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Tilting at Windmills

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July 28, 2009

VOINOVICH SLAMS 'SOUTHERNERS' FOR GOP DECLINE.... Sen. George Voinovich (R) of Ohio is retiring next year, and apparently feels a little more comfortable speaking his mind, now that he doesn't have to worry about impressing voters or donors.

Yesterday, Voinovich shared some thoughts on why the Republican Party has fallen on hard times, and specifically pointed the finger at right-wing senators like Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

"We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns," Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's the southerners."

Voinovich, a native Clevelander who retires after the 2010 election, continued after the southern elements of the GOP.

"They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr,'" he said. "People hear them and say, 'These people, they're southerners. The party's being taken over by southerners. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?'"

I don't imagine these remarks are going to go over especially well in conservative circles, especially south of the Mason-Dixon line. But the comments, while seemingly intemperate, are hardly scandalous.

Indeed, in November, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said the GOP is struggling to become "a majority governing party" because its base is limited geographically. David Broder wrote in December, "The Southern domination of the congressional Republican Party has become more complete with each and every election."

Voinovich will no doubt get slammed for his remarks, but it's not his fault the party's power base has become focused on one conservative region.

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (73)

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The right's fall isn't due to the South. But racism is the reason the GOP has taken a stronghold in the South. And most of them were Democrats until about 10 years ago. I'm in Georgia.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on July 28, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

so voinovich can do two things,
cry and go "errr errr" -- i guess that makes him a talented man in cleveland.

the southerners are true believers and just come right at you and you can see the mean crazy in their eyes and hear it in their voices.

the yankees are slick, and you walk out of a meeting with them with a 1000 cuts and don't start bleeding and screaming in pain until "later that day."

but either way, HarryS, all those Repugnants are under the archetype of the sociopath in the American mythos

Posted by: neill on July 28, 2009 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

"They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr.'"

That actually made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: Matt on July 28, 2009 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

The right's fall is due to their habit of witch-hunting pragmatic views out of the party.

The Southerners are supported by a bunch of rubes who think you can cut taxes without cutting spending and not end up with a deficit, that there never was a social program that was good or a military program that was bad.

That would not be so bad if the DeMints did not try to expel anyone from the party who does not buy their peculiar ideas.

I think that the GOP is dying. Already the health care debate is a debate inside the Democrat caucus. The GOP has no hope of any Senate seat pickups outside the South in the foreseeable future.

What I think will happen is that the Democrats will grow to about 70 Senate seats and then split. The Blue Dog Coalition becoming a separate party that gradually replaces the GOP.

Posted by: PHB on July 28, 2009 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

"We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns," Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's the southerners."

It sounds more like the real problem with the right-wing party is that it has too many right wingers. I'm not so sure that where the right wingers come from is all that important.

Posted by: Pee Cee on July 28, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, they get on TV and go:

"Ditto! Ditto! Bible! Bible! Birth certificate! Birth certificate! Drill! Drill! Guns! Guns! Palin! Palin! Toby Keith! Toby Keith! War! War! Torture! Torture! W! W! Jesus! Jesus! Marriage! Marriage! Canada! Canada! Ditto! Ditto!"

Posted by: chrenson on July 28, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Leadership in the GOP does not require a southern moniker. That northern carpetbagger, Voinevitch, with his socialist, Polack views, could take over the party. He just has to go b*tsh*t with Fox and CNN. Let's see ABC put him and Bunting against one another.

Posted by: Bob Johnson on July 28, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

These are essentially the same guys who killed the Democratic Party and then went over to Nixon in 1968 to put the Republican Party in the ascendency. Now they are killing the Republican Party. Nice symmetry there. The question is, who will leave the Republican Party? The moderates, who have been treated like the third wife of a Taliban warlord, or the Southern loons who have used the party for their crazy culture crusade? And when one wing departs, where do they go?

Posted by: majun on July 28, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

You forgot "Tax Cut! Tax Cut!" right after "Drill! Drill!" and "Canada! Canada!"

Posted by: TonyB on July 28, 2009 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

It's Voinovich's fault for not knowing that GOP means 'good ol' boys.' (Whut? They'n ain't so gud at speling.)

Haha, I got the theme from Dukes of Hazzard stuck in all of your heads...

Posted by: doubtful on July 28, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Here now. I'm a southerner and I've gotten on teevy and gone "errrr, errrrr" in mah laf!


