Camp McDanielOne of the major issues surrounding the contest for Speaker Pro Tempore of the Tennessee House of Representatives is party loyalty. It is important because one of the participants in that race, State Rep. Steve McDaniel, has a history of being less-than-loyal to his party when voting for leadership positions. As a member, Representative McDaniel is certainly entitled to vote how he pleases or thinks best. However, when McDaniel decides that he wants a position in the leadership of the House Majority, his record of consorting with Democrats deserves to be examined.
The World received a forwarded e-mail sent from a source who would wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. The original e-mail came from Representative McDaniel and was sent to a group of citizens concerned about the closing of a Department of Corrections Boot Camp in Wayne County. I was told that this e-mail would show McDaniel to be entirely too cozy with Democrats and with Democratic candidates for anyone seeking a post of party leadership.
For the most part, I didn't find that to be the case at all. It seemed as though this was a constituent matter to which McDaniel was responding strictly in his capacity as a State Representative and that he was attending to it in the way that it seemed a lot of the people he was corresponding with would agree with-he did not want the boot camp closed, and from the tone of the note, neither did the folks he was trying to aid.
The only questionable portion was this:
I understand there is a meeting tonight at Bradley's Restaurant in Waynesboro with Randy Camp, Boot Camp employees, and others. Mr. Camp has close ties to this administration and will be an asset to those trying to find answers to our questions. Due to a previous commitment, I will be unable to attend the meeting.
Some may view referring people to Randy Camp as aiding a Democratic candidate, since Camp was running against Delores Gresham for the 26th District Senate seat left open by the retirement of former Lt. Governor John Wilder.
I do not believe much more incrimination is needed other than that Steve McDaniel voted for the income tax and for Jimmy Naifeh for Speaker of the House. We might like to find even more juicy tidbits that prove McDaniel's lack of conservatism or party loyalty to a greater degree because, as many are quick to point out, we need these Republican short-shrifters who voted for Naifeh to vote with us for House Speaker. I have no problem thowing these folks some nice meaty bones,but leadership posts should go to conservatives and to loyal Republicans who have worked for this day. Standing with the GOP through thick and thin needs to be rewarded when the political situation is truly at its thickest point for Tennessee Republicans.