Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Round Three In the First

Those of us who live in Tennessee's First Congressional District know that in these parts, old political grudges die hard. Most political fights here are internal party squabbles between Republicans, often going back years before the contest or contests which made the fight public. As many of us suspected after the 2008 Republican Congressional Primary, former Congressman David Davis is sending every signal in the book except the official word that he wants a third round with his old nemesis, former Johnson City Mayor and current Congressman Phil Roe:

It’s hard to miss the personal component to the rivalry. A 2010 primary matchup would mark the third consecutive election in which the two pols competed for the seat. Davis won the first time around in 2006, capturing the nomination with 22 percent of the vote in a crowded primary for the open seat. In the solidly conservative northeastern Tennessee-based 1st District, which hasn’t elected a Democrat in more than a century, the Republican nomination was tantamount to victory.

In that contest, a so-called “friends and neighbors” primary, the outcome was largely determined by each candidate’s ability to turn out voters in his own backyard. But in 2008, the primary had a different dynamic — just Roe and Davis going head to head.

Davis was “an incumbent congressman, and none of us like to be beat, and none of us like to see things being said about us,” Spicer said, recalling that Roe’s campaign took aim at Davis over everything, from his handling of constituent services to earmarks to the high cost of gas prices during the summer of 2008. “Anytime you have a Republican primary, and anytime you have someone who took an incumbent like Phil did, you’re going to have some hurt feelings.”

The razor-thin outcome — Roe edged Davis by just 486 votes in the August 2008 primary — only exacerbated the tensions. Davis refused to concede for almost a week and argued that Democrats — who he said viewed Roe as more moderate than himself — had organized en masse to vote for Roe in the open primary election.

It is an old cliche to say this, but their aren't enough real Democrats around here to fit in an old phone booth. Most of the so-called "Democrats" that I know who live in my town congregate at places like the drugstore or Allen-Surrett's Hardware and shoot the bull about everything from their cattle to the tobacco crop to their health to the weather and their idea of being a Democrat consists of not liking the Bush Administration and moaning about certain Republicans. Further, the particular Republicans they complain of are often people that other Republicans have a problem with. Ask these same people how many voted for Barack Obama, and you will learn very quickly how few are really Democrats (I know a few people who confess to voting for Obama, but I can count them on one hand). Discuss issues with this same sampling of folks, and one quickly discovers that they are essentially Republicans who call themselves Democrats because their families have always been Democrats. On most of the important issues facing East Tennesseans ranging from taxes to business development to social issues like abortion and the sanctity of marriage, these "Democrats" have Republican positions (many do not realize it).

Every little town and country precinct in this constituency has places that one might call the local newsstands, the centers of town gossip and the places for all kinds of discussions, including those to do with politics. What Democrats may be found at these establishments are pretty representative of Democrats in the district as a whole. True liberal/Leftist Democrats are around, but are few and far between. Frankly, there are not enough real liberals here to impact an election from an ideological perspective. The class of Democrats mentioned above likely did vote for Phil Roe, but did so for no other reason than that Roe ran a better campaign and met with more people in more places than David Davis did ("That Phil Roe is such a nice man!"). Davis had to have lost Republican votes to lose as an incumbent in a two-man primary in this district-period.

Both men are risking a tremendous amount politically by renewing their fued and taking it to the ballot box for a third time. If David Davis loses, even by a narrow margin, his political career may be over. If Davis beats Roe by a narrow margin, Roe's future may depend on how he deals with defeat. Both Roe and Davis have plenty of potential opposition, but in Roe's case his opposition often dislikes him but feels the same way about Davis ten times over. Phil Roe is beatable by several people who might run against him if David Davis is not a factor. In order to insure that his seat is safe, Phil Roe cannot just beat David Davis, he must whip him soundly.

David Davis' big problem is that Phil Roe has voted conservatively for the most part, and Davis will have trouble running against Roe's record. Roe will not be able to claim the advantage of an incumbent, because he himself proved that incumbents can be beaten in the First District.

It will be a long, hard, expensive slog of a campaign...

(Hat Tip: Kleinheider)

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At Tuesday, April 21, 2009 7:35:00 PM, Blogger East TN Conservative said...