Posted by: lotus on July 28, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Fox News has finally found a use for evolution,

Fox 5 Chicago aired a startling report about scientists claiming that evolution is causing women to become more beautiful.

Apparently, researchers found that beautiful women are reproducing at a higher rate and that they have a higher proportion of girls to boys.

Men, however, are staying the same, according to the researchers.


Posted by: alan on July 28, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Phooey, Ah wuz laffin' so hard, Ah lef' out the NEVER.

Posted by: lotus on July 28, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Voinovich may not like some of the comments coming from those Southern right-wingers but when push comes to shove he votes the same way that they vote time after time after time. I thought that might change when he announced he was retiring, but no such luck.

You were a pretty decent mayor, Mr. Voinovich, but you sold us all out when you went to Washington. (Oh, and thanks for not bothering to answer any of the many emails I've sent you over the years expressing my concerns. What a great way to make it clear that your priorities were elsewhere.)

Posted by: 3reddogs on July 28, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

It's the South's ultimate revenge on The Party of Lincoln;>

Posted by: martin on July 28, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

This actually does bug me. The GOP's problem is not too many southerners, its too many stupid people. Admittedly, the stupid finds quite a home in the south, but seriously; Colburn is from Oklahoma which is the west, not the south (at least to the southerners I grew up with). Limbaugh? Missouri, not the south. Palin? Alaska, definitely not the south. Gingrich? Pennsylvania. I could go on.

If the GOP wants to be a better political party, it should stop highlighting its most ignorant members.

Posted by: cec on July 28, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP indeed does seem to be in its death throes, but I'll say this for them they hang together almost 100% of the time. Meanwhile the Dems learned nothing from being out of power for so long. I don't know if they are indeed the wusses as a lot of people feel they are or if the Repugs beat on them for so long that they now cower just out of habit in their presense.

Posted by: Chris on July 28, 2009 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Nice to hear a Republican speak out, but is the Republican base really the South?

Isn't Oklahoma the most Republican state? And how do you distinguish a Montana Democrat like Baucus from a southern Republican?

The South seems to be taking a bum rap for a rural versus urban conflict that goes back more than 100 years — unless you consider Utah and Wyoming (home of Dick Cheney) the south.

Posted by: Golly Gee on July 28, 2009 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

The question is, who will leave the Republican Party? The moderates, who have been treated like the third wife of a Taliban warlord,

That ship has long since sailed. Any moderates left in the GOP are like Voinovich: just waiting to retire.

I'm wondering what'll happen when it dawns on the crackers that they aren't getting back to power in the foreseeable future. Secession? Violent insurgency? Or will they just crawl back under a rock for a few decades?

Posted by: jimBOB on July 28, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

As a born-and-bred Southerner who recently (one year ago) moved to lovely and blue Minnesota (go Franken!), I cannot agree more with Mr. Voinovich.

Certainly there exist many people who lean liberal or even progressive in the South--I am one of them--but there are many, many more who have limited world views, and who often pride themselves on it for some reason, and who tend to thrive in the related groupthink of ignorance and hatred of those who are not white and/or are not religious. I've lived in Florida (not really South, but a suburb of NY really), North Carolina, and Virginia--arguably more 'purple' than the deep red of, say, Mississippi and Alabama, but people are largely of the same mindset.

Posted by: terraformer on July 28, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP has monopolized the racist vote? This is anti-competitive!

Break the GOP in two and give racists a real choice!

Posted by: Joey Giraud on July 28, 2009 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Majun, we're seeing trees and missing the forest. Consider all of those neocons resting easy in their think tanks. The conservative monolith continues to raise megabucks. It fights with the backbite of Democratic failure and hones its corporatist lies. Barbour will take the current crop and throw them into the fan. By 2012 we can expect a dazzling dozen young spokesmen (well, there might be a woman and a black or an Hispanic, cause money is irresistable) who occupy our screens and op-eds. Those old guys will still be writing the scripts.

Posted by: Bob Johnson on July 28, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Michelle Bachman from MN is as nutty as they get, and not from the south. Repubs are already planning for the next election and have no interest in addressing the needs of the people. Their bitterness and laziness is repulsive.

Posted by: MLM on July 28, 2009 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Finally! Someone said it.

Exactly, Mr. Voinovich. It's those Goddamn southerners.

It's no coincidence that this country made its biggest strides in the hundred years following the Civil War, after the South had been bombed-out, burned and tamed.

