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Many people seem surprised that Hillary Clinton won a plurality of votes in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, after Barack Obama's triumph in Iowa. I'm not sure why. Clinton's win was something of a foregone conclusion: she was the home-team candidate. I say this not in a literal geographical sense but rather looking through the filter of American regional culture, as set forth in the book Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer. Viewing the Democratic presidential nomination as a contest among several different ways of being American, three things become apparent: First, that events are unfolding exactly the way one would expect them to; second, that the candidate with the best shot at winning big in the general election is, in all likelihood, John Edwards; and third, that because of the makeup of the Democratic Party, he probably will not receive the nomination.

It's been about a year since Albion's Seed began to draw attention in the blogosphere, beginning with
Jane Smiley's review in the Huffington Post. DKos diarist Paul Rosenberg has written several posts on Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer (see here, here and here). The book bowled me over as much as it did them.

In a nutshell, Albion's Seed traces the roots of American regional culture to four waves of migration from the British Isles: the Puritan migration from East Anglia to New England, the Cavalier migration from southwest England to Virginia, the Quaker migration from Mercia and Wales to the Delaware Valley, and the Borderer ("Scotch-Irish") migration from Northumberland to the highland South. These led to, respectively, a communitarian tradition, which valued literacy and wisdom; a hierarchical tradition, which valued wealth and status; an egalitarian tradition, which valued tolerance and brotherhood; and a libertarian tradition, which valued strength and loyalty.

All four traditions valued liberty, but they defined it differently. To the Puritans, it meant the freedom of a community to set and live according to shared values. To the Cavaliers, the freedom not to be dominated by others, while dominating whomever else you might. To the Quakers, freedom of conscience. To the Borderers, freedom from all outside interference. In today's America, these four strands have evolved into two that can be characterized as liberal (Puritan, Quaker), two conservative (Cavalier, Borderer); also, two elitist (Puritan, Cavalier) and two populist (Quaker, Borderer).

Smiley summarizes the four groups' characteristics in more detail and with cheerful, shameless bias:

