Aug 28 2006
12:30 pm

I was willing to give Corker a look. By all accounts he sounded like a fairly rational, moderate, maybe even slightly progressive brand of Republican (i.e. not a raving lunatic).

Throw in the DSCC meddling in our state primary, and the Democratic nominee's votes on the war, the bankruptcy bill, etc., and you could make a case for at least giving Corker a fair hearing.

But now Corker's dodging debates. He's been subpoenaed in relation to a shady land deal and he's trying to get those records sealed. There are questions about his income while mayor of Chattanooga, and he won't release his full tax returns to clear up those questions. He hasn't offered much in the way of ideas or solutions. About all we know is that he's a "real conservative".

It's pretty hard to give a guy a fair hearing if he won't talk.

UPDATE: Corker has "agreed" to three debates. There won't be any in Knoxville. There also won't be a Meet the Press showdown. Any politician is crazy to turn down an offer for free national exposure like that. Unless he's worried he will be "exposed", I guess.

SayUncle's picture

Actually, there's no proof

Actually, there's no proof he's a "real conservative", other than he tells us that.

Can't we all just get a long gun?

redmondkr's picture

Notice, too, that he has all

Notice, too, that he has all the arrogance of George W. Bush - with somewhat better language skills. 

A large white onion, if eaten slowly, will remove the scent of vanilla ice cream from your breath. - Archie Campbell

CBT's picture

The tax return issue has

The tax return issue has been out there for a while (and debated on this blog).

The suit is by an environmental group. From what I've read, Wal-Mart bought property and wanted to build a new store. Corker owned some land adjacent to Wal-Mart's land. Corker's land is/was allegedly protected by a conservation easement. A road was built accross Corker's land to allow access to Wal-Mart's property. An environmental group sued claiming the building of the road violated the easement. Corker's folks say the right was reserved in the easement to build a road. The suit was originally dismissed as having no merit. It somehow gained new life and has made it to the media because of Corker's senate campaign. Doesn't sound shady, just a dispute.

Corker and Ford will debate, numerous times. Corker will simply not allow Ford to set the schedule. Ford was smart enough to fire off a letter setting out a proposed schedule. If Corker doesn't agree, Ford can claim he's "dodging debates". This kind of thing comes up in virtually every election.

Tiny Tim's picture

Tyler Harber Running Corker Campaign?

With the misteps and the arrogance displayed by the Corker camp, you'd think that Tyler Harber was running the whole thing from the 6th Floor of the City County Building.

Corker campaign apparently has money problems, he's tapped out his base supporters already, he doesn't have a 547 fund waiting in the wings to do the dirty work for him, he's not disclosing schedules attached to his income tax returns, he's not actively engaged in setting a debate schedule, he's obviously not prepared and can't say anything other than I'm conservative. Why does he want the job if he's not willing to come out swinging for it.

The lawsuit is a red herring, but it does cast questions on his relatinhship with Wal-Mart, before, during, and after his tenure as a Chattanooga mayor.

rikki's picture

According to the

According to the Tennesseean, Corker's public works administrator modified the easement in 2003 to allow a road. That happened the same month construction of the Wal-Mart began. That's a far stretch from a right-of-way exemption being in place since 1996.

I'm sure the Corker campaign will provide whatever documentation they have supporting their claim so as to avoid looking like they are lying and trying to use the courts as an accomplice. 

CBT's picture

That same story says the

That same story says the owners reserved the right to build a road when the easement was created. It further says the Wal-Mart was built with an open, public process. I wonder if anyone other than this environmental group has complained. Anyone know where in Chattanooga this Wal-Mart is located?

rikki's picture

Read much?

No, it quotes someone from Corker's campaign saying that, just as you did in your first post.

Stacey's picture


Glad he's blowing it but its a long time til Nov. The Sentinel should just go ahead and endorse him and get it over with. Stacey

Old Hickory's picture

The DNSC Attack Ads Are Rolling, East Tennessee deserves better?

