At least that's what I was told when I saw my email this afternoon. It came in from Bredesen for Governor.
Yeah Phil, you probably do need me, old pal. And several hundred thousand more just like me.
Too bad you pissed it all away.
See, I could have lived with the Tenncare cuts. But that's easy for me to say--- I'm a pretty healthy guy. I can certainly understand the need to make some changes, as I don't think McWherter's idea was really designed for long term sustainability. I would have preferred the cuts to come from elsewhere, or perhaps some much dreaded reform (Does every street in the state need to be under construction at the same time?).
Phil (I can call you Phil, can't I? What with the familiar tone of the email and all), can I let you in on something?
Right about now, you're in panic mode. You're thinking your base has abandoned you.
But you're wrong. You abandoned us.
When I was preparing for a meeting on the Hill several months ago, I downloaded some of your speeches and read them. At the Southern Democratic Governors' Association, a reporter asked you to describe the Republican agenda. I can't find the old file right now, but I remember that you named low taxes, unrestricted access to arms, no gay marriage, and no abortion.
Think back on your statement, Phil. I'm sure your guys have better search tools than I have, and can pull up your exact quote. Look it over. Notice a problem?
YOU FORGOT TO MAKE ANY OF IT SOUND BAD.
You could have pointed out that their agenda seems to involve massive runaway spending while giving up any means to cover the bills. You may believe in unrestricted access to arms, which is another place we'll have to disagree, but I can let it slide that you didn't hit too hard on that point in the gun loving South. You could have pointed out that their agenda involves misappropriating the document that guarantees the liberties of American citizens to discriminate against gays. And you could have pointed out that their agenda involves the subjugation of women so that they don't have the right to make choices about their own bodies.
Did you do any of that? Did you say anything that the Republicans themselves wouldn't say?
It's not just Tenncare, Phil. I've met your communications director, and I have no doubt that he has the skill to spin that.
During another meeting with you and your staff, you told us that you have to run to the center to get elected in Tennessee. But you haven't done that. You skipped right over the center and hopped into bed with the right.
I don't need to tell you the problem with that. If you weren't painfully aware of the way you were hemhorraging support from Democrats, I never would have met you.
And what changed after that? Not a thing.
Face it, Phil. When you walk into a room full of Democrats, you blend as well as a pair of white socks with a tuxedo.
You've spent the last 3.5 years chasing the votes of people that will have their own candidate this fall.
Phil, you may need me--- But you can forget about it. I'm not even sure we'd notice the difference if we elected a Republican.
Maybe I'm a little nostalgic 24 hours after losing The West Wing, but I can't help thinking back to an episode where a Supreme Court Justice berated President Bartlet, insisting that he would never retire as long as Bartlet was in the White House.
Disgusted, he looked at Bartlet and said "I wanted a Democrat. And I got you."