  1. Puritans from East Anglia to New England, 1629-1641. Characteristics in both England and America: Calvinist, family-oriented (the ratio of men to women was 3-2, rather than 4-1, as in Virginia), highly motivated, closely related to one another, intently focused on moral principles and precepts, urban, and generally middle-class and highly literate. Women were not equal, but they were relatively independent agents who entered into the marriage contract, could be divorced, could inherit, and often were powers in the community. Children were considered the responsibility of both parents, and they were required to conform. Fathers were expected to be strict but affectionate. Local government, as we all know, relied heavily on the input of all members of the town, and on the town meeting. Political and religious life was hierarchical, but the hierarchy was short and continuing power for any individual depended continuing exercise of good behavior and responsibility (not so elsewhere, as we shall see). New Englanders had a well-thought-out and organized idea of liberty--groups should free to establish their own rules; certain individuals might be granted "liberties" to do otherwise proscribed things; the individual was free to follow his or her religious obligations (at the time Calvinist); and the individual should be free from want (which meant that members of the community were obliged to help their unfortunate neighbors). Above all, New Englanders were expected to cultivate and act upon their consciences and to work.
  1. Cavaliers and Indentured Servants from the south of England to Virginia, 1642-1675. Characteristics in both England and America: Anglican, status- and wealth-based, highly hierachical, focused on familial inheritance rather than community, rural, with an emphasis on large estates. Women were legally possessions rather than agents and often referred to as "breeders", but were prized for beauty and fiery independence. Children were absolutely subject to fathers, but frequently indulged, expected to retain their independence of spirit (sounds like contradictory parenting to me, but way American). Pleasure was encouraged rather than disapproved of, and Virginians had lots of pleasures, many of them blood sports. Government was seen as essentially and properly hierarchical, punishments of offenders were violent, and office- and power-holding were class and family based. Virginian ideas of liberty were hierarchical, also--two categories existed, "freedom" and "slavery". Freedom was when you did what you wanted and caused others to do what you wanted them to, and slavery was when you had to do what someone else wanted. Liberty was specifically reserved for "free-born Englishmen" and their descendants in Virginia (makes you mad, doesn't it?)
  1. Quakers from the North Midlands to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, 1675-1725. Characteristics in both England and America: Quakers and Quaker sympathizers were both anti- hierarchical and anti-doctrinal. They believed in a God of love, not punishment, and did away with rituals, sacraments, and professional ministers. Communities of Quakers were ethnically diverse and had strong ties to communities with similar beliefs in Europe; they were welcoming to the large number of German immigrants who came after them, but not welcoming to the next set of English immigrants, the North Borderers (see below). Quakers tended to be working-class, and many of their journeys to America were subsidized by Quaker groups back home. They came from a section of England that was not yet urbanized--still sparsely settled and often frightening to outsiders, home to a culture that in the 17th century still owed a lot to the Norse conquest of the end of the first millennium. People tended to be independent, egalitarian, rural, plain-spoken, and receptive to unorthodox religious ideas. In America, Quaker families were love-oriented rather than rule- or status-oriented, and more child-nurturing than other English cultures; husbands and wives were more or less equal, based on the idea that "in souls there is no sex" (p. 490). One notable aspect of government was that Pennsylvanians slashed the number of death-penalty offenses from 200, as in England, to 2--treason and intentional murder. In prisons, they focused on rehab rather than punishments. Such liberals! You've got a friend in Pensylvania, indeed. And the Quaker idea of liberty of conscience was based, not on rules, but on thought and choice, recognizing that different people could make different choices, and that those choices could still be conscientious. Certainly, this idea grew out of the Quakers' understanding of the facts of life--other religions and ideas were everywhere around them, and, as they had never been dominant, it was likely, if not certain, that they never would be.
  1. Scots-Irish "New Light" Protestants from the Border Counties and Ulster to the Appalachian Backcountry, 1717-1775. Characteristics in both Britain and America: Mean as a snake and twice as quick...oh, excuse me. I am losing my judicious tone. Let me begin again. Scots-Irish immigrants from the northern parts of Britain and from Ulster were generally fleeing what was an increasingly archaic, warrior-based society. Most were tenant farmers or the tenants of tenants. As Irishmen and Scots, they had built up years of economic resentment and Celtic pride with regard to their English neighbors and landlords. The social arrangements of the Borders grew out of the constant warfare (1040-1745) between Scotland and England over who owned the borderlands (remember that the Act of Union that made Scotland part of England was only enacted in 1707). Men on both sides of the border were expected to be alert and aggressive, ready to fight at a moment's notice. When the kings of England and Scotland weren't fighting, local warlords were. Tenancy was based on the ability to fight, and the economy was primitive compared to other parts of England. Keywords: poverty and violence. The legal system relied on vengeance and the economic system relied on protection money. Through the 17th century, the Borders were "pacified", which as we all know is actually a process of singling out the most independent warlords and putting them to death as an example to the others (gallows were placed on hilltops, so that the hanging bodies could be see from far and wide). Absentee English landlords also got rid of tenants by means of exorbitant rent increases (rack-renting), land enclosure, construction of new roads, and imposition of new laws. Throughout the 18th century, the Borderers came to America, more or less, as refugees from forced modernization (where have we seen that before?) Their religious beliefs were diverse on the surface, but shared an underlying intensity and tribal character--they were believers, simultaneously, in grace and sectarian conflict. As Fischer writes, "The North Britons brought with them the ancient border habit of belligerence toward other ethnic groups." [p. 632] The Quakers would not allow them to settle nearby, and they moved west in Pennsylvania, then south through the Appalachians. Clannish, suspicious, well-armed, and believers in "bride abduction" (!) as a good method of courtship. In marriage, men dominant, women absolutely subservient, and wife beating considered normal. Rage a typical (if not desired) feature of child-raising; beatings common. Religion--"emotional, evangelical, and personal", deeply informed by superstition as a method of folk wisdom for avoiding ever-present injury and death. You can see what I'm getting at.

