Over at the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog, the free daily’s senior Political Anaylst Michael Barone parses the House roll call vote on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill – aka “cap-and-trade.” It’s a vote worth dissecting as it’s one of the first major roll calls of the Obama Administration where partisan solidarity took a back seat - especially on the Democratic side of the aisle - to economic worries back home.
Per his methods in his authoritative biennial guide, “The Almanac of American Politics,” Barone analyzes the vote geographically, digging into partisan breakdowns in various regions to examine how the vote played out, and to handicap the bill’s prospects in the Senate. (He’s skeptical, if it’s not amended, noting Democratic Senators such as North Dakota’s Kent Conrad, who voiced, and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill, who Tweeted(!), their public skepticism of the bill’s potential burdensome economic impact on their constituents’ wallets.)
Barone still assigns regional monikers that bear a sort of charm redolent of an earlier era of political science: “The Germano-Scandinavian Midwest (IA, MN, WI).” Others are more contemporarily shrewd.
Barone updates the traditional “
Roughly, Barone is drawing a distinction between the growing, suburbanizing states that Obama won, but George W. Bush took in 2000 (FL, VA, NC) and the rest of the South where population and incomes remains stagnant, and Democrats still struggle for traction.
Of course, these are only blunt designations. Barone’s “Interior South” includes bastions of educated Southern natives sprinkled with highly educated transplants, trend-setting metropolises like Austin, TX; Nashville, TN; and Lexington, KY that may one day overwhelm the Wacos and Memphises and Paducahs that keep those states conformably combined within the same category as West Virginia, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
And his “
But, Barone needed to hammer these circled squares into contiguous clusters. And, I-95 is useful as a spine that conjoins “The South Atlantic.” If trends in
But, for 2009, Barone’s updated distinction between “The South Atlantic” and “The Interior South” offers a more-than-serviceable thumbnail snapshot of an ever-changing Southern political landscape.