And “Tennessee Sounds Good to Me” Had Such a Nice Ring

Well, thanks to William Howard Hobbs, it appears that the new phrase most closely associated with our state is going to be “Tennessee, lay off my wife.”

America, I swear, we are all not like this. Please, feel free to come visit. We have great cities and beautiful countryside to play in and, in general, we’re not going to make fun of your spouse when we hear you’re coming.

Seriously, this is mortifying. Funny, but mortifying.

I mean, can you campaign on this in the fall? “Vote Republican, We’re not Afraid to Take on the Candidates’ Spouses.” “Vote Republican, Because We Love America More Than Your Wife Does.” “Vote Republican and Help Teach Those Ungrateful Bitches a Lesson!” “Vote TNGOP and Get Made Fun of By the Whole Damn Country!”

The slogans write themselves.

(h/t Braisted)

Edited to Add: From 10:02 a.m. this morning.

15 thoughts on “And “Tennessee Sounds Good to Me” Had Such a Nice Ring

  1. “Vote Republican: Because there’s no bottom to how low we will go.”

    Seriously, if you’re running for Sleazebag of the Century, this is the way to do it.

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  3. This thing bugs me more than it should. I know that there’s the whole “Dukakis — not man enough to protect his wife” thing, but given the history of black men in the South getting killed for trying to stop predatory behavior towards their wives, it’s really hard for me to tune out the bigotry inherent in the GOP attack. It’s a clumsy “we can come after your wife, boy” statement. With everyone from Huckabee to Der Groppenfuhrer insisting that the GOP needs rebranding, that’s not the brand identity I would choose if I were them.

  4. Anyone who feels that Obama is too soft for the Presidency should check out the glint in his eye when he says “Lay off my wife.”

  5. Bridgett, it’s a politics thing, not a race thing.

    This is hardball, and it may or may not be effective, and it may or may not be a germane issue, but race is not part of this equation on this little dust up.

    Just as it wasn’t a race thing when folks went after Hillary for her “Stand by your man” comment back in ’92.

    Remember that NY Times oped by some cultural studies prof, (and Obama supporter) that said Hillary’s 3am ad was also secretly racist? She used as an example that all the sleeping children were white. In fact, one of the sleeping kid actors was in fact AA, but because of shadows it was at first not apparent.

  6. Bridgett,

    The Dukakis thing had nothing to do with negative campaigning. The man gave a bloodless and stupid answer to what was admittedly a stupid debate question. Worse, it was obvious to anyone watching that he was posturing. Had he said something like ‘I’d want to go to the jail and shoot the SOB,’ he might have won.

    I think it was Bernard Shaw who asked the question.

  7. The thing is, too, it’s not that I don’t think Michelle Obama is off limits. I just think that personal attacks on a man’s loved ones are in very, very poor taste. The GOP ought to have real reasons to dislike both Obamas. So, let’s hear them.

    But picking on her? That seems like bullying to me, and yes, Bridgett, I do think there’s something icky about how the undercurrent seems to be “Barak Obama–he can’t keep his wife in her place, but Bill Hobbs will put her there.”

    And it makes no sense when you consider McCain’s wife. Why would the TNGOP want to make wives’ behaviors a part of this campaign? And isn’t that basically what Obama’s suggesting in that clip? You want to talk wives? Let’s talk about millionaire wives who haven’t released their tax returns. Let’s talk about millionaire wives who would be sitting in prison if they were any sort of regular person. I mean, why would the GOP want to make this a fight about who’s got the best wife?

  8. Hey, it’s a delegation from “Men who Explain Things To Women, Incorporated.

    Lee, American politics is part of American society; both are historically racialized and thus utterances by political flacks can and should be analyzed for racial content. In the same week that a good ol’ boy VP wannabee is joking about Obama getting popped (which, incidentally, is a fear circulating among working-class whites in the lower South…wonder why he said that right then, huh?), I incline towards thinking through that racial content rather than insisting that there couldn’t possibly be any.

    Mark, you must think you’re talking to some dumb kid. I workedin political campaigns in the 1980s (because I am oooooooollllldddd) and I know full well who did what and who said what. Dukakis did indeed say something stupid in response to a totally out-of-line question, which the GOP then beat to death. It was part of Atwater’s strategy of making the campaign demoralizingly vicious — part and parcel of the same wheezing lie machine that claimed that Kitty D. had burned an American flag during the Vietnam War and played up her drug and alcohol problems. The GOP very successfully attacked her patriotism and the quality of their marriage and made it a campaign issue in the South. I know an old play when I see it.

    When Michelle Obama is running for President, that’s when I’ll vote based on what she thinks and says.

  9. “Sounds Good To Me” was written and performed by Paul David Wells, who is the brother of one of my bestest friends in the world.

  10. Bridgett,

    Both parties play hard ball politics. Nancy Reagan, for example, was the subject of all sorts of attacks in 2000 and 2004. Your suggestion that this is one-sided is either partisanship or ideological rigidity since someone who writes so well is clearly not “some dumb kid.”

    Republicans didn’t need to exploit Dukakis’ debate comment. It was there for everyone to see.


  11. They didn’t need to, but they did and to great effect. Dukakis was a weak candidate (no partisanship here!) and perhaps he was easier than most to sandbag. That being said, sandbagged he was.

    Nancy Reagan was not attacked in 2000 and 2004 — maybe 1980 and 1984, you mean? Her prickly relationship with the press was complicated and exacerbated by her equally prickly relationship with White House staff members. For example, Marlin Fitzwater (who was Press Secretary) remembers Mrs. Reagan as a truly malevolent creature and did little to protect her from the tender mercies of the Washington press corps. When your own flacks feel that your wife is interfering and vindictive and repeatedly tell stories that cement her image as a dragon lady, then the other party can hardly be blamed for calumny.

    Or were you meaning Laura Bush?

  12. Bridgett,

    I did mean 1980 and 1984. The dangers of multi-tasking.

    My question would be whether it isn’t important for voters to know about the relationship of the spouse to the candidate, particularly for that office. I tend to think that since running for the Presidency is voluntary (and has become almost a life goal for some), that there should be almost no zone of privacy regarding spouses.

    As for Dukakis, one could argue that we were better of not having a President who was so weak. Similarly, in 1992, Bush paid a price for failing to seem in touch with the problems faced by Americans during the recession.

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