RINOs of the Evening

Some people will crawl into bed with anyone for the money.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A former Democratic congressman and a prominent Republican political operative on Tuesday called for ending untraceable spending for and against candidates in Tennessee and around the country.

In a stunning display of avaricious chutzpah, two “Republican” operatives have gone way beyond the raising of questions and moved straight to confirmation of their complete lack of principles. Strong words, we know, for a profession filled with many whose moral relativity knows no bounds.

The crew at RTP are no strangers to the – ahem — rationalization that frequently accompanies matters of political expedience, but the recent activities of Tom Ingram and Kim Kaegi are breathtaking in their audacity.

ingramLet’s start with Ingram. Tom has long been suspected by many to be a Republican of convenience, to put it mildly. Some of the less charitable types have flat out called him a closet Democrat. RTP would prefer to refer to him as a quisling (which Wikipedia defines as “someone who collaborates with the enemy.”) Seems like a rather appropriate label for Ingram.

Never one to let a principled position stand in the way of making a buck or generating a favorable news article, Ingram most recently teamed up with former congressman John Tanner (D-TN) for a roundtable discussion where they bemoaned the growth of independent expenditure PACS. In his convoluted way of thinking Ingram claimed if something wasn’t done to silence such expenditures, then the only people who could run for major office would have to be “self-funders.” Ingram should know – he has made a fortune working for self-funders such as Bob Corker and Bill Haslam. The rather obvious logic ignored by Ingram is that the only way to compete with the fat wallets of the Haslams and Corkers of the world is for a candidate to find one or more wealthy benefactors who can help level the playing field. What Ingram is actually upset about it that his biggest clients can no longer buy a seat just by opening their personal checkbook.

Ingram's table at Jimmy Kelly's

Ingram’s table at Jimmy Kelly’s

It’s a little difficult for Ingram to try and stake out the moral high ground when he has such a long record of dropping his political pants every time he hears a “ka-ching” coming from anyone worth a few million (or billion) dollars.

Getting a Bone(r)

But ol’ Tom doesn’t stop with just working for wealthy Republicans. Where the “quisling” really comes out in him is when he cashes in with Democrat candidates, like he did with Charles Bone, Jr.’s recent failed race for Nashville mayor (Nashville once had a mayor by the name of Bill Boner. This stuff just writes itself, doesn’t it?) Ingram tries to put a fig leaf over his niblets by hilariously claiming the race is “non-partisan.” To that claim, RTP and everyone with an honest bone (pun intended) in their body would reply: “What a load of crap.”

Just a brief perusal of the Bone family’s political contribution history reveals massive amounts of money given almost exclusively to Democrats, making them one of the largest Democrat contributors in the nation. The list is amazing: Gore, Tanner, DCCC, DNC, Democratic state parties in multiple states, Harold Ford Jr., etc. The Bones even gave Obama over $45,000 and Charles, Jr. was a member of Obama’s national finance committee – can’t be much more of a liberal Democrat than that. And let’s not forget their numerous contributions to former Cong. Lincoln Davis (D-TN). Why is that important, you ask? Because when Ingram needed to hire a lobbyist to work with the super majority Republican state legislature, he hired a Democrat who just happened to be the former chief of staff to Democrat Davis.

bidenWho will be the next Democrat Ingram will whore himself out to? Maybe Joe Biden’s presidential campaign? Don’t laugh. Ingram’s former lobbying partner in D.C. was Biden’s long-time chief of staff. Do we detect a pattern here?

Once Bone lost in the first round of the mayor’s race, he consulted with Ingram as to who he should endorse in the run-off. Faced with choosing between conservative businessman David Fox or liberal icon and uber-Democrat, Megan Barry, Bone chose Barry. Why are we not surprised? Who knows – maybe Ingram can get a gig with Barry’s husband, who headed up the state ACLU and still sits on its board.

Birds of a feather

Speaking of Democrat’s mayoral campaign, Ingram is already supporting Barry through his protégé, “Republican” fundraiser Kim Kaegi. Kaegi is well-known for making a bundle for herself while raising money for Alexander, Corker and Haslam, among others. She was most recently rewarded with a juicy contract from Haslam to raise the money for the new state history museum. Reports are that David Fox sought Kaegi’s fundraising expertise, but he was snubbed by Kaegi when she reportedly signed on with the liberal Barry. It just never seems to end, does it?

Kim Kaegi with two of her liberal friends

Kim Kaegi with two of her liberal friends.  The more conservative Governor is on the right.

Any of the 27 Republicans considering running for governor in 2018 who would like to have Kaegi’s (or Ingram’s) services might want to think twice. You may raise a lot of money, but you are going to need to spend most of it in the GOP primary explaining why your political advisors work for liberal Democrats.

Unless, of course, you are a “self-funder.” Then it’s okay.



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