Thursday, February 28, 2008


The Passing of a Conservative Icon

I've been too busy with other pursuits to worry about blogging this week, but I wanted to pass along my condolences to the family of William F. Buckley, Jr., the conservative writer and founder of National Review.

Any of us would be lucky to accomplish even a fraction of what Buckley did in his lifetime. He will be missed.

MORE: An excellent remembrance from Dave Oatney



Obama's Name Out-of-Bounds for McCain?

This morning's revelation that the Tennessee GOP was bullied by several in their own party to back-off calling Democratic Presidential Candidate Barrack Hussein Obama by the name "Barrack Hussein Obama" is incredible. Kinda gives some credence to Hillary Clinton's feeling about the media and all of the powers of the universe being in alliance with her opposition, doesn't it?

There seems to be a theme developing here. Last night, the talk was about John McCain repudiating any mention of his candidate's full name after an intro by conservative radio personality Bill Cunningham in Ohio. Then comes his apparent role in the bullying of TN GOP. My reaction is the same as Stephen Colbert's on last night's "The Colbert Report" - "Senator, at long last do you have no balls?"

Not only was McCain's move spineless, it was yet another example of disastrous strategy. Embarrassing the most popular conservative talker in Cincinnati isn't going to help drive conservatives to the polls in a state many, including myself, have already written off for the GOP due to all of the scandals there. And this has been my whole point about the election - if McCain loses Ohio and its 20 electoral votes, where does he make it up, assuming that he can carry all of the states that Bush carried in 2004 (which he can't, but let's just pretend for purposes of this hypothetical)?

What blue states are so vulnerable that a poor, old GOP candidate who is scared to go after the Democratic challenger in any way except the war in Iraq can turn them red? I see few, and the ones that do don't come close to the 20 electoral votes McCain would need to make up for losing Ohio. Cincinnati is the most conservative city in Ohio (just ask Scribblings of the Metropolitician, who credits Cincy with cementing Bush's second term), so pissing off conservatives there pretty much ends any chance McCain has to win the Buckeye State. (And don't you think that Cunningham, who is on the air every day and has already said that he would vote for Hillary Clinton now in the general election, might mention McCain a few times in a negative fashion over the next 8 months?)

And now McCain is playing the heavy with the Tennessee GOP? Oh, I'm sure they're just itchin' to go to war and volunteer time away from their families, jobs, and communities to campaign for you now, Senator McCain. Perhaps you would like to take on Steve Gill here in Tennessee just for kicks.

Seriously, if this is the kind of campaign that McCain is going to run, GOP donors need to heed my warning and start concentrating on the Senate. McCain '08 has a good chance of making Dole '96 look energetic and charged.

UPDATE (9:58 A.M.) - Everyone is on this story, which is funny because I would bet Technorati's references to "Hussein" are the highest they have been since Saddam met the hangman's noose. Volunteer Voters has a major round-up (replete with links), and it appears that Terry Frank sees as much trouble with the Tennessee GOP's reaction than with McCain's actions. Dave Oatney, who knows Ohio better than any of us Tennesseans, ain't buying what McCain's saying about Cunningham.


Friday, February 22, 2008


Reminder: Jefferson County Lincoln Day

Just a reminder, folks, that the Jefferson County GOP is having their Lincoln Day Dinner this Saturday at 7:00 P.M.

The dinner is set for the Stokley Cafeteria at Carson-Newman College, with the keynote speaker being 2nd District Congressman Jimmy Duncan. Tickets Are $25 and can be obtained by contacting County Chairman Hobart L. Rice At 865-548-8479.

And, no, I will not miss the UT/Memphis game by going. My plan is to leave at 8:25 from the Lincoln Day Dinner and still be at home in Knoxville by 9:00, when the Vols will begin the smackdown of the boys from Tiger High.

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GOA: McCain No Better than Cinton or Obama on Guns

I read this column by Pastor Chuck Baldwin that made some serious allegations against Republican Nominee-in-waiting John McCain and his record on the Second Amendment and firearms rights.

So I decided to look into McCain's record. Here are the ratings by Gun Owners of America for John McCain over the past several election years:

This is no better than Obama (F) or Clinton (F-) received.

From what I can tell, McCain's last ranking of significance from the NRA was a C+. That ain't too good, because NRA ranks on a more friendly scale than the often overharsh GOA.

