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Flooding at Symphony Place and 2nd Avenue S in Nashville, Tennessee (3 May 2010)
Flooding at Symphony Place and 2nd Avenue S in Nashville, Tennessee (3 May 2010)
On Wednesday morning, our own David Nir made a compelling case for jettisoning "Democratic" Rep. Jim Cooper, who has represented the Nashville Metro area for a decade:
I've long believed that wankerish NoLabels-loving conservaDem Jim Cooper has deserved a primary challenge. It's not just his votes but his mouth: He's spent his whole career publicly undermining the Democratic Party, despite sitting in a safe district. (Tennessee's 5th Congressional District went for Obama by a 56-43 margin.) On Tuesday, though, it was his vote that mattered most: He was the only Democrat who said "nay" to $51 billion in vital federal relief funds for the areas ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Needless to say, this is an absolute outrage. How could Cooper do such a thing?

Cooper, of course, has been an apostate and an irritant for quite some time. Indeed, he's been this way for decades now.

I cannot begin to speculate on Cooper's motives here, besides him simply being a deficit peacock. Part of me wonders if this all traces back to his humiliating 1994 Senate defeat (when he hosed Bill Clinton on health care to defend his right flank and raise campaign cash, and subsequently lost to Republican Fred Thompson by 21 points). One has to wonder if, in Cooper's mind, it's always 1994, and the key to electoral survival is parroting Republican talking points.

In the end, it doesn't matter. There were many Democrats serving much more conservative districts who voted the right way. Hell, there were over a half dozen Democrats running in districts that favored Mitt Romney who voted "yea," for crying out loud. With this vote, to say nothing of the others, Cooper has more than earned a legitimate challenge to the Democratic nomination in what is, at the end of the day, a blue seat in Congress.

Finding Democrats in the district is not a difficult task: The district gave Barack Obama double digit margins of victory over his GOP challengers in 2008 and 2012. What's more, a strong majority of the elected figures in Davidson County are Democrats.

So, here is just a smattering of electeds in the district. Readers, particularly our Volunteer State friends, are invited to peruse the list below the fold and tell us in the comments whether or not they would make decent prospects.

An important consideration: How indebted to Cooper are each of these would-be contenders to Cooper, politically speaking? For example, one of the most potentially attractive prospects in the district might be Davidson County Clerk Brenda Wynn, the first county-wide elected African-American officeholder in Davidson County. Alas, she got her political start as a staffer in Cooper's office, making a challenge of her former boss seem more remote.

Indeed, it is possible that a number of Nashville's officeholders are politically wed to Jim Cooper, who has been a fixture in area politics for decades. But, surely, given what we've seen from Cooper, someone of prominence might step forward into the breech and make sure that this Democratic seat is represented by an actual Democrat.

Now, allow us to play Great Mentioner and name several of the local officeholders who happen to be Democrats:

  • State Rep. Darren Jernigan: Jernigan was just elected to the Tennessee state legislature, and one has to think he has some political chops. In a year when Democrats got their asses handed to them in the Tennessee Lege (ending up with less than 30 seats in the 99-seat House of Reps), Jernigan managed to displace a GOP incumbent in a very close election. His state house district lies to the east of Nashville. Jernigan, whether he'd be interested in primarying Jim Cooper, deserves watching for having a compelling biography and a sense of team. Check this out, for instance. In an article about Democrats running away from Obama in a state where he was about to get smooshed, Jernigan instead offered the following:
    Jernigan, a Metro councilman who, like Mitchell, is campaigning in a district that includes suburban and rural neighborhoods, doesn’t hide his presidential leanings.

    “I’m the Democratic nominee, and, obviously, I will vote for the president,” Jernigan said. “The reason being: I don’t resonate with the top 2 percent of America.

    “Me coming out and saying it, I don’t know if it does any damage to me or not,” he added. “But I don’t mind saying that I’m voting for the president because I don’t feel that I’m in line with the alternative.”

