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November 11, 2012 11:34 AM Republicans: Driven by Ideology or Hatred?

By Ryan Cooper

[Let me note as a preface that when I say “driven by ideology” I don’t mean that in a negative sense, I mean the extent to which Republicans got into government to accomplish things based on their ideas, as the Democrats did in their passing of Obamacare, for example.]

Matt Yglesias wonders whether House Republicans are interested in actually accomplishing anything:

One possible answer is no. Clearly the outlook for conservative public policy isn’t that good with Democrats in the White House and the Senate, the 2014 midterms will almost certainly strengthen their hand, and the GOP controls most of the state governments in the United States so there’s ample room for conservative policy initiatives of a non-federal nature. Under the circumstances, viewing the congress as primarily a bastion from which to block liberal initiatives and create conservative messaging points is perfectly reasonable.

But on the other hand:

Maybe someone out there really does want to end federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I bet they could get that done. In fact, I bet they could come up with a longish list of small programs that don’t speak to the core functions of the federal government and say “we’d like to scrap these.” Say, “look you created this big Dodd-Frank framework in your first term and you know we don’t think it was a good idea. But if you think it’s truly as important as you say, show us you mean it by offering up some of these small-bore programs and we’ll use those savings to fund implementation.” Nice deal. The White House would go for it both because they like Dodd-Frank, because some liberals think the GOP is right on the merits about PBS, and most of all because Obama thinks bipartisan dealmaking makes him look good.

The conservative movement of the Obama years has been driven first by the belief that total obstructionism would pay off electorally, and second by a delusional belief that the president (a man who passed Bob Dole’s healthcare plan, a man far to Nixon’s right on many issues) is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist who is attempting to destroy freedom forever. Just check out this guy who has sworn an oath to never speak to a Democrat again and spit on the ground if they speak to him.

The latter belief was extremely good at turning out the Republican base, but since it required believing such total nonsense, it badly weakened conservatives’ already-tenuous connection to reality. Even Romney campaign insiders appear to have lost the ability to believe or grapple with simple averages of polls. In short, Republicans’ addiction to nonsense has seriously undermined their campaign performance. What’s more, the belief that the president would get blamed for the Republicans’ obstruction turned out to be wrong too—the Democrats won not just the presidency but swept nearly every close Senate seat.

So if Republicans are actually interested in accomplishing conservative goals, I think Yglesias is right that they could accomplish a lot—way more than they did during the last congress, and there’s at least a decent chance it could work out for them electorally as well. But if they can’t get past the fanatical hatred of the president, if they embrace the attitude of the guy who would make a drowning Democrat say “Obama sucks” before rescuing him, well, we already saw how that works out.

@ryanlcooper

Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper

Comments

  • c u n d gulag on November 11, 2012 1:35 PM:

    Since, at their core, they are Nihilists, I don't expect any help from House Republicans.

    The only thing they are good at, is obstructionism.

    They operate as a radical minority party, doing all it can to stop progress.

    The Republican Party is full of drooling fools, idiots, and maniacs - and THOSE are the sensible ones!

    The rest of them are Dominionist Evangelical Christianists who are open racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and/or homophobes, who don't believe in math, science, or history.

    How do you find common ground with religious morons who believe that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs?
    Ask them whether they think they were hard-top or convertible dinosaurs? Four, or six, cylinder?

    Modern Conservatism can be defined as, "Anything the Liberals like, we hate. And everything they don't like, we love!" To be adjusted as often as necessary.
    As evidence, I give you the Dole/Heritage Foundation created "Obamacare."

    Besides, you don't negotiate with terrorists.

  • TCinLA on November 11, 2012 1:40 PM:

    Since the Republicans are really Confederates, and since southern morons always want to spit in the eye of the non-southerner who just kicked their ass, and since their little hillbilly feuds leave them more interested in "payback" even when it leads to ultimate defeat, anyone who thinks they will even be half as intelligent and capable as Matt thinks they will be, is missing the point.

