Covering Al Gore’s southern strategy in 2000 for NRO, I started to think the Democrats had a political death wish. We’re a year away from 2004 and already it looks like “Death Wish II.”
You don’t have to be the author of REDNECK NATION: How the South Really Won The War (this is the “shameless book plug” page, isn’t it?) to know the Democrats have a major political problem in the South. The Howard Dean brouhaha shows why.
When Dean told a reporter he wanted to be “the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks,” he was announcing a political strategy. But his fellow Democrats treated it like an endorsement of Jim Crow.
Kerry & Co. are in a rhetorical bidding war over who can bash the Redneck vote with the most ferocity. Kerry says Dean is “pander[ing] to lovers of the Confederate flag.” Wesley Clark says every Democratic candidate must denounce the flag as the most divisive symbol in America. Gephardt says white voters with Confederate flag bumperstickers and the like “disagree with us on bedrock Democratic values like civil rights.” In other words, they’re racists.
Hey, guys–Not to spoil your fun, but do you know how many Democrats have been elected president carrying fewer than four southern states? NONE! But you go right ahead and tell southerners that every display of the Confederate flag is a KKK rally and that there’s no unique southern culture to recognize or celebrate. Hey, who needs Virginia, Florida or Louisiana, right guys?
“I don’t want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks,” Gephardt said in a statement.
Don’t worry, Dick: You won’t.