Per the invitation of State Representative Stacey Campfield, I appeared as a call-in guest on Tennessee Confidential on Southern Roots Radio yesterday from 4:00-4:30pm (or thereabouts), Stacey, Diase Dingis, and myself primarily discussed the emerging importance of bloggers and blogging in the media, and we also briefly touched on the County Commission race and my suspended campaign and future plans.
The real fireworks came after I was off the air, however. Our next Governor, Senator Jim Bryson, came on the air by phone and discussed the flaws in the so-called Cover Tennessee plan as well as the status of important legislation in the General Assembly that would allow the Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officials to enforce immigration laws, and how the Democrats are holding up this needed legislation because GOP Representatives and Senators want (for obvious reasons) to use the word "shall" instead of the word "may" in the new law.
I would have been in the studio in person, but Stacey called and asked for me about half an hour before the show was supposed to begin. Nicole is preparing for a horse show next week and was not home at the time, and I needed a ride down to the studio in a hurry if I was going to be there by four, so I offered to call in instead. Next time, I'll try and inform readers as much in advance as I can so you can listen to the show online.
A lot of folks in the Tennessee blogosphere are reacting negatively to this website put out by Ed Bryant's Senate campaign. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about it. I have no problem with negative campaigning, since I think people need to be exposed to both sides of someone's record, and they can judge for themselves what in the negative ads are truthful and what is just campaign crap. I also agree with those who say there is a line you don't cross, because you shouldn't inspire hatred or destroy someone's dignity.
The parody I posted yesterday, for example, was pointing out the flaws in Corker's record and poking fun at his buddy-buddy relationship with the walking Republican Disaster, former Governor Don Sundquist. It was also hilarious.
I would not, however, make fun of Bob Corker's mama, even though the commercials with his mother remind me of a scene in the opening chapter of The Last Hurrah. I would not say Bob Corker is a bad man personally-even though I think he is a terrible example of a Republican and would make a bad Senator, on top of the fact that he is lying to people when he says he is conservative. I think these things about Corker, but he might make for a good fishing partner (since the fish probably wouldn't bite for him but would for me), and I am sure his mama is a nice lady.
I believe Corker is a dangerous man, but not because he is a personally bad guy-Bob Corker is dangerous because his record is awful, his ideas are bad, and his kind of candidate is not what the Republican Party needs. I think Ed Bryant could win the battle of ideas with Corker on that reality alone.
I am still fully in support of Ed Bryant, but I do believe his campaign needs to get their act together-attacking Bob Corker on a juvenile website will not win, and waiting until the last minute to buy ads in East Tennessee will lose the race. Bryant and his people need to make strong moves to recapture the momentum, and they need to do it today.
However, with every word that exits Howard Dean's mouth, he distances himself further and further away from traditional Catholics-once the backbone of the national Democratic Party. It seems our friends in the Party Opposite are content to gain votes by any means necessary, even if that means alienating yet more of Middle America by the day.
Even though I think Dean has made the most convincing talk so far of any Democrat as to why conservative evangelicals (and it is "conservative evangelicals" that he is targeting) should vote for the Other Party, it is still extremely unconvincing. Dean clearly dodges the hard questions and tries to phrase things in such a way as to avoid sounding too much like a flaming liberal. It is almost as if he is now saying "vote for us, we're now Liberal Lite." Rather than saying "we are Liberals, our ideas are better," the Democrats are now content in being Liberal Lite, Liberal Dry, Diet Liberal, Fat Free Liberal, and G-Rated Liberal. This is because if they come out and say how they really feel about the issues that matter to the evangelical community, they will be seen as the liberals they are, and will lose the evangelical vote yet again.
It has always been my intent to levy criticism at public officials of both parties when I feel it is warranted. I say this because the editorial bent of my blog writing is well known, and there are many so-called conservative bloggers who pile heaps of critical venom at Democrats and liberals, but attempt to justify anything and everything that Republicans are doing, even when a policy is questionable. I try very hard to avoid this kind of philosophy in my writing, because I want everyone to know that I hold no double standards in what I believe. There is a time for everything, and this morning is a time to call the President of the United States to account.
Today’s edition ofUSA Todayreveals that someone in the administration either deceived the President, or the President deceived the American people about the nature of theNational Security Agency’s domestic spying program. We were told by both the President, as well as by the NSA that the phone surveillance the NSA has been utilizing applied only to those making outbound calls overseas. Today we learn that this is not only false, but that the NSA has access to thephone records of millions of Americans(nearly all of us) without a warrant, and with no real proof of just cause. The government is not just spying on terrorists; it is spying on you and me.
