Illustration by Tom Tomorrow
Even casual political observers know Tennessee is so reliably Red on the Electoral Map that neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama plan on spending much, if any, time or money here at all. But that didn’t stop Mitt from dispatching his wife, Ann, to Chattanooga to scoop up tens of thousands during a fundraising dinner last week at the home of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.
For a mere $10,000, supporters were treated to dinner with Ann Romney, Corker and other ranking Tennessee Republicans. Toss in another $5,000 and you could have your photo taken with Ann. The cheap seats—sans dinner or photos—were $1,000 or $2,000 per couple.
Because such an event clearly defines income disparity, we wonder how many takers there were for this opportunity to rub shoulders with a potential first lady in low-key Chattanooga. If a local power couple can cough up $17,000 for a night at Corker’s home for chicken, drinks, a handshake and photo, things aren’t half as bad in the Scenic City as the proletariat would have us believe.
With the rise of the Tea Party, Republican candidates on a national level have long since abandoned Ronald Reagan’s commandment that Republicans should not attack one another. Just a brief look back at the most recent crop, each proclaiming their superiority over the other while trashing their brethren at the same time, signals a breach of modern conservative politics.
On a local level, the trend seems to be win the primary, keep your head down and let the clock run out until Election Day. Even in states with deep Red tentacles such as Tennessee, it’s dangerous for such incumbents as Chuck Fleischmann to submit to a debate, lest his incompetence and ties to his party’s masters be exposed in a public forum not of his own making.
At least that’s the stand of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, whose standard-bearers, including congressional candidate Dr. Mary Headrick and state senate candidate Andraé McGary, are taking in calling out their GOP opponents for failure to appear.
“[Todd] Gardenhire wimps out and won’t debate—he’s a lousy candidate,” reads a recent post on the party’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the Headrick campaign is clamoring for a debate with Fleischmann, who seemed reluctant to accept until last week when the congressman agreed to appear at a forum “in the same room” on Oct. 8 at the Bradley County Public Library. Just before we went to press, Fleischmann agreed to debate Headrick in the hugely Republican county.
“As a physician, I have not spent much of my professional career debating in public, but I expect that a lawyer like Mr. Fleischmann should be willing and able to engage in public debate,” Headrick said in a statement.
Our favorite titanium-lensed conservative TFP editorial page editor is on the defensive after his “shocking” commentary on openly gay city council candidate Chris Anderson’s coming out.
Such orientation is the depth of depravity and should be condemned, in the view of many who read the paper’s right-wing Free Press-side editorials.
But Drew Johnson didn’t “commend” Anderson, as many misguided readers believed, but rather rightly applauded his coming out as a landmark moment in Chattanooga politics.
Still, Drew will surely burn in the fiery depths of hell for such imagined heresy and for openly suggesting Republicans ditch Romney and lay in wait for 2016.
Drew—who mentioned that he is a lifelong teetotaler who’s never had a drink—apparently writes all this crazy stuff while sober.
We’ll drink to that!