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Joe Mariani

Throwing Away the Southern Vote
Nov 2, 2003

It looks as if the Democrats, especially Howard Dean, are doing their level best to throw next year's Presidential race after all. Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt and John Kerry all just made some pretty nasty elitist remarks about the South regarding pickup trucks, guns and flags -- things held dear, or at least tolerantly thought of, by most Southerners. I haven't read such anti-Southern remarks since the last book I read about the Civil War. And then Wesley Clark and Joseph Lieberman joined the rush to insert their feet in their mouths!

"I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," the former Vermont governor was quoted as saying in Saturday's Des Moines Register. "We can't beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats."
That might get you the nomination, Howard, but to win, you might want to consider appealing to Republicans as well. Of course, that'll never happen.

Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, who shares the lead in Iowa with Dean, accused Dean of making a blatant move to win the votes of people "who disagree with us on bedrock Democratic values like civil rights."
Southerners are against civil rights? That's the first I've heard of it! Or is he just stereotyping guys with pickup trucks as racists? Perhaps he's saying Republicans are against civil rights. Nice try, but the facts refute that.

"I don't want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," Gephardt said in a statement. "I will win the Democratic nomination because I will be the candidate for guys with American flags in their pickup trucks."
Sorry, Dick... I fear you'll be neither.

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts contended that Dean's "pandering" to the National Rifle Association gave him an inroad to "pander to lovers of the Confederate flag." "I would rather be the candidate of the NAACP than the NRA," Kerry said in a statement.
How can you so lightly dismiss 60-65 million gun-owning Americans, John? "I don't need your vote," Kerry seems to say.

In response to the criticism, Dean released a statement saying: "I want people with Confederate flags on their trucks to put down those flags and vote Democratic - because the need for quality health care, jobs and a good education knows no racial boundaries."
Again, if you have a Confederate flag, you're obviously a racist. Smooth move, Howie.

But even Southern candidates John Edwards and Wesley Clark couldn't resist the urge to bash Southerners!

"Some of the greatest civil rights leaders, white and black, have come from the South," said Edwards. "To assume that southerners who drive trucks would embrace this symbol is offensive."

Clark said, "The Confederate flag flies in the face of our most deeply held American values - diversity, equality and inclusion."

As I recall, it stood for States' Rights. Many people still see it as a symbol of bravery and courage in the face of overwhelming odds. Two Southern boys ought to know that. Talk about abandoning your voter base!
Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman weighed in as well. "Governor Dean ought to be more careful about what he says," Lieberman said. "It is irresponsible and reckless to loosely talk about one of the most divisive, hurtful symbols in American history."
Well, if the massive surge in the economy in the third quarter didn't deflate the Democrats' hopeful predictions of gloom and doom pushing them into office in 2004, their own insulting remarks aimed at a third of the country surely did.

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