In Which I Armchair Quarterback the Democrats

1. Since it’s more important for the old guard to be gloating jackasses than to do actual Democratic outreach, they have completely missed the shift among some previously neutral or enthusiastic young people towards the TNDP. But because I am already an asshole, I will tell you straight up. Old guard, there’s some coalition building you could do with your young people, if you’d put down the “Oh my god, those idiots and their love for Chip Forrester. How can we run them out of the party this week?” People have come away from this year with the impression that there’s no support for candidates in small races, no support for people who aren’t in the “right” districts.  If that’s not also your strategy, you might could find some new allies.

2. A.) Someone owns the name “Music Row Democrats.” When you start asking around about how to restart the Music Row Democrats and you don’t even seem to have a plan for how to either get that name or come up with a new name, the people who are still talking to you find it weird. B.) People are still very, very bitter about how that went down. Well, I take that back. Not how it went down. How they understand that it went down. Before you, TNDP, start sniffing around about whether you could restart the MRD, you should know that conventional wisdom is that it was you guys who killed it in the first place, because you only wanted open wallets and access to Democratic stars; you didn’t want an actual, active organization you’d have to learn to get along with. It doesn’t matter if this is not the truth. This is what people think the truth is.

19 thoughts on “In Which I Armchair Quarterback the Democrats

  1. There are people wanting to be involved. The question remains after what I’ve seen this year is whether or not the people who feel as if they are in control want new blood and new ideas.

    And that is of the suck. Because the TNDP needs these people. They need them more than they think they do because they are detached from what’s really happening in this state.

    Politics needs freshness and passion. And the best thing right now would be if the TNDP would quit playing political checkers and tap into what real people are actually talking about. I agree with you. Something needs to be done, but I wonder if other lib bloggers like myself are suffering a bit of fatigue because we have been blasted by members of our own party. You gave me a lot to think about this morning.

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  3. What’s sad is that I’m trying to figure out where/when the first quarter meeting for the TNDP in Davidson is. Or. not.

    S’not listed anywhere.

  4. I was thinking about that this morning, too. One of the things that annoys me about the “Chip Forrester fucked it all up” timeline revision is that the alienation people who were involved with MRD feel happened before Forrester.

    Some of these problems are old, but if Forrester gets all the blame (and not saying he doesn’t deserve some), then the old ways, which also were a problem, are still entrenched.

    I just know there’s a lot of excitement and energy out there and people who are excited, but who feel like basically, their work isn’t wanted, just their money and for them to shut up.

  5. Unfortunately, the TNDP will have to totally unravel before it’s rebuilt. A Maoist cultural revolution is needed to clear out everyone, then it possibly will grow again out of the ashes. No one has to do anything. This process is organically occurring and should be completed (at least the unraveling part), by the end of next election season. The Republican’s should enjoy this time for the TNDP, because once Democrats burn down and rebuild, all new names and faces will actually lead for the first time since reconstruction.

  6. Saying “Chip Forrester fucked it all up” isn’t too different from saying “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.”

  7. Um, I’m not signing on for any Maoist cultural revolution that “clears out everyone.” No offense, but “burn it down” is a motto for people who don’t have to live and work in “it.”

    If I thought turning my back on the Democrats and their institutionalized memory and knowledge and experience and starting completely new was a useful strategy, I wouldn’t give two shits about them. I’d do my own thing and let them do their own thing.

    But that’s not how things get fixed, I don’t think. Talk like that just gives people an excuse to continue to ignore the progressives.

    Unless that’s your point, in which case, never mind my civil engagement with your ideas.

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  9. Count me among the “burn it down” crowd. This institutional memory you’re talking about is absolutely worthless if its only function is to shut people down and keep them out. Frankly, I can’t possibly imagine what they have that would be of any value even if they did want to use it for good. Their attitudes are poison, their ideas stink, their policy positions are even worse, and they evidently don’t even know how to win elections anymore.

    You say that my position is well suited to someone who is on the outside looking in. Well, that’s pretty much everybody in the state these days, right? Who is being invited into the little Nashville insider clique? Who would even want to be part of such an ugly mess, anyway?

    No, sorry. They broke it, they own it. I hope the Republicans eat them alive. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of people.

  10. You say “them” like the only thing at stake is a few people losing their elected offices. The reality is, here in Tennessee, people will suffer in real and tangible ways the consequences of a party too weak to put up a fight in 2010.

    I keep hearing similar sentiments from people who moved away – people who while here worked on campaigns and interned in the legislature and actively participated in various Democratic Party arms – and will now say things like, “Fuck the Democrats,” to my face because they know, in Illinois or New York or Massachusetts or California or wherever it is they now live, their Republicans are not our Republicans and they don’t have the same things to worry about that we do, here, if we go from being the minority party to a party at the margin. From their lofty blue-state perches they can afford to be petulant for not getting exactly what they wanted for Election Day Christmas.

    The foundation is solid and the structure is mostly intact – we need to rip some walls out, replace some wiring, clear out the plumbing and renovate.

