- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
White House nod to Sundquist confounds GOP
Jul 18, 2005 12:00 am
July 12, 2005
POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Drawing quiet rebuke from even the most loyal Tennessee Republicans, the Bush White House may not have done the GOP any favors in the Volunteer State by calling on the services of former Republican Gov. Don Sundquist.
Sundquist was appointed by the White House last week to head a federal commission on reforming Medicaid, a move that left even the far left of the opposition party scratching its collective head in amazement.
For starters, the White House appointment came just days before a federal criminal case brought by Bush‚s own Justice Department against one-time Sundquist cronies broke wide open.
A federal judge in the investigation into state contracts awarded without bids to Friends of Don said in a brief Sundquist‚s very involvement got the probe rolling.
The poor vetting aside, trusting Sundquist to engender Medicaid reform would be like asking Archie Bunker to chair a blue ribbon panel on race relations ^ it just doesn‚t add up. The two terms of the Sundquist administration created the very TennCare system Tennessee is now struggling to cut back and shed lest it strangle state government financially.
From talk radio to the blogosphere, grass roots Republicans were openly scornful of the White House decision as Sundquist is now reviled by most of the Tennessee GOP for backing a state income tax his last term in office.
In the world of conservative Tennessee politics, Sundquist is persona non grata.
Perhaps Karl Rove was too busy whispering to reporters to notice.
Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. was for the U.S. Supreme Court‚s controversial Kelo eminent domain decision before he was against it.
Ford made now widely publicized comments on Nashville‚s Teddy Bart‚s Roundtable seemingly endorsing the ruling. After being criticized heavily in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press daily newspaper in an editorial for his position, Ford wrote an op-ed for the paper seemingly against the ruling.
Property rights in a state like Tennessee are a sacred cow where even the mention of a property tax increase is the kiss of death politically for most local elected leaders.
Count on seeing Kelo in a 30 second spot somewhere in the 2006 Senate race.
Corker Bling Bling
The Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate resembles more of an arms race at this point than a debate about the future of the country or Tennessee values.
And Bob Corker is the toughest kid on the block.
Corker came out very early with a pronouncement that his soon to be filed second quarter fund-raising disclosure would show another $711,000 raised.
The question now is when will Corker start spending his millions to purchase some badly needed name recognition with a statewide television buy? He trails both former Congressmen in the race ^ Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary ^ in name recognition while dwarfing them in fund-raising.
Political observers can look for Corker to follow the Harold Ford, Jr. model with some early television, likely in the fall.
They can also look for Corker‚s campaign to begin playing up the sources of some of their fundraising, which may suggest an indirect nod from the Bush White House toward Corker‚s candidacy, some GOP sources in the state insist. Sitting Sen. Lamar Alexander used this kind of Dubya allusion with great impact during his one-sided primary drubbing of Bryant in 2002.