So, my fellow supporters of the Second Amendment, it appears that our candidate - the one who would actually support our right to keep and bear arms as stated in the U.S. Constitution - hasn't declared his or her candidacy yet, as none of the 3 options at this point even come close to passing muster with GOA.

UPDATE: The Countertop Chronicles - a pro-gun blog if there ever was one - has a different take on GOA that brings their McCain rankings into question. Countertop basically believes that GOA has been overrun by the Ron Paul supporters, which would explain the anti-McCain rhetoric, and breaks down McCain's votes. That still doesn't explain the NRA ratings, though.

I do know that McCain is currently down as co-sponsor of the carry bill in national parks currently before the Senate. Maybe McCain isn't so great on guns, but maybe he isn't as bad as GOA makes it appear.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008


The Endorsement of a Fool

This sound bite was making the rounds on conservative talk radio Wednesday, and I have to think that it's more impressive in video format.

After the Roger Clemens hearings last week, I advised Members of Congress to lay low for awhile so that America could forget how truly unremarkable they were. Apparently Congressman Kirk Watson didn't heed my advice.

Along the same lines, read the comments over at Volunteer Voters to a similar thread about the Watson video. You have to love it when liberals defend Obama by saying that his past accomplishments (or lack thereof) are unimportant, that only his future promise and message is relevant. That's like a liberal having a horse that looks good but has come in last in every race and betting his life savings on the horse winning the Kentucky Derby.

Of course, if the liberal was wagering your tax dollars instead of his own money, then that very well may make sense to the Left...

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"Who Cares Who Losers Like?"

From Red State Update:



With Auburn and 23 Other Teams Behind Us...

The Big Orange Nation says, "Bring on Tiger High."


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Lamar Draws Another Democratic Challenger

Sorry I'm so late on this one folks. It's taken me hours to stop laughing after reading the announcement that former Knox County Clerk Mike Padgett will be running against Senator Lamar Alexander this November. Of course, that assumes that Padgett can get past Chris Lugo in the August primary, which is no sure thing given that 1) no one outside of Knox County knows who Mike Padgett is, and 2) those who do know who he is don't like him that much.

Now let me get this straight - only days after watching the political power base of Knox County - those who ignored term limits and sold Knox County government up the river for their own personal political gain - get destroyed by an angry voting public, Mike Padgett - one of the key figures in said power base - suddenly comes up with the idea that Tennesseans want him to run for a higher, more important office?!?!

It's almost as if Padgett read this post by Brian Hornback and thought that Brian wasn't being facetious.

Lugo has more name recognition coming in, but Padgett will undoubtedly have the Knox County good ole boys dirty money machine backing him. This should be decent entertainment for the summer.

MORE: Brian Hornback weighs in and gives some advice to those who might need to expose Mr. Padgett's record of service.

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Good News for GOP Senate Hopes

Several excellent stories have come out today regarding GOP prospects of holding their 40 votes in the Senate.

First comes word from Kansas that Greg Orman, regarded as the most formidable Democratic candidate, has dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate. He was set to take on Senator Pat Roberts in the general election. Orman's demise only leaves Lee Jones, who lost to Sam Brownback in 2004 by 41-points, to fight for the Democratic nomination.

Then we have polling out of Colorado that shows conservative Republican Bob Schaffer in a dead heat with liberal Democrat Mark Udall. This race will be to replace the retiring Senator Wayne Allard. Udall has been considered to be the favorite in this race, but recent Rasmussen polling shows this race to be highly competitive.

Next comes word that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has seen an up-tick in his approval ratings. McConnell will be challenged by either Bruce Lunsford (himself a two-time loser) or Greg Fischer for the Democrats. McConnell received a boost last week when Andrew Horne, who probably would have been the toughest opponent for McConnell, was apparently muscled out of the race by the Democratic political machine.

Then comes another poll that shows that New Jersey voters feel that incumbent Senator Frank Lautenberg has "been around too long." This is on the heels of another poll that reflected that the Senator's age (he would be 90 at the conclusion of the term he is seeking in November) was too high for him to seek reelection.

It's been a while since the GOP has had something to be happy about. Let's hope this is a trend, folks.



Claiborne County Lincoln Day

On Friday night, the entire VOLConFamily - myself, Angela, and Leo - piled into the Jetta and make the trek up Maynardsville Highway to Harrogate for Claiborne County's Lincoln Day Dinner. I have no idea how many Lincoln Day or Reagan Day Dinners that Angela and I have attended (off of the top of my head, we've made stops in at least half of the counties east of Knox County and several west of there), but we'd never made it up to the Kentucky border to see our friends in Claiborne County, so this visit was long overdue.

It was a blustery evening in the mountains on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University, but that didn't curb attendance. Claiborne County only has a population as of the last census of under 30,000, which ranks it as the 46th county by population in Tennessee. Being in the meat of the bell curve for population, it was a tribute that well over 100 people made it to Claiborne County's Lincoln Day Dinner. (One has to wonder if the Knox County Democrats, in their county of over 400,000, could rival such a turnout.)

It was fitting that so many people turned out for several reasons. As Claiborne County GOP Chairman Judi Swilling pointed out, the Claiborne County Lincoln Day was the closest in time to Lincoln's Birthday in the state. Also, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander was the keynote speaker, which says so much about the Claiborne County GOP that they could pull in the 3rd-ranking GOP Senator, as well as Nashville talk radio icon Steve Gill. Gill apparently had such a good time at last year's Claiborne County Lincoln Day that, like Douglas MacArthur before him, he uttered, "I shall return." Gill was true to his word, and it was he that introduced Lamar for the keynote.

Both Steve Gill and Lamar Alexander addressed several policy issues in their speeches, including illegal immigration, forced universal healthcare, and taxes, amongst others. Gill made a point to talk about the prospects of the Republicans taking over both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly, pointing to several key races where Democratic incumbents were retiring or were vulnerable. Lamar spoke about the importance of working together to forge compromises with the Democrats in the Senate to get to the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture, but he also pointed to the importance of maintaining the 40 GOP votes in the next Congress so that the Democrats would have to remain interested in bipartisanship.

For those who were wondering, both Steve and Lamar addressed our eventual GOP nominee, John McCain. Both urged support for McCain, quite predictably. I can't imagine that any elected officials nationally are going to suggest going against the nominee; on that front, I suppose Steve's support is the more remarkable, given that Andrew Wilkow, Rush Limbaugh, Mike Church, and others haven't exactly joined the "Straight Talk Express." Steve seemed to equate having McCain as the nominee instead of Thompson or Romney as a break-up with your girlfriend, that you have to take some time to vent your anger but can get back in the game shortly thereafter. Both Steve and Lamar pointed to the communist/socialist that will be crowned the Democratic nominee as reason enough to support McCain. I think this is what you'll be seeing on a national level to appeal to conservatives in the presidential race, and I believe that it will work on the majority of them (providing that no third-party or independent challenge is mounted). It remains to be seen if this tactic will work on enough conservatives to make a difference.

Steve Gill made a point of recognizing and endorsing Mike Faulk, who is running to unseat incumbent Senator (and part-time Dale Earnhardt impersonator) Mike Williams in the Fourth District, which is comprised of Claiborne County, Union County, Jefferson County, Grainger County, Hancock County, and Hawkins County. The support for Faulk was palpable, and he received a loud ovation from the crowd. Mike Williams, who never really attended many GOP events when he was a member of the party, was nowhere to be seen.

I did take advantage of a brief moment with Lamar and his staff to ask about the lack of a declared candidate on the Democratic side and whether he thought that Bob Tuke would run. Lamar gave me the same answer that he did at last year's Statesmen's Dinner in Nashville, saying that he was concentrating on running his race, that he was going to run hard, and that his focus was on representing the people of Tennessee to the best of his ability. You have to feel that Lamar has to be feeling pretty good about his prospects right now, as the Democrats are just as lost and unorganized now as they were last summer.

As for my family, little Leo had quite the night. At the tender age of 7 weeks, he has already attended the Knox County Young Republicans meeting (where his father was named Treasurer) and the Claiborne County Lincoln Day. He acted wonderfully at both. I wanted to give special thanks to Hawkins County Young Republican Chairman Kelli Walker for entertaining Leo for a few minutes while her mother and father ate their salads. Leo really was good, although I held him near the exit while Lamar and Steve spoke - just in case. Also, special thanks to Mike Faulk for the lovely gifts for Leo.

