Friday, October 27, 2006

Once again, Coop raises the Bar

While the GOP has been busy shoveling shit onto the airwaves, Nashville's congressman - Jim Cooper - has been focused on substance.
Coop gave a speech earlier in the year to the Nashville Bar Association that outlined serious concerns about the White House's attempts to aggressively claim the powers of the other branches of federal government. Never one to mince words, Coop condemned "congressional bipartisan underperformance," noting that "White House overreaching would not be possible without congressional complicity and negligence."
The speech apparently has resonated with constitutional scholars nationwide. This week Coop received a top award by the American Bar Association for his insight and grasp of these important constitutional concerns that impact the very heart and soul of our representative democracy.
Now if we can just put Coop in the majority this election, ensuring that we see more of his intellect at work for our nation!

October surprise?

A couple of months ago a handful of national reporters chronicled comments by Bush advisor Karl Rove that he remained confident about the GOP chances of retaining control of Congress, in part, he said, because an October surprise was planned.
Election day is 11 days away. So where's the October surprise?
Could be it's already in play. Could be it's already in play, but it's NOT playing out as planned.
If that's the case, let's consider some possible tactics put into play this month that might NOT be achieving desired results for the GOP.
The drop in gas prices?
A mere coincidence that prices dropped dramatically for the first time this year the very month before the the election? Maybe. But if not, this week's reported 3rd quarter multi-billion dollar profits for the oil companies stands to re-ignite the embers of consumer anger over the lack of a consistent and coherent policy on energy by the GOP leadership in the White House and Congress.
Progress in Iraq?
The most significant October development that was not likely forseen by Rove and Co. - the largest U.S. troop body count for a single month since the alleged war on terror began.
Aggressive airwave attack directed by Rove and the RNC in key races?
The controversial RNC funded tv attack on Harold Ford Jr. - involving racial undertones and lies about Ford - that we now know was produced by Rove protege Scott Howell has ended up backfiring on Bob Corker's campaign and the GOP overall. One of Howell's GOP clients - Sen. John McCain - is denouncing the pathetic hatchet job done on Ford, as is Corker and Corker campaign manager Tom Ingram. Problem for Corker and Co. is that Tennessee voters are proving they are just too damn smart to buy Corker's embarassing attempt at plausible deniability.
October surprise?
There's still time for one. But my sense is that there will be no significant surprises at this late stage, including how the GOP fares on Election Day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Yo "Angry" - fire the dude who made you debate Rochelle

Here's some free, unsolicited advice for state senator Mae "Angry" Beavers - "fire the person in your posse who suggested you debate challenger Bob Rochelle."
And while you're at it Mae, "go ahead and demote the person who prepped you for it(I'd recommend sticking them on one of your campaign's midnight Rochelle yard sign de-placement drive-bys out around Tuckers Crossroad)."
Folks...I tried watching the debate last night...really I did. But I admit to having been challenged to stay tuned to it - what with all of "Angry's" paper shuffling, her serious rapid eye blinking (remember what Freud said about rapid eye blinking?), and her rambling over dead issues like the state income tax.
Rochelle on the other hand was calm, cool, collected and knowledgable. Unlike "Angry", Rochelle did not have to rely on notecards with talking points or copies of documents to make a point.
My take on the event - "Angry" came off looking like the bumbling, fumbling ineffective bureaucrat she has become. Last night she offered no evidence that she's done anything concrete during her tenure in office to help schools, improve access to health care or address other pressing issues facing Tennessee families.
Zero - nada.
All she offered up were baseless negative attacks on her opponent that reflect what the GOP across the state and the nation have come to represent this election cycle.
Nuff said.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A war without end?

This factoid passed along by an observant reader of this blog...President Bush's so-called war on terror has dragged on longer than World War II - including both the European and Pacific campaigns.

The Corker motto - "Believe as I say - not as I do"

Bob Corker has publicly denounced the latest RNC tv ad that takes cheap shots at Harold Ford Jr. - which uses actors to play the roles of everyone from a porn pusher to a "scantily clad" blonde woman who winks at the camera. Critics have declared that the ad reflects all that is wrong with politics today - unfounded personal attacks with zero substance and no regard for issues that matters to Tennesseans.
Feeling the heat, Corker's campaign manager de jour Tom Ingram was quoted as saying that the ad does not reflect "the kind of campaign we are running."
But while the Corker posse talks nice, facts tell a different story.
Speaking on CNN Sunday, Ron Brownstein, a respected political reporter veteran for the LA Times, commented that the same RNC operative who stated that the RNC would not take the controversial ad off the air (despite alleged pleas from Ingram) "is the very same person that travels and talks to press on Bob Corker's behalf every day."
Brownstein's assessment - "the whole thing looks a little disingenuous."
Amen bro.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mr. Ed pisses away what remains of his credibility

