Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 19, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE NORTH SHALL RISE AGAIN....John Edwards thinks he has an advantage over Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because he's from the South and can therefore win votes from all over the country. Paul Waldman explains why he's right:

Part of this is that, to be frank, while people in Rhode Island or Oregon don't look on presidential candidates who come from regions other than their own with suspicion, lots of southerners seem to be reluctant to vote for people who don't share their drawl. Of course, this is never characterized as pathological regional xenophobia — it's just how regular folks think, and there's not supposed to be anything wrong with it.

....Southerners are always taking offense at people who supposedly look down on them, but to someone who was raised in the Northeast, the idea that southerners are inherently more "real," and more American, than the rest of us is deeply insulting.

Amen to that. I can't begin to tell you how tired I am of the South's victim complex. Five of our last seven presidents have been from the South and the other two have been from the Southwest — and the reason, as near as I can tell, is that most Southerners just flatly refuse to vote for anyone who comes from north of the Mason-Dixon Line. And yet, somehow, it's the rest of us who are supposedly intolerant of Southern culture. Feh.

And, yes, I've been in a bad mood for the past couple of days. Feh anyway.

Kevin Drum 8:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (253)

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Comments

I'm tired of being a Southern victim too. If I had a quarter for every time I told I was smart for a Southerner, I could retire. The hostility is real and what happens is that Southerners get defensive which makes it worse. If you read blogs other than your own, you'll see that Southerners are routinely described as morons. After a while, it does give you a complex.

So what's the solution? Mutual respect?

Posted by: ml on June 19, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Oh great. I leave out part of the verb which demonstrates how stupid I am. See how it works?

Posted by: ml on June 19, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

hate the south, love the southerner.

haha! I keed, I keed...

Posted by: shams on June 19, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Edwards needs to lay off the bong hits.

Being a Southerner is only an advantage for Republican presidential candidates in their primary races. All the Southerners afflicted with the victim complex you're talking about have been driven effectively into the GOP where they belong. Democrats don't have this problem.

Posted by: s9 on June 19, 2007 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

I agree-- and I grew up in the south. That region has held the rest of the country in thrall for decades-- and I don't think there's any reason for the South to feel victimized or neglected.

Posted by: plum on June 19, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Maine and New hampshire are Blue states and Colorado and New Mexico are Purple states, the Democtrats can win the presidency without a single southern state. There is no longer any need to cater to the Southern vote, nor is there any chance of a Democrat winning a Southern state. So Edwards is mistaken. If the Democtrats want to win, they should concentrate on the Mountain West, where Edwards' Southern drawl will be of no use. Picking Bill Richardson as a running mate will help much more there.

Posted by: fostert on June 19, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

s9 - Nice to know that I'm now a Republican. Bless your heart. Unfortunately for your stereotype, I'm a life long liberal Democrat as are many of my friends. My city votes Democratic.

Mutual respect - it is going to take someone like Obama to implement.

Posted by: ml on June 19, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm from Kentucky. The only state we can look down upon is (Fill in the blank).

Posted by: R.L. on June 19, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

Again I ask everyone: why didn't we let the South secede? At least some of the deep south states like Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. Once the slaves were freed and removed, good riddance. They would then be free to occupy all of their time until the world ends (which they always assume is just a year or two away) trying to run an economy that employs only bible salesmen, gun manufacturers, irate radio talk show DJs, and corrupt politicians. I'm sure in no time they'd have Saudi Arabia beat for the most repressive theocracy on the planet.

At the very least, couldn't we just let Texas go? That would nicely return the majority of our electoral college safely into the sane column. (We could treat Austin like Berlin and airlift in supplies).

Posted by: Augustus on June 19, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Nyuk, nyuk. Those familiar with the politics of the 1840s and 1850s will note a similar theme. The Southern Democrats raged constantly about how they were outnumbered and the north was going to overwhelm them politically. This was the immediate reason given for the first round of seccessions after Lincoln was elected in 1860.

However, they also controlled the presidency most of this period--Buchanan was from Pennsylvania, but he was the Joe Lieberman of his day and was a slavocrat in all but name. They used the presidency to dominate the federal courts. This led naturally to the Dredd Scott Decision, promulagated by a supreme court majority of True Believers, and that decision finally galvanized northern resistance to southern bullying.

Lessons and warnings for our time?

Posted by: Berken on June 19, 2007 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

fostert, please tell me you're joking.

Posted by: shams on June 19, 2007 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Did I not hear John Edwards was leading in Iowa?

Olbermann was great today--he presented some spoofs of the Sopranos' ending.
And had a little feature on how Sir Issac Newton of gravity fame (who looked in the picture very much like a member of the younger band Pink Floyd) had thought that the world would end in 2060....ouch

Posted by: consider wisely on June 19, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

hA-Ha!

Posted by: ed on June 19, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Now we're finally beginning to get somewhere in questioning why the south votes the way it does. As someone rapidly approaching 60 who grew up in South Carolina, spent the middle years in Georgia, and who now lives in North Alabama I have long wondered just where the Dems lost their footing.

I hesitate to consider that either Bush 41 or Bush 43 could ever be called southerners in the classical sense. Jimmy Carter would have no problem and Bill Clinton would rightly be considered southern. By all rights Al Gore, a son of Tennessee, should be enjoying the last 2 years of his 2 term presidency.

I like John Edwards although I have not yet fully thrown my meager support to him. My wife, who voted for The Shrub twice, is enthralled by Obama. I have some problems with Hillary and have long felt that she equivocates far too much. If she would come out and say that her vote for the invasion and occupation of Iraq was ill-advised then I would have much more respect for her, but she does not seem to be able to do this. The loss will be hers.

What I want to hear from all of the candidates is a plan for national health care. For me this could be the deciding factor in who I finally decide to support.

Posted by: tommy on June 19, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Augustus - your post had me howling, and I live in the South (Tennessee, to be exact), and while you consciously stereotyping, there is so much truth to what you say, unfortunately.

Where I live (Weakley County), the economy (outside of agriculture) consists of:

churches (there are over 80 at last count in our tiny county, if you can fathom that)

check cashing joints

Wal-Mart

Army Reserve / National Guard

fast food

auto body shops

That's about it.

Also, I totally agree that being from the South is not really that great of an advantage when you're a Dem. Recall that Gore lost both his home state of Tennessee as well as Arkansas in 2000. Having an orthodox Jew as a running mate probably didn't help in the fundamentalist Bible Belt (an obvious issue everyone tries their best to ignore), where there are exactly 0 Jewish people in public office.

Posted by: chuck on June 19, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

Five of our last seven presidents have been from the South and the other two have been from the Southwest — and the reason, as near as I can tell, is that most Southerners just flatly refuse to vote for anyone who comes from north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush.

Not to nitpick, but since when is Michigan the South? And I've never heard southern California referred to as the "Southwest," but maybe SoCal people think of themselves that way?

Posted by: shortstop on June 19, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

kevin,

Bill Maher already brilliantly addressed this topic, why Southerners can't vote for anyone who doesn't say y'all. While the rest of us have to vote for someone who does. Check it out. He nailed it! Also said maybe they need to get over this. Duh.

Posted by: garnette on June 19, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Amen, brother. In fact, the North lost the Civil war, because we failed to rid ourselves of our atavistic, anti-democratic brethren in the South.

Posted by: R.E.LEE on June 19, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine the USA as a company with 5 or 6 divisions (regions). Electing a Southerner President is like picking the head of the worst performing division to head the whole corporation.

Posted by: mkultra on June 19, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Bull. Southerners voted against the very southern Jimmy Carter for Ronald Reagan. Reagan had no drawl.

Posted by: Chrissy on June 19, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK
Not to nitpick, but since when is Michigan the South?

I'm thinking he meant "elected presidents," which counts Ford out and Johnson in.

Posted by: treetop on June 19, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Not to nitpick, but since when is Michigan the South? I think he probably meant "five out of our least seven elected presidents." Poor ol' Gerald Ford has been described as the only US president not to be elected twice (i.e., upon his accession and upon his failed bid in 1976).

Posted by: Rand Careaga on June 19, 2007 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Actually Kevin, the last seven presidents are as follows:

George W. Bush - South

Bill Clinton - South

George H. W. Bush - Northeast and South

Reagan - Southwest

Carter - South

Ford - Midwest

Nixon - Southwest

I grew up for several years in Alabama where I still have family. When I moved to NYC 27 years ago, I got tired of people with Bronx and Brooklyn accents asking me why I didn't talk funny when they found out where I was from.

The only matter I will really take issue with is on the subject of racism. Having lived in the South, California and the Northeast, I can assure you that racism is everywhere.

Posted by: Randy Paul on June 19, 2007 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'm thinking he meant "elected presidents," which counts Ford out and Johnson in.

All righty. I'm still thrown by calling San Clemente/Yorba Linda and Santa Barbara/Bel Air the "Southwest," but I will defer to the folks who live near there.

Posted by: shortstop on June 19, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

chuck: I live in the South (Tennessee, to be exact)

Here's one for y'all: is West Virginia a southern state?

If not, then neither is Tennessee. The good people of Tennessee voted to stay in the union, but were ignored by the state government. Better yet, during the War Against the Treasonous Rebs, eastern Tennessee was effectively union territory. The Reb troops had to treat it as hostile, but the American troops could treat it as friendly.

Posted by: alex on June 19, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Bloomberg leaves the Republican party, registers as an Indenpendant.

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

It is funny how Southerners feel like they're the most patriotic Americans, when they're the only region to try to secede from the country and wage war against it.

They must love America like an abusive husband on COPS loves his wife.

Posted by: TR on June 19, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Bloomberg leaves the Republican party, registers as an Indenpendant.

I saw that earlier and wondered if that's an independent Independent, or a New York for Bloomberg Independent a la Joey Weeperman.

Posted by: shortstop on June 19, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

It is funny how Southerners feel like they're the most patriotic Americans, when they're the only region to try to secede from the country and wage war against it.

They must love America like an abusive husband on COPS loves his wife.

Now that was funny. Bad states, bad states, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?!

Posted by: shortstop on June 19, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

I think it means Independent with a capital $.

He's supposed to have talked about committing a billion dollars to a campaign.

I think if he commits half of that he wins in a walk.

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

What are you complaining about? You live in teh southwest.

Posted by: B on June 19, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

The modern 'conservative revolution' has largely been a drawn-out exaction of revenge on Washington DC for the humiliations visited on the South during Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. Having given up on the straightforwardly military option, a Southern-based constituency helped to elect three presidents who ran on a promise to disable the federal government. This was a viable program when the presidents were actually rather 'Northern' in their personal political ethos: Reagan being a kind of latter-day Emerson, and Bush Sr. being a New England aristocrat. But match a Southern-vengeance constituency with a Southern-yahoo president, and what you get is what we've gotten: fanaticism, incompetence, and chaos.

Posted by: lampwick on June 19, 2007 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, you're right. And yes, it's good to point out this smug superiority. Hopefully, if we rail against it, the press will stop treating northeasterners (and west coasters and midwesterners) as something less than 'real' Americans. And maybe they'll stop acting like Southern Baptist is the "real" Christian faith.

But that change ain't gonna happen overnight. And at the end of the day, since 1960, every single time a Southern Democrat has been nominated, he's won. Except once.

Just saying that if you think it's important to keep Republicans out of the White House, you want a Southern Democrat to run.

Posted by: anonymous on June 19, 2007 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ford was never elected

Kevin meant the last seven elected Presidents (or perhaps more accurately the last six elected Presidents and GW Bush.

Posted by: Ben Brackley on June 19, 2007 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'd give a nickel for every time someone has commented about my Southern accent. I've lost a lot of it over the years, according to my friends down South. What's really funny is when someone in my adopted state of Virginia asks me where I got my accent, when they can't tell they have one that is just as strong.

Posted by: pol on June 19, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Amen to that. I can't begin to tell you how tired I am of the South's victim complex.

You're sick of it?? I freaking live here. Just got through Jeff Davis' birthday, and Confederate Memorial Day before that. The South is the poster child for sore losers.

On the other hand, the local right wing radio is still going on about how proud they are that Sen Bishop punched out the damn librul.

Posted by: martin on June 19, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Every single time, except once!

I love that.

Posted by: treetop on June 19, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Lets stay on topic and ignore your jealousy of the south...I'll leave that to your psychiatrist.

s9 is right, Edwards is southern-fried but isn't full circle so he has no chance with the wingnuts.

This thread should have been about Fred "Dalton" Thompson.

Posted by: elmo on June 19, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Every time a southerner talks about the "war of northern aggression" I want to get down on my hands and knees and beg their forgiveness for depriving them of their God-given right to buy and sell other human beings.

But the great irony is that the slave-owning class somehow fooled the small poor white farmers into doing their fighting for them.

Nothing justifies the atrocities committed by Sherman, but it's time to give it a rest.

Posted by: thersites on June 19, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

The obsession with their own originalism or nativism, and victimhood, is characteristic of the Scots-Irish who have applied it, as far as I know, in every single circumstance they've ever found themselves in.

If they all landed in the middle of China they would quickly insist they were the original Chinese.

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Feh yourself. Let's see, between 1869 and 1963, how many southerners were presidents? (I count one--that redneck president of Princeton, Woodrow Wilson). And, during that century, the South was a running joke for the rest of the country (and, if you listen to the folks who call the Clintons "white trash," still is). Maybe there's a reason for the attitude?

18 Ulysses S. Grant Ohio Alt: IL, MO, NY
19 Rutherford B. Hayes Ohio
20 James Garfield Ohio
21 Chester A. Arthur New York
22 Grover Cleveland New York
23 Benjamin Harrison Indiana
24 Grover Cleveland New York
25 William McKinley Ohio
26 Theodore Roosevelt New York
27 William Howard Taft Ohio
28 Woodrow Wilson Virginia Alt: NJ
29 Warren G. Harding Ohio
30 Calvin Coolidge Massachusetts
31 Herbert Hoover California Alt: IA
32 Franklin D. Roosevelt New York
33 Harry S Truman Missouri
34 Dwight D. Eisenhower Kansas Alt: TX, NY
35 John F. Kennedy Massachusetts


Posted by: R.A. Rubin on June 19, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Most prejudices have some basis in reality. Since Southern states consistently score lower in educational achievement, health of their citizens, and are a net drain on tax dollars, maybe it's time for a little self-introspection.