Overall, we had a great time. It was good to talk with the Hawkins County contingent, especially State Executive Committeewoman Cecile Testerman and Highway Superintendent Lowell Bean, who sat at our table. (You can see more pictures and commentary from Cecile at the Hawkins County GOP's blog.) The food was outstanding - future Lincoln Days at Jefferson County (Feb. 23) and Hamblen County (March 7) have their work cut out for them to match the excellent fare at LMU.

An outstanding night - and I want to thank everyone who made it possible.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008


House GOP Walks Out Over FISA Bill

You've got to love YouTube. Here is some excellent footage of House Minority Leader Jim Boehner leading today's GOP walk-out (courtesy of Rep. Eric Cantor, Chief Deputy Republican Whip):

I've got to admit - Boehner is better than I thought he would be in cases like this.

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"If You're Not For Us, Then You're Against Us"

I thought it was a bit over the top when President Bush seemed to say that dissenting from our involvement in Iraq was akin to supporting terrorism. That, however, does not minimize the reality that there are many Americans of the liberal persuasion that hate our military. It's a fact that the Left won't acknowledge because of the political ramifications, but it is reality.

Here's a video put out by the National Republican Senatorial Committee that shows first hand what these moonbats are doing in Berkeley, California. Marines, Midshipman, Cadets - they should all have our respect for keeping us safe and free. The disrespect that these "protesters" show the Marines in the video is despicable.

This isn't dissent. This isn't protesting. This isn't hating the war but supporting the troops.

This is the Left hating those who serve our country, who may have to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep America safe.

These people in Berkeley aren't with us, folks. They are against us.

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Lincoln Day Road Trip

Claiborne County's Lincoln Day Dinner will be Friday night on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University. Lamar Alexander, who is about to be elected to his second term after steamrolling the potential nominal Democratic candidate in Bob Tuke, is the keynote speaker.

I'll be attending and sitting at the table of Republican Tennessee Senate candidate Mike Faulk. With Claiborne being one of the six counties that comprise the 4th District, Mike will be among his future constituency. I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I bet that Mike Williams will be nowhere near Harrogate tomorrow night. But that's understandable, as Williams is probably too busy hanging out with liberal lobbyists trying desperately to bankroll his campaign against the popular Mike Faulk.

Faulk might want to thank Lamar, as well. By baiting the aforementioned Tuke into apparently running against him, Lamar very well may push more Republicans to the polls in November. This could counteract any negative effect that John McCain may have on the Republican ticket. Although Lamar's voting record hasn't been as conservative as some would hope, the perception here in Tennessee is that he is one of our favorite sons, likeable, and still "one of us." That's very important, as Tennesseans come running when one of their own is in need. That could help out the GOP in the General Assembly races being decided in November.

If I can juggle it all, I will have pictures and a post from Claiborne County up sometime this weekend.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


BREAKING: Albertini Suspends Senate Campaign

I just received word that Mark Albertini, the former gubernatorial candidate, has dropped out of the race for U.S. Senate against Lamar Alexander.

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BREAKING: Congress Wasting Time

Instead of dealing with the bankrupting of Social Security, stunting illegal immigration, or the tanking economy, Congress today is helping all Americans by trying to get to the bottom of whether Roger Clemens put steroids in his body as a way of cheating in baseball.

I'm not advocating the use of steroids in baseball - MLB's failure to deal with Barry Bonds is the sole reason that I haven't attended a game since 2005, when I attended 40 major league and minor league games. I was a tremendous fan, and Bud Selig's embracing of the steroid era has taken me away from a game that I loved every bit as much as football. However, that is a matter for Major League Baseball, not the Congress of the United States.

I've been watching the hearings (it's certainly more entertaining than normal daytime television), and I have to commend (pause for effect) the DEMOCRATS for not grandstanding, like I would expect out of Waxman and Cummings. No, instead, it's Indiana Republican Dan Burton acting like a schmuck.

Even in investigative hearings, the Republicans come out looking worse than the Democrats.

UPDATE (2:56 P.M.) - OK, the 4.5-hour hearing is finally over. One thing is clear - the Republicans on the committee who questioned the three witnesses were definitely in Clemens' corner, no matter how bad he looked. Apparently, for some of the Republicans, the only way to believe that Roger Clemens was taking steroids was if one of them was injecting "The Rocket" themselves. (In light of today's hearings, I sure hope I have a jury made up of former Republican Congressmen on my next jury.)

Maybe that will be added to the Republican Party Platform when the convention convenes in Minneapolis in August. "Republicans - We Like Steroids." That'll go over well on bumper stickers.