At this point I'd like to switch my focus to the three Democratic front-runners in this year's presidential race: Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama.

Hillary Clinton was born in Chicago, a northern city with a mixed Puritan/Quaker influence (to head off protests about the immigrant influence on northern cities, let me quote Fischer: "The growth of ethnic pluralism did not diminish regional identities. On balance, it actually enhanced them. This was so because the new immigrants did not distribute themselves randomly through the United States. They tended to flock together in specific regions. Ethnic pluralism itself thus became a regional variable. Further, the new immigrants did not assimilate American culture in general. They tended to adopt the folkways of the regions in which they settled. This was specially the case among immigrant elites" [873]) and grew up in suburban Park Ridge, Ill. Her father was a staunch Republican and a descendant of Welsh miners in Pennsylvania -- members of the Quaker culture. However, much of her rhetoric is communitarian in style (remember her fondness for quoting Marian Wright Edelman, "It takes a village to raise a child"?), and her hawkish record in Congress runs counter to Quaker pacifism. Her stump speeches and debate performances often take on a lecturish tone, similar in style to New England Congregationalism. I would therefore characterize her political style as being primarily Puritan, with weak elements of Quaker.

John Edwards was born in a far western corner of South Carolina; during his youth, his family moved to North Carolina, in a highland part of the state. His background is pure Borderer. He belongs to the United Methodist Church (so does Clinton, supposedly, but you'd hardly know it). His fiery speeches occasionally take on the air of a tent revival. His willingness to advocate for the working poor, when other candidates talk only of the plight of the middle class, and his eagerness to challenge corporations and other established interests come to mind when one reads Fischer's description of the Borderer disregard for differences in social status: "Extreme inequalities of material condition were joined to an intense concern for equality of esteem. Visitors of exalted rank complained that they were not treated with the same respect as in other parts of British America. ... These complaints rose from fundamental differences in social manners and expectations. In the backcountry, rich and poor men dealt with one another more or less as social equals." (754)

Barack Obama is impossible to pigeonhole if one looks solely at his background -- the mixed-race son of a Kenyan and a Kansan, born in Hawai'i and schooled for part of his youth in Indonesia before attending Harvard University and subsequently becoming a community organizer on the African-American South Side of Chicago. But only a sample of his rhetoric is needed to place him squarely in the Quaker tradition. Only he and Dennis Kucinich opposed the Iraq War from the start. His campaign rhetoric suggests the sharing of a personal spiritual experience. Of all the candidates, his is the most forceful voice for tolerance and brotherhood. Both in his person and in his platform, he represents pluralism -- a Quaker virtue, shunned by the other traditions.

So it really is no surprise that Iowa, an overwhelmingly Midland (Quaker) state with a sizable Borderer presence in its southwest corner and substantial Northern (Puritan) presence only in Dubuque and Sioux City, favored Barack Obama. John Edwards performed strongest in those southwestern counties, winning a couple of them outright, while Hillary Clinton cleaned up around Sioux City.

And it also is no surprise that Hillary Clinton finished first in New Hampshire, and that John Edwards performed poorly there. New Hampshire is purely Puritan territory, and Clinton is the candidate with the most Puritan cred. Edwards' southern accent was almost certainly a drastic liability; there was no way his Borderer rhetoric would take root in New England soil. Regional antipathies are hard to overcome.

And it's for this very reason that I believe Hillary Clinton, and to a lesser extent Barack Obama, will have an impossible time cracking the regional voting blocs that have formed over the last 40 years.

