Tuesday, May 17, 2005


An Invite from Bob Corker

Yesterday afternoon, I received an e-mail invitation from Tammy White Miller, a nice young woman with whom I had worked on some aspects of the Bush/Cheney campaign last year after we met at a Republican National Committee meeting with National Co-Chair Ann Wagner. Tammy invited me to attend a Young Professionals Fundraiser for Bob Corker later on this week in Knoxville. After reading the "fact sheet" that accompanied Tammy's invitation, I felt I had to respond. What agitated me so? Well, since Bob Corker's campaign website is pacing Van Hilleary's and does not contain any press releases, I will include a snippet of the fact sheet below.

He shares our conservative values and vision. He believes in free markets, low taxes, limited government, balanced budgets, the entrepreneurial spirit, the protection of gun rights, the importance of faith and the power of prayer. He is pro-life and believes that marriage should be protected as the union of a man and a woman. Among the goals he would set as a member of the Senate:
To support our military and to wage and win the war on terror.
To get control of our federal budget by cutting the size of government and reducing federal spending
To make the Bush tax cuts permanent.
To insure that America is the world leader in new technologies and the best place in the world to start a business
To confirm federal judges who will look closely at the Constitution for answers and leave legislating to legislators.

This was begging for a reaction. Below is a copy of my response to Tammy that was CC'd to all of the other invitees.

Dear Tammy,

It is good to hear from you again. Our efforts last year were successful in keeping John Kerry out of the White House, and that is surely something to celebrate until 2008.

I received your invitation to Young Professionals Fundraiser for Bob Corker that will be held in Knoxville. I will not attend this event, because, given the quartet of candidates in the GOP field, Bob Corker would be the last person to receive my support, financial or otherwise. Despite his claims to the contrary, Mr. Corker is not a conservative. I have dedicated a good portion of my life working for conservative campaigns, on Capitol Hill, and with aspects of the National Rifle Association of America, so it is safe to say that I know a conservative when I see one.

Several claims in Mr. Corker's fact sheet, which was enclosed with your invitation, are egregiously erroneous. For instance, Mr. Corker says that he is for "low taxes," but he raised taxes and fees while mayor of Chattanooga (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 8/22/01, 2/27/02, 9/12/02) and even made some overtures that favored a state income tax (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 11/9/97). Mr. Corker says that he is for free markets, an "entrepreneurial spirit," and wants "to insure that America is the world leader in new technologies and the best place in the world to start a business," but he made a mess out of Chattanooga's economy, resulting in Forbes magazine ranking Chattanooga in the bottom 20% of cities nationally (#122 overall) as a place to start a business or career. (For reference, other Tennessee cities and their ranks were Knoxville at #17, Nashville at #43, and Memphis at #119.) His record shows that he made Chattanooga the worst major city in Tennessee to start a business. Is that the same plan that he has for America?

Corker has little record regarding Second Amendment protections (unlike any of the other candidates), so it is difficult to prove his claim that he favors "protection of gun rights." Mr. Corker claims that he is pro-life, but his statement regarding abortion rights during his last failed Senate campaign ("I believe that is a decision that each individual needs to make for themselves." - Knoxville News-Sentinel, 7/28/94) sounds like he is receiving his talking points from Planned Parenthood. How would Mr. Corker suggest that we "support our military...and win the war on terror" when he thinks it acceptable for those like him to take advantage of tax loopholes, such as the kind that allowed for him not to pay taxes to the IRS for two years, when it is those taxes that provide for our military's well-being? And the list goes on and on. Bob Corker says that he "will be (a conservative) if you elect me" (The Greeneville Sun, 5/3/05). Sorry, Tammy, but I want a person with solid, tested conservative values, not someone who thinks he knows how to act conservative. When I'm sick, I want a doctor, not someone who plays one on TV.