    If we learned nothing else this week, Cooper clearly feels than he is in line with the alternative.
  • State Rep. Jason Powell: Powell is another freshman state legislator who managed to win a narrow victory (54-46) in 2012. Powell is also mentioned in the above article as one of the Metro Democrats who openly stated he was voting for the president (it may not seem like much, but a number of candidates equivocated). Powell worked in various anti-drug and community organizations prior to his election in November. He represents the southern part of the county.
  • State Rep. Mike Stewart: Stewart is in his third term in the legislature, and comes from a political family. His father was the communications director for the DNC. Stewart, an attorney by trade, represents a rather odd-shaped district that branches out along U.S. 41 to the southeast of Nashville.
  • State Rep. Harold M. Love: Love is an interesting case. Love, a pastor at a Nashville-area AME church, dispatched a veteran Democratic incumbent in a primary last year, and went on to win his heavily-Democratic district by default, as no Republicans filed. Of the four state legislators listed to date, Love is the only African-American in the group. Nearly a quarter of the district's voters are African-American.

There are a handful of other state legislators, though the common thread for all of them is that they have spent quite a few years in the House. The sole exception is freshman Rep. Bo Mitchell, who reps western Davidson County. But Mitchell is one of the two candidates quoted in the Tennesseean article linked to above hedging on whether they'd vote for Obama, so you could argue that this would be an automatic disqualification.

And, with that, we turn it over to the best information resource we know—our community of readers. Are all four of these state legislators non-starters because of lifetime friendships with Jim Cooper? Are there incredible candidates at the city and county government levels that we missed? Is there a local activist who is itching for the fight and capable of pulling off the upset? Let us know in the comments!

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Does TN have primary runoffs? (5+ / 0-)

    "All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by DownstateDemocrat on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:29:44 AM PST

  •  Screw this Shit-Eater (4+ / 0-)

    I swear I'll send $5 to ANYONE that runs against him, even a ReThug!

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:31:27 AM PST

    •  Reminds me of the "Dump Joe" LIEberman site (5+ / 0-)

      Someone could set up a website to solicit pledges of future donations and volunteers for whoever steps up.  I'd make a pledge and--like w/ Ned Lamont, JoeL's 2006 primary challenger--I'd exceed it w/ actual donations.

      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

      by bartcopfan on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:11:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  John Boehner and Eric Cantor applaud your (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      decision. So does Michelle Bachmann.

      •  What a dumbass thing to say (0+ / 0-)

        I'm sure they applaud having Cooper who votes with them and gives them bipartisan cover much more.

        In a blue district we should NOT be supporting wanker conservadems.  We have to tolerate some in order to get Nancy the gavel back but here WE DO NOT.  Frankly I'm sick of this bullshit by many in our party that we have to support  conservadems at all.  In recent weeks I've seen the same commentators shoot down ideas of Ashley Judd running because she's too liberal and then the same commentators shoot down liberal choices and ideas in more liberal areas.  I can understand Kentucky if there is a better more moderate choice but being there isn't any I'm all for going balls to the wall.  The GOP does and they've successfully managed to pull a few off (Rand Paul?!?) and shift the overton window right.  But I CANNOT understand nor tolerate this constant push by people on our side to always be moderate and take the centrist path even when there is overwhelming support for more liberal politicians and/or policies.  When the fuck are we going to focus on the BETTER DEMOCRATS as opposed to just more?  

        Here is a clear case of a district where we can push for BETTER.  I highly doubt the orange dickhead will be applauding our efforts especially if we succeed.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:04:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You missed this part (bolded below) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GradyDem
          I swear I'll send $5 to ANYONE that runs against him, even a ReThug!
          The rest of your remarks are irrelevant. GradyDem is not speaking against primarying Cooper.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:39:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not as big of a primary fan as some folks are, (19+ / 0-)

    ... but he really deserves one.  I'm old enough to remember what he did in the early 90s trying to torpedo health care, and then got his ass kicked.  He's always been too wrong on the policy, and too wrong on the politics to represent this blue of a district.