One final thought - with the exceptions of Elijah Cummings (whose legal experience shone through today) and those members of the Oversight Committee who didn't actively participate, most of the other Members of Congress looked like fools. I would highly recommend that Congress stop televising these hearings, because it erodes public confidence that Congress is made up of people with actual intelligence, the best that society has to offer. Several of these people today looked more like Knox County Commissioners than Members of Congress. Yes, public hearings have boosted the careers and reputations in previous times (Ed Bryant's impeachment cross examination comes to mind), but that is the exception and not the rule.

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Friday, February 08, 2008


The Exit of Mitt Romney

I've been stuck in court for most of this week (save Tuesday, when I blogged like mad), and that includes all but 25 minutes of Thursday's workday. In those 25 minutes, though, I was able to listen to Mitt Romney's speech at CPAC. I had heard the scuttlebutt that it was going to be his swan song, which was reason enough to listen, so I tuned in to Andrew Wilkow's radio show on Sirius Patriot radio.

Half-way though the speech, my question was: who was this man and what had he done with Mitt Romney? The speech was blistering where it needed to be, inspirational where it needed to be, and touched on issues that conservatives care about. It was incredible, and unfortunately should have been delivered in the summer of 2007.

As the speech continued, it sure didn't sound like Mitt was getting out. It sounded like Mitt was renewed, ready to fight on. Wilkow broke in and said, "It doesn't sound like Romney is getting out with this speech." I concurred. Romney went on about the importance of parental responsibility, how fathers needed to be fathers to help raise the next generation of Americans. He spoke about the economy, about how unions were the real culprit for the downturn in the American economy.

It was at this point that I became a Romney supporter. If this Mitt Romney had been around earlier in the campaign, I might have been there then. I was ready to write my check to the Romney campaign. Seriously. Those who know me know that 1) I'm not apt to give in to hyperbole, 2) I don't tend to switch from candidate to candidate, even in the longest of campaigns, and 3) I rarely give money to political campaigns. Taking that into account, you should be able to gage where I thought this speech rated.

Several times during this campaign, I have been urging for the candidates to inspire me. I've said that if one of John McCain's speeches inspires you, you probably are inspired by Baby Einstein videos and those 3-D pictures that were so popular in 90's. Seriously. John McCain couldn't inspire me to get off the couch and make a chicken salad sandwich.

But here I was Thursday in the parking lot of the Blount County Justice Center listening to Mitt Romney speak at CPAC - and I was moved. I was inspired. I was willing to write off the previous positions he had taken while running against Kennedy. I was willing to overlook his horrible attempt at socialized healthcare while Governor of Massachusetts. I was willing to believe that he would work with the NRA to protect our right to keep and bear arms. I was willing to align myself with Mitt Romney.

But then...

Wilkow and I were wrong. Mitt quit. Well, in retrospect, Mitt positioned himself with the inside track for 2012. He maintains political viability as he goes out on a beautiful high note. This speech will be long remembered - not the meager victories in Alaska, North Dakota, Utah, and the like.

I know I will remember it. It was the best address I have heard since Ronald Reagan left the White House. One tends to remember such things.

MORE: Wes Comer's comments mirror my own - plus he has the text of Mitt's speech. Bob Krumm, who supported Romney after Fred Thompson left the field, apparently liked Mitt's speech, as well, but believes that we need to unite behind McCain. (It should be noted that Bob wouldn't mind the GOP's support in a future campaign, whereas I realize that I probably won't receive that support because I'm not really a party guy - especially if that party sells out its values for the sake of being competitive in one election cycle. This isn't a slam on Bob at all, mind you, as he's probably making the smarter choice.) Mark Hemmingway at NRO loved it, as did Adam Yoshida, who thought that Mitt showed the qualities of a strong VP.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


National Signing Day

As regular readers are sure to remember, I usually liveblog National Signing Day for the Vols.

Not this year. Coach Fulmer, who gets to take much of the credit for past outstanding recruiting classes, gets to take the blame for this one. Fulmer supporters will resort to staff changes, arrests, negative recruiting, etc., as the reasons for this failure, but other schools (Alabama and South Carolina with staff changes, North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia and Florida with arrests) have had the same problems and all managed to spank Fulmer on the recruiting trail this year.

