Saturday, March 11, 2006

Only Southerners Need Apply

Today's New York Times Magazine features a cover story by Matt Bai about Mark Warner, presenting him (in accordance with conventional wisdom--which of course is the stock in trade of the New York Times Magazine) as the centrist southern alternative to Hillary. Typical quote:

Results do matter to voters, Warner says, but only if you make it impossible for Republicans to paint your nominee as another protester-turned-windsurfer who looks down on people who go to a megachurch and like to watch the stock cars race.

I don't have anything particular against Warner, although I'd favor a much more liberal candidate myself. But why does the mainstream media allow the white South to get away with depicting the Northeast as a haven of elitist liberals unfit for national office?

Democrats from around the country have repeatedly supported centrist southerners as presidential candidates--Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, even Lyndon Johnson (if you care to reach back that far). We haven't been put off by their accents or their clothes or their religious affiliations or their taste in food. But every four years we have to listen to lectures about how middle America won't vote for someone who talks fast or drinks white wine or likes to watch foreign films--and how, if the Democrats want to win an election, they must nominate a southerner.

If "elitism" means a bigoted belief in the superiority of one's own kind and a rejection of those from different backgrounds, who exactly are the elitists here?
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