Why Lead Isn't Better in the 18th DistrictLike clockwork, it seems, a dedicated cadre of liberals, Republicans-in-Name-Only, Mike Ragsdale arse-kissers, and members of the West Knoxville Guilt Trip Club-as in "we feel guilty because we actually have money"- have come together to form strange political bedfellows in an attempt to oust State Representative Stacey Campfield. The last time these strange bedfellows got together they served up two opponents (one primary and one for the General Election), and all told managed to outspend Campfield five-to-one. The end result was that Stacey Campfield received 74% of the vote in the primary, and defeated his Democratic opponent by almost 12 points.
Now the same bedfellows are at it again, this time they've rounded up Ron Leadbetter to oppose Stacey. A well-known name among certain circles at UT, that's for sure, but the arguments sound like a broken record...
"Campfield hasn't passed any bills."
Republicans who are truly conservative and who stand by their principles at the Capitol will not get bills passed. Frank Niceley didn't get any of his bills passed either, yet we don't hear any complaints about that reality from his constituents. They know full well that unless you are willing to sell out and pay homage to Lord Naifeh, you can't expect to get bills passed-but you can serve a far more useful purpose: You can help block bad bills thrust upon you by a wasteful, inept, spoiled, entrenched Democratic majority. You can do this by using the bully pulpit of the Legislature to call the Democrats out, and no one does this more effectively than Stacey Campfield. In an age when so many people are cynical about public service because they believe politicians will sell their principles out for perks and their souls for re-election, Stacey Campfield stands on his principles and will not waver-he gives hope to those who believe in doing what is right no matter the political cost. What about his opponent? Mr. Leadbetter has resorted to taking support from sell-out Republicans who support Jimmy Naifeh who tell people who ask questions about their record to shut up. Further, there are now serious questions being raised about whether Ron Leadbetter can be counted on to fully defend our Second Amendment rights the way that Stacey Campfield has done. What's more, we don't even know if Leadbetter will defend the rights of the unborn the way that Campfield has done. Does Mr. Leadbetter even have the intestinal fortitude to fight for the things that are truly right-the way Stacey Campfield has already demonstrated that he is willing to do? We just don't know for sure, do we?
The purpose of being in the Legislature is not, in and of itself, to pass bills. Perhaps during a person's time there they may pass many bills, or they may pass none at all. Their primary purpose-if they mean to uphold the oath they swore-is to defend your rights. The purpose of a truly good legislator is not to pass more and more laws and expand the power of the state, but to defend his or her constituents from the overarching hand of excessive government power by whatever legal and parliamentary means he or she may have at their disposal. If passing bills can accomplish this goal, that is well and fine. More often than not, the goal of defending the rights of the people is advanced by blocking legislation and obstructing it, not by passing it.
Apparently, Ron Leadbetter does not subscribe to this point of view. He seems to adopt the liberal view of the Democratic Party that it is a matter of constituent service to pass bills ad in finitem. If you do not pass bills, this philosophy says, you are not serving the interests of your constituents.
This is how we know that Ron Leadbetter is less than a true conservative, for his view of public service is not the conservative view. This may explain why Mr. Leadbetter is hoping for Democrat crossover voters to be who hands him a victory in the Republican Primary for State Representative this Thursday. If Mr. Leadbetter owes his election to Democrats, whose bidding will he do as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives?
Stacey Campfield is given to understand that the primary interest of his constituents is their liberty, and in advancing that interest he is doing everything in his power. Campfield believes as Thomas Jefferson did, that the government which governs best governs least.
"He is an embarrassment to the Legislature."
For what, speaking his mind?
It was Kent Williams (R-Elizabethton) who said that, and it was Williams-a Republican-who voted for the pro-abortion, anti-Second Amendment Democrat Jimmy Naifeh to be Speaker of the House. Williams, Naifeh, and the Democratic Leadership don't like Stacey Campfield because Campfield, unlike them, is committed to open government, and refuses to be quiet and go along. Stacey Campfield communicates with his constituents, all Tennesseans, and the world through his well-known blog on the internet. Few other Representatives in Nashville are nearly as accessible as Campfield. He refuses to act behind closed doors and he doesn't participate in the backroom dealmaking that is so rampant on Capitol Hill. Democrats and establishment Republicans want Stacey Campfield beaten for one reason-they want to shut him up.
If I spent all of that time, energy, money, and effort to get myself elected to the Tennessee General Assembly-a body that requires me to abandon my livelihood at home to go to Nashville for six months every year and survive on just over $18,000 a year and $153 perdiem and, as we saw in the last session, just quits paying for expenses when Democrats keep the joint in session for too long, you'd better believe I am going to speak my mind, and the only people I might care about not liking it are my own constituents.
In many districts, it costs far more to get elected to the Legislature than it pays once you get there. For the ordinary man or woman, it is such an undertaking that most don't even try. Those cases where a regular guy or gal does try and succeed at getting in to the Legislature are rare enough that you'd better believe that when they get there, they are going to speak truth to Power. That's just what Stacey Campfield does in Nashville every day-and Power doesn't like it.
If your Representatives aren't speaking their mind after all of the effort it should have taken them to get to Nashville, whose take are they on-the people's or someone else's?
"He wears tennis shoes to committee hearings."
For some of Campfield's opposition, this is the best they can do-it is sad, really. The rules of the House require that a jacket and tie be worn to Session and when participating in a committee hearing. Nothing is mentioned about shoes specifically. I understand Stacey's predicament because I have a disability, and I've walked around the Legislative Plaza many times. Doing so in dress shoes is sometimes a necessity, but always painful. When one can wear more comfortable shoes in a situation and the rules don't specifically prohibit that, why not? (I am not a member of the House, but I've come to visit at least once a year. I wear a coat and tie on the House floor, but in other situations I dress in more comfortable clothes. Were I ever to be elected to the House, I would be strict on abiding by floor dress code (I criticized Senator Mike Williams for breaking it, after all), but would look for any way within rules and reason to dress more comfortably off the House floor-sue me for looking out for my general good health.
There may be a good reason for the tennis shoes, but of course no one in the opposition ever bothered to ask Stacey. Since they have no good reasons to hate the man, tennis shoes is the best they can do.
Tennis shoes and all, I'm proud to call Stacey Campfield a friend, and more proud of the people of the 18th District for electing him to the Tennessee House of Representatives twice.
If you live in the 18th District, don't vote for a yes man-vote for a real one.
Please vote to re-elect State Representative Stacey Campfield Thursday, August 7th.
"In your heart, you know he's right."