All that being said, we are all Americans and should revel in that, instead of calling out regional differences, many of which are illusory.

Now that Michael Bloomberg has dumped the GOP, I am going to look seriously at supporting his candidacy (even though he is a plutocrat), because I am sick to death of both Democrats and Republicans at this point in American history.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 19, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

shams-

No, I'm not joking. Look at the last election results and do the math. If you win all of the Mountain West except for Wyoming and Idaho, you don't need any of the South, assuming you can win in Ohio and Missouri. And it is now far more likely that a Democrat will win most of the Mountain West than win a single state in the South.

Posted by: fostert on June 19, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

A new study released this week revealed that Americans' health care varies dramatically from state to state. It should come as no surprise that in general Southern states ranked at the bottom in almost every category. After all, whether the issue is health, education, working conditions, or virtually any indicator of social pathology, things are worst in precisely those states that voted for George W. Bush.

For the details, see:
"Health Care the Latest Red State Failure."

Posted by: Furious on June 19, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

I have this dream of trading the New England states to Canada in trade for British Columbia. Give Florida to Cuba if they agree to take Puerto Rico instead. Take Baja just to give La Raza another reason to bitch. Move the UN to New Orleans and cede the city to them. OK, I'll take Yukon Territory, too, and that province with Calgary in it. And just before dinner take back Big Diomede.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on June 19, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Are we now to enshrine the U.S. presidency as a uniquely Southern institution?

Poor white neo-Confederates. They're so put upon, you'd think we were planning on pillaging and burning Columbia, SC again.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 19, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, between 1869 and 1963, how many southerners were presidents? (I count one--that redneck president of Princeton, Woodrow Wilson). And, during that century, the South was a running joke for the rest of the country (and, if you listen to the folks who call the Clintons "white trash," still is). Maybe there's a reason for the attitude?

Right. Is that "reason" lingering resentment over the lack of Southerners in the White House from 1869-1964? Y'all gotta learn to let go.

Posted by: shortstop on June 19, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

The obsession with their own originalism or nativism, and victimhood, is characteristic of the Scots-Irish who have applied it, as far as I know, in every single circumstance they've ever found themselves in.

What a coincidence, I'm a Scot-Irish puck. But I am a liberal.

http://blindintexas.blogspot.com/

Posted by: elmo on June 19, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Dick Morris is right on this one: Hillary Clinton will win because an overwhelming number of women voters want her to win. Their numbers dwarf that of the relatively few men voters who claim they'll not vote for a woman. But look for most of these rather bizarre male holdouts to eventually go for Hillary, too, because of Bill, if nothing else. That said, Hillary Clinton stands to be elected by a landslide that quite likely will be enough to give her working majorities in both houses of Congress, something the next president will need in order to accomplish the hard work of straightening out the awful damage done the nation by the George Bush administration, the very worst in history.


Posted by: thewinner on June 19, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

thersites: But the great irony is that the slave-owning class somehow fooled the small poor white farmers into doing their fighting for them.

I'm not sure they were all that well fooled. "Rich man's war, poor man's fight" was a Southern saying.

Nothing justifies the atrocities committed by Sherman

Committed against whom? The Indians, absolutely. The Southerners? Forget it - almost all myth.

Posted by: alex on June 19, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

After years of advocating it, I find myself unwilling now to write off the South.

I think a serious appeal against the culture that created the Katrina debacle, and which continues to drag out the Katrina debacle throughout the affected region, could and should be mounted.

You can have a functional and effective government and it's right that you should.

In a democracy society is government and Katrina is an unequaled illustration of the way in which Republicans and the cultural values of social conservatism have no interest or capability beyond the destruction of society, and parasitizing upon its corpse.

There's a huge audience who are willing to listen, because they know Republicans aren't going to be around to help when the next one hits.

And the other day Kevin was writing about rural populists, socially conservative but economically liberal. There's an untapped theory looking for a connection in this.

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Intolerance of southerners? phooey. I can feel the love all over this board.

Posted by: old black joe - a southerner too on June 19, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

thewinner - That's a really nice story, but there's no polling or other evidence to back it up at all. Female voters' identification with female candidates is just not that strong.

Posted by: lampwick on June 19, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Alex: I'm not sure they were all that well fooled.

Poor choice of verbs, perhaps. But somehow persuaded. I didn't know "Rich man's war, poor man's fight" was Southern. Has a universal sort of ring to it, going back at least 5,000 years.

Posted by: thersites on June 19, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

But Hillary Clinton is from Arkansas.

Posted by: Ross Best on June 19, 2007 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

mystifying appearance of italics annoys the above commenter.

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

But Hillary Clinton is from Arkansas.

She grew up in Illinois. Which makes her, I guess, about as southern as transplanted northeasterner Smirky McLush. I guess I can spot him a little bit, since he moved to Texas at age 15 or so, but people who think Poppy Bush is a Southerner are just whacked.

Posted by: shortstop on June 19, 2007 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

mystifying appearance of italics annoys the above commenter.

Ghost of Caroline Augusta Ball looking for a little added drama.

Posted by: shortstop on June 19, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

The good news is that Giuliani has no chance in South Carolina and his campaign workers would have to be on crack to suspect otherwise.

Posted by: Ross Best on June 19, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

An oldie but a goody.

www.fuckthesouth.com

Posted by: f south on June 19, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

I had to google that, shortstop. Such a weepy old ghost.

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with ml. Just tonight I listened to a man here in New York City claim southerners were solely responsible for the Iraq war, referring to us as "those people." In 2004 I was living in MA, and the day after the election, I was asked--by my boss no less--to account for results. Over 30% of the state voted for Bush. One of every three Massachusettsians knew a hell of a lot better than I, but they weren't southern. I get asked on a regular basis why my accent isn't more perceptible, and the simple answer is I was made to feel stupid for having it so often that I stifled it and changed the way I speak.

To say there's no prejudice against southerners is just hokum. The media is ever more concentrated in an urban northeast that has bears little resemblance--in ideology, landscape, or lifestyle--to the rural and exurban South. This accounts for a lot of the suspicion, a suspicion I know well enough from living in New York and dealing with my own family back home.

The reason southerners like Edwards have wide appeal, however, I believe has much less to do with a stubborn refusal of southerners to vote for northerners and everything to do with rhetorical tradition of the South. Southerners understand that political speech is performance. They know the difference between being serious and being pedantic, and they understand the importance of relating to their audience. To put it another way, no one likes to be lectured, especially those who are already inclined to think you're talking down to them, but this is something that can ever be taught to a John Kerry or even a Mitt Romney. Barack Obama--lest I generalize too much---understands this very, very well.

Posted by: Matt on June 19, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Yes! The first crack at Giuliani! The first crack in his armor. A crack of dawn in the long dark. . .oh, just cocaine.


Well, what the hell is it with Republicans, anyway? Not even oxycontin. Cocaine is about as hip as beer nuts.

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

It is funny how Southerners feel like they're the most patriotic Americans, when they're the only region to try to secede from the country and wage war against it.

Hence my nickname for them -- "The Traitor States."

Just got through Jeff Davis' birthday, and Confederate Memorial Day before that. The South is the poster child for sore losers.

Again, Traitor Memorial Day.

I used to have a Southern girlfriend, we argued a few times about the Civil War. Once she pulled out that old line "one Southerner can lick ten Yankees!" To which I responded "oh yeah? Doesn't his tongue get tired?"

Posted by: Stefan on June 19, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

I've lived in Texas for most of my adult life, and I gotta say folks really are dumber down here, and they don't even know it.

As for racism, I don't know that people's attitudes are better or worse here, but the level of acceptable racism, sexism and homophobia in politics is a lot higher. And that counts for a lot. I think that is one reason why nonsoutherners vote for southern presidents (or the South's choice for president in the case of Reagan) and for Republicans in Congress. They get to vote for intolerant, ignorant assholes who would have a much harder time succeeding anywhere else. If they can't vote for Gingriches, Armeys, DeLays, etc. they get to vote for the party that supports them, and thus indirectly support the assholes and the idiocy.

Posted by: jussumbody on June 19, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Amen to being sick of that Southern victim nonsense. Pulled the country apart over slavery, keep waving the same stupid flag and singing 'The South's gonna do it again!' Do what again, tear the country apart again over something so stupidly vile the rest of world gets nauseous to think about it? Idiots.

Posted by: dcbob on June 19, 2007 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

'Member how the bombing of the Murra Federal Building was supposed to be so much worse because it happened in "America's heartland"? I kept wondering if the idea was supposed to be that bombing Manhattan would have been okay because that's the designated area for horrific terrorist acts whereas such things are NOT supposed to happen in the "heartland." Like we're all Americans but some of us are more American than others.

I thought 9/11 might have cured us of that one, but the idea does just seem to cling on. Just imagine how much worse 9/11 would have been if it had happened in the Heartland! Maybe being The Heartland is a way of compensating for not having all those amazing cultural institutions, Wall Street, CBGBs and whatnot. I guess different areas of the country have to grab whatever they can to establish their identity, but this whole "heartland" thing pisses me off a bit, much more so after 9/11.

Hey, I live in Somerville Mass, and I'm still just as "real" an American as I would be if I lived in Topeka or East Elbow OK.

Posted by: DrBB on June 19, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

This is really the same situation in Canada, but even worse. Our last prime ministers have been:

Feb 2006 - Present: Stephen Harper, Alberta (West)
Dec 2003 - Feb 2006: Paul Martin, Quebec
Oct 1993 - Dec 2003: Jean Chretien, Quebec
Jun 1993 - Dec 1993: Kim Campbell, British Columbia (West)
Sep 1984 - Jun 1993: Brian Mulrooney, Quebec
Jun 1984 - Sep 1984: John Turner, British Columbia
Mar 1980 - Jun 1984: Pierre Trudeau, Quebec
Jun 1979 - Mar 1980: Joe Clark, Alberta
Apr 1968 - Jun 1979: Pierre Trudeau, Quebec

So, all of our PM's for the last 40 years have either been Quebecois, or seat-warmers for Quebecois. It's fair to say that Quebec's intolerance of non-Quebec leaders is the primary dynamic in our federal political system.

Basically, the Liberals are the "Natural Governing Party" of the country so long as they have a "Quebecois de souche" ("real Quebecer") at the helm of the party. Paul Martin was really an anglo-Montrealler that they never really took to, but to be fair to him, Chretien refused to leave until he was certain the Liberals were going to lose under Martin, his bitter rival. When the Liberals choose a leader outside of Quebec, usually following a long Prime Ministership of a Quebec Liberal, the party inevitably enters the wilderness of opposition until they elect a francophone leader.

Frankly, I'm amazed that Harper's held on as long as he has. He's extremely lucky that the Liberals are now led by a Quebecer that's extremely unpopular in Quebec, otherwise his fate would be sealed.

Those that follow politics in Canada find this dynamic particularly irritating, regardless of whether we understand that Quebec is so important to the country's identity and stability that its loss would spell the end of Canada in a maximum of two generations. What to do? We appear to be as flummoxed by our situation as you are by yours.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on June 19, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Simple, eject Quebec, whether it likes it or not, then pick up one or two regions of the disintegrating US.

Posted by: cld on June 19, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think a point that has not been raised yet is that people from Southern states don't seem to like each other. If you ask someone from Texas what he/she thinks about people from Oklahoma, you are guaranteed to hear the terms "trailer-trash" and "inbred" several times. Ditto if you ask someone from Oklahoma (which is technically not in the South) about people from Arkansas, or someone from Alabama or Tennessee what they think about people from Mississippi. Also, if you ask someone from North Carolina about people from South Carolina, they will usually answer, "Well, they're poor...and they're different."

Posted by: Not From The South on June 19, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

This post is appalling. YOu should be ashamed of yourself. You are demonizing your fellow countrymen during a war. But thats very typical of you California liberals and your Northest brethren. Those are the most antiAmerican sections of the country. Frankly this country would be better off if your were all sent frogstepping out of the country. Then maybe we could win this war.

Posted by: egbert on June 20, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'm mystified. First, three, not two, of the last seven presidents were from outside the Confederacy. Second, southerners won't vote for someone with a different accent? What's the evidence for our pathology? In 1964, the Deep South, voted for Goldwater over Johnson, a Texan. In 1980, most of the South voted for Reagan over Jimmy Carter, a Georgian. In 1996, most of the South voted again for Bob Dole over Bill Clinton. All these Republican candidates may be reactionary, but they spoke with no southern accent, and they weren't southerners. Neither did that great Texan George Bush the elder.

Complain about our reaction, our racist, slave-holding past, our secession, but don't weave fantasies about our accents or xenophobia unless you cite the evidence to back it up.

Posted by: Alexander McGillivray on June 20, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

Matt,

I actually feel your pain. You know, these past six years I've heard a lot of how "elitist" I am, how "unpatriotic" or "treasonous" I am, and how I am not a "real American." And this was not for anything I've done, but simply because I come from Northern California. Why, in 2006, Newt Gingrich said that if the Democrats won the House, they would impose "San Francisco Values" on the rest of the country. I mean, that really hurt that an influential and nationally recognized politician would say something like that, like there is something wrong with people from San Francisco.

Having said that, I think that ml was correct in one of the early posts when he said that "mutual respect" is the best way to go here. Whether that can or will happen is another point.

Also, I do want to say that I have a great deal of respect for many aspects of Southern Culture. And, admittedly, I like Southern accents and I think "Y'all" is one of the best words in the English language.

Posted by: Not From The South on June 20, 2007 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Correction, Kevin: Southerners, ever since 1964, have refused to vote for any Northern DEMOCRAT, for the simple reason that Northern Democrats at that time decided to provide equal treatment for those awful Nigras. Ever since then even while the civil rights revolution has continued to grind on nationwide (thus allowing even Virginia to become the first state ANYWHERE to elect a black governor, and North Carolina and Tennessee to come fairly close to electing black Senators), the South has stubbornly refused to politically forgive Northern Democrats for imposing non-racism on them -- just as they refused to vote for any Republican for one straight century after the Civil War, very long after the GOP had obviously ceased to be the Party of Lincoln and become the more conservative of the two parties. (Although the chance to put Jimmy Carter in the White House -- even as a Democrat -- was too good for them to pass up, by the 1990s that novelty had lost its savor, and they treated Clinton and Gore as honorary Northern Democrats for the purpose of mostly voting against them.)

