What’s the Matter with Southern Whites?

Paul Krugman’s column today, once again, reveals much about how we elect politicians.  Today he focuses on the G.O.P.’s ultimately flawed strategy.  In short, he notes that the people who run the Republican party are concerned, above all, with making America safe for the rich.  The ability to maximize one’s personal wealth is of primary importance, everything else is secondary.  But the party leaders realized that this strategy alone would not win elections.

“Right-wing economic ideology has never been a vote-winner.  Instead, the party’s electoral strategy has depended largely on exploiting racial fear and animosity.”   ~Paul Krugman

These are the so-called wedge issues that republicans have required in order to win elections.  Welfare, immigration, guns, abortion, the “gay agenda,” etc.  Notice how each of these issues is especially targeted to southern whites.  Or as Krugman notes:

“And if you look at the political successes of the G.O.P. since it was taken over by movement conservatives, they had very little to do with public opposition to taxes, moral values, perceived strength on national security, or any of the other explanations offered.  To an almost embarrassing extent, they all come down to just five words: southern whites started voting Republican.

This explains why the modern Republican party is becoming a regional (southern) party.  The “haves” and the “have-mores” of the Republican party would like you to believe that they stand for smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and strong national defense.  It is factually obvious that modern-Republican rule leads to none of these things.  I wonder, then, how it must feel to be part of a “movement” that tempts our worst qualities and fears in order to get elected.  Looking at the current electoral map, it is easy to see that the stakes in our region are especially high.  Southern progressives have a special obligation to ensure that our message is heard.

12 Comments

  1. krm0517

    August 24, 2007 at 9:47 am

    As a southern white male, I vote Republican for one reason and one reason only. I believe the best form of government is a limited government. Ideologically I am more of a classic Liberal than anything else. I vote Republican because at least they claim to believe in limited government. Democrats do not even pretend to believe the government should have any limits over the daily lives of citizens whatsoever.

  2. sturner

    August 24, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    I understand that people can be one issue voters (abortion being the classic example). That’s your right. Of course, if you like limited government you can’t be too happy with the size or the performance of the Bush administration.

  3. James

    August 24, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    It’s not just the Bush administration. Because the truth is, most of the Republican talk is just that. For example, look at the websites for the two leading Republican candidates for governor. They talk about the mean old government and the desire to cut taxes, but there’s nothing behind their words. Fred Smith wants to spend more on schools and roads. Graham wants to spend more fighting the scourge of brown people, paying more for teachers, expanding healthcare, blah blah blah.

    If you’re waiting on Republicans to make government smaller, you’ll be waiting a long, long time. They have a vested interest in making government bigger, because big government – and the hysteria to spend more and more on war and armed security – is the only thing that’s helping the rich get richer right now.

    And we all know that’s what matters most to Republicans in the first place.

  4. krm0517

    August 28, 2007 at 8:59 am

    I do not consider voting for limited government to be a single issue because it is more of a philosophical view that touches virtually every policy issue we face.

    That aside, you are correct Mr. Turner. I am not happy with the Bush Administration.

  5. Jim Stegall

    August 28, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me how some otherwise intelligent people still read and listen to Paul Krugman. With his cartoonish, stereotypical view of anyone who doesn’t think and do as he thinks and does, he’s the original Ugly American.

    I’m glad he’s on your side.

  6. sturner

    August 28, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Jim…
    I’ll gladly keep Krugman if you promise to keep Coulter, Savage, Kristol, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity (you can have Colmes, too), Krauthammer, Drudge.

    …almost forgot one. Bill LuMaye. Him you can definitely keep.

  7. krm0517

    August 29, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    I’ll take Coulter and Malkin. Jim can have the rest.

  8. Jim Stegall

    August 29, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    sturner…
    Well, I’ll take Kristol and Krauthammer (and Limbaugh, but just for laughs), but I’ve got no use for the others either.

  9. sturner

    August 30, 2007 at 6:54 am

    Quick! Somebody tell the new news director at WPTF Rick Martinez that even the base is rejecting Bill LuMaye.

  10. Jim Stegall

    August 30, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Who is Bill LuMaye?

  11. sturner

    August 30, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    Jim, you only drank half the Kool-Aid. You need to tune into WPTF 680 AM weekdays at 3 PM for the full indoctrination.

    Better yet, turn off the radio and read “The Great Unraveling” by he who shall not be named.

    Go here:
    http://www.amazon.com/Great-Unraveling-Losing-Our-Century/dp/0393058506

  12. Jim Stegall

    August 30, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    I don’t like Kool-Aid. Therefore, I’m afraid I’ll have to decline both the afternoon of AM radio and the evenings spent laboring over said tome.