    Southerners really are as stupid and ignorant as their accents make them sound. Look at the past 150 years of their "politics" and you'll see what is to come: more of the same.

    The President has to learn a two-word reply to anything any Republican says to him on any subject: HELL NO!

  • TCinLA on November 11, 2012 1:50 PM:

    Eric Dondero is just the kind of moron you really want to know his address so you can go remove his guns from his cold, dead hands. After you make them cold and dead.

    I only have a couple Republican friends left - mostly it was their choice.

  • FlipYrWhig on November 11, 2012 2:06 PM:

    Leaving aside the "far to Nixon's right" crack, which seems to disregard how both Nixon and Obama have to be contextualized against the prevailing economic orthodoxies of their eras (to be blunt, Southern racists used to be New Dealers, and now they aren't)...

    The big difference in what Republicans have been up to in the 21st century, as compared to before, is that they no longer believe that the way to Be Conservative is to use the government to make conservative laws and policies. Instead, they believe that their mission is to use the government as little as possible: lower taxes, fewer abortions, and that's about it. There was a time when Republicans would push to include conservative ideas in Democrats' pet projects: think of "enterprise zones" or school choice. But something happened that frustrated Republicans to no end: Clinton incorporated Republican ideas into his agenda _and walked off with the credit_. So when Obama got into office and made some similar overtures (e.g., markets and private companies remaining highly involved in health care), Republicans decided that playing ball would make the president more successful, so they just wouldn't do it.

    All of which goes to show that Republicans, as long as there's a Democrat in the White House, are not about to do anything. By design. Even with a a Republican in the White House, what would they try to do, beyond cutting taxes and cutting the social-services safety net? IMHO the answer is nothing. Their well considered and deeply held view is that the government ought to do nothing.

  • Hue and Cry on November 11, 2012 2:08 PM:

    Republicans don't believe in governing.
    Their motto:
    We waste time, so you don't have to.

    AS TO ELECTED REPUBLICANS:
    "The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
    ~~~~Gen. Joe Stillwell

  • jjm on November 11, 2012 2:31 PM:

    TCinLA on November 11, 2012 1:40 PM: you are correct. And to have been beaten again by those Chicagoans! Insult to injury. (Southerners often ascribe their loss to those "Deutschers" from Chicago, those emigrés from Germany who fled here after the loss of the 1848 revolutions. General Carl Schurz was a focus of their hatred.)

    Not to mention state of Illinois, the Land o' Lincoln.

  • Danp on November 11, 2012 2:50 PM:

    Republicans ran on a promise to "work with the other side", but only to reinforce the beliefs about the Republican party as portrayed by David Brooks and others like him. But in reality, how can they compromise when they rely so heavily on mega-donors and morons who think changing depreciation schedules on corporate jets is akin to showering welfare queens with crack? One thing Obama never accomplished in the campaign is to explain how Republicans prevent progress with tiny minorities. He should have used a slogan like, "Imagine what could have been. Imagine what still can be."

  • Oh my on November 11, 2012 2:51 PM:

    Just check out this guy who has sworn an oath to never speak to a Democrat again...

    A week or two ago, NPR had a segment about a pair of old friends for whom, once the Republican learned the other was a Democrat, refused to speak to him anymore. I guess I'm not surprised, since Republicans are 'educated' day in and day out by the likes of radio rushwanda or its equivalent. The partisan divide is growing starker by the year.

    If you don't think Iraq ever had weapons of mass destruction, you are a terrorist-sympathizing commie. If you think 9 billion tons of carbon pumped into the atmosphere every year is eventually going to have an effect, you're a tree-hugging conspiratorial commie. If you think asking billionaires to pay even 1% more in taxes isn't the most soul crushing war on capitalism ever, you're ... you get the picture.

    Republicanism has jumped the shark, and I don't know if it can ever get walked back.

