November 4, 2004


Liberals, Meet Bubba (Juan Cole, 11/04/04, Informed Comment)

Readers argued with me about this during the Democratic primary, but I maintained then that I thought it would be very difficult for a non-Southern Democratic candidate to get any southern state, and that without any of the South it would be difficult to win the election.

Since Jack Kennedy was shot in 1963, all successful Democratic presidential candidates have been southerners: Johnson, Carter, Clinton.

This is because image and marketing matter more in US presidential elections than substance, and white male southerners just mostly are only going to vote for one of their own.

The denial that elections are about ideas is the battle cry of the intellectually bankrupt.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2004 12:01 PM

White male southerners voted for Reagan.

Nixon for that matter. I guess the author would say that Reagan, Nixon were "one of our own". In which case he's never going to be proven wrong.

Posted by: h-man at November 4, 2004 12:18 PM

It's more accurate to say that the reason Southerners are the only Democrats to have won national elections is that Southern Democrats, living in the nation's most conservative area, have had more practice at simulating conservatism for the benefit of the populace at large.

Posted by: Joe at November 4, 2004 12:25 PM

Is he trying to suggest northerners vote selflessly for a better world while southerners are just in it for the goodies?

Posted by: Peter B at November 4, 2004 12:35 PM

Mr. Cole also seems to leave white male Southerner Al Gore out of his analysis.

Posted by: Kevin Colwell at November 4, 2004 1:19 PM

Funny that Juan Cole's column is called "Informed Comment," but doesn't read that way.

I agree with Orrin about denial of the power of ideas being a sign of intellectual bankruptcy. See "Lessons from Tinfoil Hats" in today's American Spectator:

Posted by: Patrick O'Hannigan at November 4, 2004 1:32 PM

The reason southern Democrats were preferred is that generally they were 1) had a strong Democratic base to help in the primaries and 2)conservative enough to appeal to voters in the general.

Midwestern Democrats could obstensibly do the same thing, but as the unions declined they couldn't generate the support to win the primaries. Liberal Democrats had the base to win the primaries, but can't pull off a general election victory.

However, since the Southern Democrat is an endangered species, this old champion will not be trotted out as much anymore.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at November 4, 2004 4:13 PM

"Informed" Comment is rather like the "Democratic" Deutsch Republic or the "Democratic" People's Republic of Korea or the "Democratic" People's Republic of China, etc.

Making sure that you know it's "informed," lest there be any doubt about the matter....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at November 4, 2004 5:00 PM
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