R. Neal is Right, I Just Don’t Care

R. Neal says:

Sure, he’s said some things that don’t sit well with progressives. Just like Harold Ford Jr. But our advice to Democrats is to put away the knives and get behind our guy. Unless you want a less qualified, less accomplished Bob Corker clone running the state.

And I want to say, for the sake of honesty, that this is true.

It’s not a big enough threat to change my mind about voting for McWherter. The Democratic strategy this silly season, instead of even tossing an occasional bone to the progressives, has been to make it as clear as possible that the progressives can go fuck ourselves. And not just the progressives. It’s not like immigrant communities or science teachers are well-known progressive constituencies. Our Muslim community is not a bastion of progressive beliefs.

So, it’s not just progressives Democrats have asked to suck it with McWherter.

There are a lot of people in this state who need the Democrats to stand up (and I would hope stand up proudly) for them and the Democrats, McWherter especially, has signaled that our problems are not his problem.

Fine.

Then his problems aren’t mine.

I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who did consider the alternative and vote for him. Each person has to make the choice he or she thinks is best for him or her.

But everyone has some place beyond which they can’t follow a politician, just because he has a D behind his name.

For me, we are at that place. If McWherter had spent a quarter of the time he’s spent hanging out with folks who are like him hanging out with people who are not like him–listening to gay people or immigrants or Muslims or science teachers or people from Memphis or hell, people who aren’t working–if he showed any interest in the experiences of people who are different than him, instead of constantly signaling that he’s the candidate (along with the other three) of people just like him, I might feel differently.

26 thoughts on “R. Neal is Right, I Just Don’t Care

  1. Framing McWherter as similar to Ford is not the most compelling argument. McWherter’s statements about the Arizona law echo Ford’s vote in favor of HR 4437, and HR 4437 still sets me off.

  2. “Unless you want a less qualified, less accomplished Bob Corker clone running the state.”

    Problem for me is, so far at least, I haven’t heard a single reason, beyond generic throwaway platitudes (“McWherter will work for the working people of Tennessee”!) why he’d really be preferable to a Corker clone. I think an empty suit who doesn’t much concern himself with cultural issues is usually better than a slimeball who’ll throw the most vulnerable under the bus.

  3. I think the comparison to Ford isn’t strong enough. I actually don’t mind a blue dog, what I wont accept is someone is so drastically uneducated as to believe evolution is a neat little fairy tale to tell after explaining the facts of creationism

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  5. At Jackson Day, the moment Mike McWherter took the stage, the camera immediately cut to a shot of Ned Ray. I think that’s about all they’ve got at this point.

  6. While I like Andy Berke, I’m supporting Jim Kyle in our little fantasy write-in election. I’ll bet I can drum up more write-in votes for Kyle than y’all do for Berke. Wanna make a bit of a friendly competition out of it? We may as well have some fun with this disaster.

  7. Sure, [McWherter]’s said some things that don’t sit well with progressives. Just like Harold Ford Jr.

    Not just like Harold Ford, Jr., since Harold Ford, Jr. said a couple of things that progressives could agree with. Whereas if McWherter has said any such things I missed them, and I implore R. Neal to remind me what they are.

    But our advice to Democrats is to put away the knives and get behind our guy. Unless you want a less qualified, less accomplished Bob Corker clone running the state.

    This assumes that McWherter is not himself a less accomplished Bob Corker clone. I’m wiating to have any indication that that is so.

  8. I’m sorry but why are we supposed to stick with “our guy” just cuz? That’s ridiculous.

    At some point I think it really is better to have a “a less qualified, less accomplished Bob Corker clone running the state” that a less qualified, less accomplished, wannabe Republican running the state. Seriously, you’re asking us to elect a Democrat who will then screw over every Democratic constituency so that .. what? So that when we complain that he’s anti-woman we are told, “well shut up you voted for him”?

    Does this make sense to anyone?

    We’re supposed to support someone who will screw over every Democratic constituency so that the Democratic Party gets the message that we are sheep who will support whatever POS candidate they drag out of the smoke-filled room because we love the letter “D” so much?

    Um, no. Not just no, but hell no. When Bill Haslam is elected governor and pursues all sorts of TNGOP policies I disagree with I will then have the moral standing to lobby against it. I will be unable to do that if I supported Mike McWherter.

    Don’t be foolish. A crap sandwich served by a Democrat tastes no better than a crap sandwich served by a Republican.

  9. I’m sure I should know the answer to this, but how/are write-in votes counted (and is there any difference in the method between the primary and the general)? I’m just wondering if the outcome is any official tally, like “X votes for ‘next actual Democrat’ and Y votes for ‘Andy Berke'” or whatever.

  10. Wanna make a bit of a friendly competition out of it? We may as well have some fun with this disaster.

    The only problem is that your little competition would be as unverifiable as the ES&S Votronic solution that we have in place.

