I have a lot of jumbled thoughts about the Cooper primary, which have become more jumbled in the course of the past day or so.
1. I don’t believe that Cooper should be safe from being primaried. He’s a politician and part of life is hearing from your constituents. A primary challenger is, at the least, a strong voice from one’s constituents.
1a. Maybe. It’s not a strong voice from one’s constituents if it’s actually a strong voice from Kos, Greenwald, and Hamsher. And I tend to be farther left than two out of three of them, so it’s not like I disagree with them that Cooper has pulled some bullshit.
1b. I’d like to see this touted poll for myself. (And I will try to do that later).
2. I’m not a leader and I don’t want to be a leader. So, I’m not going to marshal my readers to do anything. I, myself, don’t know what should be done.
3. Once the bullshit starts, it is nearly impossible to have any further meaningful conversation. And the bullshit has started. Let’s start with this, “But there’s a saying in Tennessee — ‘Any mule can kick a barn down; it takes a carpenter to build one.'”
No there’s not.
If you knew anything about Tennessee, you couldn’t even say this with a straight face. We’re not a people who put primary value on a person’s learned skills. We put primary value on innate traits. And no one in Tennessee who actually builds barns thinks you need a carpenter to do it.
Is it nice to have one? Sure. Can you and four buddies dick around for a couple of months and get one up? Sure. So you don’t need one; it doesn’t take one, as nice as it is to have one.
If Kos had said ‘Any mule can kick a barn down; it takes a man to build one,” even if I haven’t heard that, I would believe that to be a Tennessee saying. We do have a tendency, especially in our folk wisdom, to believe that life skills are innate to proper manliness.
And I get why the gender neutral “carpenter” is there, but it’s a signal that this campaign isn’t playing out in Tennessee, but on a national stage.
We’re just along for the ride.
3a. And check out the comments on Woods’s piece. Tell me that Tammy Mcleaf isn’t just spouting talking points that struck a chord with her. And then come the folks calling Woods a shill for Cooper. Or over at Kleinheider’s where you have the reverse, the “voices of reason” who completely agree with Kleinheider.
Now, I love Kleinheider, but if he’s written more than two sentences, there’s probably one in there that I think is total bullshit. So, this idea that a person could read that whole post and agree with everything he says just strains credulity.
Unless, of course, you’re simply looking for a “pro-Cooper” outlet to shout your slogans of support.
3b. Which is why I’m feeling a little upset to be lumped in with the whole people just shouting support of Cooper. I’m not blindly supportive of Cooper. But it’s not as simple as “We have a poll and a wish and outside support!” and I want to hear real ideas about how one goes about running a more liberal candidate against Cooper and winning and I want to hear that from people who live here and can speak convincingly about the contours of the district.
I don’t think it can be done. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but I don’t think I am.
I would support and do support local efforts to primary Cooper, but I’m not that excited about being bullshitted.
At the end of the day, the national folks go home and we Democrats have to work together. They can afford to run a more scorched-earth campaign than we will be able to live with if they fail.
4. I agree with much of what GoldnI says here, except of course for the parts where she wants to encourage people with more readers than her to contact Cooper, for reasons outlined above, and also because even if GoldnI has a smaller readership than the rest of us, she certainly is on the must-read list of people more powerful than us. To measure power in the blogosphere by numbers alone is to overlook the importance of influence. Influence which GoldnI has in spades.
This, especially, is where I think she says succintly what I have taken all this space to say:
A primary challenge would require an organic movement but a heck of a lot of money. Right now, we have neither, and no outside group is going to make them magically materialize. Besides that, we’d still have to contend with our unique approach to politics in Tennessee. I may be an unapologetic partisan hack, but I understand that most voters are not. They like Cooper even if they disagree with him.