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Does Bosnia Sound Like A Fun Place To You?

Thursday, March 29, 2007
As Paul over at Alien & Sedition has noted, immigration was an issue that paralyzed the Republicans in the last election. Like trade, it's an issue that cuts across both parties, but unlike most of the wedge issues we've endured for the last few decades it seems to cause more divison among Republicans than Democrats.


Arguments like those of Cristina Rodriguez in the Democracy Journal do not help matters. In it she suggests that the attempt to impose monolingualism on America - to promote English as the nation's common language - is misguided. According to Rodriguez, we should embrace our emerging multilingual society. Rodriguez makes a useful distinction between nativists who fear immigration, "liberal assimilationists" who think immigration is fine as long as long-term social cohesion is maintained, and multiculturalists like herself who believe that America's future is one spoken in many languages. She believes that multilingualism and political decentralization would enrich America's democracy and facilitate the democratic incorporation of new immigrant populations.

I can respect Rodriguez's idealism and commitment, but I can only respond that she is hopelessly naive. A society separated by the barrier of different languages is no society at all: at best there is an uneasy co-existence, and a worst a balkanized mess. Can Rodriguez name even one example of a politically and socially stable society with out a dominant language? I don't have to point to some obscure third world nation - even liberal democratic countries like Spain, Canada, and Belgium have been tormented by linguistic divisions. Why in the world would we wish that on ourselves?

Now Rodriguez does anticipate this argument, pointing out that linguistic unity does not guarantee social peace. And her point? "Liberal assimilationists" do not claim that a common language prevents social divisions, but that the absence of a common language guarantees such divisions. Her example of Muslims in Western Europe simply does not engage the argument.

Democratic accountability requires linguistic unity. At the prosaic level, without a common mode of communication, political leaders will find it very easy to say different things to different audiences. More importantly, how is any "national discourse" to take place when the citizenry can literally not talk to one another. There will be no common cultural frame of reference, no unifying symbols, not even generally agreed to facts. How can we make claims of mutual obligation, how can we recognize eachother as joint participants in a common enterprise, if we can't communicate? We would functionally exist in different universes - segregated all over again.

Multiculturalism where it has existed has been not an instrument of social justice through cultural "authenticity," but a weapon in the hands of the political right. The principal political tactic of conservatives everywhere is to get people fighting with eachother over symbolic issues like religion, ethnicity, region, what-have-you, all in order to distract them from the fact that they are being exploited. It is no accident that the South is the most conservative region of the country, or that the U.S. is the most conservative nation in the industrial democratic world. We made the disastrous mistake of adopting slavery, and therefore rivalry among blacks and whites has been a ready tool for conservatives to prevent social reforms.

To encourage the maintenance of a Spanish-only population in America (let's be honest, that's what we're talking about), is to create a new "outsider" ethnic group for white nationalists to rail against. Not only will they pit the white working class against the Spanish-speakers as "other," but it would also be likely that Spanish-speakers and African-Americans would begin competing, rendering any liberal political coalition impossible. And it takes no imagination to determine the social existence of a Latino linguistic ghetto: since when has separation ever been anything other than unequal?

Cristina's Rodriguez's vision for America is not some bold new embrace of social justice and cultural diversity. It is a foolhardy gift to the vultures in American life who are anxious to pick clean every carcass. It is the stuff of Karl Rove's dreams.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 2:20 PM

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Conservatives Don't Do Economics

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I'm in the absurd position of appearing to defend Mitt Romney.

In attacking Mitt Romney for not being conservative enough, Steven Warshawsky (via Andrew Sullivan)says the following:

Frankly, either Romney has forgotten his basic economics or he is pandering on environmental issues. This nation will never become "energy independent" because it makes no sense economically to do so. It is cheaper to purchase much of our energy (oil) from foreign suppliers. Cheaper energy means we are all richer. Moreover, most of our foreign oil comes from friendly countries.

