The New York Times goes to Georgia today and finds it a strange place:
Listening to Congressional candidates in middle Georgia, it is easy for someone to think that he is in a different year and, possibly, a different country.
Democrats defend themselves against accusations that they are rubber stamps for their party’s leadership. Democrats are defending the war in Iraq. And Democrats -- yes, Democrats -- strive to align themselves with the president.
"I agree with George Bush on this one," Representative John Barrow ends his new advertisement in favor of abolishing the estate tax.
Charles S. Bullock, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia, said, "It's a bit of a return to yesterday." ...
Further down in the story, we have a Republican challenger, Mac Collins, boasting -- boasting! -- that his candidate for Speaker of the House is Dennis Hastert.
A return to yesterday? I prefer the characterization in the first sentence: These pro-Bush Southerners live in another country.
Here's what I said early in the year, when the polls started showing a split in this country between Democrats and independents (on one side) and Republicans (stubbornly clinging to the other):
Remember the aftermath of the 2004 election? Remember how Democrats were portrayed as hopelessly out of step -- not religious enough, not NASCAR enough, not sufficiently family-oriented or security-oriented, too urban, too accommodating of abortion and Hollywood and indecency and gays?
Well, it's time for the media to start talking about Republicans as the oddballs. It's time to start discussing them as the ones who don't have "mainstream American values."
It's the Republicans who are the outliers, the weirdos; it's Republicans who cling to a worldview that fails reality check after reality check.
Democrats, by contrast, are normal Americans.
The pro-Bush South is the home turf of these weirdos. It's the region that's out of step, not, say, the Northeast. Don't forget this in the next two years, when they try to tell you otherwise.