She Wants to Give It a Try, So Let the Little Girl By

Before we get started on Ken Whitehouse’s genius piece of genius, can I take a moment to say that the end of this post reminds me why I love Sean Braisted? I know we have to have a boring, sensible race for governor this year, with actual candidates with thoughts and positions. But let me just float this out there for you to think about–2014 Turner/Braisted.  We’d have to revamp how we get Lt. Governors, or we need to create an office of Vice Governor pretty much immediately. But imagine it. It’d be bad for me, yes. I would regularly get angry phone calls and blog comments, I’m sure.

But let me just say, I would rather, all day, fight with a breed of Tennessee Democrats that will storm around, yelling and laughing loudly and wearing their heart on their sleeves, than a breed of Tennessee Democrats that’s all “Well, now, let’s all play nice and just do like we’ve always done. We mustn’t stray too far outside the lines.”  I’m not saying Turner isn’t an old-school Democrat.  I’m just saying that some in the Party want to be Tom Sawyer and some can’t help but be Huck Finn and, if the rest of us Democrats can’t convince them to come out of the 1850s, at least Huck Finn wasn’t a fucker.

Which, is more about Turner than Braisted, but I still like the idea of Braisted storming around the capitol cussing and kicking things over and calling Andy Sere a “gay-baiting lying piece of shit.”

Amen, Brother Braisted, amen.

So, where were we?

Oh, yes, Whitehouse. He’s written an obituary for the TNDP, which you should read, because it’s hilarious. And really shows the benefits to reading someone like him over reading someone like me. I’m all sass and snark, but he’s got the historical depth I only wish I had.

And yes, when it’s your party this stuff is written about, it sucks.  But folks, it is time to let the suck wash over us.  It is time to admit that the corpse is dead, kick it a few times for good measure, just to make sure it stays down, and then rebuild.

Move on. Make like a horror movie director and imagine Child of TNDP or, if you watch a lot of the Science Channel or Discovery, think of it as Anak TNDP, rising from the ashes of its parent, bigger, more powerful, ready to destroy…

Um, okay, maybe we shouldn’t make like a horror movie in this case.

But folks, the energy is here. The kids are excited. Things are bad, but the worst they can do to us is redistrict us, which they’re going to do, and then what?  It’s about to be tremendously freeing.

All that stuff we were afraid to do? Never had the nerve?

Well, let Anak TNDP through, she wants to pass by you.


16 thoughts on “She Wants to Give It a Try, So Let the Little Girl By

  1. What is it that we’re going to do when we’re redistricted into a semi-permanent minority? Grandstand in War Memorial all session? (more likely, wait until demographic shifts turn things around)

  2. I see a better parallel to Office Space than I do to any death. Except, now that we’re no longer having the worst day of our lives every day, let’s not steal pennies.

    Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.

  3. Well, I was planning on dancing, but you can grandstand if that sounds like fun for you.

    I think it’s got to be a double motion. Encourage the folks who are there to do right and pressure the Dems to let the new blood in.

    Like you say, it’s coming. The demographics are shifting and everything about how we’re reacting to that shift is going to make for very politicized young people in 10-15 years.

    The toddler you deny Christmas presents to today is the kid marching on the Capitol in 2014, folks.

  4. Or, like we tried to warn Lowe Finney, the Obama kids don’t give a shit how you’ve always done things.

    I just don’t want those Obama kids to kick me to the curb as an old square too!

  5. The Obama kids have so far proven to be unfortunately just that, Obama kids. They’ve displayed a personal attachment to his clarion call but the echoes have fallen on deaf ears. That can change in the next four years, starting with health care and ending with the state of the economy (specifically employment numbers). I think 60% of the Obama kids are up for grabs lest things turn in his favor.

    That’s nationally, and national trends, it seems, do not trickle down to the rural and rural-ish counties.

    You wanna pressure “those that are there?” Either move to their district or otherwise portend to effect their bottom line. Otherwise they ain’t listening.

    How are you going to tell someone to “act like a real Democrat” in a district where Bredesen is the only statewide candidate with a win, where the mere mention of abortion has folks grabbing for their rifle/bible?

    This is not about doing things as they’ve always been done, or being out of touch (though one could argue the entire state is out of touch). It’s about dealing with the situation on the ground as it stands. How do we help those in position now get elected in the districts as they’re made up? And within that strategy means dealing with politicized people 10 to 15 yrs from now.

    Political parties (and often politicians) are more like vampires than people. They can always be revived if there’s potential money in a sequel.

  6. I guess this is why I’m not a political operative. Because I don’t give a shit about candidates who won’t stand up for women’s rights winning just because they’re Dems.

    So, if they “have” to run right to win, they can do it without me.

    It’s of no tangible benefit to me to reward folks with my support when they turn around and don’t support me, as a person.

    And that seems to be the same old point of contention we’ve always had.

    Standing up for me might mean you lose. But not standing up for me is a deal breaker for me.

