The Last Two Things I Hope I Ever Have to Say about Sarah Palin

1.  Republicans, if you ran a vice-presidential candidate who you knew did not know which countries participated in NAFTA, you truly did not put the needs of your country first.  Shame on you.

2.  Media, agreeing to keep off the record until after the election that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was not a country is some deep bullshit.  That is exactly the kind of information Americans needed in order to make an informed decision and your agreeing to keep it from public knowledge until after the election shows that you are failures at your job.

I Forgot about Bredesen

Oh, Tennessee Democrats, I forgot the biggest reason we lost so big yesterday: Our Governor.

Shall we recount how, in a time of extreme financial crisis in the state, he decided to add an underground party bunker to the Governor’s mansion?  Or how some of the people he threw off TennCare died as a result of his actions?  Or the dumb, yet patronizing, ways in which he kept insisting that Obama go to Walmart?

Free advice, Phil.  Every time you open your mouth to talk about Walmart–a place I bet you NEVER, EVER step foot in just to buy shit–the people of Tennessee think you come across as a patronizing ass.

Nobody but the Waltons are as gung-ho on Walmart as you are.  People don’t like shopping at Walmart.  It’s dingy and poorly stocked and it’s depressing to have your cart handed to you by a guy who should be spending his twilight years playing with his grandkids and fishing.  People shop there because it’s cheap and people are struggling.  And the second they can afford Target instead, that’s where they go.

For the love of god, stop it with the Walmart shtick.  It’s not convincing to anyone.

And stop, please stop, acting like you have some line on the needs of common folks when you’re not even willing to say the truth–that our state tax system is regressive and unduly burdensome on the common folks–because it might be politically uncomfortable for you.

The Democrats lost because the Democrats this state have no better message than “We’re just like the Republicans except we’re not going to lie to you about wanting to spend all your money.”

As Pete Kotz says:

But if Tennessee Democrats continue sell themselves as Republican Lite – Motto: We’re Slightly Less Weird about Guns, God, and Abortion! – they’re likely sentencing themselves to an extended period of whining. Cheap facsimiles don’t exactly inspire people at the polls.

And see Jeff Woods for good insight, too.  But more important, read his interview with Gray Sasser.  If that doesn’t show you what’s wrong with the Democrats, I don’t know what does.

1.  Sasser blames Obama.  It’s Obama’s fault that state Democrats had such a hard time.  Because Obama… what… failed to show up in Tennessee AFTER BREDESEN TOLD HIM NOT TO?!?!?!?!?! Come on, Sasser.  Just come the fuck on.  You don’t tell a person to stay away and then blame him for your problems when he stays away.  Where is the ownership of that little decision, huh?  The mistake was not Obama staying away, THE MISTAKE WAS BREDESEN TELLING OBAMA NOT TO BOTHER WITH TENNESSEE.  Own it.  We fucked up.

2.  Sasser blames the bloggers–“It’s easy so sit on the sidelines and throw stones or be an anonymous blogger out there and take potshots at people in the political game, but you have to admire a guy like Bob Tuke who will get out there and address issues and take on an uphill fight.”

Yes, way to completely miss the point and to dismiss the power of the internet instead of figuring out how to harness it.

3.  Sasser refuses to be completely frank with core Democratic constituents.–

Q: What’s going to happen with the Republicans in charge of the legislature?

Sasser: I’m worried that they will try to advance a hard-right agenda. I would think it would be a mistake for the Republicans to move far to the right very quickly. You would hope that they would try to work with this governor, who has done a great job of managing our fiscal situation.

Q: What would a hard-right agenda mean exactly?

Sasser: Are they going to model their governance after people like Rep. Stacey Campfield or more like Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker?

Q: So if you’re gay, you should leave the state?

Sasser: I didn’t say that.

Q: You don’t want to sling any shit at the Republicans?

Sasser: Not yet.

Let me be frank with you, my fellow Tennesseans, because you’re not going to get it from the Democrats, apparently.

1.  It is going to get more difficult for gays and lesbians in Tennessee.  Gay marriage is already doubly against the law here and I think we can expect to see legislation barring gays from adopting or being foster parents.  It’s going to get ugly.  I don’t know what the Democrats are going to do about that, but you should be prepared to be thrown under not just the bus, but every passing four-wheeled and two-wheeled conveyance.

2.  It’s going to get more difficult for women in Tennessee.  Expect to see more legislation like Campfield proposed last year, measures that would make it easier for abusive partners to walk through restraining orders and would make it more difficult for women to protect themselves from said partners.  Also, expect to see measures trying to codify into state law a ban on abortion should Roe v. Wade ever be overturned and to define life as legally beginning at conception and therefore legal personhood, which will mean a full-frontal assault on any form of birth control that might, maybe, no matter how slim the chances, prevent a fertilized egg from implanting–which means it may become tougher to get the Pill.

3.  Brown people, it’s going to suck to be you, too.  Expect a legislature that assumes that, if you speak Spanish, you’re here illegally, that if you’re Kurdish, you must be a member of a deadly street gang, and so on.

4.  Children of Tennessee, I hope you have access to PBS, because you can kiss pre-K goodbye and you’re on the verge of being required to learn that God creating the earth 6,000 years ago is science.

Why is Sasser glossing over this stuff?  I mean, shoot, I read that interview and he makes it seem like “Oh, this was just an embarrassing loss for us.”  No, god damn it, man.  If you stood for anything, for the rights of the powerless in this state, for instance, you’d show some real leadership and be honest with the people who are going to suffer.

