe.
posted by mk1gti at 10:20 PM on June 16, 2005


Not that division politics hasn't worked for the past 6 years or so.. Just as long as you can scrape up a majority.
posted by Balisong at 1:43 AM on June 17, 2005


Digby on Mudcat back in Feb, and he's exactly right: ...Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter were all southern white males, and we blue staters voted for them without a second thought. Before that, Lyndon Johnson won the blue states in a landslide. As I recall, we rather rather liked their southern roots. Let's just get this one thing straight. The theory that non-southerners are intolerant of "his kind" is undisputably wrong. We have happily voted for southern white males many times. It's southerners who refuse to vote for anyone who comes from anywhere else.
But, just being happy to vote for southern white males isn't good enough, is it? We don't properly get into macho, good ole boy culture. Ok. Let's try that. I have absolutely no problem with a born again, cowboy hat wearing president from a southern state who hunts and drives fast cars and even, dare I say it, engages in the most macho sport of all --- clearing brush. He can tie on a six gun and practice quick drawing in the rose garden for all I care. I am not offended by any of those things.
But again, that's the problem, isn't it? It is not enough to be tolerant. We must adopt both their style and their policies before they are happy. Everyone must be a NASCAR fan. If you are not, they will take it to mean that you disrespect their love of NASCAR. Everyone must hunt. If you don't, then you are being intolerant of their love of hunting. If you don't talk about religion the way they talk about it, you are not properly religious. Rappers must wear cowboy boots, hispanics must speak English, we all have to drive American trucks with confederate flags on the back and drink Jack and be exactly like these macho, southern white men before they will feel secure enough to vote with us. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:53 AM on June 17, 2005


damn, I was just writing up something similar and then amberglow had to go post that Digby quote that nails it. If us New Englanders will vote for Bubba Clinton over, say, reserved CT patriarch Bush I with absolutely no drama, no complaints about his manner not being 'Northeast enough' and no talk that he's some sort of ignorant backwoods hick, and yet, when the shoe's on the other foot, we have to hear about how Kerry (who bent over, probably too far, to sound conciliatory to the South) is some sort of northeast elitist who doesn't understand the south and doesn't respect its culture, who's really being intolerant here? It sounds like the South wants to reserve their right to be bigoted against Northerners while demanding that Northerners treat them as equals. Meanwhile, up here, we'll just keep voting for who we think will make the best president.

And please, spare us this please-don't-call-it-marriage rant about gay rights. If you think that gay couples only deserve a *cough* 'seperate but equal' classification for their relationship, then say it, but don't pretend that's an example of liberal elitists' intolerance.
posted by boaz at 6:29 AM on June 17, 2005


boaz: I'm not talking about "*cough* 'separate but equal'" for gays. I was talking about the realities of obtaining equality. For whatever reason the resistance to the idea seems to be stronger if it's called "marriage". The only reason I can come up with for why that is the case is because the word marriage puts it into a religious context for some people. It's ashame but that seems to be the reality. It doesn't matter to me personally what it's called.

Amber: I have never been to a NASCAR race and I don't hunt. The same goes for the majority of my extended family and other people I generally associate with. You're applying generalizations to the entire population that applies to a MINORITY of our population. "All gays love show tunes". NASCAR and hunting are pretty popular in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana too.
posted by Carbolic at 7:02 AM on June 17, 2005


amberglow: Digby on Mudcat back in Feb, and he's exactly right:

The fact that you found someone to validate your own prejudices hardly doesn't make either of you "right."

But again, that's the problem, isn't it? It is not enough to be tolerant. We must adopt both their style and their policies before they are happy. Everyone must be a NASCAR fan. If you are not, they will take it to mean that you disrespect their love of NASCAR. ...blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Yes, yes, it's not a problem that most people can't seem to express their dislike of NASCAR or hunting without rolling their eyes and a tone of disdain indicating that NASCAR is several rungs down on the class-culture ladder. In practice, I've never found this to be the case in talking to either hunters or NASCAR fans.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:50 AM on June 17, 2005


Carbolic, i haven't been talking about any general population at all in this thread--at all. It's about BUBBAS, not the whole South, or all Southern people. I wish you would understand that--i've said it before--many times. This thread is about Bubbas, as the subjects of the article clearly state, not the entire South. How many times do we have to say that?

When we talk about Soccer Moms here, no one makes the mistake of extrapolating it out to all women--why do you continually do that about the South? We all know southerners, and we all voted for them too. We know the difference between Bubbas and the South--you think we don't, and you guys are mistaken.

