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Southern strategy

vastleft's picture

Want a better country?

It's simple: admit that the South won the Civil War. It just took us a while to realize it.

Southerners wanted a country ruled by inhumane authoritarians, and by gorry by jingo by gee by gosh by gum that's what they've gotten themselves.

Well, include me out. Better still, include yourself out, Southern Man, just like you wanted to in the 1860s.

Terms of the separation are simple. The Bush administration's bailiwick becomes the CSA, which retains responsibility for the Glorious Iraq War, and y'all have to pay down the $9 trillion deficit he rang up and reimburse us for the WTC he didn't protect.

Perhaps we could fine-tune the deal with a, pardon the term, yankee swap. We'll keep Al Gore and Stephen Colbert, and you get to keep Larry the Cable Guy and Ann Coulter.

Oh, and sorry for quoting Lynyrd Skynyrd in that last post.

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

on Amazon for under US$9. I commend it highly to one and all.

Vasty, you are not the first person to seriously wonder who "won" the Civil War. The problem was an excessive rush to "reconciliation", which combined any number of pernicious ideas because they were handy and convenient.

You had a combined religio-romantic "Lost Cause" view in the South (we shoulda won, we coulda won, God wanted us to win, therefore if we didn't win it was because of that bastard Longstreet and the soulless crushing weight of heartless Northern industrial might. And the damn Irish, short for immigrants of all sorts). Then there was the plain lust in too many Northern hearts for the money available in rebuilding a land where a shitload of property ownership was uncertain and records had been burned along with the courthouses. Many people will swear to this day that there was less resentment of Sherman and the march to the Sea than there was of the influx of carpetbaggers afterwards.

Upshot of both sides was that it came to be seen as a Tragic Struggle Between Two Noble (Oh Yeah, And Entirely White) Causes. The fact that blacks fought and died in huge numbers for their own freedom was quickly shoved under the parlor rug. The Southern arrogance, egotism, I-got-mine-Jack-so-fuck-you attitude that kept warehouses in Georgia full of uniforms while the Army of Northern Virginia was in rags, because the uniforms were meant for Georgia militia members...poof. Gone. Never happened.

People went on the lecture circuit with My Story Of The War tales and every one of them had some stirring story of how in a moment of desperation a common bond of humanity--a sharing of water, a refusal to fire, care given to a wounded man--was shown, resulting in the speaker being alive today. The Gordon-Barlow story made it all the way to plaques on the battlefield at Gettysburg despite having been long since proven to be a complete crock of fiction.

While the story of Robert Small and his brilliant move with a ship called the Planter is almost completely forgotten and his postwar political career is written off as an ignorant man being manipulated by Northern whites. Because that doesn't fit the Reconciliation narrative.

Not that I feel strongly about the particular subject or anything.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

BTW, I cross-posted at DU, and the southern lefties are pissed!

I guess I looked at the wrong electoral maps for 2000 and 2004. Apparently those states have nothing to apologize for.

tom's picture
Submitted by tom on

I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Anyway, when southerners took over the historical profession in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries they wrote the first history of Reconstruction as a southern fairy tale in which the evil northerners are vanquished and, while the South couldn't win the Civil War, by gum they won Reconstruction. Historians have now ripped that version of Reconstruction apart and spin Reconstruction much differently than they used to -- it's now depicted as a "time of hope" rather than as a "tragic era."

I have fun with my students in discussing the southern transformation of the Republican Party. I always tell my largely conservative to middle-of-the-road Republican-leaning Midwest university students that the South took over the Republican Party in the 1970s and 1980s and now it's a southern party. I ask them to tell me one major leader in the Republican Party who's not a southerner. Of course there isn't anyone -- and they don't like that.

I always tell them that when the Republicans openly courted southern bigots in the 1960s pursuing Nixon's "southern strategy" that the southernization of the Republican Party began in earnest. I tell them their party flip-flopped in race in just a couple of decades. The party of Lincoln and Progressivism became the the party of neo-Confederate small government types in less than a generation.

They don't like this story at all. It makes them mad. I tell them that if they don't like the marginalization of the Midwest that has happened during the last couple of decades in the Republican Party they can always think about doing something crazy like changing parties.

It's great fun actually.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Dubya was born in Connecticut and educated at Ivy League schools, and ran like hell to get away from anything that remotely resembled Texas all his life, starting with middle school in Midland and ending with the TANG, and if his dad's budz hadn't got him that too-kewl do-nada gig in the Texas Rangers front office, he'd still be selling real estate in Yanquiland.

The trouble in the world is not the fault of the South.
It's the fault of the greedy and the stupid, and by and large those people are neither Democrats nor Southerners. This continuous bleating about how awful the consequences of having to continue to live with us, here, in Florida and Mississippi and Louisiana and Texas, smacks of the same gutlessness as the Krystyunist demand that all things not of their faith be removed from their world, lest their precious helpless puling deities be smirched with doubt born of something other than blind obeisance.

Oh -- and you keep that skanky blond Coulter bitch the fuck to yourself, idiot. We don't want her either!!!

(Proof that Texans are smart: We EXPORTED W's worthless ass.)

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Proof that Texans are smart: We EXPORTED W’s worthless ass.

Uh, Texans: the ones who put the stoopidest Yankee they could find in their governors mansion. And then "exported" his stupid worthless ass around the world. And you're sick of this meme?


Submitted by lambert on

... the national laboratory of bad government and boy, was she right.

Though it isn't right to hold Sarah personally responsible for the depredations of Texas's ruling class and Partei, still, the effects of that political culture on the country have been profoundly destructive.

Wouldn't we be in denial if we didn't recognnize that.

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

In the aftermath of the DU flame-war about this, I've asked proud southern Democrats the following questions. Would love to hear your two cents:

1. How vulnerable have the crimes and failures of the Bush years made the GOP in the South?
2. Which of those scandals and fiascoes has, or could have, the most resonance with southern voters?
3. How much anti-war sentiment is there in the South?
4. How important is it that a Southerner be on the ticket?
5. Why didn't Al Gore get support in the South, even in Tennessee?
6. How much is religion a litmus test in the South? Is it enough to be privately religious, or do you have to be outspoken about it? If you're a non-Christian are you a non-starter in the South?
7. How much do Southern voters actually care about issues like gay marriage and abortion?
8. What progressive issues do or could resonate with Southern voters?

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

The old South had its propagation of slavery as its distinguishing disfigurement.

I think the War was more about the Northern aristocracy wanting what the Southern aristocracy had than anything else. But you can not talk people into dying for anything less than a high and noble cause. Google "9/11" and "Iraq" and "Bush" if you contest this point. So slavery it became.

After the Civil War the Union robber barons moved in and took control. And hearts and minds. And with time even the Cause of the Confederacy. A whole new version of slavery developed without the nasty label but for the Almighty Dollar, good credit, and the American Dream.

Don't blame Southerners alone for the Empire. Admittedly, there is a historically high concentration of ignorant and scared wage slaves there, but believe it, they're everywhere. Outside of Detroit and Ann Arbor, the Confederate flag is as common in Michigan as Alabama. It seems every American to some extent has been brainwashed to support the aristocrats in their quest for Dominion.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Submitted by lambert on

Well put!

However, the MIC infrastructure has been concentrated in teh South (yes?). So maybe we can "cut it off and kill it."

No authoritarians were tortured in the writing of this post.