I'm not an economist, but at least I've heard of import substitution. And as for buying our oil from other country, surely Warshawsky has encountered at some point the principles of supply and demand? Since there is a global market for oil, buying it from one places increases the price everywhere - meaning every barrel we import puts another dollar in the pockets of 3rd world dictators.

It's really difficult to write about this sort of nonsense without writing insults.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:09 AM

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Goreing Democrats

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Another op-ed, another hit piece. This one is against Barack Obama. Richard Cohen points out that no one can find the copy of Life Magazine Obama said awakened his racial consciousness as a child. In addition, Obama's schoolmates and friends over the years don't remember him being obsessed with his identity. Therefore, argues Cohen, Obama is a narcissistic exaggerator who made the story up to make himself look better, and is using the whole racial identity question to cloak his ambition.

That's a mighty big claim based on very little evidence. After all, is it so hard to imagine that a 10 year old might mis-remember the magazine a bit? Cohen admits a similar error himself, but quickly asserts that in Obama it is suspicious. And as for no one in the Obama's past remembering his obsession with racial identity, I must question whether Cohen has been relying on the Cliff Notes version of Obama's book, because in it Obama says that he never talked about it with others. My God man, he said he never talked about it in the book!!! The climax is focused on the importance of not keeping such things a secret, as Barack had been doing! What, do you think a teenager who wonders whether he's black enough or white enough is going to run around talking about it?

I suppose all this is to be expected. For years the media has practiced a double standard to the advantage of Republicans. Hillary's problem is that she's shrill and calculating, but McCain's is that he's a moderate. Edwards is that he's a pretty boy wealthy hypocrite who doesn't care that his wife has cancer, while Giuliani's is that he's a moderate. Obama's problem is that he's vacuous, crooked, and a liar, while Romney's is that he's, you guessed it, a moderate. Rampant corruption in the Bush Administration is "boring" and "partisan," but calling Democrats traitors is just "tough politics."

I've thought for some time that Democrats might (for the first time) have to run a really brutal negative campaign against the Republicans this time, whether they like it not. The Republicans are in so much trouble they are going to force things to get nasty. Now I'm beginning to wonder whether we're going to have to run a similar campaign against the press itself.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:35 AM

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Dreams From My Father

Monday, March 26, 2007
I have just finished Barack Obama's first book, Dreams From My Father, which he wrote when he was a law student over a decade ago. It's a book of great earnestness and reflection, and one feels as if its publishing is merely incidental: Obama is writing mainly for himself. He's a good writer, but, thank god, not a great one. As Brazen Hussy said, that would be intolerable.

It's a story of a young man trying to discover his own identity. Not a new subject by any means, but intriguing from someone with such an unusual background. Born in Hawaii to a Kansas mother and an Kenyan father, subject to all the difficulties of being a black man in American, but due to his parentage always questioning his membership in any tribe. Functionally abandoned by his father, doubting his identity, Barack's early life is a war with adjectives - black, white, immigrant, native, none of these and all of them.

Barack travels to the mainland and after college becomes a community organizer in Chicago's South Side, where he witnesses the brief Harold Washington mayoralty - one that seems a lacuna now between Daleys. Before beginning law school, he travels to Kenya to meet his father's family, and there realizes that his father's struggles are his struggles, that identity is never a given. No matter how we romanticize the past, there was never a place or time where people could take for granted an easy conscience. It is our unwillingness to openly confront our own pains, to share them with those that love us, that makes our challenges into tragedies. It is our silence in the face of the world's grief that makes it that much sadder.

Barack is badly misunderstood by many, I think. Those that call him "post-racial" haven't bothered to read his book. Obama has made a deliberate decision to accept his status as a black man. What he has refused to do, and what so confuses the old (and delights the young) is that he refuses to be determined solely by this identity. Barack Obama is a black man, but before that he is an American, and before that he is Barack Obama. In an age in which authenticity has been put up on a pedestal, here is man who both exemplifies authenticity and dispenses with it.