  • PTate in MN on November 11, 2012 3:52 PM:

    "So if Republicans are actually interested in accomplishing conservative goals..."

    Is that meant to be funny? Modern Republicans have no interest in governing. People who believe that "government is the problem not the solution" do not generate meaningful proposals for the real problems that face the nation. The modern Republican party is this nasty coalition of billionaires determined to live by different rules than the rest of us, religious fanatics who want a state religion, and white males whose identities are enmeshed in privilege and power. The goals of these conservatives are shrinking government until it is small enough to drown in the bathtub; cutting the taxes of the super-rich; controlling male and female sexuality and combating the threat caused by those scary people of color.

    The idea that Republicans have an interest in governing is a dangerous fallacy, dangerous because it leads reasonable people to assume that the Republicans share the goal of "government of, by and for the people" when the truth is that the Republicans have rejected the Constitution and the principles upon which this country founded.


  • AndrewBW on November 11, 2012 4:57 PM:

    I'm going to go with "fanatical hatred."

  • Sixes on November 11, 2012 5:01 PM:

    Reading about the man who would let a Democrat drown, I am so, SO happy that conservatives are so completely wrong about liberals and guns. On the day of his "glorious revolution", I would be quite happy to empty any number of rounds into his empty head.

    BS screeds from guys like this are what makes me think we're inexorably headed towards civil war.

  • SecularAnimist on November 11, 2012 5:10 PM:

    Ryan Cooper wrote: "I mean the extent to which Republicans got into government to accomplish things based on their ideas, as the Democrats did in their passing of Obamacare, for example."

    Given that the individual mandate, which is the core of the ACA, was a 30-YEAR OLD REPUBLICAN IDEA, which Obama campaigned AGAINST, I'm not sure that's a good example.

    The ACA was nothing more than a package of very modest, common-sense regulations of the for-profit insurance corporations, which reigned in some of their most abusive practices. As such, it definitely gave the American people a little bit better deal from the insurance industry than they were getting before. Nothing wrong with that.

    But the price for those modest reforms was to entrench the for-profit insurance corporations as the basis of America's health care system, and to guarantee and subsidize their profits at public expense -- and to ensure that single-payer, Medicare-For-All government-run nonprofit health insurance under efficient, transparent, accountable public administration would be "off the table" for the foreseeable future.

    With Democrats like that, who needs Republicans?

  • thebewilderness on November 11, 2012 5:18 PM:

    The Republican Party is determined to cook the golden goose of the American middle class and get all those eggs at once. This will give American business the competitive edge they so desperately need. Or perhaps not, but the goose will be tasty.

  • Ron Byers on November 11, 2012 5:20 PM:

    I don't know what to think, but most of the Republicans I know are decent people who work hard. Mostly they are frightened by what they see on the television machine and hear on the radio. Mostly they watch Fox News, read the Wall Street Journal and listen to Rush Limbaugh.

    You have to remember that right now most of them were told Romney was going to win. I was told by one the day before the election that the polls were all wrong and Romney was going to win in a landslide. Straight Fox News propaganda. The hardest thing in the world is to get one of them to realize that the fairness doctrine has been repealed and there is nothing to stop the fair and balanced channel from lying to them. "They are telling the truth. They have too, it's on TV."

    Everybody is down on Colin Powell, but I think his son Michael is the greatest enemy of freedom to ever wield power in America. You dont' remember General Powell's son, well you should, he is the guy who set Roger Ailes and Ruppert Murdock free.

  • Kathryn on November 11, 2012 5:21 PM:

    Read today in NYT that evangelicals were 26%'of the electorate FWIW, more than half of the GOP base, the other half old white people and libertarians perhaps.

    Sr. Simone Campbell interview in latest Rolling Stone is worth the read, her meeting with Paul Ryan highlights, in it's content, his sorry world view. What an immature, not too clever iron pumper is the congressman from Wisconsin.

