Monday, June 02, 2008

Yellow Dog Democrats

Now that the Obamacans are finally seeing that they are well and truly doomed in November without the rest of the Democratic Party to vote for The Precious - you know, the part Chris Bowers scornfully declared he didn't want in the party, panhandling at the door of Whole Foods Nation - you'd think they might try a little persuasion, a few apologetic sweet-nothings, a box or two of policy bon-bons, but you'd be wrong. Instead, they are doing their best to browbeat Democrats for Life into voting for their arrogant Dear Leader. Threats that we had better come around or else get left behind (hint - kids, we're the ones with the key to the car), that we need to make amends (we're the ones who have been attacked, if you didn't notice), that our candidate had better bust her ass to prove she's worthy of Dear Leader's largesse (news flash, our candidate busts her ass every day for *the people*, not some party boss. I know they play by different rules in Chicago...), and what they think is the clincher, that we aren't real Democrats if we don't vote for Obama.

People have reregistered as Independents to protest the arbitrary and lawless behavior of the current Democratic leadership, the people who seem more intent on securing their own power bases against "Bubba" than winning elections. People have even said they will vote McCain to ensure the deafeat of the current party regime - and trust me, after this last weekend, this opposition is not to Obama alone, but to all his enablers. I don't approve of voting Republican because I think Abu Ghraib alone is reason enough to force the Republican Party from power until every current official is in his or her grave. I also think now is the time to build up our strength in the party so we are poised to seize it back after the humiliating defeat facing the Obamacans in the fall.

But the bullies and bullshitters backing The Precious keep whining about how we need to be Yellow Dog Democrats. Maybe they need to brush up on the story:

The first known usage to date of “yaller dog” in relation to Democrats occurred in the 1900 Kentucky gubernatorial contest which turned into quite a dogfight. Irvin S. Cobb wrote a first hand account in his book Exit Laughing, published in 1941, now in Canadian public domain and authorized for academic and non-profit use. It details the saga of the Kentucky Governor William Goebel, who killed a man, exploited the split Democratic Party in Kentucky, and was assassinated in 1900 -- shot in the chest the day before being sworn into office, and dying two days after taking the oath of office.

Mr. Cobb relates

“the most devastating retort I ever did hear. It was delivered by Theodore Hallam, a battered-looking, hard-hitting, hard-drinking, little Irish lawyer, and an ex-member of Morgan's Rangers — and that for nearly half a century qualified a man for social and political distinction anywhere in the border South and particularly in Kentucky. Despite a high, strident voice, Hallam was perhaps the greatest natural orator in a state of natural orators and had a tongue pointed with a darting, instantaneous wit.”

“Hallam lived in Covington, where Goebel likewise lived, and as a comrade in war and an ally in peace of Colonel Sanford, the Conservative whom Goebel pistoled to death, he hated Goebel mightily. Having bolted when Goebel seized the gubernatorial nomination by craft and device — and at the last moment, by open violence — Hallam promptly took the stump against him and went about over the troubled common wealth joyously sowing dragons' teeth and poison ivy.

The seceding wing of the party picked on Hallam to open its fight, and chose the town of Bowling Green as a fitting place for the firing of the first gun, Bowling Green being a town where the rebellion inside the ranks was widespread and vehement. But Goebel had his adherents there, too.

I could fairly smell trouble cooking on that simmering-hot August afternoon when Hallam rose up in the jammed courthouse to begin his speech. Hardly had he started when a local bravo, himself a most handy person in a rough-and-tumble argument, stood upon the seat of his chair, towering high above the heads of those about him.

"I allow I want to ask you a question!" he demanded in a tone like the roar of one of Bashan's bulls.

One-third of the crowd yelled: "Go ahead, Black jack!" The other two-thirds yelled: "Throw him out!" and a few enthusiastic spirits suggested the advisability of destroying the gentleman utterly, and started reaching for the armpit or the hip pocket, as the case might be. Despite the heat all hands were wearing their alpaca or their seersucker coats which, if you knew our sturdy yeomanry in those parlous days, was a bad sign.

With a wave of his hand Hallam stilled the tumult.

"Let it be understood now and hereafter, that this is to be no joint debate," he said in that high-pitched shrill voice of his. "My friends have arranged for the use of this building and I intend to be the only speaker. But it is a tenet of our faith that in a Democratic gathering no man who calls himself a Democrat shall be denied the right to be heard. If the gentleman will be content to ask his question, whatever it is, and abide by my answer to it, I am willing that he should speak."

"That suits me," clarioned the interrupter. "My question is this: Didn't you say at the Louisville convention not four weeks ago that if the Democrats of Kentucky, in convention assembled, nominated a yaller dog for governor you would vote for him?"

"I did," said Hallam calmly.

"Well, then," whooped the heckler, eager now to press his seeming advantage, "in the face of that statement, why do you now repudiate the nominee of that convention, the Honorable William Goebel?"

For his part Hallam waited for perfect quiet and at length got it.

"I admit," he stated blandly, "that I said then what I now repeat, namely, that when the Democratic party of Kentucky, in convention assembled, sees fit in its wisdom to nominate a yaller dog for the governorship of this great state, I will support him — but lower than that ye shall not drag me!"

Lower than that, ye shall not drag me.



orionATL said...

anglachel -

i loved reading this story. i can hear those voices in my head.

as an aside,

jefferson was described as having a high voice.

second aside,


and i would add,

folk music,

is a currently missing ingredient in modern american politics.

lakelobos said...

