Thursday, January 31, 2013

Everyone is missing the point on Senator Campfield

Look, I know every bill he puts out is FILLED to the rim with TEH CRAZY, and he is now made out to be a national laughingstock, which, well, he should be by now.  Our friends at the Tennessee Equality Project have even created a Stacey Campfield Counseling Fund to which you can contribute, allowing The Senator to be used as a prop for fund-raising, and bully for them on that.

However, while The Senator comes up with crazier and crazier bills to file, and we react to them, even though they are not likely to pass, we ignore that the GOP-dominated body is busy screwing over non-millionaires with every other action they take.

They are trying to pass legislation that would give the STATE, not local school boards, control over whether charter schools should be opened in their municipalities and counties.  The TGA is gutting every possible protection for municipal workers and teachers (oh, wait, they already DID that), and, in short, doing everything possible to take Tennessee back to 1898 except Jim Crow (and they would do that if they could).

What Campfield also does is move the goalposts, so that what he proposes is SO beyond the pale that no one notices the REAL damage that a GOP-dominated legislature does to our society.  It's not all about business, either.  The Lege is still trying to pass, at the NRA's insistence, a bill that would allow workers to bring their guns onto the parking lots of their employers, which the state's largest employers are fighting, with good reason.

Yes, friends, this is what you get when you get a GOP-controlled legislature.  Whether you agree with the TNDP's election of Roy Herron or not, (and, frankly, I didn't), you need to get involved in any way possible to assist the TNDP and the SCDP (or, if you're not in Big Shelby, your local county Party) in trying to turn the state around from the backward march this Legislature is leading.

Our future depends upon it.  Unless, of course, you LIKE living in the Dark Ages.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Just a note.

I am in the process of getting ready to move on Monday, so I am going to take a few days to process what happened today at the TNDP.

Congratulations to Gale Jones Carson, re-elected as Secretary, and to Wade Munday, elected as the new Treasurer, they will be terrific.  Kudos to Elisa Parker, re-elected as Vice Chair.

As for Roy Herron, well, now is not the time for me to post, as I still want people to speak to me.

Time to pack.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I meant to write something about the TNDP Chair race today

Especially after THIS piece of news that shows why those of us outside the 440 Loop are tired of Nashville.

However, as Rachel points out at Women's Health News, we don't want a Blue Dog leading our state party either, and for good reason.  Roy Herron has more baggage than a Pullman car, not the least of which is that he will not do as the McWherter family asked and take their name off the Center Roy heads, established in Ned's name.

We know Roy, and are not comfortable with him.  We DON'T know anything about Dave Garrison, and his reticence to be more open only lends credence to the idea that he is a puppet for outgoing Chair Chip Forrester.  Fair or not, until he is more public, what other inference can we take?

Steve Ross has a brilliant piece about what we DO need and what we do NOT need, and if you have not read it, you should, right now.  Go ahead, I will wait.  See?  Aren't you glad you did?  I know, why isn't HE running, right?  Because he has a job and a family and a mortgage, that's why.

And, in her own inimitable way, our Aunt B sums up the problems of the TNDP perfectly:

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.
Yep.  And THAT'S why I have the sad feeling that no matter who wins tomorrow, Democrats lose.

And I am getting tired of it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The TNDP Chair race takes interesting turns

This has not been that good a week for progressives who want to see new direction for the Tennessee Democratic Party.  First, this piece from Andrea Zelinski of the City Paper documents Roy Herron's run for the Chairmanship, which dramatically has affected the race.  I have made points about why I think Roy is not the best possible choice, looks like I may have to make a few more.

Then, I received this news from Wade Munday, whom I wanted to win:

Dear Friends, 
In politics, the same as in life, situations change rather quickly and it is often difficult to have clear eyes for what is truly in the best interest of a party such as ours.  As a candidate for Tennessee Democratic Party Chair I have argued that I am ready to listen, ready to lead, and prepared to fix some of the things many of us so desperately want to change about our party. I believe I can accomplish that best by achieving some measure of party unity and by serving as your next Treasurer. I hope you will support me in this endeavor.
I will approach the position with the same enthusiasm and commitment I have always had for our party. I will not be sitting on the sidelines, but I will be actively involved in our strength building. I will help raise the money we need to compete. I will oversee party expenditures and hold us to a higher standard than ever before. And I will remain a vocal advocate of Democratic values and principles in Tennessee. 
What has changed in the race for TNDP Chair is the debate over which direction our party should now turn. We are fortunate to have many  candidates, and I will work with whomever you see fit to elect. Please allow me, however, the chance to state the case for Dave Garrison. 
Dave has spent considerable time thinking about the party rather than the politics of this race. With clear eyes and vision, he knows what must occur every step of the way for the next two years. He has provided a thoughtful framework to operate our party, created state and national ties, and shown considerable ability to bring people together. He has supported our party in good times and in bad, like so many of you. Dave Garrison is more than capable of serving our candidates, our campaigns, and our party. I am excited to work alongside him, and I am excited for the unity we represent. 
I humbly ask for your support for TNDP Treasurer, and please consider Dave Garrison as your next TNDP Chair.

Wade Munday
Needless to say, I was saddened, but Wade is sharp and knows how to count.  Since I have heard little about Jane Hampton Bowen from anyone, it appears the race is between Dave Garrison and Roy Herron.  I understand concerns you may have about Dave and his connection to Chip Forrester, but Chip is going to be GONE, as he is a lightning rod.

