Sunday, March 10, 2013
by Dee Newman
The 2010 midterms elections gave Tennessee Republicans the control of the state's House and Senate, the governorship, and seven of Tennessee’s nine U.S. Congressional seats, making 2011 the first year in the state's history when the GOP would control redistricting.
A year ago in January 2012 the Republican controlled Tennessee General Assembly finally unveiled and passed their long-awaited congressional redistricting proposal. They removed several moderately blue counties on the east end of Tennessee’s old 8th District, shifting it further to the right. In doing so, it made Tennessee’s 7th District represented by Marsha Blackburn somewhat less red, but still a safe Republican seat, secured with the heavily populated rich GOP suburbs of Williamson County.
For me the change was both good and bad. Good, because Jim Cooper became my Congressman, someone who at least on occasion will represent my interests. Bad, because I can no longer vote against Marsha Blackburn, someone who never represented my interests or that of the vast majority of Tennesseans.
“Congressman” Blackburn (as she perfers to be called) is an extremely fiscal and social conservative who has acted on behalf of her rich and powerful constituents extremely well, while at the same time ably hoodwinking the majority of her less wealthy constituents into believing she embodies and represents their interests.
Congressman Blackburn has always appeared to me to be intellectual stunted, if not dim-witted. She often makes comments that are both factually inaccurate and ironically absurd. For example: In her most recent criticism of President Obama, she tried to ridicule the President’s call for a $9 minimum wage during his State of Union Address by saying that as a teenager in Mississippi, she was glad to have a job at $2.15 an hour.
Either Congressman Blackburn is intellectually slow or she believes her constituents are. When she was a teenager in the late 1960s the $2.15 an hour she made back then (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) would be equivalent to an hourly wage in today’s dollars between $12.72 and $14.18. At the time minimum wage was $1.60 an hour, equivalent to $10.56 in today’s dollars, over $3.00 more than today’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
As a teenager Congressman Blackburn entered the workforce making nearly double the wage she now says is sufficient for millions of adult Americans. Her disdain for the vast majority of her constituents is clear. She obviously believes they are naïve and easily deceived. Apparently, she’s right. They keep voting for her.