The Song of the South generally sounds the same from upper management to crafts, especially when it comes to a preference for open shop and to opinions on the economy. It is conservative all the way.
"When Mr. Kerry said in a speech to the AFL-CIO that he would overturn Bushs ban on project labor agreements, it hit merit shop contractors in the face, says Jeff Masters, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Alabama chapter, Birmingham.
Many nonunion workers blame todays economic troubles on Democrats and look toward the GOP to turn things around. "From my perspective, the Republicans have a good basis for success with the economy, but it wont come easily," says Rocky Sheppard, a superintendent for BE&K Inc., Birmingham. "It wont cure itself overnight. It took years for Reagan to get his policies put in place and then to see results."
But some issues override all others. "The biggest heartburn Ive got is the deal in Iraq. Im still waiting for the smoking gun, says Sheppard. "I know people who have had family members wounded. That adds a personal side to it."
It is time to bring the troops home, says Gwen Nobel, a Mississippian who is a scheduler for a BE&K job in Kentucky. "Look at the lives lost. We may be helping them rebuild their country, but there is plenty to be done here in the states," she says. Nobel is undecided on how she will vote. "Bush has done some good stuff, but there is a cloud over the war. Im processing that now, she says.
But some Southerners dont like Kerry or Bush. "I dont think either one of them will do a good job, says Larry Klutz, an electrical superintendent who lives in Georgia. "Jobs are going overseas, gasoline increases are eating up annual raises and our immigration laws need tightening up, he says. He thinks special interest groups control politicians and he wonders if there will be anything left in the Social Security fund when he retires.