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The Bredesen Situation

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Former Democratic Tennessee Gov. Philip Bredesen speaks with the press as members of the CEO Fiscal Leadership Council of the Campaign to Fix the Debt enter Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers on Nov. 28, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg

Like most of you, I was pretty disappointed that Phil Bredesen decided to come out for no reason and say he would have voted for Brett Kavanaugh. This is an unforced error that infuriates the base without really getting him any votes. Now, I’m in no way saying that I expect Bredesen to be leading the charge against Kavanaugh. He has to win in a very conservative state. And it might help him with a few voters that national Democrats are mad at him. But the smarter play here is to say that he would need to look at the FBI report to know or whatever. This is when you equivocate. But whatever. He’s was not actually voting on Kavanaugh, so it’s not really that important. What we do about Manchin is more complicated. He’s actually a genuinely awful guy. Remember that it was Manchin threatening to quit the Senate that undermined the Democrats’ attempt to shut down the government over immigration. But given the limitations of our political system, we are kind of stuck with people like this. And compared to who they are running against, I can’t really get this kind of sentiment at all:

I realize that MoveOn is not that relevant anymore, but Martha Blackburn may in fact be Satan. Let’s not forget that she was one of the first members of Congress to get on the birther train, for instance.

Stopping this horrible human being from getting into the Senate, which is at least a legitimate possibility, needs to be a top priority. Again, I can see why you are mad at Bredesen. But it’s not a choice between Bredesen and Steve Cohen or some other great progressive. It’s Bredesen or Blackburn. And that’s such an obvious choice. I just wish people on the left paid more attention to the structural reality of specific elections.

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