The award-winning Pith in the Wind hereby presents the Zach Wamp Interview in which the high-spirited congressman unveils his latest line of attack against Bill Haslam—he’s a puppet candidate for his daddy Big Jim and his big brother Jimmy, and they are scheming to impose the dreaded state income tax on Tennessee! Hooboy, here we go:
“The bottom line is he’s a weak leader and as a result he is whichever way the wind blows. And Big Jim and Jimmy are going to run the state. And that’s the fear that people have all across the state … a great fear that he will never be governor because his dad has run the empire, his big brother now runs the empire, and there’s a fear of what that means. … because of the state income tax.”
Also in the interview with reporters at the Green Hills library Saturday, Wamp again claims a Haslam campaign mailer makes him look “demonic” and “ugly” just like one of those shady characters from the Middle East where they hate our freedoms.
“It’s designed to make you look really, really bad,” Wamp says, looking at a reporter’s copy of the mail piece. “I mean, to be honest with you, I shave every day. That right there is all painted in, brother. I shave every day. … I just think it’s ugly.”
“Frankly,” Wamp says, “that’s what the super rich and powerful will do is just destroy anyone in their wake.”
Here is the Q&A:
Q: You sound like you’re taking some of these attacks fairly personally. Do you think this is denigrating now into more personal attacks?
Wamp: I do think there are ways to show the contrast with dignity and class. And frankly I think for whatever reason, I think 10 days ago when they just went off they crossed the line and they continue to cross the line. Just a lot of inaccurate information to be honest with you. To connect me to the bridge to no where that’s just totally like 2 plus 2 equals 5. And really most of the things they say about me they could say about Marsha Blackburn and Bob Corker and everyone else. And so I just think it went over the top. It’s especially ironic since this was the civility and the right temperament and they just beat the drum in one direction and they put the ad up with Crissy and then before that ad even goes down the one-minute assault comes with the Obama-style infomercial. And then this mailing. And to be honest you, the mailing, I got the word demonic from the people that said have you seen this? And I said no. And they said it’s demonic. They painted you up to make you look like you’re from a foreign country. And that’s just like I don’t know I just think it’s undignified especially if you’re a solid family, you know, and I think it’s over the top, yes I do.
Q: Have you seen the mailer?
Q: You say it’s Middle Eastern themes. I’ve looked at it. I don’t really …
Wamp: Just the way it all looks. It’s designed to make you look really, really bad. I mean, to be honest with you, I shave every day. That right there is all painted in, brother. I shave every day. … I just think it’s ugly. Everybody did too.
Q: What’s Middle Eastern about it?
Wamp: It’s the way they kind of draw all this in. … They sure did try to make it look as bad as they possibly could.
Q: What about in terms of the charges? You did vote for the budget that initially included that Alaskan bridge. You also voted for the effort to remove it.
Wamp: Every single member of our Tennessee delegation, Republican and Democrat, voted for the authorization bill that did not include … earmarks like the Bridge to No Where. As soon as we knew that the Senate had added it, the House voted to take it out. It all depends on whether you’re going to actually campaign on the facts or whether you’re going to stretch it all to make it look like anything and everything is OK to say. I just think frankly they went so negative that facts didn’t get in the way of what they’re trying to do. And frankly, you can’t blame me and Marsha Blackburn for everything’s that’s wrong in Washington. Or Bob Corker. You can’t blame Jimmy Duncan. But that’s what they would have you believe. And I just think it’s way over the top. … I just do think they went so ruthlessly negative, and that’s the word. Because I think the Haslams are nice people as long as they get their way. That’s very common now I think with really rich and powerful people in America is they’re really nice as long as everything goes their way. But what we saw is that all of a sudden when this was not a parade or a picnic, they just went ruthlessly negative. And I think frankly that radio ad with the lady talking is just like over the top. And so they can live with it and do whatever they want to do with it. But we’ve tried to show the contrast with class. And I would say that rusty talks as genuinely about the facts and the issues as a person can talk. And so that’s the difference. But they’ve gone really, really negative with millions of their own money, non-transparent, not open and accountable. Who does this money come from? Who is it connected to? They never filed any disclosures of income tax returns. They refuse to do all that and now they’re spending all this money running mostly negative. And that’s the way it’s been now for almost two weeks. So I have faith in the people that that’s not going to determine the outcome. But let’s face it for someone who cast their campaign for two months on television in a kind, soft, I’m the civil one, I have the right demeanor—they just threw that out the window as soon as there was any pressure in this campaign whatsoever. Which is to me hypocrisy. They’ve said one thing and done another this whole campaign and they’ve created an image that’s simply not him, and when anybody questions that, there’s this full blown assault with millions of dollars in Pilot oil money to try to degrade the person who’s just pointing out the contrast. Frankly, that’s what the super rich and powerful will do is just destroy anyone in their wake.
Q: They say you’ve been negative since the beginning. They count something like 50 press releases.
Wamp: … If they call negative just telling the truth then it’s unfortunate they would say that because that’s not the case now. We just finally said we can’t let this stand because they’ve created an image of the guy that is not the guy. … The bottom line is he’s a weak leader and as a result he is whichever way the wind blows. And Big Jim and Jimmy are going to run the state. And that’s the fear that people have all across the state. I heard it in southwest Tennessee yesterday. I heard in northeast Tennessee this morning. A great fear that he will never be governor because his dad has run the empire, his big brother now runs the empire and there’s a fear of what that means. … because of the state income tax. Because his dad, as Mike McWherter laid out this week in no uncertain terms when Bill tried again to say ‘well, my dad was not the leader of this movement,’ hogwash. His dad was at the forefront of this movement. His dad was leading the campaign to raise $1.8 million to sell the state income tax to our state, and frankly, that core group of people is still around in the leadership of the Haslam campaign. … There’s a legitimate concern you know is this their 10-year-later effort to say OK now we have the political power to do what we tried to do 10 years ago. … Now they’d have an even more compelling case as to why we’d have to do it. There should be these concerns. And there are concerns from one end of the state to the other about who would run this state if Bill Haslam were elected governor? Is it him or is it his dad and his brother? Because I think everybody has known that he has been a puppet for them for a long period of time. We need a strong governor, a proven governor, a tested tough fighter for the future of our state. You’re not going to get that in Bill Haslam and a lot of people know that.