By David Hill - 08/04/09 06:01 PM EDT
Now, I suspect that the typical NPR voice talent assigned to read this piece had no idea that his or her words reflected regional bigotry. If the broadcast copy had parodied Hispanic accents in this fashion, or reminded listeners that Sonia Sotomayor’s Puerto Rican people engaged in insurrections against the United States, he or she would have instinctively recognized silly as well as ugly bias. But when it comes to Southerners and Southern accents, there is no recognition of prejudice or restraint. Yes, South Carolina didn’t help Lincoln, so Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamVulnerable GOP senators praise Kaine Meghan McCain: ‘I no longer recognize my party’ Ex-UN ambassador John Bolton: Trump should take back NATO remarks MORE is a bad man with an even worse accent.
It’s not enough that the media and many Democrats are regionalists. Now it’s Republicans, too, with Sen. George Voinovich’s (R-Ohio) latest prejudicial rant. “We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns. 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. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?’ ”
The attempt to dismiss Republicans as nothing more than an irrelevant regional party has reached new highs. I read one report that was describing the Southern origins of Republican leadership in Congress that seemed delighted to point out that Sen. Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellProgressive group changes tone on Kaine Trump hits Kaine on TPP: He supports a 'job killer' Clinton maps out first 100 days MORE (R-Ky.) was born in Alabama. It was not enough for him to be from Kentucky, a half-breed border state. They had to plant him much farther south of the Mason-Dixon Line than Kentucky to make their case for Republican depravity.
The Daily Kos is even providing the faithful social scientific proof of the unworthiness of the South. Its recent pseudo-poll of those nutty people challenging President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaAn inconvenient truth for Obama, Black Lives Matter and racial hypnotism Five things Clinton needs to do with her big speech A legacy on the line MORE’s birth certificate finds that 69 percent of “Birthers” live in the South, 12 percent each in the Midwest and West, and 6 percent in the Northeast. Some Daily Kos-ers have leapt from this finding to open ruminations over whether we should allow jury trials in Southern states. “Nope, we shouldn’t let people like that constitute a jury of your peers.”
I wonder what Southern Democrats make of all this. Are they, too, tired of their party’s leaders bashing their homeland? Realize that Democrats hold majorities in both legislative houses of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. There are more than 500 Democrat legislators in other “Confederate states.” They must be the luckiest winners on Earth to have been elected by the Birther voters who didn’t even support Lincoln, or the unluckiest victims for being constantly bashed by their own partisan brethren.
Hill is a member of the research faculty at Auburn University and has been a Republican pollster since 1984.