Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gettin' 'er Done in the South

Democrats Kickin' Tusk (part 2)

I give Democrats who screw up a lot of crap. I think a lot of folks do, and there is one underlying reason for this: people expect Democrats to act better. Maybe it isn't even that, maybe it is that folks expect Republicans to act worse. I mean, not everybody can be born handsome and rich, right? That's why we have a Democratic Party (so said Zell Miller, back in the day).

So, I shall give (or reiterate) folks who I think make great Democrats, or places where Democrats are stepping up to the challenge of being the Opposition Party.

Our tour, of course, begins in the South.

I have already spoken at length about Representative and Candidate for United States Senate, Harold Ford Jr. from Tennessee.

And now I shall turn our attention to, Former Virginia Governor and soon-to-be President(ial Candidate) Mark Warner, who is stumping the South with gusto. Here's some of the good stuff:
Warner, an unannounced but unrelenting candidate for the presidency, is happy to help, urging Dixie's Democrats to break with the national party's Bush-bashing strategy and instead emphasizing bipartisanship and values. Warner is hoping big Southern victories in 2006 will prove that his Virginia success was a preview of things to come, not just a random stroke of luck in a region grown hostile to Democrats....

...In speeches in the South, he preaches the blessings of bipartisanship. He rarely mentions the words "Bush" or "Republican" and only invokes his own party to say, "I'm proud to be a Democrat, but I'm prouder to be an American." There is "a wide swath of Reagan Democrats or independents who are up for grabs," Warner tells NEWSWEEK,...

...Warner is also telling Southern Democrats to go on the offensive on values issues and run against "cultural elitism"...

...Warner says Democrats can't survive without the South.

(some items embolded by HR)
I couldn't agree more. Notice he says can't 'survive' without the South. I want to really expound on that sometime in the future, but I think he is right on target. Without the South, Southern Values and Southern Fried Liberalism, the Democratic Party would be in deeper trouble than just losing elections.

As far as the elections are concerned, however, there are a lot of Republican voters and conservatives up for grabs as well. I don't want those voters staying home on election day, I want them at the voting booth and voting for Democrats. We won't win the South without some of those voters deciding to vote for the Democratic candidates, and without the South, even in the short term, we can kiss majoritarian dreams goodbye.


S.A.W.B. said...

I agree fully with this. I will also point out that embracing the 'Southern Democrat' is about as unpalatable to the Carpetbaggers you guys are passing off for leadership as would be urinating on an immolated Republican.

Dollars to donuts, ask any 'Northern Liberal', and they'll lump you in with me as 'those dumb rednecks'.

Mayhap it's time to form the new and improved Dixiecrat party, now without mouth-breathing racism?

patsbrother said...

SAWB, your point might mean something if it didn't equally apply to 'Northern Conservatives'. Yankees rag on Southerners for being stupid, Southerners rag on Yankees for being pansies. Shocker.

S.A.W.B. said...

Except that 'Northern Conservatives' have at least figured out that it's better to not slag publicly the voting base that is below the Mason/Dixon line. I've yet to hear a 'Northern Conservative' commentator talk about what a bunch of dumb, ignorant, rednecks we are. You guys get Ted Rall 5 days a week.

patsbrother said...

I'll bite: who's Ted Rall?

S.A.W.B. said...

This, is Ted Rall. This, is an example of how 'smart' he is. This, is an example of his brand of 'art'.

Congratulations. Your guy blows anything our guys say out of the water, day in, day out.

Dante said...

As much as I prefered Miller for his Senate race, I didn't vote for him because that would be a vote for Daschle running the Senate. Likewise, I'm not voting for any Democrat who is going to put Nancy Pelosi and/or Harry Reid in charge of things.

For the Democrats to take back the House, they're going to need to pick up a good number of seats in the south and mid-west. If I were those possible incoming Democrats, I would get together and pull what happened to Gingrich and threaten to vote with the Republicans for Congressional leadership in order to get Pelosi and/or Reid out of that possible leadership role. Or better yet, cut a deal with the Republicans to put coalition leaders in place unless the Democrats put more moderate leadership in place. That would make a nice campaign promise for a lot of disillusioned Republicans to actually vote Democrat instead of just staying home.

ruby booth said...

