Too much intrigue

Roy Herron - Chairman, TNDP
Roy Herron – Chairman, TNDP
Once upon a time, not too long ago, I resolved to stop writing about the inner workings of the TNDP.

With few exceptions, most folks don’t care that much outside of Nashville, and quite frankly, the party hasn’t done much to give them a reason to.

It’s been just a few weeks since Jackson Day, which I attended. It seemed like a successful, albeit smaller affair than past Jackson Days. But I didn’t leave feeling that lift I’ve felt in the past. Maybe I’ve just become jaded, or maybe it was something else.

But this isn’t about Jackson Day. We’ll know in due time just how successful it was (Oct. 20th). This is about boring stuff…or at least, stuff that should be boring. Things that really only matter to a scant few people…so if you’re not one of those people, take this time to educate yourself about the awkward turtle.

If you managed to stick around, this is loosely about this article published at Pith regarding the state of the TNDP and Roy Herron’s Chairmanship and the response that followed.


In the first article, we find out that a panel has been convened to explore why so many people are quitting their job with the party.


I commented on the departures briefly in a post last week, regarding Chairman Herron’s response to an unambiguously offensive tweet by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey on the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

I know enough Executive Committee members that I was aware of some of the departures…though not all of them (Mary Patterson and Jerry Maynard, for instance, who, according to the article above, resigned from the Finance Committee…and who I don’t know).

But people come and go, and the reasons, we may or may not ever know. That a member thought it might be a good idea to do this is interesting…especially since there hasn’t been much turnover in recent years.

Whether there is any fire with the smoke the departures seems to have stirred, and if there is, what comes of these exit interviews is up to the EC…which means it will most likely disappear before the Nov. 2 meeting.


Since the 2009 election of Chip Forrester as chair, the party has been embroiled in more intrigue than is healthy for any organization.

Part of this is due to various and sundry factions within the party that didn’t see the slow losses that started in the early 2000’s snowballing (I call it willful blindness), part of it is ideological, and part of it is just good ole personal squabbling.

I admit falling into the trap of some of this good ole personal squabbling back in the days before the state’s lefty blogosphere scattered to the winds. But I didn’t know the players at the time (personally) and my interest is, and always has been building something with some semblance of permanence.

I am an ideologue. I see the difference between the positions of Republicans and Democrats as clearly defined on most issues. Many people do not. For that matter, many Democrats do not.

The losses Democrats in the state have suffered are frustrating to me, but I’ve resolved that the only way to change it is through a long and difficult process that, as of yet, has not begun in earnest outside of a few small pockets of the state.

This building process is hampered by the intrigue. It divides us…making allies enemies for reasons that don’t make a whole lot of sense when looked at rationally.

It also calls into question the motivations of those who stirred the pot, seeking to add through subtraction. I’ve resolved that I’ll never understand the worldview held by those who believe in a zero sum game. So I just don’t engage them anymore.

Now, over four years since the intrigue began, it continues, like a habit that is hard to break.

Do I have questions and concerns about what’s happening with the party? Absolutely. But because I am not a member of the EC, and because the EC doesn’t seem to realize that they elect the chair and because of that, the chair is accountable to them…the duly elected members of the party, I don’t see much chance of anything other than what has been happening…happening.

Shit or get off the pot

At this point, it would seem appropriate to make a call to arms…to ask those in a position to do something…to do something.

That’s never worked in the past, and I have no reason to believe it will work now.

It takes 37 votes to get something done on the executive committee. I’d be surprised if there were 37 people on this executive committee that can agree on anything. Like Roy or not, he’s who you elected. If you don’t like what he’s doing, its your job to redirect him.

We’re just over a year from the election. Fundraising is low, and messaging is disjointed. Organization, in the wake of the departures seems non-existent. Through these challenges, we’re paying our chair nearly $30,000 more a year than his Republican counterpart according to FEC filings.

That’s pretty dumb, regardless of whom the Chair is.

Maybe the EC can find some consensus there. Until that consensus emerges, you can expect more intrigue, and more time left wandering in the forrest of Tennessee’s political landscape.

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