Surgical strikes into the undecided vote in East Tennessee. A push for the grass roots Republicans to send Jim Haslam and the country club Republicans a message and vote for Harold Ford.

Big Oil Bob is under attack and I don't see him doing anything about it except telling people he's conservative. Haven't heard him articulate a pocketbook issue during the entire campaign. No comments about tax rates for middle class, absolutely no comments about high fuel prices, high energy prices, or exorbitant costs of college education. Guess he's made enough he doesn't have to worry about average Tennesseans.

The DNSC attacks are visually very poor, however, the message is quite clear. The photographs of Harold Ford are in black and white and do not clearly demonstrate that he is a black candidate. Still concerned as to whether or not rural Tennessee will pull the level for a black Congressman from the heart of Memphis via Washington, D.C. via Michigan.

SteveMule's picture

Minor Point of Clarification

A minor point of clarification: It's DSCC Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, not DNSC.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!


CBT's picture

Some statements in the story

Some statements in the story are from the Corker campaign. Does that make them not true?

zoomfactor's picture

light bulb flickering dimly

You are just now realizing this possibility?

rikki's picture


The statements are contradictory. They can't both be true.

One of the largest newspapers in the state says the language in the easement allowing the road dates to June 2003 and was put there by a member of Corker's mayoral administration. A Corker campaign spokesperson says the language dates to 1996, when the easement was created.

Who is more likely to be lying? A reporter who researched the story and looked at documents and would be fired for making shit up, or a mouthpiece for a man who is trying to bury the documents under court seal? It would be a simple matter for Corker to provide evidence proving his claim if that evidence exists.

Old Hickory's picture

Next FEC deadline is October 15, Ford may release early info

Corker has legally tapped out his base supporters throughout Tennessee and cannot legally accept further contributions from a number of high dollar individuals. It is not likely that the high dollar donors from Bryant and Hillary camps will pony up again for Corker, leaving him in a quandry of where to raise the campaign money from. He has not indicated that he will dip into the personal fortune to spend what it takes to win as Senator Frist did in 1994 against an entrenched senator who would have been majority leader had he prevailed. There are no 547 funds or other PACs dedicated to the Tennessee Senate Race as everyone thought it was a "safe" seat in a red state. That safe indicator was placed on the seat prior to gasoline going to $3.00 a gallon and the war raging on in Iraq. The 278th lost a number of individuals and there are weekly casualties associated with the airborne units at Fort Campbell. Regardless of the tone or tenor of the war in the Middle East and high gas prices, Corker has no ongoing dialouge on these issues other than to say he's conservative. I just don't understand why there is no message there, is it truly more of the same?

Ford's fundraising is on target and should surpass the totals raised in the previous Senate cycle in Tennessee.

Saw where liddy dole was in Morristown hustling up support. Liddy Dole is only marginally more persuasive than Bob Dole and I fail to see any prominent senate faces from the Republican side lending any support to the Corker campaign.

R. Neal's picture

Will Frist's VOLPac or

Will Frist's VOLPac or whatever it is pile on? Doesn't the state GOP have a PAC of some kind?

rikki's picture

won't dip into his fortune?

Corker put a big chunk of his own money into his campaign in June or July. I see no reason to think he won't do so again.

Old Hickory's picture

VOLPac Balance as of 7/14 approximately $500,000

those guys have to report monthly and I have not seen the August balance for VolPac. Also, as Frist is looking to higher office, he's not going to blow his wad on Bob Corker's senate seat as Frist's support across Tennessee will not wane with a Ford in the U.S. Senate. Frist is and has been popular in the Memphis community and has enjoyed the support of Mayor Herendon. Frist needs friends in lots of other places before he needs to throw money at a stumbling campaign and a candidate he busted 12 years ago.

Corker dropped approximately $2.1 million in the primary to push him above the 40 percent vote total, however, it will take another 4 - 5 million to run a basic campaign through election day with the bulk of the money spent in the television run up to early voting.

