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Does Marsha see an opening?

Just hours after Corker takes a cheap shot at Trump, Blackburn enthusiastically defends the President.

The RTP tipline is a-hummin’ over the actions of Sen. Bob Corker.  Seems that when he marched out and pompously declared the White House was in a “downward spiral” and out of control, it launched an immediate backlash that surprised even us (and we are not surprised that easily).

Many tipsters and Republican voters were angry at what they saw as Corker disloyalty and his rush to judgement.  That was an understandable reaction.  But perhaps more interesting was those reactions have been frequently accompanied by calls for Cong. Marsha Blackburn to run against Corker in the primary next year.

The cries for “Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!” could have been the direct result of her immediate and spirited defense of Trump in the face of Corker’s perfidy.  But no one should doubt Blackburn’s political instincts or her personal popularity — not to mention her $4 million federal campaign war chest.

It was a noteworthy and very well-timed defense of the President by the Congressman.

Blackburn for Senate, anyone?

Meet the new “Never Trumper.”

When President Trump didn’t give Bob Corker what he wanted, Bob Corker showed his true colors.

As long as Sen Bob Corker thought President Trump could help advance his personal ambitions, he was The Donald’s best friend.  First there was talk of Corker as a running mate for Trump.  That was a non-starter.  Then is was said Corker thought he would make a fine Treasury Secretary.  Trump thought not.  But Corker believed the biggest cabinet prize — Secretary of State — was just made for him.  But in the end it was clear he was never under serious consideration.

And then something else happened.

Corker has long fought to keep Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in receivership and was happy to have their profits stolen from the taxpayers and used to prop up Obama’s lousy health care operation.  By doing so, Corker and his Democrat colleague, Sen. Mark Warner, could promote so-called “GSE reform” that would allow big banks such as Wells Fargo to take over the nation’s mortgage markets and reap billions in profits.

But after a private dinner with the President a couple of weeks ago, Corker emerged surly and peevish.  The day after his one-on-one with the President, Corker went out and made a snide remark about the North Korea briefing Trump held for the Senate.  Many in DC believe Corker was in a snit because at that dinner, Trump likely  told Corker he was going to stop the Obama administration’s ripping off Fannie May and Freddie Mac profits to illegally pay for things like Obamacare.  That would be a big problem for Corker’s GSE legislation and Wells Fargo’s dream of a huge payout.

It got worse:  Corker was demonstrably pissed off over his public run-in with FHFA director Mel Watt last week in which the director confirmed the administration’s  plans to end the GSE rip-off.  Corker asked Watt a couple of snotty questions, then stormed out of the hearing when his attempted baiting of Watt failed.

On Monday, the Washington Post ran a story claiming Trump was spilling state secrets to the Russian ambassador — a story that now appears to be completely “fake news.”  Without even checking out the story, Corker rushed to unleash his anti-Trump inner-self :

“Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee … was unusually sharp in his scolding of the Trump White House.

“Obviously they’re in a downward spiral right now and they’ve got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happened,” he told reporters Monday night. “The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes a worrisome environment.”

Conservative commentator, Laura Ingraham took Corker to task for his cheap shot:

“Conservative pundit Laura Ingraham was not amused, wondering out loud on Fox News Monday night why the senator would be so quick to criticize before hearing an explanation from the White House.”

So did Lou Dobbs:

“Senate GOP in spiral of disloyalty and cowardice.  Corker says White House in ‘downward spiral.'”

Yep, whenever there was a possibility he could be secretary of state or some other high ranking position, Corker acted like he was Trump’s best buddy (although RTP sources inside the White House say there has and continues to be a significant level of distrust when it comes to the ethically challenged Corker).

But with his personal ambitions seemingly blocked at every turn, Corker has returned to form and sought to assuage his own failures with cheap, cowardly attacks against Trump.  Breeding always bears out, and all that.

It is highly unlikely Trump will reward Corker’s disloyalty with anything other than the contempt it deserves.