David Davis came out punching Roe over the AIG illegal tax. Everyone at the Tea party enjoyed it and many of us showed our support for Davis. I think many will be more supportive of Davis in Kingsport next time around

At Wednesday, April 22, 2009 2:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time you write about Democrats, you prove yourself to be more woefully ill-informed than before. Please stick to your slobbery man-love of Stacey Campfield and leave us Democrats out of your sick, twisted fantasies.

At Wednesday, April 22, 2009 4:11:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

Every time you write anonymously, you prove yourself to be more cowardly than before...

At Wednesday, April 22, 2009 6:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My pa can whoop your pa...poopy head..."Nice, retort, Dave, That'll show 'em!


At Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:46:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

You really don't know how to use the intellect God gave you, do you? What a sad use of time and energy...

If you are so concerned about the accuracy of my statement about Democrats in the First District, try putting your energies into actually electing one for the first time since Robert Love Taylor.

At Thursday, April 23, 2009 7:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"dummy head....pffffffttt..."I guess that is an upgrade?


At Thursday, April 23, 2009 1:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm never concerned about the accuracy of any of your statements. You've never been accurate.

Now, your sanity is another question entirely.

At Thursday, April 23, 2009 1:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are getting awfully testy here lately. You got you some of that "Obama-fever" that's going around? Personally I prefer when you go all boing-boing on Stacey's man-love.

But then again, I'm a flaming liberal, so I get off on that stuff.

At Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW Oats,

Why the sudden hard-on about anonymity? You and A. Renee been trading love notes on the First Amendment prohibition against anonymous blogging? Hell, I figured you'd be happy for the traffic. If it wasn't for me and Steve Mule (Hi, Steve!), you'd only have the occasional right-wing nutjob trolling by to get his fix of man-on-Stacey love porn.

At Thursday, April 23, 2009 2:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got a deal for you - Stacey moves to White Pine and becomes your "The Rep" and we here in K-town get to elect somebody with the intellect above that of a stump to the legislature.

Everybody wins!

At Thursday, April 23, 2009 11:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cowardly? Let's think about this for a second - your profile says that you are 33 years old. Around September 11, 2001, you would have been about 25 or 26, a prime age to enlist in the military and fight for your country. You have been a real cheerleader for the military misadventures of the Bush junta, so I must assume that you would gladly fight in the most important ideological conflict of our time? But wait, you didn't? medical reasons? Or are you like every other young Republican who said 'I can do more for the effort by staying here and drumming up support for the war!" Yeah. It's easy to be brave sitting behind a computer screen in you parent's basement. But you, you've got a special brand of cowardice - you hide in White Pine while others fight your war of choice. You'll scream about how important this battle is, but you won't get off your cowardly fat ass to fight that battle. Never do I want to see the word "coward" printed on your blog ever again - you are still young enough to enlist in the Army and serve in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Prove me wrong, you sniveling little pussy, or shut the fuck up.

At Friday, April 24, 2009 2:38:00 PM, Blogger Matt Daley said...

Such unadulterated hate and vitriol, Anon. Tsk, tsk. You'll have a coronary if you keep that up.

I used to be that way, but then I grew up and decided that a person's energy is best used for love, not hate. Perhaps you ought to learn the same lesson.

I'd also suggest that you get even the slightest clue about what you're talking about before you start throwing around barbs about why someone is or is not in the military.

The hardships that Dave has had to endure and sacrifices that he's had to make in his lifetime are unlike anything that those such as yourself who wrap yourself in a cozy bubble could even begin to comprehend.

Here's some free advice, from the heart: Take your own words to heart and just keep quiet.

At Friday, April 24, 2009 9:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Matt, I don't have hate and vitriol - quite the opposite, but I've grown weary of people like you and Dave cheerleading our country into useless wars where our soldiers are dying for no good reason. In the meantime, useless butt-warts like you and Dave sit on the sidelines and attack the guy who is actually trying to do something about the fuck-ups that the Bush-junta and the Republic party inflicted on America.

