Saturday, March 29, 2008

No cash for Hillary

The question of the day in the Presidential contest may be whether Hillary Clinton is running out of money:

"We're facing a big deadline on Monday. Our opponents and the media will scrutinize our fundraising reports and look for any sign of weakness. By making a contribution today, you can help make sure we show nothing but strength."

That was what Bill Clinton wrote at the end of a fundraising e-mail to supporters. How much more money will Barack Obama have Monday, and if he shows greater financial strength, could that cajole a few superdelegates in Obama's direction?

We all knew Hillary was in trouble, but is she as close to the end as some reports are speculating?

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Rocky Top Saturday

You can't beat this for star power. Bobby and Sonny Osbourne backed up by John Hartford with a little Del in the background!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Address by Mike Faulk announcing his candidacy for the Tennessee Senate

ROGERSVILLE, TENNESSEE-Thank yous & recognition: All MF family members whose blessing I first sought

I love campaigning, meeting people, visiting. But there’s one part of campaigning with which I’m still not comfortable. I grew up in a house where it was impolite to talk about yourself. If I expect you to vote for me, I suppose you’d like to know a little something about me. My Mom is here this evening and I have her permission to relax that rule a little bit.

Mom represents the 7th and I the 8th generation of her family that has called Hawkins County home. I’m proud of my little mama. She co-authored her first book at age 70 on our ancestor, Daniel Jones. She insists on my siblings and me knowing our genealogy. So if you’re a Dykes, a Jones, a Mullins, or a Wallen – we’re related and your cousin Mike needs your vote!

If you know much about the Scots-Irish, you know about me. I come from a family of farmers, factory workers, hunters and fishermen. Daniel Jones, one of my ancestors, fought as one of the Over the Mountain Men at the Battle of Kings Mountain – the battle many say turned the tide in the Revolutionary War. If you’ve read U. S. Sen. James Webb’s book: “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America”, you know a good fight is in my genes.

We’re a fiercely independent breed that resents being told what to do – especially by the government. Now I don’t believe in no government. And I don’t believe in a “do-nothing” government. But I do believe in limited government.

I’m against any income tax, against abortion, and against illegal immigration. I’m for the death penalty and the right to bear arms. I’m for spending your money that you allow the government to take from you on those essential government functions we can agree on: public safety, good roads, clean water.

I’m for holding our lottery scholarship standards high and using the excess lottery money to help communities build schools.

I’m appalled that every few years we want to re-invent our education system. Teachers know how to improve our education system. Give them more time to teach and less time to do paper work. Give them fewer students so each child gets more attention. Allow them to teach not just for knowledge to pass some standardized test, but also let them teach our children to reason and analyze and think for themselves. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I say we polish up the one we’ve got.

With tough economic times on the horizon, no one wants to talk about it today, but it’s a shame that we have a sales tax on groceries. I can’t imagine building a multi-million dollar banquet hall for the Governor’s Mansion when our people can’t put food on the supper table without having to pay nearly 10% in sales tax.

From the hay fields of the Caney Hawkins farm where I grew up, to the Dykes clan tobacco barn, from bagging groceries at Harper & Ladd Super Market to playing on the Church Hill High School basketball team, from college to graduate school to law school, and here in courtroom battles in Hawkins County and all over East Tennessee, I’ve tried to apply dad’s advise: “There will always be somebody smarter, just make darn sure they don’t’ out work you.”

He believed - in the long run - hard work always pays off. Any government program or tax that provides a disincentive to work is suspect in my book and has to be closely scrutinized.

I’ve worked especially hard over the last decade trying make our streets a little safer by getting drunk drivers off our roads, A substantial part of my living has come from suing drunk drivers who injure others. And I have no apology to make for it. So, Governor Ramsey, if the Republican Party is serious about getting tough on drunk drivers – help is on the way.

