Here’s the transcript of my conversation today with Governor Bredesen of Tennessee. Many interesting exchanges, but here’s one on the key fact of the Democratic race:
HH: If Senator Obama maintains his delegate lead and his popular vote lead, and we don’t get revotes in Michigan and Florida, it seems increasingly unlikely, do you see the party denying its first African-American nominee the laurels under those circumstances?
PB: Well, I guess, you know, it’s hard to talk about the party, because what all the party is, you know, is 4,000 or plus or minus delegates. I think that he would have an enormous moral claim on it. But this thing is getting so divided now, and of course, there’s still a lot of water to go over the dam on these things. We’ve seen some significant issues come up in the last couple of weeks, and so on. So I don’t know quite what will happen after these primaries are over. But I think that if he really is well ahead, and nothing has changed, and a bunch of people get in the back room and deny him the nomination, I think we would have a real problem that would take a long time to fix. I have to agree with that.
He was also candid about the lingering impact of the Jeremiah Wright controversy:
HH: Has the Jeremiah Wright controversy passed, in your opinion?
PB: I think it has passed in the short term. I think it has left, however, a lasting impression. I honestly do believe, and I would say that to him, I do believe that it’s an issue and it’s a problem for him. And I think we will see it reappear many times in September and October.
Read the whole thing. Governor Bredesen was engaging, informed, candid, responsive to the questions asked, and made sense on nuclear power and climate change.
The GOP had better hope that this kind of Democrat doesn’t spread. Even his willingness to go on talk radio and engage in the conversation is refreshing:
PB: It’s great. I appreciate the invitation.
HH: Well, this alarms me. You know, if Democrats who are smart start showing up on talk radio, we’re going to lose one of our last refuges in the media.
PB: Well, we’re trying to, you know, invade slowly around here at the edges until we get enough numbers to just really overwhelm.