Southerners are indeed very good at holding stubborn grudges long after they've become ridiculously pointless politically, but it's on ideological grounds rather than just on where a particular candidate came from. I imagine it will be another 30 years or so before the political hangover from our Original Curse of slavery finally fades completely.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on June 20, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Egbert,

Haven't you enlisted yet? Maybe we can finally win this war when you stop trolling, join the Marines, and go to Iraq.

Posted by: adlsad on June 20, 2007 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

I wrote: All the Southerners afflicted with the victim complex you're talking about have been driven effectively into the GOP where they belong.

ml quips: s9 - Nice to know that I'm now a Republican. Bless your heart. Unfortunately for your stereotype, I'm a life long liberal Democrat as are many of my friends. My city votes Democratic.

Um... yeah. Listen, if you've got the victim complex Kevin and I are talking about, then I don't see any reason to care what party you insist on identifying as yours. Zell Miller insisted on calling himself a Democrat for all the difference that made, and I don't see any reason why it ought to be any different with anyone suffering from the delusion we're talking about here. Face it, if you vote like GOP, then you're functionally equivalent to the GOP.

Being a Democrat might make a difference for you in your parochial little Southern backwater... Atlanta? Houston? Memphis? Does it matter?... but you may as well be a Republican as far as the race for the White House is concerned.

Posted by: s9 on June 20, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

I moved from the SF Bay Area to South Carolina last year. It was a retirement move and it was primarily driven by economics. The cost of living here is much lower, but nothing in life is free. The South is indeed every bit as backward as I expected. For the southern naysayers, I'll just say I didn't reach retirement age without knowing something about every part of my country. Fortunately, where I live (in the Hilton Head area), there has been so much in-migration from the Northeast and the West that I don't have to hang out with the Sons of the Confederacy. This is truly a sad region. No hope, no nothing. Other than going after Yankee dollars, in the form of tourism or getting folks like me to move here. The schools are abominable. The best thing I can say about South Carolina schools is that the locals are able to proudly proclaim, "We're number 50! We're number 50!"

I am a retired US Army officer. Last week, I was in Gettysburg visiting an old friend, also a retired officer. As my wife and I were touring the battlefield with my friend and his wife, I wondered aloud about all of the monuments to the Confederates and noted that people like Lee are venerated in the South. I went on to say that, IMO, Lee did not deserve such veneration. He was, pure-and-simple, a traitor, a man who violated his oath (the same one my friend and I had taken) to the Constitution of the US. My friend agreed. We also agreed that we would never be able to fathom the continuing hold the Civil War has on the South and just how that has retarded the region's full integration into modern America.

Maybe some of the people defending the South here can explain just how the mysticism, nostalgia, animosity against the rest of the nation and the bible-thumping help the people of the South in any respect. Maybe they can enlighten me as to how the still prevalent plantation mentality is in any way an exemplar for the rest of the nation.

Posted by: Nixon Did It on June 20, 2007 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

"And, admittedly, I like Southern accents and I think "Y'all" is one of the best words in the English language." - Not From The South

The loss of the plural 2nd person pronoun from formal English is truly a devolution of the language. Y'all is great. Frankly, I'll take any word that tries to restore the 2nd person plural to the language.

In my corner of Canada (Newfoundland), we still say "ye". And people get uppity on us for it, and other aspects of our dialect. I just feel like asking them why they want to make the English language less precise.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on June 20, 2007 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

The loss of the plural 2nd person pronoun from formal English is truly a devolution of the language.

Where I come from, we say "youse."

Posted by: thersites on June 20, 2007 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

Southern victim complex?

What the heck yew talkin' 'bout, boy? We ain't got no "vic tim complex." We jes' don't trust Yankees, heah?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on June 20, 2007 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I'll take any word that tries to restore the 2nd person plural to the language.


'Fnegqk'. --from the Klingon.

Posted by: orlbadapu on June 20, 2007 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

For over 200 years the South has been a boat anchor around the neck of the United States. Willfully ignorant, more violent, more fundamentalist, happily choosing white supremacy over economic modernity and prosperity, the South has consistently blocked progressive legislation for the entire 20th century. Sure, there are wonderful people in the South, it has great music, but the good parts are constantly dragged down by the self-pitying, belligerent yahoo element. I live in an industrial nation where candidates are afraid to admit they believe in evolution. Thank you, Dixie.

The Civil War--Lincoln's Tragic Mistake. Should have let the assholes go.

Posted by: HC Carey on June 20, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Even if there were absolutely no current negative stereotypes about Southerners, most of us weren't born yesterday, and we can still be defensive about past experiences. When I moved from Tennessee to Connecticut in 1966, the other students, noticing that my sister and I wore shoes, asked whether other kids in Tennessee also wore shoes. My chemistry teacher made fun of my accent in class and generally berated me for being from the South. No teacher expected me to do well, so I didn't. I think they call that the "bigotry of low expectations."

A candidate might be able to win the presidency while writing off the South, but I'd like to think that anyone running for the office would want to be President of the entire country.


Posted by: greennotGreen on June 20, 2007 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

So Northerners are adult enough to vote for a Southerner but the reverse isn't true? Apparently this is our comeuppance for the "War of Northern aggression"(the Civil War for those who don't dwell in the past)...

Buncha fuckin babies!

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on June 20, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Even if there were absolutely no current negative stereotypes about Southerners, most of us weren't born yesterday, and we can still be defensive about past experiences. When I moved from Tennessee to Connecticut in 1966, the other students, noticing that my sister and I wore shoes, asked whether other kids in Tennessee also wore shoes. My chemistry teacher made fun of my accent in class and generally berated me for being from the South. No teacher expected me to do well, so I didn't. I think they call that the "bigotry of low expectations."

Trust me, that works both ways. The racism and anti-intellectualism I've had to deal with have come more from Southern transplants to New England and the Mid-Atlantic more than from people from anywhere else in the country. It's a bit like Bill Hicks's old bit about reading a book in a Waffle House in Tennessee. Most of the time I meet a southerner who doesn't act like this, they are black, Asian or in one case a former Bosnian Muslim refugee. On a side note, Virginia, at this point, is barely Southern and Texas is not so much Southern as its own unique entity, for better or worse.

Posted by: Reality Man on June 20, 2007 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, you'd think there would be educated folks on this blog. No shit? There are dumb ass hicks in the south? I thought they were all in Maine. I guess "It's a small world" pertains only to the rest of the planet...

Posted by: elmo on June 20, 2007 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

There is far more denigration of the north than the south in America's political discourse. As Not From The South mentioned, city and state names are routinely used as slander by Republican politicians.

I seem to remember a presidential candidate, running as a "uniter", trying to "unite" the country against "Massacheusetts Liberals". Who was that, I wonder? I had never heard a name of a Southern city or state used as slander by a northern politician, until recently minor figures in the Democratic Party started referring to this bunch as "Texas Republicans", which that bunch also calls themselves. I've never heard a Democrat running in a nation-wide campaign use such divisive tactics. Please find me one other example. I would gladly eat crow on this.

What I don't understand is how this "uniter" candidate got more than a few percent of the vote in Massacheusetts. If I knew he was going to lose in that state, which he telegraphed pretty blatantly, then there's absolutely no way I'd throw away my dignity along with my vote for him, after he had slandered where I was from so that he could get more votes elsewhere. What I also don't understand is how he got to run as a "uniter", while slandering Massacheusetts, without the MSM going, "WTF?!"

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on June 20, 2007 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

city and state names are routinely used as slander by Republican politicians

I live in San Francisco. I think I know a little something about this. Still, I can't imagine feeling so burned up about this kind of stupidity that I would refuse to vote for a perfectly good candidate for President just because she didn't know where to get decent sourdough.

Posted by: s9 on June 20, 2007 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

s9,

It has nothing to do with whether or not the candidate is able to demonstrate an intimate understanding of the local culture, and everything to do with showing respect for local culture. Blatantly attacking the culture of a state or city to gin up support elsewhere is not at all an example of not knowing "where to get decent sourdough."

Refusing to support people who use you as a rhetorical punching bag is not at all about refusing to support those that don't know all your inside secrets and jokes.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on June 20, 2007 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Most southerners are well versed in humility. We make fun of ourselves with much more verbosity than you fine history buffs from the north could ever imagine.

Awe fuck it, let's just get Civil War II started...

Posted by: elmo on June 20, 2007 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

In my corner of Canada (Newfoundland), we still say "ye". And people get uppity on us for it, and other aspects of our dialect. I just feel like asking them why they want to make the English language less precise.

Hey, Dismayed Liberal, my son, I knew I liked you, b'y! My girlfriend is a Newfoundlander -- in fact, she's up there right now, and we were just having a conversation about how after just a few days back home her speech is reverting to Newfoundlandese. All I've been hearing lately is about all the boil ups and mug ups she's been enjoying.....

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Feh, indeed.

Fuck the South

Posted by: bungholio on June 20, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Yeah, I love getting back home, and the effect it has on me, which doesn't take long to set in. I've been gone for 15 years, half my life, but I've gotten back just about every year since then, sometimes more than once. Nice to hear about your connection to "The Rock". Have you had a chance to go yourself? If not, I really suggest you let your girlfriend drag you there sometime. You'll enjoy yourself a great deal, I'm sure.

If they try to Screech you in, ask for some "Old Sam" instead of Screech. Less touristy rum, and you'll score some points with the initiators by knowing it. Maybe even enough to let you have some Old Sam instead of the foul Screech during your swear-in! I swear that stuff is reserved for tourists...and young kids learning to drink.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on June 20, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

In fifty years, the political makeup of the South will be very different from what it is today. This is because rates of Latino immigration to states in the Deep South are very high; and in two generations, the grandchildren of today's immigrants will represent substantial pluralities, if not majorities, of the population.

Southern paleo-nationalism will still be a force in fifty-years, but it will be a spent force, irrelevant to the political calculations of national politicians.

Posted by: lampwick on June 20, 2007 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

&"Refusing to support people who use you as a rhetorical punching bag is not at all about refusing to support those that don't know all your inside secrets and jokes."

I have no dispute with that. I'll just say that when I look at the field of John Edwards' opponents, I don't see any of them who could be said fairly to be using Southerners as "rhetorical punching bags"... at best, I can see how maybe Bill Richardson or Dennis Kucinich might be a little underclueful about all those subtle and obscure inside Southern secrets and jokes, but that's about the limit.

Compare that with what I have to put up with from conservatives every time I see them sneer and hear them heckle at Nancy Pelosi and her "San Francisco liberal" constituency. Come on... you know full well what kind of image they're trying to conjure with the tone they use in their voice when they say those words. Mind you, I don't think I've ever heard that tone used by Democrats. Ever. Not once. Not even when I lived temporarily in SoCal and I was paying attention to Democratic primary races and the run-off for governor.

Could I vote for a Democrat from SoCal over one from SFO? Absolutely, yes! Bring me a progressive LA Democrat to run against Dianne Feinstein and let me prove it to you.

I simply don't believe that progressive Southerners are the ones afflicted with this parochial victim complex about non-Southern candidates for the White House. I don't want to believe in it. Please don't make me believe in it, because if I do, then I'll be able to believe a lot of other horrible things about Southerners. I want to believe that the neo-Confederate unregenerated racist, homophobic alien shitfiend wingnuts are all bunkered into the Southern GOP now. What, for the love of all that's hallowed, would they still be doing in the Democratic Party anymore?

Posted by: s9 on June 20, 2007 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

Haven't been to The Rock yet, but we're going up to NS later this summer for one of her cousin's wedding, so maybe I'll try some Old Sam then. I may try to make it up for Christmas, but she's from one of the outports up north so it takes a while to get to from St. Johns.

By the way, tell me this line from an email I got from her today doesn't remind you of home: "Got a shopping bag of live crab from a crab boat that just came into the wharf with the day's catch. Turned out the skipper was a second cousin..." and then a lot of stuff about frozen bakeapples and partridgeberry jam from the pantry. That made me kind of homesick and I've never even been there.....

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

I went to grad school at UNC-CH. I did not enjoy NC, and Chapel Hill is not real southrun. The Battle Flag of Treason everywhere. I have since then had numerous opportunities to work in the South, but will never do that again, unless I really have to. The irrational resentment, the love of NASCAR, the hatred of the person of color, and the irrational, moronic elevation of a region full of nitwits as somehow culturally superior is just way too much for me to take.

I really like Illinois. Sensible place. We don't feel the need to elevate our little pile of shit over someone elses just to make ourselves superior.

Posted by: POed Lib on June 20, 2007 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

s9,

Fair points. I had diverged so much from the orginal thread topic that I wasn't even thinking about Edwards' comment while I was writing. I do think that it was a bit of a desparation move on his part. He can't trail in 3rd place forever without showing that he's gaining ground on Obama and Clinton, and still keep the money coming in.

I tend to agree with you that the South has been appeased plenty, and that there doesn't seem to be anymore in it for the Democrats. That's kind of why I have some sympathy for the view that the Democrats should concentrate on the Midwest, and other regions typically Republican, where more gains can be made without bending over backwards so much. Once the South can see that the ground in the rest of the country is beginning to shift, they'll switch to voting in Democrats so that they can at least be part of the action. Right now, they've got an iron grip on one party, and the other one falling over itself to try to get their support. If they felt the party to which they're tied was about to get crushed, they'd try to get an iron grip on the other one. What really matters to them is that they continue to have the dominant voice in national affairs.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on June 20, 2007 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

frozen bakeapples and partridgeberry jam

Oh come on. You just made that shit up, right? "Partridgeberry"?

Posted by: mattsteinglass on June 20, 2007 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

s9,

Ah, for the days when San Franciscans could just hate L.A. Gosh, memories of chanting, "Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!" at the 'Stick. Of course, the Giants always lost (although the 49ers usually beat the L.A. Rams, although the Rams always played us tough).

The worst part of this whole political "Red State/Blue State" mess is that Bay Area residents now have to actually like Los Angeles. Because if it wasn't for Los Angeles, California would be the largest and deepest "red state" in the union. Kevin's post is critical of Southern Republicans, but go 20 miles outside of S.F. and you will find places as "red state" as you can imagine (although there are not as many confederate battle flags).

Oh, and by the way, Southern California is NOT part of the cultural Southwest U.S (even though it is geographically located in the Southwest corner of the mainland). Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada are close, but millions of miles away culturally.

