Dennis Hastert

I’ve got nothing, really. I just keep thinking about his victim, brother to his protege. The gaping maw you must have in place of a soul that lets you hurt and hurt and hurt and have it never affect you.

The sky is big. It stretches in a big curve away from you and the land is so flat, so thin. How many things happened to us all under that sky stretching away? I feel like so much of my Illinois childhood is, in retrospect, young people trying to show that something was going off the rails for them, while adults turned and turned and turned away, finding it easier to see anything else.

No wonder the sky recoils from that place, really.

“Too Sure It was Loved”

I can’t get over these three paragraphs by Matt Taibbi:

The triumvirate of big media, big donors and big political parties has until now successfully excluded every challenge to its authority. But like every aristocracy, it eventually got lazy and profligate, too sure it was loved by the people. It’s now shocked that voters in depressed ex-factory towns won’t keep pulling the lever for “conservative principles,” or that union members bitten a dozen times over by a trade deal won’t just keep voting Democratic on cue.

Trump isn’t the first rich guy to run for office. But he is the first to realize the weakness in the system, which is that the watchdogs in the political media can’t resist a car wreck. The more he insults the press, the more they cover him: He’s pulling 33 times as much coverage on the major networks as his next-closest GOP competitor, and twice as much as Hillary.

Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn’t know how to turn the cameras off, even when it’s filming its own demise.

This, I think, too, is also what Ron Ramsey gets. It’s why he’s working so hard to entrench Republican power. He knows that the powerful are lazy and decadent and that it annoys the less powerful.

I’m worried Trump could win, but I agree with Taibbi that it is, in part, because he understood the system the way a con artist does and exploits the system’s weaknesses like a con artist can. And I’m genuinely not sure that there’s anyone who will learn how to plug the holes from this experience.


I have no idea what days it is, really. I’m depressed about this state and what it means to be a woman in it. But I don’t see any easy fixes. The Democrats don’t really exist. There’s no legitimate opposition. No reason for them to temper their actions.

Two things made me feel incredibly old this week. One is Kim Kardashian, in that I see everyone having opinions on her in her various states of nakedness and I thought she looked cute and like she was having fun. You know when you feel like a grandma? It’s when you see a shiny, naked lady being all sexy and your first thought is, “Oh, she looks so cute.”

And the other is that I listened to the new Azalea Banks album and I liked it. I found it a little strange sounding and I couldn’t quite understand half of what she was saying, but my feet tapped. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. But it was the first piece of music I heard that was obviously marketed to adults which I found just felt weird about listening to because she sounds so young.

I still listened to it a bunch. But it was weird. I mean, I’m glad there’s youth culture and I’m also really glad I don’t have to keep up with it. I can just be interested in what I’m interested in and ignore the rest.

Obamacare and Cattle Cars

I think it’s time to be done treating this guy like he’s purposefully saying outrageous things that he doesn’t believe for the sake of publicity. And it’s past time for demanding apologies out of him unless we’re fine with them being disingenuous.

Dude believes what he’s saying. Dude wants what he’s saying to be upsetting to other people. Dude likes using other people’s discomfort and unhappiness as a way to feel powerful. And dude likes feeling powerful. He straight-up believes that he is a moral man adrift in an immoral hell, surrounded by lesser immoral beings whose suffering is deserved, because of their immorality. It is, from his perspective, his job to increase the suffering of lesser immoral beings until they shape up and become disciplined and moral like him.

I will give it up to the Tennessee Republicans in that they have done as good a job as they can with a colleague of marginalizing him. (What Hardaway’s excuse is, I haven’t a clue.) But he needs to be put in his place hard, and publicly, by someone who can make him hurt and who he can’t best. And whoever does that needs to be aware that he will then be scheming against him or her for the rest of the time he’s in office, which is, apparently, going to be forever.

We treat him like a joke, but I advise you to go back and reread my second paragraph here. The scariest thing to me about him is that the best alternative for the people he knows in real life (or encounters in real life) is for him to have a large public platform where he can get his jollies hurting and upsetting people out where everyone can see it and he can get national attention for it.

I really wonder what happens when a man like him still has those impulses and doesn’t have the spotlight to both feed the impulses and keep them in check. And I’m afraid/certain we’re going to find out.

The Tennessee Democrats Depress Me

This is so depressing:

But he said the lack of viable alternatives to Herron, a former state senator and congressional candidate who was just elected to the chairmanship in January, makes it difficult to go in another direction.

