Maybe it's good that Phillip Pinion is retiring
The Delusional Quote of the Day Award goes to departing state Rep. Phillip Pinion, who had this to say about the ass-whupping his party took at the hands of Republicans yesterday:
“The top of the ticket lost it for Tennessee. We lost strong Democratic districts basically due to a lack of support from the national Democratic Party. The state party put up a good fight, but without national help they were hamstrung.”
Forget for a moment that Barack Obama produced the largest Democratic margins since LBJ, pulling in previously unwinnable states like Virginia, Indiana, Colorado and Nevada. Though it’s too close to call this morning, he may also bring home North Carolina.
Let’s also forget that Phil Bredesen warned Obama against campaigning here, saying all was lost. And that the good governor rather condescendingly lectured Obama on courting the Wal-Mart vote.
While we’re at it, let’s also blow off the fact that Tennessee Dems failed to recruit a decent challenger to Lamar Alexander. In North Carolina, their party knocked off Senator Elizabeth Dole. In New Hampshire, they took down Senator John Sununu. And in Georgia, Senator Saxby Chambliss may be forced into a run-off (though it’s too early to tell).
But despite strong showings in other conservative states, Democrats here put Bob Tuke (D-Human Sacrifice) on the top of their ticket. Even with an unpopular war. Even with an economy that began sliding two years ago. Even when they would be running against a president who looked to be the New Herbert Hoover.
Tuke was so weak Alexander took an extended fishing trip in the middle of the campaign. Though a better candidate may have still lost, something closer than a 65-35 margin would have helped down-ticket candidates.
And you want to blame it on the national party?
Instead of whining about Obama, Tennessee Democrats should begin learning from him. The president-elect may be one of the Senate’s most liberal members. But he won a campaign with the ingredients of old school populism – health care, jobs, the rhetoric of economic fairness. They’re the kind of issues that can defy party lines, that resonate when Mom and Dad are figuring out how to pay the bills at the kitchen table. This is the stuff that can – gasp! – even get a black guy elected.
But if Tennessee Democrats continue sell themselves as Republican Lite – Motto: We’re Slightly Less Weird about Guns, God, and Abortion!
– they’re likely sentencing themselves to an extended period of whining. Cheap facsimiles don’t exactly inspire people at the polls.