There’s a Saying in Tennessee, It’s “Most Things Folks Say Folks Say in Tennessee are Not Actually Said by Anyone in Tennessee.”

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.

7 thoughts on “There’s a Saying in Tennessee, It’s “Most Things Folks Say Folks Say in Tennessee are Not Actually Said by Anyone in Tennessee.”

  1. Pingback: Lumped In : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  2. That’s a thoughtful post (and I followed the link here for DKOs, btw). It’s also sad and telling that the entire state of TN is not in the top-five donors to Coop’s elections. That’s not a “southern” problem, it’s a national one. Suburban and rural districts from CA to NY suffer the same problem. It’s due to our own lack of organization – long-term, not just in the days before an election. That is changing, hopefully sooner than later.

    More of us than ever before are able and willing to donate to progressive individual candidates through ActBlue, rather than sending the biggest check we can muster to the Dem Party senate or congressional committees. The focus on Dem opposition, mustered by lobbyist donations, to the public option, combined with the local activism organized by the Obama campaign (sorry, our local Dem Club did next-to-nothing until the day of), is changing the political and hopefully social landscape.

    Don’t reject our help. Ask for it, and provide it in return, to win more progressive seats, please.

    And I agree with you, the national blogger personalities getting their makeup professionally done for TV appearances reek of arrogance by their third appearance. It’s ugly, but inevitable, no? Even second-hand designer clothes and discount designer makeup added a superficial strut to my step, when I was still able to work and earn enough for even that.

    As a feminist Caribbean Black Latina Native bisexual disabled single-mother now-grandmother, I know those bloggers are far, far from knowing or representing all of us. But if I stuck with only identity-politics, I would never have a successful majority to work with – “feminists” included. My identities are part of me, but can’t be all there is to me, in a system where majority rules – not if I want all parts of me/us to flourish.

    We have to build alliances, nation-wide, to thrive and not just survive. That includes my grandkids, who now also encompass the English-Irish-Scottish!

    Please, take our offered hands, don’t slap them away.

  3. Inaru, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it. Two things strike me about what you’ve said and I just want to clarify my own position (even though it’s probably too late to stop the pro-Cooper meme).

    1. I am not opposed to seeing Cooper primaried.

    2. I don’t think that anyone who wants to see that happen would be opposed to outside help. It is, I believe, still unclear if this is actually outside help or a chance for self-aggrandizement from outsiders.

    I’ve been perplexed all day and still remain perplexed about how anyone can claim to know enough about the district to know that Cooper can be defeated while at the same time demonstrating that they never considered that strolling in and announce that they were there to lead the charge might be met with some “What the fuck?”s.

    Or I guess they can continue to say that it’s just three people saying “What the fuck?”

    Who the hell knows, though, maybe it is just the three of us.

  4. lol Aunt B, I get that you’re not pro-Cooper, and said so on the DKOs article. And girlfriend, you cuss like a NYer, I never knew that about TN women!

    I only spent a few months there, on the run w/my 1-yr-old from a husband in NY who gave me a concussion, directly to Steve Gaskin’s “Farm” in Summertown in ’79. No native Tennesseans there. Talk about sexist hippies! Everything that made them really “famous” was propagated by women: midwifery, and vegetarian cooking “Diet for a Small Planet”! Yet women were relegated to 2nd class citizens, treated like breeding chattel (only rhythm-method, for pity’s sake! and monogamy! Yeah, sure, who ended up payin’ when that didn’t pan out?). To their credit – see, finding a silver lining! – they were the only on-demand sanctuary for battered women/moms at the time.

    I went to El Paso, TX and Reno, NV for Obama, and that impressed people rather than turned them off. I’m a working class gal (still though I went to Stanford for grad school – and to cuss out then-provost Condi Rice lol!) and on a cane, that surely helped. And when we made GOTV calls for BO from CA, to the east coast working our way west from dawn, until the polls closed in CA, we asked voters to check the Dem for senator, as well. Most folks didn’t know who the hell we were talking about when it came to senate races, but agreed to do so. Many said they would’ve skipped that box entirely if we hadn’t promoted the Dem candiddate.

    We’re a very migratory people now, Aunt B. I ran into NYers and CAians in TX and NV. I’m sure there’s a few of us in your district too. And the things we have in common transcend any arbitrary lines. My grandma who raised me was from farm country, migrated to NY w/no English and only a 5th grade education (shoes for school? boys got priority) fleeing droughts, floods and hurricanes, to make an opportunity for us by working 6 days/wk in a Bronx factory and a Manhattan hotel-owner’s laundry until she was 65, and dead by medical malpractice at 70. And no, we didn’t sue, not a litigious people.

    If a horde of yuppies lands there, your primary opponent is doomed, yes. If it’s regular women – as usual, it is primarily women! – like us, your primary opponent would have as good a chance as any. And nothin’ beats a failure but a try. Think about it.

    So glad I found your blog! Bookmarked! Stay in touch, please. If you FB, befriend. I’ve got too many bookmarks, they’re as disorganized as my clothes!

  5. Pingback: SayUncle » The Drama Llama

  6. It’s funny because Newscoma and I were the ones who were telling Dems last year that they’d better get with this internet stuff or they would be blindsided by the people who organized on the internet for Obama.

    And look what is coming to pass.

Comments are closed.