April 29, 2005
Your Choices for Tennessee's Next Senator
Every Tennessee voter ought to be seriously considering what to do about the 2006 race to replace outgoing Senator Bill Frist. Every Tennessean who is eligible, but not registered to vote, ought to do something about that, NOW.
"Conservative" Republicans -- and I use that term specifically to describe the Religious Right adherents in the Tennessee blogosphere -- are largely lining up behind former Congressman Ed Bryant, who has run for the Senate before (he lost in the primary, to Lamar! Alexander). (I cast a long shadow of doubt on the veracity of these folks' self-description as "conservative.")
Van Hilleary, who lost the 2002 gubernatorial race and was also a member (albeit a puppy-like one) of Congress, has one avid supporter in the blog world and apparently his leftover name recognition helps him raise decent money and poll surprisingly well.
These are your two choices if you reside in the religious-conservative minority.
Let's go next to the other end of the spectrum: Tennessee's "progressive" voters. (In fairness, I put quotes around this descriptor as well, since at times the stated goals of so-called "progressives" really can be seen to impede certain types of progress.) You don't currently have many choices that fit your views. (No Green Party candidates have yet declared; I doubt Tom Burrell will run again.) If you're thinking, "well, I'll just vote with the Democrats, as usual," think again. Here's why:
Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.: Blue Dog, pro-Social Security privatization (before he was against it), hasn't yet declared his candidacy. Related to ethically-challenged State Senator John Ford and (some may say ethically-challenged) former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford, Sr. Inherited current seat from the latter.
Congressman Lincoln Davis: he's another Blue Dog; he hasn't at all indicated his candidacy, but a draft attempt is on (one of the draft effort's bloggers signs on as "Dixiecrat" -- hmmm). See comments.
There is, therefore, one obvious choice for True Conservatives, Progressives, and Moderates alike. How could all three of these groups come together behind one candidate? It can only happen because that candidate is
former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker. Corker is a conservative. Yes, that's right, Corker is a conservative, in the right ways. Members of his campaign team have informed me of his views on the current (record!) federal deficit, and that, as our next Senator, he would do everything possible to curb federal spending and get the budget balanced. He left Chattanooga's government "in the black" and with a more favorable bond rating than when he took office. His administration oversaw a dramatic decrease in crime. Bob Corker is an entrepreneur, a no-nonsense capitalist, a man of faith, and a man devoted to his marriage and his family. If you're a conservative who values fiscal responsibility above the religious fanaticism currently posing as "conservatism," this is your candidate.
However, I feel that moderates and progressives ought as well to give Bob Corker a fair consideration. He was essential in founding Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise. He spearheaded traffic flow changes on what had essentially become blight-inducing commuter highways, and these changes in turn provided the catalyst for several run-down neighboorhoods to begin a rebirth amazingly quickly. His OutdoorChattanooga initiative emphasizes environmental stewardship and healthy living. Finally, just look at your other choices and be realistic!
We have a lot of time ahead of us before this campaign ends, and anything can happen; but for now, at least, this blog is endorsing the candidacy of Bob Corker for Senate in 2006. I am also encouraging all Tennesseans to take advantage of our open primaries and really make a difference in the GOP decision. It's important that we send a person to the U.S. Senate who can adequately represent all of us, and not just promote the radical agenda of a minority faction.
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