Cooper reacts to talk of primary challenge

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:01pm

A progressive political action committee made Congressman Jim Cooper its No. 1 target for defeat in the 2010 elections as punishment for opposing liberals on health care reform, but Cooper vowed not to be swayed by threats.

“You know, some of these people just want publicity,” Cooper said. “My job isn’t to give them free publicity. They should generate their own publicity. I’m trying to solve the health care problem in America, and they are free to do whatever they want to do."

The director of the Accountability Now PAC—a creation of MoveOn, the liberal blog Firedoglake and others—parachuted into Nashville last week to try to recruit a candidate to run against the congressman from the left in next year’s Democratic primary.

"Jim Cooper's really the No. 1 target we have in the country right now," declared Ben Tribbett, the PAC’s director, during an appearance on Liberadio(!) Monday morning.

Cooper, a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, has outraged liberals by opposing their versions of a public health plan to compete against private insurance. Writing on the Salon website last week, another founder of Accountability Now, Glenn Greenwald, assailed Cooper as “seemingly devoted to serving the large corporate interests that fill his [campaign] coffers.”

Asked to respond, Cooper told the City Paper, “I don’t have to respond to them if they don’t live here. I respond to my constituents. I respond to people who live here.”

“This shows they don’t know me,” he said. “I’m a nerd. What I respond to is substance [not political threats]. I’m probably too boring for them to fool with.”

In his Salon column, Greenwald went so far as to claim Accountability Now has found “several highly promising, vibrant and credible potential challengers.” He said the PAC “expects to have an announcement soon” about who will challenger Cooper.

But prominent Nashville Democrats contacted by the City Paper said Cooper would be almost impossible to defeat and unanimously predicted no credible candidate would emerge.

“I think it’s all thunder and noise,” Metro Council member Jason Holleman said.

7 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 9/29/09 at 2:04

He might be hard to beat by someone left of him but his right side is exposed.

This guy has voted for every spending package barry came up with.

Never had any straight answers when you called him to see where he stood.

He was always "considering or studying it" then he jumped through nancys hoop.

By: willtw on 9/29/09 at 7:07

glad you said it idgaf....he won't communicate even with other Tennesseans near his district, I have tried! Marsha Blackburn is our Representative but I tried calling his hand on the flip flop and I got the standard message, "Constituents..." He will win again because MoveOn is a joke and people today are very alert to what they do and what they represent. Raised a Democrat but voting the GOP, after 2004, my whole family votes independent, anotherwords for the man/woman! Reid and Pelosi have a grip on their fellow Dems that needs to be broken...Cooper needs to cast aside both parties. The other six reps, while mainly GOP at least vote their district preferences...Too bad Lincoln Davis cannot be cloned! On the opposite page, examine Alexander and his voting record...he voted for the tripe before he voted against it! Tennesseans are pretty savvy people....

By: MetalMan on 9/29/09 at 8:09

idgaf, you are right on target. The voters on both sides or the isle are getting a little tired of Milquetoast Cooper. You couldn't hold a gun to his head and get a straight answer!

By: TN4th on 9/29/09 at 8:35

Personally, I'd like to see every blue dog challenged! The people should have a chance to hear a vigorous presentation of the progressive perspective. As it stands, you get to choose between a right wing democrat and a further right wing republican. Some choice. As a consequence, Tennesseans never really get to hear an alternative point of view. It's like we are sealed up in an echo chamber.

By: SRJ on 9/29/09 at 9:46

While I do not always agree with Congressman Cooper, on every issue. I find him to be a man of immense integrity. I believe that he makes a sincere effort to represent his all of his constituents. I believe that a challenge by the extreme left, will not acheive the disired effect. We do not need to replace a loyal centrist Democrat with an extreme right-wing party hack. I believe that a challenge from the extreme left will result in advances for the right. Sad but true.

By: pswindle on 9/29/09 at 10:20

We are lucky to have Rep Cooper, he is a fine, honest man, and he will do what is right. He always does. Other districts cannot say that about their representatives.

By: TharonChandler on 9/30/09 at 1:57

By: TharonChandler on 9/30/09 at 11:28
Adoption? A very worthy issue, no doubt.

Though I have Never been ‘prejudiced’ about ‘gay couples’ living in common liberty (and have even accepted a severe ‘gay bashing’ without seeking reprisal), I would ask Rep Gordon what he thinks about ‘adoption by Gay couples’? In California they seem to be selectively ’stealing children’, and I’ve heard that some dyke doctors are ’stealing penuses’ to be used like a ‘Frankenstien’ on one of their female patients wanting rather to have been born with one. This is not a laughing matter, and I wish there were a better discriptive word than “Dyke”, though they deem that lesbian is not enough for them.

I, as a man and a candidate, am Against Adoption by Gay couples; homosexual men and lebians (even while my own name sounds Gay and i won’t change it for the GOP). I have signed petitions against it [adoption among gays] and would vote against such anywhere in the USA. Peace