Friday, June 23, 2006

Why I Won't Be Voting for a Democrat in the 5th Congressional District This Year

That Congress hasn‘t exercised ... any meaningful oversight .... Whether we‘ll have a change in parties and will that make a difference ... I have a really low impression of both of these parties. I think that we are going through a political devolution.

- - George Washington Professor Jonathan Turley on MSNBC last week

And the answer to political devolution is not doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Middle Tennesseans have re-elected a Democrat to the U.S. Congress in District 5 every term since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. Keep in mind the definition of "insanity." Those of us who are progressive Democrats cannot keep voting for the blue dogs of the world like Jim Cooper just because they are not Republicans but then expect different results than their general support for conservative causes.

So, I cannot in good conscience vote for Jim Cooper again. He failed to take a clear stance on net neutrality and then he voted to cow to the corporations who fund him, which killed it. That's not too surprising given that nearly 83% of his PAC contributions come from pro-corporation PACs. Mr. Cooper consistently votes for policies that side with corporations and insurance companies on issues of bankrupcy law and medical malpractice compensation. He has made his allegiance clear: he seems to prefer corporate regulation of industry over common people's access to it. The Republicans are comfortable enough with Cooper that they are only running token opposition in the form of an extreme rightwing candidate, who does not seem to be enjoying Party Chair Jon Crisp's own promotion.

So, this year I will be voting for progressive independent candidate Ginny Welsch. Being a political pragmatist about third party candidates, I do not make this rare decision lightly. Ginny made the effort to contact me personally, and we sat down over coffee and had a thorough conversation about her campaign and the issues. I came away impressed with her ideas. I came away impressed by her savvy. I came away believing that she is a viable alternative for Democrats disillusioned with the status quo.

Let me give an example of Ginny's savvy on the issues currently facing average Tennesseans. I have been a proponent on Enclave of raising the minimum wage, because since the 1970's (when minimum wage earner made over $9.00 an hour in adjusted-for-inflation dollars) the minimum wage has been depressed with the purpose of creating a wage class of teenagers with summer jobs rather than with the goal of supporting a baseline living-wage class just trying to feed their families. Ginny understands that raising the minimum wage to a living wage is an investment (and all investment have costs on the front end). I would call her approach to the minimum wage "trickle out and up." Raising the minimum wage generates more disposable income spent more broadly across the economy. Money does not stay locked in the premium tier of industries, but through the increased spending of lower-income classes, it more broadly benefits diverse kinds of small and large businesses. Also, as Ginny points out, raising the minimum wage sets the bar higher for the wages above. So, all boats rise on the higher tide below. This is all common sense to me, but the current crew of federales seems to lack common sense.

So, my vote for Tennessee's 5th Congressional is locked in. Only it is not locked in for a blue dog this time around. I'm voting for Ginny.


  1. Is someone else posing as you in the blogosphere? I read someone calling themselves "S-Town Mike" saying they were a Republican. Shocked me off my ass. But I went with it.

    Now here you're saying you're generally a blue dog.

    Very confusing....

  2. The poser of which you speak has created a shadow Enclave blog and assumed a variation my name to promote both Kay Brooks and general confusion.

    Being progressive, I don't generally prefer to vote for a blue dog, although I have--as in the case of Jim Cooper--done so before.

  3. OH. Okay. I get it now.

    I was so confused, because I've been seeing someone I thought was "you" saying things that I just really didn't think I'd ever hear you say.

    It was kind of troubling. Like Bizarro World.

  4. Cooper has pissed me off this year. I am going to have to check out Ginny.

  5. I respect your decision about Cooper. I think that the real answer is to work to support progressive democrats at every level (such as Gracie Porter and Kathline Hareky on the school board, Jason Powell for the assembly, Jameson, Exton, and Grimes for city council). Hopefully, as their careers advance, we won't be left with the dismal choice between voting for the Coopers and Fords or throwing our votes away on independents.

  6. Here's a comment you can take to the BANK !

    Ginny Welsch will BEAT Cooper into the ground in November.

    With Tom DeLay / Bush hugging on CAFTA and the bankruptcy legislation, plus voting FOR funding this stupid religious war,Cooper has torn his LAST blanket in Nashville.

    10-1 he winds up a lobbyist for some corporate trollop by January, 2007.


  7. Comment deleted because a commenter cannot be both a smartass and anonymous on Enclave, except under the condition that one is actually funny.