Pardon a moment while I rant about Ted Rall:

As far as the Memphis Contingent is concerned, Ted Rall is an ill-informed, pompous snob of the type that is killing our party. He's been on our radar as such ever since he came up with this stupid, un-researched garbage as a response to the '04 election. If he had bothered to actually check his facts, rather than going for a cheap, arrogant laugh, he'd have discovered that Memphis voted something like 64% for Kerry with the outlying parts of our county dragging us down to a whopping 58% Blue. While that might be a damn sight less Blue than where Mr. Rall lives these days, it is a good seven percentage points higher than his home county of Montgomery in Ohio, and only one percent lower than New York state as a whole. So he can take his anti-red state crap and shove it as far as we’re concerned.

The democratic party desperately needs to remember that the South is its natural home, and the region to which it’s greatest members have always gravitated regardless of their points of origin. Not because the South is full of ignorant racists, but because it’s full of folks who think it is your moral obligation and natural inclination to help a brother when he’s down – what ever color his skin might be.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Much as it kills me to say this, I'd still take Pelosi and Reid over the likes of corrupt DeLay, pork lover Lott, More-of-the-Same-Ol-What's-His-Name, out of touch Hastert, and the VideoTape Surgeon Bill Frist. And here's why:

I just don't think Pelosi and Reid have such a tight regin on the Parties as the Rove campaginers are going to say they do. Both of these individuals have those spots because 1) there aren't a lot of good Southern Democrats to keep them in check and 2) there aren't a lot of good Southern Democrats to keep them in check.

I'm not a big Pelosi fan (obivously) and Reid, while he could be really good, doesn't have to be right now. They have overseen a 22-27% approval rating Congress, and the loss of direction of the Democratic Party. Putting some new blood there, even if the House and Senate don't change hands, puts far more effective checks on their power than letting this bunch of Faux Republicans continue go wild. Putting some new blood in there leavens the craziness on both sides of the aisle.

And that's a bipartisan campaign wish.

Dante said...

"Much as it kills me to say this, I'd still take Pelosi and Reid over the likes of corrupt DeLay, pork lover Lott, More-of-the-Same-Ol-What's-His-Name, out of touch Hastert, and the VideoTape Surgeon Bill Frist. And here's why:"

You're a Democrat. That's why. We're looking at evils here and you're picking your lesser just like a Republican would pick his (or her) lesser. If you really thought that Pelosi and Reid were greater evils than the current leadership, you'd vote for the guys with R's by their names. However, you're talking about wanting conservatives to get out and vote Democrat and as long as that means Pelosi and Reid in charge, it's not going to happen.

mikey said...

You see, this is the problem. Everybody talks about Pelosi and Reid as if they were the only choices.

Guess who's Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus? That's right, Jim Clyburn of the South Carolina 6th.

He may not get as much CNN time as Pelosi and Reid, but he's at least as powerful if not moreso and will be a real candidate for Speaker if/when the Dems take back the house.

How's that for Southern Dems leading the party.

Dante said...

"You see, this is the problem. Everybody talks about Pelosi and Reid as if they were the only choices."

They're not the only choices but they are certainly the odds-on favorites and it's not worth the risk to vote first and then see who the junior Southern Democrat Congressmen are going support for leadership.

If the moderates on each side of the political isle could put aside their more extreme differences, the time would be very ripe for a coalition government. Coalitions are nice because they don't require candidates to abandon their current political party structures. The coalition could take the issues that are very popular with Americans but are largely ignored by Congress (fiscal responsibility, immigration, etc) and run those things through. I know a coalition is hard to do in a two party system but it has been done in Britain back when it was more or less two party government. It can be done here. I'm not the biggest fan of such a system but it would be a political goldmine.

mikey said...

Well, first of all, let’s stop calling Reid and Pelosi “Northern Liberals.” Reid’s from Nevada and Pelosi’s from California. They’re “West Coast Fruitcakes” not “Northern Liberals” so let’s at least get our terminology right. (Yes, I know that none of you actually said they were northern liberals, but it was implied).

Secondly, Clyburn isn’t the “Junior Southern Congressman.” He was elected in 1992 (The first black man elected to Congress from SC since reconstruction) and is the second most senior congressman in the South Carolina delegation (John Spratt from the SC 5th was elected in 1982 and is the Assistant House Minority Leader meaning that two of the top five Democratic Leadership positions in the House are held by SC Dems).

Side note: Both Clyburn and Spratt are senior to the entire SC delegation (including Senate). Why, you ask, haven’t they run for Senate? Because they’re in the House Leadership and have more power there.

Thirdly, It’s a mistake to assume that the house minority leader will automatically become the speaker if and when the Dems take control of the House. Their jobs are completely different. The Minority leader is primarily a spokesperson (That’s why we always see Pelosi on TV) whereas the speaker drives legislation. The Caucus Chair is much more suited to the job as speaker than the Minority leader.

