Monday, June 27, 2005

Hank Hill Democrats

The Moose urges the donkey to think about Hank.

Matt Bai wrote a marvelous piece in the Sunday New York Times Magazine about outreach to Hank Hill Democrats. Hank Hill, of course, is not a real person but the cartoon character star of the long running "King of the Hill" on Fox. The Moose has been a fan of the show, perhaps because it reminds him of some of the folks he grew up with back in Waco.

Bai points out there is a prominent Democrat fan of the show,

"North Carolina's two-term Democratic governor, Mike Easley, is so obsessed with the show that he instructs his pollster to separate the state's voters into those who watch ''King of the Hill'' and those who don't so he can find out whether his arguments on social and economic issues are making sense to the sitcom's fans."

For those of you who are not familiar with Hank and the boys, Bai provides a snapshot,

"For those who have somehow missed ''King of the Hill'' during its nine-year run, here's a lightning-quick primer: It revolves around a classic American everyman, the earnest Hank Hill, who sells ''propane and propane accessories'' in the small town of Arlen, Tex. Hank lives with his wife, Peggy, a substitute Spanish teacher who can't really speak Spanish, and his son, Bobby, a sensitive class clown who exhibits none of his father's manliness. (''This is a carburetor,'' Hank tells his son. ''Take it apart, put it back together; repeat until you're normal.'') "

When politics intrudes into the show, Hank is definitely opposed to political correctness - which makes him an independent conservative. However, he not enamored with DeLay and the boys either - which provides an opening for the Democrats - not with cartoon characters but with viewers who tend to be men between the ages of 18 and 49 - almost a quarter of whom own pick-up trucks.

While Democrats will never get the majority of the Hank Hills, it would be might fine if they may some inroads into this crowd. The problem is that most Washington Democratic elites are completely out of touch with these folks. For instance, Hank's buddies know that while our soldiers committed some rare abuses in Iraq - they are far from being Nazis or Khmer Rouge thugs.

And they don't like folks like Michael Moore who are constantly running down America.

Governor Easley has a Hank Hill test,

"When the governor, a former prosecutor, prepares to make his case on a partisan issue, he likes to imagine that he's explaining his position to Hank -- an exercise that might be useful for his colleagues in Washington too. For instance, Easley told me that Hank would never support a budget like the one North Carolina's Senate recently passed, which would drop some 65,000 mostly elderly citizens from the Medicaid rolls; Hank, after all, has pitched in to support his own father, a brutish war veteran, and he would never condone a community's walking away from its ailing parents. Similarly, Hank may be a lover of the environment -- he was furious when kids trashed the local campground -- but he resents self-righteous environmentalists like the ones who forced Arlen to install those annoying low-flow toilets. Voters like Hank, if they had heard about it on the evening news, would have supported Easley's ''Clean Smokestacks'' law, which forced North Carolina's coal-powered electric plants to burn cleaner, but only because industry was a partner in the final bill, rather than its target."

Maybe, when the Senate Democrats convene for their lunch tomorrow, they should watch some selected episodes of King of the Hill and have Governor Easley give them a little talk. It certainly couldn't hurt.
-- Posted at 8:54 AM | Link to this post | Email this post