Should Democrats Embrace Intolerance?

Ken AshfordDemocrats1 Comment

Hell, no, says Digby.  He quotes from an interview of David "Mudcat" Saunders which says:

Saunders, who has worked on the campaigns of Mark Warner, John Edwards, and Bob Graham, thinks that if Democrats ease up on the culture stuff they can win in the South: "We’ve got an affection for big guns and fast cars. It’s a macho thing. I’ve not seen any attempt by the Democrats to get into that culture."

But Digby responds:

Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter were all southern white males, and we blue staters voted for them without a second thought. Before that, Lyndon Johnson won the blue states in a landslide. As I recall, we rather rather liked their southern roots. Let’s just get this one thing straight. The theory that non-southerners are intolerant of "his kind" is undisputably wrong. We have happily voted for southern white males many times. It’s southerners who refuse to vote for anyone who comes from anywhere else.

Exactly.  We supposedly "elitist" liberals aren’t so "elitist" that we ignore the South.  Right, Mr. Clinton?  Carter?  Gore?  Edwards?  What Mudcat suggests — what he really suggests is that to win over Southerners, the Democrats must embrace Southern heritage – guns, Nascar, Dukes of Hazzard re-runs. 

And that ain’t gonna happen.

Amanda Marcotte, guestblogging at Pandagon, takes it one step further:

Digby’s right that we need to write off those on the right who think "tolerance" is a dirty word. People who stand against sex ed, reproductive rights and other signs that not everyone chooses the same sexual path as they do obviously aren’t happy to let us partake of the pill, abortion and sex toys in Alabama, even though we on the side of sin are all too happy to let them avoid birth control and The Rabbit all they’d like. Anti-gay marriage activists seem believe that if gays and lesbians can marry, straight marriage will disintegrate, meaning they sincerely believe that it’s just not possible for people to have to peaceably share the same rights.


I think Digby’s right that compromise with some is impossible, and I would add that trying to compromise with people who’d rather we just disappeared off the face of the planet will probably just bring the Democrats down another notch in the estimation of the Bubbas that are inclined to be sympathetic to the social politics of tolerance. The people in our democracy who see the voting system as a way to inflict their beliefs on others are still not a majority…


It seems to me that the Republicans have cobbled together a rather uneasy alliance between the rich who control the party and use it to inflict class warfare on the rest of us, the intolerant who are willing to be used as tools as long as it means they can exert control over their neighbors’ sex lives, and a whole bunch of people that are sitting on the fence. The fence-sitters either don’t know how many liberties of theirs the Republicans are actively working to dismantle or simply think that they have to put up with these lost liberties in order to be safe from terrorism. This is the group that the Democrats need to focus on in order to get more votes.

I think that is absolutely right.  Let’s not become a bunch of hillbillies just to win over hillbillies.  As Shakespeare wrote, "This above all to thine own self be true."  Dems should be who they are (and by the way, we’re not all cut from the same cloth), and expose the intolerance of the right.