Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Keep your eye on the ball

Bob Corker,despite sacking most of his campaign staff leadership over the last few days, nevertheless remains neck-and-neck with Harod Ford in their race to replace Bill Frist in the U.S. Senate. Democrats predicting impending doom for the Corker campaign may want to keep the champagne on ice a bit longer.

What us political-junkie types and blog one-percenters seem to forget sometimes is that the average voter pays little attention to the insider jockeying that is a part of any campaign. Most people watching a football game follow the man carrying the ball and seldom notice the linemen doing the blocking.

Republican leadership in Tennessee is agitated, though - by this time, they figured Corker would be pulling away with the race. But Ford has proven to be a smooth campaigner thus far, while Corker sometimes looks like he's got a bit too much starch in his shorts. Ford has also gotten mileage out of the finding that Corker's construction firm used undocumented Mexican labor at a Memphis work site. Also, Corker has yet to fully reconcile with the hard right of the Tennessee Republican Party - his primary opponents, Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary remain cool towards him, and Tennessee Right To Life refused Corker their endorsement, choosing to remain neutral in the race.

Harold Ford is not my ideal Democrat - he spouts the same unrealistic "get tough on illegal aliens" talk as Corker; Nashville is in no danger of becoming Nuevo Laredo any time soon. And Ford even has commercials running this week saying he favors a federal balanced budget amendment, for Christ's sake. But Ford seems to have done a good job of gauging a Tennessee electorate that prefers its politicians neither too far left or too far right, and if Ford's supporters keep their eye on the ball instead of making too much of Corker's campaign staff troubles, this is one Senate seat that Democrats will likely flip over to their column next month.