CBT's picture

Hickory brings up an

Hickory brings up an interesting point. I often read of the feud between Memphis Mayor Herenton and the Ford Machine. Herenton supported Lamar Alexander over Bob Clement (some may remember that Herenton introduced Lamar in Nashville when he made his victory speech). Wonder where Herenton is in this race? I know Corker has made a lot of trips to Memphis. I believe a lot of Memphis money is on board (Fred Smith to name one).

Stacey's picture


IMO Corker talking about pouring concrete and how he's an outsider is about like John Kerry trying to talk football in Wisconsin two years ago. In 94 and now Corker has come across as fake. Whether he is or not Ford sounds genuine. Who knows how it will play to people who aren't political hacks or how Ford's family will play into it. Will be interesting to see them debate. Stacey

Old Hickory's picture

FedEx Is A Major Player, Jr. Has Mentioned Fred for Sec. Defense

FedEx remains the largest free spending PAC on the planet, spewing approximately $30 million during and after the 2004 presidential race. The in kind value of their fleet of corporate jets (the kind that carry VIPs not boxes and documents) across the globe is truly staggering.

FedEx has tossed in excess of $20,000 into the Ford campaign and thus far Fred Smith is not shown in any of Corker's financial disclosures. Corker will be supported by AutoZone, First Tennessee (Haslam is on the board there), Morgan Keegan, Baker Donelson, and the Memphis City Schools (courtesy of Mayor Willie Herenton). Pilot Oil should be the largest entity donating to Big Oil Bob.

Jr. has already reached out to Fred Smith and has suggested that he would be a solid Secretary of Defense, purportedly demonstrating his ability to cross the barriers and select solid businessmen and solid Tennesseans to the big jobs.

Word in Nashville is that Corker has "defensive" ad buys ready to roll challenging Tennesseans to look who is attacking me and agreeing that Washington needs to be "shaken up". With Corker on the defensive, there is good cause to suggest that the Corker campaign is way off message, certainly not connecting with the average Tennessee Joe, and is letting the opponent dictate the tone and discourse of the campaign. Not what one would expect from a front runner or a winner. Given the Corker campaigns to crack under pressure and take desperate measures, this thing could be over by the middle of September, before the first "debate" even occurs.

GOP4Ford's picture

CBT Should Look At Ford's Disclosure Very Closely

Fed Ex is squarely behind Ford, Jr. as is Fred Smith.

Fred has already maxed out in the Ford column to the tune of $2,100.00.

FEC Receipt number C3024783 Fred Smith $1,000 March 31, 2005
FEC Receipt number C3323394 Fred Smith $1,100 June 29, 2006

both to Harold Ford, Jr. for Tennessee.

Corker has support in Memphis, however, it is business and industry that Haslam has put the squeeze on and twisted a few arms to get for Bob Corker.

Tiny Tim's picture

Corker's Amateur Fundraisers have pissed off a lot of folks

in my opinion the arm twisting really doesn't do much for folks who don't do business in Knoxville or Chattanooga. When you threaten people that they must be a part of the Corker campaign, the dollars really don't come and worst of all the votes won't either. This is not a fraternity party, this is a US Senate race and the stakes are exceedingly high and the level of professionalism in monumental.

Bob Corker and Al Downing will both be remembered for giving up the big one that everybody remembers.

CBT's picture

Interesting info on

Interesting info on Smith/FedEx. Thanks.

Old Hickory's picture

President in Nashville tonite, $1 million is conservative goal

anything less than $1 million would be considered a failure as they are pulling folks in from Ft. Campbell and Louisville, Kentucky to the event over at the Vanderbilt Plaze (which is one of the smaller ballrooms in Nashville, much smaller than the convention center and much, much smaller than anything at Opryland Hotel.

