Deadwood Liberals?


If conservatives get to claim South Park, I hope their ideological counterparts will consider for self-branding purposes the astonishing HBO series Deadwood, which I finally saw for the first time last night. Sure, it's a little rough around the edges, but that's the point! Out with the mealy-mouthed PC murmuring, in with the ribald & flowery language of the American frontier. Gun ownership is a given, spontaneous order is a daily, peach-gobbling experiment; and the federal government is a meddlesome, land-stealing enemy.

OK, that may be a bit far-fetched. But there is something going on with Democrats and the Mountain Time Zone, as this L.A. Times front-pager suggests. Though the party's gains may be based largely on Latino population growth, there's a promising don't-tread-on-me element at play as well:

If there is an opening for Democrats, several political analysts say, it is in the social issues that animate the Republican Party base but collide with the Western ethos of live and let live.

"The main chance Democrats have is if the Republicans become perceived, even more so than they are now, as the party of morality and not the party of low taxes," said Ted G. Jelen, a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Arizona, traditionally a Republican state, has a Democratic governor, Janet Napolitano, who was elected in 2002 when many GOP voters crossed over rather than support Matt Salmon, a staunch social conservative who campaigned on a pledge to put God back into government.

Here in Colorado, Democrats won control of the Legislature in November in part by presenting themselves as problem solvers who were focused on concerns such as the state budget, while portraying Republicans as extremists obsessed with issues like same-sex marriage. Republicans ascribed most of the Democratic gains to that party's edge in money and machinery, not issues.

The excellent website New West has been all over this interesting if elusive meme.