Skip to comments.Kerry must find a new southern strategy (“Cooter” advises Kerry on winning over southern bigots)
Posted on 02/09/2004 6:59:50 AM PST by dead
BEN Jones, a political expert on the rural southern vote, had some urgent advice to offer Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential contender whose nationwide lead is marred by doubts over his ability to win down south.
But first, Mr Jones had to sign the t-shirt of an awestruck 12-year-old boy, who had spotted him having lunch at a Virginia roadhouse. After that, he had to sign autographs for three waitresses, four grown-up customers and the manager.
For Mr Jones is not just a shrewd and well-connected Democratic theoretician. He also once played Cooter the car mechanic in the television series The Dukes of Hazzard.
Mr Jones was carried to two terms in Congress by his fame from the series that ran from 1978 to 1985 and lives on in repeats worldwide.
Since losing his Georgia seat, he divides his time between Virginia and Tennessee, two southern states holding Democratic primaries tomorrow.
They will be key tests for the last three credible candidates, Mr Kerry and his two southern-born rivals, Senator John Edwards and the former Nato commander General Wesley Clark.
Mr Jones finished making his 12-year-old fan's day. "You study hard, Trane," he said, referring to the show's mean-spirited sheriff.
Though he has endorsed Gen Clark, Mr Jones suspects Mr Kerry will be the eventual challenger to President George W Bush.
As a southern Democrat, that worries him. He does not mind that Mr Kerry is a craggy New England aristocrat, married to the heiress to the Heinz fortune.
"The accent doesn't matter," said Mr Jones. "John Kerry is less of a patrician than George W Bush. George W Bush masquerades as a southerner, but he's a Connecticut Yankee blue-blood. Just wearing the boots doesn't make you a cowboy."
What worries Mr Jones and other southern Democrats is the possibility that Mr Kerry has already written off the south. Last month, Mr Kerry told a New England audience that Al Gore would be president if he had won any number of other non-southern states in 2000, including New Hampshire, West Virginia and Ohio.
Mr Jones is still angry. "John Kerry has to get down here and apologise. He has to chew tobacco and ride around on a tractor, or he doesn't stand a chance."
David 'Mudcat' Saunders, a top Democratic campaign consultant from southern Virginia, agreed. "Democrats in Washington can't count," he said.
"If you don't win a southern state, you've got to win 70pc of the electoral votes in the rest of the country. I don't think Kerry could do that."
During the American Civil War and for generations afterwards, Republicans were hated across the Deep South as the party of Abraham Lincoln.
That abruptly changed in the Sixties when the Democrats embraced civil rights for blacks, sending white southerners into the arms of the Republican party.
Some Democrats fear it is too hard to fight the Republican party's dominance. Many liberals don't even want to try. They believe the south's new Republican converts are bigots, lured across party lines by coded appeals to racist fears, resentments and prejudices - the infamous 'Southern Strategy'.
Mr Jones believes Democrats cling to their outrage over the Southern Strategy like a crutch. "They love it because it absolves them of responsibility and allows them to claim the moral high ground."
He recited other issues that exercise southern conservatives: gay marriage laws, capital punishment, the legalisation of drugs, gun control laws, abortion rights, illegal immigration and prayer in schools.
Mr Jones does not know where Mr Kerry stands on each of those issues. More importantly, he does not want to know. "Kerry should say, 'that's not what it's about'. He should say, 'Americans of good conscience can disagree on these matters.'"
Blue-collar Republicans are voting emotionally not rationally, he argued. "The Republican party has always been the party of the owners, not the labourers. "The Democratic party had better start caring or they are going to win Massachusetts, Greenwich Village and Beverley Hills. And the rest of the map is going to be a sea of Republican red."
For Mr Jones is not just a shrewd and well-connected Democratic theoretician.
For such an expert, he sure loses a lot.
How can we get these colors swapped? The Dems are the commie lovers.
Men like Kleagle Byrd and Al Gore's daddy.
There's that anger from the Left again, and this southerner, who does not own a tractor or chew, thinks he's giving Kerry bad advice. There is nothing southerners dislike more than someone who is not southern aping us, it would be considered condescension pure and simple.
Ha ha ha ha ha- Cooter, a "political expert?" Cooter is a leftist moron who once won the the second most communistic district in GA (The district that Cynthia McKinney came from) solely on the strength of being a democrat. His head is empty of thought, but full of plenty of anti-achievement slogans.
A friend of mine, I'm proud to say, once ran Cooter out of a mcDonalds by pretending to be an admirer and then asking all sorts of questions that Democrats don't have answers for, like if the war on poverty is so successful why have we spent over a trillion dollars and now have more poverty than when we started. And just what did he think the proper tax rate on the "rich" should be? According to him cooter called him some obscene names and left.
That said, Kerry's biggest problem is that he's a condescending arrogant ass. The epidomy of a "Massachusetts Liberal". I doubt his gun grabbing and pro-partial birth abortion stances will help him either.
Maybe not, but I would...
Oh please, oh please, oh please do this! This would be the Kerry version of Dufus in a tank!
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