Now the South has risen again, and they're causing the same trouble they did back in the ante bellum period, when the Northerners had to bend over backwards to humor their childish bullshit.

Posted by: garnash on July 28, 2009 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

One reason for the GOP's decline is that it can't deal with American diversity using anything but insulting stereotypes. Case in point, Voinovich's comments.

Posted by: Chris S. on July 28, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I have been bugged for years about people with Southern accents telling me how I should live my life, and suggesting that because I don't live in their low-quality-of-life region, I'm not a real American.

Horace Greeley was right in 1861: Lincoln should have let the erring sisters go in peace. The Southern states would have been begging for reunion within a generation, just as they would do today if they were to listen to the biggest idjits among them and secede.

Posted by: jb on July 28, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Even in Mississippi, Obama took 43% of the 2008 vote (that's 7% higher than its AA population, by the way).

Posted by: lotus on July 28, 2009 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'll say it again: Time to build that border fence- on the Mason/Dixon line. . .

Posted by: DAY on July 28, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

So . . . two links is one too many here? STEEEEEVE!

Posted by: lotus on July 28, 2009 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

The reality is that, as an authoritarian organization bent on maintaining a profitable status quo, the Republican party has built its organization with the small amount of relatively smart people at the top using projection, pretzel logic, hypocrisy and plain old bullshit to win over the uninformed, low-IQ ditto-head population. The easiest ways to communicate with these people as effective authoritarians are to: 1] tell them what the Bible "means"; 2] use race and homosexuality as wedge issues; and most of all 3] blame the government, which plays beautifully into the Southern "South's gonna do it again" mentality.

It's simple: the North won, therefore "government" is a Northern organization, therefore "Ah'm agin the gubbamint", therefore Southerners believe that anti-government Republicans are on their side.

The problem for Republicans is that racism, fundamentalism and Southern pride are all indicators of limited mental ability. It's not that all Southerners are stupid. Heavens no! It's that, thanks to Southern pride, authoritarian strategies work well on a mindset that's already predisposed to falling under its spell. So, a lot of vocal stupid people are — or at least so like they are — stupid.

Posted by: chrenson on July 28, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand what Southern speech characteristic "errr, errr" is supposed to represent.

Posted by: Brock on July 28, 2009 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Little ethnic slur there calling Senator Voinovich a "Polack" - For your information, his father was Serbian, while his mother was Slovene.

However, many former Confederates rode up the trail with cattle to Miles City. The discoverers of gold at Last Chance Gulch were former confederate solidiers. Lots of Southernness to the founders of Montana. They even fell in with the Southern tradition of a two tier economy. The Copper Barons, including Hearst, ran the state and the company towns. The English Land Barons ran the ranches in Eastern Montana. The workers worked and bowed and scraped to their "betters".

Now, I don't know whether Max Sieben Baucus's German ancestors rode that trail, but, he fits well with the concept of being very comfortable as part of the ruling class of Montana.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 28, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

That's restrained growling sarcasm and belligerence.

Posted by: alan on July 28, 2009 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP indeed does seem to be in its death throes, but I'll say this for them they hang together almost 100% of the time.

They're the New Bolsheviks. An angry, engaged, ruthless and unified minority can roll an apathetic majority all day long. Ask Lenin.

Vladimir Illych, from beyond the grave, and a generation after the collapse of the USSR, you may well win yet.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 28, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Kind of ironic that Bolshevik meant "majority", whereas the group by that name taking control of Russia was small, but organized, brutal and effective.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 28, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

I love this. I love watching Republicans tear each other apart.

Posted by: Freddie on July 28, 2009 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

In 1998 The Atlantic ran an article called "The Southern Captivity of the GOP" which you can still find online. http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/98jun/gop.htm

The article was written by a senior writer for the Weekly Standard, back when that periodical still had a believable claim to sanity. It would be interesting to know how Mr. Caldwell gets along with the increasingly disordered Fred Barnes.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on July 28, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

"restrained growling sarcasm and belligerence."

I meant that in reference to the conversational meaning of "errr, errr"

As in "errr, I don' recollect nothing 'bout seein' some revenuer--", etc.

Posted by: alan on July 28, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

There's really no point in nitpicking this-- basically, the South gets blamed because it paradoxically has an electorally concentrated rural population. The divide is rural vs. urban; the South and the big square states are really the only places where the rural populations dominate culturally & politically, and only the South has essentially rural states with large enough populations to wield pretty serious power. The South just has a greater political concentration of pinheads and general nutburgers-- that doesn't mean they're unheard of, or even politically marginalized, elsewhere.

