Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What's Kathleen Parker about?

Readers may remember that I've heaped scorn on Civil War revisionism here:



and defended the South here:


Now I have to defend the South again, from an attack from an unexpected direction.

If you go here


You'll find a column by allegedly-conservative Kathleen Parker, 'Them Dang Southerners.'

Some excerpts:

"In a fusillade of pique, Ohio Sen. George Voinovich charged that Southerners are what's wrong with the Republican Party.

"We got too many Jim DeMints (South Carolina) and Tom Coburns (Oklahoma)," he told an interviewer with The Columbus Dispatch. "It's the Southerners. They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr.' People hear them and say, 'These people, they're Southerners. The party's being taken over by Southerners..."

"Whatever Voinovich's sound effects were intended to convey, his meaning was clear enough: Those ignorant, right-wing, Bible-thumping rednecks are ruining the party."

To begin with, Okies are not exactly Southerners. We're either the most north-westerly southerners, or most northeasterly southwesterners, or whatever. The accent is not "southern" but a distinct regional accent linguists call the Arkahoma dialect.

But OK, it was technically part of the Old Confederacy, though not a state at the time and its part in the Civil War was pretty much a civil war among the Five Nations.

Ah don't know nothin' 'bout no Jim DeMint, but I've met Tom Coburn and know something about his reputation in Congress.

I might find some differences with Coburn if I cared to comb through his record, but the guy is one Republican who made himself unpopular with his own party by putting their damn feet to the fire about out-of-control spending back when they had their snouts in the trough. AND he's willling to vote against pork in his own district.

This is a problem?

"Alas, Voinovich was not entirely wrong.

"Not all Southern Republicans are wing nuts. Nor does the GOP have a monopoly on ignorance or racism. And, the South, for all its sins, is also lush with beauty, grace and mystery. Nevertheless, it is true that the GOP is fast becoming regionalized below the Mason-Dixon, and becoming increasingly associated with some of the South's worst ideas..."

Nice of you to acknowlege that Kath. Strategically I'd say you put your foot in it though.

The fact is the Democratic Party is now, as it was in its beginning, the party of institutionalized racism.

Can anyone explain with a straight face how the unspoken assumption behind affirmative action is NOT that certain minorities are incapable of rising by their own efforts on a level playing field?

Allegedly benign paternalism is every bit as racist as the hateful cross-burning variety - and the latter is pretty dead in the South, case you hadn't noticed.

Friends of liberty, even the tepid Republican conception of it, should be shouting this from the rooftops, not making feeble, defensive, "Am not!" statements.

"In a poll commissioned by the liberal blog, Daily Kos, participants were asked: "Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?..."

"In 1966 Buchanan and Richard Nixon were at the Wade Hampton Hotel in Columbia, S.C., where Nixon worked a crowd into a frenzy: "Buchanan recalls that the room was full of sweat, cigar smoke, and rage; the rhetoric, which was about patriotism and law and order, 'burned the paint off the walls.' As they left the hotel, Nixon said, 'This is the future of this Party, right here in the South.'"

"That same rage was on display again in the fall of 2008, but this time the frenzy was stimulated by a pretty gal with a mocking little wink. Sarah Palin may not have realized what she was doing, but Southerners weaned on Harper Lee heard the dog whistle."

There's that loathing of Sarah Palin of hers, which I absolutely fail to understand. I don't mean when Parker publicly asked Palin to withdraw after poor performance on TV interviews. That's a legitimate position on electoral stategy.

This is a visceral loathing, and it's kind of weird coming from Parker.

"What the GOP is experiencing now, one hopes, are the death throes of that 50-year spell that Johnson foretold. But before the party of the Great Emancipator can rise again, Republicans will have to face their inner Voinovich and drive a stake through the heart of old Dixie."

This sounds like the kind of Southern-bashing we're used to hearing from people who've forgotten that the Ku Klux Klan was huge in the North in the early 20th century. That historical embarrassment was by no means an exclusively Southern thing.

However, it turns out Kathleen Parker was raised in Winterhaven, Florida and lives in South Carolina.

(Well, Florida hardly counts as Southern anymore. The native Floridian is thought to be mythological or at least extinct.)

At any rate, this is what I published in the comments section. It's kind of lost in the 130-and-counting indignant replies and the one or two "Right on!"s though.

Ms Parker,

1) The Daily Kos is perhaps neither the most reliable source for accurate polling, nor in a position to point fingers after having promoted the "Sarah Palin is not the mother of her Down's child but covering for her daughter" story against all reason and evidence.

2) "Southerners weaned on Harper Lee" means what? You mean the author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' possibly the most powerful anti-racist novel since Huckleberry Finn?

That doesn't strike me as an association to be embarrassed by, but then I guess I'm just a dumb redneck.


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