(cross posted on The Stinging Nettle
Garance Franke-Ruta discusses Jake Tapper's story on ABC News in an excellent post on TAPPED.
It seems Senator Kerry responded to a question about whether or not he can win in the South as follows:
"Everybody always makes the mistake of looking South," Kerry said, in response to a question about winning the region. "Al Gore proved he could have been president of the United States without winning one Southern state, including his own."
Great, Kerry, nice one. Let's give up 2/3 of the electoral votes necessary to win the Presidency and count on winning every other state we have to win, just so we can squeak out a 50.1/49.9 victory. Beautiful.
THe "we can win without the South" meme has been surfacing on such centers of Deanism as DailyKos and Blog for America for some time now. The goal, these misguided souls believe, is to win without pandering to the conservative Democrats in the South - to free the party from the chains of the DLC. It's disappointing to see the same thinking infecting Kerry's campaign.
Newsflash: only one Democratic President has been reelected since 1964 - Bill Clinton. He didn't do it by writing off the South and focusing heavily on turning out the Birkenstocks in SoHo. Furthermore, writing off the South may be a way of winning the White House in 2004, but its also a surefire way to writeoff every governorship and Senate seat south of Maryland.
As put so eloquently by Governor Easley of North Carolina: "I want a Presidential candidate I can run with, not from!"
I do not think it would be negative campaigning for Senator Edwards to ram this comment down Kerry's throat for the next week, whatever happens in New Hampshire. We CANNOT have a nominee who seems prepared, despite the protestations of his campaign to the contrary, to follow the Gore strategy and enter the South only as a way of getting to Florida.
If John Edwards is strong enough in 2004 to take North Carolina and Georgia from George W. Bush, the game is over. We need a candidate who can force George W. Bush to defend his own turf, instead of pumping 150 million dollars into Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Sorry Senator Kerry, you're a good man, and would be a fine President, but I like to think I'm a member of a great NATIONAL party. I have no interest in regional candidates.