Real America

Two Americas

Two Americas

Sarah Palin caused a bit of a flap earlier in the week when she told a North Carolina crowd that she loved visiting the “pro-America” parts of the country, leading WaPo’s Juliet Eilperin to quip, “No word on which states she views as unpatriotic.”

The campaign circulated a longer report, courtesy of WSJ’s Elizabeth Holmes, putting the remarks in context, which Eilperin posted:

“We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe” — here the audience interrupted Palin with applause and cheers — “We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.”

She continued: “This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom.”

Eilperin’s take:

The upshot? The District is neither “real America” nor “pro-America.” Other parts of the nation? It’s unclear, but if you live in a small town, you’re probably patriotic from Palin’s point of view.
The campaign says, no, “She was reinforcing the message that the best of our America isn’t confined to our nation’s capitol.”

The controversy continued last night, when Eilperin’s colleagues Matthew Mosk and Christopher Twarowski passed on a remark by a McCain staffer nobody had ever heard of on a show nobody watched:

McCain senior adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer, a self-described “proud resident of Oakton, Virginia,” said on MSNBC that “Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia and moved into Northern Virginia, and that’s really what you see there. But the rest of the state, real Virginia, if you will, I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.”

Program host Kevin Corke asked Pfotenhauer if she wanted to retract the comment, prompting her to reply, “I mean ‘real Virginia’ because Northern Virginia is where I’ve always been, but ‘real Virginia’ I take to be the — this part of the state that is more Southern in nature, if you will. Northern Virginia is really metro D.C.”

I’ve now lived in Northern Virginia a little over six years, easily the longest I’ve lived consecutively in any state as an adult and soon to surpass any place I’ve lived consecutively in my lifetime.  I categorically agree with Pfotenhauer that it isn’t “Real Virginia” — let alone the “Real South” — but rather a suburb of Washington, DC.  This isn’t an insult but rather a cultural judgment.

Northern Virginia is much more affluent. It’s much more congested and thus has far different political priorities than the rest of the state.  People generally don’t have Southern accents here as they do just a few miles south and west.  It’s hard to get sweet tea in a restaurant here.  There are actually quotas making it harder for kids graduating schools in these parts to get into the University of Virginia, otherwise it would be overwhelmed by students from a handful of affluent counties.

As to the “Real America” nonsense, it’s a really annoying relic of the pre-24/7 communications era, when candidates could stump in localities and say things that wouldn’t get heard elsewhere.  In some ways, it’s as benign as rock bands traveling the country and telling each crowd that this is their favorite venue and that this is the best crowd, ever.

It’s more than that, of course.  There is in fact a cultural divide in the country that animates politics, especially at the presidential level.   It’s not quite rural-urban, as relatively few people leave in rural areas these days even in the reddest of Red States.  No, it’s between “cosmopolitan America” and the rest of the country.  People who live and work in big cities and college towns tend to have a different set of attitudes than those who live everywhere else.

We’ve seen it in the internecine debate among conservatives over Sarah Palin.  She’s adored by a wide swath of conservatives from the South, West, and Midwest but viewed quite skeptically by those of us who live in Cosmopolitan America.  South Park Republicans are different from Wal Mart Republicans, even though we wind up voting for the same people.

David Brooks captured this divide brilliantly, if somewhat inaccurately, in his various “Bobos in Paradise” writings.  In a 2003 followup in the Atlantic, he observed,

Human beings are capable of drawing amazingly subtle social distinctions and then shaping their lives around them. In the Washington, D.C., area Democratic lawyers tend to live in suburban Maryland, and Republican lawyers tend to live in suburban Virginia. If you asked a Democratic lawyer to move from her $750,000 house in Bethesda, Maryland, to a $750,000 house in Great Falls, Virginia, she’d look at you as if you had just asked her to buy a pickup truck with a gun rack and to shove chewing tobacco in her kid’s mouth. In Manhattan the owner of a $3 million SoHo loft would feel out of place moving into a $3 million Fifth Avenue apartment. A West Hollywood interior decorator would feel dislocated if you asked him to move to Orange County. In Georgia a barista from Athens would probably not fit in serving coffee in Americus.

