“I doubt that there is a senator in the Senate that has the same kind of relationship that I have with the president.”
Trump Revolution hits Tennessee. Bob Corker, Bill Haslam, Kim Kaegi are the latest victims.
End of an era as desperate Establishment Republicans find bench is empty, forced to recruit a re-tread.
A week ago, RTP went after Bob Corker. He retired.
Then this week Rocky Top pointed out the fallacies in a potential Bill Haslam candidacy. Within hours, he declined to run for the Senate (much to the surprise of Lamar! And Little Bob – more on that in later posts).
By now, loyal readers of RTP (both of them) must be asking themselves: Is Rocky Top THAT good?
To that, we say: Yes. Yes we are.
Now don’t get us wrong. The articles by Breitbart and the Tennessee Star may have had something to do with the Demise of The Establishment Candidates, but we are more than willing to take credit far beyond our actual contributions. We would express remorse over our over-reach, but we just can’t stop grinning.
(We pause here to express our deepest sympathy to uber-fundraisier, Kim Kaegi, who lost two of her biggest clients in the last week: Corker and Haslam. And the 2020 prospects of her other big revenue stream – Lamar! – ain’t looking so good either these days. Late word is Kaegi has signed up with Steve Fincher. Congrats to Kim. But she will find raising money for a political has-been isn’t nearly as easy as raising bucks for senate committee chairmen and incumbent governors.)
So NOW what?
Well, Marsha went from not running 10 days ago, to being the front runner overnight. Joe Carr went from an asterisk to being completely inconsequential. Andy Ogles is technically still in the Senate race, but no one expects him to survive October, maybe not even the weekend.
As we write this, the Establishment has settled on political re-tread Steve Fincher as their senate candidate. Fincher will announce next week and rumors are he will be campaigning with his best buddy, Nancy Pelosi (much more on THAT relationship in future posts).
Mark Green is running for Blackburn’s house seat and everyone in Williamson County is sipping wine and knoshing brie while trying to figure out if someone from Tennessee’s nosebleed country will run against the man who once spent a special night with Saddam Hussein.
We’ll end for now, because we are just too damned exhausted from all the winning.
Question asked. Question answered.
A few days ago RTP asked a rhetorical question: “Would Bill Haslam announce for the senate before, or after his brother was indicted for fraud.”
We may now have our answer: Before.
Multiple sources are telling us Haslam will make some sort of announcement by Friday. We are assuming he is running.
And to put the expected announcement into context, the helpful folks here at Rocky Top provide one of our expert and insightful analyses of the news from the last 24 hours. The biggest news, of course, is that Warren Buffet is buying out the Haslams’ ownership of the family business, Pilot/Flying J. Why is that important, you ask? Well, we’ll tell you.
Despite all the happy talk surrounding the announcement, there is a cold hard reality and likely reason as to why the deal was announced now. Simply put, the Haslam’s are “getting their affairs in order” in the event Bill runs for the senate and Jimmy has to do a perp walk for the multi-million dollar fraud committed by his company. That fraud has already netted more than a dozen indictments and/or convictions. The last of the Pilot senior managers who have not yet pled guilty or worked a plea bargain are scheduled to go to trial in just a few days. IF that trial takes place (an open question because the defendants may cooperate at the last minute), look for lots of embarrassing information about the Haslam family to spew forth. And if the defendants work out deals, look for them to serve up Jimmy Haslam on a platter to the Feds.
Don’t think for a second the Sage of Omaha is not aware of the coming Haslam family troubles and don’t think for another second that, possessed with the knowledge, he did not negotiate a sizable discount on his purchase of Pilot stock. From the Haslams’ position, taking a haircut from Warren Buffet is preferable to having your head lopped off in the market place if your chairman gets indicted. Better to cut your losses while you can. Just try cutting a complicated deal to sell billions in shares when you’re dressed in an orange jumpsuit. Warren Buffet didn’t get to be so damn rich for not knowing how the game is played.
