April 29, 2009
DeMint Julep and a Shot of Wacko

I’ve always loved the South Carolina accent, especially when employed by women. And we owe ’em for Colbert. But those folks have sure elected some doozies to public office. Exhibit 1: Senator Jim DeMint.

“I don’t think many Americans are going to agree that the Republican party has become too conservative,” he said. “If you look at our record of spending, our record on every issue, the problem I think we have is Americans no longer believe that we believe what we say we do.”

I dunno, perhaps I’m an outlier, but I continue to believe that the Republican party sticks by its guns: torture, corruption, pre-emptive war, and imperial presidencies. Oh, and racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and anti-intellectualism. They’re defined by what they hate, which is why the party does so well among fundamentalists. As far as I can tell, they’ve been pretty consistent on those issues my whole life.

DeMint says he isn’t worried. He denied that the GOP has become a southern party, attributing Republican losses in the northeast to some northern voters who have left the region and moved south hoping to avoid labor unions and “forced unionization.” He said Americans will eventually come back into the Republican fold because of growing alarm about the size of government and President Obama’s fiscal policies.

“I think you’ll see this next election to be totally different,” DeMint predicted. “Pat Toomey, who is running in Pennsylvania, is one of the most mainstream Americans I know.”

I think forced unionization should be applied to Wall Street, then we might have something. And the software biz, as well. But if Republicans have been wiped out in the Northeast because they left for the South, doesn’t that make them a southern party? Oh, no, I forgot: you can only be truly Southern if you’re born there. So moving from the northeast is by definition temporary; you’ll never be a Southerner, though you live in the South for fifty years and die there.

It’ll be a hoot to see what DeMint says when Toomey gets landslided.


Posted by Chuck Dupree at April 29, 2009 08:41 PM
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"the Republican party sticks by its guns: torture, corruption, pre-emptive war, and imperial presidencies. Oh, and racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and anti-intellectualism. They’re defined by what they hate..."

Chuck, that is one of the best descriptions of the Republican philosophy I've ever read. It's a good thing we have an opposition party that says they're opposed to this agenda, unfortunately they never stick by their guns (which of course they don't have because they want to take your guns).

Posted by: Charlles on April 29, 2009 9:07 PM

I grew up in South Carolina and because my father my father was an engineer with a public utility during the time that Strom Thurmond was stealing factories from the north and bringing them down South (and you outsiders wonder why he was well liked), my father had plenty to do in planning electric distribution facilities so we moved from town to town during my childhood. But there isn't one accent in South Carolina. There are broadly speaking, three (and a few dozen county or local regional dialects). Demint is from the Upstate. The midlands has its own accent, which is the least weird sounding and then there is the lowcountry accent based around Charleston. Of course we also have Gullah, the disappearing language. But Strom Thurmond and Jim Demint sound like they come from different planets, which is almost true.

In South Carolina no one belongs to a political party, at least you can't register with the state as belonging to one.

Don't worry too much about South Carolina in the long term. It's historically more progressive than the north, except for how it treated blacks and the shameful legacy of Jim Crow. That's the problem now and it's how the Republicans captured the State. I tell my friends here in Pennsylvania that I got free school lunches in school in the 60's and they tell me they paid a quarter here in the 50's. People were mostly poor back there then and no child was going to be embarrassed by not having the money to pay for lunch and the politicians saw to that. Under Nixon, that freebie was taken away.

South Carolina is, speaking roughly, divided into the Upstate, the Midlands, and the Lowcountry. The closer you get to the Coast, the more progressive it gets.

I'm not intimately familiar with the old southern history, but I'm told the that the South was very progressive in the old days. Except again for Jim Crow and the way blacks were treated. And that progressive nature hasn't gone away. Study the history of the South a little bit. After all, Huey Long didn't come from California. We were progressives long before they had a word for it. But we always had our religious fools who'd follow any carpetbagger, including Jim Demint who follows the the carpetbagger Republicans.