  • golack on November 11, 2012 5:24 PM:

    Yes, still the fallout from the not-so-Civil War...plus the grudge from the Civil Rights act (sorry LBJ, the South was lost for more than a generation)...

    But the South is changing, as the old South has corrupted the Republican party. The "low tax, low service" model of their state governments was basically done to keep the poor (read minority) in their place, and to play the race card. if you have to integrate public schools, de-fund them and look to support "church" schools--churches of course being the least integrated organizations in the US.

    These policies also means they are a drain on the US Treasury.

    But with mobile society, more people are expecting their local schools to work. And are demanding basic services on the local level.

    And if the minority athlete helps them with the high school football game or minor league baseball team, well that's ok.

    It takes time. The hate mongers at Fox news were revealed and discredited for what they are. They'll bounce back, and it will be scary, but they are losing their grip on their audience.

  • N.Wells on November 11, 2012 5:33 PM:

    "Obama thinks bipartisan dealmaking makes him look good".
    That's a very uncharitable view of Obama's motivation. He clearly wants us to come together to find common goals that we can jointly work toward, thus unifying us, creating progress, and welding us into a more perfect union. That's his whole deal about "there is no red America, no blue America, just the United States of America". And he's not wrong - coming together is clearly what we have to do, as it is really the best (and perhaps only decent) route to getting out of our current morass and winning the future. Where he was wrong was in thinking that the Republicans would behave at least semi-rationally, and would collaborate in furthering their own goals and self-interests, as opposed to rejecting and obstructing everything just because Obama accepted it, out of fear of giving him the slightest hint of success. Assuming that we do not roll over and let them have their way, at some point the bulk of R supporters have to burn out and either become apathetic about politics or work their way back in to a rational political framework. As TCinLA said in an earlier thread today, the R's have the disadvantage of pursuing many goals that are deeply unattractive, that are not the sorts of things that people want to fight for.

    My two cents on what the R's want that they are willing to fight over: I think you started off with a misstep in dismissing the negative forms of "driven by ideology" that is only partly corrected by your mention of 'or driven by hatred'. I see a lot of negative, indeed downright ugly, motivations driving many republicans. Clearly some of them want power for the sake of power and/or wealth, so that they can steer more riches or status and power their way, or just hang on to what they already have. Keeping everybody else's hands off their money is clearly a big motivator (hence the staying power of arguments against taxes), especially as they are too short-sighted to realize that public investment in growing the economy and generating a wealthier and healthier and better educated middle class is in everyone's interest and will in fact make them wealthier. (To be fair, many of them recognize these benefits but think that unbridled capitalism and selfishness is the most efficient route to that end, but short-sighted self-interest is a large part of their world view.) At the low end, a lot of racism and ethnic bigotry comes from people who have very little being afraid of losing it to people who have even less. Given how often it erupts in public, fear of The Other is bubbling just under the surface with many Republicans, and many bigots simply need someone else to look down on so that they can feel superior: they need an "Other" to avoid having to come to terms with themselves.

    R's have a large number of moralists and theocrats, who want to make other people accept their religious beliefs and live according to their dictates. Many simply think that their religion provides the best route, or indeed the only route, to a good life and a good society, but a lot of ugly psychology can be wrapped up in morality and religion, mostly having to do with self-validation and self-doubt. Having the state support your religion is a great help in avoiding your own religious doubts. Having everyone else behave/believe/look like yourself can shore up a wavering self-image and validate your own choices. It's also easier to deny or suppress what you are afraid of in yourself if you can join in broad societal suppression of it (the religious right has pretty much cornered the market these days in closeted self-hating gays and people conflicted over even heterosexual sex). Republicanism, like religion, tends to provide simple and comforting answers to uncomfortable questions and complex problems.

  • Kathryn on November 11, 2012 5:36 PM:

    @ Ron Byers......do you think the obvious propaganda guaranteeing a Romney/Ryan victory/landslide in any way made them question the information they've been consuming?

