In an opinion piece in today's City Paper on Mike McWherter, I argue that Tennessee liberals are justifiably appalled — not just by the baser aspects of McWherter's campaign, but also by the Democratic party's overall approach to the gubernatorial race. Quoting myself (which, let's face it, you really can't do enough):
The real Democratic malpractice here emerges less from the flaws of the candidate than from the party establishment’s enabling of this fiasco. The Democratic primary field at one time featured two promising, experienced candidates: former House leader Kim McMillan and veteran state Sen. Jim Kyle of Memphis. But wait, party regulars insisted, only McWherter has the name and the access to money to go the distance. A year later as the nominee, he’s being outspent by an order of magnitude and is hovering at gadfly levels in the polls. For this we needed the magic McWherter name?
CP space limitations precluded a further observation about the complicity of our sitting so-called Democratic governor. Phil Bredesen is the kind of politician who puts his energy into what interests him and pretty much ignores what doesn't. One thing that obviously doesn't keep him up at night is the health and future outlook of the state Democratic party.
Yes, granted, electoral winds are gusting rightward everywhere this year, and Bredesen isn't the reason. But the fact remains that after eight years in power with high approval ratings as the state's chief executive and top Democrat, he leaves office with his party in as neutered a condition as just about anyone can remember.