Metro Versus Retro

Newsweek has an interview with John Sperling, author of the forthcoming book The Great Divide.

NEWSWEEK:Your book seems to suggest that Democrats should stop even trying to appeal to voters in what you call “Retro America.”

John Sperling: Well, what they have to do is stop counting on getting any of those votes. The Republicans own those votes. They just have to face reality; if they̢۪re going to become the majority party, they̢۪re going to have to build their own base. The Republicans have been brilliant; they have fantastic discipline, and they have an absolutely dog-loyal base that will vote for them no matter what happens. So they only have to add on the margins to win. The Democrats, at this point, they don̢۪t really have a base anymore. They need to target their message like the Republicans do, so they solidify their constituency. If they do that, the numbers are on their side.

NEWSWEEK: The other point you seem to make is that the Democrats have been trying to be all things to all people while the Republicans have more straightforward about what they believe.

John Sperling: Well, yeah. The other day in Des Moines—and the Democrats laughed at him—George Bush said ‘We Republicans believe in things.’ And that was very powerful. He didn’t even have to say what those things were: everyone knows he meant God, flag and family. Everyone knows what the Republicans stand for. So you know what you’re getting when you vote for them.

An interesting take from a self-described Metro. If the choice is between emulating Michael Moore or Mel Gibson, it seems rather easy. Of course, the Metros would likely say the same thing.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. carpeicthus says:

    His ideas are so astoundingly bad that he’s either a too-wealthy idiot or an agent provacateur, probably both.

  2. bryan says:

    I have a copy of USA Today from Thursday that has this glowing interview with this guy, and right across the fold was a 3/4 page ad for Retro/Metro. Imagine that!

    I need to post the ad. It’s really hilarious.

  3. pennywit says:

    I don’t see “metro” vs. “retro” as anything new. It’s the same old formula: Find a base, energize it, and try to get 50 percent plus one in the middle to support you.

  4. Paul says:

    Oh God I hope the left thinks this guy is right.

    The more the public sees of the ‘Mooronic’ side of the Democrats the better for Republicans.

  5. paladin says:

    As a person lacking a Y chromosome, I’ll take Mel over Mikey any day!

  6. Attila Girl says:

    That’s part of what’s so idiotic about this: those who want to fuse the culture wars to the debate over the war on terror do so at their own peril.

    There are plenty of women out there who want to win against AQ, but still like a guy to look a little put-together. And to suggest that Mikey is the poster boy for urban men who work out and use a little hair product now and then is simply absurd.