But first, some historical perspective. At the time Albion's Seed went to press, 18 U.S. presidents "were descended in whole or in part from North British borderers" (834), more than from any other tradition. Since then, we've also had Borderer Bill Clinton and Borderer-wannabe George W. Bush. Fischer also notes that while candidates' personal backgrounds have become less pure in their derivation from one cultural strain or another, regional voting patterns have, if anything, intensified. And this intensification has had a dramatic effect on candidates' electability.

These new regional patterns in American politics tended to break down from time to time, just as earlier alignments had done. They came apart when one party nominated a candidate from the regional base of the other. The Democrats, for example, had their strongest successes in this period when they ran Texan Lyndon Johnson (1964) and Georgian Jimmy Carter (1976). ...

These regional patterns were also evident in the presidential campaign of 1988. Among Democratic contenders, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis combined his Greek and Yankee heritage in a manner reminiscent of the Irish Yankee John Kennedy; Dukakis's managerial style was in the tradition of New England ideas of ordered liberty. Jesse Jackson also combined an ethnic and a regional identity -- a black minister and politician, who had been born in upcountry South Carolina, and christened with an older border name -- his style was descended from three centuries of field preaching in the region of his birth. Richard Gephardt was a backcountry politician who ran heavily on a single issue, which was to apply the old border rule of lex talionis to a foreign affairs; his message was well received in his own region, but found little support outside it. Among Republicans, Robert Dole of Kansas was also a midland candidate who did well in his region and badly everywhere else; Pat Robertson came from the "backcountry ascendancy" and had a very strong regional identity. The candidates who did worst in both parties (Hart, Babbitt, Schroeder, Kemp, Haig, Dupont) had no firm base in any cultural region. The one who did the best, Republican George [H.W.] Bush, had a base in more regions than one -- with his old New England origins, his long residence in Texas, and an accent that combined both a Yankee twang and a southern drawl -- an extraordinary feat of political linguistics. (884-87)

Edwards is the Borderer candidate. With him, the Democratic Party can hope to pick up not only its safe states but also states in the Southwest, Midwest and Mississippi Valley. Averages of December 2007 head-to-head polls at Real Clear Politics show Edwards beating John McCain by 3.7 percentage points (Obama ties, Clinton loses by 5), beating Mike Huckabee by 14.3 percentage points (Obama wins by 10.4, Clinton by 4.8) and beating Mitt Romney by 16.5 percentage points (Obama wins by 12.2, Clinton by 4.8). Of course, as we all know, it's not the popular vote that matters in the general election, but the electoral college, in which the Republicans have a structural advantage in that lots of small states break for them. Or rather, they have had this structural advantage. Edwards' background gives him a good shot at tearing some of these states away.

Unfortunately, Edwards' advantage in the general election is his disadvantage in the primaries. So far, he has gotten a large amount of his support from independent voters casting ballots in open primaries. But today's Democratic Party is essentially a Quaker-Puritan coalition. Certainly there must be Borderers who not only vote Democratic but are registered Democrats, but the Democratic Party is not their natural home the way it is to Quakers and Puritans, so their voice in the party will not be strong.

Which is why I'm starting to think that, ultimately, Barack Obama will win the Democratic Primary. As Fischer said, "The candidates who did worst in both parties (Hart, Babbitt, Schroeder, Kemp, Haig, Dupont) had no firm base in any cultural region." Obama's base is the Midland region, the old Quaker culture, which stretches from coast to coast right through the American heartland. In contrast, Hillary Clinton is essentially a Puritan by default. Her base, if she can be said to have a base, is in New York City, and New York City is a cultural region all its own, rooted in Dutch culture, unaffiliated with the four English traditions that grew to dominate America. (Which is why Rudy Giuliani, for all the hype, has utterly washed out as a candidate for the Republican nomination. Only one native New Yorker, Martin Van Buren, has ever been elected to the presidency. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelts' background, as Fischer notes, was primarily Puritan Yankee.)

