Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Of elephants and clogged arteries

Latest post-election spin is that the South's political influence is waning. Along with that is the spin that the GOP remains entrenched in the Deep South while the rest of the nation floats leftward. Note the NYT graphics for more details. Arkansas, in particular, looks positively crimson in places.

Yup, that Southern strategy sure worked, as the ghost of Nixon could attest. However, there is a down side to said strategy.

Louisiana has displaced Mississippi as the unhealthiest U.S. state and other Southern states were close rivals due to high obesity and smoking rates in new rankings that deemed Vermont the healthiest....

Many Southern states were clustered near the bottom of the rankings. The region has some of the highest rates of obesity, which contributes to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer, as well as high rates of smoking, which causes cancer, lung disease, heart disease and other problems.

One in five Louisianians lacked health insurance, while 31 percent were obese. It also suffers from high child poverty, infant mortality, premature death rate and cancer deaths, according to the report.

The GOP is really in a bind here. The party's higher ups (what's left of them) have two options:

1. Try to expand the party's reach to other parts of the country (where's your Howard Dean, dudes?), or
2. Embrace the concept of health care reform, if only to ensure that your voting base survives to the next election cycle.

How's Governer Bobby "GOP Savior by Default" Jindal going to address his state's sorry health statistics, anyway?