Monday, June 05, 2006


The Weekend with Ed Bryant and Senator Coburn

After spending time with members of the Bryant Brigade on Saturday in support of their efforts (which have been ongoing for nearly a month and are the first by any statewide candidate this election cycle) to energize the conservative base through traditional grassroots campaigning, the VOLConWife and I managed to clean up well and commute a mile up the road to Club LeConte for the fundraising reception and dinner with Ed Bryant and Senator Tom Coburn.

The reception was great from my standpoint. First, it was a successful fundraiser for Ed. That's the most important thing. Second, several of the folks who paid for tickets to the event were unable to attend due to other obligations, so those who did manage to make the trip got a lot more than a wonderful view of the city. Approximately thirty people were able to carry a fantastic discussion with Senator Tom Coburn, a medical doctor, former businessman, and one of the most candid politicians I have ever met.

Congressman Jimmy Duncan dropped by, which was a bit of a surprise. Several people thought we might see an appearance from UT Head Coach Phil Fulmer, who was holding a reception down the hall for the renewing of his wedding vows, but I am a bit glad that he paid the proper attention to Vicky and his guests.

Also in attendance were a few bloggers (including Terry Frank, whose incredible blog is just a tip of the iceberg of the real person), medical doctors, lawyers, scientists, contractors, and entrepreneurs.

Ed spoke mostly on the immigration issue, sharing details of his trip last week to the U.S./Mexico border to observe the problem firsthand and assist the Minutemen in their efforts to stop the problem. The stories that Ed told were amazing to those of us (like Van Hilleary) who haven't been to the front lines of our battle against illegal immigration. Ed knows many of the tactics that the illegals are using to sneak into our country because he personally saw the illegals using them. (Ed and the Minutemen were able to stop several of the attempts while he was there, but, as we all know, this is akin to sticking a finger in the dam with our current national policy of nonprotection, nonenforcement, and (soon to come) amnesty.)

(Some like A.C. Kleinheider were not impressed by Ed's trip to Arizona, instead lumping it in with the lame ad that Bob Corker produced. Being considerably jaded myself, it is a bit radical that I failed to see A.C.'s sarcastic point. If this was the smooth media operation that A.C. claims it to be, with Ed only doing this for political favor, wouldn't stories of Ed's exploits - of what he saw the illegals doing in their attempts to sneak into our country - have been carried by the mainstream press and not by a blogger? Why no mention of the cabs bringing illegals to the border, or the fires some illegals were lighting in our country as a means of distraction to our meager defenses? In any case, sometimes A.C. goes to places I am not willing to go, and this was one of those times.)

Back to Saturday night...

Senator Coburn is one cool guy, and much like Dick Armey, he's not afraid to tell you what he thinks. As he said that night, he doesn't care about being loved; it's all about being respected at the end of the day for standing for what you believe in. (A quick view of Coburn's votes - against earmarks, against farm subsidies, and against spending measures that might have benefited his constituents short-term but hurt the national long term - shows that he's not just flapping his gums here.)

Coburn also blamed several recent failures of the conservative cause on a lack of leadership within the Republican Party, a failure that Coburn mainly rests at the foot of President Bush. In particular, Coburn blames the failed immigration policy and the lack of control regarding spending on Bush's absent leadership. It was refreshing to hear a sitting Senator cast blame where it is due, even it means that it falls upon his own party.

Coburn also claimed to know all three candidates in the race. He served in Congress with Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, and he also stated that he was familiar with Mr. Corker. In Coburn's mind, there was only one candidate that he wanted to serve with in Washington, one candidate for which he would cut short his vacation and take an aerial detour to Knoxville to campaign, and that was Ed Bryant.

Coburn also laid out a campaign strategy for Bryant supporters, and it is a message that I want to echo. Get to work. Take some initiative. Grassroots will win the day.

There has been a great deal of consternation by some who feel that Ed Bryant hasn't been as visible as he needs to be. I hear you on that one, but it simply isn't true because perception and reality aren't one here. As I told a fellow blogger last week, Ed can be in East Tennessee every day, and the media can be invited to cover it, but there isn't much you can do as a campaign beyond that. You can't make the media cover you, and this media (particularly in Knoxville and parts of the Tri-Cities) is undeniably in the backpocket of Bob Corker. But, guys and gals, it doesn't matter.

To paraphrase comic Carlos Mencia, quit your cryin'. Get out there and make a difference. Coburn put out some numbers that showed how many voters you need to recruit to win this race for Ed Bryant. I will elaborate at a time when I am not running late for court.

Ed and Cyndi Bryant also spent Sunday in Knoxville, hitting several church services and events (including the 10:45 service at my church, Immanuel Baptist Church). They are in the Tri-Cities today, and they will be spending a great deal of time here in East Tennessee between now and Primary Election Day. I will do my best to let you know their schedule.

That's all for now. Hopefully, more to come later on today...

I am glad the event went so well Rob. What events can we find Ed at in the coming days and weeks here in the area that you know of?
Does anyone know of Coburn endorsing any other candidates for 2006?

How much were the tickets?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?