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Tilting at Windmills

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February 27, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

GREETINGS FROM MUSIC CITY....Matt Yglesias draws my attention to a Tennessee Republican Party press release that goes the whole nine yards against Barack Obama: it's got the Hussein middle name, it's got the Farrakhan stuff, it's got the picture of Obama "dressed in Muslim attire," and it's got "more disturbing evidence of Obama's anti-Israel leanings."

Indeed. And all from the poisonous pen of Nashville blogger Bill Hobbs, who is currently the communications director for the Tennessee GOP. But Bill is fighting back against the elitists who find this stuff loathsome. He's mad because he thinks the press should be paying attention to Obama's obvious pro-terrorist sympathies, but instead, for some reason, they're getting bent out of shape about his use of Obama's middle name:

Apparently, using Barack Hussein Obama's middle name is a no-no....Silly, of course. Run a Lexis-Nexis search for the number of times the media has used Hillary Rodham Clinton's middle name, often to underscore her feminist leanings and independence from her husband. Do a search for how many times during the 1988 and 1992 campaigns the media called the first George Bush "George Herbert Walker Bush," to underscore the media's protrayal of Bush as a preppie elitist.

Well, I'm convinced! Nice work, Republican Party of Tennessee.

UPDATE: Ah, I see that the photo and the Hussein references have now been removed from the press release. Apparently someone at the Tennessee GOP has more sense than Bill Hobbs.

Kevin Drum 3:07 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (80)

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Comments

"the whole nine years"?

or nine yards.

Posted by: punaise on February 27, 2008 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Rodham is not her middle name, it's her maiden name.

Moron.

Posted by: Mike O on February 27, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously, that's his defense?!? One factual mistake and one disingenuous statement? That's a defense for appealing to people's bigotry?

First, Rodham is Senator Clinton's maiden name. Secondly, the use of middle names might have been the only way the antebellum press had to distinguish between John Adams and his son, or today's press had to distinguish between this father and son.

If this all they have, then they will lose by 20 points AND succeed in poisoning the atmosphere for "McCain" followers. They will also succeed in splitting their party down the middle, where Sean Hannity blames the CEO's and John McCain for being heterodoxical and the CEO's blame the clownish Right for being....well, clowns

Posted by: timb on February 27, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget John Forbes Kerry.

Posted by: Dan Trubman on February 27, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Diane is Clinton's middle name.
McCain's is Sidney.

Do we hear either referred to as such?

Actually calling McCain, John Sidney McCain III might be fun.

Posted by: Bobsled on February 27, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Juan Cole has an interesting analysis of the roots and meanings for names such as "Barack" and "Hussein", at Informed Comment.

Barack is a Semitic word meaning "to bless" as a verb or "blessing" as a noun. It is found all through the Bible.

Now let us take the name "Hussein." It is from the Semitic word, hasan, meaning "good" or "handsome." Husayn is the diminutive, affectionate form.

Posted by: AJ on February 27, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Here are the Nexis search results

"George Herbert Walker Bush"
1-1-88 to 11-8-88: 165
1-1-92 to 11-3-92: 349

"Hillary Rodham Clinton"
1-1-92 to 11-3-92: over 3000

"Barack Hussein Obama"
(comparable time frame)
4-1-07 to 2-27-08: 496

So it looks like the terrorist think has already beaten out the preppy thing.

One more just for fun:
"Hillary Rodham Clinton
4-1-07 to 2-27-08: over 3000

Posted by: skeptic on February 27, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm old enough to remember the 1988 and 1992 campaigns, and I don't recall a single instance in which the media riffed on Bush I's middle name to imply that he was elitist. In fact, the Herbert Walker names were very rarely used at all until W came along, when they started being used to distinguish the two. I'd like to see that clown come up with some examples.

Posted by: Virginia on February 27, 2008 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

As a Hillary supporter (not really) I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that this perfectly innocent photo of Obama could be used in such a manner....it never crossed my mind.

Think the Hillary camp will continue to defend the photo?

Posted by: Joe on February 27, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

I blogged at my place and Daily Kos about going to a madrasa in South Lebanon... (hint, madrasa means school in Arabic, and the madrasa I attended was run by US Presbyterian missionaries and was called the Sidon Evangelical School for Girls)

Ridicule is the only way to push back on this stuff. It's a new day in America and the old guard will just have to deal with it. I have a dozen white Southern cousins who had to grow up with me and my brother in the family, with our "funny" names (Leila and Khalil Abu-Saba) and our Middle Eastern father, his weird food and foreign immigrant relatives. My American cousins learned to cope, and now they all eat Lebanese food without batting an eye.

I'm not the only half-breed in America, either.

Posted by: Leila on February 27, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Obama spelled backwards is amabo, Latin for "I love."

Posted by: Matt on February 27, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

The Republicun Party: The Party of Hatred and Fear. Pass it on.

Posted by: CT on February 27, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Why isn't Bill Hobbs using his own middle name?!?!?!?!? That is messed up!!!

Looks like Bill Hobbs has sold out and become part of the bandwagon of middle-name hiding deception!!!!

Posted by: Swan on February 27, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

And how often did the MSM refer to Romney by his given first name of Willard instead of the hearty, preppish Mitt? Never, that I know of.

Posted by: Ken on February 27, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

F--- you, Bill Hobbs!!!

I used to believe in you! Now I see I may never know your middle name-- and who knows for what reason?!?!?

Posted by: Swan on February 27, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

On behalf of all Tennesseans with a lick of sense, I apologize for Bill Hobbs. We don't all think this way - including most Republicans.

Posted by: gemini on February 27, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

So... basically what Bill Hobbs is saying is that he can insult our intelligence, while frothing at the mouth.

Not exactly revelatory.

Perhaps that's why the reporters haven't bothered going into the 'Obama as Manchurian Muslim' conspiracy?

Posted by: sdh on February 27, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Is that why we call Romney Willard? I always thought it was because he thought like a rat. Thanks Al!

Kevin, agree with you 100% on Bill Hobbs. That guys a tool. A tool and a dipshit.

Posted by: jerry on February 27, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

My favorite is when Jesse Jackson pointed out that the first TV anchorman to declare Florida for Bush on election night 2000 was John Bush Ellis, cousin to George and John Ellis Bush, the governor.

Posted by: Boronx on February 27, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

For all I know, Bill Hobbs' full name could be Bill Madrassa-student Hobbs!

I dare him to prove that it's not!

But even if he tries--

I'm not so sure I'll believe him now, after he so deceptively covered up his middle name! What else might he be up to??

Posted by: Swan on February 27, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Where do they get this stuff?

http://www.tennviews.com/node/654

Posted by: on February 27, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Don't underestimate southern right wing peckerwood voters of Tenn. and the rest of the South. They will believe anything they are told. A good example is Bobby Jindal in Louisiana. He lost the first race because northern LA peckerwoods thought he was African. It took four years and a hurricane for them to realize he is Asian.

Posted by: David Triche on February 27, 2008 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

That web banner at the top of the Republican Party of Tennessee page says "Leading by Conviction". Let's hope so.

Also that McCain fellow. Isn't he named after Cain, as in Cain and Abel of Bible fame?

Posted by: mm on February 27, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

When you're in the midst of an election and you're bereft of ideas, you resort to smear and innuendo. nothing new here for the party of rove.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on February 27, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

"Don't underestimate southern right wing peckerwood voters of Tenn. and the rest of the South. They will believe anything they are told. A good example is Bobby Jindal in Louisiana. He lost the first race because northern LA peckerwoods thought he was African. It took four years and a hurricane for them to realize he is Asian."

Jeez. You'd never guess from all the redneck bashing that goes on in the "liberal" blogosphere that the typical Republican voter in the South is actually a fairly well-off suburbanite, and that the modern resurgence of the GOP in the South was spearheaded by nonsoutherners moving into the region after World War II. Once upon a time, liberals were the kind of people who *cared* about rednecks; now, it seems, liberalism is just another word for snobbery cloaked in self-righteousness. As little as I like Republicans, I'm afraid they have you nailed.

Posted by: David in Nashville on February 27, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Hobb's middle name is "Twat." True story.

Posted by: Tlaloc on February 27, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

"In fact, the Herbert Walker names were very rarely used at all until W came along, "

Ann Richards used it in her "born with a silver foot in his mouth" speech. Priceless.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on February 27, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

please see juancole.com for an excellant post on the American history of names deriving from Semitic languages

Posted by: Spike on February 27, 2008 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

“You don’t even have to go outside Obama’s campaign to find advisers who are anti-Israel,” said Bill Hobbs, communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party.

Bill Hobbs quoting Bill Hobbs. I'll bet that was a tough interview to get.

Posted by: mndante on February 27, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

I see much mention of this release around the blogosphere. I've yet to see anyone point out what I find at least as loathsome as the Israel/Muslim stuff. What of the references (twice) to "A black man with a white mother..."? If that's not a dog whistle to racists I don't know what is.

Posted by: steve duncan on February 27, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Meh. These are the same white trash who played jungle drums behind the mention of a black Democrat in a radio ad.

What do you expect?
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 27, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

There are some things worth noting here.
1)By the time November rolls around absolutely everyone will know Barack Obama's full name.
2)Obama will lose no electoral votes in November because his middle name is Hussein. It may tend to solidify the opposition base in some of the states that he would lose anyway. It may give McCain hope that some states are "swing" states.
3)Obama's middle name is Hussein.

The McCain camp will do things similar to yesterday's effort. Have a surrogate step over the line followed by McCain stepping back. The Obama campaign needs to take some pride in their candidate's name. Candidates that run from things lose; if you run from your own name you're doomed. If Obama merely takes ownership of his name he makes this line of attack look weak and ineffective. If on the other hand he complains that his opponent is merely speaking his name, then he will lose.

Posted by: rk on February 27, 2008 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK
Kevin, and how many times have Democrats and liberals referred to Mitt Romney as Mitt Willard Romney? Pretty hypocritical for you to complain now right?
Mr. Al K. Troll doesn't seem to be able to distinguish smartass cracks found in comment sections and stuff actually published by a political party. But then again, he's never shown much competence at discerning context, has he? Posted by: idlemind on February 27, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: Obama spelled backwards is amabo, Latin for "I love."

Amabo is the first person singular future active indicative: "I shall love". Just like Oprah backwards is Harpo... I shall... um, play the harp?

Posted by: Augustus on February 27, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Once upon a time, liberals were the kind of people who *cared* about rednecks"

You mean the people who work like dogs, have few or no educational opportunities and live surly lives of struggle just trying to get by? The very people who are being screwed and should be pissed as hell about about the party that is doing it but aren't because of the cultural ghetto they're raised in?

As the old Johnny Russell song says, "There's no place I'd rather be than right here, with my red neck and white socks and blue ribbon beer." And so the nine-buck-an-hour skidder operator with the double hernia and no health insurance votes republican against their own interests because some dipshit has them worked up about "boys kissing".

Yeah, they can kiss my ass. Just because we're liberal doesn't mean we've signed some kind of suicide pact.

Posted by: on February 27, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

When all Barak has is his ...

Faulty premise, dead before it crossed the starting line.

The only "nerve" Willie can hit is that engorged olfactory bulb that inbred calls a brain.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 27, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

I like the fact that Hussein is his middle name. I like the fact that he actually reaches out to people in other countries, and wears their native dress. Lots of other congresspersons do it, and I think it's cool. Everyone posting on this comment thread agrees with me, right?

You're all worried that people might think he's a terrorist or a traitor or something. You know, "some people". Not me, but "those people". I think that "those people" are maybe 5 percent of the population.

To my mind Obama should be running into this, not away from it. The proper response to Bill Hobbs is to laugh at him. Ridicule. Mirth. What a maroon! Everyone in America had an ancestor that got off the boat somewhere back there. Even the Native Americans came here over the land bridge.

That's our story. America is an idea, not a race. or a creed. Hold it up and laugh at them.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on February 27, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Amabo is the first person singular future active indicative: "I shall love".

Funny thing: "mabamurri" is irrumabam spelled backwards, which is Latin for "I was accustomed to offer my dick for sucking."

Politics is cool.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 27, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

"of course any damage to his popular image will injure his campaign."

Why, of course. Just look at how badly Clinton is beating him now.

Oh, wait ....

Moron.