There are a few nice players in this class (Aaron Douglas, Marlon Walls, and Gerald Williams will all start for the Vols someday), but overall this has to be the worst class for UT in over a decade. No offense to the guys coming in who want to wear the orange, but it's hard to imagine UT keeping up with the Alabama's, Florida's, and Georgia's of the world when the lifeblood of the program doesn't represent the best athletes in the country.

Hopefully there will be some surprises today (Antoine McClain, Enrique Davis, Quinton Coples, and Jerrell Harris would all boost this class by leaps and bounds with surprise commitments to the Vols), but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

Perhaps I should start covering basketball recruiting more. As nearly 20,000 observed last night at a raucous Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville has become a basketball town.

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Super Tuesday Reactions

Some random thoughts on yesterday's voting:

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Is This Any Way to Run a Democracy?

OK, I'm now sold on changing our antiquated system of choosing the President of the United States.

First, as I've written recently, I completely back a national primary day. Move the date to sometime in May in order to give every candidate enough time to raise the money to get on a bus and travel from sea to shining sea. Take the power away from such homogenous states like Iowa and New Hampshire that have nothing in common with the rest of Creation. I've heard others call for such changes as a regional primary system which would rotate every election cycle, but that will just lead to regional candidates being favored. I've also heard calls for replacing primaries with the caucus system nationwide, which would favor informed activists and disenfranchise voters. Although the idea of having those who are informed on the issues picking nominees is intuitive on many levels, I'm not ready to give up on democracy and the right to vote just yet. That being said, the whole system needs a major overhaul.

Second, the idea of delegates needs to hit the bricks. I'm no layman, and even I can't justify why Barack Obama carried Alabama yesterday by 14% (about 78,000 votes) but somehow received fewer delegates from that state than Hillary Clinton. That's mind boggling and nonsensical. The superdelegate and uncommitted delegate system used by each respective party oozes elitism, and in this system where its the delegates that count at the convention, it reeks of impropriety.

I say we try that whole democracy thing again. After all, we've put a man on the moon. Surely we can figure out a system that is more democratic and works better than the clunker we have now.

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Knox County Actually DOES Throw the Bums Out

With the lone exception of Fred Sisk winning the GOP nomination for Trustee, Knox County voters put their vote where their mouth was on Tuesday, choosing to throw out illegal appointees and others (like Scott Moore) who were connected to the backroom politics that has permeated our county government for so many years. Even the attorney who represented the scoundrels in Chancery Court was given his walking papers.

It's hard to argue with any of the Knox County Commission selections on the GOP side. It appears that Sisk survived because of the protest vote being split four-ways, allowing for his small plurality to win the day.

The purge knew no party affiliation, and I have heard many Republicans planning to vote Democratic on certain races come August to make sure that the cleansing of the old ways of doing things is complete.

Overall, it was a dark day for those who were running things and great day for those who should be in charge - the people of Knox County.



Red State Update: Not So Super Tuesday

OK, that's it. I must be Jackie Broyles' long lost son.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008


February 2008 Knox County Election Guide

(In response to public request, I am bringing this post to the top of the page until the polls close.)

First, a few ground rules. I'm not listing uncontested races, and I'm not listing every race. The primary (pun intended) factors regarding endorsements are conservative philosophies and ethics. Ethics can be interpreted in many ways, and one of those ways is lack of ties to the corrupt people recently in office, currently in office, or in some way being related to Tim Hutchison.

After discussing the candidates and viewing their various backgrounds, here are the VOLuntarilyConservative endorsements for tomorrow's primaries:

GOP Nominee for President of the United States: Fred Thompson

Many people say that a vote for Fred, the only real conservative to have run for this office in 2008, is throwing your vote away. My view is that I will do whatever I can to get Fred on the ballot, including a spot as the Vice Presidential nominee. Fred would obviously not be McCain's choice, as the age factor comes into play and McCain has likely dealt that card to Huckaphony. Several people "in the know" keep telling me that Fred is Romney's #1 pick as VP. If that is the case, I can't fault a vote for Romney here, no matter how repugnant I may view some of his acts as Governor of Massachusetts. Of course, even taking those views into consideration, Romney is still miles more conservative than McCain and Huckaphony.

County Clerk: Foster Arnett, Jr.