We can expect Obama to dominate Democratic primaries across the heartland, Clinton to dominate in New England, and Clinton and Obama to wage inconclusive battles across the South and Southwest (except in states with open primaries, in which Edwards will surge). But as for the general election ... Borderer culture and Quaker culture share a longstanding mutual hostility. Quaker peacemaking, brotherhood and tolerance clash with Borderer violence, clannishness and sensitivity to insult. As long as terrorism and the war are issues, they will be wedge issues between these two groups. And, not to put too fine a point on it, Borderer culture also has a nasty xenophobic streak, which Obama's face and name could easily antagonize. The voters that Edwards might well pull into the Democratic column, Obama might well drive out of it. On the other hand, Borderer culture remains the most overtly and devoutly religious of the four, so Obama's God talk might entice a few family-values voters back to the Democratic Party -- unless he's running against Huckabee.

As for Clinton, should she win the Democratic nomination, she can also be expected to struggle to pick up Borderer votes, despite her hawkishness on terrorism and Iraq. It's not likely to be enough to overcome the historically extreme male dominance of Borderer culture. Hostility toward Hillary Clinton has always radiated most intensely from this conservative, evangelical segment of America. She'll be especially vulnerable against Huckabee, the personification of Borderer religious values, and McCain, the "maverick" war hero.

The fact that Obama seems to have the best chance to capture the Democratic nomination in no way means that Edwards or his supporters should concede the nomination. If anything, it means they should focus their efforts intensely on bringing Borderer voters into the Democratic tent, while aggressively pitching the Edwards victory scenario to pragmatic Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. The past two elections have shown the importance of not just winning (which Barack Obama can do) but winning big, both in the popular vote and in the electoral vote (which I believe only Edwards can do). Can Barack Obama win enough votes from swing states to put him in the White House? Perhaps. But I believe it's a certainty that John Edwards can.

Originally posted to Geenius at Wrok on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:22 AM PST.


I identify myself most strongly as . . .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Jim Webb is the ideal choice for Obama's veep (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dbratl, Geenius at Wrok, Mr Bula

    if he will accept.

    He complements Obama's Quaker identity marvelously.

    •  Webb has written his own book (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PAbluestater, Mr Bula, Bill White

      about Borderer culture, called Born Fighting.

      This would be a good way for Obama to win some support from this group, I agree.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:36:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read and loved Webb's book (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geenius at Wrok

        I was born in Michigan and raised in Illinois. A true Billy Yank with very strong Quaker views on life.

        Notwithstanding being Roman Catholic.

        Anyway, reading Webb's book was the first time I was able to appreciate why some Southerners deny that the Civil War was about slavery. I remain Billy Yank and I still believe it was about slavery however Webb did help open my eyes a little.

        •  There is an argument (0+ / 0-)

          that it was a continuation of the English civil war.   Cavaliers v Roundheads.  Aristocrats v Middle class.

          slaves and workers alike a mere pawn in the game.

          I will make them have it. I will stuff their mouths with Gold!--Aneurin Bevan (on the NHS)

          by Salo on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:26:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Very ambitious diary . . . (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    countrycat, Mr Bula, Bill White, moose67

    I admire the work.

    Some advice: Travel lightly.

    by dbratl on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:31:03 AM PST

  •  That Explains why I drink Hennessey. (0+ / 0-)

    I will make them have it. I will stuff their mouths with Gold!--Aneurin Bevan (on the NHS)

    by Salo on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:31:14 AM PST

  •  Tips for a big tent (9+ / 0-)

    with room for Americans of every cultural tradition.

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:34:24 AM PST

  •  spot on (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    countrycat, PAbluestater, Mr Bula, moose67

    As diverse as this country is I am not sure I agree completely with the premise but it is certainly an interesting and well put together piece.

    Completely agree that Edwards is the strongest candidate for the general but has no chance for the primary.