“I don’t know what our options are,” Cheek said. “I’m not going to vote to just hold an election in January and have a jump ball. If that makes me an ally of Roy’s, I guess I am. It’s really a matter of whether or not something like that makes sense, and to me it really doesn’t.”

The chair has never faced an unopposed election, so the idea that there aren’t any viable alternatives is a slap in the face to all the people who ran and didn’t get elected. Wade Munday wasn’t a non-viable candidate. Dave Garrison wasn’t a non-viable candidate.

You can’t get one or the other of them to take another bite at the apple?

Because, I’ll say this, if we don’t have any up-and-coming folks ready to take on leadership positions, forget being twenty years in the wilderness. We’re looking at a more biblical forty.

Here’s the only thing that can save the Democratic party in this state–black politicians. Black politicians are going to have to just say that the way the party is set up right now, not only can’t they win most white majority districts, they’re not set up to help black Democratic politicians run and govern effectively in their districts and, since they’re the Democrats who are winning, they’re the Democrats who get to reshape the TNDP to meet their needs.

Then we can flush these old farts out and get some new farts.

The TNDP’s Woman Problem

I admit, I’d pretty much given up on writing about the TNDP’s inability to find and support female candidates because, you know, when the house is on fire you don’t really worry about the plumbing being shitty.

But then this happened. Listen, when two-thirds of the people who suddenly depart a place are young women and the boss is an older man and enough people are concerned that they’re like “Let’s do some exit interviews and make sure everything is on the up and up,” there needs to be a woman on the committee doing the exit interviews. Fine, Mary Patterson isn’t the right person for it, maybe. But there needs to be a woman present.

The fact that Roy Herron can’t see how important that is proves that the house being on fire is inseparable from the shitty plumbing. Perhaps a fire in the fireplace got out of control and no one could draw enough water to put it out before it caught the whole house. I don’t know.

But they are interrelated. The TNDP is a shithole that will not get its act together and will perpetually disappoint Tennessee Democrats because it’s still about protecting the few bases of power that are left, not about expanding opportunities for everyone. The sexism is not separate from that.

I’m Sure Obama is Crushed

Aside from the fact that 40% of the money in our state budget comes from the Federal government, if we’re trying to argue that Tennessee is somehow better off without the Feds involved, the way to do it is not to send a note to the President inviting him to “visist [sic] a few historial [sic], natural attractions like Ruby Falls, a true Chattanooga treasure” while he’s in town “celebrting [sic].”

My god, can we not even be petulant assholes competently?

From the Times-Free Press story:

Tennessee has attracted thousands of jobs during the Great Recession through a combination of business-friendly policies and strong tax incentives, but the state’s education system consistently ranks near the bottom of the pack.

Fewer than half of Hamilton County students in grades 3 through 8 can read at their grade level, according to standardized test results.


A Dog’s Gonna Bark

It seems to me that, when the overarching theme of someone’s legislative career is that women are lying bitches who need to be kept under tight control, and poor children are so problematic that they need to be starved if they don’t act right, and that gay people are such a menace that gay children need to be humiliated and treated like freaks, a dude has deep issues.

Not deep enough to send up a lot of red flags among his colleagues, but it should have.

So, I’m interested to see what happens when he’s now openly calling said colleagues stupid.

But I wonder what kind of politician does that? You get bills passed by building coalitions. How do you build coalitions with people you’ve called stupid?

My opinion is that he enjoys making people, at the least and to put it mildly, uncomfortable. If he’s got a common enemy with you, then fine, I guess you can just not notice his motivations. But when there’s no common enemy left? Then it’s you he’s gunning for. It’s just his way. It appears to feel good to him.

And that, my friends, after years of observing him, is what scares the shit out of me about him. He knows what he does hurts people and he does it anyway, because it feels good to him. Only now we know it’s not enough for him to go after abstract “women” or “poor children” or “gay people.” He’s willing to be shitty to, say, Glen Casada or his other colleagues.

Should we call that an escalation?

Deny, Delete, Destroy

I feel a bit bad for Governor Haslam, as I’m sure that he didn’t intend for his “Running the state more like a business” strategy to mean that the state would be run more like Enron an hour before the Feds moved in. But here we are, learning that, when the going gets tough, the tough get deleting.

