Burnt Orange Report

News, Politics, and Fun From Deep in the Heart of Texas

Support the TDP!

October 21, 2003

Dean's Southern Problem

By Byron LaMasters

I've written before that my support of Dean was with full knowledge that Howard Dean will likely fare very poorly in many areas of the south.

Full Disclosure: I'm no longer involved with the Dean campaign, but as of this time I'm not moving to another candidate, nor have I contributed to any candidate other than Dean. I've been waiting a little bit for Clark to grab me, but while his campaign has momentum, it's certainly made more than its share of missteps (Most recently, I disagree with his decision to skip Iowa, while for Lieberman, it makes perfect sense). I want to be able to say "Clark's the one", but at this point, I'm still not sure. I'm waiting to when I'll feel comfortable sending $50 his way, but not yet (I've donated $40 total to the Dean campaign in three seperate donations). Still, I think it's unfair to write Clark off. Dean and Clark are the only two candidates that really excite me (Edwards to a lesser extent), so I'm frankly waiting to see what happens for now.

Anyway, but stories like this from The Hill are what really have turned me from a hardcore Deaniac this Spring and Summer to now seriously considering supporting Clark.

Vulnerable House Democrats are worried that Howard Dean’s negative coattails will whisk them out of office in 2004.

The incumbent lawmakers — especially those from culturally conservative Southern states — are concerned that if he is nominated, the former Vermont governor’s antiwar, pro-gay positions will create a national mood that will make it more difficult for Democratic incumbents to keep their seats, let alone win back the House.

While many of these Democrats have proved their ability to win in seats that Republican presidential nominees typically carry by 10 or more percentage points, they are beginning to wonder how much of a point spread they’ll need to cover to retain their seats should Dean’s campaign for the presidential nomination succeed.


“If Dean were the nominee, it would make it a lot tougher on me,” said Rep. Rodney Alexander (D-La.), who hasn’t endorsed a candidate.

Alexander argued that President Bush has established a connection with many of his constituents, who drive around his rural, sprawling district in pickup trucks with gun racks.

“I can’t find many of them with Dean stickers on their trucks,” said Alexander, who will run for reelection in a district that Bush carried 57-40. “General Clark would make it easier to win. For sure.”

Alexander estimated that he will have “to do 10 points better than the nominee.”

He added, “I am not going to be out there waving the banner for Dean.”

Another Frontline Democrat, one from the Midwest, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “It matters who’s at the top of the ticket, and no matter how independent we think we are, our fates are tied to his.

“I could see both Dean and [Sen. John] Kerry [Mass.] creating real problems in my district, especially on the cultural issues.

“Not so much the war, but more on the gay marriage stuff, with Dean. I don’t need it any harder.”

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2000, confirmed that many of the vulnerable Democrats are getting nervous about how Dean will influence tight congressional races.

“Rodney speaks for a lot of people,” Kennedy said, adding, “That’s the reason I support Gephardt, because he plays well in all sections of the country, not just the Northeast or the West.”


Some Republicans seemed to relish the possible effect a Dean candidacy — and his presumed negative coattails — could have on down-ballot races.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), a former head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said that if Dean is the nominee, “that may create a national atmospherics that is very favorable in House races, especially on the cultural issues in the south.”


The Dean campaign did not return a request for comment by press time.

Sure, here in Austin, both coasts, urban areas, northern suburbs, etc. Dean will probably help the Democratic vote. He'll motivate dissaffected Democrats, Independents and previous nonvoters to get out, organize and bring their friends to vote. It'll help the ticket... in Blue states. But winning the "Blue states" won't beat Bush. Winning the "Blue states" won't help us win back the senate where the battleground states will be places like Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana (if Breaux resigns). Take a look at an analysis of the meetup.com statistics of Dean and Clark. 65% of Howard Dean's meetup.com supporters come from the 20 "Blue States" carried by Al Gore in 2000. Only 35% come from the 30 "Red States" carried by Bush. On the other hand, Wesley Clark has 43% of his meetup.com supporters from "Red States".