People don’t much care for lawyers – sometimes not even our own clients. When you sit down at my office conference table you'll see a quote from a pretty fair country lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, which has guided me in my law business. It reads: "Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can . . . As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough."

You all have your favorite lawyer jokes. Here’s mine: “do you know what you call a lawyer gone bad? Senator!”

Let me close by telling you about the keychain on your table. This is a symbolic keychain. It’s the chain that holds the Keys to a Better Tennessee. On the end with the ring, there’s a light. On top there’s a compass. And on the other end, there’s a whistle [blow].

The whistle is to remind me that if I don’t remember my roots, if I don’t remember who sent me, if I ignore the wishes of the party which sent me, if I can't find my way home from Nashville, if I quit the team instead of working to improve the team, you should blow the whistle on me.

The compass is there to remind me to keep my bearings straight. To me that means a lean, limited government with low taxes that does well the essential things we can’t do for ourselves and doesn’t try to be all things to all people.

The light is meant to remind you that sometimes it takes new leadership to light the way to a better future.

These are my keys to the State Senate. These are the Republican party’s keys to a majority in the Senate. And for all of us, these are the Keys to a Better Tennessee.

I ask you tonight for your vote, your active support, and your prayers. Thank you.

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The keys to the State Senate

What we've known for months on end about Mike Faulk will be made official tonight:

Mike Faulk will make formal his bid to become the State Senator from
Tennessee’s 4th District at the Hawkins County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner [tonight]
in Rogersville.

Mike was gracious and kind enough to extend an offer of tickets to Nicole and myself to this evening's event. I had to decline that offer because of a scheduling conflict (and I didn't know this morning, but there would turn out to be more than one). Nonetheless, I was and am quite disappointed about not being there, because I have been one of many who have encouraged Mike to run over the last year. I have also known this was coming for many months now, and have eagerly awaited the chance to roll up my sleeves on Mike's behalf.

There are a lot of skeptics out there who think that this race exists solely because Senator Mike Williams left the Republican Party. While it is no secret that I prefer Republican representation in the seats of power at all times, there is another real reason why I support Mike Faulk-the man has roots.

It is easy to go up to Nashville and get lost in the shuffle. The Plaza is an enticing place, with its own culture of insiders, a lot of vittles and adult beverages, and a hundred different ways to forget where you come from. It seems that our present Senator spends a lot of time in Nashville and very little here at home, in spite of the fact that the Senate is only in session for half the year at best, and conducting business four days a week when it is. It makes one wonder if Mike Williams has found himself a lady or two and a really steady watering hole near the Hill (I know of several right off hand). Yes, Nashville is fun and enjoyable, and I've met many legislators who enjoy their jobs and their time in Nashville-and they should-but we don't send Senators and Representatives up there to carouse, we send them there to take care of our public business.

Nashville is the kind of town that can make you forget who sent you there in the first place, and Mike Williams has long forgotten who stamped his ticket to the Music City.

I don't support Mike Faulk because he is a good Republican, I support Mike Faulk because he is a good East Tennessean. I do not endorse Mike Faulk because we see eye to eye on every issue-we agree on what matters most, and that is liberty. We will have a Senator whose feet are planted on the ground-who will not wear NASCAR jackets and jeans on the Senate floor, but who is not ashamed to show up in bib overalls or admit that tobacco helped put him through college. I support Mike Faulk because I know that when I call Senator Faulk's office, I will be treated like a constituent who has value and whose vote and support matters.

It is a long road to November, but for my own part, I will do what I can to make sure that on the night of November 4th we will be celebrating the return of the 4th Senate District to the Republican fold, and our seat given to a man for whom it actually means something.

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Like father, not like son

Barack Obama is set to gain an important endorsement in Pennsylvania today:

Sen. Bob Casey's endorsement will come as Obama begins a six-day campaign swing through the state Friday, campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Casey is the son of a popular former governor of the state. His support could help Obama make inroads among Catholic voters who make up more than 30 percent of the state.

