With a nod to Thomas Frank's methodology in What's the Matter with Kansas?:

County in which Obama did best in 2008: Prince George County, Maryland. Population 846,000. 62% African-American with the highest median income of any majority-black county. Suburban DC, with easy access to all of the DC area amenities and attractions. Primary employers: National Archives, NASA Goddard Space Center, and University of Maryland.

County in which McCain did best in 2008: King County, Texas. Population 400. Three hours from Lubbock. Median income 30% below national average. Primary economic activity: raising cattle. Entertainment and cultural activities: tending meth labs, committing suicide.

It's your call – where would you rather live, the reddest of the red or the bluest of the blue? Would you prefer San Francisco values (*winkwink* GET IT? That's where the homogays live and they're out to recruit your kids!) or Wasilla Main Street values? A vacation in Boston or in Topeka? Job-hunting in Milwaukee or in Mobile? Would you rather live under what Newt Gingrich calls "gay and secular fascism" or the fascism of the Colorado Springs all-stars?

Garrison Keillor said it very well a few years ago when noting that:

The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco, Texas. There may be a reason for this. Creative people thrive in a climate of openness and tolerance, since some great ideas start out sounding ridiculous. Creativity is a key to economic progress.

All of the five counties in which McCain earned his largest victories are in rural Texas. His largest wins at the state level were in Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Alabama. These are shitty places. They may be pretty (except for Oklahoma and Alabama) or nice to visit/transit on vacation. They may have the odd nice city here or there – Birmingham and Boise spring to mind. But what they do not have in the larger sense is the kind of climate that encourages any kind of openness or progress. They have the kind of ass-backwards religion-as-politics ideology that is making vast swaths of this nation look like Dogpatch.

Consider this your teaser for Summer 2009, when Ed visits King County, Texas and gives the world an essay in pictures.