Political consultant and Edwards political adviser Dave “Mudcat” Saunders touched off a little firestorm today by criticizing the “Metropolitan Opera Wing” of the Democratic Party. Let’s leave aside his willingness to engage in Republican agitprop (he doesn’t even offer anecdotal evidence of the Dreaded M.O.W.). And try to forget the faint whiff of anti-Semitism and anti-gay sentiment wafting from that phrase. What exactly does Mudcat want? Because I don’t look to political figures for validation of my ‘lifestyle.’
I have bitched and moaned for years about the lack of tolerance in the elitist wing of the Democratic Party, or what I refer to as the “Metropolitan Opera Wing”. These are the people who talk of tolerance but the only true tolerance they ever exhibit is for their own pseudo-intellectual arrogance….
I am certain I will get personally attacked for this next statement, but in all honesty, I don’t care what the “Metropolitan Wing” of my party thinks. I don’t like them. The damage the pseudo-intellectuals have done to my party by abandoning tolerance, combined with their erroneous stereotyping of my people and culture, is something that brings out my incivility. In his column, Joe said, “…the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere.” Amen. I must add that this same intellectual arrogance and intolerance overtook the party years ago, and for that very reason, my people in rural America left the tent.
First, Mudcat, your people (white Southerners) left the Democratic Party because the Democrats successfully fought for civil rights. Have you never heard of ‘segregation academies’? I’ve dealt with this revisionism before:
Many of those saintly “union dues-paying, churchgoing, beer-drinking family” men were pissed because their wages were falling, and their economic security vanishing. Republicans, sensing an opportunity, engaged in race-baiting. The loss of white men had nothing to do with any Democratic disrespect, and all to do with coded appeals to fear, prejudice, and hate…. When Reagan ‘Democrats’ talked about the Democratic Party “leaving them”, let’s remember who said that-Reagan….
The Democratic Party did leave these ‘good’ men: on the ashheap of history. Anytime they want to stop being bigoted or prejudicial towards minorities, and start thinking about how to make the country better for all Americans, we’ll welcome them back with open arms.
Or as zuzu put it:
Might as well just say, “Those nasty intellectuals and Jews won’t invite me to their parties, and if they do, they’re mean to me.”
And that seems to be the crux of Mudcat’s complaint: he’s upset because his subculture isn’t getting enough validation from Democratic politicians–and, yes, that’s as silly as it sounds. Obviously, he’s never lived in the Northeast, because we are regularly denigrated by Republicans as un-American. Politics isn’t about self-validation, it’s about doing things. Most union members–probably not part of the Metropolitan Opera Wing–strongly support liberal Democrats, even if those politicians are from wealthy backgrounds because they think those politicians will help them.
Besides, what’s wrong with opera?
Finally, there’s a certain pessimism that exudes from ol’ Mudcat. He argues that we can increase Democratic turnout by picking off some white males. But this assumes that political attitudes can’t be changed. If there’s one thing that can be learned from the Republicans, it’s that persistence pays off: who, in 1970, would have thought the estate tax would be repealed? That wasn’t even on the landscape. And ‘judicial activism?’ Through sheer stubborness, conservatives now have tens of millions concerned with an obscure judicial philosophy. For better or for worse, you can change how people think in the long term.
Granted, that’s not what Mudcat does for a living because his job is to win the next election, but that’s no reason why rank-and-file Democrats should give up on long-term change. Someone has to do it. And that has nothing to do with opera.
I found Greg Saunders‘ response to all this quite interesting.
Well, if the quote had been:
“…the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the whole of the blogosphere.”
He might have had a point. There is a lot of intolerance in blogs, and it’s very easy to find examples of it on all sides of all issues. Yes, there is probably more of it on the conservative side, but it exists in abundance on the liberal side as well. The blogosphere allows people to find their own very narrowly defined ideological groups, and can cause people to feel that they don’t have to reach out to other groups.
But as to the timing of this particular tempest in a teapot: I heard a recent poll that seems related. In terms of winning the next election, Mudcat’s message seems to be “there’s still some of us rural folk in the Democratic party. Come back and join us.”
Yes, if Mudcat had said something different, he might have had a point. If Hitler had been a nice guy who loved all humankind, we might not have had the Holocaust. If Fox television had a soul, they wouldn’t have cancelled Wonderfalls after 4 episodes. If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a K-car.
mudcat just likes to stir up shit. it seems to me that accusing bloggers of being elitiist opera goers (whatever the hell that means) is as much of a sweeping generalization towards city-slickers as mudcat likes to accuse the elites of shoving on his good ol’ boy down-home country folk.
and, off topic, but mr. wizard died tuesday…
I’ve made observations similar to Mudcat’s. The most obvious example of it occurred in the 2004 elections when Dean spoke about wanting to the support of both poor blacks and poor whites: “White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us, and not [Republicans], because their kids don’t have health insurance either, and their kids need better schools too.” To me that statement is what got Dean my vote. He seemed to get it: there are lots of poor people in the south that can benefit from Democratic reforms. But the other candidates and the national media when apeshit over the idea that Dean would what to improve health care or education for white southerners with confederate flag decals. To me it signaled that the DNC really doesn’t care about poor white people. To the DNC the poor that matters are inner-city minorities and labor unions.
While, it is true that the Republicans managed to get the white southern vote through race-baiting, it is also true that white southern voters should not be written off by the Democrats because of what their parents or grandparents did.
Were white Southerners intolerable racists who became Republicans because that party played to their prejudices? Yes. Get over it, DNC, stop trying to secure the black vote by reminding them how much you dislike white southerners. Start trying to secure votes based on shared economic hardships like health insurance and poor schools.
Sadly, it seems like very few Democrat activists understand this.
Yes, if Mudcat had said something different, he might have had a point. If Hitler had been a nice guy who loved all humankind, we might not have had the Holocaust. If Fox television had a soul, they wouldn’t have cancelled Wonderfalls after 4 episodes. If I had a million dollars, I’d buy you a K-car