Mudcat Gets Mud In Edwards’ Eye

By Martin Bosworth

Yesterday, longtime Democratic consultant (and self-admitted “inexperienced blogger”) Dave “Mudcat” Saunders started a guest gig at Time’s “Swampland” blog by basically telling much of the progressive Democrat blogosphere to drop dead.

The response, as you might imagine, was not kind. Today, Mudcat has tried to make amends, but the people aren’t having any of it. This is not the first time Saunders and his particular brand of rural Democrat populism has riled the base, either.

Now, while I absolutely believe Saunders is correct in saying that Dems’ strengths are focusing on economic and populist issues, this fixation he has with proving his redneck NASCAR dad cred not only makes him look like an ignorant ass, it also will cost Edwards the support of many people who are, frankly, sick to death of being told they–we–aren’t American enough because we don’t live in the sticks and don’t professionally bill ourselves with nicknames that sound like we got kicked out of the auditions for the Lynyrd Skynyrd reunion tour.

When Mudcat sticks to the message, as he largely did for Jim Webb, he can hit hard and resonate with people of all colors and backgrounds. But this weird persecution hangup he (and Webb) seem to have about the stigma of being white and Southern just makes him sound like, well, a self-centered redneck asshat.

Edwards is finally punching through to the mainstream with his message of “Two Americas,” and the last thing he needs to do is piss on the heads of the very people that form his core constituency–so why would he take on a guy like Mudcat as his advisor and let him do that very thing? Or, worse, is he not paying attention to what’s going on in his campaign, as he was accused of during the Amanda Marcotte vs. Bob Donohue dust-up?

I’ve been an Edwards guy ever since “Two Americas,” and I find his message stronger and more resonant than either Obama’s or Clinton’s has been so far. But if one of his top advisers is a guy who thinks our support can be so easily taken for granted that he can insult us for the crime of being Northern, educated, and not chewing tobacco, he may need to rethink his strategy, and I may need to rethink who I’m going to support in the race to determine our country’s future.

UPDATE: Not only has Saunders apologized, but the Edwards campaign is playing it off as a sort of “boys will be boys” thing. So here’s my question…why is it a terrible controversy when two of your blogmistresses dare to question religious beliefs in America, but completely acceptable when one of your top advisors insults a huge portion of your support base for not living up to his beliefs?

If Saunders is speaking for himself on his own time, that’s fine. But if this is what he’s saying on the public record, imagine what he’s whispering in Edwards’ ear in policy and campaign meetings!

John, seriously, man…Get your mind right and your head in the game. This was a preventable gaffe that you could have avoided, and it’s just detracting from your message.

7 replies »

  1. Martin,

    I’m an Edwards guy, too. He and I share VERY similar backgrounds – both my parents worked in the textile industry (mom in office, dad in the mills) and both of us got our educations on scholarships based on our merit. Edwards became a lawyer – I became a college professor. Neither of us are exactly NASCAR/tobacco chew guys….I’ve been behind him since the “Two Americas” days, too.

    I’m from NC although I’ve lived in VA for the last year. Saw Mudcat Saunders in action “helping” Webb. Both Webb and Saunders have acted like shit heads since Webb beat “Macaca” Allen – no great feat in truth.

    With help like Saunders, Edwards may win some of the “damned redneck” vote (and no, I don’t say that affectionately – many of those dumbasses had the same ops I had in the 60’s when there was money for schools and chose ignorance). Those of us (and there are many more like me and Edwards – try, oh, Sam, for example) are likely to be turned from him toward someone with a “higher” vision than “please the Yahoos.” Saunders would drive us straight into the arms of Obama….

    Saunders needs to go back to work for Webb – it’ll take some trick to get him re-elected in VA after the way he’s comported himself as a new senator….

    And Edwards needs to embrace the smart, educated people of the South – those were the progressives who helped civil rights gain success and who helped the South lose some of its racist/xenophobe image. He doesn’t need morons like Saunders driving them off….

  2. Jim,

    That’s exactly what I’m saying. Mudcat is playing to the worst stereotypes of the base for reasons I can’t fathom, and it’s backfired terribly.

    My mom is from Kentucky, actually–Fort Thomas. She’s one of those “smart, educated people of the South” who never disavowed her heritage, but also never let it define her. So I’m not unsympathetic to Mudcat’s concerns, but I think he’s just using it as an excuse to exercise his inferiority complex, and it makes him (and Edwards) look like morons as a result.

  3. Somebody should tell Mudcat that while “divide and conquer” is a great strategy, it tends to work best when you use it on the OTHER side.

    And while it would great to have some more support from the Southern NASCAR crowd, he might want to have a look at the numbers from the last few elections and ask himself if pissing on NY and Massachusetts in order to pick up a few votes in Mississippi and Georgia is smart math.

  4. Maybe Mr. Mudcat needs to focus a little more on the actual social and economic issues of the American South, like poverty and such, instead of stomping all over the portions of his party that he *personally* does not like. Infighting like this is what the GOP craves – keep the Dems (or any toher social group, really) fighting and they won’t have time to organize and actually vote. it works everytime. Anyone sure that he is actually on the Dems side? Or is he a Republican plant?