By Jeff Woods
on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 8:28 PM
Rachel Maddow is yapping now about the fearsome bloggers who are vowing to take down Jim Cooper for daring to question the liberal conventional wisdom on health care reform. It's all getting pretty silly, and it would be funny except for the fact that it's apparently encouraging at least one Nashville Democrat to flirt with tossing away his political future in an unrealistic race against the congressman.
He is Jerry Maynard, the young preacher and political activist who has made an impression as an intelligent and articulate member of the Metro Council in his two years in office. When we talked to Maynard today, he denied interest at the moment in challenging Cooper but wouldn't rule it out at some point. He was playing it really cagey. His response sounded suspiciously like one of those non-denial denials that just about every candidate gives when he's not quite ready to announce he's running.
For Maynard's sake, we can only hope this is a momentary lapse in judgment. He should ask his friend, Democratic Party chair Chip Forrester, what happens to a politician who challenges a sitting congressman from his own party. When Forrester ran against Bob Clement in '92 and lost (all too predictably) he was essentially shunned by his one-time associates throughout the city. Even 17 years later, when a supposedly rehabilitated Forrester ran for party chair, there was a revolt of the senior elected leadership in part because they couldn't let go of their grudge. He managed to win the post, but it took an uprising of the party's executive committee, and many Democrats still don't trust him.
Liberals would love to have a choice in the 2010 election. Yes, we could send a message to Cooper and other conservative Democrats across America. You will ignore us at your own peril! That would make everyone feel really great. But Maynard still would lose. As he slinks away into political exile, would Kos remember his name?
Also: Cooper reacts.