Southern Surrender versus Southern Strategy: Debate Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night, March 20 at 7p.m., at Wake Forest University Tom Schaller will debate Bob Moser on the question of the Democratic Party's strategy towards the South. The debate will be held in Room 1312 of the Worrell Professional Center and respondents include yours truly and Delmas Parker, second vice chair of the NC Democratic Party, along with David Coates, politics professor at Wake Forest.

This debate's genesis was a work of BlueNC and the blogosphere in more ways than one. Read the rest for more on the debate and on the blogosphere's role.

A little more than six weeks ago Anglico's post (This kind of sucking up . . . ) thanked The Nation's publicist for reaching out to blogs to advertise Moser's article, "The Way Down South," a response to Schaller's book, Whistling Past Dixie.

In the comments to that Anglico post I mentioned the idea of hosting a debate between Moser and Schaller. Others mentioned having a public radio station broadcast it.

Well, both are happening. WFDD, our NPR affiliate will record the debate tomorrow night, broadcast it Sunday, and have a podcast on their website.

The "blogroots" really go deeper, though. I first met Schaller at YearlyKos when he "debated" Mudcat Saunders who famously told Schaller, "You can kiss my rebel ass." My thought at the time was that both Schaller and Saunders (as well as the others on the panel) spent more time talking past one another and burning strawmen than engaging the relevant arguments. I had an opportunity to speak to both Mudcat and Schaller at YearlyKos and found that both have good arguments and agree with one another on more points than they publicly admitted.

I saw Schaller again in D.C. this January at the blogger party (advertised via MyDD) celebrating the inauguration of our new Congress. He mentioned he would be glad to come to NC if the occasion arose.

Once the BlueNC post about the Moser article hit, the stars aligned. Bob Moser is a Winston-Salem native, someone pointed out in comments. I tracked down Moser via The Nation and contacted Schaller. The Nation has no good contact mechanism, so Schaller actually helped find Moser for me. Both were eager to debate.

So. YearlyKos. MyDD. BlueNC. Six weeks later, a debate.

Hopefully, the debate will actually help arguers and politicos on either side of the divide discover what their real disagreements are. I do not think anyone really argues the party should write off the South entirely. Schaller claims he is not opposed to the fifty state strategy. Nor would Moser argue that national candidates should abandon all targeting of their finite camapaign resources. So what is it that actually rankles? What are the close calls that need to be made?

We'll be trying to come closer to answering those questions tomorrow night. Join us.

Even if you cannot be there, use the comments here to submit questions you would like answered, especially those of you who were so fired up about the Moser article six weeks ago.

If anyone wants to liveblog, let me know, too. The campus is as wireless and internet friendly as can be -- no logins/passwords required for the public network.

[Edited: minor typos - greg]

Comments

Hey there!

Wow . . . what a great story behind the story . . . and congratulations on pulling this one off! I'm sorry I can't be there but I'll really look forward to hearing the podcast.

If anyone wants to live-blog it (hint, hint), I'll make sure the story stays at the top of the front page.

Here are my questions/comments:

Migration and relocation patterns suggest that southern states are becoming more heavily populated and more diverse with every passing day. What's more, many southern states differ one from another greatly - and those differences will continue to grow.

What are the benefits of clumping states together into a bucket called "the south" when whatever homogeneity once existed will have completely disappeared over the next fifty years?

If one were to make the case for disregarding the "south" in national politics, how long would it take before such disregard became a permanent barrier to future success?

Good questions

The quality of the debate itself will be advanced by questions from people here. I can share the questions with the debaters before the debate and include some of the questions in the questioning periods directly.

I will also write up a "ballot" and post it here Wednesday.

Visit DebateScoop
Be the Democrat you want to see.

Visit DebateScoop
Be the Democrat you want to see.

Edited to add the time

I edited to add the time (7pm) of the debate and I guess that bumped it back off the front.

Thanks for helping let people know!

Visit DebateScoop
Be the Democrat you want to see.

Visit DebateScoop
Be the Democrat you want to see.

I am so glad to see you here.

I used to think that you were the only one at Greensboro N & R with any brains....except for me, of course. LOL

Lovex7

I will be in class

Otherwise I would be there. Darn school. I would probably learn more by showing up to this, but alas, my professor might not agree.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Streaming

88.5 WFDD Streams content live with RealPlayer:

Tune In Now

We can front page and sticky the link on Sunday.

88.5 WFDD

Can anyone find the issue

That had a huge letters section in response to Moser's article? I skimmed the letters before realizing that I'd never read the article, went to find the article, didnt find it until last week, and now I can't find the issue with all the letters in it in my messy stack of issues.

or, better yet, linky?

edit: believe I found it online.

I read both Moser's and Schaller's arguments with great interest, and I'll try to think up a good question.

-B

I figured it out, found it

I figured it out, found it online (though my sub expires this week). It was an editorial somewhere in feb. called "should the south do dixie?" commenting on the article, with some response, etc.

-b

Broadcast clarification

1) The broadcast would not be tonight. Not on web tonight. Not on radio tonight.

2) The broadcast is to be Sunday night . . . .

BUT, late last night I got a call expressing lack of confidence in the potential recording quality (long story relating to the room, setup, tech, etc.) but it will be recorded and WFDD is hopeful that it will be high enough quality to broadcast.

Visit DebateScoop
Be the Democrat you want to see.

Visit DebateScoop
Be the Democrat you want to see.

I Hope So

If not, a transcript would be good.