It is clear to me now why Barack is running for President. Part of it is certainly ambition - who doesn't want to rise to the top of their profession? But more than that, I think Barack senses an opportunity. Not just a chance for his own candidacy that may never come again, but a historical opportunity.

Barack wants to make peace. He believes, I think, that he can help form the bridge not just between black and white, but the warring political tribes our society. Barack has said as much - to end the long pscyhodrama of the baby boomer generation, and to get on with our lives. History can no longer be held frozen in the year 1968.

I can see why the likes of Matt Stoller and Kos will never warm to Barack. They want to continue the war, to imitate the Right's discipline and ferocity, and then crush them into oblivion. I can certainly sympathize with that feeling - I have felt it myself. It is both natural and in many senses perfectly justified. But there is no "victory" in this war. Destroy George Bush and Karl Rove and some other authoritarian junta will take their place. You won't defeat conservatism by imprisoning its leaders (of whom there is an inexhaustible supply), but by taking away its constituency.

I think Barack believes that when Bush is gone the American people will be so exhausted by the struggle, and so disillusioned by decades of political tribalism, that there will be a fleeting moment when reconciliation is possible. And that is how one will bury the radical right. End the kulturkampf and the Right will be forced to return to drunk talk and leefleteers on the street for lack of an audience.

A risky strategy, certainly. One that many on the left will resist, that the D.C. establishment will consider banal naivete, and that the hard right will see as weakness. But I can think of no better rationale for a Presidency than trying to finally make peace, not through surrender or victory but through reconciliation.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 9:38 PM

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The national press corps is just New York crazy. I love NYC as much as anybody, but how many New York Mayors are we going to have to endure as Presidential candidates in one cycle?
Posted by Arbitrista @ 1:06 PM

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Kos Is Talking Krazy.

Friday, March 23, 2007
In reaction to Florida's planned move of its primary to January 29 (!), he says the following:

1) Candidates will have to campaign all over the country rather than just NH and IA

2) It encourages "people-powered" candidates

3) We should be selecting candidates who can raise money

4) It drives NH and IA crazy.

Okay, how do I say this? Kos is just wrong. Totally wrong. Completely and irretrievably wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

1) It's very possible that IA and NH will move their primaries up even more. So it might not change anything. And even if they don't, it is just as likely that the impact of NH and IA will be magnified by the new Super Tuesday. The "momentum" effects could easily be enhanced, candidates could decide it's cheaper to invest resources into IA and NH than 10 huge states 2 weeks later (relying instead on free media), and the national press would much rather cover IA and NH's cozy confines than suburban sunbelt sprawl.

2)& 3). Kos has this strange notion that internet fundraising has ended the role of big money in American politics. His model is the Dean campaign, which was able to raise substantial sums without lots of institutional backers. But how likely is it that the the "netroots" will rally around just one candidate again? If they splinter, then internet fundraising will be a useful auxiliary to a candidate's campaign, but scarcely crucial.

And who are these people-powered candidates? Most of the candidates running now are so-called "first tier" candidates, and they are attracting both the most institutional support AND the most internet support. Given that candidates are unlikely to become grassroots favorites without media coverage, why does Kos think that the internet favorites won't be the same as the media favorites? This is not some dinky little congressional primary we're talking about here.

Look at the simple math of the situation. If you're running a presidential campaign, would you rather spend 10 hours raising 10 checks of $1000 each or 10 hours raising 10 checks of $100 each. How much more time will "people-powered" candidates have to spend just raising money?

4) Um, Kos? Have you noticed that IA and NH happen to be 2 of the most competitive swing states in the country? Why would you want to piss them off? And why wouldn't you want swing states to pick the nominee, assuming you're interested in winning?