So, no, I won't be supporting Bob Corker's candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Is there any way that he could ever receive my vote? Yes, but it would depend upon whom he was running against and not how he tries to reinvent himself despite his record. For instance, if he was running against a certain governor who had failed to fulfill his major campaign promises (TennCare and TDOT reform) and is laying the foundation for major tax increases in the coming years, then I might be willing to assist Mr. Corker (assuming that those are the only two candidates in the race and Rosalind Kurita, who is probably more conservative than Mr. Corker, is not the Democratic nominee). However, even then I would be lax to financially support the wealthy Mr. Corker. After all, between his own personal fortune, the Haslam's, the Tolsma's, and their friends, the only thing that Mr. Corker stands to gain by fundraising is draining the financial pool from which the other candidates can drink. That may have been a good strategy early on - to make Mr. Corker the only choice by driving the other candidates out of the race, which is the strategy that has worked with other moderates like Lincoln Chafee and liberals like John Corzine - but it won't work here. Besides, from the filings that Mr. Corker has released, it appears that he is doing just fine raising money -from registered Democrats. Now why would they be supporting a "conservative" GOP candidate? Finally, why would I ever support a candidate that can count Don Sundquist as a donor and that has serious ties to one of the worst governors in my lifetime?

There are too many questions and too much spin surrounding Bob Corker, Tammy. He won't receive my money or my vote, and I'll do everything that I can to make sure that he will not be the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate come next November.


Robert L. Huddleston, III
Knoxville, Tennessee
Did I probably ruffle some feathers and lose some allies through this letter? More than likely. However, the main purpose of this site is to separate people with true conservative values from those who claim to be conservatives during campaign season but govern from a different perspective. If Bob Corker wants to be a U.S. Senator, that is fine, but he has to run on his record. He needn't morph into a candidate more conservative and, thus, more electable (ala Hillary Clinton after the 2004 elections). Be who you are, Bob, and if you win, you win. Don't run as someone you are not. If your campaign continues to produce erroneous press releases and fact sheets, there are those of us who are capable of exposing the errors for all to see. Keep it clean, honest, and let the best Tennessean win.

UPDATE: TeamGOP and Bill Hobbs have more questions for Mr. Corker about his Democratic connections. Blogging for Bryant doesn't think that I will be invited to any future Corker fundraisers. I guess that opens up my social calendar...

MORE: Blogging for Bryant has also come up with an interesting pattern of support by one of Bob Corker's Democratic buddies. There is no other conclusion to draw here - liberal Democrats want Bob Corker as the GOP nominee.

Rob, out of curiosity, what was the asking price for the Young Professionals for Corker fundraiser?
JB -

$250 a head.

But I'm sure the food at Bud and Callie Collum's food is fantastic. :)


Interesting about Tammy heading this up. I wonder if she is using her list obtained as head of Bush/Cheney Young Professionals to send out to potential Corker supporters?

What's revealing about her choice of Corker is that her husband headed up Van's disastrous East Tennessee team in his Governor's race and she campaigned for Ed Bryant against Lamar. (Well, she didn't do anything--but led Ed to believe she was.)

Now she's with Corker. Apparently dollars must be the affinity, not prinicples. Or maybe it was that she worked for Sundquist for 8 years and Sundquist is for Corker?

Good grief--she's all over the map.
right on target.
Give me a break. She's all over the map, because she has supported the candidates in the race at different times. I think that indicates that we have a strong field (probably too strong). While she was active in those recent campaigns of 2002, she apparently worked for Corker in 1994. Loyalty is all over the map?

I would be shocked if Chip Miller was "headed up" East TN for Van. I am most certain he was very active, but wasn't the chap involved as head of East TN located in Crossville?
After being involved in both Bush races it is apparent Pat doesn't unerstand the role of chairmen. If I had a guess, Tammy did not "obtain" any lists. As a chairman she would have CREATED the lists.

Chip Miller headed up Loudon Co. for Van. Van won Loudon Co., by the way a check of the states sos website shows the following vote % for Van: primary 55% of vote, general 57% of vote.

Also, if I recall correctly, a very good friend of Tammy's was campaign manager for Lamar Alexander. I would not expect she would jump way out front for Ed and alienate her friend.

I've always been proud of Tammy's work for the party. She has always worked very hard to grow the Republican Party and not tear suggest improprieties based on who they support in a primary.
Scratch that "tear" in the last sentence.
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