Thursday, September 25, 2008

Whither Tennessee's Senate Race?

Maybe it's because pollsters and pundits have decided that Tennessee will be stained a deep red this political season.

Maybe it's because voters here are still fatigued from 2006's exhausting Senate race between Democrat Harold Ford Jr. and the ultimate victor, Republican Bob Corker.

Maybe it's because it's been a good year for the roses.

I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine.

Whatever the reason, something seems to have stymied a race that many viewed as a golden opportunity to unseat one of the biggest phonies to ever represent the Volunteer State, Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander.

An extreme rightwing conservative who passes himself off as a populist moderate, Alexander enters this election season of "change" as a candidate who cannot escape his allegiance to a party that has shifted so hard to the right that Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater would be considered liberals by its current standards.

He comes off like a kindly old grandfather, but like it or not, Alexander's folksy demeanor cannot hide the one thing his conservative backers treasure most: his voting record.

For example, in 2005 Alexander voted against a bill that would fund education and contraceptives to combat teen pregnancy. (Republican family values?)

A year later, he voted in favor of changing the Constitution to prevent same-sex marriage and to ban flag desecration. (Apparently, Alexander thinks he knows better than our nation's Fore Fathers what's best for our citizens.)

When it comes to education, Alexander is a man of the people, right?

Not so fast. Incredibly (or not), Alexander -- who was President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of Education -- earned an abysmal 27% rating from the National Education Association (NEA) in 2003, indicating a shameful anti-public education record. In the years that followed, he voted against investing in community learning centers; against $5 billion for grants to local educational agencies; and against redirecting $11 billion from corporate tax loopholes to education.

These are but a few of the truths that shatter Alexander's deceptive image as a middle-of-the-road moderate.

When is Democratic challenger Bob Tuke going to fully engage this George Bush-like impostor?

We can only hope it's sooner than later. Otherwise there won't be enough time to list the ways in which Alexander is out of step with Tennessee -- and the number of times he has voted against our interests.

John Brake is the former chairman of Tennessee's Williamson County Democratic Party. He is also a columnist for the Williamson Herald.

No comments: