There is no doubt that the South's political influence has just diminished significantly. The South used to be the center of the political universe, starting in 1970's with Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy. Since then, the only Presidents Democrats were able to elect were from the South.
But Obama proved that the Presidency can be won without the South. He did take three Southern states, but he didn't need them - and he didn't use "the Southern strategy". There's an interesting article is the New York Times about this whole issue, and it doesn't paint a pretty picture of the South.
I've been thinking about how Mississippi will fare in all this. We have the lowest federal tax burden of any other state. We are a state that claims to hate the federal government and paying federal taxes, and yet we benefit more than any other state. Mississippi gets back more than twice as much federal tax money as we pay. The state with the highest tax burden, Connecticut, pays almost twice as much as it receives. In fact, as a region, the South has the lowest tax burden, and the Northeast has the highest. But does Mississippi ever say thank you to those Northeastern states for supporting us? Not that I've ever heard - and certainly not with our votes. Do we vote for those "tax and spend liberals"? Of course not - we vote for those who want to cut our benefits. Go figure!
One thing is for sure, our Governor's influence in Washington is seriously reduced - and that may diminish the federal funds coming our way. On the positive side, we do still have some things going for us. Thankfully, we now have three Democratic Congressman. Unfortunately, the one lone Republican represents Natchez. We have two Republican Senators, one of which may be able to help us. Roger Wicker will be a waste, because he is a knee jerk, partisan Republican, who will spend his time in DC spinning his wheels. However, Thad Cochran is a totally different type of Senator.
Senator Cochran is a Republican because that party best represents his values. However, he is really nonpartisan when it comes to what is best for Mississippi. In fact, I think he may be a better Senator when the Democrats are in the majority. When the Republicans were in control of the Senate and he was a Committee Chair, he was a part of leadership and had to go along with the Party. But now, he'll be able to do what he really wants to. He is very well thought of by his colleagues and has a history of working well with Senators from across the aisle.
President Elect Obama has promised to rid Washington of the partisan bitterness and pledged to work with both parties to solve the extremely serious problems the nation faces. If he lives up to this promise - and it won't be easy in a city that thrives on fighting - then I bet he'll find Senator Cochran a good Senator to work with.