Jul 13 2006
09:43 pm
By: R. Neal

I had more important things to do, like walk the dog and grill some steak-kabobs, so I lost track of time and missed most of the debate. Hopefully WBIR will have it archived. In case they don't what did I miss?

I was walking by the TV when they were asked about the North Shore Road. The question was whether they supported building the $500 million road, or paying affected residents the $50 million settlement (which apparently Frist and Alexander and as I recall most residents favor).

Corker said he didn't know anything about it and therefore didn't want to comment. Huh? How could he not know anything about it? It's only been an ongoing issue for, like, what, 50 years?

Van Hilleary said "as opposed to what?" Uh, well, Van, choice a) is a $500 million environmental disaster of a highway, choice b) is a $50 million payoff to residents. Pick one. It was a simple either/or. "None of the above" was not a choice. Sheesh. I didn't hear the rest of his answer, or Bryant's. I had to go turn the kabobs.

I also caught some of Hallerin Hilton Hill's "three stooges" question. What a waste of time. But Hill certainly seemed to enjoy the spotlight as he served up the big gratuitous slow pitch softball.

The only other thing I got was that they are each more against abortion and more against taxes than the other, and they are each more conservative than the other.


UPDATE: OK, I'm trying to watch the WBIR archive now. It's painful. Report after the jump...

The first question was about abortion. Did you know they are all against it? So how does that make the three GOP candidates different from Harold Ford Jr.? Everybody's against abortion. OK. Let's move on to some highlights.

They were just asked about how they will appeal to independent voters. Van Hilleary gave the, uh, best answer. He told a story about how he was the ONLY ONE to go up against TVA when they tried to impose an onerous $1000 dock fee for rich people living on the lake who put in boat docks. That's an example of how he appeals to independent voters. So it sounds like he's a lock in the expensive gated lakefront community.

Hallerin just asked Corker if you can buy an election in Tennessee. Short answer, Corker's not aware of it, and describes his "grassroots" campaign.

Question: what is a conservative? Hilleary: someone who believes in their heart they are a conservative. A fiscal conservative believes in less government and lower taxes. A social conservative is against abortion. A conservative believes in a strong defense. Bryant: a conservative is of the heart. Corker isn't a conservative. Bryant has a strong voting record on a strong defense, less taxes, and family values. Corker: a conservative is someone who doesn't just talk but actually does. Made tremendous cuts to Tennessee's budget as commissioner of finance. Promoted welfare reform.

Earlier there was a question about tax returns when Bryant challenged the others to release theirs. Hilleary said he had. Corker said he had released his 1040. Bill Williams cut off the too-long debate, and when Tom Humphrey was to ask the next question, he made an editorial statement that Corker had not released all the schedules that go along with his 1040 and the others had.

Minimum wage: Bryant opposes it unless some offset is given to small businesses, minimum wage causes fewer people to have jobs. Corker agrees with Bryant, but he has always paid a "livable" wage. Van Hilleary supports a higher minimum wage, saying it is a more efficient way to provide a social safety net than starting another federal program.

All three favor preserving and protecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. All three would support additional funding for the park.

All three think education is important in the global economy and all three support education.

Voter Rights Act: Bryant thinks times have passed and we don't need to continue it, he would vote against it. Corker would vote to extend it, but 25 years is too long. Hilleary could support some form of a Voter Rights Act, but in "today's times" what we have is onerous.

Fair Tax (Sales Tax): Bryant would vote for it and support it. Corker is "intrigued" by the fair tax but the devil is in the details, won't say how he would vote, he would have to see the bill. Hilleary is for sales tax over income tax, but would not vote for it without a Constitutional amendment to ban income tax.

Question: when you get to Washington, what will your top focus be, one word answer only. Hilleary: Iraq. Bryant: Opportunity. Corker: Opportunity.

At this point, I accidentally hit the 'stop' button, and WBIR's video player does not have fast forward or rewind controls (which the better WATE video player has), and I don't feel like sitting through 50 minutes again to get back to where I was.

My conclusion: They are all conservative, they are all against abortion, they are all for lower taxes. Hilleary is smarter than he appears, Corker is a bit of a poseur who is not quite ready for prime time politics at this level, Bryant is the most experienced and "senator-like". Hilleary's answer to the minimum wage question was the best overall answer from any candidate on any question.

bill young's picture

"Hello Hooray! Let the show begin..I've been ready

"I know we have problems..We got problems right here in Central City..Everybody has problems...& personally..I DON'T CARE" Alice Cooper..The Wild Party..

tennesseevaluesauthority's picture

Minimum Wage Question

I, too, had more important things to do. Eat dinner. Read a book. Watch Howl's Moving Castle from my Netflix queue. All accomplished.

I have to say I was surprised most in R. Neal's review by Van Hilleary's answer to the minimum wage question and will now feel somewhat compelled to watch a bit of the archived footage. It doesn't sound like his usual answer.

If I hadn't heard enough Hilleary quotes in the past I would say that R. Neal was offering up a parody of the answer to the "what is a conservative" question. A conservative is "someone who believes in their heart they are a conservative"? Cool. What if someone also believes in their heart they are a firetruck?

Andy Axel's picture

Given the debate...

So, Randy -- given the debate impressions you were left with, does that change the notion that we need to jump on the Van Wagon in the primary?


"The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco." -- G.K.

R. Neal's picture

Yeah, I was thinking that

Yeah, I was thinking that might possibly be the case. Corker might be the guy you want to run against. Hard to say. Corker will probably do well in East Tennessee, though, where Ford may have trouble. I think Bryant will be the nominee, though, and he is probably the toughest opponent for Ford. You should go watch the debate at the link if you have time. I'd be interested what you think.

As for crossing over, I go back and forth. It would be tough to pull the lever for any of these guys, and if the one I voted for got the nomination and went on to win, I'm not sure how I'd feel about that. The Mrs. almost has me convinced that a show of support for our team is more important. Not sure what I will do.

Rachel's picture

You're wrong on this one,

You're wrong on this one, Randy.  Corker will easily be the nominee, and unfortunately will be hard to beat.  He'll start acting like a moderate as soon as the primary is over.

I tried to talk myself into voting for Hilleary in the primary, because I do think he's the one Ford might be able to beat, but I just can't bring myself to vote for any of these three, for any reason.

Eleanor A's picture


I saw some Ford lit that looked damn good. The #1 item, instead of some foolishness on "family values" or some such, mentioned a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Other highlighted items were reducing dependence on foreign oil and improving access to education.

I don't know if I'll ever allow myself to get my hopes up, but I was glad the lit wasn't as right-wing as the interviews have been lately.

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