    Any vote for a “write-in” just goes into a bucket called “write-in.” No detail exists of just how many votes that Foghorn Leghorn gets in each cycle.

    When Bill Haslam is elected governor and pursues all sorts of TNGOP policies I disagree with I will then have the moral standing to lobby against it. I will be unable to do that if I supported Mike McWherter.

    YMMV, but voting for Bredesen (twice) hasn’t really stopped me from feeling the least moral pinch about calling him a feckless sonovabitch and working against him where appropriate.

    A crap sandwich served by a Democrat tastes no better than a crap sandwich served by a Republican.

    “But ours is POOP. Theirs is SHIT!” Yeah, I know.

    Not that it matters, anyway. The fix has long been in on this outcome. Was anyone really surprised when Cammack and McMillan dropped out to pursue other interests? Was anyone taken aback when Roy Herron jumped from the gubernatorial race the minute that a vacancy became available in the US House?

    I’ve long thought that Haslam was the candidate to beat, and if some lowly blog subscriber and sometime irate commenter like me can make that call in the middle of 2008, I don’t know why the TNDP couldn’t reckon that out. Instead, we were favored with the whole Forrester saga and all of the infighting led by Bredesen’s cohort, this after his favored point man was nixed by a consensus he somehow lost control over (and has been nursing a weeping grudge ever since).

    The planning for this cycle really should have started right as Bredesen started his lame duck term. If there’s been any evidence of that, I’m hard pressed to lay a hand to it. The sad thing is? Maybe this was partly, if not completely, his idea — I do recall him clearing the decks for Tuke to feed himself into the jaws of the Alexander campaign, which (if memory serves) included a word of warning to Mike McWherter to stay the fuck out of it; i.e. that as the “good guy” that McWherter was, he shouldn’t be stepping up to run a fools’ errand.

    And God help me, as a lifelong Democrat, I voted for Alexander. (Trust me, if you’d ever had a beer with Bob Tuke, you’d have done the same thing as me.)

    ***

    All of this is to say: a handful of half-hearted votes for McWherter isn’t going to make a damned bit of difference to stop Bill Haslam from becoming governor, and Foghorn Leghorn gets my write-in vote in the primary when I go to dimple an iChad for Jeff Yarbro. And it is his candidacy that has me ALL BUT SURRENDERED TO THE UTTER FUTILITY THAT IS THIS ELECTION CYCLE.

  11. He’s “said some things that don’t sit well with progressives”?! So now we’re asked to acquiesce that evolution, religious freedom, and civil rights are “progressive” ideas, and by implication out of the mainstream? Fuck that noise.

    It’s this kind of thinking that makes me increasingly less likely to vote for the guy. Because even his supporters will tell you that it’s all a part of marginalizing reasonable, middle-ground values since we’re apparently so outnumbered in Tennessee. It’s a movement of, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

    No thank you. His shitty campaign can’t even pull itself together to answer some simple emailed questions from a would-be supporter? Since I’m faced with a choice between a moderate Republican and crazies, I’ll vote for the moderate.

  12. Andy, the first year we used those voting machines, I wrote in John Harvey for Shelby County Sheriff and got my mother to do the same. We were able to verify our votes by looking at the precinct reports we got from the election commission.

    I think it would be interesting to look at Al Gore’s first senate campaign and compare it to the losing Democratic campaigns of today. I don’t recall Al ever pissing anyone off like this, with the possible exception of Tipper’s PMRC, which didn’t come until years later.

  13. Andy, the first year we used those voting machines, I wrote in John Harvey for Shelby County Sheriff and got my mother to do the same. We were able to verify our votes by looking at the precinct reports we got from the election commission.

    My point: What sort of message does it send to write-in any candidate if you have to pull raw data from every precinct in order to see the outcome? You want to see a name reflected in the state-wide total, do you not?

    That’s why you need to have the write-in registered with the state. And Berke is not about to sign on for that.

  14. And God help me, as a lifelong Democrat, I voted for Alexander. (Trust me, if you’d ever had a beer with Bob Tuke, you’d have done the same thing as me.)

    See as a lifelong Democrat I never would have done that. First of all, I like Bob Tuke. But second of all, when numbers matter as it does in the U.S. Senate, giving the Democrat a filibuster proof majority alone would have been reason enough not to vote for Alexander. Of course, I could go into a million reasons why I don’t like Alexander but that’s a different story.

    I am not voting for McWherter, no matter what.

  15. Cannot, will not, vote for a person who is: 1)homophobic, 2)racist, 3)ignorant. MM’s all three. All these deep flaws are worse because he puts a D after his name.I have never voted for a Republican. This year may be a first.