It’s not just embarrassing.

I wish you got that.

I Need a Man

So, it took me an hour and a half to walk to the Charleston Market from my hotel and fifteen, maybe twenty minutes to walk back.  In other words, I got very, very lost.  But the University of Charleston is quite lovely this time of year, let me tell you.  And I was having fun looking at all the old houses.

The houses in Charleston kind of remind me of castles in a way, where the outsides either are gated or have big tall stairs and the fronts are kind of imposting, but then, you turn and look at the side, and there are gardens and long two-level porches running the length of the house.

Anyway, I could not get the scary dudes to leave me alone–one guy asked me for bus fare and when I ignored him, he cut through a block ahead of me to ask me again.  Then another guy tried to trap me between a wall and him as I was coming back to the hotel and it was only because I was all “Back off” and some guy coming out of the hotel came over to see what was going on that I got away and then the weird crowder dude was all “Oh, I’m sorry.  I didn’t know you were going to work.”

And I was all “If only I had a man with me, I would command him to punch you in the face.”

Anyway, I’m glad Heather is coming to show me around on Saturday because I saw a bunch of stuff, but I didn’t know what any of it was.

I’m still kind of mad about the dudes, though.  I have no idea what you’re supposed to do in situations like that, but I hate them.  DO NOT APPROACH ME.  I am a woman alone.  You come up to me, it’s not flirty, it’s fucking terrifying.

Honestly, the older I get, the more I think men should be banned from owning guns and women should be issued them on their 16th birthdays.  Guns, not unarmed men.  But you knew that.

In Which I Take a Moment to Deliver Some Harsh Truth to the State Democrats

The Republicans now control the state House in Tennessee for the first time since Reconstruction.  I agree with Braisted that there’s a kind of rightness to it (though I think what I’m about to say next he’s not going to agree with).

The State Democrats deserved to lose.

Let’s count the big ways.

I.  State Democrats appear to care more about their own backsides than doing what’s right for the state of Tennessee.

1. Ophelia Ford.

a. Why the hell is someone as obviously too sick to do her job (for whatever reasons–addiction, stroke, mental illness, who the hell knows?  But it was a train wreck.) continually coddled?

b.  It smelled racist, like, “Oh, we can just ignore Ophelia because everyone knows how ‘those folks’ from Memphis are.  Memphis is its own thing; we can’t control them.”

To quote our national leader, “Yes, we can.”  We can too ask that people be healthy enough for work or not work.

We can too demand that other Fords (and you know who I’m talking about), who every damn body knows is corrupt, stop being a state legislator before LONG BEFORE the Feds come in and arrest him. You sure as hell could run off Kurita when it suited you.  You couldn’t run off the Fords?

2.  Rosalind Kurita.  I’ve read Braisted’s explanations for this hair-brained idiocy over and over again and I am almost to the point where I can kind of see, but come on!  Did you not see how, from the outside, Wilder seemed like an old old relic caught up in playing politics and settling old scores instead of moving the state forward?  And how, from the outside, it seemed like there was one Democrat willing to say “Okay, we’ve got to do what’s right for Tennessee, even if it’s not in the best interest of the party” and how the idea of putting the needs of the State before the needs of the Democrats seemed to drive you to lunacy?

You may have cost Kurita the election, but mark my words–she cost you the state.  Because the rest of us were sitting here thinking “Oh, well, now we know where the state Democrats’ priorities are; not with us.”

II. The Party doesn’t take Tennessee seriously, why should we take the Party seriously?

1.  Why weren’t people providing support to rural Democrats in regards to the national election?  Usually, a rising tide carries all boats, but since we didn’t even bother to put a boat in the rural waters, our rural Democrats drown.


(See anything Mack has written about this.)

2.  Bob Tuke. OH COME THE FUCK ON!  Listen, no, no one was going to beat Lamar Alexander.  Everyone knows that.  Fine.  So, what should your strategy have been?  To use the contest as free advertising for the Democrats.  Get the word out about what we stand for and what we hope to accomplish in the state (if y’all even have any ideas about what that is).

Instead, you run a guy who’s election strategy seems to be to out-corn-dog the state’s largest Corn Dog.  How the hell was that ever going to work?

Who was running Bob Tuke’s campaign?  Harpo Marx?  Shit, if you want to adopt a strategy of impersonating someone in order to beat them, at least go back and study how Bugs Bunny did it.

III.  What do you stand for?  I know what the TNGOP stands for.  I don’t like it.  Any of it.  But I know.  And I know who’s going to say it–Hobbs or Campfield or Frank and then the message is carried and discussed by a wide network of informed (though thoroughly wrong-headed) voiced throughout the state.

HELLO!!!!!!!! Young people are on the internet.

Where’s our army of blogging Democratic legislators?  Hobbs has time to run his own blog and release videos about whatever strikes his fancy and write long angry press releases.  I suspect you think this makes it look like he doesn’t have enough to do at his real job.

I must inform you that, instead, it comes across as him having a shit-ton of energy and a lot of enthusiasm for the ideas of the Republican party.

And is there NO ONE in the whole official Democratic machine who can regularly hand that guy his ass?  He’s a dooful fueled by rage and ignorance.

And now he’s got a state-wide mandate.

Thanks for nothing.