Last night Nicole and I attended a reception for State Representative Stacey Campfield. The guests were what I would consider a kind of "who's who" among East Tennessee's "true conservative" movement.
Councilman Steve Hall-late of the Knox County Mayor's race-was present and I got more details about the attempted assassination. I think it says quite a lot about Steve's humility that what really amounted to an attempt to scare him was not something he wanted to publicize, even though it could have greatly benefited his campaign.
Terry Frank was there and was among the first to greet me. Terry impresses me greatly, not only because she is a lady of great class but because she is truly committed to a more conservative, Christian society that will better those who work hard and contribute to it. We need more people like Terry in the Republican Party apparatus, and even moreso in the halls of government.
Mark Saroff came by, and sat with me for a few minutes. We discussed his flop in the County Commission race and he confessed that he did not campaign because he spent all of his spare time campaigning for Steve Hall. "I'd like to really run next time," he said, and let me know that he intended to make a run in the future.
Anderson County Republican Chairman David Massingill introduced himself to me and recognized me enough to ask if I was myself. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when he said "I read your blog every day," and he complimented me on what I do here. The number of folks who had good things to say about this undertaking really took me aback. I knew people were reading, but I really had no idea that so many folks who I would consider activists and actors in our conservative movement in East Tennessee appreciate this weblog. It really humbles me that so many of you have come to see this site as a home of reliable conservative thought. When I started this thing, I really thought it would be a hangout for a few "radicals of the right." I am both glad and heartened that it has become more than that-thank you, all of you who read, you make doing this well worth doing.
There was one critical person missing from the reception, and that was the host himself. Stacey was still in Nashville and the legislature was still in session, set to adjourn today. I don't know, but I find it awfully funny that the House would be held over by the Chair on the first night members are allowed to hold fundraisers. I find it strange because this is a year that Tennessee Republicans may be set to buck the national trend, and many of their opponents have a built-in fundraising advantage.
I'm sure we'll see Stacey and others soon on the campaign trail.
John J. Miller at National Review has released his take on the 50 Greatest conservative-themed rock songs of all time. For the most part, I agree with his list, but I would add a few of my favorites also.
I would include Where the Streets Have No Name by U2, as well as In God's Country, also by U2.
One of my favorites that is rarely mentioned is Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall, a fabulous (if libertarian) take on the corruption and indoctrination of the public education system. "We don't need no education-we don't need your thought control..."
(Hat Tip: Volunteer Voter)
Labels: Conservatism, Music
Three cheers for Lamar
I have to send a serious hurrah out to my soon-to-be-Senior Senator Lamar Alexander for actually listening to his constituents today. According to Alexander's own account, literally thousands of Tennesseans have called his office urging him to vote against the terrible Senate version of the immigration reform legislation.Lamar actually listened to the people who elected him. He was on Knoxville station WVLZ this morning while in the hallway during the Senate vote. Senator Alexander voted NO. In his own words:
Alexander also said that he thought the Senate bill had been revised so that it went "a long way" toward those goals compared with earlier versions of the legislation, but that it was simply not good enough for him.This mentality can be contrasted with that of Bill Frist, who seems to think he can vote in favor of legislation that the overwhelming majority of his constituents will think is terrible and we will all forget this in two years when he runs for President. I can't speak for others, but if Bill Frist is on the ballot in the Tennessee Primary in 2008, he won't be getting my vote.
"This bill does not go far enough. It does not secure our borders. If I thought it did that, I would vote for it, but it does not."
(Also at Where I Stand)
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee)
Actually listened when angry constituents called his office.
The battle for the party
Listening to the morning show on The Voice this morning, I heard Lloyd Dougherty make a point about politics and money in Tennessee that I think is worthy of serious consideration:"This State is conservative, but the money that Republican candidates need to get elected is moderate or liberal money."He was alluding to the fact that even among conservative candidates, it is hard to find one whose hands are clean of the the "country club" crowd. These people, he was pointing out, are not conservatives. Many of them have an "R" next to their name because their Daddy was a Republican, and his Daddy was before him-that's why they are Republican. They aren't ideological conservatives, and their goal is power for the Party at whatever cost. Ideology or beliefs don't really matter to these folks as long as candidate X or Y does not step on their toes. Often, when we hear Democrats and liberals complain that the GOP is the "party of the rich," they assume that it is made up entirely of these sorts of people. Dougherty and his guest recounted stories of Young Americans for Freedom, of working on the Reagan campaigns in 1976 and 1980, and how they were often treated by the local Party establishment-who contemptuously referred to conservative Reagan supporters as "those Reagan people."In 1980 they quit laughing. By 1984 they were all on the bandwagon, claiming to have supported Reagan all along.What people outside the GOP fail to understand is that there is a constant battle inside the Party at the local and national level between real conservative people and these establishment sorts. Often, the battle for control of the Party is more fierce than a General Election campaign. Some well-intentioned Republicans fail to understand why-thinking conservatives "aren't good Republicans," jealous of wealth", you name it. The reason is because one side is interested only in maintaining power, the other is genuinely interested in making America a better and a freer place. The battle for the Party is often a look at the battle for America in microcasm.