    So, if folks who won’t stand up for me are running in districts where not standing up for me is very popular, that’s a decision they can make.

    It’s not one I have to quietly accept so that Democrats can have some victories. Democrats who want those kinds of victories are ALWAYS going to be eyed suspiciously by me.

  7. Likewise, running as a bigot (hard or soft option) is not satisfactory. It “works” in rural Tennessee, but are you recommending it as a pragmatic concession to the popular will? Or is only women and their bodies that Democrats are to sacrifice on the altar of pragmatic politics?

  8. This is where you find out that electoral politics doesn’t jibe with you. Birch told me “politics is what you make it,” but it really isn’t. Sounds very old judge, though, doesn’t it?

    “It’s of no tangible benefit to me to reward folks with my support when they turn around and don’t support me, as a person.”

    Well, if want to see the TNDP taking the state House, then there may be a tangible benefit.

    How hard is it to take this stance living in an urban district? It’s hard for me now because of Cooper’s stance on health care reform (I’ll get to him later). But generally it’s pretty easy to point at the outliers in the sticks when I can go Green and still feel assured that I will at least see a center-left candidate representing me.

    I hope the bigotry example was not done for my benefit. Black women cannot be rendered from either status. Still, to say that Democrats are sacrificing anything suggests a pre-existing value placed on the thing. I know personally that some Dems who have run with a personal opinion that, if not differing from their public stance, they at least avoided being linked to their private opinion. I don’t know that, say, every Dem in TN who talks pro-life is fudging. Why do we assume they’re all liars?

    Is the “pro-life” Dem not a “real” Dem? They are candidates with whom I would disagree. That’s a question of where is your line. We voted for President someone who was against gay marriage. Why is that given a pass? Was it that the job was bigger than the issue? Was it that the stakes were too high? Obama above being the perfect candidate? We caught him winking when he said it?

    Why is it that we got so peeved when some Carpetbaggers came down and told us the (what should be) obvious; Cooper is a centrist and a fiscal conservative who is likely to oppose our Holy Grail of health care reform? Were we making some calculation about supporting Cooper, or simply acting out a little remembrance of the Reconstruction? Seemed to me progressives should have been calling for his head, yet many around here chose to go after the bearers of bad news. Yes, their plan to oust him is folly, but their actions seem to be the kind of thing many progressives are supporting. Dunno if that was just haterism or what.

    Electoral politics is a game with soft borders. Wellstone understood this as well as anyone, that patron saint of progressives.

  9. But Progressives here ARE calling for Cooper’s head. That’s part of what was so weird about the whole Kos thing. Like I said way back when that had more oomph to it, I didn’t expect to hear from Kos. I don’t write much about healthcare reform and I’m agnostic about getting rid of Cooper.

    But people I know, who write a lot about healthcare reform and who I would think would be happy with someone other than Cooper, like Southern Beale, for instance, also hadn’t heard jack shit. It was weird.

    I wouldn’t expect all political activists to contact relevant bloggers and try to enlist them in their causes, but it was weird that a blogger took that route.

    And it was unfortunate that it got framed as some carpetbagging thing, when, really, if you look at who was complaining, the more dynamic was really more obvious. Here comes a guy who’s decided he knows what’s best for us, so he’s just going to take over and make it happen and won’t we be good little women and maybe bake some cookies or bring the men some beer while they have the important discussion about ousting Cooper?

    But you know, if you complain about sexist dynamics, everyone thinks you’re a crazy bitch who’s just taking it too far or who’s not being a team player by giving our allies the benefit of the doubt.

    So you try to use some metaphor you think the guys doing the crappy thing will get. And, yeah, it was a stupid ass complaint, this whole “you’re not from here” crap.

    But it wasn’t dismissed. And “so, the women who would be your allies weren’t important enough to get to know” would have been.

    Is a pro-life Dem not a real Dem? That’s not even a question I can answer. A pro-life candidate, period, is not someone I can vote for. It doesn’t matter what party. If you don’t recognize my basic human right to say what happens to my own body, if you don’t even recognize me having enough standing as a person to be allowed to control my own body, I cannot vote for you.

    If you get voted into office, I will work to change your mind. But no, I will never vote for you, if I know you are “pro-life”.

    It is a deal-breaker for me. Either you recognize my right to full citizenship or you don’t get my support. No vote, no money.

    Yes, it is a question of where the line is. It’s also a question of whether you think a candidate can be persuaded. If, somehow, the Supreme Court ruled tomorrow that bans on gay marriage violate equal protection, I truly, in my heart, don’t believe Obama would support amending the Constitution to strip gay people of the right to marry.

    And I believed that we had a better chance of actually repealing DADT under him and getting an ENDA with some teeth than we would have under McCain. I might be sorry, but that’s what I thought when I voted.

    Seeing the TNDP take the House is only of tangible benefit to me if they then enact progressive (for Tennessee) legislation.