Posted by: latts on July 28, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Where else are you going to find Baptist ministers who threaten to throw parishioners out of the congregation if they did not vote Republican?

Posted by: SteveA on July 28, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Basically, the Southern parasite has been around for as long as there's been a country. The slaveocracy knew it couldn't win a national election, but it knew it could provide the winning margin to whichever national party would allow it to continue its "peculiar institutions," in return for which it would allow the national party to govern nationally on whatever platform it ran on. For 160 years, the deal was made with the Democratic Party in its variations, starting with the election of the slaveowning Thomas Jefferson - notice through presidential history that all the sitting slaveowners were Democrats (Jackson, Tyler, etc.) When the Democrats proved themselves untrustworthy in the 1960s, the parasite jumped to the Republicans, only this time it decided ti be sure of the deal by taking control of the host. Unfortunately, the parasite didn't realize that when the parasite takes control of the host, the host eventually dies - and when it does it takes the parasite with it.

Hopefully, we are seeing the death throes of "southernism" (the philosophy of white supremacy, manifest destiny and genocide).

Posted by: TCinLA on July 28, 2009 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

The Southerners won 5 elections for the GOP - so now we are not wanted.

Then let us go - we tried before but maybe this time we will be allowed our freedom.

Posted by: f on July 28, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

A couple points:

Oklahoma is indeed "southern," despite its geographic location - remember it's known as "the buckle on the bible belt." The place was founded by all the failed southern trash who couldn't steal land from the Indians anywhere else till the government did it for them.

"Bolshevik" does mean "majority." The way the Leninist Party took the name was to all stay in a meeting in Brussels in 1905 over condemning those who hadn't supported the 1905 revolt in Russia, and after enough of the real majority - the social democrats - left the meeting in frustration of listening to the loonies, they called a vote and were the "majority." Hence, Bolshevik. The Stalinists used to use that tactic all the time when they were creating front groups.

Posted by: TCinLA on July 28, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Lenin: "I am the Walrus."

Posted by: inkadu on July 28, 2009 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

It's no coincidence that this country made its biggest strides in the hundred years following the Civil War, after the South had been bombed-out, burned and tamed.

Well, in spite of that. Southerns dominated congress and especially the senate for much of that 100 years, thanks to seniority rules. They were just Democrats for most of that time>

And (from another commentor) Gingrich from Pennsylvania? Not sure where he was born, but he was elected from GA. Maybe you were thinking Santorum

Posted by: martin on July 28, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

We had a term for the constituency that Voinovich is referring to: Dixiecrats

Posted by: Andrew Ottiger on July 28, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

As anyone who has a southern tie (as I do) who has lived in Ohio (as I did) can attest, this has more to do with local issues (the Appalachian/Ohio cold war that has been going on for decades) than it does a national story, although it's understandable why it's not understood that way. The situation between Appalachian/southeners and "native" Ohioans can be so bad that the state lists "Appalachian American" as a protected minority for employment purposes.

Posted by: Eagle on July 28, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Uh, Sen. Voinovich? You're right that the far rightwingers are killing the Republican party, but it has nothing to do with their accents. It's the words they say and the policies they promote.

It's a shame that he had a good point, but ended up screwing it up completely.

Posted by: TG Chicago on July 28, 2009 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

I guess Voinovich will get this year's version of the Colin Powell award for honesty (a) unaccompanied by any meaningful action; (b) long after the time when it made any difference to anybody; and (c) at a time when there are sure to be few or no consequences to the truth teller.

It's an award of shame because all it does is highlight your cowardice and inaction when you had the chance to do something right when it might actually have changed things.

The only way to redeem yourself is to buck your party on an important initiative like health care. But then you might not get that lobbying job you were aiming for after you retire next year. So don't expect congratulations for your new found candor.

Posted by: Barbara on July 28, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Arguably the single most prominent loonycon icon at the moment is from Alaska.

Bachmann got re-elected in Minnesota.

The state that is most visibly in dire monetary danger due to raging conservatism AND whose voting citizenry rejected marital equality is California.

Stupidity is, in and of itself, not a regional disorder.

Posted by: have clue -- will travel on July 28, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

You finally noticed!!!