Robert Casey Jr.'s big claim to fame is that, like his contientious father, he is a pro-life Catholic Democrat. The Obama campaign is doubtless hoping that a Casey endorsement will help win over blue-collar, socially conservative Catholics whose roots in the Democratic Party were born in a different place and time, but they are Democrats because their parents and grandparents were Democrats. There are a great many such people in Pennsylvania.

There seems to be a real difference, however, between Junior and Senior. I can't really say one way or another whether Junior has sold himself or his principles short, but I can say that his father would not have endorsed Obama or Clinton. Robert Casey believed in a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-American, working man's Democratic Party. He was not, as some Democrats believed, a closet Republican. He believed that the Democratic Party could not claim to be the champion of the poor, the defenseless, and the indigent without championing the dignity and the rights of the helpless unborn. He believed this so strongly that the court case that has thus far come the closest to overturning Roe v. Wade bears his name. Those of us within the pro-life movement daily live with the legacy that the one elected official who was able to do the most to stop abortion in the courts since 1973 was a Democrat-and Robert Casey was an old-school Democrat through and through.

Casey was a man of principle, however. His beliefs were not hollow and they weren't for sale. I remember that in the same speech that he would rail against conservative economic policies, he would speak out so strongly in favor of the right to life from conception that it caused many Democrats to be shamed. The party that abandoned him when he was alive seeks to utilize his name and memory now that he has entered Eternal Life. They all need to be reminded that Casey made it a habit to quit endorsing and aiding abortionists, and he would not have endorsed either Obama or Clinton so long as they refused to embrace the pro-life cause. He was the true and consummate Catholic, in that the right to life trumped all else with Robert Casey. As the Church taught, Casey believed, he lived, he acted upon-and he ran one of the most open State governments in America (even if the taxes were absolutely ridiculous).

Once asked about whether his pro-life views were "out of step" with his party, he remarked that if there were a pro-life Democrat running for President, that man or woman would win the nomination. "A lot of Republicans say the same thing," he said, "but how are the pro-abortion Republicans doing."

Now Junior is his own man-he is free to endorse who he pleases, and he must answer to God for his own actions. However, he and everyone else who has followed his political career knows that he has made it as far as he has because of his father's name and his legacy.

Would one of America's most pro-life governors want his name linked to Barack Obama?

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

John Litz is probably happy today

I happen to think that this is not good news for 10th District Republicans:

Over the past few months, I have been asked if I would seek the 10th District seat currently held by John Litz. I have repeatedly said I would consider it and after much debate and soul searching I have decided not to seek the seat.

In a very real sense, I think this is a shame because Fabian Story would have made a fine candidate, and whether Morristown Democrats realize it or not, he has the skills to whip John Litz in a General Election. If Litz knows that Story declined to run yesterday, he has to be breathing a sigh of relief today.

If it is any consolation to Fabian, I do understand the angst of having to "just say no" when you really want badly to run. A few Knox Countians might recall that I went through the same sort of situation in 2006 when it first appeared that write-in candidates may carry the day. I wanted to go through a thorough campaign, but there were a lot of things going on in my life at the time that prevented me from giving a political campaign my full attention. We know now that pulling out of that race was not only the best thing for me at the time, but that doing so prevented my name from being associated in any way with the present fiasco that is Knox County Government. Other opportunities have presented themselves that likely would not have been options for me if I had continued to run for Knox County Commission, either.

Fabian's day will indeed come...

So will mine.

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Democrats in more trouble than they are willing to admit

The latest Wall Street Journal poll on the presidential race does reveal some very interesting numbers and contrasts for both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama:

Among 29% of ALL voters, they need more answers from Obama. They have
hesitations and uncertainties; they want to know, “Is he safe?” -- both in the
sense of credentials/experience but also in terms of life story. The Wright
controversy, the poll indicates, has taken a bit of the shine off Obama, brought
him out of the stratosphere, notes pollster Bill McInturff. Clinton also faces a
similar amount of uncertainties, but among a different group of people.