At the macro level, there’s a longstanding scorn between these “Americas” that goes back to the days of the Founding Fathers.  Whether it was Hamiltonians vs. Jeffersonians, North vs. South, Country Club vs. Cloth Coat, or Blue vs. Red, the former have tended to look down on the latter while the latter resented the former.  Successful politicians have long mastered pushing the buttons to use these sentiments to their advantage.

However real the differences are, however, fanning the flames of resentment is a dangerous game for those aspiring to the presidency (or vice presidency).  Not only is it now impossible to play it and not get caught in the age of blogs and cell phone videocameras and YouTube — it brought down the very promising career of George Allen, for example, with the Macaca incident — but it’s impossible to govern effectively after waging that sort of campaign.  This is especially true now that campaigning for office is a never-ending cycle and the concepts of a “honeymoon” or a “governing mandate” now seem quaint.

Image: Canadian Red

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Politics 101, 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.

Comments

  1. wow is this really the quote you guys are referring to ?? http://tinyurl.com/5pjmom

  2. just me says:

    But the reality is that it isn’t just Palin that plays the game, and I have heard more than enough disdain for Wasilla Alaska of Alaska in general to find much to get upset about. And is anyone going to forget Obama’s “Bitter” remarks about rural and blue collar workers who cling to religion and guns.

    The reality is that there is a huge rural, urban and somewhere in between cultural divide. I don’t think we can pretend it doesn’t exist.

    Is it a good idea to play those against each other? Maybe not, but my guess is it won’t stop.

  3. Patrick T McGuire says:

    If you agree with JFK’s words “…ask not what your country can do for you.”, then there are “pro-American” areas of this country, those areas that don’t expect big gov’t to take care of them as opposed to the welfare centers in other parts of the country.

  4. However real the differences are, however, fanning the flames of resentment is a dangerous game for those aspiring to the presidency (or vice presidency).

    The statement is neutral, but comes at the end of a long post only attacking Goervnor Palin. Are Governor Palin’s “pro-Americans” the same people as Senator Obama’s “bitter clingers?”

    Pro-American and unpatriotic are not antonyms, no matter how much Ms. Eilperin wants to pretend that they are. Where’s the controversy outside of the fevered imaginations of those looking to nitpick any utterance by Governor Palin? Meanwhile Joe the Senator can seemingly say damn well anything with nothing more than a “that’s just Joe being Joe.”

  5. DC Loser says:

    In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the urban areas of Northern Virginia gets 50 cents on every tax dollar it sends to Richmond, supporting the “Pro-America” rural areas of the state. And the legislators in the House of Delegates from “Pro-American” areas love this arrangement so much it refuses the request from those urban areas (i.e., NOVA) to pay for its own transportation needs. I guess the Pro-Americans are every bit the welfare queen.

  6. Fence says:

    As John Stewart said best, “Everyone knows Republicans love America, they just hate half the people living in it.” This isn’t true of the “cosmopolitan Republicans,” as James calls them, but if the Republican party keeps associating with people like Palin they are going to be a dwindling breed.

    Palin’s “small town” crap is nothing to do with pride in smallness, unless perhaps small-mindedness. There are small towns in Vermont I don’t think she’d much care for. It is code for hostility to cultural liberalism. In her convention speech, she spoke the words “San Francisco” with more venom than “Al Qaeda.” And if anyone wants to take bets on the importance of any particular area to our global competitiveness in the 21st century, I’d put down a lot more chips on San Francisco or Hollywood or Manhattan than all the Wasillas put together.

  7. just me says:

    DC not sure that your comments about how much is sent in taxes and how much is spent is legitimate.