Posted by: mymy on July 28, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with jb...with every passing year it becomes more and more apparent that Lincoln did us no big favor by preserving the "Union." Instead of
"Fourscore and seven years ago..." he should have said "Here's your hat, what's your hurry?" Now the southern cracker syndrome has managed to infect the rest of what was once a perfectly nice little country.

Posted by: wheresthebeef on July 28, 2009 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK


Interestingly, Wikipedia lists fourteen places that have been called "the buckle on the Bible Belt", only one of which is in Oklahoma. Tennessee wins with four cities that have been deemed the buckle.

Posted by: Brock on July 28, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, Barbara. Very well said.

Posted by: Frak on July 28, 2009 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

The confederate mentality has never gone away, and the Good 'ol White Boys have, to some extent, been opportunists. The Dixiecrat Democrats, southern white racists (redundant I know), were a millstone around the neck of progressives until the 60s when Johnson signed the voting rights bill and Nixon devised his Southern Strategy. Now they are all Rethugs of the worst sort.

The coalition of southern racists, evangelicals, and corporate thugs calling itself the GOP has never been a stable one. Only one of convenience. For a while it could carry elections, but Bush II killed that. Sarah Palin will do the rest. As head of the Stupids, she will split the coalition for good. Where the moderates and thugs will land I have no idea, but a new party is going to emerge. A party that won't assume the racist stigma of the GOP, if for no other reason, Hispanics have rightfully given the GOP the finger.

What a joy to behold.

Posted by: rrk1 on July 28, 2009 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

As much as I'd love to agree with Voinovich's take, he misses the mark badly.

The problem with the GOP is NOT too many southerners.

The problem with the GOP is too much stupid.

They've had to promote, reward, and celebrate willful ignorance in order to promote their policies -- otherwise, people would never vote for them (this is why people who pay attention to things like facts and science tend to vote Dem). It's a very Straussian view, and one they've used well.

Add in the Southern Strategy and all the Bible thumping, and you get a party dependent on the stupid, the racist, and the extremely religious.

Yes, they may win some elections with that strategy. But it makes for some historically shitty governance.

Posted by: Mark D on July 28, 2009 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Never Let The Hillbillies Out Of The Holler.

You let them hillbillies run wild, you best not complain when you catch them burning books in the town square.
Interesting that the American GOP has the same problem as the Pakistani ISI.

Posted by: Cazart on July 28, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

southern white racists (redundant I know)

No, there's nothing redundant there at all.

There are southerners who are not white, and whites who are not southern.

There are southerners who are not racists, and racists who are not southern.

And finally, there are whites who are not racists, and even a few racists who are not white.

Posted by: Brock on July 28, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

So when the nasty horde of GOPers paints an entire race of people or area of the country with a broad brush it's just them showing their satanic roots. Conversely when it's done by fine upstanding "progressives" it's speaking truth to power? Calling a spade a spade? You southern haters make me wanna throw up. Thanks for showing your true psychosis. You represent the Democratic Party well. Oh, and the two of you that called all of us "crackers"? Go piss up a rope.

Posted by: Grimm on July 28, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

You know, all this talk about "We should've let the South go" is really insulting. How is the characterization that all Southerners are stupid racists who shouldn't be part of this country anymore any different from other insulting stereotypical characterizations? The fact that there are more than a handful of commenters here who are both Southern and left-leaning should tell you that the South is not monolithic. Call me thin-skinned about this, but I'm frankly tired of being lumped in with the folks you SHOULD be targeting - ignorant, racist, religionist bigots WHEREVER they are. And they're certainly not all in the South.

Posted by: carolatl on July 28, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you carolatl. That's the point I was trying to make but I'f so fucking pissed I could spit nails. Southern does NOT equal a character from Deliverance and if that's the way you think or feel, then (see last sentence above.) I can only assume that Benen, by his silence, agrees with the majority of the bigots posting above. Is that right Steve?

Posted by: Grimm on July 28, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, carolatl.

Posted by: Brock on July 28, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, grimm and brock. I do mean that I'm thin-skinned about this issue, and grimm, I'm angry too. Every single time the subject of the South's dominance of the GOP comes up or how we Southerners have ruined what used to be a nice little country, the anti-Southern bigots fire up with "We should've let 'em leave" and I'm left thinking, "You don't even know me, but because I live south of the Mason/Dixon line, I'm not worthy of being an American?"

Y'all out there who are painting with such broad brushes need to think about your nasty characterizations.

Posted by: carolatl on July 28, 2009 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's always striking to see how a politician's behavior changes once he is no longer concerned about his political future.