But the poll didn’t indicate the past couple of weeks’ news hurt
Obama the most; it was Clinton (sniper fire?). She’s sporting the lowest
personal ratings of the campaign. Her 37% positive rating is the lowest the
NBC/WSJ poll has recorded since March 2001, two months after she was elected to
the U.S. Senate from New York. As for the damage this controversy did or didn't
do to Obama, it's a mixed bag. Yes, Obama saw some of his numbers go down
slightly among certain voting groups, most notably Republicans. But he's still
much more competitive with independent voters when matched up against John
McCain than Hillary Clinton is. And he still sports a net-positive personal
rating of 49-32, which is down only slightly from two weeks ago, when it was
51-28. Again, the biggest shift in those negative numbers was among Republicans.

A handful of undecided and pledged superdelegates come forward to
tell NBC/NJ’s Matthew Berger that her campaign's tactics in recent weeks are
doing more harm than good.

For the first time in the fight for the Democratic nomination, we can say without question that Hillary's chances of getting the nomination are in great jeopardy, even with a victory in Pennsylvania on April 22. Not only does the rest of the Democratic calendar favor Obama, but Hillary's negatives among Democratic voters are higher than McCain, and many Obama supporters are telling pollsters that if Hillary is nominated, they will vote in the fall-for John McCain.

Obama's troubles aren't over either, because in spite of his campaign's best efforts to throw water on the fire of the Jeremiah Wright story, the latest poll indicates that those efforts have only been moderately successful, and that is putting it kindly. This means that Obama's biggest troubles are yet to come, since many Americans are also indicating that they are uncomfortable with him because they don't know much about him. As more about Obama's liberal record and past association with the extreme Left is revealed in the fall campaign, he will also have great difficulty beating McCain. One important note about these poll numbers is that Obama leads McCain 44-42% in a head-to-head matchup. That is so close that anything could turn it, and if we were closer to November, pundits would say that the race was entirely too close to call.

The last time polls showed a Democrat leading a Republican by two points in a head-to-head, the election itself fell within the margin of error and came down to hanging chads in
Broward County, Florida. All the Democrats who were expecting a vast and overwhelming victory in the fall had better brace themselves for yet another close election and possible Republican victory. At this point it doesn't seem to matter which candidate the Democrats nominate, there are enough problems with either person to make them very vulnerable in November.

And this is a year when Republicans really don't like our nominee.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The land of sunshine hypocrisy

The Knox County Commission voted down (wisely) a proposed Charter Review Committee that would have been appointed by a County Mayor who lacks ethics himself and needs to be investigated. Ragsdale and his allies at the News-Sentinel editorial board wanted this Review Committee so that they could put the amendments they wanted before the people-nevermind what might be in the public interest. Meanwhile, some bloggers are going apey over this:

Commissioners described seemingly minor discussions, and Commissioner Greg
"Lumpy" Lambert
indicated he aimed to remedy any private discussion by
explaining it publicly.

"If I have a conversation that needs to be cured by
talking about it publicly, is now the time to do that?" Lambert asked

"Prior to this meeting, I did have some conversations with
(Commissioner Bob Rountree) about some topics we were going to vote on today,"
Lambert explained.

Before everyone condemns poor Lumpy to the ash-heap again, people need to be reminded that we live in the land of sunshine hypocrisy. Chancellor Daryl Fansler doubtless interpreted the Open Meetings Act correctly, but the Open Meetings Act does not apply to the Tennessee General Assembly. There may actually be good reason for this.

Under the Fansler interpretation of the Open Meetings Act (which I deem to be correct), two Commissioners can't have any discussion outside of the Commission about county business. Literally, this means that one Commissioner isn't free to share with another what he or she is thinking or ask another Commissioner's advice (NOTE: I'm not talking about sharing votes or bargaining here, clearly that would be against the principle of open government or sunshine and is to be condemned). They can't even ask each other "what do you think about this-or-that."

