Mumpower communication report #1
As I reported here yesterday, it seems that both Tennessee House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower and I are trying to get in touch with each other. Two days ago, Mumpower called my cell phone twice to try and reach me there (as it would happen, State Representative Stacey Campfield gave Mumpower my cell number). Mumpower calling me at my cell phone is normally a fine thing, but the one fact that I am sure he is unaware of is that White Pine, which is where I make my home, is in a reception "hole."
By "hole," it should be understood that this does not mean that I can't take calls anywhere in town. Quite the contrary is true, in fact, there are many places in town where my phone will pick up just fine. Unfortunately for both Mumpower and myself, my house is not one of these places. The Norfolk and Southern Railroad runs right through my backyard, and the tracks and radio communication from the trains interferes with a good cell phone signal.
Realizing that the Leader had twice attempted to contact me Thursday, I then tried his number twice yesterday (in his second message, he was kind enough to leave what I assume is his home telephone number). I was not able to reach him directly, so I left two messages and made sure to include both my home and cell numbers, and did the same in an e-mail I sent him the other day.
I called his number again this morning, but could not reach him. I will make another attempt this evening.
Labels: Tennessee politics
Phone tag with the Mumpower
Kudos to Jason Mumpower-he's been trying to get ahold of me, and now I am trying to get ahold of Mumpower-we seem to be crossing like ships in the night (I am sorry Jason).
I've been told via a somewhat knowledgeable third party that Rep. Mumpower does not have the time to give a thorough written response to my questions. Considering that the General Assembly convenes on Tuesday, I can certainly understand that. However, he does appear to want to give an answer or a response to the questions that I posed. He certainly isn't ignoring them-and I am told that he has seen them and has no objection to them-good!
Two possible scenarios will take place here: If he is free around nine o-clock tomorrow morning, I am going to try and rig up a three-way call so he can be a guest on my podcast. However, if not, I am told he is amenable to a brief phone call. If the latter becomes the only option, I will give as accurate a summation as I can here.
Labels: Tennessee politics
Oatney On the Air-Wilder and Mumpower
Today's radio show deals with the survival of Lt. Governor John Wilder and the crisis of succession of power created by the refusal of some (one in particular) to replace him.
I also note that I have begun what I hope will be a fruitful correspondence with Tennessee House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower.
Oatney On the Air-January 5th 2006
Labels: Radio show
The Mumpower questions
Tennessee House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower has some friends, supporters, or associates who apparently like to post to my blog anonymously. It has gotten to the point where I think it is in the best interest of our readers that this person or these people identify themselves in some fashion. As regulars may know, I forbade anonymous commenting for a time, largely because people were abusing the privilege, often claiming to be someone important when there was no way to prove that they were who they claimed. I re-instituted it during the election campaign to allow a broader range of commenters, and in the interest of freedom of speech and press.
The latest anonymous post got my dander up at first, but then I decided to use the commenter's challenge as a bit of an opportunity. The commenter wrote:
If you have questions, shouldn't you call Rep. Mumpower? Of course, but then you wouldn't have something to gripe about. To be honest, I'd love nothing more than to have a pull-no punches interview with Jason Mumpower himself.
I suppose we could do that over the phone, and I would have no objection to that. I will say that it would be somewhat difficult for me to interview Rep. Mumpower accurately over the phone...not because I do not want to do so, but because it is difficult for me to take timely and accurate notes and hold the phone at the same time (I write slowly as it is). I really don't believe in censorship and I have been critical of Mumpower's ascension to the Leadership here, so I want Jason Mumpower to be heard.
Today I will write up a series of questions and e-mail these questions to Leader Mumpower. I propose that as he reads each question, he types as thorough and honest a response to each one as he can. Every word that he writes will be published here-word for word and with no editing except for grammar (though I doubt that will be needed). I should point out that contrary to what some commenters to The World might think, I am not Jason Mumpower's enemy. I am a conservative Republican, and in his time as leader, I am liable to be the friendliest press coverage he is going to get. This is a wonderful opportunity for him to reach out both to supporters of his former opponent as well as to the conservative blogging community.
