Monday, 12 May 2003

More for the Sabato cluelessness file

Buried in a Commercial Appeal article on the likely impact of the black vote in the 2003 Mississippi governor’s race is a choice quote from my good pal Larry Sabato:

Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said he has a goal to get 20 percent of the black vote. To do that, Sabato said Barbour needs to reach out in two ways—substantively and symbolically.

“He has to find proposals that do not alienate his conservative base and yet have attraction for his [sic] African Americans. An example would be school vouchers,” Sabato said.

“The symbolic is to reach out and secure as many prominent endorsements from African Americans as possible.”

Yes, I’m sure vouchers are going to be a big vote-winner with Mississippi’s black voters, because the only reason why their kids aren’t enrolled at your local whites-only academy is because they can’t afford the tuition.

It seems to me this would be a case where the substantive proposal would undermine the symbolic. But then again, I’m not Larry Sabato; I just know something about the state I’m talking about, so I could be wrong.