The General Assembly didn't apply the sunshine law to themselves because if they didn't talk to one another, the whole place would cease to function effectively. Legislators share offices, eat in the same place each day, and bump into each other in the elevator every few minutes. Business never stops at the Capitol, even when the House or Senate are not in session or a committee isn't meeting. If the Open Meetings Act applied to the General Assembly as written, the General Assembly would be in perpetual violation. While in Nashville, I had the occasion to witness a conversation between two legislators about a bill. Because of the nature of the discussion, I could clearly see that this was an internal Caucus matter and didn't need to be aired in public, and there was no harm being done in not having this discussion before a hundred people-nothing was being hidden from anyone.

The hypocrisy comes from the reality that the General Assembly has imposed one set of rules for itself while imposing another set of rules for local governments in Tennessee. The Capitol is an open place where anyone who can find a parking space in downtown Nashville can come and go as they please. It is hard to say that the sun does not shine there when the place and the people in it are so accessable. The Legislature has not imposed rules upon itself that it collectively knows will hamper its ability to conduct public business. If not being able to have a conversation will hamper the General Assembly, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that it might impose upon county commissions ten hour meetings and numerous questions of whether they could say "that proposal sucks" to another commissioner?

I can see the headlines now: "OATNEY AGAINST OPEN GOVERNMENT." "WORLD OPPOSES SUNSHINE." The contrary is true, of course-you won't find a bigger advocate for open government and sunshine than me. Our sunshine laws need to be sensible and realistic, however, and we can't have one set of laws for local governments that doesn't apply to the State. What is good or bad for the goose is good or bad for the gander.

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Welcome to politics Chelsea

As anyone who has been following the presidential campaign is aware, Hillary Clinton has been keen to send Chelsea to places where she doesn't otherwise think she will perform well. Lately, the former First Daughter has been touring college campuses on her mother's behalf. A student asked whether Hillary's credibility had been hurt by the Lewinsky perjury scandal and former President Clinton's subsequent impeachment. A lot can be gleaned from Miss Chelsea's terse-and some would say angry-response:

"Wow, you're the first person actually that's ever asked me
that question, in the, maybe 70 college campuses that I've been to," Clinton
bitterly said at Butler University. "And I don't think that's any of your

I can certainly understand why Chelsea would feel uncomfortable answering that question-these are her parents, after all. However, Miss Chelsea is no longer the teenager she was when her father was in the White House. She is a grown woman and if she is going to be on the campaign trail, she has to be prepared to deal with tough questions about her mother's credibility-even in the way of the
Lewinsky Affair. If she is uncomfortable answering the question, she could simply have said "for reasons that probably appear obvious to everyone here, I don't feel comfortable giving an answer to that question, I'm sorry." Instead, she told the young man it was none of his business.

The problem is that her mother is running for President of the United States, her father has already been President, and the scandal in question was the closest thing we've had in this country since
Andrew Johnson to seeing a President forcibly removed from office (some will cite Nixon and Watergate, but Nixon resigned before the House could impeach him). How that scandal and Hillary Clinton's reaction to it may or may not impact her credibility as a candidate is a very legitimate question to ask. Simply put, it is that young man's business-and everyone else's who might vote in this election.

Asking a teenage Chelsea Clinton about her mother's credibility in the wake of the late scandal and impeachment of her father would rightly be considered a merciless and uncompassionate act. Asking an adult Chelsea about whether she feels the Lewinsky perjury scandal and her mother's reaction to it is a legitimate thing to ask someone who, we must presume, has volunteered to go out and campaign for her mother in a hard-fought series of primaries which she is losing in total at this writing. If Chelsea has volunteered to involve herself in the politics of this campaign, she must prepare herself to deal with politics.