First DCS just left out whole swaths of information that was supposed to be public. And now Tennessee’s Virtual Academy, which was supposed to save us from the horrors of public school-dom, just deleted low grades so that it wasn’t immediately obvious how much they’re not doing what they’ve promised to do.

I have a theory that part of what’s going on in this state right now is that we’re living with an unfortunate error in judgement by Republicans. Rather than assume that most Democrats had been operating in good faith, most union leaders, most public workers–you know, most everyone who’s been on their boogeyman list over the years–they really did come to believe that those people were bad and that therefore the things they were doing were bad. And, as a result, whatever their buddies wanted to do that had been thwarted under the decades of Democratic rule must be good ideas unjustly denied.

Now, we’re getting their buddies put into positions of power–say at DCS–and their buddies’ “good” ideas enacted–like the Tennessee Virtual Academy. And their ways of doing things suck, much to the unpleasant surprise of Republicans. After all, they’re the good guys. How can good guys have bad ideas?

I think we’re going to continue to see this kind of shit until Republicans come to realize that even people ostensibly on their side can be doing the wrong thing.

The question then becomes whether Haslam is willing to concede that point and start coming down hard on this crap.

If We’re Not like the Soviet Union, Then What Are We Like?

Friend-of-blog, Mike Turner says, “It’s not the Soviet Union. We’re not a dictatorship. We let our people make their own decisions,” when speaking about Democrats who still will not fucking get their noses out of my vagina.

Mike, I love you, but I’m about three seconds away from setting up a reminder on my calendar so that I can send Charlie Curtiss a vagina status update once a day. Today’s would read “Thursday: My vagina is pissed the fuck off at Charlie Curtiss.” I’m going to guess that’s how tomorrow’s would read, too. Probably going to read that way for the foreseeable future.

So, Mike, you ask him whether he’d prefer to get my vagina status updates via text or email. And we’ll just time how long it will take for it to dawn on him that what goes on in my vagina is none of his business.

Meanwhile, having to report my vagina status to some politician sure does feel pretty fucking Soviet to me.

Representative Jeremy Faison is a Jackass


The sponsors say they’re merely legalizing what is already a pervasive practice.

“Let’s be honest. There’s not a parking lot in Tennessee today that doesn’t have a gun inside the car,” Faison says.

Parking lots with weapons in glove boxes include the grounds of the state capitol. Faison admits to keeping firearms in his vehicle while in Nashville.

“I’m not ashamed of it. I’ll tell anybody that,” he says. “I’ll tell the highway patrol. Listen, that’s just part of life.”

Faison, however, would still be breaking the law even if his legislation passes, at least as written now. While the Cocke County representative says he’s “carried a gun all my life.” He says he’s never sent in the paperwork for his handgun permit.

“One day I’ll probably get caught if I don’t get a permit, and I’ll get in trouble,” he says.

He tells the media that he illegally keeps a gun in his trunk while at the state capitol, a gun for which he does not have a permit. This is a man who feels free to make laws that I have to follow. Fuck him. Under this logic, why isn’t weed legal in Tennessee? Hell, you’re a million times more likely to need weed to cope with driving in downtown Nashville than you ever are to need a gun.

Here’s the thing. There’s just an enormous unbridgeable gap between people who think they need a gun every single place they go because shit could break out at any moment and people who don’t. As much as I appreciate that people who carry would like non-gun people to acknowledge that there are safety issues, I think non-gun people would like some acknowledgement that, if you’re a 36 year old white guy who works in a building that already has armed guards, you’re not actually in that much danger from life. Which means you certainly have time–plenty of safe time–between the moment you decide you want a gun in your car and the moment you should actually put a gun in your car to get the proper permit.

Cultural Imperialism

We’re publishing this book at work that is about the Oportunidades program in Mexico, which is one of the programs Campfield claims to have based his starve-the-kids legislation on. I haven’t read the book yet, since it doesn’t exist, but I’m curious about the author’s claims that this program has strong ties to the eugenics movement in Mexico.

I tried to do some research on Campfield’s bill, to see if there were other bills like it at state level, because I have a hard time believing he wrote it. I think he’s advancing it on some group’s behalf. And I’m curious about that group. One of the things that’s obvious from the discussion surrounding it–even the discussions Campfield claims to be having on his blog–is how closely this bill is tied to the idea that there is some set of people who are “right” and other groups of people that have to be either abused or bribed into acting right, because they, intrinsically, are just wrong acting. The teachers, for instance, that Campfield claims have been calling him up in support of the bill because poor people just aren’t good parents.

