Tax Free Tennessee
I'm not even going to waste time and bandwidth listing everything. Just go to TTF and read. Lots of very good stuff this week. Essential thrice-weekly reading. Go.
Until next time.
The fight for the governor's mansion was supposed to beSays who? Has she been paying attention the past few years? The Gore loss to Bush, the Income Tax Wars, the sudden flight or defeat by Democrats at the State and County levels? Only in her mind was it easy, I guess.
easy for Democrat Phil Bredesen.
He entered the race last year with widespread nameThat's one interpretation. Others see a man who raised taxes many times and sold Nashville's financial future to a lot of iffy promises. And how did being Nashville's mayor earn him a reputation for health care knowledgeability?
recognition, particularly in Middle Tennessee where, as
Nashville's mayor, he earned the reputation of a talented
chief executive who knows a lot about management and
He is credited with being a skilled deal maker who lured
professional football to Nashville. He put together incentive packages to
attract computer maker Dell and to keep Columbia HCA from leaving.
Bredesen also is armed with his own fortune, much of which he earnedWhat does that last mean? Nothing, although she parlays it like it's a shocking admission. I also have to wonder how SAT would have characterized a Republican who had his business experience? "Corporate HMO raider" maybe?
by buying troubled health maintenance organizations and making them
profitable. Even White House political director Ken Mehlman let it slip in
June that he believed Bredesen had a strong chance of winning the
governor's race in Tennessee.
Yet that's not what the polls say. While Bredesen's internal polls showWe've been through this before, here. The first poll was of all Tennesseans and allowed for "undecided." The second poll was only of registered, likely voters and did not offer the "undecided" option. So, naturally, it produced different numbers. Only an idiot, or someone with an agenda, would fail to take note of that.
him seven points ahead of Hilleary, Hilleary's polls show him a point
ahead of Bredesen, less than a month before the election.
A statewide poll conducted in mid-September showed Bredesen leading
with 37 percent of the vote to Hilleary's 29 percent. Two weeks later,
another poll showed the candidates in a dead heat, with 44 percent of
the vote going to Bredesen and 42 percent for Hilleary. Both polls had a
4 percent margin of error
How did Bredesen slip so quickly?
If a Republican candidate in a statewide race is behind in the polls asSay, wait a minute! Didn't she just say, in her first paragraph, that Bredesen was supposed to have it easy? Why is she now saying something slightly different here? And, for that matter, is this why Bredesen so little invokes the name and heritage of the Democratic Party? Is there a problem there, perhaps?
Election Day nears, the spread between the Democrat and Republican
almost always will narrow in favor of the Republican, because
Tennessee is a Republican state.
Hilleary also is on the popular side of this year's hot election issue:I'll bet she had to go take a moment when she wrote that, even if she does use weasel-words like "popular" and "care."
taxes. If polls are correct, that's the issue most voters care about this
Hilleary has done an effective job of communicating his anti-taxAnd it's working too, because it's put Bredesen on the defensive end of the issue. And Bredesen is reduced to pretending he's not a Democrat, with all that entails, in the process.
message. There is no other issue he talks about as often and with as
much clarity. Even while explaining his position on the death penalty
during a televised debate in Memphis this week, Hilleary worked his
position against taxes into his answer. He has effectively latched onto
the issue and claimed it as his own.
Bredesen also campaigns against a broad-based income tax, but it's anYup. This is so spot-on, I can't believe SAT wrote it! But even so, Bredesen's purported opposition is swamped in a sea of words that leave him all over the map. A place, I'm sure, he wants to be when the financial hammer comes down and he has to renege.
issue a Democrat simply can't win with, particularly when his Republican
opponent reminds voters that he pushed to raise property taxes three
times as mayor of Nashville. Like Hilleary, Bredesen doesn't believe an
income tax would solve the state's budget problems. But when he
responds to Hilleary's charges that he quietly favors an income tax,
Bredesen finds himself again talking about the one issue that won't get
Bredesen is an intelligent and articulate man, but unlike Hilleary he hasAgain, this is true, and very important stuff. So why can't he gain traction on that? Why does it not seem to matter?
failed to communicate his message: He has the ability to manage the
state and his record as mayor proves he can attract new business to
Tennessee and broaden the state's economic base.