How sad.
Ed Bryant, who raised his stock among many on both sides of the political aisle for speaking his mind and the truth about the real Bob Corker during the GOP primary, now appears in a tv spot endorsing Corker for the Senate.
He'll soon discover how much credibility can be pissed away in 30 seconds on tv.
BTW - I guess Bryant's re-entry into the political game makes him fair game for any reporters who might ask him if intends to return the $$ he got while in the primary race from alleged wanna-be-Internet porn star Craig Schelske.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A TN GOP candidate got some $$ from an alleged wanna-be Internet porn star

Over the weekend - as local media scrambled to cover the scandal involving Sara Evans and her soon-to-be ex-husband Craig Schelske - state GOP party honcho Chris Devaney was quoted in the Tennessean as saying that Schelske's conservative political PAC had made no contributions to the state party.
What Devaney failed to mention - a mere oversight perhaps - is that according to the FEC's online campaign finance disclosures, as recent as March of this year, Craig PAC - headed by the alleged wanna-be Internet porn star - had made two contributions totaling $4,200 to the failed senate bid of GOP candidate Ed Bryant.
Does anyone care? Probably not since Bryant is yesterday's news.
But I find this information to be important if we are to understand the influence this dude was trying to have on our state's political landscape.

Bob Got Mail

Email records for ex-Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker released under an open records request show that Corker was not afraid to use his taxpayer funded, city hall email account while on the public dole to get updates on Freeliant - one of his private sector business investments. He also used his city hall email account to schedule meetings with business partners, and to make calls on behalf of and pass along contacts he'd developed as Mayor on to Freeliant.
Corker's misuse of the city's email account comes days after news got out that Freeliant got $3 million from Delta Capital Management, a Memphis-based venture capital fund. Delta Capital got the business under Corker to manage the city's pension fund.
Corker's mouthpiece says their candidate did nothing wrong. His mouthpiece said
Corker's involvement with Freeliant was as a "passive investor."
Passive - smassive.
Smart voters who are fed up with the Corkers of the world who see public office as a means to a personal financial gain end see it otherwise.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Those flashing blue lights were no police escort for Bryson

If you happened to be driving down West End Avenue in Nashville yesterday afternoon and noticed the Metro police cruiser - blue lights flashing - snuggled up next to Jim Bryson's campaign bus, you might have wondered if the candidate had hired a police escort to get him through traffic.
Not a chance.
The cruiser in question had stopped to ticket Bryson's bus for illegal parking.
According to an eyewitness the size of Bryson's bus - the candidate likes to call it his big bus (yea I know...there's lots of speculation about why Bryson seems fixated on size comparisons...)- did not obviously intimidate this particular officer.
No word on the size of the fine his campaign was slapped with.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Seismic shockwaves are coming out of East Tennessee

Today conservative political analyst Frank Cagle has endorsed Harold Ford Jr. for the U.S. Senate. Cagle's endorsement was published in today's edition of the Metro Pulse, a Knoxville alternative weekly.
Cagle's endorsement of Ford is guaranteed to send seismic shockwaves throughout GOP political ranks in East Tennessee and across the state.
Cagle's conservative GOP roots are undeniable, and his action today underscores the climate of chaos in the state GOP that's been created by Bob Corker's campaign.
In his endorsement, Cagle states that Ford is an independent voice who will "shake up" things in Washington while Corker "is not a change agent...he's establishment to the core."
Not one to mince words, Cagle states that a "Corker vote rewards big government conservatives, other criminals, perverts."
In a parting jab to Corker's new campaign manager Tom Ingram, Cagle writes that GOP voters should not think that a vote for Ford is a sign of "not showing party loyalty." He goes on to write that "Corker's campaign manager Tom Ingram will be voting for Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen in the same election...if it doesn't bother Corker, it shouldn't bother you."

