The Unseen Power of C-SPAN
In the past few months, I've noticed a number of liberal bloggers trying to devise formulas to reach out to the archtypical "Red State" voters who are inclined to vote for Bush. In particular, there has been much gnashing of teeth as to how to lure working class whites (e.g. "NASCAR dads" and such) back into the Democratic fold. I don't know what a successful strategy would be, but I do know, after watching C-SPAN yesterday, that it's going to be far more difficult than many of us think, and perhaps even impossible.
Anyway, Eric Alterman was the guest on Washington Journal yesterday promoting his new book. Although I probably should have expected it, I was nevertheless astounded by the vituperative, spittle-flecked rage that pro-Bush callers heaped upon Alterman. Along with mindlessly repeating RNC talking points (e.g. he's kept us safe after 9/11, his tax cuts have given money back to the people), these callers saw fit to label Alterman deranged, a liar, etc. without bothering to address the substance of his argument. Most amusingly, many of the pro-Bush callers didn't even have any questions for Alterman; they simply launched into a vein-popping temper tantrum as soon as they got on the line. When the bemused C-SPAN host asked them if they actually had a question, they invariably replied "no" and hung up.
What does this have to do with the November election? All of the irate, pro-Bush C-SPAN callers came from Red states, as one would expect. Thus, while I was watching the program, I realized that there's no way in hell many (if not most) of these Red State voters will ever vote for Kerry, or any Democrat, no matter how calmly and rationally we try to convince them otherwise. Whether we'd like to admit it or not, these fellow Americans of ours are simply too far gone. If this observation makes me a "liberal elitist," then so be it. Anyway, the Alterman interview is online (scroll down to "Eric Alterman, Author, "The Book on Bush") for those interested.