As far as I'm concerned, the emergence of the national primary is disaster. The requirements of assembling a national campaign organization is going to squeeze out any candidate who can't raise $100 million. And if the metric for competitiveness if money, why in the world does Kos think that the wealthy and corporations won't be advantaged??????
Posted by Arbitrista @ 1:46 PM

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The World's Greatest Deliberative Body

Thursday, March 22, 2007
So I'm waiting for the stupid Republicans to stop talking on CSPAN so I can watch Jim Webb speak to the national press club. And damned if Jeff Sessions (R-AL) doesn't look drunk. Too many martinis with dinner maybe?
Posted by Arbitrista @ 9:16 PM

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What An Authoritarian Sounds Like

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
"We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

Who said that? Rudy Giuliani circa 1994 (via Andrew Sullivan). Man, I thought I was kidding when I said he ran New York like a fascist regime.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 2:17 PM

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Is That My Hobby Horse?

Where have you been? It's been days since I talked about campaign finance reform!

Given that candidates don't actually get to do anything other than raise money if they have any interest in winning, I think the introduction of the Durbin-Tierney public financing proposal is very promising. I still need to look at the legislation itself, but so far it looks pretty much on target. I wonder whether they can get any real momentum behind it. Surely those members of Congress get tired of having to raise money all the time!

By the way, I can't remember the last time I read an article quite so trivial and demeaning.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 12:35 PM

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Getting Screwed at the Drive-Thru

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Normally I'm one of those freaks who actually likes doing taxes.

As many of you may know, Brazen and I left New York for the Midwest last year. As a consequence, I've had the joy of filling out tax forms for 2 different states. The fun part? I now owe New York a ton of taxes! Not only did Brazen's last job not withhold enough (again), but the way New York calculates their standard deduction really screws people who leave town. So I have to cough up several hundred extra dollars.

I usually don't complain about taxes - I figure they're the price of living in a civil society. But when states decide to stick it to some people just because they can, I get pretty cranky.

Sigh. At least I filed my federal return early enough that my refund should cover what we owe.

Have a happy April 15th!
Posted by Arbitrista @ 4:08 PM

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Elections 101

Monday, March 19, 2007
Eli at Firedoglake, in the process of bemoaning the influence of the DLC, wonders why Democrats want to win centrist voters in the middle of the electorate.

I have answer - because they want to win elections. It's called the Median Voter Theorem. When there are 2 parties and turnout is constant, voters in the ideological middle of the electorate determine the winner. It's pretty obvious, really. As a political strategy, you want to win voters who swing between the parties, because they decide who wins.

Now if you were paying close attention, you noticed the "only two parties" and "turnout is constant" provisos. Both of these demonstrate the dangers of the "race to the middle" strategy. The first is that you can alienate your base and a 3rd party on the extremes will form. This happened in 2000 with Ralph Nader, whose 3% denied Gore a clear-cut majority. The second is the source of the "base mobilization" strategy: if you can get your base to turn out at a higher rate than the other side, you might not need the middle. The problem with this approach is that it assumes that your efforts to mobilize your base won't a) lead to a defection of the political middle (which happened to the Republicans in 2006), or b) lead to a counter-mobilization of the other side's base (which happened in 2004).

But wait, if the base mobilization strategy is such a bad idea, why did it work for Rove in 2004? Well, because he didn't exclusively use that strategy. Because of 9/11 and concerns about national security, Rove was able to both mobilize his base AND appeal to swing voters.

Which is a pretty good description of how one wins elections. You can't just make your base happy, and you can't just appeal to the middle. You have to do both. Democrats managed to do that in 2006 because of generalized disgust with Republicans (Although oddly the Republican base still turned out. If it hadn't, the Democrats would have won 60 seats rather than 30).

Having said all that, accepting the importance of centrist voters says nothing about the relevance of the DLC. You need to define some differences between yourself and the opposition, and the DLC seems eager to compromise on everything. As a matter of strategy, I can understand the desire to blur the differences on either foreign policy OR economics OR social policies, but if you do all three then you're just mush and NOBODY will vote for you. And I think that the DLC has failed the basic political test - its candidates have failed to win elections - because it has taken its base for granted, because it has failed to woo the middle, and because its policies have not delivered as promised.