Posted by: Not From The South on June 20, 2007 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

It sure does. We had a sailboat when we lived there, and we took our vacations up and down the coast of the island for a few years. One year we came into a port and met a fisherman. We took him out for a sail for a few hours, and then he let us take the crab legs, which were by-catch from the cod he was trying to fish (pre-moratorium days). We ended up with a garbage bag full of crab legs, and dined for a few days before chucking the rest.

Bakeapples sure are a local treat, though they aren't very sweet. Need to add some sugar to counteract the bitterness. They're a great topping on ice-cream. I think they're only found in like Newfounland and Norway (possibly Iceland?).

If your girlfriend hails from a part of Newfoundland that's a way's away from St. John's, then it sure makes it more difficult to travel there regularly. We're townies, and that undoubtedly made it possible to get back so often.

Good night all...thanks for the discussion. I need to get up in 4 1/2 hours. Stefan, I hope you have a grand ol' time in Nova Scotia b'y.

Posted by: Dismayed Liberal on June 20, 2007 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

Candidates don't have to be from the South, they just can't be from New England. Minnesota and Wisconsin might raise the ire of southerners, due to those states persistent identification with progressivism. But that's about it. Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, I can't imagine those states being deal-breakers for any southerners I know. The only hard and fast rule we have from history, really, is that if you come from Mass, you better be freaking Robert Redford.

Posted by: kth on June 20, 2007 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

Here is my final rant of the evening,

If you want any indication of the cultural appeasement of the Southern U.S., just remember the movie "Sweet Home Alabama" with Reese Witherspoon. Which guy does she end up with, the "down to earth Southern guy," or the "yuppie from New York?" Also, who gets portrayed better, the quirky but loveable people from Alabama, or the bitchy, snooty, female, blonde mayor of NYC (played by Candice Bergan, and bears a certain resemblance to someone running for president - and not Giuliani)?

I don't mean to seem overly critical of the South. As I said above, I like the South and I met a lot of nice people from the South. But it just seems that in the last 7-10 years, Hollywood, the Media, the government, politicians, and everyone has just bent over backwards to tell us how authentic and unpretentious everyone and everything is in the South (and other red states), how great NASCAR is, and how phony everything is in urban areas. And people still seem to think they do not get any respect (Although, to be fair, the two biggest media culprits who regularly discuss how bad blue staters are are David Brooks and George Will, who have never lived in the South).

I can only speak for myself, but after a while I just get tired of hearing all of this. It also doesn't help that they helped elect the worst president in our nation's history.

Posted by: Not From The South on June 20, 2007 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Can't we just say feh to all the victim-mongers out there? I live in Jackson County NC and just came back from WalMart [our county's biggest employer.] I was in the checkout line behind an obese Cherokee family with anti-government slogans on their Tee shirts, spending some of their casino allotment or other subsidy money. One of the main reasons I might be pursuaded to vote for Obama is he's indicated it's time to move on from the victim/industrial complex.

BTW, the idea that pretty boy Edwards would carry a southern state is less likely than Fred Thompson carrying the District of Columbia.

Posted by: minion on June 20, 2007 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

Can't we just say feh to all the victim-mongers out there? I live in Jackson County NC and just came back from WalMart [our county's biggest employer.] I was in the checkout line behind an obese Cherokee family with anti-government slogans on their Tee shirts, spending some of their casino allotment or other subsidy money. One of the main reasons I might be pursuaded to vote for Obama is he's indicated it's time to move on from the victim/industrial complex.

BTW, the idea that pretty boy Edwards would carry a southern state is less likely than Fred Thompson carrying the District of Columbia.

Posted by: minion on June 20, 2007 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

lamwick weighs in with his usual bout of misinformation in challenging Hillary Clinton's support from women -- support Dick Morris, among others, says will get her the nomination and the election. No evidence, summarily claims the information-challenged lampwick.

Given the likelihood that Dick Morris has more knowledge in his big toe about what's going on than lampwick has in the entire appendage seated atop his very own shoulders, here's a bit by Anne E. Kornblut and Matthew Musk from the June 12 Washington Post:

"The consistent lead that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has maintained over Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and others in the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination is due largely to one factor: her support from women.

"In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Clinton led Obama by a 2 to 1 margin among female voters. Her 15-point lead in the poll is entirely attributable to that margin. Clinton drew support from 51 percent of the women surveyed, compared with 24 percent who said they supported Obama and 11 percent who said they backed former senator John Edwards of North Carolina."

Thus, darling lampwick, before you summarily knock evidence the next time, do try to come up with some of your own. Hmmmm? That's a good boy . . . run along now.

Posted by: thewinner on June 20, 2007 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

One of the main reasons I might be pursuaded to vote for Obama is he's indicated it's time to move on from the victim/industrial complex.
Posted by: minion on June 20, 2007 at 3:24 AM | PERMALINK

You might want to double-check where he's getting his money from. Or maybe, read-up on his healthcare plan. Obama is a big money man, through and through. Like Hillary.

I've said it over and over, and I'll keep saying it:

NOTHING will change in this country, until big money is removed from politics.

Posted by: bungholio on June 20, 2007 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK

yes, I've been in a bad mood for the past couple of days.

Kevin,

I sincerely hope that your situation improves and you feel better,

I think I like your posting better when you are in a bad mood.

I do hope your situation improves for the better.

Posted by: jerry on June 20, 2007 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

"I live in San Francisco"

Lucky. And that's no snark.

Posted by: Plantsman1 on June 20, 2007 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

Every region and state does this. You've never heard of a "favorite son" candidate? The South just takes the regional part of it a little more seriously than the rest of the country.

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on June 20, 2007 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, look where it got Gore in 2000. A native son and veep of a popular, moderate Dem southerner- he couldn't carry Tennessee. Nor did Edwards' 04 appearance help Kerry. The GOP's base is in the South. The Dems could make inroads by choosing a moderate southerner in the Clintonian tradition. It won't. So Edwards' accent is pretty much window-dressing.

Posted by: kreiz on June 20, 2007 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "I can't begin to tell you how tired I am of the South's victim complex.">/i>

May you take solace in the notion that even if the Confederacy's rebellion had succeeded, its proud denizens would still have, per capita, more broken appliances and automobiles littering their front yards than anywhere else north of the Rio Grande.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 20, 2007 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

thewinner -

Compare your extravagant claim about Hillary's eventual triumph in the Presidential election:

"Dick Morris is right on this one: Hillary Clinton will win because an overwhelming number of women voters want her to win. Their numbers dwarf that of the relatively few men voters who claim they'll not vote for a woman. But look for most of these rather bizarre male holdouts to eventually go for Hillary, too, because of Bill, if nothing else. That said, Hillary Clinton stands to be elected by a landslide that quite likely will be enough to give her working majorities in both houses of Congress."

with your evidence, which relates only to the Democratic Primary:

"The consistent lead that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has maintained over Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and others in the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination is due largely to one factor: her support from women...In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Clinton led Obama by a 2 to 1 margin among female voters. Her 15-point lead in the poll is entirely attributable to that margin."

Now let's look at the evidence for the Presidential election (hypothetical against Giuliani, the strongest Repub at the time of polling):

"Most notably, it appears Clinton would run no stronger among women than Kerry did in 2004 -- or, for that matter, than Al Gore did when running against Bush in 2000. On average in 2007, women prefer Clinton over Giuliani by a six-point margin -- 53% to 47%, respectively. That is not much different from women's four-point preference for Kerry over Bush in 2004, or the eight-point preference for Gore over Bush in 2000."

I admit Clinton polls better than Obama among Democratic women, but that's in the primary. You were talking about the national election, where it seems clear from this last result that she has no detectable pull among Republican or independent women. So your landslide is a nice story, but unlikely, and quite unsupported by the evidence, such as it is.

Posted by: lampwick on June 20, 2007 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

"while people in Rhode Island or Oregon don't look on presidential candidates who come from regions other than their own with suspicion,"

That's just nonsense. I don't know about Oregon, but I know for a fact that many, if not most, Rhode Islanders can't stand people from the south. Anyone with a southern accent or visible religiosity is looked upon with suspicion, even scorn. Voting Democratic doesn't automatically make people tolerant, believe it or not.

Posted by: Mario on June 20, 2007 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

I'm from upstate New York and have lived in Kentucky now for over 20 years. I really like it here, but there are a LOT of idiots. Recently, I saw a woman wearing a t-shirt that said something like 'If you think the Civil War was fought over slavery, then you don't know your history'. And there was a big confederate flag on the back. Geeeeez. What an idiot. Lots of cars around here have confederate flags on their cars. They obviously don't know that Kentucky boys fought for the Union 2 to 1. I talked to a Civil War historian at a reenactment one time, and he said that Kentuckians come to him all the time thinking that an ancestor fought in the Civil War, and thinking it was for the south. Come to find out, they were in the Union army, and they get real disappointed. Nothing like the pride of knowing your ancestor fought for the right to own another human being. Geeez.

Posted by: es on June 20, 2007 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan may noy have been from the South, but he opened his campaign in 1980 in the small Mississippi town where the three civil rights workers was murdered. That was good enough for some.

Posted by: trifecta on June 20, 2007 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Being originally from Georgia (so how did I end up in Los Angeles), I have something that might cheer you up this morning. Fix a bowl of grits with a little salt and lots of butter. Yum, yum!

Posted by: pgl on June 20, 2007 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, you folks want to talk about everyone looking down on you? Try saying you are from DC. Even better (although this doesn't apply to me) try saying you are from dc while being black. Talk about everyone in the country demonizing you.

anyway, the problem is not with southerners, it's with southern politicians and public figures who have spent the last century and a half demonizing the 'yankees' to make up for their own moral and governing shortfalls. Effective governing and administration to make an equitable society is hard work (and the yankees aren't much better at it) so instead of working at it, it is so much easier to blame your problems on some outside figure. What's the real differemce between tom delay raising the spectre of 'san francisco' and blaming liberals for everything and an arab government blaming the 'jews' for their problems? A matter of degree. When you have failed a population you govern, over and over again, it's much easier to trash talk someone else than have your populace start wondering why you keep fucking up, and why you might be to blame for their problems.

Posted by: Northzax on June 20, 2007 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

No one could be sicker of the South's sense of victimization than someone like myself who has spent practically his entire life here. But the sense that Southerners today are more regionally chavinistic than people from other areas of the country is, well, stupid enough to have been uttered by a Southerner. How many times in the last seven presidencies did any voter even have a chance to vote for a Northerner? And when they did, how did the Northern states vote. My memory is that Humphrey did pretty well in the north, and no one was going to beat Reagan the second time. How did Mondale do in the north? Kerry?

The truth is, good candidates from the north have been rare in recent years, and the votes they received have been as regionally biased as their opponents. Carter was a fluke, a reaction to Watergate, and he nearly lost at the last moment due to votes swinging in the midwestern states where Ford resided.

Posts like this one perpetuate chavinism and miss the point. The nation today is split not between states but between regions within states, principally urban, suburban and rural. Urban dwellers in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina are just as likely to vote for someone from Chicago as they are for someone from North Carolina. To be sure, pockets exist in the South where the Civil War is still important and change of any kind is viewed with the greatest suspicion. But those pockets are dwindling in most states, and the growing population centers can be tapped by anyone north of the M-D line with the intelligence to let history run its course. If you are too dim witted to see that trend then I suppose you will just have to continue to feel like the self-righteous northerner who is once again victimized by the chavinistic southerner. Poor baby.

Steve

Posted by: steve miller on June 20, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Very interesting thread. But it's missing a huge point: regionalism matters, but so does office.

Check this out:

http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze3fs8i/air/Elections.htm

Note that the main equation (just under "Methods and Results") gives a huge advantage to former GOVERNORS.

Quoting from the Annals of Improbable Results may mean nobody will take it seriously. But governors have disproportionately become Presidents throughout American history.

Gore was a Senator and Vice President. Bush was a state Governor. In fact, with the exception of Bush the elder, we've had governors as presidents since January, 1977. And the last two Democratic presidents were Southern governors.

Neither Clinton nor Edwards nor Obama have been governors--they're all senators. If I remember correctly, Bill Richardson is the only governor in the whole Democratic pack.

Hm...

Posted by: Thomasc. on June 20, 2007 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

I've read these posts with interest. Some of them are insightful, others inflammatory. What else is new? Thanks to the poster for pointing out that Kevin's sampling window is inadequate. As Kevin has pointed out in multiple posts himself, a small sampling window does not necessarily allow one to see a trend. The real data do not indicate that "the South" is being pandered to any more than any other part of the country. Thanks too to the poster who pointed out that the abject failure of governmental responses to Katrina should be mentioned over and over in any speach given in the South. Of course, boss hog politics is not only a southern invention. Just ask anyone from Chicago, Boston, etc., etc. Finally, thanks to the multiple posters who pointed out that regional accents transported to other regions of the country get hammered. This has nothing to do with "the North" or "the South," it's just a fact of human nature. Outsiders tend to be ridiculed everywhere in the world, just like racism exists in all parts of the US, not just the South.

I do think that something is being missed, though, in all of the posts I've read, and it is the idea of traditions (i.e., shared knowledge and values). To overgeneralize, the South likes its traditions from football to bar-b-q to church. That's a simplification, but I think that for better or worse, in the US psyche the south has become a symbol for "tradition" (kind of like Bavaria in Germany). Yes, it is increasingly a commericialized symbol bearing little relation to reality, but I think maybe this knee-jerk affinity for "southern authenticity" is a reaction against the increasing trend of living in "tradition-less" communities.

I grew up in eastern Tennessee, and I currently live in Poughkeepsie New York. Poughkeepsie is every bit as Republican as the area that I grew up in. But the Republicanism here is similar to the non-wingnut Republicanism that I grew up with. Just as where I grew up, people I speak to here have an extreme aversion to "moneyed," ivy-league "elites," telling them how to live their lives.

Posted by: Noogs on June 20, 2007 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

The "governors can win but senators can't" thing is old news. Old as 1960, anyway, when the last person went directly from senator to president. Does that make it unshakeable modern wisdom and the way of the future? Dunno. I'm thinking of Dubya attempting to argue with a straight face (well, his face is never straight--he's always smirking) that Kerry had raised taxes 4,368 times or however Bush's people decided to spin that one bill.

