My favorite Malibu librarian, James Wiser, posted this article from The Hotline, a blog of the National Journal Group, an organization committed to providing non-partisan publications and services.
November 16, 2006
Putnam Wants To Know: Where Were The Rednecks?
“White rednecks” who “didn’t show up to vote for us” partly cost GOPers their cong. majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference’s ability to serve its members.
Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam’s remarks. But Putnam’s chief of staff insists that the remarks were taken out of context.
Examining the 2006 midterms, Putnam blamed the GOP defeat on “the independent vote, the women vote, the suburban vote.” He said that “heck, even the white rednecks who go to church on Sunday didn't come out to vote for us.”
Putnam’s chief of staff, John Hambel, said his boss has used the word “redneck” only in the context of sharing polling data from last week’s elections. Hambel said Putnam was listing off different constituencies and ended with saying: “Heck, we even had rednecks who go to church who didn't come out to vote.”
...Putnam, the current chair of the Republican Policy Committee, is the House’s second-youngest member and an Episcopalian.
According to the Almanac of American Politics, Putnam represents a district that’s mostly urban and 72% white. His voting record is reliably conservative. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Southern Democratic budget hawks like Phil Gramm casually referred to themselves as the “Redneck Caucus.”
Though some Southerners take “redneck” as term of endearment, it is not a word that Republicans generally use to describe part of their base.
Church going=rednecks? Ouch.
The Pew Research Center gave the centrists credit for the Democrats win, and unlike Putnam, concluded the church-goers were pretty much faithful. The Pew Research group, by the way, did not refer to religious conservatives as rednecks.
...there are few signs that the Republican base deserted the party. Christian conservatives, and conservatives generally, voted as Republican as they did in '02. Nor did white evangelical Protestants defect to the Democrats in any substantial number, as a number of post-election news stories have suggested. True, somewhat fewer white evangelical Protestants voted for Republican Congressional candidates than in 2004, when Bush was at the top of the ticket, but white evangelical protestant backing of G.O.P. candidates was just as great in 2006 as it was four years ago, when the Republicans won the popular vote by a sizable margin.
The real religion story of this election is that the least religious Americans -- voters who attend church rarely or never -- made the biggest difference to the outcome of the election. This group gave Democrats an even greater share of their vote -- 67%, up from 55% in 2002.
The Republican Party didn’t lose the support of religious conservatives. So, I think church going folks should take a bit of offense. They did show up and got called rednecks anyway.
Since the independents may decide the next one, it will be very interesting to see what the Repbublicans will use to keep the Christian conservatives in their camp. It will be hard to forget Jerry Falwell saying that Christians had to vote for George Bush and support the Republican Party while they served up Guiliani and Scwharzenegger at the convention. There will be a lot more of that fare to come.
Looks like John Kerry isn’t the only politician out there making condescending remarks.
I wonder if George Bush will call on Putnam to eat his words?