Friday, August 04, 2006


A Little Time

To all of the well-wishers, friends, and family who have called and e-mailed, I thank you for doing so, but I need a little time before I come out of the bunker and transition back into "real life."

I have been with this campaign since November of 2004. That's 22 months. Certain faiths have been strained, and I am going to need a little time to digest what has just happened before I resume normal activity.

Yesterday is just a blur. Angela and I got up at 4:00 A.M. (after going to sleep less than two hours earlier), placed signs at the polls, worked the polls for twelve hours in heat indexes that were over triple digits, drove to Nashville after closing down our respective polling places, attended Ed's party at the DoubleTree, tried to make sense of everything with other people who have bled for this campaign while listening to bad Nashville karoeke, and then drove back to Knoxville for Angela's court hearings this morning.

The night was a crossroads for so many people. Ed Bryant, who has some political viability left in Tennessee if he chose to wield it, voluntarily leaves Tennessee politics. Van Hilleary, who has no political viability left, is already preparing to physically leave Tennessee. Harold Ford, Jr., who every conservative pundit worth his salt sees as having the greatest night of his political life, raises tons of money, raises his national profile, and without a doubt picks up the opponent he is best prepared to defeat in November on his way to the United States Senate.

And then there is me. Like a few of the radio conservatives in Nashville, my faith in the people of Tennessee is now tested. I see David Davis barely squeaking out a victory in the 1st District, which is probably a good thing as long as he doesn't try to stay in the seat for three decades. So I can look to my district as one place of sanity, right?

Well, not really. East Tennessee was the region most fooled by a political charlatan from Chattanooga that it knew nothing about except that he made good commercials and had the money to run them 24/7. In that respect, South Knoxville, where I have concentrated a good deal of my time during this campaign, looks from the precinct reports I have seen to have been more enlightened, voting for the better man in Ed Bryant at a higher clip than the rest of the region than the blatant fraud Bob Corker.

Finally, there is conservatism in Tennessee. Where does it go from here? It certainly is an ideology in trouble. Republicans just nominated a moderate as their Senate candidate, and the electorate will vote to send a softened liberal from an infamous political family to the U.S. Senate come this November. Democrat Phil Bredesen is more than likely headed to his second term in the Governor's Mansion. With the exception of the presidential elections in 2000 and 2004, this "red" state has selected the less conservative candidate every time in the last decade.

Conservatism is at a crossroads in this state. Last night, a few of the major "behind the scenes" conservatives in Tennessee quietly called for a leader, to claim back what has been lost in recent years. Who takes the reins and leads us into the coming election seasons is crucial to our political ideology's relevance in this state.

I have ranted on much longer than I had intended, and I apologize for that. I would like to say congratulations to Bob Krumm, who easily won his primary last night, as well as Stacey Campfield, Frank Nicely, Larry Clark, Paul Pinkston, and my better half, Angela Huddleston, who all destroyed their opponents at the ballot box. I would also like to say how honored I was to meet bloggers Sharon Cobb and Blake Wylie last night in Nashville. As usual, the honor was all mine.

More to come later, folks...

Rob --

I read your post and it sounds like my and Vance's conversations about everything (except, of course, the Knoxville elections we know nothing about --- but congratulations to your wife!!!). I appreciate everything -- and I mean everything -- you've done for Vance and for me and I look forward to meeting your wife soon.

We definitely have some UT tickets to send your way and perhaps we can put together a few tailgates!

Thanks again and know that we hold you in highest esteem.

Jody -

You are simply too kind, but I do appreciate your wonderful post.

It is well-received, especially on this day where I question if there is anything else I could have done to have prevented the defeats of some of my closest and dearest friends. I'm not sure if I could have worked much harder, as I was pushed to the point of clinical exhaustion as several points in this election cycle. But I can't help but feel that I didn't do near enough...

Please give my best to Vance. Know that many of us have shed tears today, but that we are young, determined, and we will not stop fighting for what we believe in.

We cannot stop. We must not stop. We will not stop.

Because we believe in things that are worth fighting for.

I am glad that these races have brought friends like you and Vance into our lives. Good friends are hard to find, and I thank God that we have so many.

Please take care, and we'll see you soon.


Great post Rob, I remember you quoting Batman Begins once before so I'm going to leave one here.

Alfred: Why do we fall, sir? So that we might better learn to pick ourselves up.

See you soon,

Patrick Hamilton
It was great to finally meet you.
I know you must be exhausted both mentally and physically from all of the ups and downs...ultimately a downer.