  •  Karl Dean? (11+ / 0-)

    He's the Mayor of Nashville, elected to a second term in 2011.  He's a Dem. though (embarrassed to admit) I don't know his politics in much depth.  He's got tons of name recognition and is "popular", whatever that might mean.

    What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.? -- Nicholas Kristof, NYT --

    by Land of Enchantment on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:50:37 AM PST

    •  Oh, but of course (7+ / 0-)

      ... he would likely not want to rock the boat so much to do a primary challenge.  I guess that makes Rev. Harold Love extra-interesting, since he's already done a primary challenge.  And while a quarter of the district's voters might be black, a much higher proportion of Democratic primary voters would be same.

      What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.? -- Nicholas Kristof, NYT --

      by Land of Enchantment on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:53:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know this great Nashville progressive . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandy on Signal

        not currently in politics . . . well known in music circles . . . said to be one of the kindest people you will ever meet . . . has friends - close friends - who are conservative . . . he could play hobbs with a primary.

        Talk with him. 'kay?

        Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. Those who want to wage the next war in Afghanistan are condemned to lose it.

        by llbear on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:34:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  He is way too conservative for me. (7+ / 0-)

      He wants private charter schools for one thing.

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:20:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When Dean was lst running for mayor I called his (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      campaign office and they wouldn't tell me if he was a democrat or a republican.  He's a real corporatist blue dog.
      He also has his sights on the governor's house.
      No to Karl Dean.  That's my vote.

      Jason Powell is my representative.  I really know nothing about him except that the repub running against him sent me a bazillion  postcard mailers telling me to vote "against"
      Jason Powell.  

      I belong to the Honey Badger Wing of the Democratic Party. We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore. Have you seen our videos?

      by Cassandra77 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:17:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, some of the fliers had a (0+ / 0-)

        Godfather theme, with Jimmy Naifeh apparently as Don Corleone...?  Pretty incoherent stuff, but designed to make the oldsters panic.  Luckily, younger people are moving into the area now-- it's inexpensive & really conveniently located, although the houses are pretty small.

        Jason Powell knocked on my door one Saturday morning as a GOTV call, as I already had an Obama yard sign.  Sent one of his signs over, and apparently someone picked it up a day or two after the election ;)  Anyway, he seemed like a pretty good guy, and he was endorsed by his excellent predecessor, Janis Sontany.

        "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

        by latts on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:50:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  he just got 65% of the vote (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, slothlax, MichaelNY, Matt Z

    Pretty unlikely he can be taken out. He even voted against the American with disabilities act. He would be very comfortable as a republican.
    Seems like he is obsessed with the deficit. It appears that his constituents have no problems with him because he has been doing this crap for his whole career.

  •  Even the Republicans like Brenda Wynn because (6+ / 0-)

    she is just so damn nice. When she was working for Cooper she saved my house from foreclosure.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:19:50 AM PST

  •  As someone who comes from a town heavily damaged (7+ / 0-)

    by Sandy, I would gladly challenge him.

    Doubt I would be a good candidate, with TN being one of the only 6 states I have never set foot in...

    Registered in NY-02, College CT-01, Spent most of the rest of my life on the border of NY-08 and NY-15

    by R30A on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:32:18 AM PST

  •  Challenge Cooper early! Dkos encourage Stewart? (11+ / 0-)

    Cooper looks like a very suitable target, and his anti-Sandy vote looks like the perfect catalyst, for a Dkos-supported primary campaign.  This type of campaign should start early, in order to maximize chances of winning, and to send a message to other Blue Dogs of the consequences of bad conduct during upcoming legislative battles.

    Stewart looks like he would be a suitable recruit to primary Cooper, and later to seek statewide office. (That scenario could open up the same seat for a later run by one of the first-term representatives, who presumably cannot easily pivot in their first term to chasing higher office).

    Stewart's website pulls no punches, and emphasizes that "We need a Constitutional Amendment to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Citizens United decision".