I've said before that if Dean were the nominee, Democrats should expect to lose big in most areas of the south, however, areas like the southwest (Red states like Arizona, Colorado and Nevada) along with Florida, West Virginia, Ohia and New Hampshire would be on the table for Dean (of course this is all dependent upon the situation in Iraq and the economy. If Dean is the nominee and Iraq is going badly still and the economy sucks, I'd say Dean wins with all the Blue states and most of the aforementioned states. If the opposite is true, my guess is a safe Bush victory to Bush landslide. Most likely is something in between). As for Clark or Edwards, I'd see them competetive in places like Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, as well as many of the previously mentioned states. In The Hill article, however, Rep. Rodney Alexander (D-LA) makes an important point. Bush has established a connection with rural voters with pickups and gun racks. Yeah, Dean is pro-gun (which gives him a good chance in Ohio and West Virginia), but not so much in districts that send bigots like John Cooksey (as recently as 2000) to Congress (not to mention Civil Unions and abortion rights).

So is all this a reason not to vote for Dean? No. But it is important to discuss and understand the implications of nominating Dean (good and bad), just as we should do the same for every viable candidate. Thoughts anyone?

Posted by Byron LaMasters at October 21, 2003 04:53 PM | TrackBack


"...of course this is all dependent upon the situation in Iraq and the economy"

As a Conservative, and as a student who will enter the job market in the not too distant future, I fervently hope the economy rebounds, and, happily, it appears to be doing so. However, I am sincerely curious as to what your position on the other side of the spectrum is. A booming economy in Nov. 2004 virtually kills any chance of Bush being defeated. Incumbents just don't loose in good economic times ... not in the past hundred years, anyway. So, Byron, what do you Liberals want? Do you want the economy to improve, in the belief that that is inherently good, or would you rather see unemployment remain high through 2004 in order to beat Bush. How do you view the news that seems to indicate an economic revival?

I'm not trying to be hostile here, either. I can see how someone would view Pres. Bush's re-election as a greater long-term threat to the economy than anything in the here and now, and believing that present pain is well worth the long term gain from electing a Democrat. I strongly disagree, but I can see how someone would rationally make the argument. I'd just like to know how you view the recovery: a positive good, a mixed blessing, or a bad thing if it causes Bush to win four more?


Posted by: sherk at October 21, 2003 09:36 PM

I am new here and have some thoughts about the Dean thing. So what if Dean fails to lift some of the few remaining Texas Dems? It is just as likely that as many Democrats in the North will ride his coattails to victory. I am tired of this lowest common denominator kind of reasoning (although not to a Ralph Nader point). Texas Democrats are just about dead, so why should I base my vote on who can keep the remaining Democrats on life support? Dean still inspires me and I think he could be a great leader for our country. Thank you for providing this excellent blog and good night.

Posted by: Jonathan at October 21, 2003 11:41 PM

It is true that much of Clark's support comes from independents and even Republicans. But then again, itsn't that the same strategy that the national party tried in 2002 and got us where we are today? What happens if Clark attracts those independents and the Democrats stay home because they see him as a paper candidate, which to date he still is?

It is also true that Dean draws significant support from Independents and even Repubicans, and aslo Greens, and the upset Libertarians. He also is pulling about equal support (in the NH poll posted on the Blog today) from men and women, where Clark's is mostly men.

I understand the idea of going at the opponent's base of support, but what happens if we leave our own behind yet again in a effort to put up a candidate we 'hope' will deliver, even when we ourselves aren't enthused? Does this sound familiar at all?
I'm looking for some stats on the gay issue.

Posted by: Karl-T at October 22, 2003 12:11 AM

Found the information.

According to page nine at NGLTF worksheet, Dean's stances on gay issues are shared by most of the serious contenders.

Worried about Domestic Partnerships? Then you should be worrying about every single Democrat running.

Worried about Civil Unions? Then don't vote for Dean, Gephardt, Kerry, Kucinich, Braun, or Sharpton because they all support it. Edwards and Lieberman support states freedom to create civil unions, meaning they are cool with Vermont. Even Clark, whose issues are not even on his website, supports civil unions after much hunting around.

