Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hey Bubba, What Mississippi Values?

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Mississippi Gov. H...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeMy mailbox has been bombarded with ads for Randy "Bubba" Pierce, a chancery court judge running for the Mississippi Supreme Court. Bubba's ads provide very little information about him or his qualifications. We are told that he has "integrity and judgment" that we can trust. For a judge, I'd hope that this would go without saying. But the most interesting thing learned from Bubba's ads is that he "has the right Mississippi values."

Before exploring the issue of "Mississippi values," I must make one observation that I suspect most of you are expecting. Someone who wants to serve on the highest court in our state is calling himself "Bubba." Bubba! If there was any doubt, anti-intellectualism appears to be alive in well in Mississippi. Okay, I feel better after getting that out of my system.

Bubba Pierce has the right Mississippi values to protect the Constitution and Laws of the State of Mississippi.
I think that the best way to interpret this statement is that it is code for communicating with the vast population of fundamentalist Christians in Mississippi. The phrase "right Mississippi values" means something to these fundamentalists than some voters might miss. It signals that Bubba is one of them, a proud member of Sarah Palin's "real America." Regardless of whether that is actually true, this seems to be the intention behind using code phrases like this.

The ad also tells us that Bubba was appointed to his present position as chancery court judge by conservative Republican governor and close Bush-McCain ally, Gov. Barbour. Thus, we can expect Bubba to be very conservative.

But what precisely are Mississippi values? Does the phrase have any real meaning apart from the coded message it sends? I would guess not, but I'd be interested to hear what you think.