    After all, in our world of the progressive tax code I am willing to bet the wealthiest people in the state live in the Northern Virginia area, I thought the purpose of taxes was to “spread the wealth around” and according to Obama that is a good thing.

    I would be curious to see where the wealthiest people in the state live, and just how much the tax burden is for that area compared to the areas where the poorer and “bitter” folk live who are just clinging to their guns and religion.

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    As John Stewart said best, “Everyone knows Republicans love America, they just hate half the people living in it.” This isn’t true of the “cosmopolitan Republicans,” as James calls them, but if the Republican party keeps associating with people like Palin they are going to be a dwindling breed.

    lol, John Stewart, why dude, and as for associating with people like Palin, the dwindling breed comes from associating with people like you.

  9. Fence says:

    those areas that don’t expect big gov’t to take care of them as opposed to the welfare centers in other parts of the country.

    That may have once been the fault line, but it really isn’t anymore. The Republican party is now dominated by people who say they “hate socialism,” because that’s what someone told them to “think,” but who demand stimulus checks and Social Security and Medicare and government rules for the bedroom and a giant military and a whole host of other socialist things. I think McCain is a true conservative but the party has been lost.

  10. Fence says:

    lol, John Stewart, why dude, and as for associating with people like Palin, the dwindling breed comes from associating with people like you.

    Well, let me rephrase a bit. I have friends who are people like Palin and I don’t mind “associating” with them, many are great people who make great contributions to the country. But W and Palin are not who the Republicans should have been putting on the Presidential tickets. That is what is running the cosmopolitan Republicans out of the party. It is quite a bummer for economic conservatives, because it seems to mean we will spend about 2/3 of the time being governed by Democrats and the rest of the time by Republicans who act like Democrats (on their good days).

    As for whatever you are saying about me, I don’t even understand your sentence. If you are saying the Republican Party is better off without support from people like me, you appear to be well on your way to getting that wish. I suspect Obama will do nearly 20 points better in my community in two-party vote than Bill Clinton in 1996. There’s definitely the makings of realignment if Obama governs from the center rather than the left.

  11. just me says:

    There’s definitely the makings of realignment if Obama governs from the center rather than the left.

    And anyone who really thinks this is going to happen with a democratic led congress I would like to know what they are smoking.

    Obama’s agenda already included billions of dollars in spending tat is going to be paid for with a tax increase on the “rich.” The problem is that by the time we pay for all that crap we are all going to be rich.

  12. angellight says:

    The “SARAH PALIN” EFFECT:

    “Salt Lake Tribune said:

    Then, out of nowhere, and without proper vetting, the impetuous McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. She quickly proved grievously underequipped to step into the presidency should McCain, at 72 and with a history of health problems, die in office. More than any single factor, McCain’s bad judgment in choosing the inarticulate, insular and ethically challenged Palin disqualifies him for the presidency.

    Kansas City Star said, in endorsing Obama:

    Despite his age and previous health problems, McCain chose a vice presidential candidate who is so clearly unqualified for high office that the thought of her stepping into the presidency is frightening.

    That irresponsible decision casts serious doubt on McCain’s judgment at this point in his political career. And over the past eight years, Americans have come to know, all too well, the high price of carelessness and ineptitude in the White House.

    the Tennessean:

    Further, Obama demonstrated sound judgment in selecting as his running mate Sen. Joe Biden, whose experience and knowledge of foreign policy prepare him to step in if need be as chief executive. McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin, by comparison, may have shown political savvy, but at the expense of offering a vice president the country could rally around.

    the Miami Herald:

    A turning point came during the Republican convention, when he chose a long-shot for a running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, out of an apparent need to appease the right wing of the party. For all of her rhetorical skills on the campaign trail — particularly in the attack mode — Gov. Palin appears to know little about the issues and simply is not qualified to be commander in chief.

    the Oregonian:

    Supporting her, McCain has offered the equally jaw-dropping claim that Sarah Palin knows more about energy than anyone else in the United States.