  • John on November 11, 2012 5:56 PM:

    What are the issues on which Obama is far to Nixon's right? I don't consider wage and price controls to be a particularly left-wing policy, and other than that I can't really think of anything.

  • schtick on November 11, 2012 6:08 PM:

    "Government doesn't work." and "Government needs to be smaller." is the cry of the teapubs. THEY are the government and we really need to make it smaller for THEM by voting them out in 2014.
    If the dems don't relax and fall asleep in 2014, the people are angry enough at these slackers to get them out and replace them with people that actually WANT the government to work.
    The people need to be reminded who and what all the way to the 2014 elections or we'll have more of the same. The teapubs are going to work on better lies because they still don't get it.

  • jjm on November 11, 2012 6:29 PM:

    John on November 11, 2012 5:56 PM: I agree. The minute Obama won, the pseudo liberals are calling him a centrist Republican, saying progressives and liberals aren't happy, blah blah blah.

    What's the deal?? He led the people to a much better understanding of the consequences of retrograde policies than anyone has since FDR. Clinton didn't accomplish that. So you're begrudging Obama his actually rather amazing accomplishments? (See Ezra Klein over at WaPo)...

    Meanwhile the big media are claiming that he is going to extend an olive branch, he'll have to kowtow to the GOP on this that or the other.

    Wishful thinking on their side. The pseudo-progressives wanted to be the ones that the people followed; while the big money interests want to paint him with the colors of a turncoat. a plague on both houses.

  • pol on November 11, 2012 6:45 PM:

    Sorry, no compromises when it comes to PBS. PBS must be OFF the table. Anyone who tries to lay a hand on Big Bird will have to answer to ME!

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on November 11, 2012 7:05 PM:

    Back when I was active in Libertarian circles, my recollection is that Dondero had a reputation as a flake and a Republican in Libertarian clothing. Interesting to catch up with him, so to speak. (I've got a guess that karma and/or divinely-ordained irony are going to come home to roost for him, e.g. if he ended up nearly drowning and getting saved by a non-fanatical liberal Democrat.)

  • Dennis on November 11, 2012 7:29 PM:

    Judging by many of these posts, Democrats are just as capable of sweeping generalizations and ad hominem argument as Republicans. Like Ron, most of the Republicans I know are decent people; none of my friends have abandoned me because I'm a Democrat. We engage in energetic debates and then part as friends. We go to work together, and to church together, and life is good. Not all Republicans are hateful and mean; I daresay most of them aren't. And I daresay not all Democrats are open-minded and tolerant. Our national hobby seems to be finding the worst traits of the worst boors in the other party and attributing them to the whole party.

    If Republicanism goes away, something else will take its place; many people are genuinely committed to conservative values and will begin to organize as soon as confidence in the Republican Party is no longer possible. I think David Frum was right about this: The GOP has "been fleeced, exploited, and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex."

  • Cranky Observer on November 11, 2012 8:15 PM:

    = = = Like Ron, most of the Republicans I know are decent people; = = =

    Up through about 1990 I would have agreed with you. Today the vast majority of Republicans I deal with spend their entire day listening to Limbaugh et al and reading breitbart.com. They are not decent in the policies they support and they are unstinting and very vocal is their disdain for "libruls". Perhaps in the Northeast there are still some decent old-fashioned Republicans, but not between the Alleghenies and the Rockies.

    Cranky

    never oouHom - 1st try

  • Tim from LA on November 11, 2012 8:29 PM:

    @TCinLA

    "Southerners really are as stupid and ignorant as their accents make them sound. Look at the past 150 years of their "politics" and you'll see what is to come: more of the same."

    You, of course, aren't a bigot who judges people on the basis of where they were born, or the color of their skin.

    Shame on you, and shame on all the commenters who didn't call you out.

