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Some unfocused noodling here, so bear with me.

This issue--letting the erring sisters go in peace, as Horace Greeley suggested during the secession winter of 1861--is one I struggle with. I am by no means convinced that Greeley was wrong. The North had enough economic/political/scientific clout to become what the United States became by the turn of the century all on its own. In the end, the South got a hell of a lot more out of reunion than the North did (and they still do, if you look at how many government dollars go to red states versus blue ones).

I believe the country would be better off without the toxic brew of religion, militarism, and arrogance that's quintessentially Southern, and not much changed from what it was 150 years ago. But it's too late to reverse Lincoln's decision to fight the Civil War, which is essentially what those who suggest Democrats abandon the South are arguing for. (You'd have to refight the war door to door in the North now, and one front would be on the Dane/Jefferson county line here in Wisconsin, between blue Madison and the deep red Milwaukee suburbs.) It's all well and good to hope that we can find better Democrats, or better issues to run on in Southern states. The question is, can we do it in time, before our modern Confederates have remade the whole country in their image, or wrecked it beyond saving? I'm afraid we won't be able to.


The single most self-destructive thing the Democratic party has done in the last 6 years was replacing Howard Dean and his 50 state strategy. It is simply not possible to build a wave without contesting every possible seat.

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