It's not my prejudices Kirk, but your insecurities and need to fight over a perceived yet nonexistent slight.

You guys really need to stop this--everything posted here about any thing at all in the South is not a slight on you and doesn't need to be defended by you, nor do you need to attack the rest of us.

And what boaz said. Listen to him--you're obviously not listening to me.
posted by amberglow at 10:34 AM on June 17, 2005


amberglow: Carbolic, i haven't been talking about any general population at all in this thread--at all. It's about BUBBAS, not the whole South, or all Southern people. I wish you would understand that--i've said it before--many times. This thread is about Bubbas, as the subjects of the article clearly state, not the entire South. How many times do we have to say that?
...
And what boaz said. Listen to him--you're obviously not listening to me.


Well, I'm not quite so certain about that because there seems to be some interesting shifts in language. It's rather like the people I know who generalize gay men as swishy drag queens, and then when challenged on that generalization, they say something like, "not the entire gay community" and then go back to talking about swishy drag queens as the dominant factor in the gay community.

There is some real sloppyness going on here. Boaz uses the term "the South," dropping "Bubba" only in reference to Clinton. For Digby, it's "southern white men," not "southern white men of a particular social class and culture." You've spent about half of your posts (especially early in this thread) using the wide brush of "southern voters" and "rural voters" and only recently started jumping back and forth between "the south" and "but not that south." The subtext of your posts suggests that while you play the game of "the south, but not that south," you tend to see Bubba culture as perhaps the defining element "southern votes" and "rural votes."

But of course, in my last post, I was not referring to "the South" either. I was specifically addressing the same demographic you call Bubbas, and that Digby attacks: hunters and NASCAR fans.

My experiences with the "Bubba" members of my family is that they went above and beyond in attempting to accomodate my vegetarianism at family gatherings. While there may be Bubbas out there who will object to a lack of shared love of NASCAR, hunting and fishing, I've never really met them. IME, expressed disdain towards these activities (coupled with assumptions about the intelligence of fans) is much more common.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:58 AM on June 17, 2005


I have learned to be really skeptical when someone says something like, "gays, but not those gays," "feminists, but not those feminists," "Christians, but not those Christians," "sneeches, but not those sneeches."

Most people with prejudice can always point to the "exceptions" in the class they are prejudiced against. They expect that the rather off-hand throw-away qualifier, "but not those sneeches" is expected to silence criticism of the repeated claims about "sneeches" as a class.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:10 AM on June 17, 2005


Amberglow, you are full of shit. Nowhere in this post have any of us arguing to include the South said that you "have to adopt our style and policies." We're just asking that you stop saying "well, fuck the South" as if we're all backwards loonies who aren't worth even attempting to court--and that IS the attitude you guys exhibit, as seen in MANY MANY MANY MeFi posts about the "red states." THERE ARE DEMOCRATS IN THESE STATES, and you need to win them over. By blanketing entire red state populations as useless and unwinnable, you are driving away votes. We are not criticizing Northerners, we're trying to help you WIN, for Christ's sake. At this point, winning is the most important thing--if we aren't willing to fight like Rove and Co., we're doomed. You can be disdainful all you like of "Bubbas" (and there are Bubbas EVERYWHERE, not just the South, let us remind you AGAIN), but your "don't even bother" attitude is enough to drive even a hard-left liberal like me away from the party, and that's saying a lot. You guys don't seem to understand that from where I sit (and what I've seen), the Democratic Party isn't trying to win over ANYONE in the South--hell, they aren't even trying to maintain the little support they have there. THAT is what we're worried about--not whether or not you guys will ever respect NASCAR (I HATE NASCAR for Christ's sake) or hunting or some other simplified culture war bullshit. The culture war is an invention of the Republicans to divide this country and you are FALLING FOR IT.

On Preview: Kirk is doing a great job pointing out any and all prejudices against the South, and I'll leave him to that. I'm more concerned with pointing out that we have to rise above this bullshit if we're ever going to save this fucking country.
posted by scarymonsterrrr at 11:21 AM on June 17, 2005


Here's hoping scarymonsterrrr posts more. Well said.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:32 AM on June 17, 2005


Amber: See here

Apparently you use the term "Bubba" to mean racist, gay basher. That is not what a Bubba the article was talking about is. A Bubba is a simple southern guy, some of which do like to hunt and attend NASCAR. Bubba does not equal klansman.
posted by Carbolic at 11:41 AM on June 17, 2005


We're not saying "fuck the south"--we're saying stop catering to Bubbas.