As for The Kid brother, Bill would much rather announce now than to wait while the sordid legal drama plays out in the courts. He’s betting Tennesseans will be too stupid to put everything together and figure out the Haslams have serious ethical, moral and legal problems that make the late, great Bob Corker’s financial shenanigans pale in comparison. Using Warren Buffet’s money to buy up every available advertising spot in the Volunteer State will not just be a political strategy – it will be a political necessity.
Yeah, GOP voters are likely to figure out it’s difficult to drain the swamp when you keep stocking it with avaricious alligators like the Haslams.
One final note: If Bill Haslam thinks he is going to skate by pretending he had no knowledge of his brother’s actions, he is seriously deluded. To illustrate that point, we will leave you with a fresh question, a version of the famous interrogatory once posed by the late Howard Baker:
“What did the Governor know, and when did he know it?”
Stay tuned to Rocky Top for answers.
So Bill Haslam may run for the Senate.
Question: Will his announcement come BEFORE or AFTER his brother is indicted for fraud?
When you are worth a gazillion dollars, your family owns an NFL team and you are sitting in the governor’s chair, you can excuse one for thinking one’s excrement is odorless.
But Bill Haslam is in for a very rude shock if he thinks he can just effortlessly slide into the U.S. Senate by utilizing the strategy employed by Hillary (“It’s Her Turn”) Clinton.
In just a couple of weeks, the Haslam Family business is going to go on trial. And logic would indicate that the defendants in that trial are likely tripping over each other trying to be the first to cut a deal with prosecutors to roll over on the only senior Pilot executive who has not been indicted or pled guilty – Jimmy Haslam. This could get real ugly real fast. And such a political tsunami is likely to wash over Bill Haslam’s senate candidacy.
But even a criminal scandal in the family is not likely to be the worst of Bill Haslam’s travails in securing the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.
Bill, do you remember Donald Trump?
Well President Trump sure as hell remembers you:
“It is time for the good of the nation and the Republican Party for Donald Trump to step aside and let Gov. Mike Pence assume the role as the party’s nominee. If he does not step aside, I will write in a Republican for the office of President.”
— Bill Haslam, Oct. 9, 2016, just 28 days before Donald Trump was elected president.
Yeah, Kid. Piss off the only candidate in history who won 94 of 95 counties in a contested Tennessee Republican primary. That’s sure to work ….
Bob Corker: “The Lion of the Senate.”
RTP is in the uncomfortable position of agreeing (at least partially) with the miscreants at the Nashville Scene. Specifically, the column by Betsy (“oh look, I can curse like a sailor – that makes me one of the kool kids”) Phillips who said Bob Corker is a coward if he doesn’t run for re-election.
Let’s make sure we understand Miss Phillips’ motives here. She hates Bob Corker. But she hates Donald Trump even more (“Haters gonna hate, hate, hate”). The only reason she wants Corker to run is because he took some recent nasty shots at Trump and in her perverted antifa view of the world, that makes Corker a friend of the left. That, plus the fact her Democrat Party couldn’t win this race even if the Republican nominee died two weeks before election day.
But putting aside ulterior motives by the politically-challenged Phillips, she does have a point.
Apparently, all it takes to get Bob Corker to soil himself is a Trump tweet and a brief mention by Steve Bannon. Who knew it could be that easy? If we had known, RTP could have forced the Bobster out of the race months ago and avoided his current shameful Hamlet act.
Rocky Top has disagreed on countless issues with the ethically-challenged, morally suspect Little Napoleon senator, but there is one thing we never considered:
We never suspected Corker might be a coward. Until now.
The curious case of the altered headline.
A couple of days ago, the Washington Times had this headline:
Within hours, the Times had altered its headline (although the original headline was still embedded in the link):
See the difference? Alert (or as the alt-left likes to say: “woke”) RTP tipsters contacted our tip line (email@example.com) and pointed out the change. A couple offered some theories. RTP has a theory of its own.
