Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On the shutdown, the Tea Party, and American regionalism

On the eve of the end of the world, I offer this analysis on the regional origins of the U.S. House's "shutdown caucus" and what it means for the future of the Tea Party on the national stage, all over at Washington Monthly.

The comments are informed by my most recent book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, which describes the locations, historical origins and fundamental characteristics of our rival regions and their effect on our history, institutions, and politics over the past four centuries. A full map of the cultures today is available here at World Wide Woodard.

For additional context, there's been a small outpouring of writing on the effect of regionalism and the old Confederacy on the (hopefully soon to be ended) federal shutdown and the (at this writing) looming threat of default. John Judis at the New Republic offered this, and was countered by Seth Ackerman at Jacobin. Gary Wills had this to say at the New York Review of Books, and Michael Lind joined the fray as well (distinguishing, I'm happy to see, between Appalachia and the Deep South.)

And now, let us hope the federal Congress is able to overcome its regional schisms before midnight.

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