    Having Palin a heartbeat from the presidency makes our own heart miss a beat.

    The LA Times was scathing:

    Indeed, the presidential campaign has rendered McCain nearly unrecognizable. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory. The decision calls into question just what kind of thinking — if that’s the appropriate word — would drive the White House in a McCain presidency. Fortunately, the public has shown more discernment, and the early enthusiasm for Palin has given way to national ridicule of her candidacy and McCain’s judgment.

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

    Consider that while Mr. McCain selected as his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, a callow and shrill partisan, Mr. Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. Mr. Biden’s 35-year Senate career has given him encyclopedic expertise on legislative and judicial issues, as well as foreign affairs.

    The Houston Chronicle:

    Perhaps the worst mistake McCain made in his campaign for the White House was the choice of the inexperienced and inflammatory Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. Had he selected a moderate, experienced Republican lawmaker such as Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison with a strong appeal to independents, the Chronicle’s choice for an endorsement would have been far more difficult.”

    And Now, the distinquished Colin Powell, has come out against John McCain! Why? Sarah Palin!

  13. just me says:

    And I don’t believe for two seconds that Powell’s reasoning for endorsing Obama is Sara Palin even if he lists it first on his lists of reasons.

    I think perhaps he movement away from the GOP during his term as SoS and afterwards is probably the first big sign that he wasn’t voting GOP this go around.

  14. James Joyner says:

    The statement is neutral, but comes at the end of a long post only attacking Goervnor Palin. Are Governor Palin’s “pro-Americans” the same people as Senator Obama’s “bitter clingers?”

    Charles: I’m not intending to attack Palin here; just to give context for the argument. It definitely goes both ways, as noted in these passages:

    As to the “Real America” nonsense, it’s a really annoying relic of the pre-24/7 communications era, when candidates could stump in localities and say things that wouldn’t get heard elsewhere. In some ways, it’s as benign as rock bands traveling the country and telling each crowd that this is their favorite venue and that this is the best crowd, ever.

    It’s more than that, of course. There is in fact a cultural divide in the country that animates politics, especially at the presidential level. It’s not quite rural-urban, as relatively few people leave in rural areas these days even in the reddest of Red States. No, it’s between “cosmopolitan America” and the rest of the country. People who live and work in big cities and college towns tend to have a different set of attitudes than those who live everywhere else.

    […]

    At the macro level, there’s a longstanding scorn between these “Americas” that goes back to the days of the Founding Fathers. Whether it was Hamiltonians vs. Jeffersonians, North vs. South, Country Club vs. Cloth Coat, or Blue vs. Red, the former have tended to look down on the latter while the latter resented the former. Successful politicians have long mastered pushing the buttons to use these sentiments to their advantage.

    And, yes, the “cling to God and guns” nonsense is every bit of a piece with the “Real America” nonsense. It’s buttering up the audience and telling them, in effect, that they’re much better than “The Other.”

  15. Triumph says:

    This isn’t an insult but rather a cultural judgment.

    J-Dog, If most of the population of Virginia is concentrated in the state’s suburbs and cities, then they are much more “real” than small towns.

    People like Palin who consistently look for authenticity in “small town” America are, frankly, out of touch. Eighty percent of the country’s population live in metro areas. Rural folks like Wasilla’s Palin and Sedona’s McCain are the extreme minority.

  16. just me says:

    People like Palin who consistently look for authenticity in “small town” America are, frankly, out of touch. Eighty percent of the country’s population live in metro areas. Rural folks like Wasilla’s Palin and Sedona’s McCain are the extreme minority.

    So let’s just have the urban centers vote, and tell rural America to suck eggs, and they aren’t out of touch with each other, they may not be in the same touch with the urbanites, but why is the rural folk who are out of touch, maybe it is those who live in urban areas waiting for senator government to give them everything.

