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]