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Kerry must find a new southern strategy (“Cooter” advises Kerry on winning over southern bigots)
Daily Telegraph, London via Irish Independent ^ | 2/9/04 | David Rennie

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."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Georgia; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: 2004; benjones; bubbavote; kerry; southerndemocrats; southernstrategy

1 posted on 02/09/2004 6:59:52 AM PST by dead
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To: dead
Just some good ole' boys, never meaning no harm...
2 posted on 02/09/2004 7:03:38 AM PST by Ogie Oglethorpe
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To: dead
BEN Jones, a political expert on the rural southern vote

For Mr Jones is not just a shrewd and well-connected Democratic theoretician.

For such an expert, he sure loses a lot.

3 posted on 02/09/2004 7:05:00 AM PST by TheBigB (I got a fever...and the only prescription...is MORE COWBELL!)
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To: dead
I hope Cooter keeps giving JFK advice - his last campaign here in Richmond was a laughable failure.
4 posted on 02/09/2004 7:06:11 AM PST by GodBlessRonaldReagan (where is Count Petofi when we need him most?)
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To: dead
Sloppy, simplistic 'Republicans are racists' writing by the author:

"That abruptly changed in the Sixties when the Democrats embraced civil rights for blacks, sending white southerners into the arms of the Republican party."

Yeah, it happened so abruptly that it took almost 30 years for the GOP to take the House.
5 posted on 02/09/2004 7:08:48 AM PST by Gothmog
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To: dead
And the rest of the map is going to be a sea of Republican red."

How can we get these colors swapped? The Dems are the commie lovers.

6 posted on 02/09/2004 7:10:44 AM PST by narby (Who would Osama vote for???)
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To: Gothmog
He is also ignorant of the fact that it was the Southern Democrats who led the fight against Civil Rights legislation in the sixties.

Men like Kleagle Byrd and Al Gore's daddy.

7 posted on 02/09/2004 7:11:15 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead
"If dey just give me some old fried chicken an'some of dat left over gravy,I'd a vote for 'em "
8 posted on 02/09/2004 7:13:52 AM PST by woofie
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To: Ogie Oglethorpe
Here is how you win the South, Mr. Kerry.

Play a mechanic on T.V. and help them Duke boys outwit Boss Hogg and every other villain that blows through town. People will then vote for you until they realize that your political philosophies are inept.

However playing a southern grease monkey may not suit your persona, Mr. Kerry. Perhaps if you lived in Vermont fixing Renaults, helping to defeat martians invading your small rural town.

My political consulting fee is one million dollars. I believe that you will find it was money well spent.

APf
9 posted on 02/09/2004 7:17:22 AM PST by APFel
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To: dead
I guess we Americans somehow missed the wave of southern Democrat governors ousted by those 'racist' white conservative voters in favor of GOP governors right after passage of the Civil Rights Act.

I don't have to even look it up, but I'll bet former AL Dem. Sen. Howell Heflin voted against the CRA and remained in office for years.

I was going to email the author to point out his bigotry and ignorance, but it loooks like it's a subscription site and I don't feel like paying for crap.


10 posted on 02/09/2004 7:20:11 AM PST by Gothmog
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To: dead
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."

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.

11 posted on 02/09/2004 7:20:19 AM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: Gothmog
You have to register, but its free - which is exactly the right price for their typical editorial content.
12 posted on 02/09/2004 7:22:30 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead
Well, well. It's nice to know that we're all a bunch of bigots down here in the South, I can't wait to vote against the DemocRat scum that runs for President. Seems to me that John F-ing Kerry is the one that is biased against the South, not us.
13 posted on 02/09/2004 7:24:19 AM PST by HELLRAISER II (Give us another tax break Mr. President)
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To: dead
BEN Jones, a political expert on the rural southern vote,

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.

14 posted on 02/09/2004 7:31:23 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy, and Bush is no conservative)
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To: dead
I don't claim to be a Southern expect. I'm a Yankee from the Rust Belt.

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.

15 posted on 02/09/2004 7:37:32 AM PST by Dan from Michigan (Hey John F'n Kerry - "WE WILL WE WILL ROCK YOU!!!!!")
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I don't think Kerry wants to hear my advice.
16 posted on 02/09/2004 7:42:49 AM PST by Cooter
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To: dead
"Just wearing the boots doesn't make you a cowboy."

Governor. Texas.

Cooter. Idiot.
17 posted on 02/09/2004 7:44:26 AM PST by Fenris6
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To: Cooter
I don't think Kerry wants to hear my advice.

Maybe not, but I would...

18 posted on 02/09/2004 7:51:53 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: dead
"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."

Oh please, oh please, oh please do this! This would be the Kerry version of Dufus in a tank!

19 posted on 02/09/2004 8:17:49 AM PST by NEPA
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To: Izzy Dunne
He should mention Vietnam a little more often. ;^)
20 posted on 02/09/2004 8:18:09 AM PST by Cooter
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To: dead
"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."

Kerry/Tractor = Dukakis/Tank

21 posted on 02/09/2004 8:19:50 AM PST by socal_parrot (Hey John Kerry, why the long face?)
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To: socal_parrot
Kerry would be wise to bury his wife - she's not going to fly here in the South.
22 posted on 02/09/2004 8:27:24 AM PST by Wally_Kalbacken (Seldom right, never in doubt!)
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To: dead
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."

ROFL! Dukakis in the tank, Kerry on a tractor!

23 posted on 02/09/2004 8:41:25 AM PST by JohnnyZ
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To: Ogie Oglethorpe
"You study hard, Trane," he said, referring to the show's mean-spirited sheriff

Wtf? The mean spirited sheriff is Roscoe P. Coltrane. How is this a reference to him?


24 posted on 02/09/2004 8:47:35 AM PST by Hazzardgate
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To: Dan from Michigan

25 posted on 02/09/2004 8:59:31 AM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: narby
From what someone posted here a while ago the colours of the 2000 race were allocated because blue is to the incumbant party and red to the challenging one. If that is true then the switch you want will be done in 2004.
26 posted on 02/09/2004 9:22:30 AM PST by xp38
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To: dead
Maybe Roscoe and Enos can advise how to win the law enforcement vote.
27 posted on 02/09/2004 9:26:14 AM PST by Petronski (John Kerry looks like . . . like . . . weakness.)
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To: TheBigB
Takes a loser to endorse a loser, just ask Dean. Gore endorsed and Dean went in the tank.
28 posted on 02/09/2004 9:28:39 AM PST by cynicom
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