  11. I think the other thing to is that there are a lot of good people who give money to Democrats and who support Democratic campaigns and who work hard for the Party who are only tangentially aware of the infighting (or if they are aware of it, just figure it doesn’t pertain to them. I mean, I knew about the Forrester/Bone stuff, but I didn’t figure it concerned me. I was ready to support whoever won, only to learn that supporting the TNDP with Chip supposedly signaled that I wanted the death of the Democratic party, puppies, and an end to cherry pie.).

    I know how much it sucks to be caught up in a fight you have no interest in and how alienating that feels.

    Rejecting everything the Democrats have done means rejecting the good, honest, hard work a lot of self-identified people who have no dog in this fight have done.

    I think that would be an enormous and monumental mistake.

  12. I know…everyone knows you hate me and hate me posting here, but you put out false information all the time because you rarely fact check,, and this is one of them that I can’t let pass.

    My friens Bob Titley owns the name ‘Music Row Democrats.’ He is, and has been for a few years, off in New Mexico working with a poor Indian community.

    He put 50 thousand of his own money into MRD, and worked with me to bring Michael Moore to town on Oct 9, 2004, which attracted plenty of younger voters.

    Mostly, though, he lost Brooks and Dunn as his clients, which was a huge financial loss to him, but he stood up for what he believed in, an continued with MRD, having free once a month meetings open to everyone with Janet Reno, Al Gore, and other speakers on that level

    Southern Belle worked tirelessly on PR, and I was the Op-Ed writer. All of us, beit BobTitley or Belle or Me lost a lot of money to try to get this going and working not only for free, but like I said, costing us, but no one more than the owner of the name, Bob Titley.

    I don’t recall seeing you working events for free on a regular basis to try to help, and when you do want to help, you want to tell the party to get rid of people like me who have volunteered for as long as you’ve been alive, and then you expect us to step aside when a lot of you, (Sean Braisted and young Democrats are an exception) chose not to participate unless you’re in control. There is room for everyone, and the Braisted’s are the future of the party, and I love watching him and other young Dems work so hard and know the facts and issues, and don’t just read and speculate.
    First you have to know what’s going on with all the candidates and not just read something and give an opinion, and secondly, you need to roll up your sleeves and be willing to do the grunt work.
    Lastly, my best friend was offered MRD during the campaign, but we found we couldn’t get enough young people–we wanted y’all, to do the grunt work, because we are too old to do it all–but that’s where a lot of people who are younger say they want a voice, but wont speak and just want to hang with Al Gore, but not clean up the Belcourt after he has given a speech.
    Chip had NOTHING to do with MRD–Sasser was head of the party at the time, and no one dictated to us what we did.
    We were a group of people who all worked for free and fulltime, and no one should ever dis Bob Titley, who risked more than you ever would, and lose as much money and a career he spent building–about as long as you’ve been alive, to lose his big act for his principals.
    If you would like to talk with Bob Titley professionally, and get the information you want, I will give you his number. Email me for it. ANd please, don’t start putting me down…again. I’ve done nothing to you or your friends, and like you though, I am protective of mine and you just got it all wrong about Bob and MRD and not get all huffy, but instead have an intelligent conversation about it and get the facts, which I offer to you via Bob, the owner of the site–and I’ll stay out of it.

  13. Southern Belle=Southern Beale. My mistake. Correction made. And please forgive the other typos. I’ve never been a good typist or speller, and I’ve lost my vision in one eye (diabetes) and losing it in the other, so typing will only get worse, but I’m trying.

    Apologies for writing the wrong name for Beale.

  14. Sharon, you’re reading things that aren’t there (again). You weren’t mentioned — either by name or by implication — in the piece. You look foolish and more than a little wacked-out when you come out swinging against a phantom aggressor.

    However, thanks for the information about MRD — that’s helpful.

  15. Those of us involved with MRD are very proud of what we did and Sharon is correct, we worked our butts off … not because we loved the TNDP but because we were terrified of what another four years of Bush would do to the country. I always considered MRD more nationally focused than TN focused anyway.

    A lot of us devoted substantial time and money and hard work and it paid off, maybe not in 2004 but certainly in 2006 and 2008. I met some great people and had a blast. But you can’t sustain that level of commitment on an all volunteer basis. Things probably needed to be solidified after 2004 to keep the organization going. Unf. after the 2004 loss most of us retreated into a hole to lick our wounds and the opportunity passed.

    The MRD that emerged in 2006 was very different in focus and intent from the one begun in 2004; the 2006 version focused more on messaging that promoted the Democratic Party and what it means to be a Democrat. The 2004 MRD was involved more heavily in fundraising and the presidential election.

    Whether MRD will come back I can’t say, though I wouldn’t bet on it. But a few MRD alumni did form Music City For Change before the 2008 presidential election. They did some wonderful work and had some very successful events. Perhaps instead of trying to revive old organizations we should look at supporting those that are here now.

  16. Politics needs freshness and passion.


    Liberal politics needs naivete’ and emotion.

    “We need more clueless people, lacking in objectivity and logic skills.”

    It really is your ‘strike zone’.

    -Happy Kwanzaa

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