But this does NOT mean that Democrats can kiss of the middle. I mean come on guys, we're finally winning them over! Why give up on them now?
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:28 AM

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Yay Me!

Thursday, March 15, 2007
Tonight I finished the data collection for my dissertation. I am now celebrating. Yippee!
Posted by Arbitrista @ 9:09 PM

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Giuliani a Liberal? Say what?

Stu Rothenberg is confused, but then I knew that. I mean, how else does someone describe Rudy Giuliani as a liberal? Hello! Just because he doesn't hate women and gay people doesn't mean he's a liberal! It really bothers me that pundits behave as if the only thing that constitutes liberalism is tolerance on cultural issues. Concerns about the environment, race relations, foreign policy, the deterioration of the middle class - it's as if liberalism doesn't exist outside those issues that meet the narrow band of acceptability existing at Georgetown salons. You know, those issues that fit on a postage stamp.

We live in a media age saturated by celebrity, full of political commentators who neither know very little about democracy or politics nor like it very much. An environment entirely devoid of substance and convinced that what the world really needs is more bipartisanship - not more truth. An environment that serves the interests of the comfortable at the expense of a politics of reality.

The reason that an intelligent man like Stu Rothenberg can describe Rudy Giuliani as a liberal is that the beltway discourse has become so corrupted that only a few topics are open for discussion - the rest are condemned to the ideological fringe, no matter how many of the unwashed masses happen to believe them. In fact, it doesn't matter to the D.C. elite what the reality of a given situation is. The only thing that does seem to matter to them is maintaining their cozy little status quo.

Do you want to know why issues don't seem to matter any more? It's because the political class has arbitrarily decided that most issues are boring. It's so much easier to rely on binary classifications with hot emotional resonance like "gay rights" than to consider the complexity not only on those issues, but of the whole universe of problems confronting us. What we have experienced is a generation of infantalization. Whether deliberate or not, the public debate has become so debased as to resemble not the informed argument of committed citizens, but the recorded studio audience track of a stupid T.V. sitcom.

All right. Now that I'm good and angry I can go to work.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:17 AM

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Fashionably Late

Monday, March 12, 2007
I'm days late and Brazen had the keen picture, but I just wanted to say what a great time I had hanging out with Addy N, H, and D on Saturday. After 2 blogger meet-ups, I must say that the this whole internet thing is pretty cool. I'm making lots of friends I never would have had the chance to find otherwise. That alone justifies the whole technology, as far as I'm concerned.

Don't be surprised if there is light posting this week. I'm deep into working on my dissertation and a little bored with politics. Of course, I think I said something like that last week too.......
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:37 PM

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Delayed Consequences

Friday, March 09, 2007
One of life's biggest problems is that you usually can't feel the consequences of an action until long after it's too late. Global warming is the best political example, of course. The recent increase in the crime rate is another. I read this article in the NYT today and suddenly remembered this piece on how Bush had gutted Clinton's anti-crime initiatives. 4 years later the crime rate skyrockets! If it had happened within the first year, maybe things would have become apparent, but now Bush's actions have gone down the memory hole and the geniuses at the Times are trying to place the blame on video games.

It can happen in "real" life too. Imagine how easy it would be to lose weight if you felt full the moment you were full, rather than being able to eat for another half an hour? Or if cheating on your significant other resulted in instant discovery? If there is an "intelligent designer," I must say I wish said designer had built a slightly more efficient system of karma! It would make things so much more convenient.

On an entirely different note, I wonder when the Washington Post is just going to go ahead and merge with FOX News. Honestly!
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:27 AM

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Sloppy Thinking

Thursday, March 08, 2007
Sure. It's a lot more fair to just alternate which voters get to determine the nominees. Of course that solves the problem.

Posted by Arbitrista @ 9:54 PM

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Wow Is THAT Stupid

Jerome Armstrong at MyDD thinks that Democrats should reject the notion of public financing for political campaigns because liberals can raise more money than conservatives.

