Sorry, I'm not from TN, but I have been following Ford's career since back when he was considered a "rising star" in the party. I initially liked him, thought he was a charismatic and articulate spokesman for the party. Then I started noticing his votes.
Looking at the TN House delegation, it's not very inspiring. Five of the nine seats are held by Dems, but only Bart Gordon is not a Blue Dog, and he still voted with the Republicans three times out of the eight key votes on Chris Bowers' scorecard.
Obviously, TN has a Dem governor, so it is possible for Dems to win statewide there, although I have no idea how good of a governor Bredesen is. I'll defer to actual Tennesseeans on that.
Interestingly, of the guys you mention, only Davis is from a competitive district. And these four guys are among the worst Dems in the House, supporting the Republican agenda more than half the time, as Chris Bowers points out here. What's the point, if a Republican's no worse? Ford won his district with 82% of the vote, and he can only manage to stand up to Bush-Republican policies 25% of the time?
I also invite you to read this post about "Bush Democrats" who have consistently supported Bush on economic issues, including those that are not popular except with corporate donors, e.g. CAFTA and the bankruptcy bill. (Ford and Davis do not make it into this "illustrious" group, but Cooper and Tanner do.)
As Bowers has also pointed out here, the Blue Dogs are the most disloyal members of the Democratic caucus, voting with the party just over 50% of the time. Their value is limited, as near as I can tell, to a vote for Pelosi for majority leader. (I assume we can count on them for that.)
I'll concede that some liberals may have gone after Ford for voting for the DOMA or the ban on partial-birth abortions, I don't know. I didn't; I think those are understandable, if cowardly, votes from a guy in a safe seat who plans to run statewide. But I note that you don't say anything that refutes my hypothesis that Ford and these other guys are "corporate whores." Do you think they're not?
Obviously these guys "can win" in the South. Of course, any Dem (even a good one!) could win in Ford's, Cooper's, or Tanner's districts. If Ford actually does win statewide, then I guess that will validate the strategy of raising a ton of corporate money, voting how those corporate masters want, and selling out your poor black constituents. What a happy day that will be for America!
You know, I would be fine with Ford if he had to take moderate or even conservative stands on gay rights or abortion or other social issues that seem to resonate in the Bible Belt. But how do you explain the fact that he joined the group of Dems who held a press conference to criticize the Republican leadership for not moving fast enough to pass the bankruptcy bill? Is shilling for the credit card industry required by social conservatives now? How do you explain Ford's vote for the energy bill?
Don't get me wrong; I'd rather see a Dem in there than almost any Republican. But Ford's a sellout corporate whore, and this crap about the Left beating him up for "not being liberal enough" and pretending it has anything to do with gay marriage is just nonsense. Did I mention that Ford voted for the Iraq war?f
Ford is not an example of how a dem can win in the south, unless you think the way to win in the south is to raise a bunch of corporate money. A dem could win in the south as a social moderate/conservative who's pro-gun rights and an economic populist. People see right through these Republican-lite DLC guys.
Harold Ford is a "Democrat" who voted for the bankruptcy bill, in fact agitated for its passage, and voted for the gift to the oil industry that the republicans had the balls to call the Energy Policy Act. He is a corporate "new democrat" of the worst kind. He is one of the "Hardcore Four" sellout members of the congressional black caucus [along with Artur Davis (AL), Sanford Bishop (GA), and David Scott (GA)], described here.
His defenders will say, hey, he's from a red state and he's got ambition, he can't be too liberal. That's true. But the bankruptcy and energy bills are not bible belt social conservative votes; they are pure corporate whoring. Nobody's campaigning against any democrat anywhere in the country saying, "He voted against the bankruptcy bill. He doesn't share your values." (Except perhaps at MBNA-sponsored fundraisers.)
Just to be, um, fair and balanced, I will say he's better than Frist, and in all likelihood better than his eventual opponent. And, especially if his victory gives the Dems 51, I even hope he wins. But I'm certainly not gonna get all giddy over the prospect of this sellout bitch going to the Senate.
Redistricting is never fair, at least if we're talking about the current system of single-representative districts. Any single-representative district can either be representative or competitive, but not both. Either everyone agrees, and one party wins 80-20, or it's close, which means 45% or more of the voters in the district go unrepresented.
