Friday, March 31, 2006

Ronnie and daddy would be proud of Bob

This week Bob Corker attacked his GOP senate primary rivals.
On January 20, 2006, in a story in the Rogersville Review, Corker declared "he would follow what former President Ronald Reagan referred to as the 'eleventh commandment,' by not attacking Republican opponents as well as advice from his own father."

A peek under Corker's mayoral skirt

It's clearly become open season on Bob Corker in Chattanooga this week. So much for the candidate having a firm grip on his base there.
Check out this story today in the Chattanoogan:
Pay close attention to the quotes from city leaders who recall seeing Corker neglect his mayoral duties to campaign for the US Senate; their concerns over fiscal mismanagement; their take on the 911 fiasco; and their particularly revealing account of Corker dropping a dirty bomb on the executive director of the Westside Development Corporation in front of a cadre of stunned witnesses.

Can't stand the heat in your campaign kitchen? Start some fires elsewhere.

He started the week learning that his losing streak had continued over the weekend in GOP grassroot polls around the state.
He woke up midweek to a breaking 911 emergency scandal in his own political backyard.
Everywhere he looked he saw his likely democratic opponent Harold Ford Jr. being interviewed on substantive policy issues.
What is Bob Corker to do?
Step 1. - abandon earlier promises of staying positive and launch an attack on his GOP primary rivals.
Step 2. - dodge media calls about the 911 scandal, and instruct your political director to deny that any 911 problems ever existed in Chattanooga.
Step 3. - buy a shitload of paid media slots and tee up an ad campaign to tout the same conservative principles that everyone - Democrats and Republicans alike - have been calling into question.
Problems he may encounter in taking these steps?
1. Promising not to go negative and then going ballistic on his rivals doesn't sit well with voters. Not to mention the fact that attacking rivals for taking $$ as DC lobbyists while he wines and dines DC lobbyists for their $$ raises eyebrows.
2. The media is digging up facts that point to a serious 911 problem under his watch as Mayor - translation: the story has legs.
3. Spending so much $$ this early in the primary season sends a signal of desperation, not to much the fact that he is spending so much $$ this early in the primary season.
Things have been heating up in the Corker campaign kitchen this week. So why wouldn't he try to start fires elsewhere. A word of warning - sometimes the end result is that the candidate himself gets burned in the process.

Bob Corker's got some "splainin" to do

Check out bobuncorkered

The orange ink and middle finger amendment

Later today, the Knox county election commission will vote on how best to respond to a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that has put the fate of two-thirds of the incumbent county commissioners running for re-election there in legal limbo.
No one appears to have a handle on what action would best preserve the integrity of the election process for county races which are already underway.
The only certainty is that as the election commission debates, lawyers in the room will be using blackberries to communicate strategies on who they will sue next.
The mood right now is tense. When the commission gathers at 4 pm eastern time today you can be certain that blood pressures will be at an all time high.
So here's my advice to election commissioners on how to survive today's shoot out at the Knox-Co corral - someone should crack a joke. Not anything off color mind you. I'm thinking something more in line with the issue at hand.
For example, what if someone on the commission were to offer an off-the-wall amendment for consideration. Like recommending the current election be put off another three weeks in order to have time to secure a million gallons of orange ink. Once secured, the ink would distributed to polling places around the county in time for the next election go around. The amendment would require voters as they vote to dip their finger - let's go with the middle finger to make it even funnier - in the orange ink. On their way out of the polling places, voters would also be encouraged to display their middle fingers to other voters in line, to poll workers and to local TV news cameras while reporters are doing their standup stories about election day turnout.
One can only smile at the thought of local TV news directors worrying over whether or not to blur the middle fingers being displayed out of concern for offending their local viewers.
"Hey junior, come quick. The fellers on TV are flipping us off in big orange!"
I realize this election stuff is serious business. I know that the future of many candidates hang in the balance with today's vote, and that there are all sorts of complex legal issues to resolve. And I totally get that if the right decisions are not made, Knox County may experience what Bill Murray once predicted in the movie Ghostbusters - a situation so desperate you'll even have "cats and dogs living in sin."
But hell, even Lon Cheney, that most sinister and gloomy actor of the early 20th century, did a movie called "Laugh Clown, Laugh."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's about the followership stupid

Tennessee political flashback - September 30, 2002.
Van Hilleary - now running for the U.S. Senate, then running for Governor.
In a rare moment of eloquence, Hilleary said during a debate:
"The first thing a leader needs to be is to be able to follow. Followership needs to be learned by a leader before they become a leader because then you can emphathize with those who you purport to lead."
My son's pet hamster couldn't have said it any better.