  17. James Joyner says:

    J-Dog, If most of the population of Virginia is concentrated in the state’s suburbs and cities, then they are much more “real” than small towns.

    I’m saying that NoVa isn’t “Real Virginia” in the same sense that Miami isn’t the “Real Florida.” That is, the area is comprised mainly of recent transplants with no cultural roots here.

    In the case of NoVa, because of its proximity to DC, it has had a huge influx of people seeking jobs in government or related to government (lobbying, defense contracting, etc.) in recent years. People in these parts will tell you that they live “in DC” if asked. They just don’t consider themselves Virginians for the most part.

  18. sam says:

    And is anyone going to forget Obama’s “Bitter” remarks about rural and blue collar workers who cling to religion and guns.

    However, in today’s New York Times story, Working for the Working-Class Vote he tries to explain what he meant:

    [T]he moment Obama would most like to take back now, if he could, was the one last April when, speaking to a small gathering of Bay Area contributors, he said that small-town voters in Pennsylvania and other states had grown “bitter” over lost jobs, which caused them to “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” …

    “That was my biggest boneheaded move,” Obama told me recently. We were sitting across from each other on his plane, the one with the big red, white and blue “O” on the tail, flying some 35,000 feet above Nebraska. “How it was interpreted in the press was Obama talking to a bunch of wine-sipping San Francisco liberals with an anthropological view toward white working-class voters. And I was actually making the reverse point, clumsily, which is that these voters have a right to be frustrated because they’ve been ignored. And because Democrats haven’t met them halfway on cultural issues, we’ve not been able to communicate to them effectively an economic agenda that would help broaden our coalition.”…

    “I mean, part of what I was trying to say to that group in San Francisco was, ‘You guys need to stop thinking that issues like religion or guns are somehow wrong,’ ” he continued. “Because, in fact, if you’ve grown up and your dad went out and took you hunting, and that is part of your self-identity and provides you a sense of continuity and stability that is unavailable in your economic life, then that’s going to be pretty important, and rightfully so. And if you’re watching your community lose population and collapse but your church is still strong and the life of the community is centered around that, well then, you know, we’d better be paying attention to that.”

  19. sam says:

    Patrick says:

    If you agree with JFK’s words “…ask not what your country can do for you.”, then there are “pro-American” areas of this country, those areas that don’t expect big gov’t to take care of them as opposed to the welfare centers in other parts of the country.

    Well, that would exclude Alaska then, because no state has sucked harder on the federal teat.

  20. Ottovbvs says:

    Since I live in solidly democratic CT I suppose I don’t live in real America. Or what about my kids one each in Seattle, LA, NYC, they aren’t real Americans either. My family until me about four years ago have voted GOP for generations. It’s this sort of divisive bs that is going to destroy the GOP and turn it into a southern rump. They’ve already lost the NE from Maine to VA, the mid west and the entire west coast. They are now losing the rocky mountain and SW states because of the growth of the hispanic vote. Since I think the GOP needs a while in the wilderness to get rid of voices like Joyner, go right ahead, invest the future of the party in Palin.

  21. anjin-san says:

    Its noteworthy that McCain/Palin clings to the Atwater/Rove school of “divide & conquer” politics…

  22. just me says:

    Since I think the GOP needs a while in the wilderness to get rid of voices like Joyner, go right ahead, invest the future of the party in Palin.

    Hell if it is Joyner’s voice you want to get rid of, just what direction are you wanting the party to take. Joyner is among the saner in the party.

    I am also not a believer in the wilderness, it didn’t appear to do a damn thing for the democrats, of course they have been convinced the really won for the last 8 years.

  23. Sandy6 says:

    Well, that would exclude Alaska then, because no state has sucked harder on the federal teat.
    ________________
    71% of all the land of Alaska is owned and directly administered by the federal government, 222 Million acres of directly federal administered land plus 44 Million acres of Native American lands granted by and administered by Congress for a total of 266 Million acres of the 375 Million acres that makes up all of Alaska.

