washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Jesus and Joe Lieberman

By now you may have heard about the verbal self-immolation being undertaken by Arkansas state senator Kim Hendren, the sole announced 2010 Republican opponent for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln. First off, he went on a rant in front of a GOP audience in Little Rock against U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, referring to the senior senator from New York as “that Jew.” Allowing as how he shouldn’t have done that, he explained that what he really wanted to convey was his distaste for people (presumably of all faiths) who didn’t share the values he learned from watching the Andy Griffith Show back in the day (an admittedly goyish show).
Now we learn from veteran Arkansas reporter John Brummett that Hendren (whose nickname should become “Digger”) called him up to explain further, and reflected on his feelings about Jews:

He said he remembered saying “the Jew” or “that Jew,” and didn’t know why in the world it came out, but that he did go on seconds later to say there was a Jewish person he did admire, and that would be Jesus. And then he told me that, for that matter, he rather liked Joe Lieberman.

Well, it’s nice that Kendren can think of an admirable Jew every couple thousand years or so, but it’s a pretty odd couple when you think about it, unless you are of the fixed opinion that Jesus was in John McCain’s corner in 2008 (a disturbing thought for believers in both the divinity of Jesus and divine omnipotence). It reminds me of an anecdote from Lieberman’s ill-fated 2004 presidential campaign, when he attended an African-American church in South Carolina one Sunday. The choir was rocking, and the choir leader was working the congregation pretty well, coming up to various worshipers, thrusting a microphone into their faces, and asking: “Do you love Jesus!” Then finally, he got to the candidate, and asked: “Senator Lieberman! Do you love Jesus?” Lieberman just smiled.
In any event, it’s a good example of how Democrats like Blanche Lincoln can survive in the Deep South.

3 comments on “Jesus and Joe Lieberman

  1. gregwythe on

    One point to shoehorn into your point, Mike: there is now a growing base of suburban support for Dems in Texas. I know there’s anecdotal evidence in the other big southern states to agree with that. And I’m doubtful of there being much to corroborate this in the smaller ones.
    That’s one of the aspects I wanted to look at beyond my own home state of Texas.
    You’re definitely right about the WD40-class of Dems being a diminishing breed in many areas. I was really surprised, though, to see how less of a problem it was in states like MS and AL in particular compared to TX. In looking at the Texas vote by precinct, I think the reality is more accurately stated as the pool of Dem support is diminishing as the rural areas get older. There are still similar pockets of support that exist in these areas for other candidates higher than State Rep. But the vote share in Dem areas has generally decreased as other areas around them have gotten more and more Republican. So I think that several of these seats – although definitely fewer – may be survived by other Dems. But they’ll have GOP State Senators and GOP Members of Congress.
    Then again, there are some pretty creative tools for redistricting available these days 😉

  2. MIke M on

    I can comment on Greg’s map at least in so far as Texas is concerned. Of those State House of Representative Districts are concerned, the Democratic districts fall into one of three categories: 1) minority held districts; 2) urban districts; and 3) rural Democratic districts.
    Category one and two are growing. Category three is a vanishing species. They’re called WD-40’s om Texas — white Democrats over 40. People like Jim McReynolds (Lufkin), Chuck Hopson) Jacksonville), and Stephen Frost (Atlanta, though not over 40), etc. In all likelihood, these guys (with the possible exception of Hopson) can hold their seats until they retire. But then, the Republicans will take those seats.
    But all the growth in Texas in Democratic State House seats is coming in urban areas, and to a lesser degree in minority districts. And if the Republicans control the redistricting process in Texas again in 2011, even these white rural Democrats will find themselves with tougher fights than they presently have.

  3. gregwythe on

    Interesting timing of your post, Ed. I just wrapped up a minor mapping project that shows that Democratic candidates for State Rep. in the south aren’t quite as dead as conventional wisdom leads us to believe. It’s a pretty remarkable view of the remaining strength the party has in the south after 30 or so years of conservative activists driving religious voters over to the GOP.
    But then again, I’m sure this is nothing new to you 😉
    Blanche should do fine unless there’s some broader tilt in public opinion heading into 2010.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.