Enjoy it, Bonaparte Bob.  You’ve earned it.



Who’s yer Daddy?

Striking a blow for Political Gender Fluidity, Ryan Williams declares himself “Mommie.”

One of the most bizarre incidents of last week’s revolt against the House leadership by conservative Republicans and the Democrats was when House GOP caucus chairman, Rep. Ryan Williams, stood up before the GOP caucus and informed the members that they had elected Rep, Glen Casada to “be the daddy” of the caucus and that they had also elected him (Williams) “to be the Mommie.”

Yes, he actually said that.

Ah, where to start.

The first icky question: if Casada is the “daddy” and Williams is the “mommie,” just when did the two of them consummate their relationship?  And is Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss the love-child of that union?

Rep. Barry Doss shortly after birth.

“Boss” Doss today.

To this, we say: “Blecch.”

If these two are the “parents” of the caucus, then someone needs to call Family Services — because their actions could definitely be considered child abuse.  “Mommie Dearest” leadership at its finest…


Rep. Williams’ message to the GOP Caucus:

Bonaparte Bob

Rumor out of DC is that Sen. Bob Corker’s recent private dinner with President Trump was not a social occasion.  It is believed Trump politely, but firmly, informed Corker (R-Wells Fargo) that his legislation to “reform” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was neither necessary nor welcome.

If true, this would be a major blow to Corker, who has been relentless in his efforts to deliver the home mortgage business to the big banks (of whom Wells Fargo is the largest player).

Tomorrow might bring another blow to Corker’s standing and self-perceived clout in Washington.  Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) director Mel Watt is slated to testify before the Senate Banking committee (of which Corker is a member) and rumor has it that he will address the practice of the federal government keeping all of the profits from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. A federal judge recently declared the Obama administration illegally looted the two institutions to pay for Obamacare.  If Watt announces the government is going to stop the Obama-era policy of taking all of those institutions’ profits, look for Corker’s reputation and standing to take a serious blow.

Maybe Bonaparte Bob needs a vacation.  We hear St. Helena is a nice place to ponder his future…

Paybacks are HELL.

Pandemonium!  Mayhem!  Crying Speakers!

Conservatives finally have enough of tax increases and abusive Leadership. 

Pissed-off Democrats finally discover their “special purpose” and join Conservatives to wreak havoc on the House floor.

For a moment there, we thought Charles Sargent was finally going to experience that long-expected coronary.  Huffing and puffing from the podium, Sargent practically screamed “There was no deal!  There was no deal!”

He was lying.

So what “deal” was Chas referring to?  Turns out the Dems had indeed cut a deal to pass the Haslam/Pilot Oil Gas Tax Increase after 1/2 of the House GOP caucus had come out in opposition to it.  Without the Dems, Haslam and House leadership still didn’t have enough votes to jam it through. That’s when Haslam opened up the taxpayers’ checkbook and offered a deal on education spending to the Democrats in order to get the votes to win.  Fitzhugh and the Dems kept their word and delivered on their part of the bargain by delivering  23 votes for the Gas Tax.

But then Haslam and leadership made a fateful mistake.

They screwed the Democrats.  They bent them over the barrel.  Nailed them to the wall.  Stabbed them in the back.

Just a day before the budget vote, but after he had delivered the required votes to pass the Gas Tax, Dem Leader Craig Fitzhugh was told “Oops, sorry.  You have no deal.”  Casada, McCormick, Harwell, Haslam, Sargent, Ryan Williams, et al pretended to deny the very deal that everyone within driving distance of the LP knew had been made.

Combine the Dems anger with the building, boiling frustrations of House conservatives — who make up a near or actual majority of the House GOP caucus — and you get ignition.  The seething resentment toward leadership’s treatment of conservative members of their own party has been building for years.  And today it boiled over.

Over Majority Leader Glen Casada’s protests, the two factions teamed up on the House floor and began offering and passing every amendment they could come up with, effectively shutting down the process.  And the amendments were creative.  If someone had an amendment to fund a million-dollar wildlife habitat recovery center for former Hooters waitresses, they probably would have passed it.

