Nobody taps into the old fighting strain of Southern politics like Mr. Gingrich, who styles himself as an intellectual brawler who can outsmart the know-it-alls in Washington. If the primary had been held a month ago, Mr. Gingrich would probably have won in a walk, and even those who are leaning away from supporting him are not quite ready to let go completely.

via Tight Republican Primaries Suggest Unpredictable South – NYTimes.com

What does this say about the American South, that we prefer to elect candidates who are mavericks and old West style gunslingers rather than nationally electable?  The South has always tried to distinguish itself from the rest of the nation; by showing how set-apart we are.  The Confederate flag, Blue laws prohibiting alcohol sales on Sundays and more churches per capita than other place in the United States; these are things that make the South distinctively “unique.”

In terms of the candidate we seek to elect, Southern voters more than any other, favor candidates who may appear to have their interests at heart, but who are in most ways diametrically opposed in their ideology.  For instance, most Southerns are Republicans, supporting the party’s economic policy of a hands-off government approach to economics; a policy that favors the corporation and not the worker-with most Southerners being the later.  Additionally, while social conservative, many Southerns favor Christian conservatives; something Republican candidates will feign during the primary, but quickly shed when the general election comes to town.

Does this make the Southern voter willfully naive?  Rather than voting in their own best interest, have they fallen prey to the political advertising machine-looking only at the pretty packaging and failing to fully vet the products they are buying?  Does the rest of the nation look at the South as different and not in a good way, but rather in that paternalistic way that a parent looks at the child who will be lucky to work at McDonald’s because of his obvious lack of aptitude?

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