Were the political situation in our country reversed, and a Democrat occupied the White House, Republicans would be doing more than crying bloody murder-we would be saying that the man or woman at the top was nothing more than an authoritarian tyrant. I would fully expect that in that situation, our Party should behave in such a fashion. Does anyone wonder why it is that the administration has lost the confidence of so many conservatives? For years, so many of us railed against the Clinton abuses of power, and the abuses of power of the federal government in general. Images ofWacoflashed in our minds, and I remember one of the favorite nicknames for the then-Attorney General in some conservative radio circles was “Janet Nero.” I thought it was justly deserved. Yet some of us will justify it when our government spies domestically on millions of innocent Americans without a warrant, in direct violation of the Constitution, merely because the political party we favor is the present party of power. I will not justify this-it is a gross abuse of power on a scale so vast that it would make the old Soviet leadership proud.
Some folks have bought into the bill of goods that we are “at war,” and so this sort of abuse is somehow justified. Convince me our country is on a wartime footing, and maybe you’ll convince me that there is some justification for an otherwise tyrannical act. We are being told we are at war, but the very soldiers in the field fighting that war can’t even get the equipment they so desperately need to be as safe as it is possible for them to be. Many of them have their families on public assistance because we do not pay them enough, and many more will not be given the quality of health care they earned by defending our country because VA funding was cut. Apparently, we can spend like gangbusters on every other federal program known to man (simply look at the growth of federal spending) but we can’t spend enough on our fighting men and women. We are supposed to be “at war,” and we are closing bases, cutting back on troop levels, and failing to provide adequate equipment. If this is war, I’d hate to see our level of readiness during peacetime.
The “at war” defense doesn’t work because the government has yet to act as though we really are at war. If it did so, our Armed Forces would get the pay and equipment they need, our military bases would stay open en masse, and our recruitment goals and troop levels would dramatically increase. That is not happening. War is being used as an excuse for this kind of abuse because war is the health of the state-war can be used to justify anything.
When the President took office, he swore an oath:
I (George Walker Bush) do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States [so help me God].
This is hardly defending the Constitution, Mr. President, and after the abuses of the Clinton era, this is hardly what many of us who supported you were desiring or expecting.
If the Republicans lose the November election badly (and I truly hope and pray that we do not) it will not be because Americans have decided in large numbers that they agree with the Democratic platform. If we lose it will be because we as a party have abandoned the principles that we collectively promised the American people that we believed in and would uphold: Limited government, limited spending, and a return to Constitutional soundness. Most “Joe Sixpack” voters don’t realize that the grassroots of our Party still believe in these things and we are fighting for them, all they see are the people on television.
It might do well for many of us to remember the farewell words of another Republican President,Dwight David Eisenhower:
As we peer into society's future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
We are spending our grandchildren into oblivion, but more than that, we are squandering their “political and spiritual heritage,” a far worse sin.
There is great hope for America and for the GOP, but only if we as a Party re-embrace the conservative values that we campaigned on, and don’t just proclaim them in an election year, don’t just throw them as a political bone to the conservative wing of the Party; live the values and practice them, so that the American people have a real choice. Abandoning the Constitution when it is convenient to do so isn’t just wrong morally, as we can see it is political suicide for our Party, because our own base doesn’t trust us anymore. It is time to show that we are worthy of that trust again.
Beginning today, I am changing the posting policy here at the World to prohibit anonymous commenting.
As everyone has figured out by now, I welcome people to post their comments here whether they agree with me or not. It isn't my intent to limit free speech. However, the number of people who insist on posting anonymously rather than identifying who they are (and Blogger allows you, under the previous settings here, to identify yourself by name even without a Blogger account) has become excessive, and I strongly feel that posters are abusing the anonymous feature.
Folks, you need to stand behind what you say. Even if you just use an online name-if you believe in what you say, you need to stand up for it and stand behind it. If you can't do that, it shall be the policy here that you can't post.
Beginning today, you'll need to register with Blogger to comment. Since some of my best commenters from both sides of the political spectrum have blogger accounts, that shouldn't be a problem. If you want to comment, simply register so you can join the debate in a civilized way.
For those of you who are anonymously commenting about why I would "attack" other Republicans and even accusing me of being "jealous of wealth," I want to direct your attention to this morning's post by Terry Frank. As Terry points out so ably, many of these so-called "Republicans" supporting Mr. Corker are the same so-called "Republicans" who put a lot of money and behind- the-scenes influence into electing our Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen.
Brian Hornback also points out the hypocrisy of the Bredesens in their claims about TennCare and what they do with our tax dollars, and how they rewrite history to fit their political agenda. So-called "Republicans" actually support this man.
Bob Corker, who a commenter apparently thinks is a good Republican, voted in two Democrat Primaries while serving in the Sundquist administration, and when Mayor of Chattanooga, he didn't just take campaign money from Democrats, he gave campaign money to Democrats.