Someone please turn back on the lights in Hendersonville

Back in 476 AD a period known as the "Dark Ages" began in Europe. The civilizations of Greece and Rome had fallen, and in their place had risen generations of narrow-minded leaders who governed on the principles of hate and destruction while wrapping themselves in the cloak of Christianity.
For many years now our state has made great strides in putting aside past racial, ethnic and religious biases to achieve the goals of prosperity and enlightment.
But today a leader among us has emerged as one who reflects a Dark Ages mindset.
Her name is Debra Maggart, and she is a Republican state represenative from Hendersonville in Sumner County.
Earlier this week Maggart went on Nashville TV ( 3/27/06) to stand by her earlier claims that gay couples adopt children for the purpose of having someone to molest. Her remarks were almost too grotesque to take seriously, but we as citizens must do so.
Anyone who would damn souls with such reckless disregard for the truth has no business being in a position of power in our society. For Rep. Maggart to make such claims while wrapping herself in the cloak of Christianity is an insult to those of us who believe that the teachings of Christ were of love, tolerance and kindness toward your fellow man.
The only step citizens must take in this instance is to reject the kind of darkness Maggart's thinking can bring over a commmunity and its people.
Someone please turn back on the lights in Hendersonville and expose Maggart for what she really is - a hatemonger who - if left unchecked - will usher in an era of dark times for Sumner County.

Miracle Mayor Bob didn't answer the phone

According to accounts in an article published in this morning's Chattanooga News Free Press, Senate candidate Bob Corker, while Mayor of Chattanooga, "thwarted efforts to improve 911 communications" by refusing to adequately fund key communications positions. The charges were leveled by retired Chattanooga police chief Jimmie Dotson.
According to Dotson, his department spent "many hours battling with the Corker administration" to get funding needed to address the growing problem of unanswered 911 calls.
Corker, who dodged a reporter's call on the matter, had his Senate campaign political director Todd Womack respond by saying he "did not recall Mr. Dotson requesting more 911 employees."
The Times Free Press reports that both the former deputy police chief and former police department budget director recall Dotson pushing for more personnel to handle the increase in unanswered 911 calls during Corker's tenure as Mayor.
According to the newspaper, records show "the number of unanswered calls rose steadily during his four years as Mayor."
Ed Bryant, one of Corker's rival GOP primary opponents, released a statement questioning "whether he (Corker) did all he could to fix the problem or if he allowed the city's emergency call system to lapse into 911 'dial-a-prayer.'"
Don't be surprised to see a campaign theme emerging in this year's hotly contested GOP Senate primary - Bob Corker's so-called "miracle deeds" as Mayor of Chattanooga are in fact little more than "sleight of hand."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A life lesson from Governor Bredesen and my 9-year old daughter

Last night while Governor Bredesen was rolling out his Cover Tennessee initiative to the General Assembly, I was seated at a restaurant on Elliston Place with my wife and 9-year old daughter MaryKathryn waiting for a legislator friend to join us. Until my friend from the Hill arrived, MaryKathryn wouldn't speak to me, and when she did glance at me, tears would well up in her eyes. She was angry because in an earlier moment of misdirected frustration over where to sit I snapped at our waitress, dressing her down in front of the other patrons.
This morning as my daughter was eating her breakfast I sat down and apologized for my outburst. Her response was direct and to the point - "Daddy, she was doing the best she could, and you always tell me that we should give people who work hard a chance."
After my talk with with MaryKathryn, I read through emails about the Governor's speech on Cover Tennessee. In similar clarity the Governor outlined a vision of giving Tennesseans who work for small busineses and who are self-employed a chance at better health and an opportunity to share in the American dream.
In his every word I heard the echo of my own voice to my children - lecturing them on how owning something makes someone personally responsible, and on how we as citizens have a responsibility to work together to give people who are trying their best a fighting chance.
By promoting a portable plan the Governor is giving working Tennesseans ownership of their health. By promoting an affordable plan, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens - even total strangers like the young woman working at the restaurant on Elliston Place - can have access to basic health care services.
The Governor was smart to set boundaries on his vision - no new government entitlement program. What he proposes is more of an equally shared responsiblity between individuals, small business employers and the government.
Much will be written and debated on the finer points of the Governor's ideas, but I personally will not forget the life lesson I learned from MaryKathryn. At the end of the day, she and Governor Bredesen are right - we should put aside our selfish tendancies and do what we can to give people who deserve it a fighting chance.

