While I'm on the Tennessee kick, I noticed that Governor Bredesen is on the cover of the current New Republic. I signed up for the free trial to read the article about him--nothing terribly interesting/revealing. But, I was surprised to see how much space was given to a possible Presidential run, which seems very unlikely to me. His response is the typical "don't-look-at-me" Southern persona that is required for success here, even if you're really from New York, like he is:
The people who have the opportunities are the ones who put their heads down and do the best job they can at the job at hand, and that produces the kinds of opportunities that people who put their heads up don’t have.As for dealing with the "values" issue that so many Democrats fear invalidates the Party here in the South, Bredesen's response:
I’m perfectly capable of keeping [cultural conservatives]somewhat at bay. I tell people, ‘If you want to go do that, fine. If you think your playing a game is going to elect you or elect the next president out of Tennessee, you’re welcome to try and do that. Now, when you’re finished messing around with that, let’s sit down and talk about what we’ve got to do about the state of education.’ I think I’ll just keep doing that, and that we’ll be successful.”In the end, he can pull it off--proving that strict down-the-line values conformity is not required--because his personality has the right mix of aw-shucks humility and accomplishment/practical competence. You don't need those things to be elected as a Republican here. But you do need them to win as a Democrat.