Candidates embrace conservative label

Frank CagleFeature, Politics

Conservative. Conservative. Conservative. The most popular word in ads for Republican gubernatorial candidates. It’s a smart play because Tennessee is known for electing right wing, arch conservative Republicans to statewide office. There was Howard Baker. Uh, well… Lamar! Alexander. OK. Fred Thompson? Bob Corker? Bill Haslam?

Pardon my French but these people are “moderates.”


The candidates are also trying their best to be the biggest Trumper of them all. They all love the president and have supported him. The reason The Donald thinks his inauguration had the biggest crowd ever is because all these people were there.

Use of the word conservative this election cycle is just one example of slogans that are supposed to appeal to voters but don’t hold up to analysis. Another is a gaggle of words all meaning outsider or non-politician. The practical translation is ineffectual, amateurish, weak governor being run over or ignored by the legislature. Is that what you want in a governor? Clueless about governing?

If you have a burst water pipe I suppose you go through the Yellow Pages and call until you find a plumber who has never fixed a burst water pipe and then hire them to do the job. If you don’t have the political skills to control the legislature or garner public support for your ideas then what are you planning to do while sitting in the governor’s chair? Play Free Cell on your Smart Phone?

If you have promised to term limit legislators I’ll be interested in watching that process. Legislators can help term limit you by making your first term a shambles. But you have no power to term limit legislators. And when you propose to outlaw sanctuary cities you will discover that they are already outlawed in Tennessee. Are you clueless or do you think the voters are?

Campaign ads and news coverage have revealed Randy Boyd to have world-wide operations, including an Irish headquarters for tax purposes. If elected governor how will he jawbone companies to locate in Tennessee? Do as I say, not as I do? Looking back to when he was economic development commissioner for Gov. Bill Haslam recruiting companies to located in Tennessee it ought to be embarrassing.

The campaigns for Boyd and Diane Black appear to be locked in a death spiral. All I hear from people talking about the race is being sick of the charges and counter charges. Asked about his negative ads Boyd said in a television interview that he doesn’t pay any attention to the ads. When you lose the election maybe you will realize that you should have.

Short takes
  • The most jaw-dropping thing I’ve heard in a political commercial lately comes from Phil Bredesen. He says the state faced a financial crisis when he became governor. True. He goes on to say he resolved it without an income tax or an increase in the sales tax. For you young people and people with short memories, Gov. Don Sundquist and the Democratic-controlled legislature increased the sales tax in the final year of Sundquist’s term. The sales tax increase came after an effort to impose an income tax failed, never to rise again.
  • After his initial year as governor, Bredesen had an additional billion dollars in sales tax revenue to play with. No, he didn’t raise the sales tax. It had already been raised and he benefited from it. And he couldn’t have passed an income tax even if he wanted.
  • Granted, most of the people I know are likely to vote for Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett for Congress, but I have yet to talk with anyone who has seen state Rep. Jimmy Matlock’s attack mailers who isn’t turned off by them. There are things to criticize about Burchett, but the mailers are so over the top I expected to see an item about the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby.
  • Legalizing doctor-prescribed medical marijuana polls at over 60 percent in Tennessee. House Speaker Beth Harwell, who had a legislative task force examine the issue, has come out in favor of legalization, the only Republican gubernatorial candidate to do so. It’s a gamble and it will be interesting to see if it helps her in the polls or the election results.

You may reach Frank by email at efrankcagle@yahoo.com    

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