Outgoing Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen says the state Democratic Party grew “fat and happy” during its century-long era of dominance in state politics. Now a strong Republican party has taken control of most of the state, and Bredesen says that will help Democrats sharpen a message, instead of just clinging to power.
Bredesen says the Democratic party needs a coherent message. He says Republicans enjoyed success a decade ago because they had a clear vision, and whether you agreed with it or not, you could say what it was:
“You were for lower taxes, you were for some strong family and religious values, you were for an aggressive approach to our position in the world and defense in the world. I’ve just used 25 words maybe to describe that; I challenge you to tell me what our party stands for in 25 words.”
Bredesen says voters will flock to someone who can spell that agenda out understandably. And he says that’s ultimately more important than how much money a party raises or how many volunteers it recruits.
Bredesen said he wouldn’t talk about a matter concerning State Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber and former Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr.
The two share in a solar venture Bredesen is funding in “the low six-figures” called Silicon Ranch. Kisber and Farr discussed the business earlier this fall with representatives of the Corrections Corporation of America, which does millions of dollars of work with the state prison system.
Asked whether the two had crossed any lines by meeting with CCA, Bredesen answered “I’m not discussing that.”