Posted by: PaulB on February 27, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

David in Nashville,

I agree with you that people shouldn't make facile Hollywood generalizations about the South. Anti-Southern regional prejudice is something the new generation of Democratic strategists like Dean and Obama are trying to get beyond, and more power to them.

However, Northerners in white-flight suburbs can be just as racist as conservative whites in rural towns. In fact, a lot of conservative whites move from rural towns to white-flight suburbs of Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, etc. when the local economy doesn't offer the standard of living they want. To a large extent, the suburban Republican of today is either the small-town cracker of yesterday with a better job, or someone who would rather have that cracker as a neighbor than the black or brown people who live in the cities. But there are some exceptions, and I take your point about avoiding elitist or regionalist generalizations.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on February 27, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

How dare Al post on the day William Frank Buckley, Jr., died? He has no respect.

Posted by: bobbyp on February 27, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

My middle name is Lee, because Robert E. Lee was a distant relative on my mom's side of the family. I guess that makes me a Confederate, or a sympathizer, or something!

Posted by: Speed on February 27, 2008 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

You know, "leading by conviction" strikes me as an excellent slogan for the GOP this year.

Although perhaps not in the way they intend.

Posted by: Epistole Antifon on February 27, 2008 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

So far, all the political mud thrown at Obama has missed, reversed course (as political mud will do) and gone back to hit the thrower. I bet this will continue.

Posted by: Bob M on February 27, 2008 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I remember references to "Hillary Rodham Clinton," but being the liberal east coast elitist that I am, didn't realize that this was a dog whistle for sexist males. Of course, then again, I didn't realize that pantsuits were considered to be some kind of leftist-feminist political statement, either, until I realized that some people really felt that way.

Posted by: Tyro on February 27, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Obama will go all jiu-jitsu on this crowd.

"Yes, my middle name is "Hussein." It doesn't mean I'm a terrorist, or Saddam's brother, or anything else. It is the diminutive of the Semitic word "hasan," meaning "good" or "handsome." So, if my multiracial background offends you, GOP, it's just fine with me if you think of me as "Barack "Handsome" Obama."

P.S. Grow up."

Posted by: cazart on February 27, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Somerby has a pretty good post on this today. If ya'll think this is a joke and won't have any effect on the election, you're sadly mistaken.

Posted by: Jose Padilla on February 27, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

David in Nashville -- You criticized this poster's sentiments: "Don't underestimate southern right wing peckerwood voters of Tenn. and the rest of the South. They will believe anything they are told."

I'm not so sure he isn't more right than wrong. I have run into a sh%tload of 'em around here.

Patsi in Nashville

Posted by: Patsi on February 27, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

George Herbert Walker Bush is an anagram for Huge Berserk Rebel Warthog.

Coincidence? I think not.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 27, 2008 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Hillary start calling herself "Hillary Rodham Clinton" AFTER she moved into the White House?

I seem to remember that being one of the things that drove the wingnuts crazy.

Posted by: Vicente Fox on February 27, 2008 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

"SPIRO AGNEW" is an anagram of "GROW A PENIS."

Go ahead, check.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 27, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Do you know anyone who is not a terrorist? Honestly now, that kid with a knife in the playground, the darkish person with a cell phone, those slacker kids hanging around malls, the slightly retarded person getting on a wheelchair in the airport,the unshaven guy in the train with a bulging bag, the person at the bar who stares at his beer and doesn't watch the set, the two dark guys riding a '86 Lincoln with paper bags all over the back seat, the weird girl with one eye panhandling on 42nd street, the Sabrett Frankfurter guy mumbling about the fuckin cops, the wall streeter who tore off his jacket and threw his tie down the sewer, the secretary who speaks some foreign language and who is always on the phone...don't they strike you as terrorists?

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on February 27, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Al said "how many times have Democrats and liberals referred to Mitt Romney as Mitt Willard Romney?"

Uh, zero?

I know Olbermann referred to him often as "Willard 'Mitt' Romney" but I don't know if Mitt is his real middle name or a nickname form of his real middle name, and I don't care enough about the whole thing to check.

But let's face it, Willard is just one of those names that's inherently funny (like Gertrude) and that's probably why Willard Romney never uses it.