    Stewart's experience looks just right:

    2+ terms in the Tennessee State House;

    after 14 years as a lawyer in Nashville;

    after impressive law studies in Knoxville;

    after 4 years in the Army, including volunteer active duty in Desert Storm;

    The contributions link on his website goes to an inactive page on ActBlue.

    If Stewart establishes an active contributions page, and perhaps engages with Dkos, then an uptick in contributions from Kossacks could help encourage him to take on Cooper.

  •  This came up in the other thread, (7+ / 0-)

    but can someone convince Ashley Judd that, if she's serious about starting a political career, she should run in the district she actually lives in and where her political views re: coal are less likely to be a huge liability?

  •  Jason Powell ran a good campaign (5+ / 0-)

    We talked to his mother on the phone a couple of times. He had her calling about campaign signs, and she was quite persuasive about her son.

    We gotta have someone, but we need some in the TNDP to make these things happen.

    "Its always better to be shot from a cannon than squeezed from a tube" Hunter S. Thompson

    by hooktool on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:15:02 AM PST

  •  I normally have a soft spot for Blue Dogs (5+ / 0-)

    when they come from unfriendly turf, but Cooper has no excuse.

    Is he somehow channelling his old conservative district he represented before he ran for senate? One can only wonder.

    "Unfortunately when the Republican party needs to be a big tent party it seems to me we are doing everything we can to become a pup tent party. " — Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R)

    by lordpet8 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:33:39 AM PST

    •  It seems from the info provided (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slothlax, MichaelNY

      he is NOT from unfriendly turf, so I don't cut him any slack.

      When there were noises that someone might try to primary my congresswoman, I looked at her record to try to figure out how they could position themselves against her. With her voting record, it had to be from the right — no other place (her only non-progressive vote was against a campaign finance transparency bill, something she normally supports. When I called her office to ask why, I learned it was because the bill had a carve-out exclusively for the NRA and she's a bill gun control advocate).

      In a district like ours, where her margin of victory was 100% (she had no Republican challenger and when she did, her margin of victory was merely 70%), that's an insulting place to run from.

      Luckily, the challenge never materialized.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:59:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Respectfully, I rarely have a soft spot for Blue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slothlax, MichaelNY

      Dogs, LOL, but I can tell you from personal experience, that they are mostly what you'll find in TN (running for public office, that is).

      When Harold Ford ran for Senator, he ran slightly to the right of the Republican Governor Bill Haslam (a Republican corporatist, just like Ford was a (DLC) Dem  corporatist).

      I couldn't believe that Ford actually ran ads in which he addressed voters from a church pew (and I attend church, BTW, but have a problem with politicians of any party who "use" religion).  I strongly believe in the separation of Church and State.

      Another commenter worried about a prospective Dem candidate's support of charter schools.  Unfortunately, it's a bit late for that concern.  

      TN won first place in the first round of The Race To The To grants (five hundred and one million dollars), mainly due to the willingness of state bureaucrats to marginalize teachers unions and privatize schools (by supporting school vouchers and establishing charter schools).

      Former D.C. School Chancellor, Michelle Rhee's (former) husband actually took over the top position in the TN Dept of Education (apologize that I cannot remember his name).

      Anyway, I admire (and cheer for) anyone's efforts to bring progressive Democratic candidates to TN.  I believe that it will be a difficult task, but wish you the best of luck.

      How Jim Cooper is repeatedly reelected, beats me.  I have to believe that he's mainly getting by due to 'low information voters,' whose numbers seem to be on the increase.  I say that, because he is quite vocal as to his extreme fiscal conservatism.

      Good luck primarying Cooper!

      Mollie

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:30:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Major Correction to (My) Post: I meant to say (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        Bob Corker, not (R) TN Governor Bill Haslam.  Actually, the two men, Corker and Haslam, are both corporatist Republicans, as opposed to cultural Repubs.  Not sure sometimes which is worse.  :-)

        Corker is now a part of the bipartisan effort trying to draft the framework of a Grand Bargain, based on Bowles-Simpson's recommendations.  The group, headed by Dem Senator Mark Warner (VA), was called the Gang of Six, then the Gang of Eight, and I believe that I heard on XM Radio that 'the Gang' has now expanded to 10 senators!  [But I didn't catch who the two additional Senators are.]