CBT's picture

Rikki...follow along. As I

Rikki...follow along. As I read the story, there are two documents, the conservation easement and the deed making the conveyance. The property was conveyed by deed in 1996. The road was built in 2003. To build the road, it was necessary to modify the easement. How could the easement be modified? In the original deed conveying the easement the owner of the property reserved the right to build a road. Apparently that was not reflected in the conservation easement. So, it was modified to match the deed. Both statements can easily be true.

rikki's picture

All you've done is say

All you've done is say exactly what you've been saying, but with fancier words. You're also saying exactly what the Corker campaign is saying.

Now you get to hear me say the same thing again: show me proof that the owner reserved the right to build a road (and that this somehow supercedes an easement).

Beyond the lack of evidence, your argument makes no sense. You can't just modify an easement to suit your needs. If the owner intended to maintain a right-of-way provision for a road but the easement did not reflect that, they hired a shitty attorney to draft the easement, didn't they?

Is there a legal term for getting do-overs when you draft a shitty contract and after-the-fact decide you wanted a different contract that's not so shitty?

Corker was in the unique position of being both the landowner (through his business) and the mayor of the city holding the easement. Does the City of Chattanooga rewrite easements for any landowner or just special ones?

CBT's picture

No, I clarified there were

No, I clarified there were apparently two documents and how both statements made in the story could easily be true. The deed should has to be public record. Same for the easement. Surely some reporter will get copies.

rikki's picture

Of course there are two

Of course there are two documents. A deed and an easement. Who didn't already know that? The question is whether the easement was rewritten in 2003. You can't just rewrite easements. If the Corker explanation is valid, there would have been no need to rewrite the easement in 2003, so the statements are still contradictory.

michael kaplan's picture

Corker blowing it?

Not at all. His TV spots are very clever in 'coding' the message, and far more appealing than Ford's. It doesn't matter whether they're true or not; he's articulate and effective in defining and reaching his constituency. He's the All-American success story and you just want to believe and trust him.

Stacey's picture


I think Corker comes across like Van Hilleary, like he needed to spend some time in an entry-level speech class. I just hate the way he sounds, plus, I think the millionare trying to come of as an outsider seems fake. But, people who don't pay much attention to these things might like it. Corker does make a good point about what the Democratic Senatorial Campaign stands for, but you have to be one that pays attention to realize they paid for Ford's ad. There is a big world outside the blogosphere that DOES NOT pay attention. Stacey

Tiny Tim's picture

If He's On Defense, He's Trying to Explain Away Something

Corker needs to demonstrate that he's something else besides Jimmy Haslam's buddy and has something to say other than look who's attacking me.

Where are the business roundtables, where is the NRA, where are Howard Baker, Bill Frist, Lamar Alexander, and Big Fred Thompson?

Do they not see a sense of urgency or do they see a wobbling campaign devoid of funds and talking points?

SteveMule's picture

Thanks Stacey!


Thanks for the reality check!  I read that and thought " ... uh .... yeah ... she's right ... "  It's easy to forget that.

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!


Old Hickory's picture

Corker and W Out On West End and Vanderbilt Plaza

Looked like a crowd of approximately 450, with it essentially operating like a Bush political rally, not that much Corker material except on stage. Speech was a page from campaign 2004, touched on 9/11, war on terror in Iraq, need help making tax cuts permanent, and appointing/confirming conservative federal judges. These are not things that Corker has addressed in his campaign and Bush was noticeably quiet on the issue of illegal immigration and fixing that fence. These folks looked like they all had plenty of money, however, there was little Corker fire, most folks just wanted to see W.

Traffic was absolutely horrible with the West Bound lanes of West End blocked such that nobody could drive anywhere near the hotel.

Did not see anybody from Tennessee Right to Life, the conservative cranks, Eagle Forum, which overwhelmingly supported Bush in the 2004 election, but I question whether or not those guys will give a rats tail about Big Oil Bob. It just doesn't square up all the way around and Corker just doesn't fit what the conservative republican base is looking for in a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

One of Bush's operatives noted off the record that Hillary Clinton already has $25 million in the bank for her Senate race this fall and you'd be hard pressed to spend that kind of money on a Senate race even in New York.

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