GOP takeover of city council unlikely

Betty BeanKnox Scene

A week or so ago, Sandra Clark allowed as how she was once as young and brash as the new chair of the Knox County Republican Party and she appealed to the rest of us to cut him a break when he shoots his mouth off about stuff like saving the city of Knoxville from the fell clutches of socialism and the lying liberal news media.


“Are you tired of the lying liberal media? Tired of the socialist-controlled (Knoxville) city council? As the proud owner of an AR-15 … I’ll be aggressive and ruthless” in promoting Republican values.

What the heck is he talking about? There’s precious little professional local media left these days, and what’s here is mostly owned by corporate entities that keep a close watch on the bottom line and wouldn’t be caught dead advocating workers taking over of the means of production or redistributing wealth or even supporting labor unions, for crap’s sake. This tired song is red meat for the base, and they don’t live inside the city limits. And neither does Mr. GOP chair, for that matter.

And that doesn’t even touch how he plans to use his AR-15. …

Who’s going to head up this crusade – the Center City Republican Club? Probably not, since they don’t live in the city, either.

In the second place, this kind of talk is hardly new. Unlike Clark when she was a young and brash candidate for the state legislature, this guy hasn’t been in town long enough to know about Stacey Campfield, so maybe he can be excused if he doesn’t realize that the former state senator has already been there, done that and routinely got picked up on late night TV so he could embarrass us on a nationwide basis.

And if he thinks that getting elected county GOP party chair is a springboard to anything much, he needs to ask his predecessor what happened to his appointment to the election commission (i.e., serving as county party chair generally is not a rung on the ladder to glory. Fool around and find out).

And what about the Red to the Roots campaign from the Tea Party days? It sounded pretty good back when the GOP had so recently solidified its hold on state and county governments here, but repeatedly floundered when it attempted to take over city elections, which are non-partisan by law and (generally) Democratic by inclination. Neither of the last two Republican mayors (Bill Haslam, 2004-2011, and Victor Ashe, 1987-2004) is likely to be been seen in a MAGA hat. And not that the new GOP guy would be interested in this kind of walk down memory lane, but he’d have to go back to Kyle Testerman, 1972-75/1984-87, to find a mayor who might (or might not) satisfy his conservative cravings.

As for nationalizing city issues, is he sure he wants to do that?

Although Knox County was Trump Country, Biden carried the wards inside the city limits by larger margins than democratic candidates in the previous two presidential elections. Gone are the days when a bunch of county politicians could gang up, buy a city lot and register 25 “owners” to quality to vote on what we used to call property rights.

Lauren Rider

And finally, good luck on labeling someone like, say, Lauren Rider a socialist. She’s a mother of two, an employed librarian, a doctor’s wife and the owner of multiple properties that she renovated and restored herself. Plus, she returns her phone calls and shows up when there’s work to be done – and she’s not the only council member who does this. City voters tend to push the button for people who help them solve problems.

Betty Bean writes a Thursday opinion column for KnoxTNToday.com.

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