Ricky Nelson sings this classic from 1961. Whatever happened to music like this?
While there should be a debate in East Tennessee, one has to wonder if that debate should be either in the Tri-cities area or in Chattanooga. Having the debate in Knoxville would make for a crowd full of Haslam homers. That's great for Haslam and the GOP, but since Haslam is still in a position to win, one has to wonder if ALL agreed debates should be held on more neutral ground, away from the hometowns of either nominated candidate.
However, when a so-called "establishment" candidate loses, the story is different for some. Republican candidate for the 7th District Tennessee Senate Ron Leadbetter was defeated by State Representative Stacey Campfield last Thursday. Rather than concede to Campfield and offer his help like a good Republican and a real gentleman, Mr. Leadbetter has said that he is "not going to comment" on whether he will help Campfield in the fall-making it clear that he will not. Far worse, however, Leadbetter is hinting through his supporters in the local establishment press engine that he is open to supporting Democratic nominee Randy Walker. So much for the notion that Ron Leadbetter is anything other than a Republican-in-name-only.
“I am reaching out to Republican House members and candidates because we have an opportunity to set a new agenda, create a new atmosphere, and accomplish much for the people of Tennessee.
“I anticipate that we are going to have a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate,” Brooks added. “This is an opportunity for us to vastly improve education, and serve Tennesseans in ways that will benefit them for generations.”
There are some fine people in the General Assembly, which is worth remembering when we as voters and citizens pick out and talk about the bad apples in Nashville all the time. Harry Brooks is one of the most genuine people that can be found in the Tennessee House. Brooks does have a reputation as a moderate, but in talking to Brooks one-on-one-and The Examiner has-more than anything else Brooks tends to be a problem solver. His background as an educator lends itself to finding solutions that work and in finding ways to give Tennessee schools all the help that they deserve without putting too much of a strain on our State's already-stretched budget.
Harry Brooks might make a fine Speaker, but the House Republican Caucus should be concerned that Brooks, Rep. Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), and Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) have all made it clear that they want to run for Speaker of the House. It is almost certain that House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R-Franklin) will also stand. In Session is also reporting that former House Republican Leader Bill Dunn is a potential candidate as well. If that is the case, it would be quite a reversal, since Dunn has repeatedly said both privately and publicly that he has no interest in the Leadership, which the Speaker would essentially be. In response to repeated Leadership teases and queries, Dunn has said that he felt "delivered" from such a position. It is no secret whatsoever that some of us would do anything that is legal and ethical to try to make Bill Dunn the Speaker of the Tennessee House.
Announcements of candidacies for Speaker among House Republicans should wait until after the General Election, because if members concern themselves with who is going to be Speaker before they win the November election, the GOP will suffer the same fate as the Democrats in 2008, and there will be a spirited election for Minority Leader.
In his speech Thursday evening, Zach Wamp told his supporters "the best candidate doesn't always win." A noble sentiment and a genuine truism on its face, but one that Wamp's supporters-presuming they believed him the best man for the job-already believe that in their hearts, and so do supporters of Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey. The world didn't need to hear either Wamp or Ramsey use their concession speeches as a means to sulk and whine over their loss. Ron Ramsey, at least, understood that.
Losing an election is never an enjoyable business, especially when you know that you have given the effort to win everything that you could and all that you have. The wealthiest candidate and the small-town politician who gets their start from money in a shoebox or a mason jar do have one thing in common-defeat is a risk that everyone who has ever entered politics and public service knowingly risk the day that they choose to make it a part of their lives. If a person takes defeat in a way that is bitter and undignified, the voters won't be the only ones to remember-so will the people who would be inclined to support the sore loser in the future in whatever they decide to do. If a man or woman takes a political loss with honor, other opportunities will likely be made available to that person or their supporters in the future, and as doors close, windows very often open.
The informed observer can't disagree with Zach Wamp's assertion that he couldn't overcome Bill Haslam's personal wealth which was injected into his campaign funding. As we know from the 2006 Tennessee U.S. Senate race, this is more than a fair point, because it was Bob Corker's personal wealth that helped propel him to victory. However, in 2006 there were points at which both of the more conservative candidates, former Congressmen Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, could have slammed the political door on Corker before his money and the Haslams' influence could become an overriding factor in the campaign. Similarly, the 2008 campaign for Governor saw the more conservative candidates, Wamp and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, both peak too early and fail to capitalize on doubts about Bill Haslam in the minds of the primary electorate.