That’s when Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams started whining that some of his GOP colleagues were making a mockery of “the process” that leadership had cooked up to jam through the tax increase.

RTP wonders, Ryan, just which “process” were you referring to?  Were you talking about “the process” that kills perfectly good bills in House Finance Sub before they are given a vote on the floor of the House?  Are you talking about “the process” that invents magical last-second phoney fiscal votes meant to kill legislation the leadership doesn’t like, but would likely have overwhelming support of the voters?  Or maybe you are talking about “the process” that allowed Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss to flagrantly violate multiple House rules to bully the Gas Tax through his committees.

F**k your “process,” Ryan.

The long-term damage has been done, and Haslam and the House Leadership have only themselves to blame.

“Speaker” Casada?  After today that seems very unlikely.  “Governor” Harwell?  Even less so.

At the end of the day, today’s show may not matter in terms of the Governor getting his budget.  He still has the ability to buy off enough legislators with taxpayers’ money to scrape together enough votes.  Late word is that Harwell led a group over to the Senate after the House chaos, hoping they could somehow bail her out.  The Senators essentially told Harwell to “pound sand” and “your broke it, you bought it.”  The Senators indicated they didn’t believe the Democrat/Conservative Republican coalition would hold when the House reconvenes tomorrow morning.

But after Haslam and the leadership’s lying to and screwing of the Democrats and after years of abuse of conservatives, the crew here at RTP is hoping and praying that right after the opening invocation tomorrow morning the two groups collectively stand up and say:

“Hey, y’all — watch this!  Hold my beer.”





See, we told you so.

White House correspondent says Corker up to his ears in financial corruption.

“Say, Bob. Is that a federal prosecutor hiding in that sand trap?”

Yeah, for RTP there is nothing like the sweet smell of vindication.

The crew here at Rocky Top has been reporting for months about what appeared to be numerous shady deals involving Sen. Bob Corker.  You can see those posts here:

Now comes best-selling author Jerome Corsi (remember John Kerry and the “Swift Boat” scandal?) who writes for and who – thanks to President Trump – is now a credentialed White House press correspondent.  Apparently using similar sources RTP relied on in its reporting, Corsi takes aim at Corker — and how.

RTP loves that in the very first paragraph of his first article on the issue, Corsi refers to Corker as the “Senator from Wells Fargo.”  Gee, we wonder where he got that idea?

— photo compliments of Rocky Top Politics.

What does all this mean?  It means Corker may be in a world of hurt.  Everywhere you turn, you see Corker making deals with either shady characters or just making questionable deals to make money.  He has had to amend his financial disclosure statements 83 times to try and cover his tracks.  As others start to dig into this, here are just some of the pressing questions Corker is going to need to answer:

  • What is the current status of the federal probe into, among other issues, Corker’s involvement with CBL?
  • Does the White House know of these problems (we are betting they do, since Trump passed on naming Corker the Veep or the Secretary of State)?
  • How was Corker, who came into office in what now appears to have been a precarious personal financial situation, able to amass a huge fortune while supposedly working full-time as a U.S. Senator?
  • Why do numerous Corker business transactions and interactions seem to always involve Wells Fargo as a key player?
  • And why is Corker so hell-bent on legislation (the abolition of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) that would result in a massive windfall for Wells Fargo?

You know why, don’t you?

We admit we were surprised a few days ago when Corker told the Gannet/USA Today Tennessean he had made no final decisions about running for re-election.  Could it be he knows something he isn’t sharing with the rest of us?

A Corrupt Tax, and they know it.

Boss Doss tells Taxpayers:  “Bend over.”

In what has to be the most egregious and corrupt conflict-of-interest of the year, Barry “Boss” Doss is trying to jam through Haslam’s gas tax despite the state sitting on a $2 billion surplus. In an administration that has become legendary for it’s “crony capitalism” and sweetheart deals for favored business, that’s really saying something. That he and Haslam need Democrats to overcome the opposition against the tax within the House GOP caucus says it all.