To which I say...huh? Do you live in Bizarro world or something? The only time that Democrats have EVER out-raised Republicans is when they've whored out to corporate interests (a la Tony Coelho). Is that really what you want?

I swear. Some folks are just silly.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:05 PM

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007
A good likeness of Mathilda:

Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:08 PM

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Scary News

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
So I've been making very good progress on my dissertation lately, and I'm close to beginning data analysis. The hard part of my project is the data collection, and with that almost completed, I was feeling pretty good.

Then I was told by the departmental secretary that PhD candidates have 5 years after they finish comps to graduate. I passed comps in April of 2002. This was not good news. I'm a pretty smart guy, but even I can't write and defend a dissertation in a month.

Now why has it taken so long for me to finish? Life gets in the way, and money has been a big problem until recently. But to lose the chance to get my PhD after so much work would be heartbreaking. I was told that it is possible to get an extension, but I don't know how difficult that process is. The worst case scenario would be that I would have to take my prelims all over again - a pretty gruesome prospect.

I really hope this doesn't turn out as badly as it could. I feel guilty about taking so long as it is. To sink so much time and effort into something with no result is just too awful to imagine.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 8:07 AM

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Democrats In the South

Monday, March 05, 2007
A guest post by Zola.

Given the perpetual campaign we’ve lapsed into in America, the formerly quadrennial question “What should Democrats do about the South?!?” hand-wringing has become a much more frequent activity.

Based on my extensive qualifications, Arbitrista asked me to comment on the party’s situation. In addition to living in Georgia and being from Tennessee (surely qualification enough), I’m a former labor organizer and election campaign staffer who has been a member of three Democratic county-level parties in three different areas of the state.

That being said, I’m not from a political science background. The closest I’ve gotten to serious poli sci study is picking up district maps from the Secretary of State’s office. This is based on my reading of history and my ‘feel’ for my situation and the situation of being a Democrat in Dixie.

How this started

As everyone who graduated from public school (hopefully - A) knows, the South became a consistently Democratic voting bloc after the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War. This made sense, both to come home to pre-war political allegiances and to oppose the Republican North that had spent the early 1860s shooting traitors and slavemongers. With the exception of blacks and a few scalawags, Republicans didn’t exist south of Lexington after the Hayes-Tilden deal ended Reconstruction.

The party benefited from Dixie’s loyalty (and vice versa). But as the party on the whole moved leftward with the New Deal coalition of progressive economic policy types, organized labor and big city ethnic groups, the Southern party remained entrenched. The twin pillars of the Southern party were maintenance of the existing political patronage network and preservation of the social hierarchy, including segregation.

While WWII put a damper on this impending breakup, the post-war period kicked it back in overdrive. It wasn’t just civil rights, though...everything the party stood for nationally circa 1972 was alien to Democrats in the South. With the social order the party stood for long dead, the only value that Southern Democrats saw in their party was the access it provided to government largess.

It’s a testament to political inertia that people hung around as long as they did. For example, the state legislature in Georgia was controlled by the Democrats for 137 years(!), right up until the 2002 elections (not that it did any Democrats activists any good). Once the patronage dried up, the rats jumped ship quickly, joining early starters like Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, who had switched parties in the mid-90s (and who I actually campaigned for when he was a D in 1992. Ugh. -A).

What is it like today?

In a word, it’s hard. A side effect of being a patronage organization is that the folks rebelling for change are rebelling against you. In a sense, the party reminds me of a pro sports franchise that traded away its draft picks for years on end. We missed the draft of organized labor, womens/civil rights folks, college types and upper middle class professionals that make up the Democratic voting bloc nationally.

As a result, certain of these groups in the South withered away (organized labor), went Republican (the professional folks) or built their own infrastructure (all the rest). Everything suffers under this setup. During the 2002 election, my union was one of five groups that were shuttling voters to polling places…the same polling places! Meaningful centralized coordination doesn’t happen.