    I want candidates who will protect the environment, put money into education, entice business to come here, to think ahead about renewable resources and try to figure out how we can be at the forefront of making some money off that shit. We’ve got wind and sun and water. I expect them to stick up for children and to work on ways of lowering our abysmal infant mortality rate. I want politicians who will be respected on the national stage, if they’re running for offices with national prominence. I want politicians who will treat us like adults and who understand that, while they surely should let God guide their personal lives, they don’t need to impose legislation on the rest of us that codifies their religious beliefs into law.

    Why can’t we try candidates like that in the rural areas?

    I meant what I said the other day. I was feeling bad, but I’m not now. This is kind of an exciting time to be a Democrat in Tennessee. We can try all kinds of stuff and see what works.

    Will we? Ha, well, probably not. But we could, and I find that kind of cool.

  10. “How are you going to tell someone to “act like a real Democrat” in a district where Bredesen is the only statewide candidate with a win, where the mere mention of abortion has folks grabbing for their rifle/bible?”

    You can tell them to stop talking about abortion and start talking about what really matters to most Tennesseans – jobs, education, health care. Or you can tell them that in between talking about jobs, education, and health care they can start talking about the abortion issue in a way that resonates with most people – “I will do everything I can to work towards reducing the number of unintended pregnancies.”

    The people who get turned off by a candidate who can’t talk about abortion (or guns and gays, for that matter) in anything but absolutes i.e. “you’re a baby killer unless you work to fully outlaw abortion, contraception, and sex education in the public schools” are about 25-30% of the population, if that much, and they’re never going to vote for a Democrat anyway. You know what you do when you run into a person like that? Walk away.

    Oh, and by the way, we’re all pro-life so the question of whether a pro-life Dem is a real Dem doesn’t really make sense.

    I would argue that a Democratic candidate who works really hard to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies through education and access to affordable contraception does more to reduce the number of abortions than someone tries to do it through a Constitutional amendment, which we all know is simply a political football they use to raise money and score points with their base. And most reasonable people would agree.

  11. Amen to the idea that black women are doubly sold out by the current Democratic “pragmatism.” I am so fucking sick of hearing about all the things they just can’t do.

    Yes, I do think that there are core party principles that if you can’t get behind, you really shouldn’t be calling yourself a Democrat. They flow from a way of thinking about human rights and the positive duty of the federal government to ensure the exercise of those rights.

    It’s sort of a parody of a Jeff Foxworthy routine:

    “If you don’t agree that the federal government has a constitutional mandate to override state authority when it comes to enforcing civil rights guarantees provided in the 14th Amendment…you shouldn’t be calling yourself a Democrat.”

    “If you can’t affirm that women have a legal right to the control of her own body (including the ability to decide to terminate a pregnancy if she and her doctor think that’s the best option) and that as a person dedicated to the rule of law, you’ll insure that this right is not abridged…you shouldn’t be calling yourself a Democrat.”

    ” If you can’t make an intelligent stand for the concept of cooperative federalism and cogently argue for how the fed-state relationship benefits your locality, you shouldn’t be calling yourself a Democrat.”

    ‘If you can’t communicate that your party represents one vital part of a national dialogue on rights and liberties that have been ongoing since the nation’s creation, if you can’t appeal with pride to that heritage, and if you feel you need to downplay your historic affiliations with the groups that meaningfully shaped your appeal, you shouldn’t be calling yourself a Democrat.”

    And so forth.

    This is a no-harm, no-foul situation. If you’re not a Democrat, that’s cool. But don’t claim that you are if you can’t find it in yourself to actually be a Democrat.

  12. you know bridgett, Matthews recently claimed that netroots people were not real Democrats, while I get his reasoning — I feel his pain abt folks not wanting to face up to some stark nastiness in a system w/out proportional representation — I don’t cotton to that kind of talk. The absolute last thing the party needs is a kind of SNCC type purge. Given the realities, we can’t afford to be Khmer Rouge on this. If Joe Centrist can only check off 8 of 10 “core principles,” then he gets kicked out? Nah.

  13. We’re not talking Joe Centrist. The sweet middle is where business gets done and good governance happens, but y’all haven’t seen the middle in so long that it looks like the freaky edge. Tennessee is regularly fielding idiots who call themselves Democrats and then send out mailings with babies in petri dishes and such. If it’s so boogity scary to say “I plan to represent all the people, even the ones who don’t look like me or worship like me or love like me,” then maybe a candidate ought to rethink his or her commitments. (But I’ll freely cop to being more doctrinaire on this point than many Democrats. Obviously.)

  14. Even if these canadates may not be able to win, there is something to be said for opening up those ideological spaces for debate in this area. Right now, there’s nobody even campaigning on these things, and so it’s easy for the republicans and RightOCrats to dismiss them as the “radical left”.

    Fine, they want radical left, why don’t we give it to them? Show them what it really looks like, so that people can go back to having actual democrats around?

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