FDL Book Salon Welcomes Bob Moser: Blue Dixie

< blue-dixie-bob-moser.jpgBob Moser’s new book, Blue Dixie, offers a compelling case for Democrats not to give up just yet on the South. Before turning to the many merits and potential pitfalls of Bob’s book, let me say a few preliminary things to clarify the situation as it relates to him and his argument—and me and mine.

I like Bob Moser. He is a smart, thoughtful, compassionate, reasonable, tough and unapologetic southern liberal; in fact, I’ve grown convinced that these adjectives are practically redundant to the “southern liberal” label they modify. Basically, one cannot be a liberal in the South today without being most if not all of these things because, well, it’s inarguably the toughest region in a America to be a Democrat (especially a liberal Democrat). I’ve met many good southern liberals over the last four years, and Moser not only typifies but exemplifies the shared qualities that, time and again, I find among them. He has a strong narrative writing style, and in this book and a one-on-one debate we had last year at Wake Forest University he made me rethink several things I thought I “knew” about southern politics. Plus, in a way—and this may surprise some FDL folks, especially those who have not read carefully my own book, Whistling Past Dixie, which Bob’s book is partially (and politely and honestly) dedicated to answering—I would actually prefer that his hopes and prescriptions for a southern revival bear out, and in the long term I think many of them will. When the South moves in significant ways back toward the Democrats it almost certainly will mean that the Democrats have forged a formidable majority nationally. In short, though I think Bob is wrong (better: overconfident) in some of his arguments about and prescriptions for a Blue Dixie, especially in the near term as the Democrats continue to build their undeniable non-southern majority, I am still hoping he will be proved right in the medium- to long-term, a sentiment I express at the end of Whistling. (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Mark Penn and Tom Schaller

13516707.JPG(Please welcome Mark Penn, author of Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, and Tom Schaller, author of Whistling Past Dixie in the comments — JH)

I must confess that I’m a sucker for books like Mark Penn’s and E. Kinney Zalesne’s Microtrends. Why? Because I love numbers, specifically demographic numbers. In that sense, I really enjoyed this book. For those who find too many stats annoying, the book’s fun, clipped, breezy and example-filled writing is very accessible. Some microtrending groups struck me as obvious or familiar (“Christian Zionists” are those John Hagee-inspired nutjobs), while others were quite surprising (“Long attention spanners”…who knew?!). Just so we have the primary definition out of the way, Penn defines a microtrend as an “intense identity group, that is growing, which has needs and wants unmet by the current crop of companies, marketers, policymakers.”

Given Mr. Penn’s political background, I had expected Microtrends to contain more findings or advice related to political targeting and lessons for partisan politics and party-building. Certain chapters, of course, suggest important political-electoral implications, and there are scattered references throughout other chapters of partisan effects or patterns. (Did you know, for example, that internet daters are disproportionately Democratic, or (more…)

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Mark Penn and Tom Schaller

13516707.JPG(Please welcome Mark Penn, author of Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, and Tom Schaller, author of Whistling Past Dixie in the comments — JH)

I must confess that I’m a sucker for books like Mark Penn’s and E. Kinney Zalesne’s Microtrends. Why? Because I love numbers, specifically demographic numbers. In that sense, I really enjoyed this book. For those who find too many stats annoying, the book’s fun, clipped, breezy and example-filled writing is very accessible. Some microtrending groups struck me as obvious or familiar (“Christian Zionists” are those John Hagee-inspired nutjobs), while others were quite surprising (“Long attention spanners”…who knew?!). Just so we have the primary definition out of the way, Penn defines a microtrend as an “intense identity group, that is growing, which has needs and wants unmet by the current crop of companies, marketers, policymakers.”

Given Mr. Penn’s political background, I had expected Microtrends to contain more findings or advice related to political targeting and lessons for partisan politics and party-building. Certain chapters, of course, suggest important political-electoral implications, and there are scattered references throughout other chapters of partisan effects or patterns. (Did you know, for example, that internet daters are disproportionately Democratic, or (more…)