This is a real no-brainer in my opinion. While Mike McMillan and Bryan Bates are also in the race technically, this is a match-up of Arnett and Knox County Commission Chairman Scott Moore. Given that there is probably no one more at fault for the entire debacle in Knox County than Moore, it's impossible to see how Moore wins here - unless Arnett, McMillan, and Bates divide the anti-incumbent forces to the point that Moore cruises on name recognition. And this is exactly what Moore is counting on.

How do I know this? Because a fellow conservative who holds elective office approached me last July as a surrogate for Scott Moore. This person, whom I counted as a friend, asked if I would run for County Clerk and attack Foster Arnett, with the idea being that Scott Moore would cruise to victory as the mudslinging got ugly between us. Moore would then coerce those in power to appoint me to take his place on the Knox County Commission, as I had just moved into his 7th District, as a form of quid pro quo.

I wasn't surprised that Moore was looking to finagle his way into the financially lucrative Clerk's position, but I was shocked that a conservative friend would think that I would have such low morals as to take part in such an act. I attempted to talk to GOP Chairwoman Robin Smith about these shenanigans, but we weren't able to touch base. I suppose that it is fair to say that I had to reassess my political involvements after that proposal, because I was astonished that anyone would perceive me that way. Sure I like to win, but I would rather lose than win dishonestly. If that's a fault, then so be it.

Regarding Foster Arnett, he has worked hard in the past several months to reacquaint Knox County with himself. Arnett is well-known in the community, and it appears that he will do all he can to put a trusting face on the County Clerk's office.

(See UPDATE at the end of this post.)

Property Assessor: Phil Ballard

This race may be the most vicious of the Knox County races, with former Trustee Mike Lowe battling current Commissioner Phil Ballard. I want to saw that this is a weak endorsement, as I know from certain inside sources that one of the chief architects that led to the appointment of the immensely unqualified Tim Greene as a "Black Wednesday" appointment for the 9th District County Commission seat was none other than Phil Ballard. However, he appears to be a better choice than Lowe. It should be noted that Ballard is endorsed by Rep. Parkey Strader, as well, another noted Knox County conservative.

Trustee: No Endorsement
I can make cases for Roger Kane, Steve Hill, and Steve Rogers, which probably plays into the hands of Fred Sisk, who was the recipient of one of the illegal appointments on "Black Wednesday." I will probably vote for Kane, but, as I wrote above, I can make a good case for Hill and Rogers, too.

Law Director: John Owings

This endorsement certainly doesn't take anything away from Bill Lockett, Owings' opponent. Lockett is a good and decent attorney, much like Owings. However, this is a case where I just don't see why Owings should be ousted. He defended the likes of Moore, Lambert, and Pinkston against the Sunshine Law violations - not because he wanted to, but because it was his job to do so. I know how that feels, folks, because I've defended rapists, deadbeat dads, and the like because someone has to do it under the Constitution.

Owings rose to this position when his predecessor, Mike Moyers, was elected as Knox County Chancellor, so there certainly isn't the obvious taint that so many of the other races have. I guess one of the good things about having so many lawyers in Knox County is that we have good candidates for attorney-type political positions every election cycle.

County Commission Seat 4A - Ruthie Kuhlman

In a race where a good deal of the attention has been paid to Richard Cate - a former illegal appointee - and William Daniels, whom I have spoken with and appears to be quite a good candidate in his own right, it appears that Ruthie Stone Kuhlman is the best choice. Kuhlman seems to be a classical conservative, favoring a smaller, more efficient government, which Knox County sorely needs.

County Commission Seat 4B - Ed Shouse

You have to admire Ed Shouse, a former Knoxville City Councilman, who has taken the fight to Lee Tramel, a former illegal appointee and one of Tim Hutchison's well-funded employees in the Sheriff's Department. No one is Shouse's family works for Knox County, which already gives him a boost over Tramel.

County Commission Seat 5C - No Endorsement
There are three good candidates for this seat - Thomas Baer (a nuclear engineer and Navy vet), Richard Briggs (a medical doctor and combat vet), and Jim McEvers (who has a master's degree in engineering and has worked on nuclear projects around the world). Picking between the three is tough, but it sure looks like the 5th District is going to bring some much needed intelligence to the County Commission if one of these three is elected.

County Commission Seat 6A and 8B - No Endorsement
Too many good candidates for the 6A seat and not enough for the 8B seat. I probably lean towards Brad Anders for 6A, as he is a trained crisis negotiator for the City of Knoxville, and Lord knows that previous editions of the County Commission could have used one of those. The 8B race has been ugly all the way around, with allegations flying regarding candidates' backgrounds (Porter and Wright) and possible improper leave from a county job to campaign (Frazier). Ugh.