Hollywood, the Media, the government, politicians, and everyone has just bent over backwards to tell us how authentic and unpretentious everyone and everything is in the South (and other red states), how great NASCAR is, and how phony everything is in urban areas. And people still seem to think they do not get any respect.

They have to complain about something in between crying about how we're oppressing them as Christians.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Noogs - Although a Connecticut native, I lived in Athens GA for a few delightful years. Apropos of your remarks about tradition, there was a barbecue place on the main street there with a sign that read "Dave's Ribs: An Athens Tradition since 1999." That was in the year 2000.

If you're a Democrat, I hope you'll do what you can to support your congresssman, John Hall, who will be facing a tough fight to keep his seat next year in a district which as you note is very right-leaning.

And if you're a Republican, I can only urge you to adopt an attitude of deep complacency.

Posted by: lampwick on June 20, 2007 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Noogs: I do think that something is being missed, though, in all of the posts I've read, and it is the idea of traditions (i.e., shared knowledge and values). To overgeneralize, the South likes its traditions from football to bar-b-q to church. That's a simplification, but I think that for better or worse, in the US psyche the south has become a symbol for "tradition" (kind of like Bavaria in Germany). Yes, it is increasingly a commericialized symbol bearing little relation to reality, but I think maybe this knee-jerk affinity for "southern authenticity" is a reaction against the increasing trend of living in "tradition-less" communities.

An excellent point, well stated.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Can I add, that, whoa, we need to increase the peace and not go to war with ourselves? I have a cousin in Boca and I don't want to be drafted into the War Machine of the USA and be sent to try to shoot him down, he's cool, man.

Hollywood makes bogus films, okay? I saw that film Shrek the Turd and man, I couldn't figure out what the heck was going on. What's up with that cat? It was a cat wearing boots and it talked like a Mexican. I don't need to see that. And what is a Shrek? Why does he talk like he's all Scottish and whatnot? I saw Braveheart and I was not cool with the violence. I'm watching Shrek, going, is this the crappy animated sequel to Braveheart? Daaaaaahm, ya know.

And they put Camron Diaz in a move and make her look like a buttered up hog. Whassup with that?

Increase that peace. No war.

Posted by: One toke over the lime on June 20, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

the idea that southerners are inherently more "real," and more American, than the rest of us is deeply insulting.

Not to mention profoundly stupid.

Posted by: Del Capslock on June 20, 2007 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Could a lot of this simply be explained by demographics?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_center_of_U.S._population

Politicians are making a big deal out of the South because that is where a lot of people and votes migrated to in the last 25 years. For a long time that center of population went steadily west (primarily to California). Then it shifted to the south sharply between 1980-1990 (flight from the rust belt?). The trend in population growth in the South is slowing and is moving to the Southwest (Arizona/Nevada) recently:
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/007910.html

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 20, 2007 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a link to a map (pdf) that is decent:
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states/us_popchange_00.pdf

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 20, 2007 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Something is wrong with your math!
President Kennedy was from Massachusetts, Bush and Bush are from Connecticut, President Johnson was from Texas, Nixon from California and Ford from Michigan. Only President Carter is from the South.
Although not of seven, President Eisenhower was born in Texas and reared in Kansas.

Posted by: Captain Dan on June 20, 2007 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Johnson was from Texas

Texas IS in the south, numbskull.

The great Southern traditions are foreign to me. I find them quaint. I will not eat chitlins or crawdads. I find them repulsive. When one attends the Republican conventions, one is compelled to avoid the backslapping rubes and not mingle with anyone wearing a t-shirt or flip flops--they usually have bad teeth, dirt under their fingernails, and an odor of stale coffee.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 20, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Read Caro's book on Lyndon Johnson. Those that complain that we southerners seem to monopolize the highest office in the land should transport themselves back in time 50 years.

Senator Russell of Georgia couldn't do higher office because of the soft prohibition against southern candidates.

The fact that in the last forty years or so we've been able to elect candidates, revolves around the fact that there are 13 southern states that pretty much vote in lockstep in national elections.

Posted by: Tony Shifflett on June 20, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

I am a very liberal, lifelong Georgian, and the stereotypes flying here are just painful.

This "the South won't vote for a non-southerner" stuff is crap. The only thing going on is that southerners are more conservative than the rest of the nation. Thus, Southern democrats tend to be more moderate than liberal, which makes them more electable nationally. Hence many of the Dems we have elected of late are southerners, i.e. Clinton and Carter (and LBJ).

Bush II is the only southern republican we've elected in the modern era, and that was a true aberration. Otherwise, what is Kevin talking about? Bush I isn't even vaguely southern. Nixon and Reagan aren't southern ("southwest" and "southern" aren't related at all in any cultural sense). Ford wasn't elected.

I will agree that Southerners get annoyed when Northerners act like we're a bunch of ignorant yahoos. But some of the stuff posted here is nonsense.

Posted by: Liberal Chris on June 20, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Here is the actual list--

Bush II - reared in Texas. A southerner.
Clinton - reared in Arkansas. A southern hick.
Bush the Elder - Adopted Texan. A southerner.
Reagan the Great - A Californian.
Carter - Georgia. Southerner. Crazy hick.
Ford - Michigan.
Nixon - A Californian.
Johnson - Texas. Scars to prove it. Southerner.
Kennedy - Massachusetts.
Eisenhower - Kansas. A midwesterner, I suppose.
Truman - From Missouri. Another hick.
Roosevelt - From New York. A communist.
Hoover - I have no idea. Does it even matter?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 20, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan may noy have been from the South, but he opened his campaign in 1980 in the small Mississippi town where the three civil rights workers was murdered. That was good enough for some.

My God, you're right! It was Philadelphia, Mississippi. The bastards!

Posted by: Bob M on June 20, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan may not have been from the South, but he opened his campaign in 1980 in the small Mississippi town where the three civil rights workers was murdered.

And just in case anyone missed the point, his speech prominently mentioned "state's rights". That someone who did that could be tolerated in polite society, let alone elected President, illustrates serious moral rot in this culture.

Posted by: just sayin on June 20, 2007 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

If the Democratic Party wants to be a broad tent, then we do have to learn mutual respect.

It's a lot more fun to mock and ridicule, but it isn't very productive. The need to feel superior is a signal of insecurity. Reaching out to people diminished insecurity. Ridicule increases it. Demagogues foster insecurity.

So go ahead and make fun of Southerners and big city elitists. Just realize that polarizing supports people like Bush and Cheney.

Posted by: ml on June 20, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

If the Democratic Party wants to be a broad tent, then we do have to learn mutual respect.

It's a lot more fun to mock and ridicule, but it isn't very productive. The need to feel superior is a signal of insecurity. Reaching out to people diminished insecurity. Ridicule increases it. Demagogues foster insecurity.

So go ahead and make fun of Southerners and big city elitists. Just realize that polarizing supports people like Bush and Cheney.

Posted by: ml on June 20, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

It's a lot more fun to mock and ridicule, but it isn't very productive.

Blow it out your ass, goofball. I'm having the time of my life. And I get her done! Yes I do.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 20, 2007 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

And just in case anyone missed the point, his speech prominently mentioned "state's rights". That someone who did that could be tolerated in polite society, let alone elected President, illustrates serious moral rot in this culture.

It really does turn one's stomach. I had mercifully forgotten the whole thing.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Oh come on. You just made that shit up, right? "Partridgeberry"?

Indeed, no, though partridgeberry is better known down here as lingonberry.

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Not to be confused with marionberry, which is not to be confused with Marion Barry.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"BTW, the idea that pretty boy Edwards would carry a southern state is less likely than Fred Thompson carrying the District of Columbia."

There has been some anecdotal evidence, however, that moderates outside of the South are more likely to perceive the "Dem with the drawl" as being more "centrist" and "electable" than the Dem without one.

In this race, for example, I think I have seen polling indicating that people see Edwards as the moderate Dem even though he's been running a far more liberal campaign than the frontrunners so far.

Posted by: howie on June 20, 2007 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

It sure does. We had a sailboat when we lived there, and we took our vacations up and down the coast of the island for a few years. One year we came into a port and met a fisherman. We took him out for a sail for a few hours, and then he let us take the crab legs, which were by-catch from the cod he was trying to fish (pre-moratorium days). We ended up with a garbage bag full of crab legs, and dined for a few days before chucking the rest.

Ah, a big city slicker. My girlfriend's family were all fishermen from the outports up north, at least, as you said, until the moratorium hit. One moment that crystallized the difference in how she'd been raised was last summer when we were out at the beach and I took her shopping to buy some fish for dinner, at which point she told me "I've never bought fish before. I've only ever caught it myself."

Bakeapples sure are a local treat, though they aren't very sweet. Need to add some sugar to counteract the bitterness. They're a great topping on ice-cream. I think they're only found in like Newfounland and Norway (possibly Iceland?).

Yeah, there's a lot of cross-cultural similarity between Newfoundland and the North Sea countries (Scandinavia plus the British Isles). Most be something about all those cable knit sweaters...

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

noogs: "Yes, it is increasingly a commericialized symbol bearing little relation to reality, but I think maybe this knee-jerk affinity for "southern authenticity" is a reaction against the increasing trend of living in "tradition-less" communities."

Late, late, late to the thread but I just wanted to back up noogs who I think is making an important point about the strong regional identity of the south.

The English and humanities profs who read WM can speak to this better than me, but imho, the south has benefitted, more than any other region of the US, from the power of literature and story telling. From Mark Twain, William Faulkner to Harper Lee, Barbara Kingsolver and Anne Tyler, the south has produced storytellers who have created a kind of enchanted, evocative fictional world. And, unlike other regional literature, the literature of the south struggled with the issues of race, the defining American issue. A literature tradition like this becomes self-generating and coheres the culture. It is a chicken and egg thing, but I think the regional identity has been solidified by its art.

Some of this literature derives from a sensed history of loss and regret, and some derives from a rich southern tradition of storytelling. Some of it derives from homogenity--the stewpot of southern culture, black and white--just simmered along whereas culture in the rest of the country, I believe, was distracted by waves and waves of immigrants. The northern literature themes--with its emphasis on the rottenness of middle-class striving--didn't present a culture vision that anyone wanted to embrace as their own whether it was F. Scott Fitzgerald's boozy reveries of class and exclusion, Lewis Sinclair's suffocating Babbittsville, or John Updike's lives of suburban desperation. Except for narratives of Jewish immigration/assimilation (which again deal with identity and race) the literature just didn't hit a tipping point.

Plus, the southerners that I have known have been just much better story-tellers--funny, original use of language, insightful-- than people from other regions of the country.

Finally there is the music tradition. There I think you have also some interesting immigrant stuff going on. I was startled recently to discover, thanks to some Alan Lomax recordings made in logging camps in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, that the upper midwest once had a fiddle tradition every bit as lively as the south. But those Scandinavian and Irish immigrant fiddlers gave it up somewhere along the way, whereas it remained an integral part of the South.

Okay, that's enough. Shorter PTate: Rah, rah for the power of art! Maybe we should be funding writers more?

Re John Edwards's comment. Consider this scenario. You are a southerner, you are fed up with GWB and the Republicans, and it is the day of your primary. You have three choices--Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama and John Edwards.

People on this thread think that Edwards won't come out ahead in this three way match up? I snort in amazement. People really think more Southerners would choose Sen."Negatives in the 50s, but I've got a vagina" Clinton, or Sen "he's got an African dad and his middle name is what?" Obama over bright, clean, familiar "Dad was a mill worker" Edwards? I have trouble believing that.

Posted by: PTate in FR on June 20, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

That's just nonsense. I don't know about Oregon, but I know for a fact that many, if not most, Rhode Islanders can't stand people from the south. Anyone with a southern accent or visible religiosity is looked upon with suspicion, even scorn.

Really? Rhode Islanders looked on Bill Clinton and Al Gore with suspicion and scorn??? That's just nonsense.

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

I have long wondered just where the Dems lost their footing.

When President Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he said, "we have lost the South for a generation," and it's true. The South switched from Democratic to Republican because of Democrats' support for civil rights and has voted for the most racist available candidate ever since 1948. That included the elections in 1948 and 1968, when Strom Thurmond (1948) and George Wallace (1968) took the Deep South states by being more racist than the Republicans.

Posted by: croatoan on June 20, 2007 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

oops, and jeez, I apologise for the length of that last post. Waxing poetic I was.

Posted by: PTate in FR on June 20, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Get her done!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on June 20, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Grew up in Canada, and lived in Atlanta. To me, there are a lot of parallels between the national politics of Quebec and the US South. Both of these areas are more or less culturally homogeneous, have long-standing grievances with the rest of the country, and are big enough to swing elections.

Essentially, parties in both countries have to show serious street cred to Quebec/the South because they demand it and the rest of the country has learned to tolerate it. The situation is more extreme in Canada, since it is more culturally and linguistically different than the rest of Canada, and has made a lot of noise about separation in recent history. As well, there seems to be a more serious backlash towards Quebec by the rest of Canada (especially the West) than the rest of the U.S. toward the South.

In both countries, I think this has done a lot of damage, because so much political effort and calculation goes into what amounts to romantic bullshit. Both areas are far more dependent on the rest of the countries than they like to believe, and pandering to their self-images causes a lot of distortions in the national discourse.

What to do about this? The only thing I see happening is demographics. Both white Southerners and "du souche" Quebeckers can resent immigrants, but rely on them for economic growth and the immigrants tend to have political views a lot closer to the rest of the countries'. It's happening, but it's not fast.

Posted by: ericblair on June 20, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe people who stay in the North don't express that disdain, but those who move South rarely can resist letting us know they do things better up there.

Of course, they don't want to live there.

Posted by: Louise on June 20, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

PTate in FR,

Excellent post about Southern storytellers. The turkey hunter in Erol Morris' "Vernon, Florida" comes to mind. As far as writers go, don't forget about Carson McCullers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carson_McCullers

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 20, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

This thread is just hilarious! And to think Waldeman is a bit mystified why "Southerners are always taking offense at people who supposedly look down on them".

Of course, a Democratic candidate from the South is advantageous because it means more of the election battle is fought on Republican territory. For the same reason, if the Republicans were to nominate a Northerner, the battle might take place on Democratic territory.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 20, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

People really think more Southerners would choose Sen."Negatives in the 50s, but I've got a vagina" Clinton, or Sen "he's got an African dad and his middle name is what?" Obama over bright, clean, familiar "Dad was a mill worker" Edwards? I have trouble believing that.

