McGraw for Governor?How dire is the situation for the Democratic Party in Tennessee? With each passing day, the Democrats seem to be dropping the hint in a more and more serious way that they intend to run country music legend Tim McGraw for Governor in 2010-or at least that McGraw is seriously listening to the entreaties of State Democrats and is toying with the idea himself.
Yes, McGraw is no Bill Frist and the arguments against his candidacy that can be made by Republicans are deep and wide, including the reality that he has never so much as run for Alderman, while there are those in the political arena who work every day within both parties and whose contributions to Tennessee are never recognized. Nonetheless, Republicans certainly can't fault Democrats for using celebrity to boost name recognition and launch someone's political career, we have done it with some success (see Reagan, Ronald).
As Kleinheider reminded us today, Tennessee Republicans even made the attempt in 1948 to elect a very big Tennessee celebrity to the Governor's mansion.
Roy Acuff was roundly shellacked in the General Election of 1948, and he also battled against the tide of the Harry Truman upset nationally that year. Some historians believe that if the Democratic Primary had gone differently, and a Crump-supported candidate had won, the King of Country Music might have had a much better shot at victory.
Tim McGraw is very beatable, but he cannot and should not be discounted as a serious candidate. There are few Tennesseans who do not know who he is, so his campaign would not have to spend lots of money on name recognition. Republicans also need to be extremely careful not to belittle McGraw's present career, because that would almost certainly backfire. Instead, the GOP needs to force Tim McGraw to get specific about his plans for Tennessee, and tell us just what his philosophy of government happens to be.