Bredesen's analyses of what the state needs to return to a soundWhat "analyses?" He's not offering anything real either. Notice, now, how SAT has set us up to see Bredesen as the better man, and how all Hilleary offers is "quips?"
financial footing don't resonate with voters as well as the one-sentence
quip against taxes that Hilleary can deliver.
Bredesen's advertising people erred when they failed last summer toGee, when it was George Flinn running for County Mayor, she couldn't find enough awful, snide things to say about his "handlers" as she called them. Now it's a neutral topic?
define Hilleary as a candidate who is not qualified to run the state.
Instead they let Hilleary define himself.
Through Hilleary's TV ad efforts, voters have learned he served as aGee, that's not what she said up above, talking about Bredesen's fine reputation as mayor of Nashville. Can't have it both ways, Susie dear.
navigator in the Persian Gulf War, grew up in rural East Tennessee and
is a congressman. Many voters still don't know about Bredesen's
personal business successes and his triumphs as a mayor.
Another reason this race is a dead heat: Hilleary appears to be runningAgain, I'm surprised at her delicacy in stating this. Normally, she'd be sarcastic and condescending to the hicks. She must be trying not to alienate them. Wonder why?
stronger in rural areas than Bredesen. That's largely the result of
Hilleary's strong stand against a state income tax and his ability to
connect with rural voters.
Bredesen grew up in New York state and graduated from Harvard.
Those aren't the kind of credentials rural Tennesseans tend to embrace.
Hilleary's campaign has done a clever job of connecting Bredesen withOh, OK. There's some of the condescension.
Gov. Don Sundquist, who broke his no-new-taxes campaign promise,
implying Bredesen will do the same. Country folks frown on big-city
folks who break their word and Hilleary knows that.
Can Bredesen still win?Erk! As Bill Hobbs scathingly pointed out months ago, those "Republican business leaders" were nearly all cronies of Bredesen to begin with, or folks who directly benefitted from his deals, or RINOs. They don't seem to have mattered at all since.
Yes. But he must rely heavily on advertising - an expensive way to
bring undecided voters into his camp. And he must make sure that the
Republican business leaders who defected to Bredesen's side early in
the campaign remain with him through Election Day.
Bredesen has the money to do that and fund a get-out-the-vote effort.And sometimes she takes them to task for it and sometimes she doesn't. Depends on the party. Ask Flinn.
He's prepared to use his wealth to win the race - a resource Hilleary
Hilleary has been attacking Bredesen on this issue, but rich politicians
use their money to fund their campaigns all the time. Sometimes it
works and sometimes it doesn't.
Remember George Flinn?Ahhh, her most recent, crowning achievement. The one-woman demolition job she did in a series of five editorials. She went after him like a mad dog, barking and howling and biting. Now that Bredesen's campaign has many of the elements that she criticezed Flinn for having, can we expect to see Susie dear attack him? Based on this column, I ain't holding my breath.
Although voters barely passed the initial referendum, Georgia's lotteryWhich sounds swell, but misleads. There's no guarantee at all that Tennessee's lottery will see anything like that success. Odds are, in fact, against it. We'll be Johnny-come-latelys. And while sales may be $2.2 billion, the State's take is much, much smaller -- only hundreds of millions.
has become one of the nation's most successful - with $2.2 billion in
sales last year, ranking sixth out of 39 U.S. lotteries.
"I would benefit in that when I go to California or Florida or Hawaii andWhere's the money for that coming from, I wonder?
retire, I can know my life had purpose," he said. "Then I can spend my
time exercising, eating well and watching sports."
"It does make a difference. Some of the things they say are positive. ItYou know what they say: if you want the money you've got to hang out with those who have it.
changes your opinions a little," said Chaffa Key, 19.
But Marcus Brand, 20, said the campaign hasn't changed his thinking.