    105 Million acres, or 28% of the land of Alaska is owned by the state government and just under 1% is privately owned.

    Now do you understand why so much federal money flows back to Alaska?

    Let the people of Alaska have control over those 266 Million federal owned acres so they can pump the oil and gas, mine the land and harves the timber and you would never see another dime of federal money go to Alaska.

  24. Sandy6 says:

    People like Palin who consistently look for authenticity in “small town” America are, frankly, out of touch. Eighty percent of the country’s population live in metro areas. Rural folks like Wasilla’s Palin and Sedona’s McCain are the extreme minority.
    _______________
    Triumph, you contradict yourself. The actual figure of what percentage of the population lives in a METRO area is as much as 93%, the determining factor though is what definition of METRO area do you ascribe to?

    The Census Bureau definition is where a town/community has the majority of its economy linked to a city/county of at least 50,000 population. By that definition Wassillah is linked to Anchorage and Sedona is linked to Phoenix and both are therefore part of the Metro Areas. But, you refer to Sarah and John McCain as being Small Town Rural people and say they are in the extreme minority which is not the case, they are in the extreme majority.

    Being or not being a small town/rural person is not in my opinion any longer a geographical definable quality. My and my wife’s 100 acres is about 15 miles out of the center of town which is adjacent to a well known Federal Park which is the economic center for the area. I have lived in many countries, I speak three languages, I have 3 undergrad and 1 grad degrees but in my heart and ways of living remain a Red Neck Cowboy. The town has grown out to surround my land. Am I a small town rural person in the extreme minority as you put it or a resident of a metro area?

  25. sam says:

    Now do you understand why so much federal money flows back to Alaska?

    Uh, no. The fact that the federal government owns so much of the land is because at one time, the federal government owned all the land, Seward’s Folly and all that. Presumably the Alaskan territory was purchased for the benefit of all Americans, not just for the 600,000 or so who live there now. But the federal ownership of the land is not the reason that so much federal money flows into Alaska. Ted Stevens and Co. (along with Gov. Palin) is/was the reason. And it’s not as if the money is being used to transform tundra. Some examples:

    _Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board. From its federal funds, the board gave Alaska Airlines a $500,000 grant. It was used, in part, to paint a Boeing 737 to look like a Chinook Salmon to promote the state’s seafood.

    _The Alyeska Roundhouse received $450,000. The building is at the Alyeska ski resort in Girdwood, where Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens has his home.

    _Money for six “Alternative Salmon Products.” The University of Alaska received several of these earmarks, which included $450,000 for development of baby food containing salmon in 2006.

    _Alaska Christian College received $435,000 in 2005. The school had several dozen students at the time.

    _The National Archives and Records Administration received at least $2.25 million toward the purchase of an empty lot in Anchorage from two former Stevens business partners. The purchase cost was $3.5 million, allowing the former Stevens partners to more than double their investment.

    _The Alaska Botanical Garden received $300,000 over three years for expansion and renovation.

    _SpringBoard, an organization that helps Alaska businesses meet the needs of the Department of Defense, received $14 million the past two years.

    _$250,000 was appropriated to plan for the Alaska Statehood celebration, set for 2009.

    _$1 million in 2005 went for mobile computers for police cars in Wasilla, Alaska, population 6,700.

    Etc., etc., etc.

    [Source]

  26. sam says:

    Sorry, that link doesn’t work, try this:

    Examples of Alaska earmarks

  27. just me says:

    Sam you do know that federal dollars spent in Alaska goes beyond earmarks don’t you?

    Have you done a comparable list for states like Illinois, California? What about Delaware?

    I am not a fan of earmarks, but then Obama hasn’t crusaded against them, he asks for them. McCain hasn’t requested an earmark for years.

  28. sam says:

    Sam you do know that federal dollars spent in Alaska goes beyond earmarks don’t you?