The terrain doesn’t help either. The sprawl of Southern cities, allies getting weaker all the time (Atlanta lost two UAW locals this year alone), the split between rural and urban citizens (exacerbated by cities being identified as ‘black’)…all these characteristics make progressive organizing difficult to do, let alone argue for.

If all that wasn’t enough, you also have to deal with the view of the party held by Southerners. Blogosphere types are always saying “Why do these people vote against their interests?!? Why do working-class poor types vote for Republicans who will make them poorer?”

They do it for the social issues...the perception is that if you are a Democrat, you are for generally unfettered access to abortion, marriage rights for homosexuals and possess a disdain for faith in general and organized religion in particular. This is ANATHEMA to your average Southerner, and not just for those who fit the stereotypical Bible-thumping fire-breathing fundamentalist. It is impossible for me to explain (yes, I’ve tried) to liberals from outside the South how much of an albatross our party’s de facto stance on these issues is.

What now?

Well, it depends. You could…

Wait for the South to become the North

It could happen. As populations and cities getter bigger and bigger, the resultant societal, environmental and political concerns tend to push populations toward more Democratic-friendly mindsets. With support for the right ideas on party growth (like Howard Dean’s 50 state plan), the party could grow right up with the region. Get comfy, though, you could be waiting 50 to 100 years before this bears fruit.

Get serious about economic issues/the middle class

The tension between Dixie Democrats and FDR Progressives got ameliorated by a key factor during the New Deal: wads of cash. Southerners were willing to go along with the New Deal because they got ‘paid’ for it, both in federal project largess and the boom economy it and WWII created.

We could come back to this, assuming the party rallies around someone like a John Edwards, gets organized labor of life support and gets serious about trade policy focused on American needs, not the needs of some airy internationalist ideal that in reality benefits folks inimicable to Democratic interests.

The brick wall here is the DLC/centrist folks (read: the Clinton wing of the party). I’ve never understood how screwing your working class constituency gets you anywhere, but they’re big on it for some reason.

Reorient on social issues

It is possible to be be on the ‘other side’ of the hot button social issues I mentioned earlier without being a knuckledragging throwback or oppressive agent of the patriarchy (some would disagree! - A). There are good people with good intentions in the South who are horrified with our stance on these issues. We need to reach a compromise or middle-ground to allow the regional differences on these issues be worked out regionally.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, abortion would be de facto illegal in 20 or so states and the folks on the left who care about the issues (you know, our constituency?) would riot.

In Conclusion

What do we do? I don’t like the “Screw the South” strategy that’s getting kicked around now, but I don’t know whether the party can do something that is both effective in the South and palatable to the national party. It’s sad, but I think the national party views the costs of gaining access to a quarter of the nation, the costs of being truly national, to be too steep.

Our nation is in a period of pronounced regional political conflict and our parties have become pronouncedly regional in response. The loss of the South is the price the Democratic Party is paying to gain the rest of the nation.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 10:39 AM

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This Won't Make Any Sense To You

But my wife Dr. Brazen Hussy is the most wonderful Brazen Hussy ever. :)
Posted by Arbitrista @ 10:34 AM

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Maybe Barack Will Get More Votes In The South Now

Friday, March 02, 2007
Y'know, since there's this cultural connection and all. They do so they're just defending their heritage, right?
Posted by Arbitrista @ 6:14 AM

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Corporations Are Not People

Thursday, March 01, 2007
They therefore do not have free speech rights. No matter what George Will thinks.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 4:05 PM

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The Election Isn't Tomorrow

Stop paying so much attention to these silly polls! They don't mean anything! Most people don't even know that Obama is black or that Romney is a Mormon!

Oh, and by the way, Giuliani is a draft dodger, too? So let's see. The Republicans are supposed to nominate a cross-dressing, anti-gun, draft-dodging, thrice-married, philandering, New Yorker? Is this some sort of ha-ha?

John McCain has hired all the nastiest campaign strategists in the country. What do you imagine they are going to do with a candidate ahead of them in the polls with this kind of baggage?
Posted by Arbitrista @ 3:59 PM

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