Saturday, April 25, 2009

Not For Turning

Quite a few people ask me from time to time if I would be willing to vote for a woman for President. Absolutely...I would be willing to vote for any woman for any State or federal office, provided she sounded like this.

Now that is a woman leader who could teach a few things to certain Tennessee State officials.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Things Are Different, Let's Just Appoint Everybody!

From the very beginning of the Tennessee gubernatorial campaign (one that anyone who follows politics in this State agrees is starting way too early), there has never been any question that if Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey entered the race, Nicole and I would support Governor Ramsey. We have long believed that Ron Ramsey is someone who shares our values and believes in Tennessee the way that we believe in it.

One of the things that Ron Ramsey, as well as Republican leaders in both the Tennessee House and the Senate promised the voters that if a Republican majority were elected in both Houses, that the GOP would move to elect our judges as the Constitution requires:

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey told reporters he'd like,"a constitutional amendment to change the constitution and, in the meantime, allow the governor to appoint anybody he wants to which is exactly what we did until Winfield Dunn became governor in 1970 and Democrats didn't want him to appoint judges."

Lt. Gov. Ramsey reminded reporters, "I've come around, actually, on whether I feel like Supreme Court justices need to be elected or not. I believe having the Supreme Court justices might not be in the best interests of the people of Tennessee. Things are different than they were in 1870: the modern campaigning and raising hundreds of millions of dollars to run campaigns."

Ramsey's solutuion, then, is to attempt to amend the Constitution to do away with the popular election of judges, but continue to flout the Tennessee Constitution in the meantime by allowing the Governor to appoint these judges-a direct violation of the Tennessee Constitution. Using the same logic that Ramsey is using in the quote above-namely, that things are different than they were in 1870 (how progressive of the Lt. Governor!) and campaigning just costs too dang much-perhaps we should just start appointing the Governor. After all, the Constitution calls for the Governor's direct election, but it sure costs a lot to run for Governor, as Ramsey has reminded us in recent weeks. The Governor might be open to unwholesome influences from his or her campaign contributors.

While we're at it, perhaps we should examine the notion of appointing members of the General Assembly as well. As everyone knows (even the citizens who have never read the Tennessee Constitution, and please by no means read it unless you want you want your blood boiling at how our elected officials violate it on a daily basis) the State Constitution clearly calls for the General Assembly to be elected also. We've seen from Tennessee Waltz how money can corrupt our elected officials, and they have to be kept in the money just to be able to run for re-election. To avoid continual scandals involving the corrupting influence of money in politics, let's just appoint the General Assembly so that no one has to raise or spend any cash on being elected.

I ran for elected office last year. It took a whole lot of time and some money as well, and I lost by a very narrow margin. I have enough friends in high places around here that I could secure an appointment as Alderman or County Commissioner. I think I like this scheme of appointing officials that the State Constitution says we are supposed to elect, especially when I can be one of those to kiss the right arses and get an appointment.

What's that? You say you want to elect your leaders? What about the corrupting influence of money? You mean you would rather have a little corruption made public in a free voting system than a lot of hidden corruption which might influence appointments? But the Lieutenant Governor says he wants the Governor to appoint judges because things are different than they were in 1870...

Ron Ramsey is a fine human being with so many good ideas for making Tennessee a better place. If he keeps up at his current pace, however, he may not even make it to the August 2008 Republican Primary, let alone actually win it. First, he complained about his inability to raise money while the General Assembly was in session. A reasonable complaint, except that bringing it up now is a bit too convenient since he is a candidate presently affected by the law in question. Now, he says he doesn't want to elect judges in this State, a promise which he has not only broken to the voters, but a stance which can be seen to violate his very oath of office.

Unless Ramsey either changes his tune or learns when to keep silent, he will likely take pages from David Davis' unwritten book How to Lose An Election You Damn Well Should Have Won.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

On the Weakling's Watch: Islamabad May Fall

For those of us on the conservative side of the aisle, it seems like some sort of twisted April Fool's joke or the opposite sketches on You Can't Do That On Television for any of us to say this, but Hillary Clinton may be the only person in the entire Obama Administration with even half of a brain:

"I think that the Pakistani government is basically abdicating to the Taliban and to the extremists. But look at why this is happening," she told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "If you talk to people in Pakistan, especially in the ungoverned territories, which are increasing in number, they don't believe the state has a judiciary system that works."

The comments came after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari approved Islamic Sharia law in the northwestern Swat valley, which has been overtaken by Taliban forces.

The Secretary of State is compelled, of course, to tow the Administration's official line on nearly all foreign policy matters, so we won't hear her publicly criticize Obama. However, many of us warned that our enemies would see Barack Obama's attempts to placate them as a sign of weakness, largely because they only understand shows of strength. Failure to show strength will lead to those who pose a clear, present, and imminent danger to the United States being placed in a position of strength in which the United States and its chief ally in the region will be threatened.

If the Taliban take the city of Islamabad, they will likely gain effective control of the Pakistani state, and are liable to get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Dialogue, yeah, that's the ticket. While B. Hussein is busy taking books from Communists and proposing negotiations with holocaust deniers, the Taliban is threatening to gain effective control of the Muslim World's primary nuclear power. Iran and the Taliban both see our so-called leader as a weakling.

Meanwhile, Obama continues with the "Don't Blame Me" Doctrine. At some point, he must begin to shoulder blame. No one is President but Barack Obama, and it is his policy that his departments must enforce.

Prediction: Hillary Clinton will not be Secretary of State by the end of Obama's term.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just the Right Amount of Tea

As regular readers are well aware by now, The World fully supports the means, methods and ideas of the movement to organize "Tea Party" protests around the country, especially the latest move to organize a Tea Party March on Washington for September 12th. Because this event is set to take place on a Saturday, it may very well guarantee maximum turnout.

One of the problems that we are seeing with the movement, however, is that since the April 15th events across the country were so successful, everyone and their brother now wants to have a "tea party." I received a Facebook notice inviting me to a Tea Party in Memphis at the weekend (as if there were none on April 15th in West Tennessee!). I have also learned of a series of Tea Party protests planned for Flag Day (June 14th) and for the 4th of July itself.

It should be the desire of every citizen who is concerned about the ever-expanding tyrannies of the federal Leviathan to see that these protests succeed no matter when they are planned. It is understandable that local organizers in many places, many of whom are novices to the political process, would want many repeat performances in order to try and build momentum in advance of the 2010 federal General Election. However, organizers should also be warned that there is as much a danger in over-saturation in the press as there is in doing nothing at all after April 15th, thereby encouraging the media to continue to ignore the Tea Parties. If there are too many protests organized too close together, this may have the impact of diminishing attendance. Far worse than that, however, would be to have the protests so often that word of a Tea Party on the evening news becomes routine, something akin to word that there are anti-globalization protesters at yet another international economic or political meeting. The presence of these protesters has become so normal that the leaders of nations, the legal authorities, and the news media simply expect that they will be present, mention them in passing, and go on with business as usual as though nothing different from the ordinary is occurring.

Conservatives and others concerned about the direction of government in our country need to be careful to insure that future protests are well-timed to avoid the kind of over-saturation that some protesters on the Left are guilty of, in order to insure that when Tea Partys are held in the months and years ahead the protests have the kind of impact that this movement had on April 15th.

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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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Monday, April 20, 2009

When You Can't Beat Them, Smear Them

After 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.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Divine Mercy Sunday

Today is the Second Sunday of Easter-Divine Mercy Sunday

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