        At any rate. I stand corrected, and apologize for the error.

        Mollie

        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:59:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you, ricraig, for providing Huffman's name. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandy on Signal

        Our politicians are SO transparent (just low-income students--yeah, sure.)  You could be right about a possible ticket.  But, it may just be that Bush showed up because he's "up to his eyebrows in the new private education scam."  I don't have time to locate it now, but I have a picture of him with President Obama touting charters in Miami.  Think ol' Jeb will show up to anything, if it has to do with vouchers or charter schools, LOL!

        Well, you would know better than I, regarding Haslam.  My impression is that he, much like Corker, are very close to the corporatist (DLC) Dems ideologically, really.  Frankly, he seems to be slightly left of Democratic Governor (and DLCer) Phil Bredesen.  I was relieved when he finished his terms--whew!

        We watch a LOT of C-span hearings, etc., around my house.  He'sCorker's always in agreement with Dem leaders such as Chris Van Hollen (MD), Senator Warner, etc., that we need to adopt the Bowles-Simpson proposal as the so-called framework for austerity--their words would be a Grand Bargain.  :-)

        Mollie

        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:02:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  P.S. I objected especially to Bredesen's handling (0+ / 0-)

          of TennCare--slashing the rolls.  But, that's a topic for another day.  Maybe Obamacare will alleviate some of the problems that he created.

          Mollie

          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:05:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Mike Stewart's father is a GREAT man (8+ / 0-)

    John Stewart wasn't just the DNC Communications Director - he was a top aide (and speechwriter) to Hubert Humphrey in the fight to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The official account by Humphrey of the battle to pass the Act was co-written by Stewart.

    I had the pleasure of interviewing the elder Stewart a few years ago for a research paper; he was a joy to speak with and to learn from. If his son is 1/2th the man he father is, he'd be a hundred times better than Cooper.

    "We are the leaders we've been waiting for." - Paul Wellstone

    by MrLiberal on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 12:02:45 PM PST

  •  What about Rep. Sherry Jones? (5+ / 0-)

    I'd like to see a Democratic woman from TN in Congress.

  •  Karl Dean? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    What do we know about the Mayor of Nashville, Karl Dean?

    •  Dean Has a Good Record (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      He's presided over the building of a huge convention center in downtown Nashville. Nashville's economy has probably been the best in the state during the years of the Great Recession.

      Dean worked hard on the flood recovery.

      He's taken some progressive stands on the immigration issue. There are lots and lots of ethnic groups in Nashville, probably the largest is Hispanic. If I recall, Dean spoke out strongly against the efforts of the TN legislature  to make English only the law of the land.

      He was the city attorney before becoming mayor.

      If Dean is not available, there is always the previous mayor, Bill Purcell.

      For the last generation Nashville has had progressive democratic leadership in its mayors.

      "Here comes the landslide" Dick Morris

      by wild hair on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:02:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Parroting Republican Talking Points (0+ / 0-)

    Doesn't get Democrats elected to statewide or national office, as evidenced by Cooper's 21 point lost to (LMAO!) Fred Thompson. So, either Cooper is only calling himself a "Democrat" because he's in a safe Democratic district and knows he can't win as a Republican or he's too fucking stupid to realize that parroting Republican talking points is EXACTLY why he lost and lost by so much in 1994. Either way, TN 5th can do a lot better.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:40:26 PM PST

    •  Cooper runs as a Democrat because it (Nashville) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, Sandy on Signal

      has traditionally been a Democratic district.

      Which brings me to another point--Democratic Party voters do bear some responsibility.

      Why are they content to keep voting for a conservadem?

      Mollie

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:24:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  He probably has GOP friends (0+ / 0-)

    that's my guess for this kind of behavior.

