While Josh muses on the more obvious narrative of Republican Susan Hutchison’s visit to the 43rd LD Dems’ annual picnic, you know, the strategery of her showing up, I think there’s a more interesting story to be drawn from Saturday’s event, and one that comments more broadly on the cultural divide that currently separates our nation’s two major parties: the relatively cordial manner in which Hutchison was received.
As far as I’ve heard, nobody shouted Hutchison down, accusing her of being a Nazi or a communist (or oddly, both). Nobody vandalized her car, or attempted to intimidate her by showing off their firearms. And nobody angrily yelled at her to stay away from their children.
Hutchison was accompanied by a couple of burly, t-shirted aides, but she certainly didn’t need any bodyguards, if that’s what she was thinking. No, this gathering of very partisan Dems greeted her politely, quietly milled about as she gave her stump speech, and then chatted her up for about an hour.
And that’s not the exception that proves the rule. Ask any of the number of Republicans and even the few righty trolls who have accepted our open invitation to show up at Drinking Liberally, and they’ll attest to their friendly reception. (I mean, it’s so easy beating your guys’ rhetorical ass, why would we ever feel the need to threaten to beat your physical one?)
What we see in comparing Hutchison’s uneventful visit to a Democratic picnic versus the hostile and intentionally intimidating Republican crowds who have recently taken to storming town hall meetings, is not just a contrast in style, but a contrast in political culture. Democrats in general, and as a whole, really are more democratic, while the anti-government reactionaries who now seem to comprise the base of the Republican Party have long since forgotten the true meaning of the word they use as a party label.
It may have been savvy of Hutchison to show up at a Democratic picnic, though I doubt she earned herself any votes, but it certainly wasn’t gutsy. I can’t help but feel the opposite would be true if Dow Constantine were to make a similar surprise foray onto partisan Republican turf.