Ok, so over at Knoxviews.com we've been having a discussion. We've been ranting about Tennessee Governor Bredesen. I've sorta been defending him. Frankly, I think there's no way to get into a position of real power in this state without a fair amount of communal backscratching, which at times must be distasteful to the scratcher.
When I started trying to have some positive effect on the way things were going, I thought, well gee, you just tell folks the obvious truth and they'll stop what they're doing, change their minds, and we'll all work together for the good of all humankind.
Enter Cognitive Dissonance.
Beliefs are nearly invincible against change.
All I knew about Phil Bredesen at the start of is campaign was that the other guy was nothing more than the rich son of a rich fascist businessman, who was also a serious polluter (which is how I came to know the guy in the first place). I knew that Van Hilleary was poison, literally, so off I go to check out Bredesen. Turns out, Phil and I have exactly opposite views on a core principle.
I believe that ecology is the bottom line. We should develop our economy within the comfines of a healthy Earth... And right now, the Earth ain't healthy.
Phil seems to believe (and who can really know) that you have to have a strong economy in order to have the money in the State coffers to deal with the problems that are making the society unhealthy.
I don't quite get how a man whose fortune came from healthcare comes to this position, the Frist family sure hasn't, but there it is. I am frustrated at times with Bredesen's businessman approach to problems, but I have seen him be responsive to most situations that hit his radar screen. His screen has been incredibly full, based on what the disasterous Sundquist regime left him. Sunquist calculatedly ignored the looming Tenncare debacle and the state's massive loss of revenues from business tax breaks. Bredesen has used an MBA's methods to first get the state functioning in the black and then try to deal with the problems. He is not King, however, and can only get the legislation he can force past an aggressively antagonistic state legislature. I don't think anybody is happy with Tenncare, but having seen the numbers, I don't think Bredesen had any choice in what we have now. Neither do I think he's happy with it.
As for those who are complaining about Bredesen's staff, Dave Cooley in particular, I understand. There's way to much wink, wink, nudge, nudge, in Tennessee politics. It is nothing short of ugly.
Guys, don't think I disagree with anything you're complaining about, 'cause I don't.
This country as a whole seems like a freight train headed toward fascism and I can't see anything that's going to turn it around all at once short of an armed rebellion Central American style. Problem with that method is that you can get your revolution stolen, like Nicaragua did. So what we have is a situation where the Dems are corrupt and the Repubs are corrupt and evil to boot...So what is a Progressive to do? I see absolutely nothing to gain by ever, ever, ever, voting for a Republican, except on a local level where all corruption begins.
For now, I see Governor Bredesen doing what he can to put the Tennessee freight train on a new track, even though it frustrates me at the slow pace of change. But, there is no Star Trek transporter room to beam us from here to there. We can't skip a single step and get anyplace.
I still have reservations though. Why haven't we had a top to bottom house cleaning of the Democratic party, for instance? Why are they so brain dead about public relations and framing issues? Why the hell do they have the link to Instapundit on the front page of Go4Truth.com? Why are they so slow in responding to real questions like the ones showing up at KnoxViews.com?
Why does Dave Cooley still have a job? (Well actually, I think he should have one just not the one he's in just now.)
And finally: Why hasn't Bredesen been more open about his discussions with Howard Dean?
Dean sees Tennessee as a microcosm of the problems facing Progressives all over the USA... Me, too! the Democratic Party is fiecely divided. On one hand you have Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council which is where ther term "Republican Lite" came from, and on the other you have Howard Dean, Al Gore, John Edwards, and a new breed of Progressive/Democrat leaders whose biggest obstacle is the old guard in their own party.
Where does Phil Bredesen stand? Is he trying not to pick sides in his own party? Maybe, and that could be the source of our problems with him.
Frankly, I see no better choice in this state than Phil Bredesen. His biggest problem is inept communications.
Did you guys know that the Land Trust for Tennessee started on Phil Bredesen's kitchen table? Did you know that he has reinvigorated the Conservation Commission and Water Pollution Control? Did you know that actual fines are actually being levied against actual polluters in this State?
No...you didn't know that, and that is Bredesen's problem. We'll see what he does to fix this.
Peace for now,