    I don’t know that, but I won’t dispute it. If you will recall, I was responding to Patrick’s invocation of JFK’s “Ask not…” as the foundation of a distinction between those

    “pro-American” areas of this country, those areas that don’t expect big gov’t to take care of them as opposed to the welfare centers in other parts of the country

    I merely pointed out that Alaska falls outside the “pro-American” areas as defined by Patrick. If anything, I was showing how fatuous that distinction is.

  29. anjin-san says:

    I seem to remember something about a separatist movement up in Alaska and Palin & co having some involvement in it. Does not sound very “Pro-American” to me…

  30. armchairpunter says:

    Provincialism is not limited to the provinces.

  31. “it brought down the very promising career of George Allen, for example, with the Macaca incident”

    Is it fair to conflate the ‘Macaca’ incident with the ‘Real America’ persona Allen presented? Was the boneheaded use of ‘macaca’, a foreign racial slur, of a piece with acting as part of ‘Real America’? Only if you consider racism to be an intrinsic element of ‘real America’, but I don’t think this is fair or accurate. Take George W. Bush, for example. He has also cultivated a Texas version of a ‘Real American’ persona, but this hasn’t kept him from going out of his way toward racial inclusiveness — he appointed the most diverse cabinet in history.

  32. rodney dill says:

    I see Elmer FUDs is starting to worry.

  33. Gene44 says:

    America has become a very divided nation again today. We have all the big cities with their ideals of what life is all about, getting rich and enjoying the wealth of working in the big city, fighting the pollution, traffic, crowds and fighting each other to be first in line, while on the other hand we have the small towns across America where life goes on as usual, go to work, buy a house, raise a family, save money and go to church on Sunday. Growing up in Gadsden, Alabama population 41,000 and working in foreign countries I was amazed at the way people looked at America. As I talked with these people from over 36 different countries I was further amazed that they had the same values as the people of Gadsden, Alabama and were working in a foreign land because they did not have opportunities in their home countries to reach the goals they set for themselves. I was asked thousands of times if I could help them get a Green Card so they could take their families to America. Today Gadsden, Alabama still has 41,000 citizens who still have the same values, but, the other hundreds of thousands born in between are in the big cities trying to make their mark in life. So James has it right, we are a divided nation seeking a way forward, but, one thing is certain about the Palin VP pick by McCain, she is considered “One of Us” in all the small towns across America.

  34. James Joyner says:

    Is it fair to conflate the ‘Macaca’ incident with the ‘Real America’ persona Allen presented? Was the boneheaded use of ‘macaca’, a foreign racial slur, of a piece with acting as part of ‘Real America’?

    Remember, though, that he was welcoming Macaca to Real America: “Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”

  35. G.A.Phillips says:

    Everyone knows Republicans love America, they just hate half the people living in it.”

    Because you think this is was true and repeated it as something worthy of repeating tells me much.

    Totally frustrated with half of this country, telling the truth about what they do and why, yes.

  36. carpeicthus says:

    Patrick is right. The welfare states, like the Republican South, take in far more money than they give out. Real America, by that logic is places like New York City, that pay for the rest of your crap.

    *I’m not serious. Some of you people, sadly, are.

  37. tom p says:

    “pro-American” areas of this country, those areas that don’t expect big gov’t to take care of them as opposed to the welfare centers in other parts of the country

    What is amazing to me is that some people think these are different places. Here in Crawford Co MO we have more than our fair share of sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan, and many more than our fair share who aren’t coming back. And yet, how many times have I stood in line behind some one with food stamps? How many times have I read in the paper or sat in local council meetings as our elected reps wrangled with tight budgets and fine tuned grant applications?

    The differences are not as real as some pretend they are.

    And yes, there are some really “bitter” people out here. As usual, it is not what he said, but the way he said it and then it was taken out of context.(McCain has been similarly bludgeoned for remarks taken out of context)

    It is class warfare. I will let you all figure out who is winning and who is losing.