Headlining the party's four new hires is Alan Secrest, who will serve as executive director and research director starting in January 2014. This is good for the TNDP, which will soon have an executive director and research director. This is good for Alan Secrest, who will soon have a new job. This is bad for Alan Secrest because his new job is at the Tennessee Democratic Party.
The party announcement calls Secrest "a top national Democratic strategist and pollster with Tennessee ties" and includes praise from former Tennessee Congressmen Lincoln Davis and Bart Gordon, as well as former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, which you can see after the jump:
There was a pretty good bit on last night's Daily Show about the sideshow that was the Kathleen Sebelius hearing yesterday, but our favorite part comes at about the 3:30 mark.
After trying out a line about how some people like drinking out of a red solo cup and not something with a crystal stem while questioning Sebelius, our own Marsha Blackburn proceeded to get up, leave the hearing, and repeat the exact same line for the boys at Fox Business Channel.
There's about a million things wrong with this — not the least of which is the bullshit populism of the red solo cup; how about just hammering the administration for things that don't work — but is it too much to ask for the Congresswoman from Williamson Co. to wait until the end of a three hour hearing she was demanding before going off to do yet another TV appearance?
All of this belies the one salient fact about her grandstanding: Blackburn gives us a false choice. You can have red solo cups WITH crystal stems.
The super PAC that has been behind Joe Carr's campaign to beat Lamar Alexander has even bigger money troubles than Carr.
According to their filing with the Federal Election Commission, The Real Conservatives National Committee had only $25.26 on hand at the end of September. Their Beat Lamar campaign is organized by Michael Leahy, who is also the treasurer of RCNC.
In the quarter when Carr ramped up his candidacy and Beat Lamar attempted to pull Tea Party elements together behind the state representative from Rutherford Co., they raised just over $14,000 while they spent more than $15,000.
Their primary Tennessee funding came in the form of two conservative activists. Andy Miller, who was behind Lou Ann Zelenik's runs for office, gave $2,500 and Lee Beaman, the auto dealer behind the state's override of Metro's anti-discrimination ordinance, also gave $2,500. Another $5,000 came from Conservative HQ, the northern Virginia-based information arm of Tea Party funder Richard Viguerie.
After organizing in March, Leahy's outfit has raised less than $20,000 this year and spent all of it.
Marsha Blackburn was on CNN this morning to talk privacy concerns over the Affordable Care Act website raised in a committee hearing yesterday. She asked a very simple question: What health records are you concerned about the government getting through the Healthcare.gov website?
She couldn't answer it.
This gets to one of the fundamental problems with the critique of Obamacare as a Big Brother-type of initiative — outside of setting up the transaction, the government isn't providing the care. Blackburn and others are raising the specter of Big Government in your life but all the program essentially does is facilitate most of us getting private health insurance. At the end of your sign-up, you're dealing with Blue Cross/Blue Shield or Aetna or another private insurer. There is no public option in the legislation and, in Tennessee, there is no expansion of Medicare.
For those of you with a keen sense of irony, Blackburn voted in 2011 to extend the Patriot Act, giving us programs like PRISM which allow the government to basically monitor all forms of electronic communication that we use.
“This could be terrific news for Tennessee,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “Six of the ten governors on the task force Governor Haslam was appointed to in May have made the important decision to accept the federally funded Medicaid expansion. Hopefully Governor Haslam will learn from someone like New Mexico’s Republican Governor Susana Martinez who bucked tea party extremists in order to do the right thing for her state’s working poor.”
Governor Haslam is one of five governors in the United States who still claim to be “weighing options” on Medicaid expansion, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Governor Susana Martinez decided earlier this year to expand Medicaid, saying, “[t]he election is over and the Supreme Court has ruled. My job is not to play party politics, but to implement this law in a way that best serves New Mexico.”
“The Governor seems to have struggled with this decision,” said House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner. “Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands Tennesseans who are struggling to pay medical bills — having to make the impossible choice between food and the medicine they need. They simply can’t wait any longer for the Governor to finish his internal debate and do what is right for working families in our state.”
A Pith reader points out an interesting fact about Joe Carr's new TV spot (which he's spending about $20K to put on Fox News broadcasts around the state): The site where Carr is standing is below the dam at Percy Priest, one of the very places Lamar Alexander talked about earlier this year where he slapped back the Corps of Engineers for fishing restrictions below dams. His "Freedom to Fish" legislation was signed into law in June and has been quite popular with outdoors and fishing types (read: Tea Party targets).
The only thing that would have made it worse is if Carr had been wearing the Senior Senator's trademark black-and-red-checked shirt
After a fundraiser at DeSano Pizza fell through when he apparently failed to discuss it with the restaurant, state Sen. Stacey Campfield is trying again.
The Knoxville Republican is sending out a change of location mailer — which can be seen after the jump — to announce that the fundraiser will now take place on the same date and time (Oct. 22, 5-7 p.m.) at Mafiaoza's in 12 South, another pizza joint which we won't begrudge for (maybe) hosting this event.
Given the DeSano incident, we contacted Mafiaoza's to see that they're hosting the event (or warn them).
"We are not hosting anything. We've taken a reservation for dinner," owner Lars Kopperud said. He asked Pith what the fuss was about, apparently unfamiliar with the entertainment that is The Stacey Campfield Show.
Kopperud said that there was a reservation for 12 on the books.
"I can't help what people talk about," he said. "I'm in the pizza business, not the censorship business."
Campfield might have lucked into a good spot, though: It will be Two-for-Tuesday at the pizza joint.
When you click through the jump to see the mailer, check out the return address, leading one back to his state Senate office. (That's still illegal.)
The Davidson County GOP will hold a primary on the May date set aside for local races.
From a letter to the county's election commission:
"This letter is to inform you that the Davidson County Republican Party's Executive Committee has voted to hold a Republican Party Primary for the May 6, 2014 Primary Election. The Primary Election will include all Constitutional county officers Judges and any other local partisan offices which may be placed on the ballot."
As in years past, Republicans in the county will face a dilemma: vote in their own primary or have a say in the primary that matters. With Democrats substantially outnumbering Republicans in Davidson County, the victor there is the de facto winner. Unlike in 2012, there will be no presidential race to draw in voters. Will GOPers cross the line? It depends on the race, but with at least a few open judicial seats on the ballot, it will be tempting.
Before the ink is even dry on the budget deal, Joe Carr's campaign has put out an ad laying into the Senior Senator for the so-called "Kentucky Kickback:"
Carr's campaign says they've bought time on Fox News broadcasts in Tennessee.
But does the ad ring true?
Salon writer Eric Stern watched an episode of Hannity the other night — sometimes journalism takes you to dark, scary places — and saw Sean hosting three couples, "average Americans" that were "feeling the pain of Obamacare." Each couple took a turn sharing their horror story involving the health care law.
But none of it smelled right to me," Stern writes. "Nothing these folks were saying jibed with the basic facts of the Affordable Care Act as I understand them. I understand them fairly well; I have worked as a senior adviser to a governor and helped him deal with the new federal rules."
So he decided to report the three stories — "...the stories that the media refuses to cover,” as Hannity put it — on his own, conducting phone interviews with each of the couples. And in each case he seems to have found the solution for their troubles...Obamacare.
In each case, Stern finds that the couple's primary complaint about Obamacare seems to be rooted in a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the law, or simply a failure to take advantage of it. One case in particular caught our eye due to proximity. That of a couple from Franklin, Tenn.
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