Who's your choice for Mayor in 2015?

Saturday, July 30, 2005

It's hard to be a Senate candidate out here*

*apologies to Al Kapone and Craig Brewer.

Let's just say, and why not, that you are in your mid 30s, you're trying to become the first African-American elected to the US Senate since reconstruction from the South. You come from Shelby County, the largest in your state, which helps, but:

Tennessee is primarily a hill-country state; Shelby County is the linchpin of the Delta.

Tennessee is still primarily a rural state, with some exceptions; Shelby County is primarily urban, with some exceptions.

Tennessee has become primarily a conservative Republican state; Shelby County is HEAVILY Democratic and liberal.

Tennessee is predominantly white, Shelby County isn't.

For these and many other reasons, Shelby County is DETESTED by the rest of the state.

Then, your uncle gets indicted and happens to be the poster child for everything that the rest of the state despises about Shelby County, even though a portion of Shelby County sympathizes with him.

On top of all that, now you have local bloggers in YOUR OWN PARTY taking a 2 X 4 to you for some of your votes, which possibly, if you hadn't made them, would have killed your chances. Then, while campaigning around the state, you find out that one of your best friends, your chosen candidate, has been beaten soundly for chair of YOUR PARTY in YOUR HOME COUNTY.

Oh, shit.

Lesser candidates would have said to hell with this garbage and come home to ponder what might have been. However, Harold Ford did the opposite. First, he stood up on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday night, despite being a free-trader himself, and attacked the Central American Free Trade Agreement (rightly so, I might add) and voted against it.

Then, he comes home to mend fences and shows support for the new Democratic Chair in Shelby County, who was elected to a certain extent by people who were PISSED at him for some of his far-from progressive votes. He then implores everyone to contribute to the SCDP, priming the pump with a $2500 contribution, which is soon backed up by County Mayor AC Wharton, who goes one better with a $2550 pledge.

Congressman, that's a good start. I know it's a juggling act keeping your base happy without alienating voters outside the County. However, to paraphrase the 1960s cartoon Super Chicken, "you knew the job was dangerous when you took it!"

In your efforts to make inroads with the more conservative elements of the state, you have to remember that if you don't keep the base happy, ain't NOBODY happy. You need more votes like the one against CAFTA and NONE like the votes for the Bankruptcy Bill; that has hurt you more than you know. It's a tough job, but you have no choice; you can't win with progressives, perhaps, but you sure as hell can't win WITHOUT us.

I also believe that it is a good idea to provide solutions, as you noted in your speech today; however, until such time as we can take back Congress and/or the White House, we have NO base from which to implement those solutions.

Some times, Congressman, as Rick Perlstein pointed out this week, the best ideas are the ones we've always had, we just need to go back to them and stick to them.

Good Luck on the trail, and thanks for what you did today; we'll be watching!

3 comments:

banana said...

hey man, let's stand behind our most hopeful Senate candidate and then critique him after he gets elected.

we don't have the luxury to step outside the moderate box like supporters of obama do, because this is the South, which calls for desperate measures, like being passive while jr. says things and votes on issues that irks his base.

give jr. a chance to get elected before you criticize him too much. heck, if frist can change his stance on issues like he did with the stem cell research debacle, ford can change his stance on social security and giving our federal tax dollars to christian control freaks.

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