Saturday, July 5, 2008

Blackburn's toughening primary fight

Politicial reporter John Rodgers' piece in the July 3rd City Paper provides a good in-depth analysis on the toughening Republican primary race between incumbent "Congressman" Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood and former GOP state Sen. Tom Leatherwood of Shelby County.

Go to:

Being a Republican incumbent even in the South is difficult these days as the Democrats strengthen their hold on Congress in sweeping special elections of open seats, even in Mississippi. President Bush's slumping approval rating is sinking many GOP boats or beaching them on sandbars.

Blackburn's problem, however, is more unique and telling.

Her office bureaucracy has improperly reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions since 2002. And a significant part of the cash has gone to services rendered by her relatives. For a lawmaker who has been critical of the state's and Washington's management of money -- and rightly so -- it is difficult to swallow her failures in her own congressional office. She had financial problems when she previously ran the State Film Office.

If you're going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.

Yes, she reported her failings to the public herself. But that was only after dozens of letters of warning from the FEC.

People hate hypocrites in politics. And so Blackburn's challenger, Tom Leatherwood, has been turning up the heat. Does that mean he deserves my or anyone's endorsement? For me, not until I explore his proposals and background more thoroughly.

But that's enough about and from me. Rodgers does a much better job of analysis for us to make the call.

I'll close, however, with this advice for his employer. Some of us believe John Rodgers is the star of The City Paper. So whenever he does an in-depth poiltical piece like on the Blackburn-Leatherwood race or examining the ethics pullback at the General Assembly, please at least feature a mention of the guy's work on the newspaper cover even if his story is inside.

And most certainly on your opening web page, feature Rodgers' work amid the assortment of your items. I had to really search for his Blackburn piece this morning. I originally read it in print. He merits better, or you may find him soon working somewhere else.

His kind of talent is attractive to readers, because we leave his work each time better informed.


Cato said...

Mr. Chavez, I believe that Rep. Blackburn's FEC violations were honest accounting errors. All money contributed and spent has been accounted for. Also, although I disagree with family members on the payroll, Rep. Blackburn pays her daughter (who raises funds for the campaign) less than the average salary for such services. Additionally, fundraisers work on commission (no fundraising; no salary). As anyone can see, this is fair. It is unpalatable, but it is not unethical. Can you offer evidence that Rep. Blackburn is guilty of wrongdoing, rather than diturbing yet honest accounting errors made by a member of her staff? Also, I believe Tom Leatherwood is in some FEC trouble these days as well.

Tim Chavez said...

From Tim Chavez, Tennessee

Dear Cato,

Thank you for your comment and your perspective.
As for Rep. Blackburn's honesty, six years is a long time to wait for someone to become aware of the law, particularly if she or he is a lawmaker.
We sure don't cut undocumented workers and their families that kind of slack and rationalization here in Nashville. Rep. Blackburn is for their immediate punishment and deportation, as to the word and spirit of the law. As Edmund Burke said, without laws there can really be no freedom.
That brings us all back to hypocrisy. She tells government to do a better job of managing the money of others, then fails the same standard in her office.
She went on stage earlier this year in Nashville to tout the same unforgiving standard for undocumented workers and their families under the 287g deportation program.
So asking for understanding of someone who provides no such consideration to others in the same situation of supposed honest ignorance is beyond justification and my vote.
As for Mr. Leatherwood's troubles, the FEC should go after him with much more ferocity than it did with Rep. Blackburn.
Again, thank you for your comment and perspective. I appreciate you reading and responding. That is the marketplace of ideas at its best. And the civility of your writing is most appreciated. It is a talent I continue to try and pursue, sometimes successfully but not enough.
Please continue to respond.

Anonymous said...

"undocumented workers...pffft"...ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS..come on timmy you can say it... ILLEGAL