Dems, liberals and progressives nationwide should note in the Ronald Brownstein piece that it is the southern arm of the GOP that is defining the party, and should take advantage of that. But, this does not give us any clues on how dems, liberals and progressives in southern states should/could combat the far-right stranglehold in those states.
Here in TN, the democratic party strategy has been to push forth conservative dems, or put dems that have supported regressive republicans in positions of authority (which failed) or as candidates. And quite honestly, that is not working. It may work in counties that are largely conservative that already have a dem in office. When the dem party pits a relatively conservative dem against an incumbent gop (even against someone this extreme) they will, unfortunately, lose, simply because why would a republican or righty independent vote for a conservative dem when they can vote for the gop? Sounds like a pretty simple explanation, don’t you think? But, for some reason, it seems to escape party officials.
The outcome of continually electing conservative dems clearly shows the dysfunction found in the state democratic party itself, when we look specifically at the state of Tennessee. In short, this strategy belies the mission of the national democratic party, overall.
Exactly what we lefty bloggers around the state have been arguing all along: why aren't you giving Tennesseans a choice???
I think that there is a growing disconnect between Democratic elected officials (especially in rural areas) and their constituents, to the point where the people out there have lost any reason to vote for Democrats because they are always on DEFENSE (or just giving up, as on SJR127) and never advancing a Democratic message (when they can come up with one), which hurts Democrats (ESPECIALLY progressives and liberals) overall.
Right now, House Democrats (and CONGRESSIONAL Democrats, because Tanner, Davis and Gordon could well be redistricted out of jobs) are petrified that they will not be able to get back the state House, and have no role in redistricting after the 2010 elections. If that happens, you can say goodbye to Mike Kernell, Jeannie Richardson, Beverly Marrero, etc, because they will be redistricted out of jobs.
While Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen will be safe in a general election, they will become the outliers in a Gooper-controlled state. Since the GOP cares a lot more about firing up their base than governing, 3rd-world status will get to Tennessee very quickly, and we'll soon replace Mississippi in the "Thank God for" statement. Oh, wait, they have Haley Barbour, so maybe not, but still.
I just want to say these things to the House Democratic Caucus before I meet with them next week (if it's still on):
1. Give voters a reason to vote FOR you, not just because the Goopers are crackpots, show DIFFERENCES.
2. While I understand Shelby County is different from anywhere else in the state (hell, different that ANYWHERE, period), don't automatically discount what we have to say.
3. STOP BEING SCARED OF THE LOCAL PREACHERS! They only have as much power as YOU allow them to have; fight back!
4. Most importantly, GO TALK TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS, and NOT just the ones with whom you're comfortable. Newscoma pointed out how local bar owners in Hooterville were never contacted about the guns-in-bars bill, and they are PISSED. (Maddox, get off your ass!)
Ok, that's enough rabble-rousing for today, carry on!