As I said in the other post, I like Roy personally, but I question how his election will move this party FORWARD.  If he still had juice in rural areas, then his campaign of 2010 would have been successful, like his announcement that he would not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.  We would also still have his State Senate seat, which he decided not to run for in 2012.

Friends, the era of Blue Dogism is over.  If Tennesseans want to vote for a conservative, they will vote REPUBLICAN. Period.  Roy is a nice person, but his candidacy is yet another attempt by those who make money off the TNDP campaigns to pretend that it's still 1992 and we are still in control.  Why the hell should THEY care, they make money either way!!!!

For all that we worry about Chip, he will be GONE.  While he was a lightning rod, he had some good ideas, ideas that are being put in play as we speak.  We need someone who can execute these plans, and I believe Dave Garrison is that person.

At the end of the day, do we as Democrats want as our Chair someone who voted to allow Guns in State Parks, Guns in Bars and Restaurants, and campaigned as a Blue Dog?  Look, I know a lot of you want rural outreach, but maybe we need to realize that A) there aren't as many rural Tennesseans as there once were and B) the ones who are still there tend to vote culture over economics, against their own best interests.

We need people who can fire up the base and lead.  While I would have preferred Wade Munday, knowing that he would be a part of a Garrison administration shows that Dave Garrison will move us forward, not backward to a past that is gone forever.  Let's prepare for 2020, not 1990.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Come and meet Wade Munday!

I got this from Kerry Hayes about an event taking place on Friday night at South of Beale at 5:30, and he has graciously allowed me to post this:

Hey friends - My buddy from Nashville, Wade Munday, who some of you have met, is running to become the next chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party. He's planning to join us at South of Beale on Friday evening and is interested in meeting as many young professionals and up-and-coming civic leaders as he can. We're planning to meet at 5:30pm at SOB (hopefully on the patio - fingers crossed for good weather!) and would love if you could join us. This is NOT a fundraiser or a big solicitation opportunity of any kind. Just a good guy from another part of our state who's trying to meet some smart good people in Memphis.  
Please join us and bring a friend! 
See you soon -

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

STOP! You need to go read something NOW!

And it's this.

THE VIEW FROM MY KITCHEN TABLE says it better than I did, and he is absolutely on point here, every word.  I don't even want to excerpt, I want you to go read it all, and then comment.

You will be glad that you did.

Monday, January 07, 2013

A few notes on what's happening now...

I just realized I hadn't written anything since before the holidays, and Trace gently reminded me of this on the phone last night, and she is right, as she always is.  

Truth is, I have been busy with my personal life; more on that by the end of the week, I hope.  Don't worry, it will be good!

Enough on that; you want to read something substantial.  As Trace and Joe Powell have noted, the GOP-dominated General Assembly begins tomorrow, with all the usual madness since the Democrats became an endangered species.  It appears that House Speaker Beth Harwell, who, unlike her Tea Party Republicans, actually believes that they are in Nashville to GOVERN and not showcase insanity, is trying to place limits on the number of bills a legislator can introduce.  Good luck with that.

Meanwhile, it appears that the race to succeed Chip Forrester as captain of the Titanic, er, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, has gotten a jolt or two recently.  What started out as a race between TNDP Treasurer Dave Garrison and former Communications Director Wade Munday has expanded and contracted.

Rep. Sherry Jones of Nashville joined the fray, as did attorney Ben Smith of Nashville as well as labor activist Jane Hampton Bowen of Chattanooga.  Then came former State Senator and Congressional candidate Roy Herron of Dresden, and Jones and Smith dropped out, with Jones indicating that she thought a female could not be elected (really????) and Smith endorsed Herron, stating that he (Smith) could not win.  I met Smith at the DWSC Christmas Party, nice guy, but I was never sure how he thought he could win in the first place.

On the one hand, Roy has positives, in that A) he is NOT from Nashville, although he still spends a LOT of time there and B) he is from rural West Tennessee (Dresden) and would presumably be able to help the party rebuild in rural areas.  However, if he still had pull in those areas, 1) wouldn't we still have his State Senate seat (we had a great candidate in Brad Thompson) and 2) wouldn't we still have the 8th District Congressional seat?

I like Roy personally, and people like his ministerial background and his ability to connect, but we need someone, IMO, who can raise money and build an infrastructure to get the County parties active and moving.  It has been estimated, privately, that only 25 of the 95 counties in this stating have active, functioning Democratic Parties.  I am not necessarily certain that Roy can do that.

Believe me, I GET the concept of having someone, ANYONE, outside the 440 Loop as Chair, because the navel-gazing and focus on Nashville and Middle Tennessee has helped facilitate our downfall.  However, we need to ensure that whomever is Chair needs to get everyone moving throughout the state and bring in newer, younger people.  Without that, we are doomed.  We will ALWAYS be outspent, but we have to find ways to offset that through organization and rebirth in the rural areas.  

If you care about this race, and if you are a Tennessee Democrat, you SHOULD, you need to contact your TNDP Executive Committee member (Shelby County has Districts 28-33 until 2014) and ask them about it, because they are the ones who will choose the new Chair.  Talk to them about who has the best chance to revitalize the County parties and who can build the infrastructure that we need to elect a majority of Democrats to the General Assembly, Congress and the US Senate, not to mention the Governor's office.  You will be glad you did.