Monday, March 27, 2006

We all knew the day would come...

when the Democrats would stand as the strong voice of fiscal reason and responsibility, and the GOP would be exposed as the party of bankruptcy-style management of our tax dollars.
See today's Nashville City Paper op-ed by Harold Ford, Jr., Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, on balancing our federal budget. This go around, the Democrats are the only party in the Tennessee U.S. Senate race to field candidates who have a solid record in support of balanced budgets and true fiscal conservative values.

Derailing Thomas The Tank Engine

I have a friend whose son loves watching Thomas The Tank Engine. The storyline is easy to follow - Thomas and his hommies are train engines that always manage to go in the right direction with the help of Sir Topham Hatt, the railhouse manager.
Today I read an article in Time Magazine (3/26/06) that got me thinking about Thomas and his friends.
Not too long ago the GOP seemed to be operating in Thomas' world - with a clear sense of direction and a steady hand at the railhouse helm. But somewhere along the way their plans jumped track.
President Bush - the GOP's Sir Topham Hatt - is steering Republican trains toward certain derailment. According to Time, 3 in 5 Americans today believe our nation is headed in the wrong direction.
Most GOP candidates, including those locked in a tough U.S. Senate primary fight in Tennessee, will have to figure out between now and Election Day how to position themselves against the backdrop of a series of Republican-engineered fiascos - the Republican ethics scandals, the GOP's failure to curb government spending, the rollout of a confusing GOP prescription drug plan for seniors, and the Republican's conflicted postures over national security and the war in Iraq.
According to the Time article, GOP candidates this year are seriously conflicted - do they run with or against the President? Imagine Thomas and his friends turning their collective cabooses on Sir Topham Hatt.
In the end GOP candidates should not expect voters in their own party - much less Independent/swing voters - to climb aboard their campaign trains if all they have have to offer are the failed principles and policies of their own party's railhouse manager.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I hate myself already

This election cycle I've decided to campaign against Mike Kopp.
Not me personally, but a Republican goob named Mike Kopp running for the State Senate in Colorado.
I'm not going to campaign against Mike Kopp because I care what goes on in Colorado. I have never been to Colorado. I can't snow ski worth a damn - bunny slopes scare the shit out of me; ski suits make me feel fatter than I already am; and it just seems too damn cold to visit.
But thanks to a blog comment posted by idava, I was made aware that Mike Kopp is a right wing nut running for office. Apparently Kopp's candidacy is part of strategy by the GOP to take back the Colorado legislature.
As dear Miss Pickett in D.C. (my landlord way back when) was fond of saying - "we'll just have none of that now, will we?"
I don't normally disclose strategy but I figure it would do no harm since the race is thousands of miles away from here.
So here goes.
Strategy step 1) I will indentity the Democratic opponent to Mike Kopp.
Strategy step 2) I will contribute an amount equal to the cost of doing one piece of direct mail to a single voter in Colorado.
Strategy step 3) I will offer to the Democratic candidate a suggestion to use my name in a testmonial format in the direct mail piece to be sent to the voter of their choosing ("I can only afford to underwrite the cost of one mail piece, so choose well" I will say).
Strategy step 4) The message I will draft and offer for my testimonial will be something along the lines of "I'm Mike Kopp, and I ask you not to vote for Mike Kopp. Why? Because I know Mike Kopp is a right wing nut case, and even Mike Kopp doesn't like that fact. So please vote for the other guy. The preceding message was paid for by Mike Kopp."
That's pretty much it.
Try it yourself. Google your name is see if you too are a right wing nut job running for something somewhere, and then get involved.
Who said one individual can't make a difference in politics anymore?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Republicans' early attacks on Ford a sign of "GOP jitters" over the U.S. Senate race

This week's issue of Newsweek features an article by Jonathan Darman with a headline that pretty much sums up where things stand in the race to replace U.S. Bill Frist.
The headline (and subhead)read: "The Senate: Digging For Dirt In Dixie - One sign of the GOP jitters: Republicans are already going negative on a black candidate running in Tennessee."
The story focuses on the fact that the GOP has - in unprecedented fashion - pushed up their standard timeline for going negative with the creation and promotion of a negative web site attacking democratic candidate Harold Ford, Jr. Darman writes that "the very existence of the site reveals something about the Republicans: they are so worried about Ford's candidacy they're going negative five months before the primary."
Darmon adds that with Ford's moderate record and star appeal, "they (the GOP) have reason for concern."

