Tin-Foil Hat Time: Are the Democrats Throwing the Governor's Race?

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Everyone I know who knows Mike McWherter finds him to be a thoughtful, engaging person who is deeply concerned about the future of the state of Tennessee. So one wonders why his campaign seems determined to treat him like Sloth from The Goonies, keeping him locked away from the public eye while his dad goes out and collects on old political debts to ensure that the right people say vaguely nice things about Mike.

Pith wonders if we should send a rescue party or some kind of hostage negotiation team to free Mike from a bunch of folks who seem more intent on securing their own legacies than winning the race.

Take the most recent dispatch from the TNDP. This is a press release about Gov. Phil Bredesen endorsing McWherter. As usual, it starts with Chip Forrester having some sort of thought or feeling about some Republicans. In this case, Forrester thinks they are "flawed" and in "big trouble." Okay, fine, we all have come to accept that every TNDP press release is going to focus at least some on Forrester's feelings.

But then, in a press release about a lame-duck governor endorsing the Democratic gubernatorial candidate — a candidate, moreover, who's recognizable mostly for his name and not much more — the sitting governor merits two paragraphs devoted to how great he and his many accomplishments are.

McWherter's greatness and qualifications get exactly 20 words.

That's all the TNDP can muster for the Democratic candidate — "Mike McWherter's success as a small-business owner and his experience at creating jobs will resonate with voters in November."

Um, if that's all you've got? No it won't.

So here's my conspiracy theory. I don't believe the Democrats are this stupid. (Oh, god, I know. Go ahead and laugh. I told you it was a conspiracy theory.)

I think they know that, no matter who's in charge, things are going to be bad in Tennessee for the next couple of years. Unemployment will remain high. Revenues will remain low. People will continue to suffer.

So why not give the state to the Republicans for a few years? Let them be the ones in charge through the really bad times, so that people associate really bad times with Republican rule. Let Haslam, Ramsey or Wamp play Herbert Hoover on the Cumberland.

And in the interest of killing two birds with one stone, why not run the son of the most influential old guy around — but half-ass his campaign as much as they can without the old man noticing? Thus the old man is appeased and can be moved quietly off into the sunset, while the son is neutralized politically because he lost his big race.

Then they just have to wait around to swoop in and be heroes in four years.

That's why I think they're hell-bent on not putting up a fight. Genius!

Of course, one wonders how this strategy will play with voters. Then again, if anyone in the state Democratic party were really capable of this kind of Sith-level puppet mastery, we wouldn't be having this discussion, would we?

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