  •  What about Bill Purcell? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wild hair, Sandy on Signal

    He was mayor of Nashville from 1998 to 2007, and served for 12 years in the state house before then.

    The NRA's response to calls for responsible gun law reform: noun, verb, Second Amendment

    by Christian Dem in NC on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:45:43 PM PST

  •  Jeff Yarbro (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal

    Came within an ace of taking out Doug Henry for a state senate seat.
    Here's his 2010 campaign page:
    http://www.yarbro2010.com/

    He spoke in favor of charter schools, but when I asked him about it and sent some information, he said he would be open.

  •  I challenge you--yes YOU! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm so sick of hearing "it's a red district" and people giving up.

    Reading "Deer Hunting with Jesus" about why low income folks vote against their own self-interest" and end up with GOP reps. The author is very honest: Progressives are rlly "elitist" in the sense that they don't listen to the poor or less-well educated.

    Every single donut shop and bar shoudl have a progressive who is willing to buy a cup or a flask and defend our position.

  •  Rep. Mike Turner. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Take a look at him; you may have the wrong Mike.

    •  Two Things I Thought About With Him... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      One, he's been in the lege a long time. Two, he's in Dem leadership there. The reason I cited the four people I did was not because they were inherently better than the other Dems. I just am assuming (perhaps wrongly) that a relatively recently elected legislator would feel less attached to the House than someone who has been there since the 80s or 90s.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:45:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, we have many more high profile democrats (4+ / 0-)

    I live in TN-05. I've settled for Cooper for a while, but have gotten pissed at him several times. (When last I wrote him, about his vote for the patriot act, I got a very lame response.) His vote against Sandy relief really did it for me. I'll still vote for him if his only opponent is an even bigger jerk or asshole than he is, but I would greatly prefer someone else. The folks you mention, I'm afraid, could not carry enough of the county.

    However, we have several important, high profile democrats around here who could be worked on possibly to oppose Cooper, maybe, if done just right. Al Gore is the highest profile, but doesn't seem interested in elective office. Phil Bredesen is clearly next, would easily win if he ran, but, again doesn't seem interested.

    However, former Mayor Bill Purcell apparently has moved back to Nashville, and would be a very good candidate to replace Cooper. Would someone please work on him?

    Also, there is Ashley Judd. She lives in a neighboring county to Nashville, and also, apparently, has a home in the UK. But she is actually being talked about as running for the US senate in KY, where she grew up, but where her political positions, once known to the public, are toxic. If she were to buy a house, or just a condo, in Nashville, my guess is that she could take out Cooper.
    She would certainly have my vote. She has the style, the politics and the celebrity status (Nashville knows about celebrity) to actually do it.

    I sincerely hope that either Purcell of Judd actually can be talked into doing it.

  •  Lilly Ledbetter Act: Yes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson

    Affordable Care Act: Yes
    DREAM Act: Yes
    DADT Repeal: Yes
    Paul Ryan Budget: No

    If you don't like his vote on Sandy Aid, and you can find another Democrat who can win in Tennessee, knock yourself out.  The rest of his voting record seems pretty good to me.

    •  This isn't about winning statewide in TN (4+ / 0-)

      It's about winning a pretty heavily Democratic and relatively liberal district centered on Nashville. And Cooper can go fuck himself. We New Yorkers send more in taxes than we get back in services, and you never ever hear New Yorkers complaining about our tax dollars going for disaster relief in Nashville, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, South Carolina, or any other place that gets hit by a disaster. I will be delighted to send money to any serious primary opponent of this soulless asshole.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:04:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  His district is D+5 (3+ / 0-)

      It's not like we're talking about statewide. We're talking about Nashville, which is way more liberal than its reputation.

      Keeper of the DKE glossary. Priceless: worth a lot; not for sale.

      by SaoMagnifico on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:05:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Nashville is more D than that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, Sandy on Signal

        Davidson County went for Obama by 20 points in 2008 and 18 last fall.  The collar counties are very red-- suburban white-flighters and exurban types-- and drag the overall margin down, but it's solidly Dem.