Calling "Joey" out

A few postings ago I threatened to call out the clowns who attempted to spread baseless rumors that 5th District Congressman Jim Cooper might not run for re-election. Unfortunately with every election cycle, a handful of clueless politico-wannabes will surface with whisper campaigns designed to make people think they're in the know.
In my earlier posting I confirmed that to the contrary Coop is running hard again and that his plan is to continue to serve the people of his district.
The rumor seemed to dry up, so I figured that was the end of that nonsense.
That was until I heard from friends who overheard earlier this week a young enebreated wannabe named "Joey" spin a wild tale about Coop suffering from an undisclosed illness. "Joey" - between shots and belches - claimed that Coop would not be able to serve any longer because of it.
Turns out this "Joey" fellow is reportedly the campaign manager for Davidson County court clerk candidate John Arriola. Knowing John Arriola, I figure when John gets wind of the horseshit his campaign manager is spreading about Coop, he'll do the right thing and move swiftly to shut him down.
Coop, who works out regularly, has reportedly taken up kickboxing as part of his regimen. Healthy in every respect, Coop is clearly in campaign running shape.
My advice to "Joey" would be to steer clear of Coop between now and election day. Word has it that Coop's got a mean knee strike-front kick combo.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

MEMO TO STATE GOP: Tennessee voters across the board want Bredesen to stay.

Every year I make a New Year's resolution to lose weight and grow hair. By March of that same new year I end up calling my resolution for what it is - a losing proposition.
So too should the state GOP in March 2006 with regard to the Tennessee Governor's race.
All the posturing and the parading of possible GOP gubernatorial candidates cannot mask the truth - Bredesen will win re-election this year.
Why am I so confident about this?
Back in 2002, I worked in a congressional race and witnessed first hand the handiwork of a sharp pollster named Fred Yang who has a knack for dead-on accuracy when it comes to calling political races. Yang, who was also Bredesen's pollster last go around, is at it again.
Yesterday my sticky fingers nabbed a copy of a March 21st internal polling memo from Yang to Governor Bredesen. Yang was reporting on the results of a statewide poll of 600 likely Tennessee voters taken last week - between March 15 - 19. The survey was vintage Yang - a full bodied, across the board representative sampling of the state by region, race and other key demographics (not your run of the mill, cheap ass, lazy, random calling type survey).
Yang's core findings - Bredesen is in the strongest possible position going into the election season - ranked as the most popular elected official in the state by far - with a 63% positive rating and a 16% negative rating.
At this point my GOP friends may want to "look away" and start humming the chorus to Dixie instead of reading further.
Yang also documented Bredesen's support to be strongly bi-partisan and very deep-seated -- with a 68% positive rating among Independents and a 56% positive rating from Republicans.
Yang's memo went further looking at job performance - where Bredesen was rated by two thirds (65%) of Tennesseans as doing an excellent or good job.
WARNING TO GOP FRIENDS: You really, really don't want to read this next line.
The results also showed Bredesen garnering support from two thirds of voters in GOP stronghold regions such as the Knoxville area.
Yang's memo concludes with the most amazing stat - in 2002, two thirds of Tennesseans felt the state was heading in the wrong direction (remember Sundquist?). Today half of the electorate (50%) say Tennessee is now on the right track.
Yang's conclusion - "voters across Tennessee now feel confident that the state has finally turned the corner and is making progress in dealing with important issues."
All this to say, Governor Bredesen is in office to stay.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bob The Explorer