    I have been curious to see the Obama supporters here calling for Edwards to drop and throw his backing behind Obama, while much of Edwards support may come from 'progressives' due to his positions, his natural draw is to a group that will not naturally gravitate to either Obama or Clinton both for ideological reasons as you described, but also, I feel for reasons of race and gender.

    On this note, I am somewhat disturbed by the trend I am seeing, at least on this site that has the potential to fracture the Democratic side into various factions.  This party is much less homogenous than the Republicans and even though, as we can see there is currently quite a bit of hostility between the three main divisions of the GOP, they may very well get their act together in the coming months.

    •  forgot to mention this is an awesome diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      countrycat, Mr Bula

      this is a top notch piece and a welcome relief from some of the current fare

    •  They have their borderer. McCain. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Bula

      I will make them have it. I will stuff their mouths with Gold!--Aneurin Bevan (on the NHS)

      by Salo on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:37:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They have two. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Bula, 123Mary123

        There's also Huckabee.

        "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

        by Geenius at Wrok on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:38:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree.. their Huckabee or our Edwards (0+ / 0-)

          would do well in the general election. I hope Edwards can do this because I think Huckabee will be the next president if he doesn't. I know dems don't want to hear that... they want to hear any of theirs can beat any republican; but they always say that, always.
          I hear republicans talking about the economy(like Edwards & Huckabee), not the media... the republican people I know and meanwhile, I hear dems talking about superstars, sexism and racism. It's just so out of touch with what is affecting the lives of voters the most.

          •  the democrat will win... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but none of them will bring the results we need.

   Sorry, is my sense of humor showing?

            by RisingTide on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:13:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Edwards sounds like this great man. (0+ / 0-)


              and promises this sort of a change.

              The social furniture of modern society is so complicated and fragile that it cannot support the jackboot. We cannot run the processes of modern society by attempting to impose our will upon nations by armed force. If we have not learned that, we have learned nothing. Therefore, from our point of view here, whatever may have been the morality of the government's action, there is no doubt about its imbecility. There is not the slightest shadow of doubt that we have attempted to use methods which were bound to destroy the objectives we had, and, of course, this is what we have discovered. I commend to honourable members, if they have not seen it, a very fine cartoon in Punch by IIlingworth and called Desert Victory. There we see a black, ominous, sinister background and a pipeline broken, pouring oil into the desert sands. How on earth do honourable members opposite imagine that hundreds of miles of pipeline can be kept open if the Arabs do not want it to be kept open? It is not enough to say that there are large numbers of Arabs who want the pipeline to be kept open because they live by it. It has been proved over and over again now in the modern world that men and women are often prepared to put up with material losses for things that they really think worthwhile. It has been shown in Budapest, and it could be shown in the Middle East. That is why I beg honourable members to turn their backs on this most ugly chapter and realise that if we are to live in the world and are to be regarded as a decent nation, decent citizens in the world, we have to act up to different standards than the one that we have been following in the last few weeks.

              I resent most bitterly this unconcern for the lives of innocent men and women. It may be that the dead in Port Said are 100, 200 or 300. If it is only one, we had no business to take it. Do honourable members begin to realise how this is going to revolt the world when it passes into the imagination of men and women everywhere that we - with eight million here in London, the biggest single civilian target in the world, with our crowded island exposed, as no nation in the world is exposed, to the barbarism of modern weapons - we ourselves set the example. We ourselves conscript our boys and put guns and aeroplanes in their hands and say, "Bomb there." Really, this is so appalling that human language can hardly describe it. And for what?

              The government resorted to epic weapons for squalid and trivial ends, and that is why, all through this unhappy period, ministers, all of them, have spoken and argued and debated well below their proper form - because they have been synthetic villains. They are not really villains. They have only set off on a villainous course, and they cannot even use the language of villainy.

