bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton warned a group of top Democratic donors at a  private Saturday meeting not to underestimate the passions that gun control  stirs among many Americans.

“Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down  your nose at them,” Clinton said.

“A lot of these people live in a world very different from the world lived in by  the people proposing these things,” Clinton said. “I know because I come from  this world.”

Clinton said that Republicans have been struggling in presidential politics  since 1992 — noting that 2004 was the only time a Republican has won the popular  vote in more than 20 years. But, he said, the party has been successful in  energizing its supporters for midterm elections.

“You have the power to really democratize America,” Clinton said. “You can do  it on immigration reform, you can do it on these economic issues. You can do it  on implementing the health care bill.”

But, Clinton warned, the issue of guns has a special emotional resonance in  many rural states — and simply dismissing pro-gun arguments is  counterproductive.


Clinton ought to know about all these things.  He was born and raised in Arkansas.  It doesn’t get more southern and rural than Arkansas.  Clinton also should know what its like to be vilified and hated.  I remember well how hated he was by the right wing of the Republican Party–hated so much he was accused of murdering his friend Vince Foster who had committed suicide.

Enough on straight politics.  I am a hybrid but I mainly grew up in the south and just wanted to share a few thoughts that grew out of Clinton’s words to the wise.  Northerners often make the mistake of dismissing southerners in general as rednecks and pastoral people who tend to use bad grammar, have unique diseases dealing with lack of nutrition, marry their cousins, hate blacks and love their dogs more than their children.

Only the latter is true and I can vouch for that.  Pat Dog (the English setter)got to ride in the front seat and was allowed to hang his head out the window, thus allowing dog slobber to blow in on us kids in the back seat.  We howled and complained to our mother vociferously.  She said he got to sit up front because he had better sense than us kids.  If we challenged this remark, she said when she pointed and said “look at that” Pat-Dog looked in the right direction.  She said we looked everywhere but where she was pointing.  Pat-Dog continued to ride shotgun for many years after that.

Sometimes we marry our cousins but not close cousins.

Southerners have a class system the same as everyone else.  It is just not as dependent on money as in the North.  Blame the Civil War.  The rich will be poor and the poor will be rich existed for many years.   The social order was turned upside down and took several generations to shake out.  It is ill-advised to judge a southerner by his or her perceived fortunes.  It’s just not a good gage of class.

Southerners (and westerners) tend to group by interest, especially the men folk.  I never understood, as a child, why my city manager grandfather went off bird hunting with rough necks that picked their teeth and didn’t have indoor plumbing.  My grandmother looked askance and made catty remarks…however…I knew I was not to repeat them.  Those with whom you hunt and fish  really don’t have to be your social equals.  Those folks had to have shared values, however.  Some of those values centered around your bird dog and your gun.

I don’t live as a southerner.  Sure, I eat black-eyed peas on New Years day and have a picture of Robert E. Lee in the living room (it was a gift!) and know much of the lore, but I am not really a southerner.  I have lived in Northern Virginia too long.  That isn’t really southern.  Go to Warrenton, or Front Royal.  It becomes apparent.  It would be a mistake for those who want to make changes in the gun laws to rely too heavily on rhetoric and what they perceive as common sense.  Those things have nothing to do with what you will be up against.  Gun mentality is part of culture, at least in the south.   It is not to be questioned.  It is understood.  There really isn’t much to say about it.  The platitudes from the NRA are really Yankee.  Southerners don’t use those bumper sticker slogans when talking with each other.  They don’t need to.

And fair warning–the westerners and the southerners will gang up on everyone on this issue.  Just don’t trivialize the gun culture.


11 Thoughts to “Clinton warns Dems not to stir gun passions too hard…and a few other tid bits”

  1. punchak

    I agree with you. Too much talk about this put other, actually more important,
    issues on the back burner. Save some capital for the fights that are sure to arise in
    the near future.

  2. Funny…I come from the very Deep South. Is New Orleans “Southern”? I think that it is…but a unique flavor of Southern. It certainly isn’t like Virginia.

    One of the funny occurrences in my 1981 college year….we had a visiting professor. He was introduced as being from Virginia. At the beginning of the lecture, he first asked…”Any questions?” concerning his introduction. Someone asked, “What’s it like being a Yankee down here in the South?”

    He proceeded, for the next 45 minutes, to explain, in detail, the scope, history, reasons, and mission of Richmond, the Confederacy, and the War of Northern Aggression.

    He never did give his lecture. At the end of his very polite but very, very thorough dissertation, he asked, again,” Any questions?”

    Someone (NOT ME!) stated, “No. But you didn’t answer the first question.”

    1. @Cargo 940- I hope he drop kicked the young punk into the middle of next week. 🙄

      So Cargo, which area do you feel is more southern?

  3. Starryflights

    Clinton has a good point, that republicans are losing on economic issues, as well as on health care and immigration. They haven’t even won a majority in a presidential election in 20 years, with the exception of 2004. I would still like to see at least a vote on gun control.

  4. Censored bybvbl

    Clinton is right with his warning because the South and Midwest are still overwhelmingly Republican and the mantra of “God, guns, and gays” still whips up the base. Those are areas where people still hunt frequently. Even former law enforcement agents who went out on pysch discharges still have guns and hunt. I remember one night when my father and his friend went out possum hunting after a contentious card game and I hoped they both came back intact.

    Hunting was viewed as the normal side of gun use (my father and his church buddies hunted rabbits) with an occasional foray into the wild side such as the incident when one of the rural sheriffs spotted a man hitch-hiking by the roadside and recognized him as a fugitive wanted for shooting a lawman in a neighboring state. When the man reached inside his jacket, the sheriff grabbed his shotgun and fired through the passenger side window delivering an instant sentence.

  5. @Moon-howler
    I don’t. That’s just it. Is there a “more southern” area? That’s why I find your comment about “being southern” or not to be amusing. By your standards….would I be considered “southern”?

    New Orleans doesn’t have the “trappings” of what is currently considered “southern.” NASCAR wasn’t a big draw. We didn’t celebrated BBQ. We had oysters, crabs and crawfish boils. We were predominantly Catholic, instead of Protestant. Very urban – We were the ONLY “large” city in the South, until recently, when Atlanta ate those magic mushrooms and became a giant. Not too many Confederate flags fly over New Orleans, except as a historical note. If you go farther south and southwest in Louisiana, you hit cajuns, not “southerners.” Instead of “hey y’all,” you hear “Where y’at?” in NOLA.

  6. @Censored bybvbl

    Georgia was much more southern than Virginia!

  7. @Cargosquid

    Every area has its uniqueness. Do you consider Memphis southern? Little rock?


    I think everyone in the world but you considers NO southern, at least from an historical point of view.

    There are those who view Washington as a southern city.

  8. Censored bybvbl


    Ha ha. I remember when I told high school friends that we were moving to Virginia. They were a bit envious. Virginia was viewed as the most cultured, civilized Southern state.

  9. @Moon-howler
    Oh, its southern, REALLY southern…just different … but I was commenting on the apparent “not really being a southerner” thing.
    “I don’t live as a southerner. Sure, I eat black-eyed peas on New Years day and have a picture of Robert E. Lee in the living room (it was a gift!) and know much of the lore, but I am not really a southerner. I have lived in Northern Virginia too long”

    That implies that Northern Virginia is no longer “southern.” So, if NOVA isn’t “southern,” are the citizens still “real Virginians?”

    I was amused by the whole thing since MY “southernism” is even more different than NOVA.
    It all depends upon the definition.

    Ain’t regionalism fun!

  10. @Censored bybvbl

    My mother would have agreed with that assessment.

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