What do Amerigo Vespucci, Ferdinand Magellan, Leif Erickson (not the teen idol), Henry The Navigator and Bob Clement have in common? Can you say famous explorers?
In case you missed it, back on February 14th - the same day I was try to wrestle other deadbeat husbands for the last box of chocolates in the candy aisle at Kroger on my way home to spend Valentine's Day with my sweet wife - Bob Clement sent out a news release declaring that he had formed an "exploratory committee" to help him decide whether or not to run for Mayor of Nashville. The news hit Nashville like a change in the weather - few really cared and no one who did care was surprised by it.
Filing "the necessary papers to form an exploratory committee" is like buying a pair of very expensive running shoes - everyone expects you to put them on and enter a race sooner or later. Calling it "exploratory" simply adds to the suspense. When will the candidate actually try on the sneakers? When will he start running the race? And what if they don't fit - will he take them back and trade them for a nice comfortable pair of house slippers?
I'm betting Bob plans to run for Mayor of Nashville (how's that for going out on a limb?), but I do have questions.
For one, Clement asked Larry Woods, one of the Nashville's smarter politicos, to be the chair of the "exploratory committee." Does this make him chief scout for the exploratory team? The Larry Woods I know is known more for getting stuff done than for riding around looking for the next place to pitch camp.
And what about the other members of Bob the Explorer's "exploratory committee?" Who are they? Can anyone cook? I hope for Bob's sake he names a good cook to his explorer team - history will show that hunger led many explorations to a disastrous ending. And I hope Bob the Explorer has a good map - every explorer needs to have a sense of where they are going.
The race is not until 2007, but look for Bob the Explorer to eventually try on the running shoes this year and to officially declare his candidacy. Even though it's important to our city's future, I'm afraid when he does officially announce the challenge Bob will face will be getting voters to pay attention. After all, like most folks, I tend to spend most days like I did this past Valentine's Day - trying in vain to dig myself out of a personal hole.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Getting civil with Fred Thompson

It was the morning of July 4, 1995. I had shown up at a Middle Tennessee boat dock with my wife Stacey and toddler son Logan at the invitation of Dale Gish, a friend who owned a massive yacht (think Greek tycoon-ish). Gish had asked us to join his family, along with "a couple of other friends," to take an all day cruise up the Cumberland River, ending the day watching the fireworks from his boat in downtown Nashville. It was a welcome break for me, having spent some time trying to sort out my life after enduring a long, unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign working for Jim Cooper a few months before.
We got settled on the upper deck with Gish to began the long, slow journey down the River. After we pulled away from shore, the two friends Gish spoke of emerged from a lower observation deck that I had not yet explored. The friends were a lovely young woman and Fred Thompson, Tennessee's newly sworn in U.S. Senator.
Gish, not realizing the significance and timing of the union, introduced me to Fred and his date. For a brief moment - although it seemed like hours - Fred and I just stood face to face, staring at one another. Both were certainly not anticipating the encounter - not there, not then. But in typical Fred Thompson fashion, his facial expression turned from disbelief into a broad shit-eating grin. He stretched his hand out toward me and blurted to Gish, "I know this fella all too well."
As fate would have it, I had spent most of my waking hours during the previous 18 months attacking Fred Thompson in the public arena (on TV, radio and in print), doing all I could to tarnish his reputation as an actor, lawyer, lobbyist and politician.
Shortly after the introduction, Fred invited me to settle into an area of the boat where we could talk. I recall him saying something to the effect that "if we're going to be stuck on this damn boat together for the next 12 hours, we should at least try to be civil about it all."
During our chat we recounted some details of the 1994 race, including some of my more pointed attacks on him ("Gucci-wearing, Lincoln-driving, cigar-smoking, two-bit actor turned D.C. lobbyist who will say and do anything to get elected" was clearly one of his favorites). As only Fred Thompson could do, he managed to take an otherwise potentially volatile encounter and turn it into a pleasant - almost bonding - exchange with a recognized political arch enemy.
While I still hold fast to my belief that the better, more qualified man - Jim Cooper - lost that race, I do see why Howard Baker, the epitome of political civility, would be urging the White House to consider bringing in Fred Thompson to be the President's chief of staff.
At a time of great turmoil in Washington - from strained Administration-congressional relations to free-falling public support for virtually all of Bush's initiatives - a little dose of Fred Thompson might be good for ails the White House.
While I doubt - if he brought in Fred Thompson - that I would have any newfound respect for President Bush and all he represents, Bush would be making a smart political move having Fred Thompson help steer his ship.
I can see Fred now working his magic, pulling together a group of angry congressional leaders, sitting them down, and saying through a broad shit-eating grin..."since we're going to be stuck together in office another 24 months with this President, we at least try to be civil about it all."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Governor, I hope you didn't drink the water!