What do I think will happen? Clyburn will be elected speaker based on strong support from the deficit hawks and black caucus and Pelosi will become majority leader.

Finally, in reference to the coalition-style government: I'm not the biggest fan of such a system but it would be a political goldmine.

Political goldmine is right because without strong and defined party planks to campaign from all bets are off in terms of incumbency…which means I’d have more work and make more money.

I’m all for me making more money.

Dante said...

Calm down there, mikey. By "junior Southern Democrat Congressmen" I was reffering to the Democrats who hypothetically would unseat incumbent Republicans. The theory being that Pat wants conservatives to vote Democrat and conservatives would be leery to eject their incumbents for Democrat juniors who unless they promise otherwise would be expected to just end up following the party line as far as voting for Congressional leadership. I honestly don't know anything about Clyburn except for what I've heard here so it would be ill-advised for me to comment on him.

Historically speaking, coalitions that succeed have had very well-defined planks (not just one) and haven't affected incumbency all that much. Then again, I'm only really familiar with about half a dozen coalition governments. I imagine it would still mean more work for mikey though.

mikey said...

Get ready folks and pay attention because you’re getting ready to see something very, very rare…me apologizing.

Dante, I’m sorry I mis-understood your "junior Southern Democrat Congressmen" reference. My mistake.

Now that’s out of the way…I couldn’t disagree with you more when you say that “conservatives would be leery to eject their incumbents for Democrat juniors who unless they promise otherwise would be expected to just end up following the party line as far as voting for Congressional leadership.”

I think the Democrat Party Line has changed dramatically from where it was two years ago and I think it’s going to change even more. Furthermore, we’ve all seen the Republican Party Line all but reverse itself from where it was six years ago.

When I was growing up, people would talk about becoming Republicans because the Democratic Party “left them.” In other words, voters felt that the Democratic platform had so transformed itself that it left their concerns out in the cold. Those same folks are singing that same song today about the GOP. Nowhere is this feeling more prevalent than in the Southern Libertarian wing of the Republican Party. (A lot of these guys are actually going to vote in the Democratic Primary next month for the first time in 20-30 years).

Also, Pat, Mr. Darman’s dramatically simplifies and mis-characterizes Gov. Warner’s hitherto unannounced presidential campaign as outlined in the article you published.

If he thinks Gov. Warner’s speeches are devoid of Bush-bashing, then either he has an unorthodox understanding of what Bush-bashing is or he’s only heard one speech.

Now, I’m sure Mr. Darman is a fine reporter if for no other reason than he works for Newsweek which, regardless of our own personal opinions, is a highly reputable news organization. That being said, Gov. Warner has been to South Carolina twice in the past year and I met him and listened to him speak both times. I’ve also read a number of his other speeches. The man has no love for President Bush and makes no bones about saying so.

He refers to Dubya as a failed businessman born with a silver spoon in his mouth and criticizes his handling of the Iraq War at length. He says that the years following 9/11 could have gone down in our country’s history as the most since WWII instead of the most polarized since Vietnam and that the blame for that polarization lies directly on the President’s doorstep.

He doesn’t pull his punches.

What I’m sure Mr. Darman meant to write was that Gov. Warner’s doesn’t solely rely on Bush-bashing like Kerry’s did. He talks about the real issues affecting everyday Americans and how we will address them. He talks about abandoning the failed rhetoric which has epitomized our party as weak-willed, elitist snobs since the mid-90’s and return to the values of Roosevelt and Truman. His delivery puts me in mind of Bobby Kennedy with a touch of Jimmy Carter’s charm.

He’s talking about re-defining the party, sure, but not as a “by your leave,” defacto GOP. He talks about a Democratic Party born out of a blue-collar culture. That’s why he’s popular in the South.

hillary said...

Are we saying Harry Reid's some kind of crazy liberal here, people? Because his reputation doesn't exactly bear that out.

patsbrother said...

Pedantic aside: Mikey, you missed an adjective, and while I wouldn't normally ask you to fill it in I'm subjectively interested to hear what word you had intended to place there.

Gov. Warner "says that the years following 9/11 could have gone down in our country’s history as the most [fill in the blank] since WWII instead of the most polarized since Vietnam..."

Dante said...

I noticed it too. I filled it in with "united" and the context fit rather nicely. It's obviously some opposite of "polarized."

mikey said...


mikey said...

sorry about that