Cigars: yes, this again

Via The Washington Monthly, an interview with a Southern political consultant named Mudcat Saunders:

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.

Note that Kevin responds to a different issue than the one Mudcat raised. Mudcat is saying that Democratic candidates can't hang with Southern-style culture. Kevin answers, If so, we need to change our policy.

Maybe so; but Mudcat's problem is a different one. It's not that Democratic policies are wimpy but that Democrats themselves seem like wimps.

This is where I think cigars will help. Democratic candidates need to offend the schoolmarms in some way if they want to reach the anti-schoolmarm vote. Additionally, smoke-filled rooms are part of our political heritage, when our people were down with the streets.

Or, to put it briefly -- More Rat Pack, less Gun Control PAC.

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