Some end-of-the-year reading suggestions for TN political junkies

A sampling of recent Tennessee-oriented political commentary and reporting that was not included in earlier blog postings, but is perhaps of interest to political junkies not engaged in seeking post-Christmas shopping bargains, New Year’s Eve party planning or other seasonal activities:

Bob Corker: Beloved in Chattanooga — and/or ‘Corrupt’?

The New York Times has an article with a Chattanooga dateline and a headline declaring, “A unanimous verdict on Corker vs. Trump: That’s Just Bob”. The focus is on Corker’s conflict with President Trump, but there’s a lot of interesting background quotation and commentary on the Corker career.


If his next move remains unclear, once his term expires, friends say he is likely to anchor himself back home – in a mansion guarded on a recent weekday by two non-fearsome dogs on the lawn; at a favorite Italian restaurant, Il ‘Primo, where the hostess has promised ‘Uncle Bob’ a free limoncello pie on his next visit for confronting Mr. Trump; across a downtown that can skew almost bohemian in some patches, with a growing lot of Republicans joining the younger liberal demographic in questioning the president’s abilities.

Rolling Stone, meanwhile, has an article under the headline, Bob Corker Facing Ethics Questions? What a Surprise. The focus is on the senator’s rise from a net worth of less than zero upon taking office in 2007 – because of debts and liabilities owed in business ventures – “to the point of being the fourth wealthiest man in the upper chamber, worth $69 million as of 2015.”


Ten years before reporters would swarm over Trump for (among other things) raising fees at his Mar-a-Lago resorts before making a series of taxpayer-funded visits, Corker tested the limits of the moonlighting possibilities in the legislative branch, essentially becoming a full-time day-trader who did a little Senator-ing in his spare time.

In the first nine months of 2007, Corker made an incredible 1,200 trades, over four per day, including 332 over a two-day period.

Could Tennessee be like Alabama?

There’s a bunch of reporting and commentary on the possibility of a Democratic revival within (and without) Tennessee following Doug Jones victory in the December special Alabama U.S. Senate race election and Republican Rep. Mark Pody’s narrow victory over a little-known Democrat in the Senate District 17 special election.

Maybe the best example is an Associated Press report, produced in-state but distributed nationally, on Tennessee’s Senate race that notes the probable Republican nominee – either Marsha Blackburn or Stephen Fincher — lacks the personal baggage that Republican Roy Moore carried in Alabama while they face in Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen starts with a far higher positive name ID than did Jones.

The Tennessean’s overview story is HERE.

Examples of state media commentary, written by hopeful Democrats who see a trend coming to Tennessee: Theotis Robinson in the News Sentinel; Byon Elam in the Jackson Sun.

Examples of state media commentary, written by Republicans basically saying ‘no way’ that will happen in Tennessee: Greg Johnson in the News Sentinel; Frank Cagle (in a column written prior to Jones’ Alabama win saying Republicans should help elect Jones so they can replace him in two years with a Republican who is not a pedophile — a prospect he thought unlikely at the time.)

A national media example, Politico HERE.

TN Supremes decide what legislators were thinking

In a perhaps politically interesting case, the Tennessee Supreme Court looked to the “legislative intent” in passage of  state laws that block a person owing child support from receiving proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit and decides – contrary to the Court of Appeals – that the general ban doesn’t apply in the situation at hand. (If legislators intended otherwise, of course, they can change the laws in the coming session. Given that the deadbeat dad owed support to other children — not the child of his wife, who was killed in a traffic accident — that probably won’t happen.)

The AOC press release is HERE. The full opinion HERE,

Trump and Christmas in Linden, TN

In the “rural Trump-supporting town” of Linden, Tenn., (county seat of Perry County), the Washington Post reports that residents are generally strong supporters of the president’s push to declare “Merry Christmas” instead of religion-neutral sayings.

“We’ve always said ‘Merry Christmas,’ ” said Melissa Cobb, 48, a local hairstylist wearing dangling cross earrings, who voted for President Trump and gathered before the parade with fellow church members and clients in the beauty salon where she works. She added that no one in the town has ever been offended by her saying the phrase.

“It offends me,” she continued, “to see at the stores, where they just do ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Seasons Greetings.’ It should be ‘Merry Christmas.’ Put Christ back into Christmas. That’s what it’s supposed to be. . . . I just wish we would all get on the same page.”

Trump tapped into this sentiment on the campaign trail when he promised that if he was elected president, everyone would say “Merry Christmas” again — never mind that most Americans never stopped.

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