John Reed - A great man with many great passions

Tomorrow (October 13) a friend and former colleague of mine - John Reed - will be honored in a memorial service at Christ Church in downtown Nashville. Just yesterday, John lost his hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer.
My personal respect for John aside, it only seems fitting that a small glimpse of John's great legacy be shared here in this blog. For those of you who didn't know John or his work, he was hands down the strongest advocate I ever met of the First Amendment and open government, having spent much of his professional career and virtually all of his political capital for years fighting for stronger open records laws and against any attempt to silence free speech.
I saw John a few weeks ago at a lunch reunion in his honor of some of his former Ingram Group colleagues. While seated next to him, I shared with him a little about what my company was doing on the web front. While John always made known his adversion to most things technical, I could tell that John - a true champion of free speech - understood and appreciated the awesome power of voice and opinion that the Internet has to offer.
I once read that a great man is a man of great passions. John was a great man because he had many great passions in life - some were personal...his wife Ann, his daughters Lindsey and Jessica; fishing a quiet stream or deep waters; a Nantucket sunrise and sunset and all the time in between...and others more public...upholding and protecting the First Amendment; challenging anyone, regardless of who they were or what power or influence they wielded, who would dare undermine the principles of free speech; and trying his best to encourage others to join in his cause.
I will miss John, but I know his legacy is so great that it will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone he touched during his 59 years on this earth.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Corker's "Delta mud lump"

Some years ago a friend of mine who grew up in the Mississippi Delta region told me about a little known - but ever present - geologic phenonmenon known as a "Delta mud lump." In short, a "mud lump" is a mound of clay that builds up in Gulf water areas around the mouth of the Mississippi River, rising unexpectedly from the water to lift a ship while spewing a noxious gas. When a ship hits a Delta mud lump, my friend told me, it's never a pretty sight.
Today Bob Corker had his own version of a Delta mud lump appear suddenly in the form of a stinging expose in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The article focused on a cozy relationship Corker had with a Memphis-based investment firm called Delta Capital Management.
The story (click here to read for yourself) has put Corker on the defensive over allegations that as Mayor of Chattanooga he helped his friends at Delta - with whom he once had financial relationships with - garner a huge chunk of the City's pension fund to invest in start up ventures.
All this is more bad news for Corker whose campaign seems to be stuck in a perpetual defensive tailspin going into the final days before the election.
Worse yet, the story comes on the heels of a series of other revelations and allegations in recent weeks over how Corker used his public office to further his personal financial gain, and while Corker maintains his insistence on refusing to fully disclose sources of income to the public.
How much worse can things get for Corker?
It's anyone's guess.
But I can't think of anyone I know - Dem or Repub - who doesn't see Corker's as a campaign in total chaos.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Will Beavers plead the 5th to voters?

My uncle used to say that "when it comes to the good stuff...you just can't make it up...that's what makes it so good."
An example of this has come to light in the 17th district state senate race.
Democratic challenger Bob Rochelle has gone up with an ad produced by Fletcher, Rowley, Chao, Riddle (click here to view) that smokes GOP incumbent Mae Beavers over a stunt she pulled when she apparently lied about her legal residence on campaign disclosure documents and voter registration.
Politics can be a nasty business, but Rochelle's camp didn't make this one up.
Beavers' shenanigans are real and well documented.
So how will Beavers respond?
According to the ad Beavers' pled the 5th when first confronted by authorities.
We'll see if she continues to plead the 5th to voters as this hard hitting ad gains traction.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My friend Tom Ingram ain't God

If any of you reading this post doesn't like the fact that I am involved in politics in Tennessee, don't blame me, blame Tom Ingram.
Nearly a generation ago while looking to my next move having served my time in D.C. working for Al Gore, I ran into Tom Ingram and he invited me to return to Nashville, join his firm and put down roots.
If it wasn't for Tom Ingram and the opportunity he gave me, I probably would have ended up being someone else's pain in the ass in another state, in another place.
While I wouldn't claim to be a close drinking buddy of Tom's, I did spend some quality time over many years seeing from the inside of projects how Tom thinks and works, which is why I frankly respect the hell out of him. He's got smarts and he is THE master Jedi of message.
That said, I still believe camp Corker has pinned too much hope on what even Tom Ingram can do to turn around their failing campaign.
At this stage the problem is way more fundamental than message.
With just days to go before early voting begins, the problem is that voters don't like Corker's character and everything he stands for.
New messages (even a red pickup truck prop in an ad) will not be enough to convince voters that Corker is to be trusted.
Corker's still refusing to come clean about his sources of income.
Corker's unsuccessfully dodged questions about his use of influence as Mayor to engineer a sweetheart land deal for one of companies.
Corker's been busted for using illegal aliens on a project of his in Memphis.
Corker's even lied in a recent tv spot to his mother about his record as Mayor fighting crime.
Tom Ingram may be the best the GOP has to offer when it comes to message.
But my friend Tom Ingram ain't God, and only God at this stage can change this candidate's character and then convince voters that the change is for real.