One Reporter's Opinion

Proud sponsor of The Partnership for an Idiot-Free America. Andy's random observations -- a potluck of politics, a mix of music musings, and whatever else transcends the transom. (Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are copyright of this blogger. Some rights reserved, subject to the terms and conditions specified under the Creative Commons license.)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

You blew the budget and you botched Iraq.

Now I'm "takin' my country back."

Download. Listen. Call up your local country radio station and request it.

(brought to you by the Honky Tonkers for Truth)
Not having implemented sitemeter, I have no idea if I'm getting hits on this blog. For what it's worth, it's not mattered much to me. So I have no idea if anyone is reading this. This blog hasn't been much more than a recycling bin for a few bits and bytes that I've posted elsewhere in the world -- but having a blog does make it easier to transfer information to a number of people. Say, for instance, letting people know where they can find a few samples of my photographs.

So, if anyone is surfing on in here from points unknown, welcome.

A bit about me... I'm a thirtysomething professional in Nashville. I work supporting a single large client for a similarly large communications company. (And here, I've always said that I don't define myself through work. Odd.) Anyhoo. My interests range broadly between homebrewing, photography, hiking, home computing (Mac neophyte, relatively speaking). I'm married, I have four bickersome cats who share the house with my wife and I. We also inhabit a home with a couple thousand compact discs.

Lessee... oh, yeah. Politics.

I've been suffering through a hangover which I got as the result of downing a couple of large bottles of La Trappe quadruppel Belgian Ale last night after the Michael Moore Slacker Uprising presentation down at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. So I've been hurtin' for certain today. But what's making my head ache all the more is the morning headlines from our "hometown" Gannett dishrag, The Tennessean. Now, I'm not much of one to go around blaming the media for the situation in which we've found ourselves lately. I was raised in a household of reporters and editors. My family and friends have been in the journalism biz for a long, long time. I do believe in the necessity of having a fourth estate in this here freedom's home.

That said, I'll be buggered if I can figure out what's going on with the print press in Guitar Town.

It's reminiscent of the weather forecaster who's calling for sunshine on the TV, while you're looking out your window and -- whaddyaknow -- it's raining.

So the storyline is this: Tennessee is out of play, it's a lock for the Republicans, and with weeks left to go, there's nothing but a widening, yawning lead for the GOP.

That's not what I'm seeing. I could go on about this at some length, but suffice it to say that most polls don't show the sort of delta that Bonna De La Cruz and her paper are pimping. Tennessee IS IN PLAY. This isn't over by a long shot. Zogby has TN pegged at less than 1% differential. When the dealin' is done, we'll see who was right, and based on track record, Zogby is my 3:2 fave to win.

Here's what's got me bothered, though -- and it's typical of how national politics have been locally discussed:

"Gov. Phil Bredesen said he is "cautiously confident" that Democrats can hang on to their majorities in the state House and Senate.

"There is no question I live in a state that is leaning Republican," said Bredesen, the first Democrat to win a statewide office since Ned McWherter's re-election as governor in 1990.

"The way the presidential race is shaping up certainly doesn't help to elect Democratic legislators," Bredesen said.

A poll by The Tennessean last month showed President Bush leading Democratic nominee John Kerry by 16 points.

There's two things terribly wrong here. One, that poll they refer to is horseshit. I've gone on at length about it here before (see below). But two, and more disturbing? Phil Bredesen -- our Democrat governor -- is conceding the race. I wonder if he believes what he reads in the paper. He must (and more's the pity). Either that, or he's listening to the wrong people (and still more's the pity). Yet, it is perfectly consistent with what we've seen out of the Governor's office during this campaign cycle. (Pitiful.)

You know what I've noticed? Bredesen has not been visible. Oh, there've been a couple of fundraisers held at his mansion off Frankin Road, sure. Yeah, he showed up when John Kerry came to town during the GOP convention. He even took a trip to Boston in order to make a show of committing TN's delegation to Kerry. But where has the political operation been that worked to get Bredesen elected? Where's the governor on the stump? How's he reaching out to his folks? Or -- even better -- why hasn't he been twisting arms and calling in favors and doing the hard work that it takes to light fires under a few asses?

Here's my theory: Bredesen is so scared that he'll alienate his "Bredesen Republicans" that he's been too chickenshit to take a public stand.

Here's why he's wrong: PHIL, YOU DON'T NEED THE REPUBLICANS TO WIN. YOU NEED YOUR BASE. And in case you've forgotten, those people are women, working people, union folks, minorities. Remember?

I mean, really. Here we have the one blue state in a sea of red... we have a Democratic state House, a Democratic state Senate, and OUR OWN DEMOCRAT GOVERNOR is too much of a pussy to say that out loud and proud. And he's so concerned about saving his own ass that he's not made a move to think big. Look at the opportunity that lay in front of him: He had the chance to show his mettle, he had the chance to jump in the middle of the fray and LEAD, but instead, he's talking down his own state, and he's mealy-mouthing the strength of his party constituency.

Here it is again: "The way the presidential race is shaping up certainly doesn't help to elect Democratic legislators," Bredesen said.

I know how to read, and I have a single response for the Governor and his political brain trust:

"Oh yeah? Well, fuck you, too."

I hereby nominate Phil Bredesen as Worst Supporting Actor in a Position of Uninspired Leadership. I used to think he was just a Republican in disguise, but I've got him clocked. He's cut from exactly the same cloth as Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt. They're marginally competent hacks, but they do not have it where it counts. When it comes to gut check time, they buckle like belts.

I'm just... mortified.

What happened to "dancing with the one who brung you," Phil?

The Democratic constituency isn't what's missing. It's here, and it's working its ass off. It could use you.

If you only had the courage.

THAT'S what's missing.