Dear readers, I promise you this will be the last I write about the whole Clayton debacle, because it is literally so stupid and infuriating that I'd like to pretend it's not happening. And yet, in five years (or hell, at this rate, five months), when people ask themselves how there got to be a small but vibrant pro-choice, anti-death-penalty, pro-gay, liberal wing — much reviled by the rest — of the Tennessee Republican Party, there needs to be a record. Not just of what happened, but how and why.
Why is this happening? Is it the fault of the alphabet, moronic voters, the laws of physics, donors, unwilling celebrities, Mark Goins, and whatever else the Democrats come up with? Or is the real problem worse?
Let me ask you a question. Which of the following things are attributable to Democratic Senate nominee Mark Clayton?
1. "middle-class Tennesseans and Democratic values that we all cherish"
2. "represent our core Democratic, middle-class values"
3. "to help protect traditional values so that moms and dads can raise families in difficult and uncertain times"
Let me ask you a slightly different question: Is there any real difference between those three statements? Yes, one uses "traditional," and the other two use "middle-class," but aren't they all trying to nod to the same vague "Mom and Dad and kids and dog and house with a yard and a job and golly gee, apple pie and Chevrolet" bullshit?
If the TNDP sees itself as representing some cherished long-held values — No. 1 is Forrester, No. 2 is Jim Bilbo from the executive committee and No. 3 is Clayton — then why shouldn't Clayton be the nominee? Doesn't the Democratic Party agree with him?
Almost as long as I've been blogging, I have known really smart, insightful Democrats who have said the main problem with the state party is that it doesn't define itself. Who knows what being a Democrat in Tennessee means, except that you can't stomach voting for Republicans?
Now they have defined themselves — but in almost the same empty platitudes as a guy defending his belonging to a hate group. But that is not the rock-stupidest part. No, the rock-stupidest part is that the Democratic party line is now saying they are for "middle-class values." Who is that supposed to resonate with?
The Tennessee Democratic Party needs to come to terms with who is still casting votes in its favor. Because this embarrassment about and contempt for its base —black people, brown people, poor people, women, gay people, etc. — is its undoing.