7 08 2010

To nobody’s surprise, Bill Haslam won the Republican nomination for Governor of Tennessee on Thursday, and everybody will be surprised if he doesn’t coast from here to the governorship. Haslam’s victory, I suspect, is largely attributable to the fact that he had not one but two tea-partiers snapping at his heels.  Between them, they drew almost half the votes. If Ramsey or Wamp had had the psychological skill to let go of his own ambitions,  step aside, and let the other go one-on-one with Haslam, things might have turned out differently, but tea-partiers are not known for their psychological skills.  If they ever did take control of the government, I think things would get chaotic in a hurry…but they’re too crazy to win, even in a crazy state like Tennessee.  And so Haslam, who seems like a cross between Phil Bredesen and George Bush, is the Republican nominee, and the race is his to lose.

His main competitor has staked out a number of basically Republican positions for his platform–which is why I’m calling him “Me, Too” McWherter.  If Wamp or Ramsey had become the Republican candidate, at least we’d have a clear choice between a right-wing crazy and middle-of-the-road mediocrity.  As it is, a Mc-Wherter-Haslam contest has all the drama and polarity of a faceoff between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.

“Me, too” McWherter supports Arizona’s imposition of a  police state for brown-skinned people.  “May I see your papers, please?”  I can remember when patriotic Americans were proud that that was a question that only got asked behind the Iron Curtain.

He thinks “intelligent design” should be taught in public schools, with evolution given some attention as a “theory.”

He is against a state income tax, a gross act of pandering to the lowest common denominator.  It is this state’s fiscal downfall that wealthy conservatives have sold the average Tennessean on the phony idea that an income tax would affect primarily low- and middle-income people.  That’ s a lie, and McWherter lacks the courage to confront it.  But hey….he’s rich enough that if we had a state income tax, he’d have to pay it.

He showed further lack of courage when asked about the issue of the Murfreesboro Mosque–“you can’t just drop these things into a neighborhood,” he said–as if the Muslim population of Murfreesboro somehow has fewer rights than, say,  the town’s  Baptists.

He has also said he’s against allowing gay couples to adopt children.  Frankly, I think this is an absurdly trivial issue, only pushed to the forefront because peoples’ phobias are being amplified as the general crisis of our culture intensifies, and those who will not face what is happening grow ever more frantic in their efforts to avoid the real issues.

Asked about abortion, he has said that while he, personally, is opposed to it, the decision should be between a woman and her doctor, and not a matter of state law.  That’s the traditional sop the Democrats throw to women–“vote for us, we’ll screw you over every other way the Republicans will, but at least we’re pro-choice.”  But he opposes state funding for abortions–so if you’re poor and pregnant and don’t want to have a baby, tough nuggies.

So….with Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

Considering the scope and depth of of the problems that face Tennessee, we need a real alternative, and fortunately, one is available.  Howard Switzer is once again running as the Green Party’s candidate for Governor.  With McWherter given a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, I’m hoping that hordes of voters will give up on him and opt for Howard instead, to send  a message to the Tennessee Democratic Party that people are on to their Tweedledee vs. Tweedledum relationship with the Republicans.  It would be a first, but stranger things have happened!

music:  James McMurtry “We Can’t Make It Here Anymore”




6 responses

10 08 2010
Tom Boughan

You are right, Brother! Tweedledee and Tweedledumber have been running politics in TN for a long time. I have been consistently voting for my old friend Howard for a long time,because there is no one better than he.

17 08 2010
Grant Houston

Yard signs, billboards, TV and radio ads, spectacle debate shows, balloon festooned caravans — well, what else can you spend your millions on? That’s them. And then there’s Howard. Even his website is down, probably for non-payment to a provider. All he has is far and away the most accurate perspective on what’s really going on and how it can be fixed. Of course, if Divine Intervention found him in the governor’s office, he would face a rock wall against fixing anything, not unlike our current President faces. Still, if enough buzz can be launched, and it must occur quickly and steadily, Howard’s candidacy can have some impact, primarily upon the Democratic Executive Committee which is charged with putting forth their candidates. The DEC is also one of the easiest elected bodies to enter. Green and otherwise progressive leaning individuals can file to run in the Democratic primary during which DEC members are elected. Beyond this, a few thousand of McWerter’s otherwise votes going to “that Green guy” may catch the attention of the less progressive DEC members and result in a more “liberal” candidate being put forward in various races. How can Howard do this without the millions (or even thousands) that will be lavished on the sale of our democracy? It has to be an internet groundswell, and that will take a lot of e-mail. And a hot website that is up and running will help. The City Paper should be pushed to do a story on Howard, and likewise The Scene and similar publications in the state’s cities. Sometimes national coverage is easier to get than local coverage — NPR, etc. A fundraising concert at Belcourt with media coverage…and there’s always stunts of one type or another to draw media. In love and war, whatever local politics actually is, all’s fair.

17 08 2010
Grant Houston

P.S. on my earlier post…I had googled “Howard Switzer for Governor” and the top site addy is his old site. He actually has a hot new site a little further down the page that isn’t his old “H4Gov” site. He actually uses his name on this one. One wonders why Google still squirts up the old domain. To folks already following Green stuff his efforts are probably obvious. I’m just another businessman who barely has time for glancing at headlines, so if I don’t see it, a lot of folks don’t see it. Somehow, Howard needs to break thru, which I’m sure he’s working on, but a headline somewhere needs to belong to him. Otherwise, us liberal folks will zombie our way into the voting booth and look for the “D.”

17 08 2010

Thanks for the endorsement, Grant! You’re not the only progressive Democrat in the state who is sayings/he is planning to vote for Howard this time around. Gee, it could become a movement! And, while I agree that it would be a complete miracle if Howard actually got elected, maybe he can adopt the campaign slogan, “A LOSER YOU CAN BELIEVE IN.”
Well, maybe that’s tooo silly….

18 08 2010
Grant Houston


18 08 2010

derivative, but more upbeat than my suggestion!

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