What makes this even more insulting to the voters is that Doss owns a  paving company that is pre-certified by the state and TDOT.  Doss Brothers could make tons of money off of state contracts.

And we thought Washington, DC was a swamp.

We can hardly wait for the radio, direct mail, robocalls, push polls and TV ads in the primaries of every Republican voting for this.

Fish in a barrel.



Sniffing out a good story…

Why does the news media keep giving itself awards?

Because they can…

In their annual rite of navel-gazing and self-congratulatory adoration, the state’s MSM recently selected one of their own (the Associated Press) to decide which of them was professionally the prettiest.

In the category of Best Political Investigative Journalism, the AP gave the award to the Gannett/USA Today Tennessean‘s Dave Bouchert and Joel Ebert.  Bouchert & Ebert are not to be confused with the famed film critics, Siskel & Ebert.Siskel & Ebert’s highest ranking for movies was “Two Thumbs Up.”

NOT Bouchert & Ebert

In honor of their memory, RTP is awarding Bouchert & Ebert our coveted “Two Thumbs Up Your Butt” award for bringing down a hapless state legislator, Rep. Pants Candy (1 down, only 98 more to go…).  Someone alert the Pulitzer Committee about this duo’s groundbreaking journalism.  Their derring-do is recognized way beyond the pages of the newspaper.  Some say their stories are read as far away as Brentwood and Smyrna.

Of course the AP award would have meant so much more if there were more than just 3 or 4 political reporters left in the state.  But hey — in the news business these days, everybody gets a trophy!

Bouchert & Ebert accepting their award.

“Those guys really have a nose for news,”  said their editor, David Plazas,

Credit where credit is due…

Stop the Presses!

Rocky Top Agrees With Harwell!

It was bound to happen sometime.  RTP has been openly critical of Harwell in the past – and deservedly so.

But now Harwell, who is contemplating a run for governor, finds herself in the unusual position of being opposed by pro-gas tax legislators, many of whom she personally appointed to their exalted positions on key committees.

Harwell has offered an alternative to the Haslam Gas Tax increase.  While we didn’t agree with everything in her proposal, the crew took a vote (sans popsicle sticks) and decided the Harwell plan was far superior to the dog crap offered by Haslam, Sargent, Doss, McCormick, et al.

But earlier this week Harwell was openly dissed in the House Finance Committee, with the dissing being led by several people who claimed in the past to be among her most ardent allies.  It was, without a doubt, an embarrassing and humiliating rebuke of the Speaker.  (And RTP knows how to be disrespectful to the Speaker.  But then again, no one on the Rocky Top crew has been appointed to committee chairmanships by her, so we give ourselves a pass.).

So now what?  It’s quite simple:  This is Harwell’s “Sister Souljah” moment.  If she is to have any credibility to be elected the leader of the entire state as governor, she has been given the rare opportunity to demonstrate decisively and dramatically she is up to the job.  She can do so by defying those who want to pass a new and permanent tax while we sit on $2 billion in tax surpluses.  Ironically, she has a firm base of support to act from among her usual critics — the conservatives in the GOP caucus.

It should not take a terrible amount of arm-twisting to either get her plan passed, or failing that, to kill the ill-conceived Haslam Improve Act.

If she can’t accomplish that, she has no business running for governor.

Governor, Harwell, House GOP leadership losing their grip.

There’s  no shame in losing a vote on the House floor.

But it’ a big deal when you lose the vote in your own caucus.

First it was the defeat of the instate tuition for illegals legislation.  Now this:

The gas tax bill may still pass, but this means in order to ram a gas tax increase down the throats of Tennessee taxpayers, the Republican leadership and the Governor are gong to need nearly every Democrat to vote with them and to ignore the clear majority of it’s caucus (55% -45% of those voting in the above survey).

A damning indictment of their tax increase.