  • FlipYrWhig on November 11, 2012 11:32 PM:

    Most of the Republicans I know are decent people when it comes to anything but politics. When it turns to politics, everything they believe stems from the notion that lazy moochers are fleecing the government and living the high life on Republicans' hard-earned money. They've never accepted the idea that "welfare" or anything remotely like welfare exists, and they believe wholeheartedly in the Romney/O'Reilly idea that the Democratic Party is the party of "free stuff."

    That's really not "decent," when you get right down to it.

  • square1 on November 11, 2012 11:55 PM:

    @Tim from LA: Spare us the sanctimony, please. There is a world of difference between judging people based on the skin and judging them on their behavior. In fact, judging people on their behavior is a Good Thing.
    .
    Southerners may not technically be any "stupider" than the rest of us. But, on average, they are more ignorant, more closed-minded, more judgmental, and more racist, bigoted, mysogynistic, and homophobic than the rest of us? Can I judge them poorly for their behavior? Yes. Yes I can.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on November 12, 2012 12:21 AM:

    It's good that TCinLA hangs out here as a negative example to remind us that bigotry isn't just for Republicans. 48% of NC voters voted for Obama. GA, 45%. Mississippi, for fuck's sake, 44%.

    Obviously many of those are minority votes (some aren't), but as TCinLA reminds us ("Southerners really are as stupid and ignorant as their accents make them sound") bigotry need not recognize race.

    Fortunately having the self-important chauvinist TCinLA "on our side" will remind us to be humble about the bigots on the other side. There but for the grace of God go we.

    @square1: No, you spare us. TCinLA didn't resort to weasel words about "on average". Sometimes you have to give a bigot a little credit for hanging their bigotry out for all to see rather than hiding it.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on November 12, 2012 12:29 AM:

    I totally missed the irony of TCinLA showing up to complain about stupid Southerners on a blog where the lead author is from Georgia! Wasting time reading what a dumb Southerner has to say -- that doesn't sound very smart.

    CAPTCHA: south ibrults

  • JohnK on November 12, 2012 3:32 AM:

    @FlipYrWhig. I'm not sure I buy your argument that Republicans were sore about not getting credit for cooperation with Democrats. For example, they had no problem taking credit for stimulus spending in their districts even when they voted against the bill and fought it tooth and nail.

    It seems to me that Republicans don't want anything legislatively. They'll get money for a local bridge or defense contractor but they have no grand visions abut investing in this country or its people whether it costs money or not.

  • melior on November 12, 2012 6:34 AM:

    This is just straight-up Beltway Koolaid:

    "But if you think it’s truly as important as you say, show us you mean it by offering up some of these small-bore programs and we’ll use those savings to fund implementation. Nice deal."

    In the universe the rest of us live in, the tiny percentage PBS represents is mathematically irrelevant. It's nothing but a baby seal to club, in hopes that the sound and splatter of its little skull will inspire a psychopath to negotiate.
    The election must have eaten MattY's brain.

  • jhm on November 12, 2012 7:05 AM:

    @jjm stole my thunder somewhat, but I can't help think of the current meme that GOPers are, even a little bit, chastised by the election, and are undergoing some sort of re-evaluation or soul searching, is simply a pernicious prelude to abandoning liberal goals for nothing (again). Every second wasted in thinking that this coming Congress' GOP members will behave differently from the last is retrograde motion for Dems, not needed compromise on the path to accomplishing anything positive.

  • square1 on November 12, 2012 8:32 AM:

    @Equal Opportunity Critic:

    Really? You're doubling down with this Southern bigotry nonsense?

    Of course not everybody from the South buys into the traditionally toxic culture of that region. But if you can't recognize the pervasive cultural problems in the region, that's your problem, not mine.