Welcome to the world of the political, Chelsea. It is often unpleasant, and sometimes we must be subjected to situations with which we are uncomfortable. Very often, our opposition is out for blood. Politics can be fun, but no one said it was going to be filled with rooms full of people singing Kumbuya and victory parties all the time. Political work is a very worthwhile and enjoyable endeavor, but is is also a very hard business. Get used to it.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Plaza


The sights, sounds, and experiences to be found at the Legislative Plaza and Tennessee's Capitol-with Fabian Story.

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Hillary's experience problem

Hillary Clinton has spent much of her campaign telling the American people just how "experienced" she is, and that this somehow suits her for the presidency. We learn today the depths to which she will go to exaggerate her own experience and abilities in order to make people believe that she is more suited for the job than she is:

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said she "misspoke" when saying last week she had landed under sniper fire during a trip to Bosnia as first lady in March 1996. She later characterized the episode as a "misstatement" and a "minor blip."

According to an Associated Press story at the time, Clinton was placed under no extraordinary risks on the trip. And one of her companions, comedian Sinbad, told The Washington Post he has no recollection either of the threat or reality of gunfire.

Those of us who have followed the careers of both Clintons have known and understood for years that these people are nothing but a foul pair of rogues who are dressed up to look like public servants. Like Lucifer himself, the Clintons can transform themselves into angels of light in public while making a wreck of the public purse and the public trust in private. Another Satan-like trait of both Hillary and Bill is the ability to make their misdeeds appear harmless and convince others to support them. "I didn't really commit perjury and lie to a federal prosecutor because it was sex I was lying about." It always reminded me of "you shall not surely die, God knows if you eat of the tree you will be like Him. God doesn't really care if you eat from the tree, does he?"

It ought to come as no surprise whatsoever that people with such a low regard for the moral law would lie about their record, especially in Hillary's case-she has always been intent on riding her husband's political career first to the Senate, then to the White House, as opposed to getting there on her own.

This latest episode of Hillary exaggerating her Bosnia experience also goes to prove the reality that Sharon Cobb spoke of some days ago. Being First Lady in no way qualifies anyone for the presidency-period. There is a serious faction of people who are supporting Hillary Clinton for no other reason than because she is a woman, not because she is qualified or because she has some mystical experience gained from watching others do the work. There are women out there who are quite capable of being president, and in terms of experience there are women who have been in elected office longer than Hillary. There are women governors that we know have more executive experience than Hillary (who has little if any), and women Senators like Kay Bailey Hutchison who have been there longer than Hillary. These are women who have earned their experience and could claim it legitimately in running for president. Hillary has actually earned very little of what she has achieved politically, even her name recognition comes from the fact that she is her husband's wife and her husband was President of the United States.

If I had said any of this eight years ago, I would have been called all kinds of nasty names, but because Democrats are now saying these things (and rightly so), it is okay for me to admit that these sayings are true-oh, I forgot, I'm a conservative.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Many reasons for a different Mike

A lot of folks outside the 4th Senate District believe that our biggest problem with Senator Mike Williams is that he voted for John Wilder for Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate in 2005 (keeping Democrats in control of the Senate despite a Republican majority), and that this is the sole reason that many of us are now backing Mike Faulk to unseat Williams. Faulk's loyalty to the GOP can't be questioned, that's for sure-but State Senator Tim Burchett voted for Wilder in 2005, and like Williams, Burchett voted for Ron Ramsey in January 2007 and put the GOP in control of the Tennessee Senate de jure. Williams' vote for Wilder three years ago does play a real role in the campaign opposing him, and no one denies this. Unlike Mike Williams, Senator Burchett's constituents aren't engaged in a prolonged angry spasm at him. What makes the case of Mike Williams different from Deputy Senate Speaker Tim Burchett?

Mike Williams once promised to limit himself to an eight-year stint in the Senate. This may have been a rather stupid promise to make, but it was probably the first one that he broke. He is about to finish his 12th year in the Upper Chamber-18th in the General Assembly.