You see how insidious it is–this idea that you have the standard for what good parenting is and people who fail to achieve it deserve to suffer. Especially because there’s no reporting if these are the parents of children doing poorly or if these parents are hurrying off to work or what. Always the assumption that, since they aren’t like the viewer, they are up to something wrong.

That push to make people act like you, even if–especially if–how they’re doing is working for them, is a wrong against them, is attempting to strip them of something that is recognizably them. You can see how that feeds into a lot of nasty shit.

In Which I Soften to Governor Baby

After my day in WTF? land–and can I just say that I felt so bad because I had coffee with one of my favorite people on the planet, someone it would have been completely inappropriate to tell about what had just happened, and I couldn’t pay a lick of attention to him. I was completely faking being interested while my brain echoed with, “My god! Why were you going to wipe that lump of earwax and plastic on my desk?! In front of me? Why god, why?!?!?!?!?!”s from earlier in the day. Not that god was going to do that, but… ugh… anyway.–I caught the end of Haslam’s State of the State.

Eh, it didn’t suck. His digs at the federal government are annoying and hilarious. But, in general, he said the things I would expect a non-evil Republican to say. And he seemed willing to put some skin in the game and ask the legislature for at least judicial reform to his liking (and against the liking of many of them). I think it’s going to be interesting to watch him position himself for the next election. Last night, he did some moving-to-the-center bits that made me laugh because it means that he thinks the Tea Party is over. Those folks aren’t a cohesive enough unit anymore to need his pandering.

The thing that’s got to be at the back of his mind–and watch for this because I bet it’s at the back of Beth Harwell’s as well–is that this state already has a large, disgruntled voting block with no state wide candidates that represent them. It’s not that hard to stand in front of the state and say, “Listen, you already know who I am. You already know all the ways my political beliefs differ from yours, so I am never going to unpleasantly surprise you. And look how I’ve managed to reign in the worst impulses of my party.” And it’s not that hard to believe that Democrats would respond to that.

Which, of course, then makes it more likely that Democrats will try to position themselves similarly–which is unfortunate–because you know they’ll think voters are responding positively to Haslam and Harwell’s positions and not to the promise of being who they claim to be and reigning in the far right. So, that’s going to suck and be hilarious.

But look for some reaching out to Democratic voters’ concerns. Haslam and Harwell want those votes.

Some assholes can always find a gal willing to put up with them, huh?

My Love for Will Pinkston Grows

Keeping in mind that I love Will Pinkston like you love a Burmese python slithering through the Everglades, munching on small deer and scaring the shit out of the tourists. I love him with a mixture of “Holy fuck? What the hell is he doing?! Why is he doing that?!” and “Please don’t make me get too close to that.”

The Tennessean today has a great and bizarre story about Pinkston getting in some bizarre fight with everyone at Megan Berry’s house.

Things escalated, with each man now blaming the other. Pinkston called the incident a “heated conversation where I cleared the air, and then Bill Freeman left.”

The gist of the conversation included personal insults and expletives. At one point Barry entered the fray to instill calm, and eventually Freeman and his wife decided to leave. At that point, an angry Pinkston turned his focus to outgoing party chairman Chip Forrester. After another few minutes of intense conversation, Forrester said he and his girlfriend also left the party.

Freeman said he didn’t recognize Pinkston when the 40-year-old school board member approached him about his son’s firing. Freeman said his son left the state Finance and Administration Office on his own accord and was not fired. Freeman said Pinkston crossed a line.

“I felt he was a bully,” said Freeman. “The fact is there’s really nothing he could bully me over.”

Pinkston said he approached Freeman for a frank, but polite, conversation about the rumors regarding his son’s former employment with the state.

“It was quite the holiday moment,” Pinkston said. “Freeman has been telling people from all over town that I had his son fired from state government.” Pinkston said he played no role in the matter.

Forrester said he and his girlfriend left the party after Pinkston seemed “out of control.” Several partygoers declined to comment, but acknowledged the incident created a scene.

And then! Then he admits, “he expressed his lingering frustration with Forrester and Freeman for the direction they’ve taken the state party.” Gosh, yes, if only they’d taken the party in the direction some mean hothead thought it should go! What bad things could come of that?! And this is the nice, improved Pinkston. This is Pinkston trying to get along with folks now that he’s on the school board. This is Mr. “It’s for me to find ways to work with people” Pinkston.

