I just want to return for a second to the idea that the Tennessee Democrats need someone to take on Bill Hobbs. Because I hear that a lot from folks and I appreciate it (though, honestly, what’s Hobbs been doing lately? Making Facebook groups for disgruntled fans of awkward grammar who oppose the bailout? How the mighty have fallen.), but Ta-Nehisi Coates says something today in another context (talking about conservative columnists at The NYTimes) that we should be thinking long and hard about:
The dude was good for that first Monday morning entry, no doubt. But here is the thing–in the war of ideas you don’t gain much by measuring yourself against the worst that your opponents have to offer. The thing about competing against jokers, is that it eventually makes a joker of you. Your ideas lose their complexity, their volume and heft, mostly because you don’t need them to take down Kristol. You just need to read the corrections on the Times website. I don’t see how that helps me become a better writer. [Emphasis mine.]
I understand that it sucks to listen to the Republicans say stupid thing after stupid thing. And Lord knows I love to take after Campfield every so often just for the fun of stretching my muscles. So, it’s not that I think it’s wrong for liberals to want someone at the TNDP to take on the loud-mouth critics. But who you take on as your opponant and how you take them on does indeed tell onlookers who you are.
If you’ve got good wag, you don’t need so much bark.