              Therefore, in conclusion, I say that it is no use honourable members consoling themselves that they have more support in the country than many of them feared they might have. Of course they have support in the country. They have support among many of the unthinking and unreflective who still react to traditional values, who still think that we can solve all these problems in the old ways. Of course they have. Not all the human race has grown to adult state yet. But do not let them take comfort in that thought. The right honourable member for Woodford (Sir Winston Churchill) has warned them before. In the first volume of his Second WorId War, he writes about the situation before the war and he says this: "Thus an administration more disastrous than any in our history saw all its errors and shortcomings acclaimed by the nation. There was, however, a bill to be paid, and it took the new House of Commons nearly 10 years to pay it."

              It will take us very many years to live down what we have done. It will take us many years to pay the price. I know that tomorrow evening honourable and right honourable members will probably, as they have done before, give the government a vote of confidence, but they know in their heart of hearts that it is a vote which the government do not deserve.

              · Extracted from Hansard 5th December 1956. Columns 1268 - 1283

              I will make them have it. I will stuff their mouths with Gold!--Aneurin Bevan (on the NHS)

              by Salo on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:24:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Luckily for us (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      murrayewv, Mr Bula, Salo

      the Cavaliers don't have a candidate this year. Mitt Romney is the closest thing they've got -- a Puritan in Mormon underwear who's running on being rich. In fact, I think his appeal to Cavalier voters is the only reason why he's still in the running.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:38:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tom Paine called it the MacOcracy. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    countrycat, Mr Bula

    MCCain oddly enough straddles this demographic.

    He's a Westerner, with appeal toward Puritan New Englanders and he could appeal to Southern Cavaliers if they feel a bit of that Borderer spirit well up in them.

    I will make them have it. I will stuff their mouths with Gold!--Aneurin Bevan (on the NHS)

    by Salo on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:37:12 AM PST

  •  Excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What I've been saying for a long time without being at all eloquent.  Can't wait to read Fischer's book.

    It's time for a president to to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war -- John Edwards

    by ThirstyGator on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 11:49:15 AM PST

  •  Obama's Background is both Quaker and Borderer (0+ / 0-)

    ... evangelical church, remember?

    But if you leave out rhetoric, both Obama and Hillary are squarely on the side of Puritan and Cavalier. They aren't there to shake things up too much -- why else the strong dollar policy? Sorry, is my sense of humor showing?

    by RisingTide on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:16:04 PM PST

  •  Roy Blount, Jr. speaks to this in his book (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geenius at Wrok, Salo, offgrid

    entitled Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South. He talks about the more Calvinist, WASPy, rational, unemotional Northerners versus the more Celtic, emotional, visceral, abstract Southerners and how the latter seems to be more appealing as a president in our country. For Blount, this distinction was largely shared by the African Americans in each region, too. John Edwards has that Celtic fire but also a very rational mind (Elizabeth balances him in her more esoteric way of thinking). He's probably the best "designed" for the American presidency in terms of personality, and combined with his plans and getting the big picture, he's the right man for these strange times. And he scares the hell out of the Republicans - in large measure because of this Borderer category.

    Thanks for the diary. Here is Blount's article Deep In The Heart of it from this past fall. At the end is a great anecdote about John Edwards.

    Deep in the Heart of it

    At least the war on the middle class is going well...

    by Ripeness Is All on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:24:49 PM PST

  •  Totally not how i heard this... (0+ / 0-)

    Libertarianism (Traditional Republicanism) was totally traced to the Midwest. That's the general "keep the bums out of my closet" view of life. And not terribly "quakerish."

    Fact is, you're going to have to drop some facts to show how "Quakerish" the midwest is.

    You could start by telling me exactly how many states there allow QuakerMarriages (wife, husband, witnesses only -- no official present). Sorry, is my sense of humor showing?

    by RisingTide on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:26:46 PM PST

  •  Tipped and rec'd (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I enjoyed your diary, I need to read this book.