And as others have pointed out, Hillary used her maiden name (Rodham) professionally until Bill ran for President. I myself use my husband's name socially and used my maiden name professionally for so long that I still use all three just so people who knew me professionally will recognize me by name.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 27, 2008 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Willard is just one of those names that's inherently funny"

I can only picture Willard Scott, holding up Jello molds of Kansas, or wishing 100 year old grannies "Happy Birthday" or telling us to eat Smucker's Jam. No matter who has that name.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on February 27, 2008 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

I am enjoying watching the right wing filet Barack Obama. This Democrat will never vote for Obama.

Posted by: Tom on February 27, 2008 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama's middle name was something more anglo, like William, does anyone think the Right would be using it?

Of course not....

Posted by: daveinseattle on February 27, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

The right-wing noise machine at work: Throw something out there that you know will get the base inflamed, then protest that it was done in all innocence (after all, "Hussein" is his middle name, right?) while standing back and letting the base draw its own conclusions.

Tennessee, along with most of the South, is lost to the Democrats as American political culture continues its trek back to 1860.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on February 27, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

What a ridiculous discussion. Trying to smear someone over their middle name? WTF? Even as we move into the 21st Century, the GOP continues it's descent into being an irrelevant, medieval and pointless political party. Good God, how can anyone with an IQ over room temperature be a member of this ludicrous group of sphincters???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 27, 2008 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

You know, this little connection had passed me by...

"George Herbert Walker Bush,"

John "Hamza" Walker Lindh

The shared "H. Walker." I mean, look!

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 27, 2008 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on February 27, 2008 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

I am enjoying watching the right wing filet Barack Obama.

Okay, well if fillet now means something along the lines of flailing around uselessly while looking like a complete and total twat... I had always thought it involved a more skillful use of words but hey, I'll admit I'm not always up on the latest usages.

This Democrat will never vote for Obama.

Ah, yeah sure. Hey, maybe you could even join in with this filleting thing of yours... this looks like a good first attempt.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 27, 2008 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you m hussein r.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 27, 2008 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

His middle name could be "goatf*cker" and I don't think it would matter much to Democrats, independents and swing voters.

Who cares what riles up the Republican "base?"

It will not ultimately matter in this election.

The Rove playbook is currently inoperative. Nixon's "Southern Strategy" has passed its prime. The Reagan Democrats are not so sure about which party to trust with their future.

The GOP has a severe case of electile dysfunction and there is no immediate remedy in sight.

If Obama fails, it will be because he shoots himself in the foot during the campaign, NOT because his middle name is Hussein.

Posted by: lobbygow on February 27, 2008 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

"SPIRO AGNEW" is an anagram of "GROW A PENIS."
Go ahead, check. Posted by: Grand Moff Texan

You're in fine form today. Miss your posts. Don't be such a stranger.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 27, 2008 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II to Grand Moff Texan: You're in fine form today. Miss your posts. Don't be such a stranger.

Seconded.

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2008 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

The media used Hillary Rodham Clinton's middle name because she asked them to during her husband's administration. God knows why. But she did. I believe she has changed her branding back to just Hillary Clinton (often just Hillary) for this campaign.

Posted by: bob on February 27, 2008 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, ss and jeff.

Glad to know that my ancient, second-hand humor is still welcome here.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 27, 2008 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Strangely, Glenn Reynolds has not mentioned this story, despite being based in Tennessee.

Posted by: Ted on February 27, 2008 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Help these guys out down there. I just contributed $25 to the Tennessee Democratic Party to help them launch stories like this. Jump on their website at www.tndp.org and drop a dime on them (at least).

Posted by: Stan on February 27, 2008 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

did you know snap-on tools(banner) sponsoring your webpage?

hilarious

Posted by: andyvillager on February 27, 2008 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

As a fellow resident of Nashville, TN, I felt compelled to donate $100 to Barack Obama's campaign, just to spite Bill Hobbs. Keep up the good work, Bill, it's much easier to demonstrate what a hateful party the GOP has become when you flaunt it so.

Posted by: dob on February 27, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

One would think that Bill Hobbs would be more sensitive to indiscriminately flinging around middle names, especially since his middle name is Buffy.

Bill Buffy Hobbs. Who goes by the nickname Wild Bill Buffy Hobbs.