First, no one believes the Washington Times is closely monitoring or covering an obscure, 3-time-loser, perennial candidate like Joe Carr. It is much more likely the story was planted by one of Carr’s two allies (Judson, check your messages). But in their haste to promote Carr, they made an amateur mistake — one that could cause the nascent Carr campaign a substantial headache.
Here’s why: If you go with the first headline, where the Times says Carr “WILL” run against Corker and using Carr’s quotes to confirm this statement, then Carr just formally announced for the Senate. That could mean under FEC rules, Carr’s T-Bone & Politics fundraiser next week could run into legal problems and/or that the proceeds could not be use by Carr for his campaign or his personal use. At a minimum. a host of reporting complications would also arise – such as requiring Carr to report on October 15th how much he has actually raised as of September 30th (which would reveal how much – or how little – Carr has raised and what he spent it on)
The Times did not alter its headline on its own. No, we think that was clearly the result of Carr or his representative hurriedly trying to cover his behind and get back to safer legal ground.
The Times article went on to highlight Carr’s 9-point defeat by Lamar Alexander in 2014, while conveniently ignoring his 32-point loss to Diane Black just last year.
For his part, Carr says he “learned his lesson from 2014” and that he will “have his ducks lined up” this time. No mention of all the “dead ducks” that floated to the top of his disastrous 2016 congressional race.
All-in-all, a rather inauspicious way to begin one’s campaign – assuming of course that it is actually a real campaign.
“Now you see it – now you don’t” might be a preview to the Joe CarrWreck for Senate campaign.
“Can you hear me NOW, Bob? Good.”
Bob Corker is trying to pretend nothing is wrong between him and Trump. But the tire marks on his butt say otherwise.
The predictable TennessCNN trotted out a strange little article yesterday in an obvious attempt to paper over the political problems of their favorite anti-Trump Republican, Sen. Bob Corker. For his part, Corker is just now realizing he stepped in it with calling the Republican President of the United States “unstable” and “not competent” enough to do his job, ran to The TennessCNN in a comical attempt to pretend things were just hunky-dory between The Donald and himself.
Yeah, Bob. There are two kinds of GOP Senators these days: (1) Those who get along with the president while avoiding running their mouths and (2) those who the President is inviting voters to remove from the Senate. You would be in that second category, Bobster.
“Corker said since the exchange on Twitter, he hasn’t spoken to the president directly.”
Really, Bob? Really?
You may not have said anything to the President in the last couple of weeks, but he sure as hell had a message for you. In less than 167 characters, the President let you know in no uncertain terms he is aware of your attacks on him and made a barely-veiled threat of possible primary opposition for you. For someone who has not been “in communication” with the president, you sure seem to have a problem sitting down these days. That’s what happens when POTUS runs a rocket up your keister.
Want to know why Mark Green and Marsha Blackburn are giving serious consideration to running against you in the Republican primary next year? Look no further than your own mouth.
Blackburn reportedly exploring a primary challenge to Corker.
Serious threat to Corker’s re-election.
Well, the Wamp vs. Corker boomlet lasted the equivalent length of a political brain fart. For about 30 minutes there Wamp had a chance to become a U.S. Senator, but he hesitated. And as the great political philosophizer, Ricky Bobby would put it:
The main reason for the demise of the Wamp candidacy, other than he apparently was not interested in running, was the emergence of Marsha Blackburn as a possible challenger. Her entry into the race would change, well, everything.
RTP is being flooded with rumors, calls, speculation and hyperventilating over the possibility of Blackburn vs. Little Bob.
But wait, what? Didn’t Marsha already take herself out of running against Corker? Back earlier in the summer The TennessCNN breathlessly announced Blackburn was not going to run against Corker.
As usual, The TennessCNN was flat-out wrong.
What Blackburn actually said was “I am running for re-election to the House of Representatives. That is my focus.” That was the entirety of her quote.