County Commission Seat 9A - Mike Brown

This was probably one of the easiest choices on the ballot. Tim Greene - Brown's opponent and one of the illegal appointees - should never have been considered for appointment, having never met with the voters of the 9th District prior to being appointed. Greene never produced a resume, never made a public appearance - yet was picked by Paul Pinkston's hand-picked selection committee. The good news for voters in South Knox County is that all signs point to you having honest representation in the form of Mike Brown in the near future. The bad news is that you still have Paul Pinkston. It can't always be good news, folks...

That's pretty much it for the Knox County ballot. While I will cast my vote for State Senator Jamie Woodson, I certainly won't be voting for Rep. Tim Burchett as a delegate for the Republican National Convention. After all, Burchett has proven that he has trouble voting for Republicans. It sure would embarrass us Tennesseans if he ended up pledging a delegate for Hillary Clinton in Minneapolis, now wouldn't it?

UPDATE (2/5/08 8:06 A.M.) - A few e-mails have inquired as to how I knew that the conservative friend who approached me regarding running for County Clerk was actually doing so at the behest of Scott Moore. The truth is that I don't have any solid proof, only that the person told me that Scott Moore had sanctioned the move. I believed this person. You can make up your own mind as to whether the offer was legitimate or not. I obviously have.

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McCain/Huckabee Screw Romney in West Virginia

The headlines will say that Mike Huckabee has won the first state of Super Tuesday, West Virginia.

As in many cases, how we got to that result is the real story.

Keep in mind that West Virginia uses the convention method to select their winner. (Think of it as one big caucus.) Joe Schmo voter isn't there; party activists are the primetime players.

In a preliminary vote, Romney was out in front by a good margin, and McCain was bringing up the rear. McCain's strategists got together and decided to allign themselves with Huckabee's supporters. When the vote was taken that counted, McCain's people voted for Huckabee. This gave Huckabee just enough to beat Romney by a margin of 52% to 47%.

I suppose it's a moral victory for Romney to garner 47% of the votes on his lonesome compared with the 52% for the remaining 2 candidates. However, no delegates are rewarded for moral victories in winner-take-all states like West Virginia. Huck gets all 18 delegates.

A few people like Roger Abramson think that McCain/Huckabee as a ticket just isn't going to happen. I happen to be one of those conspiracy theorists that believes in a deal already struck. Huckabee will stay in and syphon off votes from Romney until the outcome is foregone. To do that, he needs a reward from McCain, and I doubt that we're talking about some Cabinet post.

Ah, democracy at its finest!

Romney shouldn't be surprised, though. McCain has more than a little history of screwing Republicans.

UPDATE (4:21 P.M.): A.C. has a link to that adds to the story. Apparently, Ron Paul operatives are as sleazy as John McCain operatives.



Expensive New Voting Machines Failing in Knox County

The Knoxville News Sentinel has been liveblogging the local election scene today from locations all around Knox County.

It sure sounds like an inordinately high number of those new expensive voting machines - the ones that have been used only a few times since they were purchased - are failing. Sounds like it might not be the best idea to wait until later today to vote, folks. If we all have to take turns voting on the same working machine, the polls may end up closing on us.

UPDATE (1:31 P.M.): The VOLConFamily just returned from voting at the Shannondale precinct, and turnout there was about what it typically is there. All of the voting machines appeared to be functioning normally, and the whole process probably took about 5 minutes. Heck, it took longer to get Leo strapped into his Snugli Carrier than it took to get through the line and vote.

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Weather Could Alter Super Tuesday Turnout

From the AP:

"Another punch of snow loomed over the northern Midwest while thunderstorms crashed through the interior Southeast early Tuesday, potentially hampering voting in many of the states holding primaries and caucuses...

Voters in Alaska were to brave peak winter conditions — including lows of minus 50 degrees — just to reach their caucuses. In Juneau, the state's capital, voters will trudge through more than a foot of new snow."

Think about that if you're not sure if you have the time today to pull up to your local precinct in our 70-degree weather and cast your ballot.


Friday, February 01, 2008


Is Any Press Good Press?

Well, let's ask the Frist Center for the Visual Arts after this skewering by the boys at Red State Update:


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