I think it was great that Governor Bredesen went to Iraq and Afganistan to visit with our Tennessee national guard troops. His going was good for troop morale and is certainly consistent with his fight to preserve funding for the Tennessee units.
But I hope while he was visiting the bases he didn't drink the water.
What's wrong with the water you ask?
This week, according to U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), the Pentagon's Inspector General has begun an investigation into allegations that Halliburton - operating within the scope of one of its infamous no-bid federal military contracts - may not have properly managed the water purification system for our troops that it was commissioned to handle.
Expecting our troops to tolerate unpurified water drawn from the Euphrates River (no, this ain't the Garden of Eden anymore) is asking too much. Paying a multi-national corporation billions to do a job they didn't do is just plain wrong.

Shoveling Snow's Shit In DC

Someone shut U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow up already.
On the heels of yesterday's vote in the U.S. Senate to raise the federal debt limit by another $781 Billion, John Snow (who last week was accused by fiscal conservatives in Congress for under reporting the federal deficit by a few hundred billion dollars) released a statement applauding Congress for "protecting the full faith and credit of the United States" (Washington Post 3/17/06).
Does Snow really see what the Senate did as an achievement of a proud fiscal milestone? Need we remind Snow that - with this vote - his boss - President Bush - has achieved a milestone of his own - holding the distinction of having raised the debt limit more than all previous 42 U.S. Presidents combined.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

GOP sentences America to debtor's prison

Today the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, under the leadership of majority leader (and ex-fiscal conservative) Bill Frist, will likely vote to raise our country's debt limit at the request of the GOP-controlled White House by another $781 billion. This increase is on top of repeated debt limit increases under this Administration that to date total more than $3 trillion.
President Bush has promised time and again to pay down the debt, but his words and actions don't match up. For perspective, in Democratic President Clinton's last term in office the debt limit was not increased at all.
Why does this matter to average Joes like you and me?
Aside from the fact that federal spending under GOP leadership is out of control, and that none of us want to leave our kids and their great, great grandchildren saddled with this kind of debt, the effect of this is that we have planted a FOR SALE sign on our nation's shores, inviting foreign interests to buy our debt, thereby sentencing America to what amounts to a modern day global debtor's prison.
Consider these facts (unfortunately, this is merely a snapshot of the whole dismal picture):
- we currently owe Japan $668 billion
- we currently owe China $260 billion
- we currently owe the UK $240 billion
- we currently owe South Korea $60 billion.
Hell, we even owe Carribean banking centers over $100 billion!
At the end of the day, how can we as a nation maintain some global independence and do what we have to do to protect our national interests when we are in debt to foreign interests?
Message to voters - the GOP does not reflect American values of sound financial stewardship. Their continued neglect of conservative fiscal management principle must end.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This southern boy will eat Mary's lamb any day!

The Democratic National Committee is heading toward the prospect of adding a southern state to the early roster of states on the presidential nominating schedule.
It appears that someone in D.C. has finally recognized the fact that having a state like New Hampshire - think 96% white, less than 2 percent Latino, and .07% African American - may not be truly reflective of the diversity that makes up the modern day Democratic party.
Give that rocket scientist a Nobel Prize!
New Hampshire's Secretary of State is threatening to move up their state's presidential vote if another more diverse state is put ahead of it on the calendar for 2008.
Any state that boasts being home to the author who penned "Mary Had A Little Lamb" is no threat to the rest of the nation (see history on Sarah Josepha Hale, Newport, New Hampshire author, 1830).
States interested in being considered are to submit proposals by April 14th to the Party's Rules and Bylaws Committee. State pitches will be made at the DNC's spring meeting April 20-22.

Corker tapping K Street lobbyists for $$

Roll Call, a D.C. political insider rag, has an interesting piece out (March 6, 2006)about GOP U.S. senate candidates who are utilizing a "bundling, team approach" to secure major mullah from K Street lobbyists in D.C.
Bob Corker, who has told Tennessee voters that he is the only candidate in the U.S. Senate race who is not beholding to D.C. special interests and that he will run as a Washington outsider, is mentioned by the Roll Call as one of several candidates working hard to pull together a K Street team to raise $$ from the D.C. lobbyist community.
While I believe that taking $$ from lobbyists in and of itself is not necessarily evil, I do contend that running a campaign based on being an outsider while working hard at trying to be an insider is just plain dishonest.
I happened to be on the receiving end of the Fred Thompson tsunami when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994. He was not one to try to hide his D.C. credentials then or since. You'd think Corker would learn from other's success.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Did I done good Mr. Cause-Morgan?