Talking about making districts fair totally misses the point. We need to start talking about true reform, which would mean going to either a proportional system or (my preference) multi-representative districts using a single transferable vote (stv) system like they have in Ireland and Australia. You can read about STV here (wikipedia).
Some sort of proportional system is the only way we'll get truly representative elections.
Um, I'm no fan of the governator, but if you read the original article (the CBS5 one, not the satire you linked), the audit in which the 30,000 vehicles were found to be missing was ordered by Schwarzenegger when he took office. So the cars were clearly not lost on his watch.
Have each county with one senator? That's a great idea! In the 2003 recall election, 10 counties (out of 55) voted against the recall. Granted, some of those other 45 probably lean democratic, but I think it's safe to say that your one-senator-per-county idea would result in a senate that was at least 35 Republicans to 20 dems.
In reality, the CA senate should simply be done away with completely, and we should just have one chamber with 120 (or preferably a lot more) reps.
Props 57 and 58 were not fiscally responsible. Arnold wanted them passed in order to avoid doing the fiscally responsible thing and either raise taxes or cut spending. In other words, he was acting just like Gray Davis. Except he had to borrow more, because he re-rolled back the car tax, costing the state an additional $4 billion.
If borrowing $15 billion to pay for ongoing expenses is now fiscally responsible, I guess we'll have to stop criticizing GWB for his reckless spending and tax cuts.
Westly has a reputation for cuddling up to Arnold because until recently he has been publicly cuddling up to Arnold, in TV commercials and everything. "Attaching his lips to his steroid-enhanced glutes" may not be the most elegant phrasing, but this does seem to me to be an accurate characterization of the situation.
At least he's not Lockyer, who actually voted for Arnold. But when he showed up in those commercials for Arnold's propositions, I think he killed his chances to win the Democratic primary, if he ever had any. Let's remember, this is a guy who only won the Controller's job by a few hundred votes, in a very blue state, running against a total wingnut (McClintock) who got no help from the state GOP because of Republican infighting.
No. To be certain (ie with 99% certainty) that the poll would fall within a .1% MOE, you might need 4 million respondents. But that's to be sure you would be that close in 99% of cases. You would need far fewer respondents to get within .1% 80% of the time. (Too lazy to figure it out right now.)
The trick with redistricting is that it's a little counter-intuitive. You have to make your party's seats safe, but not too safe (like 55-45, something like that), and you make the opponent's seats really safe -- but that lets you have more seats. So you have only a few republican districts, but they're like 75% red hellholes. And, yes, you have to redraw the district lines. That's pretty much what Delay did.
I believe that this whole situation, the red states voting for the low-tax regime, even as their existence is subsidized by the blue states, raises two issues:
Corporate welfare, specifically farm subsidies, but also mining, timber, and energy handouts, goes disproportionately to the so-called red states. There's no reason to make it a red-blue issue, but Democrats should seize on this and make ending corporate welfare a signature issue. It's popular, and most of the people who will be against change, like lumberjacks and cattle ranchers, do not and are not going to vote to vote Dem anyway.
A need for greater federalism. A big part of the reason blue states pay higher taxes is that they are more urban, and therefore have a higher cost of living as well as higher salaries. So, ironically, a lower-middle class family in NJ could very well be paying taxes to subsidize a similar family in AL, or to pay farm subsidies in SD. If Democrats could trim out the above-mentioned corporate welfare and turn the money into some sort of tax cut (hopefully aimed at the low end), blue state legislatures could have a little more room to maneuver in terms of raising taxes. More money would stay in the blue states. Don't republicans want to give the states more freedom?
Let's face it. Dems at the federal level have close to zero power. This kind of jujitsu, giving republicans what they want even as Democrat constituencies benefit, is going to be the only way for Dem legislators to help their cause over the next 2-4 years. The mission is twofold: help the people you represent as much as possible, and make the Republicans look bad.
But we don't know that. Enough has come up, from the exit polling not matching up with the vote totals, to the various e-vote "glitches," to cast doubt. If we lost fair and square, so be it. But there's no paper trail on many of these machines, and even those that do have paper trails, like the op-scan machines, have no kind of audit procedure. This issue is important not because it might change the outcome (very unlikely) but because if we don't have faith that votes are going to be counted fairly, it's all over.
We need to find out what happened (to the extent that we can) in this election, and more important, make sure that in 2006 and beyond we know for sure that we won't have to wonder whether or not an election was stolen.