See, I'm proud of my country and i love it. I didn't want to secede when Bush was elected, I stood up every time I disagreed, but I paid my taxes, saluted my flag and tried to exercise my 1st Amendment rights for redress from from my government - which I was allowed to do from a "Free Speech Zone" a mile away from Bush. But I worked hard to get Democrats elected so that we could change the way things are done in Washington - we won, you lost. As I'm sure you used to say "Get over it!" This is not a "center-right" country. This is a country that believes that government should stay out of a persons religion, that a woman should have the right to have an abortion if she feels it necessary, that two people - regardless of their sex - should have the right to have that union recognized by the state. We're tired of your wars and your endless spending on wasteful military projects. Mostly we're tired of people like you. You and your kind fucked it up royally and, like always, we're going to clean up after you, so shut up, get out of the way and leave us alone while we do it.


At Friday, April 24, 2009 9:27:00 PM, Blogger Matt Daley said...

"Butt-warts"? "Fuck-ups"? "You and your kind"? "Shut up and leave us alone"?

Yes, you're right. You're not full of hate and vitriol. Where could I have ever gotten such an impression?

(And it's nice to see that you can exercise your First Amendment rights, but we can't. Such lovely hypocrisy...so expected...)

At Saturday, April 25, 2009 2:01:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

For the record, cowardly Anon...

As Matt knows, the only reason that I am not a commissioned officer in the United States Army is because I was born with a disability which bars me from service in accordance with law and the rules established under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and have had said disability for life. Were it up to me, I would have enlisted at 18 and would have been well on my way to completing my enlisted 20 years by now, or would have gotten a ROTC Commission.

Matt's father is an Army man, so was mine. So was my Grandfather, my uncles on both sides, I had an aunt in the Marine Corps-know many women in your family with those kind of guts, son?

Again, I would expect that kind of stupidity from a coward who knows not of what they speak and doesn't even have the intestinal fortitude to put a name to the trash they spew in print. Caveat.

At Saturday, April 25, 2009 6:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, this blog is populated with butt-warts born with congenital disabilities that kept them from even applying to the military. What are the odds?

The only thing that would bar you from service under the UCMJ is that you fraudulently enlisted. Or maybe that you are gay and lied about that on your enlistment papers. The UCMJ doesn't apply to ability to enlist you numb-nut!It only applies to conduct once you are in the military.

Given that you are willing to lie about the reason you are not in the military*, why the fuck should anybody listen to anything you have to say, much less have you question our CinC?

*If you just said that you were a fat butt-wart too scared to be shot at, I'd probably respect that more than some vague lie. That goes for you too, Matt.

At Saturday, April 25, 2009 10:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I celebrate your right to free speech. You'll never notice that I've called for the government to keep you from speaking out about your opinions. Right or wrong, I want you to tell me what you think and engage in the debate of a free society. Things weren't so good for me during the Bush junta - every time I tried to express my opposition to the Bush policies, I was told to leave the country or their was an FBI file opened on me (FOIA request confirmed this). I want the free exchange of ideas. It doesn't matter whether it's civil or uncivil, it's healthy for society for these views to be exchanged.

Same goes for Oats, but when I seen hypocrisy and double standards, I'll call them for what they are. You prove me wrong.

At Saturday, April 25, 2009 10:54:00 PM, Blogger Matt Daley said...

Uhm, yeah. I think, as evidenced by the an...er, coward from 6:47pm, this thread has run it's course.

All I will simply close with is this -- anon, I (and I am sure that Dave will join me in this effort) am going to send up some heartfelt prayers for you. I pray that you someday let go of your self-inflicted blindness and hate. I pray that you find true enlightenment so that you may learn to respect and tolerate those who you disagree with. And I pray that you find strength to fix whatever is wrong with life that is causing you to reflect upon others that which you feel about yourself.

It's a shame that you hide behind cowardice. If you were to ever meet myself or Dave (and I always welcome a chance to educate those whose take their physical abilities for granted), I imagine that you would find the enlightenment that I pray you someday find.

Then again, perhaps you'd just spit on us and mock our physical imperfections. It certainly wouldn't surprise me from someone who supports the party of the (supposedly) tolerant (but only if your ideology matches that of the Party)...

At Monday, April 27, 2009 11:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, coming from a bunch of people who routinely mock others for their differences.

I also am curious what your hang-up is on posting anonymously. As I have pointed out before, Dave has (or should have)the ability to block anonymous comments. I applaud the fact that he doesn't, but it shouldn't be an issue. You throw around the terms "coward" and "cowardly", but then get defensive with others respond with their own perjorative terms. Once again, it's only hypocrisy that bothers me.


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