Saturday, April 25, 2015

True Grits

As Alabama and Mississippi votes today in the GOP primary, one wonders who's Southern strategy will most attract support in the deep South.

True Grits

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

BE: Another Tuesday, another GOP primary day and two southern states, Alabama and Mississippi, have their say. What say you?

JB: I say I'd rather wade through a backwater bayou barefoot at night than predict today's outcome.

BE: Oh, come on. Mitt?

JB: Holds a slight lead in Alabama over Newt but it's hard to see how talking about eating cheesy grits, liking catfish and greeting voters with "mornin' ya'll" can be working for him.

BE: You don't think that's the true Mitt?

JB: Let's see: a mutli-millionaire Harvard MBA and lawyer elected in arguably the nation's most liberal northern state who happens to be Mormon and who looks like -- as Jon Stewart put it on last night's "Daily Show" -- he just walked off a Monopoly board? No, I don't peg him as a grits and catfish guy.

BE: What about Rick running a tight third in both states, according to latest polling?

JB: I don't get it. Alabama and Mississippi rank something like 53rd and 54th among the states in percentage of residents with college degrees, and we all know Rick thinks of colleges and universities are indoctrination camps filled by and with snobs.

BE: So why isn't he winning there?

JB: Maybe somebody did the math and mailed it to voters: Rick and wife Karen = five degrees between them; three for him (college, MBA and law degree), two for her, (nursing degree and law degree).

BE: Just too smart for the south?

JB: Well, given that a Public Policy Polling survey just found that in Alabama 45% of voters think the president's a Muslim and 41% aren't sure, and in Mississippi, 52% think he's Muslim and 36% aren't sure, I'm pretty sure smart isn't an asset in either state.

BE: Then explain Newt, regarded as the most erudite of the crew and yet narrowly leading in Mississippi.

JB: Can't help ya, or ya'll. My only guess is among the three he's got the closest ties to the South because of his years representing Georgia in Congress. Also, he was endorsed in January by Rick Perry, who would be kicking some Yankee ass right now had he stayed in the race.

BE: And, Perry'd have the great advantage of only having to remember two things -- Alabama and Mississippi -- instead of three.

JB: There ya go.

BE: So two Catholics and a Mormon, all born in the North, all educated, battle for the backing of two states where a majority of voters don't believe in evolution (see last item on PPP survey).

JB: Which is why I'd rather walk barefoot in a backwater, well, you know.

BE: Maybe some cheesy grits would improve your outlook.

JB: Truly.



Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

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