Slimantics: Breaking the ideological sound barrier

April 10, 2019 10:42:57 AM

Slim Smith - [email protected]

 

I had a pretty good idea of what to expect when Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves arrived in Columbus Tuesday to speak to the Lowndes County Republican Women at the group's monthly luncheon at Lion Hills Center. 

 

Reeves, the presumed front-runner for the Republican nomination for Governor, was on Day 2 of his three-day campaign kickoff, having opened his campaign Monday in Pearl with a bag full of rhetoric and not much else. 

 

In a state dominated by Republicans, a state where five of the six people who represent us in Washington are Republicans and a state where six of the past seven governors have been Republicans, Reeves painted a portrait of a state under siege by "radical liberals." This includes noted flaming liberal Jim Hood, whose approval ratings are consistently double-digits higher than Reeves' -- further proof that many folks in the state are secretly liberal. 

 

Apparently, the cloud of suspicion has fallen on the Columbus Rotary Club, based on Reeves' opening comments. 

 

"I've had the opportunity to speak to this group several times," Reeves told his audience as the Rotary Club met in the next room where state auditor Shad White was the speaker. "I know that sometimes you bring the Rotary Club in with you and sometimes you don't. 

 

"I've got to tell you, I might get a little bit partisan here today, so maybe it's good that they're not in this room today. I hope that's OK with everybody." 

 

My thought? 

 

"OK, Tate, now you've got my attention." 

 

When a politician is too conservative for the Columbus Rotary Club, he has broken the ideological sound barrier. 

 

It sure has changed my perspective on who Mississippians are, what they believe and what they need from the next Governor. 

 

For the next 15 minutes or so, Reeves railed against angry liberals. 

 

"Now, in 2019, the radical liberals have taken aim at Mississippi's culture and Mississippi's values," Reeves said. 

 

Liberals, he said, are in a generally foul mood. 

 

How bad has it become? 

 

"The liberals are mad that we go hunting on Saturday, but we still go to church on Sunday," Reeves said. 

 

You could tell Reeves was especially proud of that line, delivering it with gusto and pausing for one of his young campaign workers in the back of the room to initiate the applause that dutifully spread across the room. 

 

Being well left of even the Columbus Rotarians, I will confess my sins and admit that there are a lot of things people like Reeves do that drive me to distraction -- underfunding and under-cutting public education, ignoring the health care crisis that threatens to wipe rural hospitals off the face of the earth, pushing through the biggest corporate tax cut in state history at a time when the state could use every penny to patch up and prop up our state's road infrastructure, ignoring calls to change our state flag so it doesn't look like a KKK party favor. 

 

But it never occurred to me to be mad about how conservatives spend their weekends. 

 

I'm far more worried about what they're up to Monday through Friday, especially when the Legislature is in session. 

 

Reeves comments were received warmly enough, but nobody was standing on their chairs as Reeves ended his speech. 

 

I think maybe even the Lowndes County Republican Women would have liked to have heard a little more substance on what his policies and vision for the state will be. 

 

Instead, all they got was a bag full of Liberal Evil. 

 

"Hollywood and coastal elites want to confine our religion inside our churches," Reeves said. "They want to take our religious liberty. They want to make abortion legal all the way up to birth. They want to get rid of our borders (let's invade Tuscaloosa!). They want to legalize every drug on the street. They want to erase the morality that has made our nation great." 

 

I was not at all aware that me and the Rotarians felt that way. 

 

Next thing you know, liberals will be out there drowning puppies and pushing old women into traffic. 

 

That's just how we radical liberals and Rotarians roll, you know. 

 

Save us, Tate.

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]