by Jeff Woods
"I don't spend all day with my door closed reading the blogs," Forrester tells Pith before more or less conceding that these blog commenters are a real pain in the ass.
The blogs are not widely read (not that anyone's counting). But some obsessive political insiders are glued to the almost constant online debate over whether Forrester should go or stay or whether anyone should care. Unfortunately for Forrester, those insiders include members of the party's governing executive committee. Some of them have told Pith they probably wouldn't know much of anything about the party's travails if not for the blogs and their comment sections. The mainstream media aren't covering this much. But the blogs are amplifying every little thing.
The anonymous commenters are so bent on taking down Forrester that some observers have started to suspect that they're actually Republican trolls. Lately, they've spread certain gossipy tidbits so successfully that Forrester has been forced to deny them. According to this chatter, he's been striding around the party headquarters like a crazy man loudly vowing to find candidates to run in party primaries against certain of Tennessee's Democratic congressmen. In the process, he's supposedly managed to piss off the party's volunteer workers, and he's spending most of his time brooding in his office with the door closed.
Forrester felt compelled to phone one congressional office to knock down these rumors. (He won't say which office, but we think it was Jim Cooper's.)
"There is no effort on my part or anybody's part to find primary candidates against any member of Congress," Forester tells Pith. "Jim Cooper is my dear friend and he is serving this congressional district ably. At first it was just Jim Cooper, then somebody said I was looking for candidates to run against all of them. The last thing the chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party is doing is any effort to find a primary candidate for any of these people. I made a call to one person and said I just wanted to make sure they understand that's patently untrue. It's absurd. It's totally false."
As long as we had Forrester on the phone, we asked him a couple of questions.
Q: Do you think Democrats will stop hating on you now that your treasurer Bill Freeman has quit?
Forrester: I thought the governor's quote was very powerful when he indicated there were problems with Bill Freeman. Well, Bill Freeman is gone. 2010 is incredibly important to Democrats. If the governor feels Bill Freeman was an impediment to helping the party, with that impediment gone, perhaps we can begin to move together instead of apart.
Q: If this continues, will you resign for the good of the party like Freeman said he was doing?
Forrester: As long as we're making progress here on the front of building the tools for the 2010 election cycle, helping the House and Senate Democratic caucus with their task for recruiting candidates and training those candidates, as long as we're making a difference there, then we'll continue forward.
Q: So you're not quitting?