And the only ones openly supporting "marriage" are Kucinich, Braun, and Sharpton, who you don't have to worry about.

The other listed issues there are not divisive in the public eye, and they are mostly in line with each other.

So if one is worried about Bush attacking the Dem. nominee because of civil unions, he's going to do it to any of these guys, regardless if they signed a bill into law or not.

Are we afraid to address the reasonable middle of America on equal benefits for homosexual partners in away that doesn't set off 'marriage bells'?

Posted by: Karl-T at October 22, 2003 12:34 AM


You ask a good and fair question. My response would be that I, and I think that most liberals hope that the economy rebounds sooner rather than later. However, I (along with most liberals) tend to believe that it's unlikely that the economy will in fact fully recover until a radically different policy is taken by the leadership in Congress and the President. Most liberals (myself included) see little leadership from Bush on either the economy or Iraq. In regards to the economy, the Bush answer is tax cuts for the wealthy, more tax cuts for the wealthy and then some more... that may create more jobs.... in China. Sure, there are signs of an economic recovery, just it's a jobless recovery. Who cares how the stock market is doing when you don't have a job? Maybe not you but your husband/wife/brother/sister/aunt/uncle/cousin/friend, etc. I have way too many friends that have recently graduated from college, but are either looking for work or are working in jobs in which they are vastly overqualified for (and underpaid). Who cares about the stock market when more net jobs have been lost under George W. Bush than under any president since Herbert Hoover?

As for Iraq, my answer is the same. Yes, I want things in Iraq to go well. I want us to be successful. I want Iraq to have a peaceful Democracy, and I hope and pray for the safety of our troops. But my answer there is similar to the economy. I believe that it's extremely unlikely for things to really turn around in Iraq until we have a new commander-in-chief that hasn't alienated and lied to the international community. Only when we have an administration that will be able to command the support and the respect of the international community (and be willing to share authority over Iraq, and rebuilding / oil contracts with other nations) do I feel that a success in Iraq is likely (and while we're at it, an administration that had a roadmap defining success would be nice, too).

So, basically, us liberals want the best for America now and in the future. If Bush can do that, then great. Obviously, he'll never meet my barometer for "success", but for the sake of America I wish the best for our troops and for our economy. Having said that, however, I believe that Bush's policies on the economy and in Iraq are miserable failures, and I have little hope that his policies will have a significant positive effect on either job creation or the situation in Iraq. Regardless, I hope that the American people will be able to see the reality of Bush's failure's in a campaign where he'll outspend our nominee by tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars trying to spin his failed policies.

Posted by: ByronUT at October 22, 2003 01:05 AM

" Texas Democrats are just about dead, so why should I base my vote on who can keep the remaining Democrats on life support? " - Johnathan

Uhmm... well as someone who's done a lot of work for Texas Democrats, i find your statement extremely shortsighted. I appreciate your passion for Dean, but don't forget that Democrats like Charlie Stenholm, Max Sandlin, Jim Turner, Nick Lampson, Chet Edwards, etc. may be conservative, but if we ever want to win the House back, we'll need to elect more folks like that. They may not agree with you all the time, but they're votes for Nancy Pelosi to be our next speaker. And if we want a Democratic president to be able to accomplish something in his administration, we'll need a Democratic Congress because we know what Republicans did when they controlled congress and we had the presidency. They go out and impeach President Clinton for lying about sex, yet hardly notice when President Bush lies about war. Lying about the premise for war is a far more serious crime than oral sex in the oval office, if you ask me. I doubt that a GOP congress would behave any differently to a President Howard Dean or a President Wesley Clark. We need to kick them out and it starts at the top.