Oh yes, I am such a bad Republican! I do not want my money ultimately going to a candidate who supports Democrats. I am such a terrible Republican!
Blogging for Bryant has a new poll up today that says Hilleary is beating Ed Bryant, who is beating out Bob Corker-the race, however, is very tight. Considering that one of the sponsors of the poll is the Nashville City Paper, I can't help but wonder if this is one of those "polls of convenience" designed to derail a candidate's momentum, namely Ed Bryant's.
I will say this: It is now officially as good a time as any for Ed Bryant to begin an East Tennessee ad blitz.
Yesterday when I saw it, I remember saying to my wife "I wish I had a camera." I am sorry, dear readers, that I did not, but the next time Nicole and I are out together and I see what I saw yesterday evening, I'll do my best to remember some sort of camera so that I can take a picture of it and make sure it is posted here.
The phenomenon Terry Frank blogged about yesterday, namely seeing large Bob Corker for U.S. Senate signs outside Pilot stations in East Tennessee, I have now seen evidence of with my own eyes. On two occasions I saw large Corker signs outside Pilot locations, one was on Clinton Highway not far from my place. The Pilot on Merchant's that (if Haslam had bothered to order the laying of sidewalks-something that we don't have done in spite of city taxes) would be within walking distance does not have one yet, but somehow I reckon it will soon enough.
You know, when Nicole and I lived away from Knoxville, we knew that someday when we were finished with our education and the other affairs of the (relatively) young and newly married, we'd settle in Knoxville/Knox County, or the surrounding area, and we'd begin a business and a family together. We always tried to buy gas and other travelling sundries at Pilot because we believed we were at least supporting a Knoxville business and the East Tennessee economy. Pilot got a lot of business from us because we travelled a lot (we still do).
No more will we be buying gas or taking care of our travel needs at Pilot. In addition to an apparent pricing "fix" (the company has yet to explain to my satisfaction how it is that the price can be $2.65 at one Pilot, $2.75 at another just down the street, $2.69 at yet another, when all the Pilot gas supplies in Knoxville come from the same place), the Haslams are using Pilot oil money to prop up the Corker campaign, and openly promoting Corker at Pilot stations. I will not have my money assisting Bob Corker in being elected, or rather buying the election.
Terry Frank is beginning an expose today on Bob Corker and the people who are backing him. I have come to truly love Terry's writing because she epitomizes what being a true conservative is all about. Terry isn't what I call a "conservative of convenience" or a "Wall Street Republican." Terry is a Republican because she is a conservative (as opposed to the other way around) , and she is a conservative because she has real morals and values and maintaining those values in the public square matters to her.
I should point out that what she says about certain people (e.g. the Haslam family and their friends) believing that they run the GOP in East Tennessee is true, and Corker's run is undoubtedly a test for the Haslam clan to see if they can sell a liberal to to the people of East Tennessee (and the entire state) as a conservative. If we are collectively that stupid, they reason, that we would all support Corker in a Primary as a conservative, they can sell Billy Boy Haslam to us as a conservative also.
There is no reason to believe that an utterly incompetent mayor of the third largest city in the State who-as I have pointed out here- doesn't even know how to provide basic urban services-can turn around and be an effective Governor for all Tennesseans. The Haslams and their allies in the City-County building think that those of us in the conservative grassroots of the GOP can be controlled like peons with their oil money. I am here to tell them that we have minds of our own and we shall not be moved.
Even now, these sorts are attempting to get their lackey Corker the Republican nomination so that they can control the State Party. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you thought Don Sundquist was bad, the nightmare of Governor Bill Haslam would utterly destroy the Tennessee Republican Party.
The forces of this "establishment" are pouring all their efforts into defeating true conservatives like State Reprepresenative Stacey Campfield in the August State Primary so that they can fill the legislature with their friends. We must all vow not to let that happen.
I am not discouraged, however. The soldiers of the Army of the Lord will yet win the battle. We must first control our Party before we can begin to dream larger about fully controlling the State and the Nation. The Senate Primary is one test, it is true (an Ed Bryant victory would put the Haslams' undergarments in a tightwad), but to truly control the Party, real conservatives must seek leadership positions within the Party. Run for Central Committee/Executive Committee seats, become active in the local and state Party, become Precinct Chairs/Captains. We must take control from the very bottom up.
True conservatives will eventually win the fight for control of the Republican Party in East Tennessee-the only question is how long that will take.
It has become a little weekend custom here at the World to do something on the weekends that is a break from what we normally do around here. In that tradition, I'm giving my loyal readers a little Sunday Cash with a 1963 circulation date.
A conservative journal of social, cultural, and ecclesiatical affairs grounded in a realistic Catholic Christian worldview. It is my hope that this site will be a reflection of Christ,the teachings of His Holy Church, and of the basic vision of a Christian social morality.