In this week's column, our namesake, Jackson Baker, proves why this blog was needed. I am happy to provide the needed correctives. Here we go:
Sundquist's standing among fellow Republicans statewide
can best be gauged by the fact that, when the governor last
week admitted to reporters in Nashville his preferences for
Henry over Hilleary and Senatorial candidate Lamar
Alexander over 7th District congressman Ed Bryant,
Hilleary and Bryant trumpeted the fact, not the two
endorsees. A Hilleary press release, in fact, greeted the
news with the classic headline: "Sundquist Seeks Third
Sorta tell ya what you need to know about Sundquist, doesn't it? But the newpaper reporters keep reporting it as though they are baffled. Note also Baker's use of "admitted" for Sundquist's endorsements. Nothing of the sort. He proudly proclaimed them, thinking some Republicans might listen. Or else he's gone Clinton on us, psychotically believing his defenders, living in the dream and not the reality.
But the classic Jackson Baker emerges in the column's second section, about Flinn's missing party support. He also uses the buzz-phrase of the season, "robo call." Baker quotes David Cocke as "a Demoocrat heavily involved in Wharton's election effort," without noting that Cocke is a former party leader and upper tier insider.
Then begins the fun:
Not implausibly, Flinn suggested that persons in the Wharton
campaign might have been instrumental in helping to
publicize the two suits (although Wharton himself would
strenuously deny having any knowledge of such activity).
Meaning that Wharton's campaign most likely did. A long-time insider like Wharton would automatically know to have plausible denial for something like this. Notice, though, how Baker hangs that from Flinn and not Wharton. As well as this:
In a statement later on, Flinn acknowledged that the calls
should have been identified as coming from his campaign but
stood by the allegations, which he said primarily had to do
with Wharton's defense of child-care entrepreneurs under
challenge for violations of state codes. One of Wharton's
primary opponents, state Representative Carol Chumney,
had made the same charge but was denounced by Wharton's
defenders, as Flinn has been, for not properly respecting an
advocate's role in the American legal system.
Reread the last part of Sentence One: "child-care entrepreneurs under challenge for violations of state codes." Such bland language covers over the deaths of more than half-a-dozen children. How heinous. And in Sentence Two, see how he, again, cleverly tries to hang the problem on others, by saying that "Wharton's defenders...denounced [Flinn]," making clear where his point-of-view is.
I especially love that last part, accusing Flinn of dissing the "American legal system." Whoo! Flinn, you so bad!
In the longest and final section, Baker does his duty-- approving and ass-covering--for Rick Rout, the former County Mayor's son and head of the Shelby County Young Republicans. Bear with me, as this one is dense with evasions, misdirections, and falsities.
In a kind of second front to the mayoral war, Rick Rout, sonRemember that war metaphor stuff I mentioned before? Here it is again.
of incumbent Shelby County mayor Jim Rout and chairman
of the county Young Republicans as well as a declared
candidate for the local party chairmanship, became embroiled
in controversy regarding an e-mail he sent last week to fellow
YR board members.
In the e-mail, Rout advised the board members that their July
meeting was being canceled and wrote, "We all are going
nuts trying to get 95 percent of the Republican ticket elected
and should focus on that." He said further that his father,
saying his farewells to the group as mayor, would be the
speaker at the regular YR August meeting. He continued,
"The September meeting, we will hopefully be able to get the
new Shelby County mayor to come and speak to us. So I will
give A C a call today and ask if he will do it."
In an interview with the Flyer, Rout said it was only being
realistic to assume that Wharton would be the mayor in
September because of his current 23 percent lead in the CA's
most recently published poll. "That's pretty impossible to
overcome," Rout said, adding, "[T]he tactics that George
Flinn is using right now are backfiring greatly. People just
don't like negative campaigning. I, for one, am not endorsing
If I were a possible Republican candidate, I'd reread that paragraph again, with great concern. This is the kid who wants to lead the Party? Would I want him "fighting" for me? Would he even fight, or just write me off?
Flinn, he said, was "using smear tactics." Citing the arena ad
with its allegations of back-room politics and "deals," Rout
said, "My dad is the most honest public servant anyone has
ever seen, and I don't appreciate [the allegations]." (Mayor
Rout, who has kept his distance publicly from the mayor's
race, was a firm advocate of the publicly funded arena
Sounds more like a Democrat. I can see pretty clearly which part of the Party he's lined up with; and which group of "civic leaders," as well. He's learned his father's lessons quite well.
Elaborating on his view of Flinn's candidacy, Rick Rout said,
"To be honest with you, I feel that he doesn't know what he's
talking about. As a member of the Republican Party, I'm
actually embarrassed. I don't think Dr. Flinn knows anything
about running county government. It's a shame we've got a
nominee that won't make speaking engagements and won't
make debates. I am really disheartened at the way this
election has gone."
No wonder Baker writes so approvingly and so without subtle slander. He's parroting the lines by the City's "elite."