Are you saying southerners ARE racist and sexist, or not? I'm really unclear on your point, in the above. They're racist, sexist xenophobes, but it's worth it because they play a mean fiddle?

Posted by: mattsteinglass on June 20, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

" It is funny how Southerners feel like they're the most patriotic Americans, when they're the only region to try to secede from the country and wage war against it."

Maybe they're working really hard to prove they do love America out of a guilty conscience.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on June 20, 2007 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Not to nitpick further, but calling southern California the Southwest, while geogrphically accurate is not culturally accurate. I'll concede that Reagan had a lot of that westerner machismo and cowboy culture, but to tattoo Nixon as being anything but a Californian, is nuts. California, even southern California is not New Mexico or Nevada or Arizona. Very urban and suburban, not that mountain culture that is mode akin to the classic "southwest" shorthand.

And, yes, I'm a native San Diegan...

Posted by: Joe Blow on June 20, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, with Global Warming, soon we will *all* be Southerners!

Posted by: Joey Giraud on June 20, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

I think Kevin did not want to have to claim Reagan and Nixon as Californians. If asked, Kevin would claim that Bob Dornan represented Tijuana.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 20, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Re PTate's post: I'm fascinated by Southern literary traditions and have delved pretty deeply into them, but I question whether they've had an enormous effect on the Southern sense of shared traditions Noogs was describing.

To the extent that "the regional identity has been solidified by its art"--and I don't think it can be argued that it hasn't been--music has been far more of a solidifying factor than literature. That's largely because of differences in accessibility between music and literature, but it also has to do with subtle and not-so-subtle differences of perspective between many Southern writers and some of their subjects and readers on social issues including the one PTate pulled out and identified as central: race and race relations.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Joey, Yes with global warming, there might also be a *reverse migration* back to the Great Lakes and New England states. Plenty of water there. Yikes, The Plains states (Texas and the South,too) in the summer will probably be like the worst of Kazakhstan.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 20, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Please don't beat me master.

Posted by: Brojo on June 20, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

If asked, Kevin would claim that Bob Dornan represented Tijuana.

Uh, right. Because, as evidenced by the crap that came out of his mouth, B1 Bob's love for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans knew no bounds.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

But it just seems that in the last 7-10 years, Hollywood, the Media, the government, politicians, and everyone has just bent over backwards to tell us how authentic and unpretentious everyone and everything is in the South (and other red states), how great NASCAR is, and how phony everything is in urban areas.

Of course, if you want to hold a post of authority in "Hollywood, the media, the government," you'd better not be a graduate of a college from one of those red states, unless it's a private-cum-Ivy institution (e.g., Vanderbilt, Duke). They may love those people, but only as consumers, not as leaders. Which is why many of them are afraid of John Edwards and his populism.

Posted by: Vincent on June 20, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

I've lived in the South all my life (OK and TX), and I'm beyond tired of the "heartland" BS people down here shovel on a constant basis. If I lived in NYC or CA, I'm sure I'd hear plenty of patronizing crap from people who think everyone from the South is stupid, but I get patronizing crap now from people who think I'm stupid because I don't have a penis. I couldn't tell you if a majority of people down here are really as narrow-minded as Kevin suggests, but the ones who bother to vote often are. DFW and Houston are more "conservative" than Austin, which is the "liberal" part of Texas, whatever "conservative" and "liberal" mean anymore. I will point out that Dallas county elected an openly gay AND female sherriff a couple years ago, so the voters can't be nearly as uptight as either Democrats or Republcans would like to think.

Posted by: LL on June 20, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

While we're at it, can anybody tell us a progressive movement that arose from Southern Culture?

Posted by: Dervin on June 20, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

mattsteinglass: "Are you saying southerners ARE racist and sexist, or not? I'm really unclear on your point, in the above. They're racist, sexist xenophobes, but it's worth it because they play a mean fiddle?"

No, but that's a funny way to put it. My point is that Southerners are more conservative than liberal--they voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004. Now, confronted with these three Democratic candidates, it seems to me that they are likely to go with the one who seems most like them (which would be the most conservative choice.)

I also think that Obama will have a lot of appeal in the south, but Edwards is the safe bet, imho.

Posted by: PTate in FR on June 20, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Yancey Ward: And to think Waldeman is a bit mystified why "Southerners are always taking offense at people who supposedly look down on them".

Not From The South: You know, these past six years I've heard a lot of how "elitist" I am, how "unpatriotic" or "treasonous" I am, and how I am not a "real American." And this was not for anything I've done, but simply because I come from Northern California.

Matt: To say there's no prejudice against southerners is just hokum.

You people don't know how to deal with regional prejudice. Here in NY we take pride in the fact that outsiders confuse hell and NYC. Even here in the suburbs we understand that the appropriate way to introduce yourself is "I'm from NY - fuck you".

Posted by: alex on June 20, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

While we're at it, can anybody tell us a progressive movement that arose from Southern Culture?
Posted by: Dervin on June 20, 2007 at 11:51 AM

Dervin, I found this:
http://www.okreadsok.org/sixpack/thirdsixpack/agrarian/agrarianexcerpt.html

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 20, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it seems Kevin has sparked the proof that anti-Southern attitudes are alive and well. And also that anti-Northern and anti-Western attitudes are alive and well.

So that means that we're all pretty much the same: we're all prejudiced against other people who are not like us, and usually for extremely petty reasons (strange accents, different appearance, anecdotal experience, irrelevant history).

Kevin, I expect a little more enlightenment from you!

Posted by: polthereal on June 20, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to make a couple of points. For starters, any blanket characterization of "Southerners" is doomed to failure. It is a broad, complex region with multiple ethnicities and different histories. It's not as monolithic as some of you, including Kevin, make it out to be. And, a lot of you seem to just flat-out ignore African-Americans, who are and always have been a big part of our culture here in the South. Also, I'd like to know how many of you Yankee turds could live your life, like I have, as a white progressive in the South. It's not so easy, I'll admit, but lots of us do it. Growing up in, and living all but eight years of my 41 years in 3 states that were in the CSA, I have lots of Southern friends, most of whom are liberal as hell. The only Yankee in my family tree is a great-great-great-great grandfather from Maryland, so I don't even know if that counts, since it's south of the Mason-Dixon line, and was a Slave State at the time he came farther south (right after the War of 1812). I just can't stand the intolerance of some of you - you're supposed to be the tolerant side of this country, y'all - so start living up to your values!

Posted by: Trent on June 20, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

The Republic needs healing.

Posted by: Brojo on June 20, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Nixon did it, I was born and raised in SC and live here even now.

I sure do hate that you and the missus moved here for the cheap land and the low taxes (and then have the gall to bitch about the schools) and find the natives to be distasteful. But I'm glad you've found a community (let me guess, Sun City?) of other displaced people who've chosen to retire here so y'all can all pal around together and complain about the backwards locals.

I would be happy to buy you and Mrs. Nixon Did It two plane tickets to any other state in the union, but it sounds like y'all are real comfortable in your little enclave of the right people. And you love the cheap livin'.

And you wonder why people down here can't stand you?

Posted by: kc in SC on June 20, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Another interesting fact about the deep-fried South is that the Southern states have the highest rate of:

Divorce
Heart Attacks
Obesity
Child Abuse
High School drop-outs
etc, etc, etc...

And the lowest rates of:
Literacy
Money to Education
Voting in elections
College graduates
etc, etc, etc...

Yeah, the Southern states are really a region we
all want to look up to...

Posted by: wagonjak on June 20, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Yeah, the Southern states are really a region we
all want to look up to..."

Hey wagonjak, do you THINK any of those things you listed might be correlated with say, POVERTY, and that the South happens to have some of the poorest states in the nation in it? Are you saying that the poor are poor because they deserve to be? Isn't that the kind of tripe I hear from rightards all the time? Go to hell, you punk.

Posted by: Trent on June 20, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

They obviously don't know that Kentucky boys fought for the Union 2 to 1. I talked to a Civil War historian at a reenactment one time, and he said that Kentuckians come to him all the time thinking that an ancestor fought in the Civil War, and thinking it was for the south. Come to find out, they were in the Union army, and they get real disappointed.

I find that absolutely baffling. I've driven through Kentucky too and seen those "This is Rebel Country!" bumperstickers. No, you moron, this was Union country....

How can a people so obsessed with history forget their own so quickly? How can they not know this most basic and simple fact of which fucking side they were on?!?!?!

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards wouldn't do well nationally because he's just too all-around liberal. I don't see Colorado and the Southwest voting for a very liberal candidate, I don't see Virginia or Tennessee voting for a very liberal candidate, I don't see Florida or Ohio voting for a very liberal candidate.

For Democrats, Edwards appears moderate when viewed stylistically, but all that style will mean little if he hits the national stage and has to defend his "there's no war on terror" message.

For comparison, Clinton will continue to appear liberal to most voters, because that's seared into their brain after long exposure (oh, her negatives will come down over time--but only a little bit).

Obama, however, hits the sweet spot. He's liberal on certain issues but philosophically and stylistically a centrist, and will play that way to the country as a whole. He's the Democrats' best hope.

Posted by: polthereal on June 20, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Too many southerners in power are still unreconstructed bigots because the north never won the ideological civil war. The failure to exorcize the dixiecratic ideological demons is the one perrenial failure that has finally brought this once great nation to international shame and the to brink of self destruction. We're teetering on the edge of collapse because we expropriated the country's executive power and moral authority to a tittering southern idiot with the Saudi's oily hands in his pants and their lawyers in the oval office. Meanwhile, our nation is now debating whether the USA will treat the enemies of OPEC and other suspicious brown people (except bin Laden) as sinfully now as the south did then. This is still the same unreconstructed Southern demon, professing faith and patriotism but practicing duplicity, greed, tyranny, and torture.

Posted by: chgo on June 20, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I have been wondering for some time now- was Lincoln wrong ?
Maby he simply should have let the South go and stew in their own juice.

Posted by: M.Carey on June 20, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

How can a people so obsessed with history forget their own so quickly? How can they not know this most basic and simple fact of which fucking side they were on?!?!?!

Because Kentucky really was divided, and because they're making a stand for their personally preferred side, the Confederacy. Which means: Because they're idiots glorifying atrocity.

Full disclosure: My mother's family is from Kentucky. When older relatives are asked where the old ancestors came down in the Treasonous War Against the U.S., much mumbling about "not ever having had the time to look that up" ensues. Guess that means we have the answer, but I give them credit for at least having some shame.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"We're teetering on the edge of collapse because we expropriated the country's executive power and moral authority to a tittering southern idiot with the Saudi's oily hands in his pants and their lawyers in the oval office." chgo - a "tittering idiot" - I agree, but one who attended Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, Yale U in New Haven, CT, and Harvard U, in Cambridge MA. Not exactly your typical "good ole boy" now, is he?

Posted by: Trent on June 20, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

LL,

If you are from Texas, and came to San Francisco, 1. People won't think you're stupid for not having a vagina, and 2. most people will probably be more curious if "everything is bigger in Texas" is really true or not.

But really, in the SF Bay Area, there has always been a lot of regional transplants here. Especially recently, as housing prices have soared forcing a lot of the locals out, and having an influx of people from other parts of the US (and the world). And usually we get along just fine. They would tell jokes about San Francisco, and we will usually joke about where they came from (whether LA, NY, the South, the Midwest, etc.). But it was all in good fun, just good natured ribbing, never personal, and everyone kind of got along. Then, during the 2000 elections, but especially in the 2004 elections, everything changed. You had one party that specifically pandered to, while not explicitly Southern, but a more rural/suburban/exurban votes (maybe it happened before then, but I did not notice it). And suddenly, people in cities were labelled "treasonous," "unpatriotic," "America hating," "snobby," "aloof," "elitist," "out of touch with mainstream America," etc. Now, to be fair, as I look back on this, a lot of this rubbish came from Republican/Conservative elitists/pundits, who probably never lived in the South (I am thinking Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, David Brooks, George Will, etc.). But still, the message was clear, "people from blue states/cities are not 'real Americans,' while people from rural areas, the South, the Midwest, the West are authentic."

Now, to get back to Kevin's main point, why does John Edwards (who I like) use a Southern accent when he campaigns? Because it works. I mean, if George W. Bush could do it and convince people that a graduate of Andover, Yale, and Harvard Business School is "just like them," then why not try it. Also, John Edwards is more left than Hillary is, but people perceive Hillary to be more left than Edwards. Maybe being from the South has something to do with this.

Posted by: Not From The South on June 20, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Patridgeberry's are what they call 'eggs' way down north.

Posted by: cld on June 20, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

re:southern writers. I've been wondering if it is that the audience for southern writers is largely in the north, where no one can say how 'authentic' the writer might really be. While northern writers write about the world most of their audience can actually see.

So, in this way, the south of the southern writers is a lot like Oz, easier to relax into and let it work as fantasy.

Posted by: cld on June 20, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I am from New Orleans which many would counsider southern (I would say that some "southerners" still wonder because of that whole French thing), my dad grew up in Mississippi which we visited alot, and I went to college in Alabama - so I do know something of the south and do consider myself southern. Of course my family always did say I sounded like a Yankee (something about the way I pronounced my vowles and consants as well as clear diction) and when I spent a semester in London the family couldn't tell much difference between my accent and the girl's I roomed with (she was from Maryland).

Saying all that - I too am greatly tired of the southern victimhood thing. The Civil War/War Between the States/War of Northern Agression/Recent Unpleasantness may have been fought over a century ago but it is still reenacted and venerated to a very unfortunate degree.

I have felt more condescension from southernerns for being one of the in-tu-lek-tu-als than I have from northerners because I grew up in the south.

Posted by: ET on June 20, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

"you Yankee turds"

Southron hospitality at its finest!

Posted by: Matt on June 20, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Matt, just so we're clear here - I am not referring to all Yankees as turds; I'm married to one whom I love dearly. However, to those of you who are particularly vitriolic about Southerners (you know who you are), I will gladly refer to you as "turds" - and I make no apologies in so doing.

Posted by: Trent on June 20, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't bother to read most of the rest of the comments, but here's my .02 (which will buy me a shit-ton of gasoline down in Mississippi these days).

