Still Going-Nothing Outlasts Stacey Campfield...NothingAs much as the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Left of the blogosphere love to mock and ridicule the legislative efforts of State Representative Stacey Campfield, and his moderate-to-liberal "Republican" detractors do their level best to defeat him, he keeps getting re-elected. Randy Neal, whose opinions I rarely if ever agree with but whose work I usually respect, seems to believe that this is because Campfield's constituents are too stupid to know what Campfield supports and the positions on issues that he takes.
I submit that the opposite is true, many of Stacey Campfield's constituents do know what kind of legislator that he is, and they know that he is renowned for his unique ability to raise Hell from the backbenches. Stacey's informed voters are very much aware of what he is all about, and they re-elect him. I would humbly submit that the only reason Ron Leadbetter did as well as he managed to do against Stacey in last year's Republican primary in the 18th District was because he had a number of friends in the community who knew him from the University of Tennessee (Ron Leadbetter is, by all accounts, a very nice man in addition to being so well-known), and because of Democratic crossovers voting in the Republican Primary against Stacey Campfield. In a closed primary, Campfield wouldn't just have beaten Leadbetter, but would likely have made it appear that Leadbetter ran no campaign at all. Indeed, it is likely a fair statement to say that Leadbetter's support among bona fide Republican voters was much lower than the numbers showed on Primary Night last August.
The legislation that Stacey Campfield introduces is chided by some as extreme and by others as off-the-wall, but in a very conservative district in a conservative State, none of this is unreasonable and most of Campfield's bills are things that conservative voters do support, or would be otherwise predisposed to endorse.
While Rob Briley berated Campfield last year for daring to suggest that men who are not the father of a child should not be the ones paying support for that child, there is widespread support from the man or woman on the street for a measure that holds the real parents of children responsible for their support.
The vast majority of conservatives in East Tennessee want something done about illegal immigration, so those voters would support a bill that denies illegal aliens the privilege of a State-supported education paid for in part or in full by the citizen or legal resident taxpayers of Tennessee. These same people would likely be quick to jump on the bandwagon when they learn that Campfield has introduced legislation declaring that the State may refuse a birth certificate to the children of illegal alien parents.
Social conservatives make up a large chunk of Stacey Campfield's base of support, so this very pro-life group would support Campfield's attempt to obtain death certificates for unborn victims of abortion and the stillborn, allow homeschooled children to participate in public school athletics (especially since a homeschooled child still has to be registered at a school of some kind for testing purposes), and prohibit publicly funded homosexual sex education.
Whether sponsoring legislation to protect the rights of property owners against unjust confiscation and transfer of their lands and possessions, or moving a bill prohibiting labor unions in Tennessee from using dues money to fund political campaigns, most conservatives on the street support the measures Campfield is proposing.
The News-Sentinel may not like these things, and Bill Haslam and Mike Ragsdale may not care for Campfield's efforts to curb their power to take what is not theirs to have, but the conservative constituency Campfield represents does agree with these measures, and with Stacey's spirit of openness. As a result, the Left can whine all they please about Stacey Campfield, but at the end of the day, Stacey will still be there, and still filing his not-so-crazy bills.