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“Mudcat’s” Southern strategy

By See-Dubya  •  June 25, 2008 05:46 AM

There’s this political consultant for the Democrats named David Saunders, who goes by “Mudcat”, and he’s full of, well, he’s full of a lot of stuff, but he’s no doubt an interviewer’s dream because he’s full of earthy local-color quotes. He’s profiled by one of the Weekly Standard’s best writers, Matt Labash, and drops an interesting bit of strategery:

Mudcat, who describes himself as “an old-timey Democrat: pro-gun, pro-God, pro fiscal conservatism,” is tired of teaching remedial Mudcat Math to deaf ears in his own party. It can be distilled as The Twofer Strategy: If you get a rural white voter who otherwise would have voted for McCain to switch to Obama, his vote is worth twice as much as a vote from your standard “liberal pinko commie” or your MTV Rock-the-Voter, since Obama not only accrues one vote for himself, but also takes one away from McCain. Campaigns that court the base while ignoring voters who could be won over are “hunting squirrels they’ve already killed.”

Let’s turn that logic around a second and apply it to the Republican side. Is there an insight there into why McCain keeps kicking conservatives in the bojangles? There might be, because I see two reasons for McCain to do so:

I. He’s not conservative and doesn’t like us. This one gets a lot of discussion here, and I think there’s a lot of truth to it. McCain is genuinely invested in his Maverick rep and sees himself as better, smarter, and cooler than the mere earth-bound salt-of-the-earth conservative types. He thinks we insist on border security out of latent bigotry, and we’ve all been tragically misled by greedy corporations about this climate change thing and drilling in ANWR.

The other possible, and more strategic, reason is the mirror image of Mudcat’s twofer battle plan. If McCain were to turn out the conservative base, he still would have trouble winning. If he wants to win–and he’s a politician, so that’s a pretty safe bet–he’s going to have to poach some votes from Obama, maybe some likely Hillary voters, especially in key states.

Some of those potential twofer voters respond well to open-borders pandering and showing up at La Raza meetings. I think McCain figures that the conservatives he alienates by doing so will protest just by not voting for him, rather than by voting for Obama. In other words, McCain’s betting he’ll more than make up in twofers what he loses from dissing the base.

So if any consolation, it’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.

Well, okay, it’s actually personal too.


I thought the extended fishing metaphor was worth a mention:

We hit the streams with a gaggle of Mudcat’s gregarious and generous friends, half of whom are named “Charlie.” Many of them are wealthy, but they are committed gentlemen of leisure, dedicated to the art of angling to the point that some have bought their own trout hatchery on their private limestone stream. On one outing, we hit a fishing spot so choice I’d never be invited back if I published its name. I wade into a hole that Mudcat has already worked over for four or so rainbow trout.

As I keep fishing and am getting skunked, I notice one of the boys sneaking upstream. Shortly thereafter, I hear scattered kerplunks and think the wiseacre is throwing rocks, scaring down prospective fish. But a minute or so later, trout start rising like bombs going off around my waders, which inspires a new round of catcalls. “Yep, no fish in there. .  .  . It’s a dry hole.” It turns out the prankster had stashed trout pellets in his beer bottle, and had thrown them in a riffle, which had washed down into my hole. A while later, I take a leaping rainbow trout and a nice-sized brookie on a bead-head zug bug, barely saving my dignity, though one of the Charlies seems cross that I horsed the latter in.

Okay, I’m not a trout fisherman, and I don’t own a private limestone trout hatchery or even any fishing gear from Orvis, but I think I missed the scene in A River Runs Through It where they chum the water with trout pellets.

There’s a theme here. The next day Labash and Mudcat go out to try to catch a catfish on a fly rod, and there’s Mudcat there to grease the wheels:

Mudcat asks to take a look at my flies, and settles on a brown woolly bugger, of which he cuts off the tail, to make it look more cylindrical. He tells me to go to it, which I do, sight-casting to large grass carp and channel catfish, their shadows darting through the water. Next, Mudcat starts adding “the secret ingredient”–cylindrical fish pellets–which he throws in by the handful, as he sits with a Camel dangling from his mouth in a lawn chair on a dock, about 50 feet in front of me from the shore.

Typical Democrat: flood the zone with giveaways, be it stinkbait or federal dollars, and bribe the voters to your side. (Example: Hey, have some free federal highway money! Just ignore that sharp barbed hook in the middle of it.)

Crudely effective, but I think it shows a certain lack of understanding for the fish and what they want. Which is supposed to be Mudcat’s stock-in-trade.


{Post by See-Dubya}

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Categories: 2008 campaign, 2012 Campaign, Barack Obama, John McCain