Wednesday, May 25, 2005
On this day:

Glen Browder: Winning back the South by embracing white Southern culture

Following up on a Mobile Register column from last week, former Alabama Rep. Glen Browder discusses how the Democratic Party can win back the South.

We Democrats must acknowledge that the South has not only changed its politics, but it is fundamentally transforming American democracy in like manner, thereby creating a real two-party system with Republicans.

And we must confront what I call "blue conceit" -- the elitist mentality that afflicts too many party faithful and impedes successful correction of our course...

Partisan outsiders and Southern progressives alike yearn, and plot endlessly, for a turn of events or rhetorical debate that might magically convert white Southerners into liberal voters. But Southern history defies such dramatic conversion, and the South probably will remain a Republican bloc bonanza to the extent that national Democrats continue to ignore or misread Southern political dynamics.
While Browder accurately assesses the reasons for Southerners' aversion to voting Democratic, his suggestions end up sounding a lot like those of Howard Dean: "if we can only manage to shift the debate away from 'God, guns, and gays,' we will win the South."

Embracing the South does not entail pandering to ignorant, racist rednecks; nor does this strategy require that we nominate Bubba for the presidency. It does mean aggressively, genuinely and comfortably reaching out -- while maintaining our historic principles and integrity -- to white Southerners.

Serious Democratic presidential candidates inevitably have to venture into the "guy zone" of white Southern culture -- guns, God and Old Glory -- and whoever enters that zone also had better walk the walk and talk the talk reasonably well to comfort a skeptical bunch of Southern hunters, preachers and patriots...

As long as Democratic candidates and the party ignore or insult traditional values (while noisily preoccupied with such issues as abortion and gay rights), the South will vote Republican.

That all sounds like putting perfume on a hog to me. Browder fails to understand that the Democratic Party's core philosophy is the problem. That philosophy relies on an expansion of government which is supported by higher taxes, subservient to political correctness, and intrusive on individual liberty. No amount of halfhearted repackaging will change that.