    Man is the Reasoning Animal. Such is the claim. I think it is open to dispute. - "The Lowest Animal", Mark Twain

    by HermesTrismegistus on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:30:30 PM PST

  •  the best assessment i've seen about supporters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have lived in the South, among the Borderers for a generation, while raised in the Quaker region of Pennslyvania and the San Francisco bay Area and there is not an item about the cultures stated with which I disagree.

    I would insert that those of us who are 2-3rd generation immigrants from Europe and who live in the large metropolitian cities and retain our distinct heritage are more like the Borderers than Quaker/Midlanders, quick to take offense, often violently so and sniff  with distain at our economic "superiors."

    The reason Edwards has not tapped into those white ethnic, working class people from the East Coast and Midlands is because of the unmentionable "Regionism" from which heights a working class Northener or Midwestener can look down their noses at those Southern "Crackers."

    I hear it when ever I vist home in Philadelphia where I am often told that Southeners are stupid, racist,  inbreed, diseased, and devoid of culture.

    When I was asked this past november at my high school reunion  why and How could I ever live in Georgia (as if I was living in a tent in Burkina Faso) I just about went berserk about it. Yankees don't have one bit of respect for Southeners and I truly believe that had John Edwards been from above the Mason Dixon line he would have had a comparable showing to Clinton and Obama in New England and Iowa which were predominantly white people.

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

    by kuvasz on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 12:59:09 PM PST

    •  Jews tend more towards the Quaker ideals... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it has kept them Democrat, when others have moved more Republican based on income. Sorry, is my sense of humor showing?

      by RisingTide on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:42:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes they do (0+ / 0-)

        histories of colonial quaker philadelphia point to its tolerant atmosphere of all religions, including judaism......that is how i was raised, in fact the catholics, quakers, and jews outnumbered all of the other protestant sects in my township.

        "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

        by kuvasz on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 02:56:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm Jewish and Southern (0+ / 0-)

        and I'm for Edwards all the way.

        But I'll vote for any Democrat who gets nominated.  Just think our only change for real, systemic change in with Edwards.

        Yes. There ARE progressive Democrats in Alabama. Visit with us at Left in Alabama

        by countrycat on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 04:04:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I do not know where you're from... but Eastern (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      countrycat, kuvasz

      Europe (kossacks) would also have the same economic/social conditions to encourage Borderlandism. Sorry, is my sense of humor showing?

      by RisingTide on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 01:43:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, that is correct (0+ / 0-)

        i thought of that, and think it is a reason for their populist streak, especially concerning unions and labor rights.

        btw throw a dart at a map of europe and one of my ancestors was from where ever it hits, italian, german, lithuanian, chek, slovak, english.

        a true fucking mongrel.

        "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

        by kuvasz on Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 02:50:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  While I will agree with this assesment by and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geenius at Wrok

    large, as an Appalachian, I have to say that there is a strong sense of identity and community in Southern culture. I won't disagree that Southerners are fighters by nature, but I believe that most of the xenophobia people attribute to us as inherent in our culture comes more from a history of oppression by powerful interests.

    It's like Dylan said, the Southern white man who is poor and kept that way is told that it's the black man's fault. He's only a pawn in their game. And given the lack of education that has historically plagued the Southeast due to poverty, it's no surprise that they're so easily swayed.

    The main reason for this post is mainly to convince my Yankee friends out there that we Southerners are not petty, uneducated, angry bigots who are beyond saving, we've just been shafted one too many times by rich interests, and that anger is misplaced many times. Lets not forget that populism was born of the Southern Farmers Alliance, and some of the bloodiest union fights took place in the Appalachian coal country.

    I just felt that I should stick up for my people before others draw all the wrong conclusions about us :).

    •  Fischer says as much (0+ / 0-)

      The oppression dates all the way back to the Borderers' ancestral days as cottagers in the north of England.

      Fischer sums it up in one sentence: "Whenever a culture exists for many generations in conditions of chronic insecurity, it develops an ethic that exalts war above work, force above reason, and men above women."

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Fri Jan 11, 2008 at 06:54:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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