The Post's big black eye-and my own
When I am wrong about something here at the World, I do my best to correct it, and I (and a whole lot of other bloggers) got called. Last Saturday I wrote a piece about events happening in Iran that was based on a story in the normally reliable National Post. I've been reading the Post for years because, as someone with an interest in Canadian politics, I've always found the Post to be more reliable than its two counterparts that take an unabashedly leftist editorial line, the Ottawa Citizen and the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Well, the National Post ran a story about the situation in Iran that it turns out is completely false. Based on that story, I wrote a piece here denouncing Iran. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned the Iranian Parliament-justly so-such legislation is contemptible and worthy of world-wide rebuke. I would expect responsible leaders to take a stand against such a thing.
I blame the Post for not researching the story further. It appears to have been based on a column by a member of the Iranian resistance with an axe to grind. That doesn't mean Iran is suddenly a great place for Christians and Jews, and I wouldn't put something like this beneath the mullahs, but we can't make major international decisions based on falsehood-we've already seen the fruits of that in Iraq.
I wrote the piece I did because I've watched Iran for years and I long considered Iran to be a far greater threat than Iraq. When you see things like this from a normally reliable source you tend to think there is credibility to it. There appears to have been not a shred.
For my own part, I am sorry that I ran a piece that appears to have been based on totally false information-that goes against my standards for this site and my standard of personal ethics and morality. Had I known from the beginning that there was no truth to any of it, I would have never written the piece. As for the Post, I am not certain whether I can view them as reliable again for a very long time.
(Crossposted from Where I Stand.)
I've REALLY made some changes
It has come to my attention that those of you who only use Internet Explorer cannot see a number of decorative changes to the sidebar I have made in the last few days. Among other things, I have added the State flag to my sidebar, and it will stay there permenantly.
I have also added a number of election year "buttons" that will be in place through November at various places along the sidebar. I want to take the time to give credit to GOP Shoppe because the HTML for these buttons is originally theirs. Each of the buttons I've put along the sidebar is a button I also own the "hard" version of. If anyone is interested in a hard copy of these buttons, there is a link to GOP Shoppe in the sidebar under my Where I Stand Newsblog.
Now, those of you still unenlightened enough to use the vastly inferior Internet Explorer for a web browser are all saying "Oatney, I can't see any of this!" Well, I don't know for the life of me why you can't, because I have verified the HTML for everything and it is all there-but sure enough, you can't see it on IE because IE is evil.
That's why the World is best viewed using a real web browser-Mozilla Firefox. Download Firefox today for maximum blogging enjoyment of this blog and your own!
Corker the Coward
Well, its official folks, Bob Corker is a coward. Ed Bryant proposed to both Van Hilleary and Bob Corker that they participate in what Bryant is calling "Truth Forums." These forums will really function as debates, of course, which means that the candidates will have to lay out their positions on the topic at hand and be forced to answer questions about their record.
Whatever my opinion of Van Hilleary as a candidate in the Primary, he has shown us that he is a real man-he accepted Ed Bryant's invitation to be part of the debate series.
So that means Bob Corker will also be joining in on these important discussions with his intra-party rivals about issues and record that he might defend himself since he is the target of so much bile, right?
Corker's campaign says no way. Yesterday Corker refused to participate with the other Republican candidates.
"We're not going to be a part of what Ed Bryant has laid out and instead are going to continue to participate in serious media-sponsored events."
Apparently, Bob Coward doesn't think a town hall-style forum moderated by a promenent Nashville talk show host qualifies as a "serious media-sponsored event." Does that mean Bob doesn't think that if all three GOP Primary candidates are there, a moderator is there, and a crowd is there that television cameras and radio microphones won't also be there?
Oh, I forgot, the cameras and microphones will be there-so will the people. Corker will be forced to answer for himself, and we will all hear him answer for his record because Hilleary, Bryant, and the crowd will all want to know. "Hey Bob" would become the mantra of these events.
Corker's refusal to be a man comes on the heels of a new Survey USA poll that gives Corker a double-digit lead. Normally, I would find this troubling, but not this time. Why? Because Survey USA did a poll on May 17th that didn't even consider Bob Corker worth a mention, now Corker is in the lead?
For those who don't know, Survey USA is the service WBIR uses and it is an automated polling service that calls numbers at random. Unlike Gallup or Zogby, that have people call your home, Survey USA is totally automated. This new poll comes out a week after every polling service showed Hilleary in the lead by double digits, and two weeks after two polling services showed Ed Bryant in the lead, and Corker losing badly in a distant third.
This poll comes out at just the right time, don't you think, on the very day Corker refuses to participate in public forums with the other candidates-how convenient.