"I vote Democrat because Democrats seem to go for the minorities, and
Republicans seem to for the higher classes and the rich," he said.
The head of the Arkansas Democratic Party labeled the advertisingYup. Making the Benjamins is real disgusting, homey. There are real signs of some fundamental cracks in the monolithic black vote and this only shows it. Changes are happening, albeit slowly and often subterraineally.
"Instead of doing things to help the African-American community, they
design advertisements that are downright disgusting and play them on
African-American radio," Michael Cook said.
"It is strange, odd and petty for the current director of public servicesWorld Wrestling Entertainment has expressed interest in carrying the bout.
for the city, who reports to the mayor and whose budget is set by the
City Council, to threaten to run against the chairman of the City
Council,'' Peete said.
"The basis of the threat is the council's aggressive approach to code
enforcement and cleaning up the community, which obviously conflicts
with some of the goals of Mr. Mitchell."
"This is a democratic society and everyone has a right to pursue public
office,'' Peete said. "I want to make it perfectly clear that I'm not
intimidated by Mr. Mitchell or anyone else. My response is: 'Bring it on.'
A few days after the debate, Hilleary said in an interview that he "led the charge" for institute funds among House Republicans....Notice the change between "led the charge" among Republicans and playing a "pivotal role." Not quite the same thing.
Asked about the claim, Ford, who spearheaded the effort, said he didn't remember that Hilleary played a pivotal role in getting the funds.
He has a recently released ad on TV calling Bredesunquist or some other nutty way to connect Sundquist and Bredesen. I think this will backfire. We still have the independent voters who would have benefited [sp?] from Sundquist tax reform, along with a lot of republicans [sp] who think Sundquist has proven himself to be a statesman instead of just a run of the mill politician with a loud mouth and a pea sized brian, like Van Hilleary.It's short, but funny. [Note: viewing requires the Adobe Acrobat reader because, once again, idiots have designed the newspaper website. But that's another rant.]
For the first time in 34 years, State Sen. CurtisThat's $200,000 over ten months. Not a considerable sum. Compare that to House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, who has two and a half times as much. So much, in fact, that he's sharing. More on Naifeh later; he's key here. But Person's amount isn't egregious, by State Senate standards.
Person is running scared - so scared, in fact, that
the Memphis Republican has raised $180,000 in
campaign funds since the beginning of this year and
hopes to raise at least another $20,000 before
Election Day, Nov. 5.
And never mind that Person's Democratic challenger, AnthonyThis poor guy is clueless! A while back, SAT lambasted voters who didn't have a clue about the issues or candidates and now she's holding up this guy as ... well, I don't know what. But we get to her next paragraph:
D'Agostino, a 43-year-old computer programmer, is a political
novice who hasn't raised any campaign money and doesn't
D'Agostino said he once met the chairman of the Shelby County
Democratic Party, but has forgotten her name. He got into the
Senate race because "it seemed like the right thing to do...."
Even D'Agostino doesn't think Person should be worried.
"I guess I could have a little chance to win if the voters are upset
enough about the legislature and how it's been performing,''
D'Agostino, who moved to Memphis nearly 20 years ago, never
has met Person. Told that Person is running scared, D'Agostino
said: "Wow. That's good.''
D'Agostino isn't familiar with Person's voting record other than
what he's been told.
"I'm told he is anti-union, he's not good on environmental issues
and he's against a statewide lottery,'' D'Agostino said.
Those are issues D'Agostino favors. He also favors a graduatedAnd now we have the answer. It's the income tax.
state income tax - something Person adamantly opposes.
Person is preparing to sink nearly all of the money he has raisedNow, we've already covered House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh here. He's got an opponent too. One Antonio Lopez, who mounted a write-in campaign that exceeded all expectations and got him on the November ballot. Even with Naifeh's ugly nature exposed by the Income Tax War, and the changing demographics of Tipton County that favor Republicans, Lopez has an uphill fight at best.
into TV and radio advertising, oversized yard signs and bus
shelter ads, even thought he knows his opponents are no match