Winning the South

WINNING THE SOUTH….Over at SouthNow, Jon Bloom interviews political strategist David ?Mudcat? Saunders:

SouthNow: Why did the Democrats lose in 2004?
Mudcat: They can?t f***?n count. That?s the Democrats? problem. You don?t get in the football game and punt on first down. You concede nothing. We condeded 20 states at first and then six more by Labor Day. That?s 227 electoral votes. Bush only needed 18 percent of the remaining electoral votes to win.

SouthNow: What?s the prescription for Democrats?
Mudcat: There?s only one precription and that?s tolerance. I?m a white, southern male who hunts. I?m a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has two black members, by the way. I don?t know how many northern Democrats who have tolerance for my kind.

SouthNow: What?s your strategy for Southern progress?
Mudcat: We need to quit all this tap dancin? around the truth….We need to stop tap dancin? around the issues of guns, gays and God….We?ve lost the white male. We need to get ?em back. We need to get through the cultural wall. It?s a wall of straw. Inside every rural Republican is a Democrat trying to get out.

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.”

I’m not actually sure I agree with this. The problem is that while there are areas where Democrats can compromise on cultural issues without betraying their souls, there are others, like abortion and gay rights, where they really can’t. So the question is whether ditching the gun crusade and toughening up on national security is ? by itself ? sufficient to win back enough Southern votes to make a difference. I’m not quite convinced of that.

More on that here. And more on the colorful Mudcat here.