We cannot sit and take everything they throw at us. Just because they give us the finger, we cannot continue and point to the finger and claim that it's a finger.

We have to mobilize against Obama, get enough numbers behind us and abstain in November, not before flipping the finger at the Obama goons.

Otherwise they have dragged us much lower than we have already been dragged to.

The Red Queen said...

I'm a yellow dog Democrat from a family of yellow dog Democrats. We're voting Green for the first time that anyone can remember. If the party keeps acting like it doesn't want my vote, then they don't get it.

Alice said...

We have to do everything we can to defeat Obama. If that means voting for McCain, so be it. We can not do things half way. By that I mean voting for a Green candidate or writing in Hillary. No, I will use my vote to the maximum effect. That means it will take two votes to counter my vote for McCain. Hillary....or McCain.And I have no qualms about this tactic. I will vote Dem down the line....unless my congressperson endorsed Obama contrary to the will of their electorate. Then I will not vote for them. The Democratic party must be saved from Obama's coup.

gob said...

I'm not trolling. Influence me.

Guantanamo is a vile stain on this country, so is Abu Ghraib, so are many other things perpetrated by the Republicans. If I don't vote for the lower-than-yellow-dog, isn't half my vote going to the Republican? Don't I have a duty to stop him even if I go home afterwards and throw up? How can I not vote for the Dem, given that any non-major-party vote is essentially invisible?

Anglachel said...

gob, my answer is in the post I'm working on right now.


My Name Is Earl said...

If that means voting for McCain, so be it. We can not do things half way.

Alice I feel quite the same way. I want my vote to be one that stops Obama, not just a protest. I want the DNC to know that this Democrat walked away from them when the put forth the weaker candidate.

jokerine said...

For weeks now I have been reading Anglachel's writing with interesst. Her argumentation makes sense, it would have convinced me even had I not been an ardent Rodham supporter.

That said: Please whatever you do, do not support McCain. That man lies through his teeth and will sink America into oblivion, draging the rest of the sane democratic world with him. We as a world community cannot, I am convinced, but end up in sectarian, fanatic violence if there are another 4 years of Republican presidant.

I have read the arguments that Obama is essentially a Republican, I know that the democratic Congress is shitting itself because people expect them to take a stand against the reps. But the best that we can expect with a republican President is a stalemate between Congress and President. Likely it will be far worse.

Anyway, just two cents from a foreigner in Europe, asking you to consider foreign policy and foreign economy.

munibond said...

Hi - love this journal and the posts.
Both major parties have become oligarchies because of the unrestrained influence of money in election campaigns, and the devolution of network and cable news into propaganda outlets has permitted the oligarchs to control the political process with little scrutiny. This YDD could vote for McCain if he would support reasonable campaign spending limits (including constitutional amendments if that's what it takes) and deconsolidation of the media. Hillary supporters who are considering voting for McCain should try to exact something in return, and radical campaign finance reform would do it for me. A side benefit would be the impoverishment of political consultants.

A.Citizen said...

Chris Bowers and the rest of the fools who back The Precious will be gone after McCain mops the floor with The 'Magic Man'

Just gone.

It's an insult that at this critical time in our history the Democratic Party would put forth such an unelectable piece of human waste for President.

The Dem Party needs to be decimated from top to bottom and real progressives put into place not folks who want a piece of the pie like the current 'LeaderSheep' and the capering fools of what used to be 'Left Blogistan'.

Four years of McSame showing the nation just how useless Miss Nancy, 'SellOut' Reid and the rest of the pathetic excuses for Democrats, for legislators, hell, lousy gotdamned excuses for Americans will pave the way to a more progressive representation for a nation that is increasingly impatient for just that.

If Hillary goes down I urge all here not to give up but to put your energies into the House and Senate races where we can elect true progressives to act in our interests not the interests of the MIC and mossbound fools such as Kennedy or Kerry.

Much less the crook Obama.

Anglachel said...

A. Citizen,

You're asking to be deleted. Along with gay bashing, comparing people to animals, and using racist slurs, I also won't put up with calling people shit, calling women bitches, and similar name calling.


cal1942 said...

A superb post.

The yaller dog story fits this hour in our history perfectly.

If Obama is the nominee the top of my ballot will be blank.

There will not be so much as a yellow dog to vote for.

I cannot bear the thought that an unfit President would bear the Democratic party label.

ciardhapagan said...

Thank you for your post. I'm a Kentucky native and knew a lot of that history, but not Hallam's part in coining "Yellow Dog Democrat" Facinating. I have a similar history as Red Queen, and like her I'll be voting for the Green candidate for the first time. My vote belongs to the candidate and party that respects me and my mainstream liberal values. Plus if McKinney is the nominee (and it looks like she will be) I'll be glad to finally be able to lend her some support. The Democratic party messed her over even before they messed over Hillary. A progressive feminist candidate. I've seen the Obamacans already gearing up to trash her- calling her "nuts" etc... They can't label her racist like they lied about Bill and Hillary, because McKinney is African American.

Greenconsciousness said...

I am laughing after 15 min of stunned weirdness -- not Democrats For Life Anglachel,... Democrats Forever MAYBE but not even that if the Hill starts a third party for Center Democrats.

I thought - is this person whom I enjoy so much a Right to Lifer? and then I got it.