The Puryear nomination fight is becoming more toxic than a Charlie Sheen relationship. Backers of the federal judicial appointee have launched the painfully amateurish Tennesseans for Puryear
website in which they've assailed Puryear's chief critic, former CCA inmate Alex Friedmann, rehashing details of his 1987 felony convictions even though Friedmann has always been upfront about his violent past. And besides, Friedmann's campaign against Puryear has been waged fairly by the rules of Washington—he's never resorted to petty, personal attacks, instead pointing reporters, activists and Senate staffers to Puryear's troubling record. If anything, CCA should be proud of Friedmann—he's lived the model life for an ex-con.
Now let's jump, shall we?
The website does bring up Puryear's many attributes and the decency of his supporters, which the dead tree version of Pith in the Wind extolled
as well. But when the site tries to explain away the series of controversies that have dogged the nominee, it flounders miserably. The most amusing part comes when it tries to defend Puryear's membership at the bigoted Belle Meade Country Club by noting that it does have a Hispanic voting member named Raoul Concepcion. That's also known as the “some-of-my-best-friends-are-Hispanic” argument. Oddly, the site tries to use one of our stories
to point to the club's progressivity, even though we wrote nothing that portrayed the club as anything short of woefully discriminatory. (The website also manages to misspell my first name—"Matte"—which is as good an indication as any of its adherence to the factual record.
Of course, Tennesseans for Puryear doesn't explain why there are no black Tennesseans who belong to the Belle Meade Country Club and why women aren't allowed to vote or hold leadership positions. The site also mentions, as have we, that several (aging) Democratic judges belong to the club. But does that explain the nominee's decision to belong to the place? Puryear is just 39 years old. Shouldn't we expect him to have more modern sensibilities than the doddering white males who run the club?