I know it has made the rounds of the blogosphere by now, but I can't help but say that the "combative argument" between Van Hilleary and Bob Corker at the Shelby County Tennessee Republican Homecoming event is worth some serious consideration. What do you do when two men so obviously dislike each other, but cannot have a duel?
Now, I agree with Bryant and Hilleary both about how Corker is, at the very least, telling half-truths about his time in Chattanooga. I want to encourage Van and Corker to please continue these public spectacles, however. As Alex at Forward With Ford points out (in one of the few points where I agree with him) this does nothing but help Ed Bryant.
I have a great idea: We'll have celebrity boxing matches between Corker and Hilleary in the three major cities in each of the three Grand Divisions. We'll get Michael Buffer to be ring announcer.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the undisputed Grand Old Party presents twelve rounds of boxing for your entertainment. From the Knoxville Civic Colisseum-LLLLLEEETS GET READY TO RRRRUMBLLLLLLLLLLLEEE!!!"
"In the red corner, he was Sunquist's Director of Finance and Administration and the biggest tax hiker in the State-fighting out of Chattanooga-Bob 'Conservative Principles, Positive Results' Corker!"
"In the blue corner, he was a U.S. Congressman for the Fourth District and almost beat Phil Bredesen. Fighting out of Murphreesboro-Van 'Remember Me' Hilleary!"
All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Ed Bryant for Senate campaign.
(Hat tip: Rob Huddleston.)
"Schoolbus" Ray Nagin was re-elected as mayor of New Orleans Saturday, despite his inordinate failure to evacuate people and despite the fact that his opponent, Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu picked up endorsements from many promenant African-American leaders, including the pastor of New Orleans' largest black church.
Mayor Nagin had hundreds of schoolbusses at his disposal to evacuate the poor and the indigent of the city, but Mayor Nagin elected not to use them. He later attempted to say that he couldn't do so without schoolboard permission. Nagin had, however, declared a State of Emergency before the storm hit-and under Louisiana law (and the laws of nearly every State) Nagin could use the powers he had under the State of Emergency to commandeer the busses for the city's use. Aside from that, does Nagin really expect anyone with a mind of their own to believe the school board would have cared considering the circumstances?
Amtrak also offered trains to evacuate many thousands of people, but Ray Nagin refused the offer that could have saved thousands of lives and spared his city even greater catastrophe. Instead, Ray Nagin sends residents who can't get out of New Orleans to the Superdome. In addition to many of these folks being impoverished and black, there were also many people with disabilities there of all colors. Many of those folks didn't come out alive.
Yet Nagin won re-election in a squeaker, partly because he used race as an issue, attempting to scare black voters into believing that Mitch Landrieu's sudden legitimate challenge was a white plot to regain power. New Orleans has not had a white mayor since 1978, when Mitch's father Moon Landrieu left the Mayor's office. Mitch Landrieu pointed out (rightly so) that he sought and got a great deal of black support in this race, and that this wasn't an issue of race to him-New Orleans is his home, and he wanted to help. (It bears noting that Mitch Landrieu was endorsed by the Louisiana Republican Party in the runoff.)
When you have a candidate of one race pointing at a candidate of another race and saying "this person's candidacy is really a racial plot,"(which Nagin did not say directly, but certainly implied on several occasions, including the infamous "chocolate city" speech) then we haven't come very far in the South on the issue of race-or perhaps we've made a circular turn. What would happen if the roles were reversed? What if Nagin had been white and Landrieu black, and Nagin made the same implications? Nagin would be justly branded a bigot of the first order.
To be fair to Ray Nagin, the Landrieu family isn't exactly known for political cleanliness, and were I a New Orleans voter, I am sure I would not have voted for either Nagin or Landrieu in the Primary. What's more, Landrieu is the Lieutenant to a Governor who is as much at fault as Nagin, although how much of a role Landrieu could have played in decision-making, I am not entirely certain. Perhaps people in New Orleans thought that it was better the devil they knew than another Landrieu? After all, Mary Landrieu isn't exactly the world's greatest Senator. Ray Nagin had better count his blessings-whether he (or we) likes it or not, New Orleans will be a very different city four years from now.
Nicole competed in her first horse show of the 2006 season at the Riverdale Saddle Club in Southeast Knox County yesterday. She was entered in four classes aboard Earlmont Coup d'Etat, the granddaughter of Wing Commander, one of the greatest Saddlebred showhorses of all time.
Earlmont Coup d'Etat (we just call her "Baby") lived up to her pedigree, finishing first in one class, second in two classes, and third in one. Last year she blew away the field at Riverdale, making first in every class she entered but one. The competition last year, however, was not as good as the crop seems to be this time around. The horses and riders I saw last night were ready and well-trained and there were a few in there I had never seen before-most looked very fine and the judging was tight.
Nicole and "Baby" will be at Riverdale again next month.