  • Dennis on November 12, 2012 9:16 AM:

    @square1

    Really? You're continuing to defend the pejorative dismissal of an entire class of people based on superficial factors? I've lived in the north and in the south, and I have to say, ignorance and stupidity are quite evenly distributed around the country. I remember Boston during the bussing riots; I remember people coming together in the south to support the civil rights movement. There are just as many pervasive cultural problems in the north as in the south. Some of the most intelligent and compassionate people I know are the products of that same southern culture that you and @TCinLA despise so much. Clearly you can't recognize that there are toxic subcultural systems all over the place, and not just in the south, and that really is your problem.

  • SteveCT on November 12, 2012 9:20 AM:

    I see a lot of in-breeding in the future for Eric Dondero and his ilk. I'm thinking the future Republican Party will look pretty much like the McPoyles.

  • g on November 12, 2012 9:38 AM:

    Eric Dondero is welcome to a long miserable life of being a friendless, selfish crank who'll probably die alone and rot on his floor for months before being discovered, since no one will care whether he lives or dies. In that final act, of course, he'll be dependent on some poor working person to clean up the mess he leaves, which will devalue his only remaining asset, to the point where his entire memory will be erased from history. All that will remain of Eric Dondero's miserable life will be this screed of his. What a legacy.

    I don't worry about people like him.

  • T2 on November 12, 2012 9:44 AM:

    @TCinLA , people say Texans talk funny....but what does Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso have in common? All five cities voted for Obama.

  • James M on November 12, 2012 10:16 AM:

    Hmm....

    I am sure he doesn't need it(or probably want it )but I feel that I should defend TCinLA's good name. I often disagree with him but I find him to be a committed progressive and an insightful commenter. I do agree that he has an excessive dislike of the South, but I think that is different from being a bigot.

    I define bigotry as prejudice against a particular ethnic group or class. I think that what TCinLA is expressing is his dislike of Southern culture. Not sure that is the same thing. Even though I majored in Anthropology in college, I will admit that there are certain countries/cultures that I just don't like. Does that make me a bigot?

    I also agree that it wrong to say that ALL southerners are ignorant and backward. However, can you really say the South is positive influence in the current U.S.? On average, the Southern states have the worst educated and most retrogressive citizens in the U.S. I am an Okie, and was blessed with some great,caring teachers, but overall the educational system there was downright scary. I literally cringe at the pronouncements and actions of elected officials from Oklahoma and Texas, for ex. They tend to be anti-evolution, anti-climate change action, anti-science, anti-union, anti-government stimulus; basically anti-everything.

    Even thought it is now of course geographically and economically impossible to remove the Southern States, I don't see how the U.S. would be particularly worse off without them.

  • Varecia on November 12, 2012 10:58 AM:

    "...Just check out this guy who has sworn an oath to never speak to a Democrat again and spit on the ground if they speak to him..."

    Not a problem; we've never been able to understand their Neanderthalish pre-verbal grunts and ugs anyway.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on November 12, 2012 11:32 AM:

    James M: You're defining bigotry much more narrowly than the denotation or most connotations of the word.

    square1: You're still not distinguishing between your own diagnosis of "pervasive cultural problems", and TCinLA's expression of visceral hatred. I happen to agree with your diagnosis as a native Southerner not living in the South, by the way.

  • Tim from LA on November 12, 2012 10:17 PM:

    @square1 "@Tim from LA: Spare us the sanctimony, please. There is a world of difference between judging people based on the skin and judging them on their behavior. In fact, judging people on their behavior is a Good Thing."

    Thanks for making clear that you think all Southerners of all skin colors behave poorly. Because, you know, you're not a bigot. Because someone might think you are for defending a remark like "Southerners really are as stupid and ignorant as their accents make them sound."

    To spell it out for you. There are many progressive Southerners. Who have had to endure threats, beatings, or worse for taking a stand against racism.

    You feel you're in a position to judge their behavior? Based on their accent, on where they were born? Just because they are not in the majority?

    "Can I judge them poorly for their behavior?" No. No you cannot.