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.