Monday, October 12, 2009

Sen. Henry needs to avoid getting Kurita-ed

By A.C. Kleinheider, The City Paper, Sunday, October 11, 2009

[Excerpt] The Democratic primary electorate has changed since Henry was first elected. Not only have old Yellow Dog Dems died off leaving young progressives in their place, some Democrats who might have voted for him in past elections may not be there for him in 2009. Not because they don't want him as their senator but because they are no longer Democrats. If a "Democrat" votes for John McCain, Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander long enough, they cease thinking of themselves as a Democrats — and they stop voting in primaries. (link)


Dear Senator Henry,

You are one of my favorite Democrats and I have voted for you time and time again. This year however, if you have a liberal challenger in the Democratic primary, I may not be able to help you. I keep hearing rumors that this year the Republican Party may actually have a primary. If they do, I will be voting in the Republican primary. Since we do not have party registration in Tennessee, I often vote in the Democratic primary as do many Republicans. Since we have forever been a one-party town, if one wants to vote for Sheriff or Juvenile Court Clerk or County Court Clerk, they vote in the Democratic primary, because in essence that is the election. That is changing. The Republican Party is starting to emerge at the local level, so you may no longer be able to count on your Republican friends to keep getting you elected.

Many young progressives find you an embarrassment. I remember a few years ago, when the State Senate was debating a bill to make spousal rape a crime, you said something to the effect, "I thought rape was when an unscrupulous man took advantage of a virtuous women." That may not be exactly what was said, but it was something like that. When I type it, it doesn't have the same impact as when hearing you say it in your patrician southern draw. You took some heat for that; I found it charming.

I know some will say you are out of touch. They will say you are as old as dirt. They will say you are a throwback to the "old south." They will say you are a dinosaur or an old fossil. I don't care. I like you. I like your respect for tradition, your fiscal conservatism and your integrity and your courtly manner. I even like your rumbled seersucker white suits. You are still sharp as a tack. You know state government inside and out and I would like to see you elected one more time.

I know at your age, it will be hard to abandon the Democratic Party and become a Republican, but Senator Henry, you are ideologically more Republican than Democrat. You would not be leaving the Party; the Party left you a long time ago. If you will switch parties, I will campaign within the party to help you gain party support. I know you have never had to raise much money to get elected. If you switch parties I will donate $100 to your campaign and put a "Reelect Henry" yard sign in my yard. I might even take a day off from work and work the polls for you.

Senator Henry, there are many people like me who really like you and want to continue to support you. Come on over. Change labels. I think you will be welcome.


Rod Williams

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