The Corner

It’s Not Sour Grapes, Michael Tomasky Just Hates the South

The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky has today offered his readers a wildly intemperate rant against the South, during which he describes the region as a “reactionary, prejudice-infested” sort of place; charges that the people who live there are flatly opposed to ”tolerance, compassion, civic decency, trans-racial community, the crucial secular values on which this country was founded”; and wonders aloud if it would be better for the Democratic party to gas the place to death as a vet might a dying dog.

“Practically the whole region,” Tomasky suggests,

has rejected nearly everything that’s good about this country and has become just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment. A fact made even sadder because on the whole they’re such nice people! (I truly mean that.)

And what should Democrats do about these uncouth, racist hick-Devils, who smile so beguilingly at visitors? They should cease competing:

Forget about it. Forget about the whole fetid place. Write it off. Let the GOP have it and run it and turn it into Free-Market Jesus Paradise. The Democrats don’t need it anyway.

A number of people have suggested that this meltdown merely represents “sour grapes” — that is, that Tomasky is upset that the Republicans enjoyed a wave, and that he is throwing his toys out of the pram in consequence. And yet a quick review of his previous outbursts reveal that this morning’s pose has less to do with Aesop or Mary Landrieu and more to do with a more general hatred of the area’s voters. Back in 2012, Tomasky used a column in which he expressed palpable irritation that the Southern states were backing Mitt Romney to remind his readers just how much he disliked

the South. Those of you who go back to the Guardian days with me remember how I used to rant against the South. Haven’t really made a habit of that here yet. But my feelings haven’t changed. I still think we made a mistake taking them back. The only meaningful contribution they make is college football, and I’m sure that over time the USA and the CSA could have coexisted amicably enough that our teams could play each other with minimal border issues. What, Faulkner, you say? Bosh. He’d have moved to the USA! 

A number of his posts at the Guardian confirm this claim, as does his Twitter feed. At the Daily Beast, meanwhile, he has lately begun to make up for his reticence. Last year Tomasky argued that:

There is a long and appalling history in this country of the rest of us having to act like bigots and enforce bigotry because of the South.

His solution?

Piss off. Go form your own Boy Scouts. Go form your own stupid country. You aren’t America anymore.

Tomasky also appears to dislike conservative women who disagree with his politics. Earlier this year, he explained that Kirsten Kukowski was only against more equal pay legislation because she was brainwashed:

It’s the fault of her party, all those men in her party, all those Southern men and their Southern beliefs and ways. One is tempted to believe that Republicans vote against things like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act because of the demands of their corporate contributors, and that’s undoubtedly true, to some extent. But it isn’t corporate benefactors who make Todd Akin and some of these other men say the batshit crazy things about women they say. That’s culture.

This isn’t a debate over the appropriate role of government, he repined, it’s that Republicans don’t believe in equal pay at all. Or at least

very few Republicans do. Especially the Southern ones, who by and large run the party, or at least provide its cultural ballast. It isn’t how they were raised, and it doesn’t feel right to them. They think the Paycheck Fairness Act has its origins in that night when a likkered-up Mickey Gilley slashed Johnny Paycheck’s tires.

“Give up” on the South? Tomasky did that a long, long time ago.


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