What? My middle name? Washington. A family tradition. In honor of George Washington. A family tradition ating back over one hundred and sixty years. Begun in honor of one of my ancestors who fought under General George Washington in the American Revolution.

Posted by: The Oracle on February 28, 2008 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

To add to David's point re: the Southern GOP, Tennessee's Republican Party is even more unusual. I live in Maryville in East Tennessee and this section of the state has voted Republican since the Civil War. We were Unionist during the Civil War and voted Republican when the rest of the South - including Middle and West Tennessee - voted Democratic. Since the 1970s, the GOP has expanded westward.

David is right that wealthy suburban Williamson County has become the epicenter of today's Martha Blackburn GOP. The same is true in suburban East Memphis.

But the TNGOP has moved beyond this Sunbelt party today and now has three factions - none of which get along very well. There are the old Lincoln Republicans of East Tennessee, represented by Howard Baker and Lamar Alexander (from Maryville). These types are quite moderate but still have institutional control over the party (Corker's nomination reflected that). Then there are the rich Sunbelt types that David mentioned. They've become increasingly powerful in the state party. They are the real Bushians who use religio-populist rhetoric to get votes for a right-wing economic agenda. And finally there are the redneck fundamentalist types who supported Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary. These folks used to voted Democratic (in Middle and West TN at least) and are economic populists. In the primary, the first group voted for McCain. The second group supported Romney (who won Williamson County). And the last group went with Huckabee.

So there's your Tennessee Republican primer. The party is infamously divided as Southern GOPs go. It's because of that division that we've been able to hold the House for the Dems and remain competitive in the State Senate (presently tied), and elect a Democratic governor in a landslide. Republicans usually consolidate support for national offices, but can't do so at the state level.

Oh, and I fully expect Bill Hobbs to be looking for a new job soon.

Posted by: Elrod on February 28, 2008 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

The Rove playbook is currently inoperative.

I would respectfully disagree. How many times do you have to see variations on "Democrat Race War!" on Drudge, etc. before you grow paranoid?

Posted by: thersites on February 28, 2008 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

The Fabulous Mr. Toad: "I agree with you that people shouldn't make facile Hollywood generalizations about the South."

Yeah! the hillbillies in the movie Deliverance were merely misunderstood misanthropes.

I mean, really, what good is a region full of white people who live in homes that still have the WIDE LOAD sign attached to the back, if you can't make fun of them? And what's up with their infatuation with ceramic yard figurines? Oh, excuse me, those are bathroom fixtures -- my bad ...

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 28, 2008 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

Elrod, great post. I really love it when posters give the detailed local or state picture like that. Hugely informative for the rest of us.

Posted by: shortstop on February 28, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

If everyone gets this upset by the opposition using your candidate's legal name, then I expect heart attacks and seizures when they get around to manufacturing lies.

Posted by: jen flowers on February 28, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Elrod, that was really well done. That's the thing that outrages me so about people like Hobbs. I think of TN Republicans are being hipartisan moderates with class like Howard Baker and Lamar. Hobbs is a ham-fisted idiot. And I hope people caught how he took a mocking piece by Josh Marshall seriously and thought he had a big juicy hunk of red meat.


Oh, and I fully expect Bill Hobbs to be looking for a new job soon.

And if that happens, I expect he'll piss and moan, and so will his RW fans,
that he's a victim of a PC world. That's what happened the last time he got into hot water over his blog.

I hope he's not fired in a way. That kind of idiocy hs to be good for the Democrats.

Posted by: T4TN on February 28, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Regarding the removal of the photo and Barack's middle name...The sense of this came from none other than Karl Rove in a recent directive to GOP to stop playing the cards of the photo in Kenya and the use of his middle name. Say what you will about Karl Rove's goals, his methods, his understanding or care of our country's form of government...but he does have a clear sense of what they can get by the American public and what they can't. No one's proved him wrong yet. Sadly.

Posted by: Zane on February 28, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, and how many times have Democrats and liberals referred to Mitt Romney as Mitt Willard Romney? Pretty hypocritical for you to complain now right?
Posted by: Al on February 27, 2008 at 3:42 PM |

*******************************

Willard is his first name. Mitt is his middle name.

Twit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney

Posted by: zuzu on February 29, 2008 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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