If he answers my e-mail and the questions, I will publish them on the first weekday after they are received.
Labels: Tennessee politics
Me, Boehner, and the poli-sci Priest
Today's podcast deals with the opening of the 110th Congress. In a pleasant surprise, an old college buddy of mine, Bill Schulke, joins the conversation via chatroom and I relay some of his thoughts to listeners. An unexpected turn to the discussion is the fact that House Minority Leader John Boehner and I share a mutual friendship with Father John Putka, SM, Professor of Political Science at the University of Dayton.
As Charles Mountel (another pal from my college days) can tell you, Boehner is one of the Mighty Men of Mo', having graduated from Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati in 1968. Before teaching at UD, Father Putka taught at Moeller.
Oatney On the Air-January 4, 2007
Labels: Congress, Holy Mother Church, Radio show
The federal thieves convene
That merry band of thieves that will henceforth be known as the 110th Congress is gaveling into session as I write this. Members have brought their wives, children, and other family members in toe-the freshmen no doubt wanting their kin to witness their rite of passage from hometown boy or girl to an agent of federal fraud, lying, and theft. At this very second, I am watching the House vote for Speaker, and in a few minutes we will see if Heath Shuler keeps the promise he made to his constituents of North Carolina's 11th District: He promised during his campaign for the House that he would not vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House.
Lincoln Davis (D-Tennessee 4th) votes Pelosi-that may not seem surprising but considering the conservative reputation he has tried to build with Tennessee voters over the years, it is-at least somewhat. With rumors that he may seek the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2010 abounding, you would think he would try and protect his hide and abstain from the vote for Speaker.
Poor John Boehner-I feel badly for the man because this couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I've met him a couple of times and I have long believed (ironically enough) that he would make a great Speaker of the House long before the whole Mark Foley mess broke open. I remember telling Stacey Campfield that I wanted to see John Boehner elected Speaker of the House one day. I think it is a shame that he must hold the bag for Dennis Hastert's negligence as Speaker. At least I can still hold out some fleeting hope that Boehner will one day hold the gavel-though I doubt this will happen.
Heath Shuler has voted...how fitting that he begins his first day as a member of the U.S. House by confirming his first lie to his constituents.
Huddleston's blog entry on Shuler and the Asheville Citizen-Times article on the controversy.
Wilder and Saban
Today's podcast deals first with the controversy surrounding the Lt. Governor's race in Tennessee and why John Wilder should step aside.
I also discuss Alabama's surprise hiring of Nick Saban as the Crimson Tide's new head coach earlier today.
Oatney On the Air-January 3, 2006
Labels: Radio show
Like the respected Grandfather...
Prospective Tennessee State Senate candidate Mike Faulk had a tremendous entry on his blog the other day on the situation in the Tennessee Senate as it relates to the possibility of Senate Speaker and Lt. Governor John Wilder remaining in office for yet another term. Many folks may say that all the Republicans are interested in is a Republican Lieutenant Governor in Tennessee, but at this point it is well beyond partisanship, it is now to the point where we must be concerned about the well-being of the State.
When the Governor has to convene committees to look in to the line of succession, that is a real problem. Tennessee has a perfectly legitimate means of transferring power if a Governor is unable to perform the duties of his office, and it is a means that should work in any normal situation. The Speaker of the Senate is Lt. Governor also, and if something happens to the Governor, he or she takes the helm. The problem is not that we have had the same Speaker of the Senate since 1971, the problem lies in the reality that he no longer appears able to carry on his duties as Speaker effectively, let alone assume power in case something should happen to the Governor.
We now know that even Democrats are concerned, or else Senator Joe Haynes would not be challenging Wilder himself, but with Wilder, Haynes, and Republican Majority Leader Ron Ramsey all in the running (and turncoat Mike Williams reportedly unwilling to vote for a Republican besides himself), the rules of the Senate say that the winner of the Speaker's race must have 17 votes. If no man does, the previous Speaker remains in office, and thus remains Lieutenant Governor. That means if Williams cannot be persuaded to do what is right for the State and give Ron Ramsey his 17th vote, Wilder will remain in office no matter how many votes Haynes gets, because he will almost certainly vote for himself.
