Blogs > Cliopatria > A New Duckhunter's Guide for Democrats

Nov 14, 2006 10:48 pm

A New Duckhunter's Guide for Democrats

Thomas Schaller makes some mighty good points and provides some interesting info in questioning the Democrats' need for a"southern strategy." He asks whether it is finally time for them to quit wasting their time, with apologies to old Barry G.,"hunting where the ducks aren't" and concentrate on expanding their bi-coastal base inland by turning the already"purple" Midwest totally"blue."

Citing Democratic congressional gains outside the South since 2004, Schaller sees an opportunity for the Dems to"build a national majority" that would enable them to call off their courtship of"an encircled and no longer triumphant Southern minority." Here Schaller seems largely to overlook southern blacks,who are consistently the nation's most ardently Democratic voters, but under his strategy of writing off the South, would become a truly"encircled minority." No matter how you slice it, having a sympathetic congressional ear in Indiana isn't the same as having one who knows firsthand what going on in Georgia or Alabama. Not only has Schaller's perception of newfound Democratic strength yet to be validated in a presidential race, but two years of Democratic control on Captiol Hill will give us a much better idea of how permanent the party's congressional gains really are. If you are a certifiable glutton for punishment, you can read an expanded version of this post over at Cobbloviate.

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John Richard Clark - 11/15/2006

With significant exceptions over the past 50 years, the Democratic party has lost touch with the American public.

I wish a Democratic politician would deliver a variation on the words spoken by Franklin D. Roosevelt at Madison Square Garden on 31 October 1936:

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

"They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

"Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

"I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."[1]

". . . .Here and now I want to make myself clear about those who disparage their fellow citizens on the relief rolls. They say that those on relief are not merely jobless—that they are worthless. Their solution for the relief problem is to end relief—to purge the rolls by starvation. To use the language of the stock broker, our needy unemployed would be cared for when, as, and if some fairy godmother should happen on the scene.

"You and I will continue to refuse to accept that estimate of our unemployed fellow Americans. Your Government is still on the same side of the street with the Good Samaritan and not with those who pass by on the other side."

Or perhaps Huey Long on 11 December 1934:

"How many men ever went to a barbecue and would let one man take off the table what's intended for 9/10th of the people to eat? The only way you'll ever be able to feed the balance of the people is to make that man come back and bring back some of that grub that he ain't got no business with! [Laughter and applause]

Now we got a barbecue. We have been praying to the Almighty to send us to a feast. We have knelt on our knees morning and nighttime. The Lord has answered the prayer. He has called the barbecue. "Come to my feast," He said to 125 million American people. But Morgan and Rockefeller and Mellon and Baruch have walked up and took 85 percent of the victuals off the table!

"Now, how are you going to feed the balance of the people? What's Morgan and Baruch and Rockefeller and Mellon going to do with all that grub? They can't eat it, they can't wear the clothes, they can't live in the houses.

"But when they've got everything on God's loving earth that they can eat and they can wear and they can live in, and all that their children can live in and wear and eat, and all of their children's children can use, then we've got to call Mr. Morgan and Mr. Mellon an Mr. Rockefeller back and say, come back here, put that stuff back on this table here that you took away from here that you don't need. Leave something else for the American people to consume. And that's the program." [Applause]

Twenty-first century Democrats are soft in comparison. The Republicans learned bare-knuckles politics after 1964 and it is high time the Democrats took a refresher course in Jacksonian Democracy.

Jonathan Dresner - 11/15/2006

If Virginia is any indication, those urban corridors could well be the key to Democratic power in the South, and districting is going to be the key battle for the next four years.

David M Fahey - 11/15/2006

How many Southern states do not now or did not recently have a Democrat governor or senator? I suspect that in most cases they have elected Democrats to one of these statewide offices more recently than my own state of Ohio (not counting this month's elections).

Nathanael D. Robinson - 11/14/2006

The last two elections have actually shown that the model of the southern voting bloc is rather unstable at best. Large pockets of democratic voters are found in and around major cities. Indeed, there is a huge blue swath from eastern Oklahoma to central Tennessee. I think the Democrats have opportunities in the South, but they won't be won by reducing voters to "the Southern Man."

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