Before the national media figured out that Bill Clinton had trouble keeping his zipper up, the entire country was awash in "Bubba" jokes. As long as ridiculing Southerners as backward, ignorant, inbred racists is the default socially acceptable norm around the rest of the country, we're going to have a chip on our shoulder about it.

This isn't rocket science, it's the American psyche at work. You tell us we're wrong, we say "Fuck You!"

Not for nothing, but Texas IS NOT part of the South, and George W. Bush is about as much of a Texan as I am an astronaut.

(i am not an astronaut. i've always been more of a breast man)

Posted by: Frank on June 20, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

If the Democratic Party wants to be a broad tent, then we do have to learn mutual respect.

It's a lot more fun to mock and ridicule, but it isn't very productive.


It's morally wrong to respect Rush Limbaugh's audience.

Posted by: cld on June 20, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I think 'tradition-less' communities is a myth told of places where everyone is employed.

Posted by: cld on June 20, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I was born in Beaumont, TX, where they put the red in redneck. We moved to Connecticut when I was still in school, and I lost all vestiges of my thick southern accent and being asked by my teacher to say "how now brown cow" to the laughter of my fellow classmates. So I look and sound like a yankee.

In one job I had to travel to various places, frequently in the deep south, like Columbia, SC. I could sense when they thought I was "foriegner" and I'd share I was from TX originally. They would become visibly relieved, and usualy say something like "Oh, you're one of us".

Posted by: CTguyfromTX on June 20, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

My position for quite some time has been that most people everywhere you go are fucking idiots. North, South, East and West, no region has a monopoly on stupidity, prejudice, incompetence, etc. One of the most racist people I ever met was my uncle in NY (Rochester) who said "nigger" more times in the week I was visiting there than I heard over several years in Oklahoma. That doesn't mean Oklahoma isn't racist, it sure as hell is. I would suggest that if you're going to move to a part of the country you didn't grow up in, you might want to NOT tell everyone there how much it sucks and how much better it is where you came from. You will get nothing in response but richly deserved contempt.

I agree with the poster above who said that maybe the reason "southernish" candidates can get elected president more readily than, say, John Kerry, is because being southern Democrats, they are more likely to be centrist, and thus, more electable to most of the country, compared to whatever hateful assholes the Republicans have deemed acceptable and the Yankee Democrats who have been stigmatized as "liberal" and "elitist" by the stupid media. Politics in this country is really PR and the people who manipulate the press most effectively are the ones who win, unfortunately. PR does have its limits (witness the Bush administration), but for the short-term goal of winning elections, it is superior to expecting people to think for themselves. Because they won't.

Posted by: LL on June 20, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Alex, I live and work in NYC, and I've been in the Northeast for four years--with no plans of leaving. I'd say I'm dealing with regional prejudice just fine. Oddly enough, however, I have rarely felt the inclination to respond to someone saying, "I'm from New York--fuck you," with, "Well, now, nice to meet you."

Posted by: Matt on June 20, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Alex, I live and work in NYC, and I've been in the Northeast for four years--with no plans of leaving. I'd say I'm dealing with regional prejudice just fine. Oddly enough, however, I have rarely felt the inclination to respond to someone saying, "I'm from New York--fuck you," with, "Well, now, nice to meet you."

Posted by: Matt on June 20, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

But the great irony is that the slave-owning class somehow fooled the small poor white farmers into doing their fighting for them.

Yup. Poor whites weren't even allowed to vote in most southern states but they were true believers. While many areas of the South refused to buy into the Confederacy, too many others did. My question is what did they expect would happen if they won? That the Southern aristocracy would stop calling them poor white trash? Or that they would have a real place at the political table?

Whatever pipe dream they were smoking got smashed to pieces when Reconstruction came to an end. After that many poor whites (and of course blacks) got caught up in the two systems George Washington Cables said were more hideous than slavery: sharecropper and convict lease.

But to this day Jeff Davis lives.

Posted by: Daryl on June 20, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Here in the Cradle of the Confederacy the demarcation line between the North and the South is moving southward at a rapid rate.

During the last election the Washington Post ran an interesting article pointing out solidly conservative, typically Southern voting patterns don't emerge until you get below the Rappahannock River, roughly the extent of the outer DC suburbs. Southern Virginians would like to see Northern Virginia annexed by DC or Maryland.

So, with the Hispanics pushing north from Miami and Houston and the Northerners pushing south from DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania we could really put the squeeze on the Rebs.

But what was really funny was watching my 6th grader's end of the school year history pageant a couple of weeks ago. Many schools in our area are ethically very diverse and seeing Indian, Pakistani, Korean, Chinese and Middle Eastern kids dressed up as Confederate & Union soldiers was a hoot. No oil paintings of pappy dressed in a slouch hat and grey shell jacket in their living room.

The South, like everywhere else in America, is changing. The whining, self-pitying types are just slow to accept it. They will eventually have to adapt to their ethnic neighbors or become politically irrelevent.

Cricket, anyone?

Posted by: pj in jesusland on June 20, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Got to respond to Dervin and reiterate Trent: Name a progressive movement which originated in the south. How about the civil rights movement? As Trent states, the role of Black southerners is oddly overlooked here. As best as I can recall, Martin Luther King and his followers were almost entirely southerners. Do Black people count, or are we to believe that the civil rights movement began with the white Freedom Riders from New York?. I also seem to recall that Martin Luther King took his message to places like Detroit and Chicago, where he was not particularly well received. This is a most peculiar set of posts. I may need to reconsider my long-held position that the south alone is permeated with ignorance.

Posted by: steve miller on June 20, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: I have rarely felt the inclination to respond to someone saying, "I'm from New York--fuck you," with, "Well, now, nice to meet you."

That's a shame. If said with the right inflection, such a response could be marvelously sarcastic. Of course the straight forward "drop dead, asshole" works too. Either way, such an exchange seems like a good way to establish mutual respect. As for anyone who disagrees, I'd ask that they show some respect for my cultural heritage.

Posted by: alex on June 20, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

You're right, Kevin. Nothing intolerant on this page.

Posted by: fnorky on June 20, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Hey trent,

The south IS poor because of how southerners do things. So yes, they DESERVE to be poor. Politics in the south resembles politics in third-world countries. The south deserves to be poorer than it is. All that has saved it is federal largess, a side-effect of losing the Civil War.

P.S. I propose re-naming the Civil War the War of Southern Aggression. 'Northern Aggression' is the biggest joke ever. The war was started by the clique who ruled SC (which should be renamed Scum Carolina, as that will also be more accurate).

Posted by: Anamolous on June 20, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

In one job I had to travel to various places, frequently in the deep south, like Columbia, SC. I could sense when they thought I was "foriegner" and I'd share I was from TX originally. They would become visibly relieved, and usualy say something like "Oh, you're one of us".

Okay, that's just sick. I'm imagining myself saying this to another Northerner. Nope. Can't do it.

It's a lot more fun to mock and ridicule, but it isn't very productive.

Not that I'm suggesting we emulate them, but Republican politics of at least the last 27 years have proven this statement wrong-o.

And I thought Trent's "Yankee turd" comment was hilarious. As a lifelong Yankee with a mostly Southern family and tons of Southern friends, I find this whole thread hilarious.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Not for nothing, but Texas IS NOT part of the South, and George W. Bush is about as much of a Texan as I am an astronaut.

Texas was one of the states of the Confederacy. Therefore, it falls firmly into the Traitor States category.

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

And not one "Dukes of Hazzard" or "Deliverance" reference.

Posted by: Not From The South on June 20, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Born in and reared in SC in the 50's and 60's in a family of "liberals." (ie. my parents were embarassed by Jim Crow.) When I was in college in the north in the late 1970's I certainly experienced more than a little predjudice from other students who assumed that I was (1) stupid (2) racist (3) zealously Christian. Thank God when Jimmy Carter acme along I didn't have to explain away George Wallace anymore. In my lifetime I never felt that the south was victimized per se. I did feel that northern economic interests exploited cheap southern labor (black and white) until they found even cheaper labor elsewhere. And even now it appalls me that for generations after 1865 well off whites and outside economic interests cultivated racism to keep labor cheap, when after 1890 or so poor whites and poor blacks alike might have otherwise seen that they were in the same boat. Today owing to the wonder of cable TV, children in Jasper County, SC don't have my accent. (And mine is much diminished after 25 years in California.) They might as well be from Iowa. When the last Confedrate battle flag disappears will we (as a nation) be better off for it, or are we sweeping history under the rug? The battle flag certains marks some of our families as "Southerns," but so do the quilts that served as maps along the underground railroad. Lest we forget the past, both have a place in our history. H as the south been "cheated" in White House bids over the last 140 years? No more so than the Plains or the Rocky Mountain regions. The south gave America Jefferson, and for that you will always owe us That's enough for me.

Posted by: Jay Mold on June 20, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

How about the civil rights movement?

Good point, though I always think of the civil rights movement as following after the anti-slavery and women's suffrage movements, each being steps in the general movement of human rights.


Trent, Hey wagonjak, do you THINK any of those things you listed might be correlated with say, POVERTY, and that the South happens to have some of the poorest states in the nation in it? Are you saying that the poor are poor because they deserve to be? Isn't that the kind of tripe I hear from rightards all the time? Go to hell, you punk.


You are absolutely right. All those things cause poverty. And when you stop supporting those things you'll start to climb out of poverty. Letting your neighbors help pull your head out of ass would be a great start.

Posted by: cld on June 20, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Southern Virginians would like to see Northern Virginia annexed by DC or Maryland.

Until they take a look at who is paying for the state's budget, and who is benefiting the most. Quite strongly out of whack.

Posted by: Brittain33 on June 20, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

LL Wins the prize:

My position for quite some time has been that most people everywhere you go are fucking idiots.

Posted by: thersites on June 20, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Jay Mold: When the last Confedrate battle flag disappears will we (as a nation) be better off for it, or are we sweeping history under the rug?

No more than we're sweeping history under the rug by not displaying the Union Jack.

Posted by: alex on June 20, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

On the eve of the Civil War, the Confederate States of America was the third richest nation in the world, right behind the Union and Great Britain. Ever since, it's been the poorest, most ignorant part of the richest nation on Earth. We're also the only subset of people that outlasted political correctness and remain an acceptable object of national ridicule. Even fat people get more love than rednecks. It should not come as too much of a shocker that we have a bit of a collective chip on our shoulder. Especially after reading this whole thread.

That being said, every time I find myself somewhere like NYC, all I have to do is drop a "Hey, darlin'" and women flock around me like buzzards to a shitwagon. So there are advantages.

And I don't fucking care what you say, Texas AIN'T Southern, any more than Louisiana is French.


Posted by: Frank on June 20, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Southerners may not be such blowhards after all. Check out the U.S. Avg wind power map:

http://rredc.nrel.gov/wind/pubs/atlas/maps/chap2/2-01m.html

Posted by: dzman49 on June 20, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, absolutely hilarious how Trent's last comment is the one that gets removed by the moderator. Well done! You really should be proud of yourself.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 20, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, yeah, Yancey, thanks for letting me know what happened - Dear Moderator, I'm confused - what did I say that was so offensive?

Posted by: Trent on June 20, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

steve miller,

When we talk about Democrats problem in the South we aren't focusing on Southern Black folks. When everybody talks about Southern Culture, we are talking about the evangelicals and the neo-confederates

Posted by: Dervin on June 20, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Trent,

Sarcasm is sometimes difficult to detect in written communication. My "Well done...." was meant sarcastically. I know you probably got that, but I just wanted to make sure.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 20, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

That being said, every time I find myself somewhere like NYC, all I have to do is drop a "Hey, darlin'" and women flock around me like buzzards to a shitwagon.

What a...wonderfully romantic way with words you have.

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

As I said: It's a lot more fun to mock and ridicule, but it isn't very productive.

as shortstop said: Not that I'm suggesting we emulate them, but Republican politics of at least the last 27 years have proven this statement wrong-o.

Shortstop, do you REALLY think the last six years have been productive??? Polarization is good for getting elected but not for governing. The country is in shambles because of polarization. Demonizing people who disagree with you doesn't help the conversation. This is a country built on compromise and if all of us are wingnuts to the far left and far right then there's no ground for compromise. True believers create lousy nations.

Posted by: ml on June 20, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I know this is an awful thing to say but as a New Yorker raised in Chicago I hate the south.

Most of my friends hate the south too.

I don't even like to change plans in the south which I try to avoid any time I fly.

Posted by: Michael on June 20, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK
John Edwards thinks he has an advantage over Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because he's from the South and can therefore win votes from all over the country.

Whether or not that's why, he certainly polls stronger than Clinton against the major Republican candidates, and sometimes stronger than Obama, though different polls vary on that.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 20, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, do you REALLY think the last six years have been productive??? Polarization is good for getting elected but not for governing.

ml, I didn't say the last six years have been productive. I don't think there's any question that the now-established Republican politics of mockery and ridicule have been exceptionally productive in getting Bushco in particular and wingnuts in general what they want. Please note that I never said that what they want is to govern effectively--which is why I said I wasn't suggesting we emulate them.

Also wish you wouldn't use the terms "polarization" and "demonization" interchangeably. They do mean different things. There are times when polarization is absolutely appropriate and "compromise" is properly disdained.

Posted by: shortstop on June 20, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

God Bless General Sherman!

Posted by: r4d20 on June 20, 2007 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Even fat people get more love than rednecks.

Which clears up why there are so many redneck comedians on tv.

The wealth of the antebellum South was produced by parasitism and evil. It's little wonder they routinely vote to uphold the corporate interest.

every time I find myself somewhere like NYC, all I have to do is drop a "Hey, darlin'" and women flock around me like buzzards to a shitwagon.

And you wonder why they stare?

Posted by: cld on June 20, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

most Southerners just flatly refuse to vote for anyone who comes from north of the Mason-Dixon Line

Unfortunately, that’s true for many a Southerner. Heard lots and lots of my fellow Southerners say that John Kerry had no chance with them. And the really ethnocentric Southerners have all migrated to the Republican party, where they belong.

On the other hand, don’t give up on Florida. Florida should be up for grabs.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 20, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

California is in the West, not Southwest. I don't care if you are talking about San Diego or San Clemente...if it touches the Pacific Ocean, it is the West. You will notice, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas are in the "South," not the "Southeast."