...you tend to see Bubba culture as perhaps the defining element "southern votes" and "rural votes."
No, i don't. I do realize however, that the media sees it that way, and those 2 jokers who are angling for work as consultants see it that way too--which is what this post is about. We're talking about bubbas here, not my grandparents or aunts and uncles in Florida or Atlanta. We're not talking about the majority minority populations of southern cities. We're not talking about the Vietnamese in the Gulf. We're not talking about the rural blacks in the south either when we talk about Bubbas. Funny how that is, isn't it? Maybe because the topic of the post is limited, and you're the ones making some perceived insults about the entire south the focus? The only way to rise above this bullshit is for you not to go off about our stereotyping and what you see as our bias.

And this is totally a crock of shit: ...the Democratic Party isn't trying to win over ANYONE in the South--hell, they aren't even trying to maintain the little support they have there. --and is demonstrably false. What's demonstrably true, tho, is that nothing any northern Presidential candidate can do will win over Bubbas. (notice: I said Bubbas, not the South) We know the difference, and there aren't articles posted here about folksy characterful consultants who talk about the transplanted Northerner vote, or the Buppie vote, etc.

For an example of what many of us worry about, and it's something real, see Louisiana's Governor's Race: the Democrats in Louisiana called David Duke for help in attracting those very "confederate-flag-in-their-pickup-folks" against an Indian-American GOP candidate.

If attracting the Bubbas means alienating the traditional Democratic base--forget it. Forget.it. There are millions of votes elsewhere that don't require us to abandon our principles.
posted by amberglow at 11:53 AM on June 17, 2005


And goddamit I'm a Bubba sometimes. In fact, when I'm with my immediate family it's the name I answer to. The term's origin is as a term of affection for "brother", typical the oldest male child.

When people say the Dems should go after the "Bubba vote" they aren't suggesting that they pander to racist and religious zealots. They mean they should try to make themselves more attractive to the "regular guys" in the south. The "Bubba vote" is basically the same as what they've begun calling the "NASCAR dads". What the Bubbas basically want is for the government not to fuck with them or their money.
posted by Carbolic at 11:54 AM on June 17, 2005


I call "no fair" bringing up David Dukes (cause I don't want to talk about it). I remember the bumper stickers from that election "Vote for the Lizard, not the Wizard". You had to chose between a crook of monumental proportions or a racist. Thankfully we chose the crook, Edwin Edwards, who I believe is currently in prison and uttered the famous phrase "The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy" back in 84.

Here's an article that talks about Dukes and the effect he has had on the (nearly non-existent) Louisiana Republican party.
posted by Carbolic at 12:15 PM on June 17, 2005


That article i linked to is about Jindal v. Bianco, and Bianco (the Dem) called in David Duke's people for help. You can say they aren't suggesting that they pander to racist and religious zealots, but that's not what was done in this case in Louisiana, and the Dem won specifically because of that.

People talk about winning---well, some costs are just too high.

And, btw, even Conservative commentators and columnists and editors like Fred Barnes define "bubbas" the way i do: Because he is dark-skinned, there was a worry he would lose the so-called Bubba vote--code for the racist vote. Now it's clear that that's exactly what cost him the governorship. .... And a Confederate Flag is not a cute accessory--it's a loaded symbol of hatred and slavery.

I'm done.
posted by amberglow at 2:21 PM on June 17, 2005


That's it, I hereby refuse to vote for anyone who doesn't show the proper respect for Northeast culture. If you're not willing to drop your r's and eat clam chowdah (and you better have the 3 types of chowdah straight), you're not getting my vote from now on. The counter-Bubba movement starts here. ;)
posted by boaz at 2:38 PM on June 17, 2005


Amberglow: "the Democrats in Louisiana called David Duke for help"
and
"Bianco (the Dem) called in David Duke's people for help.
"

Where in the article you linked to does it say that? Do you have any factual evidence that she or her campaign courted the Duke supporters? The study you linked to and the pundit you quoted do not make that claim. The study of poll results cited merely notes that she did better than Sen. Landrieu & recent Dem. presidential candidates in Parishes where Duke had done well, and posits that some Duke supporters preferred a white woman over a brown man - surprising to me only because I'd think the Duke supporters would rather not vote at all than vote for either of them.

BTW, our governor's name is Blanco, not "Bianco."
posted by custis at 10:20 PM on June 18, 2005


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