In November of 2006, he told Eric Schelzig of Associated Press that "I'll never leave the Republican Party." By March of 2007, he had changed his tune. In 2005, Williams voted against raising the tobacco tax. It was proposed that an increase in the tobacco tax be used to defray the cost of a reduction in the sales tax on food-a move that would have helped hundreds of thousands of working Tennesseans and the vast majority of the people in this district. In 2007, Williams voted for an increase in the tobacco tax, but this time it was at the behest of Governor Phil Bredesen-and not a penny of that tax revenue went to defray a significant reduction in the tax on grceries-there was no serious cut in the grocery tax in that bill, just a 0.5% pittance.

When he was still a Republican, he was the only GOP Senator who voted to seat Ophelia Ford despite serious reports of Memphis vote fraud.

At one time, it was said that Wiliams was making over 200 appearances in the district every year, but now we hardly see the man. Do you suppose it might be because when he does return home, he faces the blistering face of the public wrath? It is a sad case, that of Mike Williams, because his career didn't start this way but the people of this district may put it to an end.

Sources within the Faulk campaign tell The World that Mike Faulk presently has a campaign balance of over $100,000. If you are keeping track of this race, you know that is nearly a 5-to-1 fundraising advantage. With Mike Williams' record, is it any wonder that Republicans in the 4th District and across Tennessee are hungering for another Mike in our Senate seat?

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Republicans' trouble with John McCain

MSNBC highlights one of the many reasons why so many conservatives are uneasy about John McCain:

Senator John McCain never fails to call himself a conservative Republican as he
campaigns as his party’s presumptive presidential nominee. He often adds that he
was a “foot soldier” in the Reagan revolution and that he believes in the
bedrock conservative principles of small government, low taxes and the rights of
the unborn.

What Mr. McCain almost never mentions are two
extraordinary moments in his political past that are at odds with the candidate
of the present: His discussions in 2001 with Democrats about leaving the
Republican Party, and his conversations in 2004 with Senator John Kerry about
becoming Mr. Kerry’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.

None of this may seem to pose a major issue or even seem like a contradiction to Americans who are politically uninvolved in the process except to vote. However, if you've ever become involved as a conservative activist with Republican politics in any way, shape, fashion, or form, you know that the one thing that the GOP asks of its conservative adherants is loyalty. There is a good reason for this-with rare exceptions, the Democrats fail to offer much in the way of conservative choices. Failure of a political candidate at any level who identifies himself or herself (whether directly on the party ticket, or indirectly in some local races where party can't be identified) as a Republican to support the party's choices, or at least not to publicly disparage them, is usually seen as an act comparable to Brutus engaging in the plot to kill Julius Caesar.

Lack of loyalty to the Republican Party in my heavily-Republican State Senate district is one of many issues being raised in the campaign to unseat the

Knowing that both the party and many conservative party activists place such a high premium on the loyalty of its active members, it is understandable that those members would now feel no obligation to get excited about a presidential nominee who has not shown himself to have any loyalty to the party or to the activists who have built it. It isn't a question of whether McCain cast a vote that dissented from conservative orthodoxy, something that he has done many times. Lamar Alexander has done the same thing from time to time, but I have no problem helping Lamar's re-election campaign. The reason is because when we've asked Lamar to stand with us, he has done so when it really mattered. The problem with John McCain is that he has shown himself willing not only to vote with Democrats, but perhaps to become one as long as it gets him to the White House. Literally, McCain has taken the attitude that "I will do what it takes to get what I want," and loyally to the party that helped bring him to the dance can be thrown to the wind.

A McCain victory in November will happen because of people's repugnance at the Democratic nominee as opposed to their embrace of the Republican one.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed

Matthew 28:1-10:

And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you. And they went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples. And behold Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him. Then Jesus said to them: Fear not. Go, tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, there they shall see me.

John 20:1-9:

And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre; and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. She ran, therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple, and they came to the sepulchre. And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in.

Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying, And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.


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