Posted by: ByronUT at October 22, 2003 01:13 AM

"It is true that much of Clark's support comes from independents and even Republicans. But then again, itsn't that the same strategy that the national party tried in 2002 and got us where we are today?" - Karl-T

"I understand the idea of going at the opponent's base of support, but what happens if we leave our own behind yet again in a effort to put up a candidate we 'hope' will deliver, even when we ourselves aren't enthused? Does this sound familiar at all?" - Karl-T

Well to the concern that we're abandoning our base of support to win the middle... I think that it's key to do both. Dean excites the liberals. DLC folks like a conservative like Lieberman. In order to win, we need someone in the mold of Bill Clinton that can excite the liberal base, but also win significant cross-over support among independents and cut into the GOP base to an extent. So far, I see Clark as best able to do that. Sure, Dean's shown some ability to do that. But I think on a more limited basis. He may be popular with Independents in New Hampshire, but what about in Louisiana?

As for gay issues. I think it's much less about the issues. Most of the contenders will support most of what the gay community wants up to marriage (which they shouldn't.. it's a bad move politically). I think what matters much more is perception. For example, Howard Dean can be easy labeled (unfairly in my opinion, but it could stick nonetheless) as a pro-gay marriage Vermont elitist liberal out of touch with mainstream American values... Wesley Clark supports many of the same positions as Dean, but his background allows him to escape that label.

Even further, someone like Wesley Clark would, in my opinion, have a much easier time ending "Don't ask, Don't tell". I could imagine Clark saying something like "I've been in the military my entire career and I've served with many gays and lesbians and they are brave and courageous men and women, and we ought to recognize their contributions, and join our British allies who served bravely beside us in Iraq in ending our discriminatory policy against them". Howard Dean couldn't do that. He'd probably push the policy through, but he'd get scarred on it in a way that Clinton was (although I think we've progressed enough that it would be a lesser flap, but then again I'm getting way ahead of myself). Anyway, that's just my thoughts on the matter, Karl... you're more than welcome to disagree... which I'm sure that you will...

Posted by: ByronUT at October 22, 2003 01:26 AM

Well, first off:

The Economy: The public doesn't vote based on scientific and up-to-date measures of the economy. They vote on how the economy "feels", which roughly translates out to "How worried are you about keeping your job?" and "How quickly do you think you could find a new job?" and a little of "Do you think your raise this year is going to be more than a pittance?"

The real problem there for Bush (as it was for his father) is that people's perception of recovery lags behind the actual recovery by up to a year. If Bush wants people to feel the economy is doing better, he needs roaring job production now, and every quarter until the election.

He's not going to get it.

Dean and the South: Frankly, I think it's really too early to say. There's a lot of factors in play: First off, Dean does have some independent and GOP appeal (his centrist fiscal credentials and NRA ratings come in handy). Secondly, with a souring economy and a general feeling that Bush and the GOP are either selling out or screwing up (the deficit, the economy, the war), GOP turnout is likely to be depressed. Third, Dean is likely to create high Democratic turnout, even in the South.

Whether Dean results in more "R" votes than "D" votes, especially compared to other Dems, isn't really clear.

As for coattails: If Clark doesn't shape up, Dean's the only one who will have them anywhere. Better something than nothing.

Posted by: Morat at October 22, 2003 11:45 AM


The key is your phrase "booming economy."

It's a straw man to argue, as some have done, that Democrats hate Bush so badly they want a bad economy. With good reason, you can say that Democrats are expecting the economy to be poor or barely recovering next year.

We're looking at the largest U.S. budget and increasing trade deficits. We're looking at the possible rise of interest rates, low consumer confidence, a jobless recovery, and the export of high tech jobs and manufacturing jobs. I see people in my profession in Texas at 30% unemployment. People that are finally finding jobs are taking significant paycuts that they won't probably won't recover, like the manufacturer employees of the 80s. Insurance costs are expected to rise over the next year.

Exactly how are we going to have a truly recovering economy next year, let alone a booming one? There's a lot of ground to make up to have a true recovery. When the number of employed increases for a month, yet the unemployment rate drops, you know that someone is playing with the numbers and that jobs are worse than the numbers say.

I think a good question, Sherk, is exactly what are the Dems going to do to make it better?