During my sophmore year in high school I got a 37 score on one of my first Latin tests. I remember my teacher Mr. Norman Cause-Morgan lecturing me on the fact that if I continued to get 37s I would flunk out in life.
This weekend, at the elephant orgy known as the southern republican leadership conference, after spending God only knows how much $$ - busing in supporters and paying their way into the ballot box, not to mention hosting it in his own political backyard - native son and presidential candidate wanna be Bill Frist got just 37 percent of the vote.
I had to crack up listening to the broadcast talking heads this weekend and today report this fact as if Frist had just won a booty call.
Absum! (latin translation - "I'm outta here!")

I got your spin right here

I wonder how the three U.S. Senate GOP candidates plan to spin the fact that Bill Frist - according to ABC's This Week - still contends that if Dubai Ports World passes the President's smell test "I don't see how the deal would have to be cancelled." MEMO TO: BILL FRIST, FROM: GOP SENATE CANDIDATES, RE: Please let this freaking issue die so we don't have to talk about it anymore.

Taxpayers get snowed by Snow

5th district U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper has joined fellow congressional moderate and conservative fiscal hawks in demanding "more honesty and accountability from the Administration" when it comes to reporting the federal deficit and government spending to taxpayers. Cooper and members of the Blue Dog Coalition were specifically critical of recent claims by Treasury Secretary John Snow that the deficit in 2005 was $319 billion. Cooper says the deficit is actually more than double that - north of $760 billion. Cooper's charges were echoed by the Comptroller General of U.S. who said the model used by the Bush adminstration "provides a potentially unrealistic and misleading picture" of the federal budget.
Why does any of this matter to average Joes like me and you?
I like a good game of Monopoly like anyone else, but our tax dollars ain't play money and it just makes good sense for our leaders - from Bush to Congress - to be more transparent with the truth.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The lying SOB; and running from the Bush

Some random thoughts...

The Lying SOB -- In today's Tennessean (3/10/06) Chris Devaney, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, defended his party's decision to bar one of their own from attending this weekend's Memphis elephant orgy. Devaney said Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo could not attend - not because he is a leading advocate for tougher immigration laws - but because no invited speaker is a member of the US House of Representatives. Devaney failed to tell the reporter that Illinois Congressman Dennis Hastert is a scheduled speaker at one of the weekend sessions.

Running from the Bush -- Republican pollsters are now advising GOP candidates in 06 to stay clear of President Bush, whose approval rating at 34 percent may soon rival Osama Bin Laden's. Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster, said of Bush "he has no political capial...there's a distinct correlation between the trajectory of his approval numbers and the -- I don't want to call it disloyalty -- the independence on the part of the Republicans in Congress." (Washington Post 3/10/06)

Stuff it Frist

Bums on Beale Street this weekend will be competing for attention and dollars with the likes of Bill Frist, RNC hatchetman Ken Mehlman, and a host of other assorted GOP fruits and nuts - in town for the southern republican leadership conference (can you say elephant orgy?).
Frist is there to stuff it - the straw poll ballot box that is.
The event marks the first 2008 GOP presidential straw poll, one that Frist cannot afford to lose. Frist's strategy - have chief lackey Chip Saltsman stuff the ballot box - or to be more specific, make sure enough people who like Frist get the $ they need to pay to vote and be counted.
You gotta love our political system!

Mr. Corker goes to Washington

Bob Corker needs a new campaign message. His stump speech during his announcement swing last week was that he's running as a Washington outsider. While I generally don't put much stock in that stump schtick (say that 3 times fast), I'll give him points for an attempt at a message.
But here comes the rub.
Over the past week when he was not campaigning in Tennessee feeding his DC outsider claims to hungry, yet unsuspecting local rural GOP activists, he was in fact spending time in - you guessed it - Washington, DC.
It's a few weeks too early to see the cherry blossoms bloom around the Jefferson Memorial, so why else would Mr. Outsider spend three whole days in DC?
My old DC friends say he was spotted being wined and dined at some high brow establishments with some pretty heavy duty DC lobbyists. US Sen. Lamar Alexander was even seen trying to help Corker get some face time in front of GOP members of Congress.
Why the sudden interest in DC?
Truth is there is no sudden interest in DC. Corker needs - and has been working hard for some time to get - support from DC insiders who will help bankroll his "I'm an outsider" act.
So why attack others in the Senate race for being DC insiders? That's simple - if you sound sincere, say it with enough passion, and say it often enough, some poor schmuck will actually buy your line.
Problem for Corker is that the dude with the camera following him around DC taking photos of him playing with lobbyists and DC insiders will come back to haunt him.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Washington Post/National Journal's The Hotline On Tennessee US Senate Race

