Mudcat (a childhood nickname earned by tireless bottom-fishing of the Roanoke River) was serving as Graham's "Bubba Coordinator." A couple of years earlier, Mudcat and his mentor, Steve Jarding, had become a hot ticket: They'd masterminded Mark Warner's ride to the governor's mansion in Virginia by figuring out how he could pick off the rural vote, a feat Democrats hadn't accomplished in the state in nearly a generation. Subsequently, the two formalized their partnership and hung out a shingle, calling the firm "Rural Renaissance." After a brief stint with John Edwards, whose campaign they fled over philosophical differences with other staffers, the pair signed on with Graham, who himself had entered the race so late that his poll numbers never stopped resembling those of Dennis Kucinich.It's lengthy, but read the entire thing, it's worth it. Definitely made me think twice about writing off the South. This especially resonated with me:
Jarding, who nearly entered the priesthood before casting his lot in politics, says, "It's a moral argument. How morally right is it for our Democratic nominee for president to tell 60 million people, 'You don't matter to me'?"He's absolutely right, and I'm actually a little ashamed that I've never approached the issue from that angle before.