Posted by: Tx Bubba at October 22, 2003 01:21 PM

Byron et. al,

Thanks, I appreciate your candor. The gist of your responses seem to be that the economy isn't recovering, and won't recover as long as Bush and his policies are in place. Frankly, I am glad that that is your position, and not that you would rather see the economy tank just to defeat Bush. I'd much rather believe that both parties want what is best for America, and simply disagree over how to get there, than that one side is evil and seeks power above all else.

I will dissent, however, in arguing that the economy appears to be doing quite well. It has a ways to go yet, but the momentum is definitely positive. Unemployment is always, sadly, a lagging indicator in any recovery, but when the recovery gets going, the unemployment can radically drop. Witness 1983-84. The economy was still recovering from the '82 recession (far deeper and more painful than the '01 recession), and growth appeared weak in 1983. We all know how well the economy was doing in late 1984, and it more or less didn't look back until 1990.

Take a look at the news: every week new businesses seem to handily beat their earnings forecasts. That does eventually translate into new investment and jobs, although not immediately, as firms wait to make sure the increased revenues aren't temporary blips. Unemployment is edging down, the stock market is well up for the year, and each new (consumer/business/investor/someone else) survey indicates high levels of confidence. All the leading private and public sector economists are predicting 4-6% growth in the 3rd quarter. Recall, these aren't political organizations, they are investment firms that stand to loose a lot of money if their forecasts are wrong ... and they are all predicting a lot of growth in the US economy in the immediate future.

As for your comments, Tx Bubba, I agree: the deficit sucks, and at $375 Billion it is too big, (although rising growth cut that from the $450B number forecast earlier this summer) but the reason it is a problem is because it means the government is sucking resources out of the productive (private) sector of the economy. I would happily slice three hundred plus billion from the federal budget, and return that money to the taxpayers.

The trade deficit is a positive good. The bigger, the better, and historically higher trade deficits result in higher growth. I won't go in to the intricate details of why this is the case here, but in short, buying goods and services than we sell leaves foreign nationals with surplus US dollars which they have to spend somehow (unless they keep them abroad, which is a great deal for us: $.06 slips of paper for real goods and services), which means that they invest more in the United States. Really, show me a time when a trade deficit hurt the US economy. It hasn't happenned.

As for interest rates, you have to understand how the Fed Lowers rates: by printing money. Basically, the more money the government creates, the more banks have to loan out, and the lower the interest rate. This usually causes inflation, unless the money flows overseas, which a lot of it has, since many in many countries the US dollar is accepted as currency (which, as I said above, rocks for us since it gives us lots of seniorage profits), but even given that, the Fed has been printing a LOT of money. It is natural to expect interest rates to rise as the Fed throttles back on this artificial and potentially dangerous stimulus, and not a sign of economic weakness.

As for myself, FYI, I am a Ph.D. econ. grad student, so I will claim some measure of knowledge about what I am talking about. Like I said, I believe the economy is clearly recovering today, and in 2004 will be booming. The business cycles and the political cycles seem to be aligning, to the great benefit of Pres. Bush, although I doubt that you would agree with me that his policies have helped turn the economy around :)


Posted by: Sherk at October 22, 2003 04:04 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

March 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

About Us
Advertising Policies


Tip Jar!

Recent Entries
BOR Edu.
University of Texas
University Democrats

BOR News
The Daily Texan
The Statesman
The Chronicle

BOR Politics
DNC Blog: Kicking Ass
DSCC Blog: From the Roots
DCCC Blog: The Stakeholder
Texas Dems
Travis County Dems

