Braisted sums it up: "Find a better candidate!" Amen.
There were a few of them yesterday.
First, there’s Ty Cobb’s loss in the Dist. 62 house race, epic because the one-vote Republican majority in the Tennessee State House just got broadened to two. I don’t live in the 62nd but anyone who has paid the slightest attention to local blogs knows that Cobb was such a hard-right conservative that in a sane world he’d run as a Republican. He even got the endorsement of Tennessee Right To Life over the Republican candidate Pat Marsh, who ultimately won. [Adding: I forgot to mention this morning that Pat Marsh, the Republican candidate, used to be a Democrat but switched parties. So this is what passes for a Republican victory in Tennessee. Go figure.]
So, what have we learned, Democrats? The TNGOP is gloating:
"During this election, Democrats consistently touted their candidate’s conservatism in an effort to appeal to voters across the district.
“Democrats tipped their hand in this election and demonstrated that their strategy to get their candidates elected is to have them run as Republicans,” continued Devaney.
Well, that’s how it appears. Is it because, as TNGOP Chair Chris Devaney claims,
“... Democrats know they have to run as Republicans because the American people are rejecting policies being pushed by liberal Democrats at the local, state and federal levels.”
because that’s how it looks. But I don’t think so. I don’t think the American people have rejected Democratic policies. I do think the American people reject running a candidate indistinguishable from the Republican, especially in a special election where folks need to be motivated to get out and vote. Ty Cobb was not that candidate.
You need to offer people a clear choice and focus on issues that people really care about, not this "values" crap that doesn't put food on the table or create one job. Why is that so hard to understand?
I will say, despite a flood of e-mails and phone calls asking me to knock on doors, work the phone bank, and volunteer my time in GOTV activities yesterday, I did not lift one finger to help elect Ty Cobb. Note to Democrats: please do not call me up and ask me to help elect a man who doesn’t believe in what are supposed to be bedrock Democratic principles.
And speaking of, fat lot of good that Tennessee Right To Life endorsement did. So can we finally stop caring about endorsements from these groups? Voters sure don’t care.
On the national level, we have the “success” of the Baucus Bill which in my view is another epic FAIL. As Eclectic Radical noted in comments last night:
Max Baucus himself deliberately chose to aim for broad bipartisanship by writing a watered down bill and failed to hit his goal.
Yes indeed. That’s because some conservative Democrats forgot the goal is healthcare reform not bipartisanship; they came up with a crap sandwich of a bill and still got just one Republican vote.
So, where do we go from here? Well, let me suggest that party people need to get off this “Democrats need to start looking and acting like Republicans” kick. Let’s support those candidates who embrace solid Democratic Party policies and see what happens.
And how does all of this jibe with my earlier comments about Rep. Jim Cooper? Well, Jim Cooper is no Ty Cobb, for one thing. But maybe if we stopped acting like Republican-light is the direction the Democratic Party needs to go, folks like Jim Cooper wouldn’t feel the need to tack to the right, either.
I dunno, just a thought.