The fundamentalists are concentrated in the upstate. Much like they are concentrated where I now live in Pennsylvania. I moved from a blue county in a red state to a red county in a blue state. The problem with Harrisburg PA is they never put a state University here. The legislature would have a wealth of talent to call on if they had a University here. And the comments in the newspaper might not be so crude here if a good University here.

Columbia SC has a University that has been there for centuries and does wonders keeping that immediate area progressive and the legislature honest. (just don't cross over the river into Lexington County, it's known for the death penalty, Maurice's BBQ and racism, not necessarily in that order)

If you want to see Progressive South Carolina, visit Charleston, the town where my mother lives and where I was born. Charleston has had the same Democratic mayor for 30 years and for years was where you went if you wanted to go have some fun and sin a little (or a lot if you could afford it). Charleston's changed now because it's an international destination. And it has a very large vocal gay population. Charleston is as different from Bob Jones University territory as San Francisco is from rural California. South Carolina is not a monolith and don't ever think that it is. And Northerners are moving there in droves. Especially along the coast.

Sorry for the diatribe. But I had to correct the accent comment and I guess I got carried away.

Posted by: Bruce on April 30, 2009 4:02 AM

I meant to say Fritz Hollings and Jim Demint sound like they come from different planets. Strom had a mostly midlands accent with a very slight touch of a Georgia accent not unlike Jimmmy Carter's.

Posted by: Buck on April 30, 2009 4:07 AM

I like your post and I agree with you. I think you missed one point - which is the repugs' constant and faithful support of big business, and big business's support of the repugs. That connection won't go away until all moderate repugs leave the sinking ship.

One of my concerns is that, like Specter, all the semi-literate repugs will jump ship and join with the conservative dems to make a voting block strong enough to derail any and all progressive legislation.

Posted by: John Gall on April 30, 2009 10:32 AM

Philadelphia neighborhoods have their own accents, some dramatically different and close to mutually unintelligible. I'd list some, but they tend to be close to ethnic slurs. Anyway, Rocky wasn't fluent in any of them; he went to a boarding school in the far burbs.

I have my own personal accent, from being immersed at an impressionable age in several different accent zones and having a mother who sounds like the Fancy Dutch she is and a father who sounds like he's from the northern South, maybe Hagerstown, which he isn't.

What's your accent, Chuck?

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on April 30, 2009 1:52 PM

John Gall, I agree that the GOP is faithful to big business, and that that's reprehensible in the extreme. But the Democrats differ only in being faithful to different big business, in other words to different members of the oligarchy. It was, after all, Himself who chose the people who created the problem to solve, or rather perpetuate, it.

During those years when [Geithner] was supposed to be supervising Wall Street, he supped most often in the top-echelon dining room of some bank or at the home of one of the financial moguls who created the mess that has now bankrupted billions throughout the world. One of his frequent luncheon buddies was Sanford I. Weill, who as chairman of Citigroup lobbied successfully for the reversal of key regulations that dated back to the New Deal era. That change permitted Weill's oligarchy to become "too big to fail."

Another preferred dining companion was Robert Rubin, who as Bill Clinton's treasury secretary pushed through Weill's favored deregulation [repeal of Glass-Steagall] — a disastrous "reform" that lies at the heart of the current mess — and who went on to become chairman of Citigroup, where he presided over a downfall of the company that required a $45 billion taxpayer bailout. Geithner had worked for Rubin at the Treasury Department, and it was Rubin who got him his job at the New York Fed and hooked him up with Barack Obama.

Joyful, my accent is based on that of the Appalachian hills of Kentucky, plus moss gathered from Florida, New England, south Texas, western New York, and finally the Bay Area. I've intentionally retained a tiny bit of Kentucky 'cause I don't wanna be generic, but I certainly don't want to sound like the folks where I grew up.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on April 30, 2009 2:38 PM
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