Every year, as the holiday season draws near, we contemplate who’s been naughty and who’s been niceand we hand out appropriate stocking stuffers for those on the list. Yet it’s already clear that the naughty this year will far outweigh the nice. To give every political GinGrinch his due, it might be a good idea to establish another list, this one appropriate for the Thanksgiving holidaythe Turkey Awards. And the winners are...
Doug HorneThe chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party is this year’s top turkey, as he has presided over one of the most hapless eras in the party’s recent history. In the face of his party’s feeble performance, Horne continues to be publiclyand unabashedlyambitious, saying he will run for governor in two years if the right people don’t otherwise step up. Memo to Horne: Don’t believe your own spin. Suggested side dish: humble pie.
Roy HerronThe state director of the Gore/Lieberman effort runs a close second in the Turkey sweepstakes for failing to deliver Tennessee for Al Gore. But he narrowly escapes the carving knife for successfully and prolifically hedging his bets.
Illustration A: “Gov. Sundquist has said that [Republicans] would carry the state,” he told the Scene in August. Illustration B: “And besides Gov. Sundquist, there are two United States senators and the majority of the congressional delegation [who are Republican].” Illustration C: Gore nemesis George W. Bush, he said, had “funding that is literally unprecedented in the history of the world.”
But even after rattling off all these caveats, Herron still predicted Gore would win the state. What a turkey. Suggested side dish: peanut butter pie (inspires silence) chased with single-malt Scotch (makes you smarter).
Bill PurcellThe Nashville mayor was wearing Herron’s shoes in 1996 as state director of the successful Clinton/Gore effort in Tennessee. But he called this one wrong. “[Gore] has won every election he’s run in Tennessee,” Purcell told the Scene at the Democratic National Convention in August. “Tennessee has always supported him, and it will again.” Suggested side dish: crow.
The national mediaFor being a megaphone for the Gore effort in Florida, the national press pigs deserve a serious lashing. Their sin is not in misreporting the developments down South; rather, it’s in failing to question the elaborately spun and shamelessly self-serving Democratic claims there. It’s true that the party of Clinton is more savvy at launching rhetorical war missiles.
But the press hounds should smell thewell, stuff they step in every day. Also, they need to employ their thesauri and spare us any more usage of the words “fair” and “accurate.” Suggested side dish: roasted James Carville with sautéed mushrooms and grilled Doug Hattawayand some moist towelettes to clean off their noses.
Tennessee RepublicansThe state’s overprivileged have spent a year being generally tacky and maliciously reactionary. They have treated their income-tax-supporting leader, Gov. Don Sundquist, like a debutante who suddenly announced she’d been impregnated by the wrestling team captain. Airwave chairman Phil Valentine has shot off his mouth inappropriately more than once on behalf of his petulant populace, going so far last week, in the midst of reporting about a military plane crash, to make a crack about how he hoped there were no absentee ballots on board. Suggested side dish: Spam, purchased with food stamps, topped with spoiled caviar.
Tennessee Citizen ActionNormally, this consumer and environmental watchdog organization is worth having around. But they lost us after recently comparing Tennessee's apparently confusing motor voter registration glitches-which affected only a miniscule percentage of Tennessee's voters and which seems to have been the fault of the voters themselves-to the troubled voting processes in Florida. Suggested side dish: wolf casserole.
If someone wrote a screenplay transforming the Florida recount drama into a made-for-TV movie, we could cast the characters right out of Tennessee politics:
♦ Jesse Jackson, played by Mayor Bill Purcell
♦ Katherine Harris, played by state Sen. Marsha Blackburn
♦ Karen Hughes, played by whoever the spokesperson is for Bridgestone/Firestone
♦ Florida Supreme Court, played by the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association
♦ William Daley, played by Bill Fletcher
♦ Alan M. Dershowitz, played by George Barrett
♦ Carl Rove, played by Don Aaron
♦ Chris Matthews, played by Murray Philip
♦ Gov. Marc Racicot, played by Lamar Alexander
♦ Jim Baker, played by U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson
♦ Warren Christopher, played by Cecil Branstetter
♦ Dick Cheney, played by Bill Phillips
♦ George W. Bush, played by Bob Corker
♦ Al Gore, played by Al Gore (who might need the work and already has experience embellishing a role).
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