Outside of Iowans in the January of an election year, I suspect that no region of the country is pandered to more by politicians than the South. Neither of the two top Republican presidential contenders are Southerners, and as the presidential contest heads to Mississippi and Alabama this week, it shows. Rick Santorum has managed to avoid saying anything embarrassing to this point (he has until Tuesday), but Mitt Romney wasn't so fortunate:
“I’m learning to say ‘y’all,’ and I like grits. Things, strange things are happening to me.”
Strange things, indeed, considering that he's the presumptive front-runner for the nomination, and having to continue fighting for a nomination through open panders to Southern cuisine and Spotify playlists stacked with country music. (Notably absent are the Dixie Chicks -- seen above -- or any blues, or New Orleans jazz. Maybe he's not fighting for the votes of people who listen to that stuff.)
Melissa will examine the Southern strategies that the candidates are employing, and whether they're just whistlin' Dixie. (OK, that was bad, I know.) Joining her to do so will be Marc Morial, the President and CEO of the National Urban League, former mayor of New Orleans, and Louisiana state senator. Returning to the show will be Katon Dawson, the former chair of the South Carolina Republican Party and a supporter of Newt Gingrich's candidacy for President.
When you talk elections, in the South or elsewhere, inevitably redistricting (or "gerrymandering") will come up. Kenji Yoshino, constitutional law professor at New York University, will chime in. We'll also get an update on the situation in Syria from Andrea Mitchell, host of msnbc's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," and examine extreme poverty with Bonita Cuff of Witnesses to Hunger.
You will not want to miss Melissa's conversation with the inimitable comedian-slash-actress-slash-feminist Margaret Cho (at left), during which they'll cover any number of topics. (Including Spanx. Really.) Joining them will be fellow feminist Jennifer Pozner, founder and executive director of Women in Media & News, and author of "Reality Bites Back."
Use our comments here as an open thread during the show. We'll also have one going on our Facebook page, and you know #nerdland is the place to be on Twitter. So you have options, y'all. See you at 10am EDT! (Sadly, no grits will be served.)