Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Sweet (electoral) home Alabama

I'm not going to pretend last night's Lynyrd Skynyrd GOP fund-raiser was an authentic blast of American Populism -- I saw Jenna Bush in the balcony, of all people. But it certainly illustrated how/why the Republicans keep their edge with cultural conservatives.

From lead singer Johnny Van Zant's "These Colors Don't Run" patch to the flag-wrapped-around-the-microphone for their song "Red, White and Blue" (the flag was U.S. on one side, confederate on the other), the band just showed an ease with waving the flag, with no hint of irony, that the Republican Party in general seems more at ease with doing than the Democrats.

You can bet a lot of folks in the audience weren't Southern rednecks (and please don't harp on the whole racist/redneck stereotype folks who don't attend Skynyrd shows aim at people who do. Yes, the crowd was overwhelmingly white. But yes, these people would party with any race, creed or ethnicity.), but they associate with it -- it speaks to values they take seriously, even if they feel that "elite" pop culture doesn't. I swear I saw half of the GOP Hill people I know at that concert. But half of my Democratic Hill friends wouldn't be caught dead at that show -- it wouldn't meet their musical "standards."

(I've always been amazed at that. I play guitar, and Skynyrd guitar parts are 10 times more challenging than anything you'll hear from the typical librarian-glassed gloom-God Indie America rock niche-star who musically ignorant (but trendy!) progressives will pass off as "cool.")

Therein lies a great part of America's divide. Like 'em or not, Lynyrd Skynyrd's allegiance to the GOP points at a larger electoral phenomenon. I hope John Kerry will remember -- these southern men don't need him around, anyhow. And it would be a lot easier for him to take the White House if they did.