As RTP noted at the time, that was a carefully and cleverly-worded statement that purposely excluded any mention of the word “Senate” and left open her options. But cracked political reporter Joel Ebert tortured her statement to the point he claimed that meant she was not going to run against Corker. Apparently The TennessCNN was so eager to protect the anti-Trump Corker (see their “Bravo, Sen. Corker” column) that they wantonly extrapolated a conclusion that was not based on fact. It wouldn’t be the first – or the last – time The TennessCNN generated “fake news.”
But back to Marsha. She is arguably the hottest Republican political property in Tennessee. She has the money (over $3 million in the bank, plus millions more from well-heeled individuals who hate Corker), the looks, the conservative creds and the electability that few, if any, politicians in the state can match. Add to that Trump’s animosity towards Corker and you have a real slobberknocker of a race brewing. And it doesn’t hurt that Marsh’ais a woman, which takes away Corker’s favorite tactic – bullying – to try to keep her out of the race.
A Blackburn candidacy would bring a host of attributes that would likely clear the field of other would be contenders such as (especially) Joe Carr. State Senator Mark Green is also another potentially strong candidate, but in fairness neither he or anyone else can bring the political heat like Blackburn can. If Marsha declines, Green would be a strong alternative. And if she does run for the Senate, Green would be the huge favorite to take her seat in Congress. Whatever Marsha decides, we will likely see Mark Green on the ballot in 2018 – and sitting in Washington as Senator or Congressman come 2019.
But while Corker’s attacks on Trump, and the President’s tweet blasting Corker has turned this race upside down, Marsha does not have unlimited time to make a decision. With Green and others chomping at the bit, any attempt to “freeze the field” for more than a couple of weeks or so could result in her being left out in the cold.
Rocky Top makes no prediction about what will happen, other than the speculation about Blackburn sure makes politics fun again in Tennessee. After all, “Speculation is RTP’s recreation.”
[Editors’ note to Marsha: If you talk to Ward — and we assume you will – just remember, he’s on Corker’s payroll
Just hours after Rocky Top posited the notion that Bob Corker’s attacks on President Trump could be a problem for him in the GOP primary, this happened:
** SPECIAL REPORT**
Is Bob Corker begging for a serious primary opponent?
And will Zach Wamp be that opponent?
Corker calls Trump “unstable” and “not competent” to be president.
For a guy who spends alternate efforts sucking up to, then vilifying President Trump, Sen. Bob Corker may have finally crossed a line from which he cannot return. Speaking before a gaggle of reporters last week, Corker took a personal and particularly vile swipe at Trump. Worse, he then doubled down at a Columbia luncheon, further criticizing the man from whom he had shamelessly begged for a big administration position. Trump wisely turned him away from working for the White House.
Then to put the left-wing seal of approval on Corker’s gratuitous attacks, none other than Tennessean liberal political columnist, Mr./Mrs. David Plazas published a hearty “Bravo, Senator Corker” editorial.
Such an editorial could be a kiss of death for the Little Napoleon come primary day.
For at the same time Corker was trashing Trump, working beneath the placid waters of the feverish swamp known as ChattaVegas, came word there may be a very credible opponent for Corker starting to stir:
It started with a recent op-ed penned by Wamp in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. In that article Wamp focused on Trump’s central theme: “Drain the swamp in Washington.” He led off with a specific example:
“Who among average Americans believes it is ethical for lawmakers to actively day trade stocks in companies when they have legislative power to directly affect those same industries?”
That appeared to be a very thinly veiled swipe at one of the most notorious senate day-traders of all time: Bob Corker. (You can read about Corker’s day trading of CBL stock here).
Wamp then followed that with radio and national news interviews calling for higher standards and ethics in Washington — while sounding very much like a politician rediscovering his mojo.
