Saturday, June 19, 2010

Red State Candidate Forum

(Best button I saw last night at the Red State Candidate Forum...Is it 2012 yet? That brought a belly laugh straight to my soul.)

Ahhhhhhhhhh, the pleasure of sitting in a room full of hard core conservatives is as close to nirvana as I get. For me, it is like sitting in my church, feeling the waves of connection to our Creator. Like minds, like purpose, like direction.

As always, my hat goes off to those ladies who make things happen and the fellas who back them up with time, effort and expertise. The tables were full in the conference center last night, everything looked befittingly gorgeous and patriotly themed with flares of downright creative ingenuity.

And of course, I always look forward to the warm, rich voice of Jerry Anderson singing the heartfelt patriotic songs that seem to be slowly kicked to the curb these days of political correctness like the words of praise to our Creator during Invocation and Benediction so eloquently phrased last night by our very dear Bishop Milsap. Gulf War Veteran and Sheriff candidate Mike Foster led the Pledge of Allegiance, and as always, I got choked up. It is pretty sad when I feel like a "rebel" for praising patriotism and God in the same night. How is everyone liking that "Change" thing so far?!

Before the Forum began, I had the great pleasure of being endorsed by the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women. Federation President Susan Witcher gave a rousing speech that ended with the endorsement. I couldn't be more humbled yet proud by that honor. My SEC male counterpart Lynn Sebourn and I both gave quick speeches. Lynn is one of my favorite political braniac junkies who I respect and adore, it is a pleasure to work with him and hope we both end up with the SEC seat.

Esteemed SMTRLG Leader David James got the ball rolling, looking incredibly sharp might I add, and introduced the Forum moderator and my favorite warrior in the legislature Rep. Judd Matheny. I can remember his early days on the Hill when he would carry his gun EVERYWHERE including the House floor...until Speaker Naifeh got a little paranoid and asked him not to. Now THAT was funny.

Judd introduced our three Republican Governor Candidates via submitted bio. I always find it interesting what everyone puts in their intro bio, it tells alot about their priorities and their focus. I think alot of candidates miss the boat on their intro bio, they either don't put enough effort in tailoring it to the specific audience or the message gets way too watered down with alot of information. The Governor candidates definitely did a better job at this than the 4th District Congressional candidates. Fortunately for everyone on the podium last night, there was an eager and politically educated audience in attendance. We were there to make a decision and wanted as much information as they would give us...although I did see some eyes glaze over.

I didn't take notes, so I am going to refrain from making a detailed list of each candidates points nor do I specifically remember the questions asked except that they mostly dealt with education, jobs and budget priorities. I will just give you the "impressions" I got from the words being said.

Ron Ramsey took strong stances and never waivered, gave great analogies and down-to-earth explanations on why things work and don't work in Tennessee and what needs to happen to fix them. Bill Haslam had more measured responses, he was logical and gave educated answers. I couldn't disagree with pretty much anything he had to say. Zach Wamp cited past accomplishments and vision for the future. His final three minutes sounded more like the Zach Wamp I remember from years past. I don't mean to sound melancholy on that last note, but Zach was our Representative before redistricting so long ago. Back then he was a firebrand and extremely focused on being close to the people...even in Grundy County where he never won the majority. I haven't seen that Zach in a long time. Sometimes I really hate Washington....and that feeling grows deeper every day lately.

Next were the 4th District candidates. I really only knew Kent Greenough from his last run amd then from his involvement in Lincoln county politics and the Tea Party movement. Ron Harwell came to our June meeting in Grundy even though I told him that 99% of our residents were white and there was probably a reason for that. I kinda said it tongue in cheek, but he came anyway and that impressed me. Then he spoke and that impressed me even more. My dad loved him and that is REALLY saying something. I am a very hard core conservative for a reason. I didn't know Jack Bailey, but he was pretty polished amd you could tell he has worked in politics. I didn't know Scott Desjarlais even though he practices medicine in Jasper, just down the road from us. I have never seen him at a GOP meeting in Marion County...and I have kept a pretty good tab on them. All that being said, good for him for running. I just think he lacked a certain perspective gained from grassroots activism. I DEFINITELY don't remember the questions on this one, it was getting late and I was tired. But I do remember Ron Harwell stealing the show with his Libertarianesque answers.

Then there was the Straw Poll results.

Ron Ramsey won the Governor Poll. Ron Harwell won the 4th District Congressional Poll.

Why do I think they won? I think Ron Ramsey's years of visits to the area helping candidates paid off for him. His plain talk, his aggressive State's Rights attitude resonated well with this part of the state. I think the same could be said of Ron Harwell. He was quick, clean and precise with his strong statements. Both winners didn't pull any punches and the people liked it. I am not sure what the rest of the state will do, but for us, we were looking for warriors and that is how the people voted.

Is it 2012 yet?

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