Having clarified that, I think religion is a far greater political barometer than region. For example, a greater percentage of Southerners vote for Democrats running for president relative to the percentage of Southern Baptists and Evangelicals who would vote for a Catholic, Jew, Morman, etc. I wonder which was the mortal blow to George Allen - maccaca or a Jewish grandmother?

I am convinced, if Clinton had been a pro-choice Catholic, he wouldn't have been elected president despite being a governor from the South. In Idaho, your party affiliation and NRA membership is more important than your religion.

I think some Southerners are reticent of their cultural stereotypes...like blondes have to endure jokes about their intelligence...but they have been the recipient of far more tax dollars, per contributed tax dollar, because they have had diproportionately more leadership influence in Congress than any other region. So quit griping. California is teased about being a bunch of whacked out, liberal fruits; Oklahoma endures the "Oakie" stereotype; New Englanders are pasty white, Volvo driving, elitiest; and New Yorkers are hyper aggressive, loud mouths with immigrant stories.

Posted by: Cadmus on June 20, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

What redneck comedians on TV? Foxworthy couldn't make any money until he started getting his albums in the Country bins and marketing himself on CMT......who are you talking about?


"The wealth of the antebellum South was produced by parasitism and evil. It's little wonder they routinely vote to uphold the corporate interest."

......and the wealth of the rest of America was pure as the driven snow? I guess negro blood is the dirtiest? Who are the racists again?

If you are under the impression that the latitude at which you fell out of your mama (or got yanked out) makes you any better or any worse than any other person, you're obviously a fool. If you attempt to discuss Southern Culture and ignore black people, you're obviously a fool.

Which is to say, the earlier poster was right- there are stupid, ignorant people pretty much everywhere you go. The only variable is how they go about their stupidity.

Gawd, I lurv this country.

Posted by: Frank on June 20, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

I used to have a Southern girlfriend, we argued a few times about the Civil War. Once she pulled out that old line "one Southerner can lick ten Yankees

Maybe she was talking about her sexual history.

Posted by: ckelly on June 20, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Guess Frank can't afford basic cable.

Posted by: cld on June 20, 2007 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Texas is southern. It is on the border with Mexico, that's about as southern as it gets. Does Texas typify "Southern"? No more than any other state. But saying Texas isn't southern is just stupid.

And Southerners who still argue about the Civil War are morons. In my experience, they are as ignorant about it as any Yankee, if not more so because what these 'tards think they know about the "War of Northern Aggression" is mostly crap they heard from their Klan-loving grampa or dad. So if any Southerner starts yapping about the Civil War, feel free to ignore him/her, you won't be missing anything. This is not to say that the Union was snowy white in regards to motive, etc., but the Civil War was about slavery and any Southerner who says anything different has been miseducated. Not that any of them will ever admit it.

Posted by: LL on June 20, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Michael writes: "I know this is an awful thing to say but as a New Yorker raised in Chicago I hate the south.

Most of my friends hate the south too.

I don't even like to change plans in the south which I try to avoid any time I fly."

There is really no excuse for this - I expect this sort of nonsense on talk radio or on right-wing blogs or from right-wing trolls, but I simply don't expect to see this sort of vitriolic broad-brush hatred from professed progressives.

Also, I've included a real, working e-mail address this time in case the moderator wants to tell me why my last post was deemed unworthy of this thread. I know you're busy, but it'd be really nice to hear from you! Thanks!

Posted by: Trent on June 20, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I hate chiggers.

I was in Texas visiting once, and being from the West, I kept referring to Texas as the East. I never could set my compass bearings while in the Ft.Worth/Dallas area, either.

Posted by: Brojo on June 20, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

go to Smithfield VA, or Fayetteville NC, or Spartanburg SC, or Mobile AL, or Columbus GA, or Jackson MS. You will be in the south in any of those places. Then go to San Antonio, or Midland, or Lubbock, or Amarillo, and tell me you're in the south still. Geographically, culturally, historically: no. The only parts of Texas that are kind of "southern" the way the rest of "the South" is, are east (and especially southeast) Texas...Texarkana, Beaumont, maybe Houston.

Posted by: don on June 20, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

PTate, how do you write about Southern writing without mentioning Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy?

In accepting the National Book Award for "The Moviegoer" (1961), Percy said he was often asked why the South produced so many good writers. He answered, "because we lost the war".

Flannery O'Connor elaborates on his answer quite a bit. Fun story about her: she was once asked why southern writers (and particularly her) "wrote about freaks so much". She replied, "because a southerner, unlike a northerner, can still recognize one."

Posted by: shams on June 20, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Like I wrote earlier- simply a hilarious thread. The irony is astounding.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 20, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

PTate, how do you write about Southern writing without mentioning Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy?

How could you not mention Katherine Chopin? Are you afraid of "The Storm"

Posted by: elmo on June 20, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

I am way late to this party (and have never commented before) but as a native NCer, I have found this thread really disturbing. A friend's boss (a French woman not known for enough self-awareness to be consciously ironic) once told her, "I don't like Italians. They're racist." Looks like quite a few of y'all are members of that club.
I'd like to say thanks to those like Trent and Yancey Ward who have tried to point out how egregious the bashing has been here. Yes, you might hear comments of the same sort from southerners directed at northerners, but almost never from educated, intelligent, progressive people (hell, not even from educated, intelligent, reactionary people, assuming they exist). It's amazing how be being convinced one has the moral high ground can blunt one's capacity for self-analysis.

Posted by: andrea on June 20, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Frank @ 3:44PM - "On the eve of the Civil War, the Confederate States of America was the third richest country in the world...".
Approximately $750 million of that (at an average of $500 per person) was the value of slaves - with a limited market outside the South. The vast majority of the rest of the "wealth" was raw cotton, raw sugar, and raw tobacco (notice a pattern here?).
The only nationally known institute of higher learning was the University of Virginia, and that may have been because of the association with Jefferson. The only iron works of any size were the Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond. There were about 1/10th the amount of railway lines as in the North. Most shipping was owned and run by non-Southerners. Economic advancement was stifled rather than permit the growth of a laboring force, many of who would have had to be non-white.
And because the South lied to itself in its religion and politics to protect slavery at all costs, the area still suffers today.
And the biggest symbol of that is that damned battle flag - the symbol of slavery.

Posted by: Doug on June 20, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

#1 - "Southern Virginians would like to see Northern Virginia annexed by DC or Maryland."

Huh. And I used to like Southern VA.

NOVA - We do NOT want you.

Posted by: jugular on June 20, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

And I don't fucking care what you say, Texas AIN'T Southern, any more than Louisiana is French.

Then please notify the Texas state legislature so they can get that ugly monument to confederate war dead off the capitol mall, along with all the pigeon-sit bedecked statues of confederate traitors off the south mall of the University of Texas main campus.

Yes, we Texans share the same embarrassing history as the rest of the south. We are indeed southerners, and southerners who say otherwise are victims of the same snobbish aristocratic pretentions as the "genteel" Old South.

Posted by: sweaty guy on June 21, 2007 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

the pigeon-sit bedecked statues of confederate traitors off the south mall

Hah! talk about a self-censoring typo. Must be the new dad in me.

It's really the aristocracy i hate most about the Old South (well, I guess that takes a far second place to their inclination to treating other human beings as pets and livestock). It is so pathetic, so rooted in a sad attempt at recreating some kind of parody of Europe at the time, rooted in who your daddy was and what piece of dirt you called home. Lineage and territory, all that matters. The antithesis of what the American dream is supposed to be. The north and other parts of the country have certainly flagged as well in pursuit of this dream, but never so egregiously as the south.


And one need not believe the war was all about Northern altruism and benevolence towards slaves, to understand that for the south, the war was very much about preserving slavery. The way people will bend logic and morality to argue to the contrary is mind-blowing. The south was a victim of its own hubris in the mid-1800s, a fraction of which unfortunately continues to exist today in public debate.

Posted by: sweaty guy on June 21, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

andrea,

A rare opportunity to vent isn't the same thing as the boiled in malice and dripping with prostate oil Southern personality.

Posted by: cld on June 21, 2007 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK

I can't figure what those idiotic, inbred, racist, piece-of-dung, spineless, traitorous, sniveling, ugly, chicken-sh*t, bumpkin, retarded, sh*t-eating, grit-sucking, toothless, greasy, fat, gun-loving, violent, Jesus-freaking, sheep-f*cking, NASCAR-worshipping, knuckle-dragging, drooling, fetid wastes of human flesh are complaining about. It's clear from Kevin's post and our comments that Southerners are completely deluded in thinking there's any prejudice against them.

Posted by: fnorky on June 21, 2007 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

I spent my adolescent years (give or take, from age 11 to 25) in the South (the Florida panhandle and Alabama), but was born of Wisconsinite (-ite? -ian?) parents in Miami, so I consider myself an outsider in both the South and the North.

Remember the last chapter of Absolom! Absolom!, in which Canadian Shreve has so much difficulty understanding Quentin Compson's "ghost" stories and finally asks Quentin: "Why do you hate the South?" And, for you (us?) Southerners posting here, remember Quentin's answer: "I don't hate the South. I don't hate it. I don't. I don't." Southerners have a love-hate relationship with the South that is virtually impossible for most non-Southerners -- or even Southerners themselves -- to understand.

Posted by: Robert Chapman on June 21, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

I've lived in the south for forty years and the most I ever hear about the Civil War is when Kevin starts one of his threads about the South.

Why are Northerners so obsessed with something that happened over a hundred years ago ?

Posted by: Stephen on June 21, 2007 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Yankee complaints about the South are sweet music, assuming it keeps them the hell out.

Posted by: powell on June 21, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

I'm from upstate New York and have lived in Kentucky now for over 20 years. I really like it here, but there are a LOT of idiots.

Fine, but let's be honest: Upstate is hardly an advertisement for the dizzying heights of human potential.

Posted by: ERM on June 21, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

In fairness, GHW Bush only pretended to be from teh South, and his son, Idiot George, is only marginally more authentic.

Southerners do tend to be looked down upon as a pack of mouth-breathing idiots, but I tend to credit this more to their propensity to vote for Republicans than their accents. You want people to think you're smart? Stop voting for the guys who treats you like children and listen to the ones who speak to you like adults.

Of course, after Bush the Elder spent the better part of the '88 campaign, successfully slandering the patriotism of the people of my home state of Massachusetts, I really have remarkably little symp[athy for the delicate sensibilities of the Southern psyche.

Posted by: Chesire11 on June 21, 2007 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I'm from upstate New York and have lived in Kentucky now for over 20 years.

and Kentucky isn't technically part of the South.

I think most of the criticism you here about southern states would apply to any rural state.

I've been to areas of PA and MI where they love guns, wrestling and NASCAR as much as any southern state I've ever been to.

Posted by: Stephen on June 21, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

My brother married a girl from Alabama. He used to live in California, now he lives in Florida.

When he lived in California he called me "an East Coast Christian." Now that he's in Florida I'm a "Northern Liberal."

Conservatives with a certain mindset play the "victim of liberal elitism" card whenever -- and wherever -- it suits them. They use geography to instantly classify anyone who doesn't agree with their argument of the moment as "other" and "not real Americans."

It's part of the conservative polarization thing that's been going on since Reagan.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on June 21, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

here = hear...Just a dumb Southerner I guess.

Posted by: Stephen on June 21, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I can't understand why those toothless, inbred, ignorant hillbillies have a persecution complex.

Posted by: Gus on June 21, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

The Rove machine made it clear. Just like you don't let a five-year old drive your car, you don't let a southerner run the country. Bush's great achievement was to marginalize the Confederate revanchists.

Posted by: grant on June 21, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

All right, this is the last post I'll make here, I promise. I think all this compartmentalizing people based on geography is silly - when I go up to visit my wife's family in NJ, I, the native of Louisiana, am the most liberal person in the room. My mother-in-law's Jersey accent could scare rats out of the attic, but she loves that George Bush, as does my father-in-law. I couldn't even begin to tell you the number of arguments we have had over the war, taxes, social policy, etc., etc. And Lord help us all if they come down to Louisiana and talk politics with my VERY Southern and very old school Southern progressive mother. Nowadays what we find works best is that we refrain from talking politics, and instead focus on how wonderful their grandkids are - a topic on which we are all joyfully in agreement.

Posted by: Trent on June 21, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Stephen: and Kentucky isn't technically part of the South.

Regardless of which side their own ancestors fought on, and the opinions of many Tennesseans nothwithstanding, the people of Kentucky vehemently disagree with you. Anything south of the Ohio River considers itself the South. Kentucky isn't part of the Deep South.

ERM: Fine, but let's be honest: Upstate is hardly an advertisement for the dizzying heights of human potential.

Heh!

Posted by: shortstop on June 21, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yes I know this is the thread from hell, but some of us don't get to read PA every day. I am a 10th-generation Southerner, and I think stereotyping Americans based on where they live is as vicious and evil as racism, sexism or homophobia. The name of the game is NATIONAL ELECTABILITY. Aka THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. Democrats should and must nominate someone capable of winning the general election in the cold hard reality of 2008 America, period. And unless you've been in a cave since 2004, surely you must realize that there are many, many voters, all over this country (think Kansas, Idaho, and other forever-red states NOT in the South) who have been irrevocably conditioned by Fox, Rush, Coulter, ad nauseum to categorically reject "northeastern liberal elites." Thus they would happily vote for Giuliani or Romney, but Kerry or Clinton? They don't stand a chance.

This is why Dems need to get a grip on The Way Things Are, not the way they would like them to be. The first criteria for the Democratic nominee must be that they are ABNE (Anybody But a Northeasterner). And everybody needs to let go of the delusion that this is exclusively the fault of the South. Last I heard, O'Reilly is on north of the Mason-Dixon line. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: kudzu on June 21, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

When I was a freshman in HS, I taunted another student who had an obvious Southern accent with, "Please don't beat me master," while turning my back and cringing from a pantomine blow of his imaginary whip. Although my taunting was good natured, we were class buddies, it demonstrated a prejudice directed at White Southerners for tolerating racism. Unfortunately, I later learned racism is not confined to the South, but the racists of the North did not have the opportunity to give slaves stripes.

Posted by: Brojo on June 21, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

kudzu: Last I heard, O'Reilly is on north of the Mason-Dixon line. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

It's worse than that. O'Reilly was born and raised in NYC and Long Island (much to the shame of its other residents) and his show is taped in NYC.

Posted by: alex on June 21, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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