Posted by: bpai99 on July 28, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

If by Southern, he means southern California, then maybe yes. Duke Cunningham is a good case example of the reason the Republican party has collapsed.

And the list of Birthers in the House includes another California Republican.

Posted by: mlm on July 28, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

KOS has a good post up now about this, with some interesting numbers:


But anyway, and as I posted near the top earlier, I'm Southern, and I'm not happy about the general viewpoints of my fellow Southerners. But as some have written, given that there are others in the South who are liberal and/or progressive, it's not helpful to paint broadly. But there is something there, that's for sure.

Posted by: terraformer on July 28, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

"For 'tis sport to have the engineer/ Hoist with his own petard"

Conservitives have spent a long time telling the American people that its us vs them. 100% real Amveicans from the American loving parts of America against "The Others" who talk funny, have strange clanish customs, eat wierd food and have creepy religious views - you dont want to side with "THEM" do you?

Then they bring a spokesman on TV who talks funny, has strange clanish customs, eats wierd food and has creepy religious views

Posted by: jefft452 on July 28, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

We will be happy to grant carolatl refugee status when her region becomes a genocidal, ungovernable rogue state, but the festering infection of slave-state culture is endangering the sane part of the continent. That culture needs to be cut loose to degenerate alone.

Posted by: secede already on July 28, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm... I'm a southerner as well, but am not particularly offended by the shoulda-let-'em-secede types, either (if anyone assumes I'm dumb or shoeless, though, watch out!). Some cultures are just hidebound and generally difficult to deal with, and per my point above regarding rural/urban divides, I'd say that rural culture is tough to drag out of archaic ideas, while Southern rural culture pretty much has to be dragged kicking & screaming into any advances that don't have a heavy side dish of corruption & oligarchy. Egalitarian, common-good ideals just don't take hold here that easily; the soil's more suitable for strongmen and shysters, manipulation and heavy emotional symbolism.

None of this is to say that there are no good progressives in the South, or even in rural areas, but simply that the culture is not exactly friendly to us and our principles. That really shouldn't be all that controversial an idea.

Posted by: latts on July 28, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

latts - you're right. There are many times, for instance when I visit my extended family in rural Alabama, when I feel like a stranger in a strange land. I do feel a lot of hostility from many of my fellow Southerners toward my political and, especially, religious views.

What I bristled at is the common tendency to characterize all of us as ignorant, racist, Christianist bigots and then write the whole region off. And this from people who likely have never spent enough time south of the Mason/Dixon line to really know much about us. I think there's a fair amount of you're "dumb or shoeless" implicit in that characterization.

Posted by: carolatl on July 28, 2009 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Minor pedantry: Our nation's capital is south of the Mason-Dixon Line, so if you build the fence there, you lose the White House, the Capitol, etc.

Posted by: hamletta on July 29, 2009 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I just don't take it that personally, unless the insult is personal instead of general. The South is ass-backwards and a massive dead-weight political problem in an advanced country. It's not homogenous-- arguably, the diversity is what makes the crazy people ever more belligerent, since they feel constantly threatened-- so of course there are plenty of people like myself and others here who don't fit the stereotypes. But it doesn't mean the stereotypes are absolutely wrong when discussing the general population, or when discussing the political climate in the region.

I think that a lot of the anger among progressive Southerners is because we have been fighting losing battles for so long, and it feels like others are disparaging our work. Still, they are losing battles and will stay that way at least for my lifetime and quite likely well beyond... we'll have some small liberal victories that will be long on symbolism and short on actual power, but really the best we can usually expect will be some mildly populist Blue Dogs, not real progressive leaders.

Posted by: latts on July 29, 2009 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

As on Okie (now living overseas) I take serious offense with the poster who called us 'White trash' (I am Black by the way). Although, he was right in his assertion that Oklahoma is the South:at least some parts of it are very culturally southern. The area I grew up in was called 'Little Dixie'.

However, Okies are a strange and complex bunch. They are the nicest people in the world (outide of people from Minnesota or Wisconsin perhaps...LOL)and perfectly charming unless you discuss 1 of 2 subjects: politics or religion. Start talking about either of these and you will find yourself glancing at the calendar to see what century you are in! Even though I live in Asia, I honestly think the U.S. and Asia have a smaller cultural gap than the Upper West Side of NYC and Oklahoma City!

Posted by: James M on July 29, 2009 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK



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