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett
State Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos
State Rep. Dawnna Dukes
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
State Rep. Mark Strama
Linked to BOR!
Alexa Rating
Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem
Technoranti Link Cosmos
Blogstreet Blogback
American Research Group
Annenberg Election Survey
Polling Report
Rasmussen Reports
Survey USA
Texas Stuff
A Little Pollyana
Austin Bloggers
DFW Bogs
DMN Blog
In the Pink Texas
Inside the Texas Capitol
The Lasso
Pol State TX Archives
Quorum Report Daily Buzz
George Strong Political Analysis
Texas Law Blog
Texas Monthly
Texas Observer
TX Dem Blogs
100 Monkeys Typing
Alt 7
Appalachia Alumni Association
Barefoot and Naked
BAN News
Betamax Guillotine
Blue Texas
Border Ass News
The Daily DeLay
The Daily Texican
Dos Centavos
Drive Democracy Easter Lemming
Get Donkey
Greg's Opinion
Half the Sins of Mankind
Jim Hightower
Hugo Zoom
Latinos for Texas
Off the Kuff
Ones and Zeros
Panhandle Truth Squad
Aaron Peña's Blog
People's Republic of Seabrook
Pink Dome
The Red State
Rhetoric & Rhythm
Rio Grande Valley Politics
Save Texas Reps
Skeptical Notion
Something's Got to Break
Stout Dem Blog
The Scarlet Left
Tex Prodigy
View From the Left
Yellow Doggeral Democrat
TX GOP Blogs
Beldar Blog
Blogs of War
Boots and Sabers
Dallas Arena
Jessica's Well
Lone Star Times
Publius TX
Safety for Dummies
The Sake of Arguement
Slightly Rough
Daily Reads
ABC's The Note
BOP News
Daily Kos
Media Matters
NBC's First Read
Political State Report
Political Animal
Political Wire
Talking Points Memo
CBS Washington Wrap
Matthew Yglesias
College Blogs
CDA Blog
Get More Ass (Brown)
Dem Apples (Harvard)
KU Dems
U-Delaware Dems
UNO Dems
Stanford Dems
GLBT Blogs
American Blog
Boi From Troy
Margaret Cho
Downtown Lad
Gay Patriot
Raw Story
Stonewall Dems
Andrew Sullivan
More Reads
Living Indefinitely
Blogroll Burnt Orange!
BOR Webrings
< ? Texas Blogs # >
<< ? austinbloggers # >>
« ? MT blog # »
« ? MT # »
« ? Verbosity # »
Election Returns
CNN 1998 Returns
CNN 2000 Returns
CNN 2002 Returns
CNN 2004 Returns

state elections 1992-2005

bexar county elections
collin county elections
dallas county elections
denton county elections
el paso county elections
fort bend county elections
galveston county elections
harris county elections
jefferson county elections
tarrant county elections
travis county elections

Texas Media
abilene reporter news

alpine avalanche

amarillo globe news

austin american statesman
austin chronicle
daily texan online
keye news (cbs)
kut (npr)
kvue news (abc)
kxan news (nbc)
news 8 austin

beaumont enterprise

brownsville herald

college station
the battalion (texas a&m)

corpus christi
corpus christi caller times
kris news (fox)
kztv news (cbs)

crawford lone star iconoclast

dallas-fort worth
dallas morning news
dallas observer
dallas voice
fort worth star-telegram
kdfw news (fox)
kera (npr)
ktvt news (cbs)
nbc5 news
wfaa news (abc)

del rio
del rio news herald

el paso
el paso times
kdbc news (cbs)
kfox news (fox)
ktsm (nbc)
kvia news (abc)

galveston county daily news

valley morning star

houston chronicle
houston press
khou news (cbs)
kprc news (nbc)
ktrk news (abc)

laredo morning times

lockhart post-register

lubbock avalanche journal

lufkin daily news

marshall news messenger

the monitor

midland - odessa
midland reporter telegram
odessa american

san antonio
san antonio express-news

seguin gazette-enterprise

texarkana gazette

tyler morning telegraph

victoria advocate

kxxv news (abc)
kwtx news (cbs)
waco tribune-herald

krgv news (nbc)

texas cable news
texas triangle

World News
ABC News
All Africa News
Arab News
Atlanta Constitution-Journal
News.com Australia
BBC News
Boston Globe
CBS News
Chicago Tribune
Christian Science Monitor
Denver Post
FOX News
Google News
The Guardian
Inside China Today
International Herald Tribune
Japan Times
LA Times
Mexico Daily
Miami Herald
New Orleans Times-Picayune
New York Times
El Pais (Spanish)
San Francisco Chronicle
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Times of India
Toronto Star
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post

Powered by
Movable Type 3.15