When You Can't Beat Them, Smear ThemAfter literally years of attempting to run State Representative Stacey Campfield through the political mud, the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Associated Press yesterday finally got around to allowing Campfield just enough positive ink to speak for himself about his ideas, his agenda, and his presence in the General Assembly:
Campfield is in his fifth year in the Legislature and had never passed a bill as a primary sponsor until this month, when the House approved two of them. The bills dealt with tamer issues: allowing parents called up for military duty to assign visitation rights to another and forbidding aiming a laser pointer at firefighters or emergency medical technicians.
"I know some are going to pass and some aren't going to pass," he said. "But sometimes, if nothing else, it gets people to think about what they're doing. If it gets some people to think about a decision before they make it, I think that's a real benefit."
"People are realizing the way to attack me is to go to a willing media and try to intimidate me," Campfield told The Knoxville News Sentinel.
Campfield says the news coverage doesn't distract him from his legislation. He believes each bill he proposes has merit, and he's not about to stop introducing them — no matter how many people want to pull their hair out when they read about them.
I have a benefit that many in the news media do not in that I can honestly call Stacey Campfield my friend. I know that he does not wake up in the morning pondering ways to get attention from the press. "How can I be a legislative shock jock today," is not what he thinks of when he arrives at the War Memorial Building each day. Campfield keeps the door to his office open at all times so that people may come and go as they please, since he believes in being accessible to everyone-especially constituents. Further, he will tell constituents and others the truth-a revolutionary concept in today's political climate. Very often, people will say that they mistrust politicians because politicians lie or fail to tell the whole truth. However, when a political leader does tell the truth, people become angry because they do not like the answer.
Stacey Campfield isn't afraid to tell the truth and he doesn't care about the political consequences. He understands that at the end of the day he must answer to a Higher Judge than even his constituents, and that he will one day stand before the Great Legislator of the Universe to give an account of his actions in the General Assembly and all aspects of his life. In the role that God has given him through the beneficence of his constituents, Stacey Campfield moves legislation that is based on logic in the extreme. For example, we know that a majority of the Tennessee General Assembly-people in both parties-say that they are pro-life. It is also well-publicized that until the appropriate constitutional amendment passes, the Legislature can do nothing to regulate or stop aborticide. Many members say that they wish that they could do something about aborticide in our State, but since they can't-yet-why not allow the State to issue death certificates to the babies who have been killed?
Legislators say they are for property rights, so it would make sense to enact legislation protecting those rights against unjust confiscation by government, and limit the ability of government to engage in corporate sell-offs of the property it takes. Those are but two examples, but the inability of the House to act on much of Campfield's agenda until this year shows that the position that many members tell their constituents that they hold, and the agenda they act upon are often two different things. The establishment of both parties, as well as the News-Sentinel, despise Stacey Campfield for that very reason. To paraphrase Bill Dunn, Campfield is the man at the Capitol who tells the world that the Emperor has no clothes.
How have Campfield's constituents reacted to his so-called antics? The News-Sentinel has endorsed every opponent Campfield has ever had, and the voters have returned Campfield to Nashville every election since he first won, often by landslides (2006 Republican Primary, General Election), and even a well-respected member of the local community could not beat Campfield. One internal House Republican Caucus poll in 2007 had Campfield labelled as the most accessible and among the most popular Republicans Statewide in the General Assembly.
Since the press and the establishment can't beat Stacey Campfield, they now must attempt to smear his name in order to bring him down. When no one else believed in me, Stacey Campfield stepped forward and encouraged me to run for office-twice (I finally followed through the second time). Stacey has kept his word and been faithful to every promise and every word he has ever given me. He treats his constituents with the same dignity and respect.
Campfield is hated because he is honest, and some fear that he is usually right.