To those YR members who had contacted him to express
their disappointment with the invitation being extended to
Wharton, Rout said, "That's a little narrow-minded. We have
to work with public servants across party lines. And we've
had Democrats like [Memphis] mayor Willie Herenton speak
to us before."
Again, Rout seems to listen more to others outside his Party than to his own people. Or maybe he just listens to a certain subgroup of them....
Rout said he had not known that his sister Sherry Rout, who
was in the group accompanying Wharton to a mayoral debate
at WHBQ-TV last Thursday night, was taking an active role in
the Wharton campaign but said, "We disagree on many
things, politics being one. But if you have to choose between
two candidates, you've got to pick the candidate you think
will do the better job." Most people look at "the man, not the
party," Rout said.
Again, if I was a possible Republican candidate, I'd have serious second thoughts about this guy being in charge of my re-election chances. Like his father, he's "transcended" party politics, to serve the elites.
Flinn spokesperson Cary Rodgers denied that the arena
commercial had impugned Mayor Rout's integrity or
suggested he was dishonest. "The whole point is that
anything the voters don't get to vote on is perceived as a
back-room deal. Nothing more, nothing less." Rodgers said
that "numerous calls" had been received at Flinn
headquarters from "people who are outraged at Rick's
approach." She said, "They disagree totally with his
reasoning, his conclusions, and his future as chairman of the
So would I. Notice once more that Baker has aligned the reader's viewpoint with the Democrats--saying Rodgers "denied" and "impugned." And notice the use of scare quotes, the tactic of putting a short phrase into quotes in order to cast doubt on them, here with "numerous calls."
This last was a reference to Rick Rout's active campaign to
become the next Shelby County Republican chairman,
succeeding the outgoing Alan Crone. Other names have
been mentioned as potential candidates -- including those of
businessman Kemp Conrad, who Flinn said had been an
active supporter, and county commission member Marilyn
Loeffel. Only Rout, who has already printed up campaign
material, is declared, however. He said last week he didn't
think his campaign would suffer from the current controversy
or from his position on the mayor's race.
Translation: I'm with the power in-crowd. I'm covered.
This week, however, GOP activist Denise Martin, one of
those who objected to the e-mail's content last week, said
she, too, may seek the chairmanship.
This week, as one election day neared, and as his own
loomed several months down the pike, when Crone will step
down, Rout began to couch his e-mail in somewhat different
terms. "Really, I was just using my sense of humor," he said
of the "95 percent" reference. "The polls have made it pretty
clear that Flinn's not a real possibility to win; that's mainly
what I was saying." But then he repeated his earlier
displeasure with the party nominee.
Apparently, some folks are beginning to get through. Or his arrogance was brought to heel somewhat. And once more, this guy wants to lead? Who would follow him?
There was no joke about one thing. The public estrangement
between the Routs and Flinn was not an isolated affair; it
highlighted a schism that had been foreshadowed by several
prior circumstances, including the heated primary race which
saw John Willingham unseat county commission chairman
Morris Fair in May.
Note what's not said, though. Willingham is a Flinn supporter, to the point of paying for his own pro-Flinn ad. Maybe all hope is not yet lost.
As do the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races, each in a
somewhat different way, the Shelby County mayor's race has
pointed up a serious division in the ranks of Republicans --
between those who, like Mayor Rout, operate comfortably
within a bipartisan, nondogmatic structure of opinion and
those who, like Flinn, Willingham, and others, represent the
feelings of populist, anti-tax insurgents.
As some commentators point out, Rush Limbaugh for one, "operate comfortably within a bipartisan, nondogmatic structure of opinion..." aside from being a far-too-airtight intellectualism also shows that some Democrats view "agree with me and defer to me" as the only acceptable kind of cooperation.
This particular paragraph also shows us something about Baker himself, more than his politics. Notice how folks like him "operate comfortably within a bipartisan, nondogmatic structure of opinion," while his opponents "feel.," are "populist" and insurgent. That says worlds about where Jackon comes from. Folks who live in their heads, and I say this from experience, can easily find themselves staring sophistry in the face. Folks who don't trust their feelings also don't usually trust the "masses." Feelings, like the masses, are not to be trusted and must be controlled by the elite, by dispassionate thinkers. Like Jackson Baker.
Whatever the outcome of the current mayoral battle or of that
over the chairmanship, this is a war that will go on for some
Once again, as I've pointed out before, Baker uses military jargon. Coming from someone on the far-liberal Left, where they typically view the military as bare-restrained heathen hordes eager for rape and pillage and repression of civil rights, you have to laugh.
Except that Baker is the lone voice in the Flyer in these matters. There is no counter-balance, no representation of the spectrum of thought; only the Allowed, Approved Voice that masquerades as the One True Voice. Let another paper only present one conservatice columnist-cum-journalist and the howls would be loud and sustained, the disdain severe. Let the Flyer have only one Far-Left "analyst" and it's alright, because he's a "professional." He's been "trained," he's "OK."
He's full of it, and proud to shovel some your way.
Until next time, that is all.
Your Working Boy