bourbon democrat

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Today I was going to be a Bourbon Democrat, but unlike the name implies, being one doesn't mean you get to sit around and drink large quantities of bourbon and poke fun at the other parties.


One of the more prominent Bourbon Democrats was born in Woodstock which gave me a glimmer of hope, but alas he was born before THE Woodstock, and so no correlation could be made.

No, a Bourbon Democrat was a "conservative liberal", who's convictions lay within capitalism, anti-protectionism (pro-free trade), and opposed imperialism (invading other countries). This segment of the Dems stood for limited government, fought for the gold standard and against government corruption.

Nothing about large quantities of strong drink. Although Woodrow Wilson was a Bourbon Democrat I doubt that he was an alcoholic. A graduate of Princeton, he created the League of Nations and won the Nobel peace prize, among other notable things.

And Grover Cleveland was a Bourbon Democrat too, but in contrast was a "conservative", had no college education but didn't do any favors for women's suffrage either, believing that women's roles had been determined by a higher power (sounds like bourbon talking there).

But what's in a name?

A term that would not have done ANY party any political favors if it had existed during prohibition, it was used from 1876 to 1904.

A branch broke off into a more, shall we say, "extremist" (southern) wing called the Redeemers, who opposed the Freedmen, Carpetbaggers, and Skalawags (a trio coalition of Radical Republicans...

(not to be confused with the Liberal Republicans...

or Moderate Republicans, like Lincoln the first republican-Republican president).

In a very complex Reconstruction era, Redeemers denounced high taxes and high state debts, cut government spending, lowered politicians' salaries; scaled back public aid to railroads and large corporations which all sounds pretty good except in a devastated post-civil war the money had to come from somewhere...

The FIRST income tax was implemented by Lincoln, along with printing money (yea, to pay for the war) but I digress....

oh yea, and they (the Redeemers) had, shall we say, a "conservative reaction" to Reconstruction, ...ahem.

So much for "redemption".

In the words of Inigo Montoya, "....that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

So I guess I could be an "unredeemed" Bourbon Democrat. At least for one day. Except I'm a woman, so maybe not.

Cracks me up that a "Bourbon Democrat" was lumped in with "Redeemer". I mean really, if you were a conservative Christian voting in the bible belt, which one would you identify with, not to mention vote for if you went by name alone. And if you were a Christian woman... well you couldn't vote anyway.

I admit cherry-pickin through history sort of takes the names out of the context of the times. And of course as contemporary folk today with greater technologies, a zillion channels and networks that can communicate higher thought, more education, and higher sensibilities we don't take things out of context...


Don't you love the name Skalawag? Or Carpetbagger? You wouldn't see today's version of the Republican party putting those names on their signs to get elected.

Maybe tomorrow I will be a Skalawag. Sounds fun and sort of pirate-ish. Arhhh!

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This page contains a single entry by Blair published on March 27, 2008 12:30 PM.

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