Who would think that a real conservative like you and a real liberal like me would be in the same boat? But we are. Here's why:

Quite simply, the republican party has abandoned its base and the democratic party has abandoned what it is supposed to stand for as well. Both parties have moved away from their core values to be something they're not supposed to be.

What you face with Corker, real democrats (in TN) face with Bredesen. No real democrat(of principle) could possibly vote for someone like him, but people like me are the "traitors" for speaking out against him and not going along with their move to the middle. Similarly, you, as a conservative, get grief from other republicans for simply standing up for what your party is supposed to be, and when they elect someone like Corker/Bredesen--there's no difference, then your party is also telling you they've abandoned their core principles.

You and I, (and other real conservatives and other real liberals) however, have not abandoned our principles, but we're the bad guys for not playing ball.

Now I am all for meeting in the middle on issues where we can work together like healthcare or childrens rights and whatnot, but our respective parties have certain platforms that are supposed to guide our parties, and simply put, the platforms have been have we.

You need to keep fighting for conservatives and conservative values, just as I will continue to fight for the things my party is supposed to represent.

It's not the easy thing to do, but it's the right thing to do.

Lastly, I'd like to leave you with a line from something I wrote in my memoirs:

"Reputation is what man knows of you.
But your heart is what the angels know."

I'll chose the latter.
Hey Rob!

Remember my friend ~ We are disappointed, but NEVER defeated. Should the Lord allow me to live a long life, I will be buried a "former Congressman from the First District who improved the lives of the citizens and served them well".

There are miles to travel before I sleep. I hope you will stay with me along the journey. Your and Angela's support and friendship are priceless to the Cheek Family.

In other words, "It's a long way to the top of you wanna Rock & Roll." We got our start, we're the next generation of Republican Party leadership. I'm jumping on board with the winner of the First District (as it sorts out), Jim Bryson and Bob Corker. When all the Republicans are elected, they will have us to thank and our day will come.

Never, ever give up!

Yours faithfully,

Rob and all;
I have read these comments and I am not sure what to say, but first of all, Sharon is right-both parties have strayed away from their "core values." If I have to be labelled Mr. Badman because I refuse to accept the Corker/Haslam/Ragsdale version of Republicanism, I'll take the label.

If the price for standing up for what is right is the blackening of my name, I will gladly pay it.

Fight on, brother! Stand up for what is right-don't sell out to that Corker gang whatever you do.

When Winston Churchill gave his final speech, he turned to the left of the room and said "never give up," to the center of the room and said "never give up, and to the right "never give up." We must fight on and never sell ourselves one penny short of the goal.
Hey Guys:

I understand your anger right now. I've got some of it also. Something happened in our race that isn't apparent yet as I was polling much, much better with a week to go.

Bottom line, what Bob Corker is to you guys ~ David Davis is to the majority of of other candidates. All that aside, we will all get in line and vote David into office in November. Some are not doing so happily; however, they are do so for the sake of OUR Party not THE Party.

Everytime Bob Davis spoke at a Lincoln Day dinner, he always gave free press to Davis and to Richard Venable, to a certain degree. THE Party was not a fan of the Padrino, Don Vanchenzo. ;-)

That aside, I have heard the voters and I want a republican in the first district so I will be sporting a David Davis sticker along with my Jim Bryson and my Bob Corker.

I urge you two to take some time, you are both very intelligent men who have deeply impressed me. The fact is simple, Catie must not grow up in a Democratic controlled Senate with Harold Ford, Jr. representing her/our values. Ford doesn't have a concept of values much less Tennessee values much less East Tennessee values. We cannot lose this seat.

I urge you to do the right thing for OUR party and not THE party ~ support Davis, Corker and Bryson through November. Once they are all elected, everyone is free to plan for the 2008, 2010, and 2012 elections.

Don't let dispointment make you defeated! Some must take an uncomfortable position in order to keep the Nation on the right track right now.

Our time will come. With the Lord's help, I will be the US Congressman from the First District. Until that time, I will support MY party for the sake of my future and the future of my family. As for THE party, "Wait'll they get a load of me!"
Rob, Congratulations on your wife's victory. Enjoy your blog,even if we don't always agree. Sitting here looking at the Corker bumper sticker a friend left for me today. It's going to be hard to put this on the rear window, but it sure beats the alternative.

Vance, appreicate you and your family putting yourself out there on the front line, but seriously, whose poll were you looking at two weeks out? The others seem to all show about the same result, close to what actually happened at the polls. Were you really that surprised by the outcome? We thought you had just closed shop the month or so before the election. Didn't see you at many events around the district. What's up here?
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