I mean, it makes you wonder if Bredesen just kept him in a cage and threw raw steaks at him before or what. Because if this is “trying to be nice,” his regular old self must just be all piss and vinegar.

(The thing that’s most hilarious about this is that the Republicans have redistricted us into a party whose most reliable districts are urban and black. And the white guys all bemoan how the party needs to spend more attention on “outside of Nashville.” Where they hate Democrats. It’s important to realize that these dustups are happening–and more publicly–not because either of these groups of warring white guys has a good idea for what direction to take the party, but because the era of the white dude Democratic party is over. Our parade doesn’t look that way anymore. But at this second, there’s not someone who looks more like the people who actually vote Democratic–black people, women, gay people, young people who live in cities, etc.–who can get the support of the Executive Committee and step up to be Grand Marshall of said parade. So, we have these two factions fighting over who gets to lead a bunch of people who aren’t going to concede parade leadership to them.

My bet is that what happens is this–the TNDP continues  to flounder. They continue to have amusing public shows of ass to the state. And Democratic politicians start to just bypass them as much as possible to get done what can be done with a smaller apparatus.

To switch metaphors, maybe it’s more like two drunks fighting over who gets to drive you home. It’s not unreasonable to shrug your shoulders and hitch a ride with someone sober. Look for Democratic politicians to just get their own rides.)

Random Thoughts

1. Here’s the problem Rocketown has: these are their defenders in the comments. This is now the problem all people who aren’t comfortable around gay people have: you can either get more comfortable, decide that being uncomfortable isn’t worth fighting over, or these are your allies. It becomes a double-problem when your reason for being uncomfortable around homosexuality is that you’re Christian. Because, surely, if you are Christian and you find yourself on the side of the most hateful people in an argument, the ones wanting any excuse to keep hurting people, it must give you great pause. Even when Jesus admonished sinners, he never took a stance that would have left them publicly more vulnerable to harm. That the “Christian” stance is “leave those gay folks out in the cold” is a problem and its the kind of problem that Christians are going to have to wrestle with for themselves. Because, right now, a lot of people–many of whom are also Christian–are protecting people from Christians. Protecting from. If that doesn’t bother you as a Christian, I don’t even know what to say to you.

2. The Roy Herron thing. I think it just basically means that the troubles continue for the Democratic Party. Folks are rightly worried by a guy aligned too closely to Chip. But that the viable response you have to that is a guy too closely aligned to the bad old “Let’s just pretend we’re Republicans Lite” days is also not good. I mean, what does Roy Herron think a Democrat is? On the third hand, it may be that the Democratic Party does end up running some Republican Lites, because they figure out that they can’t win on their primary ballots, but have a shot at winning in the general. (I don’t think this is going to be true for a few more years, though. Republicans need to get a bit more codified.)

3. $900,000 for nothing? Lord almighty. As much as it pains me, you can’t say that voters were wrong to toss Democrats out on their ears. The level of lazy, genial corruption is just staggering.

4. But that kind of lazy, genial corruption is human nature. And a problem Republicans are going to have is keeping their members from indulging in it. If Tennessee threw Democrats out solely because it’s become a more conservative state, then Republican corruption won’t matter. But if Tennessee at any level threw Republicans out because they thought they were going to get more moral people, then Republicans succumbing to the temptations of office is a huge problem for them. And one they should not forget.

For the Record

Mike Byrd says:

Last October local SouthComm blogger Betsy Phillips introduced new SouthComm reporter Andrea Zelinski in an interesting way. Yes, full disclosure counsels that Phillips’ wrote some “homer” PR fluff on behalf of the news corp she blogs for. So, take the cheers with a grain of salt and then verify for yourselves. And yes, it is remarkable that Phillips dropped a double-edged sword of praise for Zelinski qua woman (saying males “don’t really know a lot about the reality of women’s lives” even as she also argued that women’s issues are not different than issues, like jobs, that concern males). Yes, it can be argued that Phillips takes away with one hand what she gave with the other.

Let’s just be clear. I don’t know what Byrd thinks I should have more fully disclosed. I wrote that piece because I wanted to and it’s what I believe. No one asked me to write it. Even when people at SouthComm send ideas my way, they never tell me what opinion to have about those things or how “fluffy” to make those things. But that doesn’t really matter, because I wrote that post on my own.

