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March 11, 2014


Today is the first edition of Rocky Top Politics – a new (anonymous) publication with a consciously conservative bent.

Why anonymous?  Simple:  it’s the only way our writers and sources can get the story out without fear of immediate retribution from the powers that be, especially when they see the sacred cows RTP is willing to skewer.

We aspire to give you opinion, analysis and context of politics and policy in the Volunteer state, but we do so in a way that no other media, blog, newsletter or website can or will do.  Our comments are based on personal knowledge of our collective experience and, as you will see, are bound to be controversial.  Our motto of the day: “Informative to all, offensive to some.”

Our website is still under construction, but with so much political activity (Medicaid expansion, Common Core, vouchers, board appointments, etc.) plus the usual gossip, we decided not to wait.  We choose the topics that interest us, but we are willing to take suggestions.  One of our features coming soon will be an anonymous tip-line, where you can join in the fun and play the “did you hear?” game.  Details to follow.

Bookmark and visit often.  You might miss something.

“Could I Get Fries With That Koch?”

It appears House Budget chairman Charles Sargent is going to have a deadly serious opponent in the GOP primary.  A successful businessman with numerous fast food franchises around the midstate is looking to self-fund a very credible challenge to Chairman Chuck.  In the meantime, count on subversives such as the Koch-backed AFP to weigh in on this and other primaries.

For his part, the Chairman has been trolling LP with his lips in a permanent pucker, looking for butts to kiss to try to stave off a serious challenge.  Will it work?  Doubtful.

Republicans need to get use to the “new normal” of incumbents being challenged by members of their own party.  If primaries are so distressing, might that be enough to make RINOs actually start representing their constituents and thereby avoid a challenger?

Probably not.

So let’s crank up the primaries.

Wamp!  There it is.  Or wasn’t.

Speaking of GOP primaries, the a doozy brewing down in ‘Nooga in the 3rd Congressional District.  The pre-game scrimmage has already claimed an early victim.  And the big loser in the much anticipated Winslow vs. Saltsman trial is — Weston Wamp?

February was supposed to be the month for lovers.  And we were so looking forward to a story to kick off our inaugural edition based on the star-crossed lovers of the ménage a trois + 2 of Saltsman, Smith, Fleischman, Devaney and Winslow.  There’s even a Wamp (there’s always a Wamp) making a cameo appearance in the saga.

But alas, the infamous legal case everyone (especially Weston Wamp) was looking forward to was the courtroom thriller of Winslow vs. Saltsman, Fleishmann, et al.

The way this story goes is that Winslow lawyers thought they had finally struck gold by deposing key players who had knowledge or possession of the notorious employment agreement used by Chip Saltsman that he used in a devastating TV ad against Robin Smith in the 2010 congressional race.  Saltsman has long contended the document was left on his doorstep in the dead of night by a mysterious man in a mask and a black cape (okay, we made up that last bit for dramatic effect, but the doorstep part is true).

According to highly suspicious sources, by going after the state GOP for committing what amounted to in-kind oppo research for Fleischman in the form of a confidential copy of Winslow’s employment contract (authorized by Robin Smith just before she left office), the lawyers allegedly uncovered dastardly deeds committed by Saltsman and/or someone at the state GOP headquarters where the agreement was kept.

But when a judged dismissed Winslow’s suit recently, so too went the tantalizing prospect of reading all those potentially embarrassing emails in open court.  And so too went the prospects of the recently announced candidate Weston Wamp being able to capitalize on the embarrassing revelations.

It all had the chance for making a fun-filled toxic brew that would entertain political junkies and pundits for months.


Corker for Governor?  

(Hat tip to Tom Ingram for planting the story)

On Thursday, Roll Call a Washington DC rag that primarily covers Congress, did a lengthy piece on what would happened if Sen. Bob (“I play golf with Obama”) Corker decides not to run for re-election in 2016 and run for governor in 2018 instead (especially if the GOP fails to take control of the Senate in 2014).

In breathless speculation, Roll Call began to count up the potential dominoes of a whole slew of GOP officials who might decide to try and trade up.  Everyone who matters (well, almost everyone.  See the following article), from Beth Harwell to Diane Black to Bill (“but he’s such a nice guy”) Haslam were figured into an equation of electoral musical chairs that would give a political consultant the vapors.  You can check out the article at:

Of course, despite the header on this article, we don’t know for sure if the Ingram actually planted this story.  But to everyone here at RTP, he just seemed to be the most logical suspect, what with two of his main clients (Haslam and Corker) looking like they could switch offices with each other come 2018.

And now for the girl Roll Call jilted in their article…..

Jamie Woodson for Governor in 2018?  Now you know the S.C.O.R.E.

When last we left the intrepid former state senator, she was trading in her meager senate salary for a big-time payoff from the First National Bank (or is the Frist National Bank).  From that lofty position, she has assumed effective control of the state’s education policy where she serves as the “Shadow High Commissioner of Education.”  Sen. Delores Gresham would beg to disagree with that conceit, but we digress….

While at SCORE, Woodson has amassed considerable power by directing a who’s-who SCORE advisory panel of some of the state’s well-heeled GOP money types with last names like Ayers, Haslam, and Hyde along with the odd lobbyist, etc.  Woodson believes such luminaries would make a nifty finance steering committee for a guber run.

It is common knowledge among her staff she that is dreaming of that big mansion next to Minnie Pearl’s old house.  Why else would she have hired the communications director for former gubernatorial candidate Zach Wamp to be her right-hand man at SCORE (even though he apparently has zero experience in education issues)?   RTP can only dream of a primary between Harwell, Black, Woodson and maybe even Blackburn.  Meow!

A big fly in this ointment could be Common Core.  Woodson has staked her reputation and her future ambitions on the highly controversial program.  More on that coming soon.

“Hell no” Harry draws the line. 

As the spouse of a long-time former TEA union employee, Rep. Harry Brooks (also known as the House Education Committee chairman) has drawn a line in the sand, offering to anyone within earshot that he will personally block any attempts to curtail, delay, alter or amend the Common Core agenda proposed by the governor.  That is why he lined up all the anti-Common Core legislation to be killed during a recent Education Sub meeting.

But could Harry be over counting his votes?  More important, is he underestimating his constituents’ opposition to the Common Core Con Game?  Playing enforcer for the governor while ignoring the concerns of your constituents is the kind of thing that gets you an opponent this August.

Ya know, Harry, filing deadline for the primary is not until next month.  Still plenty of time.  Just saying.

Speaking of SCORE…

Look for our next edition when we begin to explore the byzantine maze of public education in Tennessee and how some people are making a ton of money manipulating tax dollars for fun and profit.  Some of the perps are well-known figures in Nashville.  Safe to say, they will not be amused by our revelations.

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