Some folks may think that many of us in the GOP are only looking at the power implications of this. Yes, I believe the Republicans have the majority in the Tennessee Senate and should be allowed to exercise that majority. Beyond that, however, we must look to the well-being of Tennessee, and putting someone of questionable cognitive abilities a heartbeat away from the Governor's mansion is not good for Tennessee.
My feelings are not bourne out of disrespect for Lt. Governor Wilder. John Wilder is presently the longest serving head of a democratic legislative body in the world. I have never met Wilder, but everything I have heard about him from those who have indicates to me that he is a good, decent, and very genuine human being. He has served Tennessee with distinction as our Lieutenant Governor and Senate Speaker for 35 years. I may not always agree with his voting record, but he has often bridged the partisan gap, it is true-and he is a Democrat of the old Southern mold in many ways. I respect men like Wilder of either party who have served their State and their country with the kind of dedication Wilder has done.
Faulk, however, is right. John Wilder is much like your aging father or grandfather who needs to give up the car keys. Car keys represent independence for many older people. For John Wilder, being Senate Speaker has been his whole life for 35 years. I understand Wilder's dilemma more than most. I have lived my entire life with a disability, and the older I get, the more strength I lose. Thirty years old seems young to some people, but at thirty I already have two arthritic knees and almost constant back pain. Yet, I have every desire to run for office. I hope to be in public service for a long time if that is the will of God. I'd love to be like John C. Calhoun and have to be wheeled off the floor of the State House/Senate in a wheelchair for the last time. Like John Wilder, it would be my desire to serve until one day people showed up and I just wasn't there anymore. I would serve until I dropped dead if the people allowed me to. That would be my desire-I understand John, I really do.
Sometimes what we want is not what is best for us or those around us. Sometimes we must be realistic about what we are capable of, and what we can still do. Such is the case for John Wilder, he is in the valley of decision. Senator Wilder, thank you for your love for Tennessee and for your years of service-please do what is best for Tennessee's future and let a new person have that gavel.
Labels: Tennessee politics
Ford, Mumpower, and football
Today's radio podcast discusses three issues:
1. The State Funeral of former President Gerald Ford. I discuss the irony that there is little whining from the left over the use of federal funds to praise and thank God for President Ford's life in the way that was done today.
2. I deal directly with the notion that some people have put in their heads that I have "something personal" against new Tennessee House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower.
3. Boise State's argument for a college football playoff in the Fiesta Bowl last night. How I would organize a playoff if there were to be one, and why there will not be one any time in the near future.
Oatney On the Air-January 2, 2007
Labels: Tennessee politics
Trust me, its not personal
A number of people have asked me, both publicly here on this weblog, as well as privately via e-mail, phone call, or other means of communication, if I have anything against new Tennessee House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower. They ask this because not only was The World supportive of his opponent Bill Dunn, but this blog has questioned his reasons for running as well as his means of victory. After the vote was decided, we have continued this line of thought and questioning, and there are a few folks out there who think this is merely meant as a personal attack on Mumpower.
Let me state uncategorically that in no way are the reports of this blog intended as a personal attack on Representative Mumpower. If he or his agents or supporters hold to this belief falsely, then I am truly sorry, but they are sorely mistaken. Representative Mumpower has said that his goal is a Republican Majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives, and this is a goal that I share with him and we in the conservative blogging community would like to work with him to achieve that goal.
The questions raised here are legitimate, and are made even more so by the fact that I have not been alone in my belief that a challenge to Bill Dunn's leadership was completely unwarranted. When you hear comments from people both inside and outside the legislature about a Leader such as "rock solid," "he really takes it to the Democrats," "he is an incredibly successful fundraiser," and then that Leader loses no seats in a terrible year for Republicans, that isn't an indication of a need to remove someone. Pardon us for being miffed, because under the circumstances, the whole thing looks like nothing more than a naked grab for power.
Mumpower's supporters aren't helping their man's cause either. Anonymous supporters of Mumpower's posted comments here while the Caucus would have still been voting-comments that indicated that they knew what the end result would be. At the same time, I normally get five to seven visits (not hits, unique site visits) from State servers per day. On the day of the Leadership vote, I received over thirty unique visits from State servers. Don't get me wrong, the traffic is great and all, and thanks for visiting-but it does seem a bit shady, almost as if the Mumpower people were scouring the blogs in an effort to do some damage control before the results were announced because they knew the blogosphere on the right was supporting Bill Dunn. I have no way to know if that was happening, but it does seem odd-and that is putting it mildly.
If Jason Mumpower wants to win my confidence, I can be won over. He has to prove to me (and I suspect, to not a few other grassroots conservative folks) that his running for Leader was more than just a power grab. I want to believe in you, Jason-I need a reason.
Labels: Tennessee politics
Oatney On the Air-The era of the blog
Last night's New Year's Eve radio podcast was a special treat for me. What was intended to be a short, holiday abreviated podcast (largely because I was feeling a bit under the weather) lasted over an hour and a half when Adam Graham decided to do me a huge favor and join the show.Adam and I had been scheduled for a joint New Year's Eve "Year In Review" program, but I was so tired last night that I was unable to make the showtime at 11pm Eastern. As I mentioned early in this show, I doubted my ability to be alert at that late hour. I did make it to midnight, but my intuitions were correct-I wasn't really all there and I drifted off to sleep shortly after the "witching hour."I could not have asked for a better New Year's Eve radio program. For those of you not familiar with Adam or his work, he is a Republican Precinct Captain all the way out in Boise, Idaho, and he is a fellow blogger (along with me) at the newsblog Where I Stand, something we discuss briefly on the show. His regular daily weblog can be found in my sidebar, and I urge everyone to check it out-Adam is now one of the most widely read political bloggers from the West. The topic of our discussion when Adam made the spur-of-the-moment decision to come on my show was the evolution of the political blogosphere and its impact in 2006. We also discuss the expected expansion of the influence of bloggers and blogging on politics, and how we are already seeing the influence of bloggers incease greatly at the State and local level. Oatney On the Air-December 31, 2006
Labels: Radio show
A thank you for the New Year
On the last day of the year, many people stop to take stock of the previous year and to commit to changing a few things about their life in the coming year. They make a "resolution" or a promise of something, or sometimes a series of things, that they believe they ought to do differently in the new year. To be brutally honest, most of the things that I would change about my own life are well beyond my control. Most of what I believe needs to be reformed about the nature of my daily life depends as much on others as it does on myself. That does not mean that I blame my problems on others, quite the contrary, in fact. I am merely realistic enough to acknowledge that there are some things that are beyond my control. One thing that has not been out of my control is the quality of my writing. I am deeply greatful for every person who takes the time to read my writing every day, and especially for those who have bothered to let me know through correspondence, a phone call, or a chance meeting how much what I am saying in print via the web every day means to you. Thank you for the words of encouragement and support, like "keep it up," "thank you," "we appreciate what you are doing," and "you are doing a great service." One person has told me that I am quite unaware of the impact that my words have had. I do not know how true that is, but I find the thought humbling by itself. I can think of many bloggers whose work is far better than mine-I am glad that some folks would place me in the same league with those whose abilities I admire far more than my own. I didn't start blogging with the intent of gaining lauds for myself. My reason for blogging has been and continues to be that I enjoy politics, I have a view of the way things ought to be, and I think the medium of the internet is a great means to express your views, and get news and information out for the purpose of grassroots organization. That so many of you simply enjoy reading what I have to say every day is something that I am both proud of and honored by-I appreciate all of you more than you will ever know. Blogging has opened the door for me to be more involved politically largely because some of you have asked me to become more active politically. I pray each day for God's blessings on all of you. I resolve to continue to write for you for as long as God grants me the time and the ability to do it.
A "State of the World" moment
Yesterday's radio show had been intended to be a holiday-shortened news discussion, primarily centered around the death of Saddam Hussein. The discussion quickly evolved into a "State of the World" discussion when Jeremy, a fellow Talkshoe network host, calls in. The show becomes one of the most unique and enjoyable podcasts that I have done so far.
Oatney On the Air-December 30th, 2006
Labels: Radio show