I’m also not sure how one should “take the cheers with a grain of salt and then verify for yourselves.” Verify what? That I wrote the piece? I did. That I meant what I said when I wrote it. Well, world, if my word then wasn’t good enough, I’m not sure how my word now is supposed to be, but here you go: I meant what I said when I wrote it.

But I would like to thank Byrd for illustrating my point so clearly. In the real world, a woman can be excited about another woman getting a more prominent job writing about politics because she is genuinely excited about seeing more women’s voices in prominent positions when talking about politics. That’s my agenda–support for more women’s voices talking about issues that affect us and support for men who don’t treat women as some strange species that plays by different rules and who don’t write dismissively about us.

In Byrd’s world, if a woman writes positively about another woman, it’s evidence of some secret agenda dictated to her by her SouthComm superiors. In the reality of women’s lives, we don’t all automatically hate each other unless some man tells us to fake it for the general public.

Hell, if all Zelinski did was write about Rhee without using the term “tough cookie” to apply to a grown-up woman making (or attempting to make) national decisions about our educational system, it would be an important change in tone from how adult women making national public policy get talked about here on the internet.

If that makes me a co-conspirator in some grand scheme to… I don’t know what… then consider me a co-conspirator.

Now What?

I’m finding the stories about the new direction of the Republican party to be interesting. Not in a snarky, schadenfreude way way–though there’s a little of that, too–but the problem of what to do when you think you’re doing exactly the right thing and you believe that things are going your way only to wake up one morning and realize that you’ve been completely wrong is an interesting one, and scary.

And this isn’t an easy problem to solve. In the Washington Post, there’s a story of Beth Cox from Hendersonville (please ignore the fact that the reporter claims to be reporting from Central Tennessee, which is not a place in our universe).

“I will be okay,” she told one caller. “I just don’t think we will be okay.”

Here in the heart of Red America, Cox and many others spent last week grieving not only for themselves and their candidate but also for a country they now believe has gone wildly off track. The days after Barack Obama’s reelection gave birth to a saying in Central Tennessee: Once was a slip, but twice is a sign.

If, as Obama likes to say, the country has decided to “move forward,” it has also decided to move further away from the values and beliefs of a state where Romney won 60 percent of the vote, a county where he won 70 percent, and a town where he won nearly 80.

This is a good illustration of a problem the New York Times identified for the Republican Party. Southern Republicans don’t think the Republican party fucked up. They think their position is the right, moral, and just one, but that the country is abandoning it in a terrifying fashion.

From the Times piece:

Many Southern Republicans said that the lessons of Tuesday could be overlearned, and that the message was not the problem — it was the messengers, or at least the messaging.

“I don’t think for a second Republicans ought to change what we believe and what we stand for,” said Andy Taggart, a lawyer in Madison, Miss., and a former executive director of the state Republican Party. “I do think we could do a more effective job of communicating that.”

Nearly everyone admits that the party will have to broaden its demographic appeal. But for state-level politics across much of the region, there is no reason to be in a hurry. The racial and partisan divide is nearly absolute in the Deep South, with a Democratic Party that is almost entirely black and a Republican Party that is almost entirely white. That electoral math favors the Republicans — for now.

You know, there’s a way in which I sympathize with Taggart here. I mean, I feel like I get up every weekday and say things at Pith that seem ludicrous and contrary to reality to the majority of commenters (if not readers) and yet, I feel pretty certain that I am, for the most part, right. On the other hand, it’s kind of mind-boggling that someone thinks there’s some way to dress up “white men retain control of everything; Evangelical Christianity is the state religion; and everything we decide is immoral is against the law,” that would make everyone in the country happy to go along with it. On the other hand, when you have that kind of surety, when you can’t begin to imagine the validity of thinking about these things in other ways, it seems plausible that, if this message is attractive to you, there must be some way to say it that would be convincing to others.

And yet, the truth of the matter seems to be sinking in to some. Ron Ramsey, for instance, is talking about the necessity of roping Hispanics in to voting Republican. He thinks this can be solved by immigration reform of some sort. But we’ll see. The true test of whether Hispanics in Tennessee begin to vote Republican in large numbers will be if Republicans are willing to run Hispanic candidates.

That will be interesting to see.