  16. I’m not going to vote for any Republican in this election. But that includes McWherter, as it looks right now. Can he tell us one thing, one single concrete thing, that as governor of TN he would do differently than the likely Republican nominee? I wish he would. Will he figure out a way to prevent the Legislature from gerrymandering congressional districts further? Promise to veto all the culture war nonsense they’ll spit out in the next session? Proactively introduce some specific useful legistation and find the diplomatic skills to get some Republicans on board? I am waiting for anything to push me over into voting for him, but rather than coming up with anything the TNDP just tells me that I can’t vote for a Republican. Thy’re right; I can’t. More shame on them for not giving me an alternative.

  17. I already didn’t vote for McWherter when I went to dimple my iChad for Jeff Yarbro (I wrote in Karl Dean). And I’m certainly not going to vote for him in November. Is that enough to make me vote for Haslam, when I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life? I’m not sure yet, but I might be getting there.

    I didn’t vote for Cooper in the primary either, out of pure pique, but I fully intend to support him in November. McWherter isn’t even worth a protest vote.

  18. giving the Democrat a filibuster proof majority alone would have been reason enough not to vote for Alexander

    This was always a myth, SB (sadly enough, widely believed even until this day, where relevant experience says that the supermajority never mattered anyway). It relies on keeping twits like Byron Dorgan and Mary Landrieu from wandering out from under the tent, not to mention that this number always included the converted Arlen Specter vote, and I believe that Joe Lieberman was part of that “specious sixty.”

    The threat had to be real. In the case of the filibuster, it never was. The GOP rules by tantrum now. The DP could have a 100 seat majority and Harry Reid would create a Republican out of spit and papier mache so that he could ritually cave to it.

    For me, it came down to relevant experience. Did the party seriously believe that Bob Tuke’s results-free tenure at TNDP merited them failing him upward into the Senate nomination? Or, more cynically – that it didn’t matter who they were going to feed into the woodchipper, so it might as well be him?

    Seriously. Bob Tuke was the best they could do? This is what TNDP expects me to believe? Veteran/adoption attorney/middling party flack versus a guy who’d been mayor, governor, ambassador…?

    C’mon.

    You might be able to see how this math adds up for a lot of the voting public vis-a-vis Haslam and McWherter. I think this is where Randy is heading with his rallying call.

    Our b0rk3d electoral process, born of the recently departed 120+ years of institutional Democratic Party rule, doesn’t leave you with many options when you’re voting.

  19. nm, I agree. I hoped to hear what McWherter would do that would be different, really different than his Republican opponents on issues that are important to me.

    Shoot, even if he just stuck with “jobs,” which he handled well, the next question is “how to we provide an educated work-force to employers?” which he undermined with his whole “well, I prefer traditional teaching” nonsense.

  20. Bob Tuke was the best they could do? This is what TNDP expects me to believe? Veteran/adoption attorney/middling party flack versus a guy who’d been mayor, governor, ambassador…?

    Well, this is the thing. Now that the bottom has fallen out of the Party (due mostly to its insularity and general lack of accommodation of outsiders who aren’t part of a handpicked few), there’s no bench to draw from. It’s the same reason why electing statewide Constitional officers is a good idea – you’d have people who had run statewide and gained name recognition to draw from, when selecting candidates for Governor and Senator. (However, since this plan would have drawn influence away from our sitting Governor, my understanding is his folks put the kibosh on the idea.)

    I also voted for Bredesen twice, and did somewhat more than that as part of his first election. Which doesn’t for a minute stop me from pointing out the fact that his handpicked successor isn’t McWherter – it’s Haslam, after all the lip service he’s given to Republicans, courted them outright, taken their money, failed to mount any serious challenge to stop them from taking the Legislature (three days of door to door work the week before the election doesn’t count), etc.

    If the state Party infrastructure wanted our support, they should have given us better candidates. (For the record, I blame the state Dem Executive Committee on this more than virtually any other single entity.) I’ll be writing in R Kurita, most likely.

  21. Well, I’m writing in EMMYLOU HARRIS for governor of Tennessee.

    I’d ask you to ask everyone you know to do the same and maybe we can elect a progressive Democratic governor of Tennessee! I’ve never seen EmmyLou do anything that she didn’t turn out to be just about the best at, and she’s cool!

    WRITE IN EMMYLOU HARRIS FOR GOVERNOR

  22. ;) Aw, shucks. Thanks, ‘Ego. I always enjoy your posts also.

    You know, I’d seriously consider writing in Emmylou…if only for the fact that she more or less singlehandedly saved the Ryman, which I love more than life. However, it’d be great if we could get a current officeholder, with a track record of tough decisions, who could show other folks how it ought to be done.

  23. I respect Emmylou Harris immensely, but if our point is partly that the TNDP has put up someone with no political experience, I don’t see how she changes that. No, I’m with the folks who are trying to figure out which living TN politician to write in.

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