The Washington Post (3/10/06) moves the Tennessee race up from #9 to #7 on the top races to watch list.
The National Journal's The Hotline (3/9/06) reported "Ford is running a very disciplined campaign; making his GOP foes debate the ports deal was very smart. meanwhile, the Republican primary is starting to engage for real; how long will Hilleary and Bryant allow Corker to have the airwaves to himself?"

GOP Congressman Wamp makes a cameo appearance in Bob Corker's nightmare

Bob Corker has got to hope it's all just a bad dream.
He sees himself standing alone - bare-assed naked - in front of a spotlight.
His nightmare is playing out this way:
- more than two thirds of Americans and a majority of Tennesseans are against your position to turn over control of America's seaports to an Arab firm.
- your fellow Chattanoogan Zach Wamp, the only Republican in Congress to endorse Corker, has now taken a stand against a deal, voting to kill it in a House Appropriations Committee vote yesterday;
- your principal Democratic opponent - Harold Ford, Jr. - has cut a TV spot that is airing all over the state - taking a strong stand against the deal arguing national security reasons;
- because of Ford's stance, the respected National Journal publication reports today that Ford is getting the upper hand in the Senate race;
- your position has just been endorsed by Exxon and other multi-national corporate interests who argue that America needs more foreign interests buying our debt and controlling more of our businesses;
- and the Arab firm that created this political firestorm is moving aggressively to take control of the seaports, hoping to make it more difficult to oust them once they have control of all operations.
A nightmare?
Sorry Bob, it's not a dream.
And you can't just click your heels and go home again.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Stop it Bob, you're starting to scare me.

"I know there is a lot of demagoguery on the issue and people taking advantage of the issue politically." - US Senate candidate Bob Corker, Kingsport Times News 3/7/06, responding to a question about his position to take a wait and see approach to turning over management of six major American seaports to an Arab-owned firm.

When I first heard a few days ago that Corker had taken a position to support further study of the Dubai Ports World deal, I honestly chalked it up to bad advice from some D.C.-based consultant or policy wonk who was out of touch with how most Tennesseans feel about national security and this issue in particular.

Let's face it, studying this issue further is like cramming for a urine test. No amount of studying will change the outcome.

This national security issue is also not difficult for dumbasses like me to understand and come to terms with. I don't have a fancy college degree and I never studied international affairs here or abroad. Hell, I don't even like foreign films. Like most Tennesseans I know, I'm simply an American citizen who is fed up with politicians who want to argue and debate the finer points of stupid policy.

The way I see it, stupid policy doesn't need further study or debate. And politicians who support stupid policy need to be sent on hunting trips with Dick Cheney.

Which brings me back to Corker.

Mr. "I'm not like everyone else in Washington" Corker.
Mr. "I'm tough on terrorism" Corker.
Mr. "I'm against demogoguery on this issue" Corker.

Corker's position on the Dubai Ports World deal is not smart politically, nor is it in our country's best interest. Why he won't simply say that is beyond me.

So I offer up the only explanation I can muster for why Corker feels as he does on this issue - he's just to freaking naive to know any better.

Which is a scary thing to say about anyone who wants to be in the United States Senate.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Political brain fart heard 'round the state

GOP U.S. Senate candidate Bob Corker, in a forum yesterday hosted by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, did the unthinkable for anyone running in this year's Republican primary race - he took the side against national security interests.
In what can only be explained as a political brain fart, Corker declared that he would side with President Bush and oppose any effort by Congress to immediately kill the deal with Dubai Ports World, in effect allowing the United Arab Emirates firm to take control of operations and security of six major American seaports while further study is conducted.
As expected, during the forum Corker's two GOP primary opponents took issue with the deal and Van Hilleary even sided with Democratic challenger Harold Ford Jr. by declaring that if he could he (Van) would override any veto attempt by Bush to protect the deal with the Arab firm.
Republican strategists here in Tennessee and in D.C. have got to scratching their heads wondering why Corker would stick a bull's eye on his ass and invite the attacks that are sure to come now by siding with Bush on this one.
Let the games begin.