Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Big Tent Isn't Tennessee Democrats' Biggest Problem

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 5:00 AM

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On his Nashville 21 site, Sean Braisted discusses the difficulty of holding the Tennessee Democratic Party together. On one side you have the progressive Nashville contingent--liberal, labor, gay, etc. And on the other you have the rural rednecks, who just might want to shoot their gay brethren. In other words, he asserts, it's not so easy to keep this rather expansive tent from collapsing.

He's right, of course. But the bigger problem is the party's castration. With his obstruction of the auto bailout, Senator Bob Corker has launched the greatest union-busting campaign since Ronald Reagan stomped the air traffic controllers. His demands for UAW wage cuts--while giving a pass to management salaries--should be a hanging curve for any self-respecting progressive. As Barack Obama proved, populist economics are so powerful right now they can even get a black guy elected.

But you don't hear Tennessee Democrats lighting up Corker, do you? Since losing the legislature, they've been content to complain about racism. It's as if they plan to win back the state by getting everyone to feel sorry for them.

Perhaps worse is they've beaten by a less than mighty foe. After the jump, you'll find the latest missive from Republican Party Chairwoman Robin Smith. It's part parable, part paranoid, and partially coherent. (If you can comprehend her dire warnings, by all means share your analysis with the rest of us.)

When you're getting your ass kicked by people like this, the answer to your problems is surely in the mirror.


The Treasure of Our Principles


Much discussion is whirling about regarding the future and direction of the national Republican Party. Much advice and counsel being offered is valuable, serious and worthy of discussion. However, there is usually a very simple answer to many of life's questions, and this can be one of those situations.

Let me offer you a true story that serves as a life lesson.

During Thanksgiving, my family traveled to Gulf Shores, AL for rest after a great election cycle in Tennessee and to value the blessings of the year. While there, our plans included a visit to a Civil War-era mystery ship that was unearthed by the storms of Hurricane Ike and featured in numerous press accounts.

My 16 year-old son, Caleb dragged his feet, complaining of "how dumb" our excursion was going to be, our 18 year-old daughter grabbed the camera, my husband rode shot-gun and my mom wouldn't miss the fun. Crammed into my Subaru, we drove to the specified location noted in the newspaper article. We saw nothing. Caleb, the driver, turned around to head down another road that paralleled the coastline to find nothing.

Painfully agreeing, my husband exited the car at a small market to ask directions. He returned to the car with the news. It was about 500 yards away and we'd been right behind the beach houses that buffered the unearthed ship. There was one problem. It was no longer visible.

It seems that the tourists that came to see the ship, the "public nuisance" of the unwanted attention, the selfish, short-sighted thieves who came with their hacksaws to deface the treasure to claim a single piece of the ship, had resulted in the decision of the neighbors to cover the ship back up with sand.

So, rather than leaving the full treasure of this artifact intact, there were those interested only in one piece to hold up as a representation of the entire ship. There were others who viewed this unearthed treasure as a "public nuisance" and wanted it to be out of sight to eliminate undesired attention. There were others, still, who didn't want to go to the trouble of working to preserve the Civil War ship remains for the benefit of others to appreciate.

The parallel to the state of ship we call the Republican Party is relevant. The "treasure" of our Party is found in its principles and people. There are those, however, in recent years who have taken a weathered and storm-battered ship and sawed off one piece of the ship to hold close and represent to them the entire ship. There are those who have viewed certain aspects of the Party's ship to be a "public nuisance" that is drawing unwanted attention. There are those of the Republican Party who have no desire to preserve the essence of our ship for future generations to benefit. Instead, there seems to have been a notion that issues and policies need not find their genesis in the legacy of proven principles, but in poll-driven results.

I stand as a State Chairman, with countless other Republicans, who love the treasure of our Party - our principles and our people - that have enriched our nation with effective and decent policy and will serve as the foundation for future greatness. I, too, am committed to more than covering up, in an act of convenience, all that is great about our Republican Party. The Party of Lincoln will only be complete with all of its principles, people and policies in full view to be appreciated and available to impact our government at all levels.

The state of our Party and, more importantly, the state of our nation, depends on protecting the treasure of that which is good and decent. It's imperative that we commit to our principles and our people first, not our privileges and pleasures.


Respectfully Submitted,

Robin Smith,

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman

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