Thursday, December 15, 2005

Culture of corruption in Nashville and beyond

The political corruption and graft which infests Tennessee politics continues, day by day, to amaze me. First there was Tennessee Waltz, the FBI sting which uncovered a trail of filth and bribery which we are now learning went down even to certain county offices in some places. I should point out here that Democrats weren’t the only ones involved in the Waltz, there were some Republicans as well, most notably State Representative Chris Newton of Cleveland. What the Waltz points to, however, is a culture of corruption that envelops the General Assembly, and the Democrats are the primary excuse-makers.

(State Representative Stacy Campfield chronicled the day they came to arrest the crooks on his blog.)

Now we hear that members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol were promoted based on the campaign contributions they gave to Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen.

Now a member of the family at the root of the Filth on the Hill wants to be our next United States Senator, replacing the retiring Bill Frist. Oh please…make me laugh.

To be fair to Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., there is no proof to my knowledge that he was in any way involved in the Waltz (although if anyone knows differently, please feel free to post it here and we’ll run with the story), but my late Grandfather, who I not only consider a personal role model, but also a political mentor, used to repeat the oft-quoted old-time saying that an “apple falls not far from the tree.” In the case of Harold Ford, that raises a legitimate question as to whether he personally can be trusted considering the kind of things others in his family have been involved in.

There is also the person of the departing Frist, who in my personal opinion can’t be gone from the Senate soon enough. The day Frist sold us out on embryonic stem-cell “research,” Nicole can attest that I became physically ill. There was always something about Frist that filled me with a certain unease from the day he became Majority Leader. Perhaps this feeling of unease can best be described by paraphrasing former British Conservative Leader William Hague [on Gordon Brown] by saying that I felt Frist had “something of the night about him.” Maybe it is because I thought Trent Lott got the shaft to begin with. Sure, Frist is better than a Democrat…that’s about all. If we end up replacing Frist with Ford, we will likely have gone from bad to awful.

Sour is any political climate that gives us such rotten choices. The only way to make it better is to begin at the State level. The legislature simply has to go Republican. Republican state legislatures are known to be notoriously conservative, and if the legislature reflects are real-bottom-up conservative agenda, eventually, that is going to filter up to the kind of people Tennesseans send to Washington.


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