        "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

        by latts on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:56:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This Isn't 60-39 Romney Statewide TN.... (6+ / 0-)

      This is a district that Obama carried by double digits. Twice.

      Look, unlike a lot of folks, I can appreciate Dems in bad districts having to stray from party orthodoxy. Hell, if we get Jim Matheson's vote even 20% of the time, I'm surprised. Dude is in a district that gave Obama like 9 votes, or something.

      But this is a district that is blue. In that case, there's just no excuse for it.

      "Every one is king when there's no one left to pawn" (BRMC)
      Contributing Editor, Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections

      by Steve Singiser on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:42:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He also voted against the ADA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      And that is unforgivable.

      Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

      by tcorse on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:51:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about a country music celebrity? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    I know some Democrats are snobby and dismissive of celebrity candidates but it works well; Fred Thompson, Reagan, Schwarzenegger. Someone from the music industry could be a good fundraiser for the party and bring in votes from outside the Democratic base.

    •  Respectfully, IMO, celebrity is part of what is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilK

      wrong with politics today.

      Not in every instance, mind you.  I supported Al Franken (a comedic writer, etc.) of Saturday Night Live fame when he ran for Senator in Minnesota.  But Al's also very intelligent and capable.  He scored a perfect score of 800 on the math portion of his "SAT" college entrance exam.  [Link]  

      Franken's a Harvard graduate, too.  Which is not to imply that I believe that one must be an Ivy League graduate to qualify.  If anything, there may be too much of that, and the reason for the disconnect between American politicians and the American People, in so many matters.

      If there's a committed, intelligent, capable and ideologically left celebrity--go for it.  But, to nominate any candidate without the necessary qualifications, just because you think you might win a seat--no thanks.

      Electing our representatives should be a VERY serious matter.  And ideology, policy, character and ability should be the main considerations.

      Mollie

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:45:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not in this town we are not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      However, not sure how many big names live in the district. Old-timers are concentrated in Hendersonville, (northside, Dianne Black's district) whereas in the last couple of decades they've been more on the southside, down in Franklin (Blackburn's district). The rank-and-file types are more in the 05, but celebrities less so.

      Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

      by tcorse on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:59:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about an Act Blue war chest to do oppositional (0+ / 0-)

    research on blue dogs like Cooper, a candidate X fund to look for the screwed pooch, as it were?

    I have thousands of Yen I could toss in for that.

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:17:06 PM PST

  •  i'll bet he doesn't win without the endorsement of (0+ / 0-)

    the state RW radio megastations or at the least their attacks on real dems and progressives that might  try to primary him.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:18:21 PM PST

    •  Just how relevant do you think that is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Englishlefty

      in a pretty heavily Democratic and relatively liberal district?

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:23:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i'll bet his district is bombarded by at least a (0+ / 0-)

        few RW radio stations, including the statewide megastations that usually feature limbaugh and hannity. University of tenn puts their team stickers on 4 limbaugh stations in that state.

        by numbers alone there's very little chance there's a progressive radio alternative for politics in his district, supporting progressive alternatives and criticizing cooper.

        the RW stations get involved in all local politics, as instructed by the state GOP and think tanks.

        they put huge pressure on all politicians, enabling and intimidating, and deciding who is and isn't acceptable as tennessee representatives. even if it's a matter of being a blue dog asshole just to avoid having dittohead teabaggers scream at your staff all day. like many dem reps in this country cooper and his staff will feel it when the local RW stations are  used to push and intimidate him on an issue. and like all dem reps and dem state organizations they have no clue what's being said about them on those stations until it shows up as letters to the editor or in the local news- too late to correct.

        on any major national issue a progressive dem might challenge cooper on, cooper might be the one not getting attacked by those national blowhards and on any local issue cooper might be the one not getting attacked by the local  blowhards.

        i dont know his district or tenn well but the cons have been kicking liberal ass like this for 25 years all over the country, and deciding where the MSM should portray the political center, since they created their monopoly and liberals decided to ignore it.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:02:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd suggest to you that Republicans (0+ / 0-)

          can't "kick liberal ass" very effectively in Cooper's district. Figures on the percentage of votes for President Obama in that district have been posted elsewhere in the thread. His getting slammed by right-wing media, I submit, is irrelevant.

          Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

          by MichaelNY on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:23:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  not irrelevant- lazy, stupid, scared greedyand con (0+ / 0-)

            politicians of both parties in all parts of the country dance to the tune of who and what is louder in their states. and if he ever thought of higher office it wouldn't matter what the music industry and african american dems in his district thought

            One has to wonder if, in Cooper's mind, it's always 1994, and the key to electoral survival is parroting Republican talking points.

            This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

            by certainot on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:06:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  If a credible challenger emerges . . . (0+ / 0-)

    I will be more than happy to throw some money into the hat.

    Cooper isn't the worst of the worst.  I don't even know if I would call him a DINO, as I think that gives the GOP more credit than it deserves these days.  But he is part of the pay-to-play corporate lobbying culture in DC that has perverted politics at the federal level for far too long.  

    He's earned enough chits with the lobbying shops, that he'll undoubtedly stick around the city when he loses his job (or decides to retire from politics).  Better sooner.

    •  In what way is he not the worst of the worst? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaoMagnifico, PhilK

      He votes very callously in a highly Democratic and rather liberal district. I think it's fairest to judge the degree of liberality of a politician vis a vis the partisan and ideological makeup of their district, and not only on some kind of absolute scale.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:24:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I completely agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Englishlefty, MichaelNY

        He beats out Reps. Lynch, Lipinski, and Visclosky among "least valuable Democrats". He doesn't have the excuse of sitting in a red district or even a swing district; it's not like he's at least good on labor or economic issues or something. He's just useless. He's worse than Lieberman, because Lieberman was at least a good vote (a leader, even) on a few issues in the Senate. Rep. Cooper sucks on everything, and it seems like he's gotten worse, not better, since he was shored up in redistricting.

        Keeper of the DKE glossary. Priceless: worth a lot; not for sale.

        by SaoMagnifico on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:42:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  PPP poll Cooper re-elect primary & other offices (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    If PPP polls showed Cooper
    1. vulnerable to a re-election primary in his district, and
    2. having a good shot at another office (perhaps in a redder district or statewide office),

    This would help Dkos encourage Stewart or others to declare a primary challenge,

    and would encourage Cooper to drop his re-election bid in favor of pursuing another office.

  •  re: Harold Love, AME churches have not been (0+ / 0-)

    terribly positive on GLBT issues. He might be better on that that than some of the others mentioned, but a quick wikipedia search doesn't bring up anything pro, con or neutral.

    A homo in a bi-national relationship - at 49, I had to give up my career, leave behind my dying father, my family & friends and move to Europe. And I'm one of the *lucky* ones: Immigration Equality

    by aggieric on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:20:30 AM PST

  •  First raise a honey pot (0+ / 0-)

    If DK readers put together a fund a) they would influence people to get into a primary and b) they would in effect control the choice by awarding the money to their fav.

  •  Female possibilities (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Megan Barry... finished as the top vote-getter in the at-large Metro council race the last two elections. Not sure she's perfect from a progressive perspective: she's not clearly in the left-wing faction of Metro council with, say, Jerry Maynard, Jason Holleman, et al. But I think she would be a safe center-left vote in Congress, quite a bit better than Coop.

    Emily Evans... I suspect she would turn into a female Jim Cooper, if she's even a Democrat. Reps Belle Meade in council, and seems socially liberal/fiscally conservative. No thanks.

    Burkley Allen... probably way too grass-roots/progressive to win a congressional seat, and way too inexperienced as an elected pol, but she's a community organizer from the liberal west side and has a committed volunteer base (and had a decently funded council campaign, but that's less than peanuts in a primary against Coop.

    Any other ideas? I love Jane Eskind, but her days as an elected are long gone.

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