RTP has received several tips from our spies in Chattanooga claiming the rumblings are real. So as we try to decipher the credibility of the rumors, here are some deadly serious things for Wamp (and Corker) to consider:
“Fool me once.” Most people have probably forgotten that Wamp had made careful preparations to run for the Senate in 2006, even going so far as informing leadership of his intention to leave the House and staying out of the 2002 senate and governors races. Then Corker muddied the field and jumped in first, forcing Wamp to reconsider. Wamp never forgot what Corker did. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Wamp is the better candidate. Corker carries a diffident air about him that borders on disdain for those he considers beneath him. Not so, Wamp. After 16 years serving in the “peoples house” as congressman, and a hard-fought race for Governor in 2010, Wamp is battle tested and — we assume — tan, rested & ready. Wamp is a populist with deep ties to the religious community in the state, while Corker is an arrogant multi-millionaire who suffers from short-man’s syndrome. And Wamp’s entry into the race would likely clear the field of other candidates like Joe Carr.
Corker is vulnerable – damned vulnerable. Recent polls show he is one of the most untrusted political figures in the state. One poll showed Marsha Blackburn, with less than half of Corker’s name ID among Republicans, would start a race against him in a dead heat. That’s not good for Bob.
Also making Corker highly vulnerable is his myriad of personal financial dealings that have made him a wealthy man – dealings which are highly unethical and legally suspect. Corker has largely skated on multiple charges of financial impropriety while in office — so far — but RTP sources say the corruption is very real, including two formal complaints against Corker still languishing in the Senate “Ethics” Committee.
The Trump factor. Corker has probably screwed himself with the one person who dominates every primary race in Tennessee: Donald Trump. Corker’s sneering insults have crossed the line and candidates who are perceived as anti-Trump are going to have YUGE problems in a GOP primary.
Of course, those who have tried to predict what Trump might do in a primary have been repeatedly surprised by Trump (Mo Brooks in Alabama couple of weeks ago comes to mind). So hedge your bets accordingly.
MONEY — the most important consideration. Corker has made tens of millions for his own personal bank account while ostensibly working full-time as a U.S. senator. That, and a $6 million campaign war chest has thus far scared off people such as Blackburn and State Senator Mark Green.
So where would Wamp find the hefty funds needed to take on Corker? Glad you asked. It appears that for the last several years, Corker has been shilling for Wells Fargo’s interests while simultaneously trying to help the Obama administration steal money from Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac to pay for Obamacare. All this while overseeing the financial and housing industries from his perch on the Senate Banking & Housing Committee. That has royally pissed off a whole host of hedge fund managers and financial types whose clients (as well as taxpayers) lost billions when Corker and Sen. Mark Warner participated in one of the biggest taxpayer thefts in history.
Conservative estimates are that anywhere from $5 – $6 million in direct contributions and independent expenditures from the financial community awaits a credible candidate like Wamp – more than enough to mount a competitive race. And Wamp could legitimately allow the financial communities’ money into his race and still maintain his position as an ethical reformer simply by refusing to serve on the Senate Banking Committee – problem solved.
So there you have it: Wamp has Motivation, Opportunity and Resources to take on Corker in a GOP primary and to win.
Will he do it? Who knows? But if Wamp gave a race serious consideration, it appears he would have a serious chance, backed by serious money.
Not to mention a terrific platform to help force change in The Swamp.
WE SMELL NAZIS!
(and oddly enough, they smell like Citronella)
One of the bizarre outcomes of the recent rumble in Charlottesville, VA between the odious, mentally-deficient neo-Nazis and their equally violent repugnant socialist/anarchist scumbags was this photo:
Observe the wannabe Adolphs’ attempt to recreate the torchlight parades that terrorized Germany in the 1930’s. Notice anything different?
They are all carrying Tiki Torches!
Yes, the backyard lighting preference of everyone who buys their clothes at Sears has made its way into the violent debate between two imbecilic activist groups. Patios across the mid-Atlantic region went dark because the baby Storm Troopers cornered the market on Tiki Torches from every home project and supply store in a 100 miles radius. What’s next – cross burnings sponsored by Weber grills? Imagine the damage Hitler could have done if he only had a charge card from Home Depot.
On a brighter note, Charlottesville and Albemarle County are now Zika-free.
So here is the question that no one is asking: “Tell us Rocky Top — how does this all relate to Tennessee?” Glad you asked…
It took nary a nano-second for the predictable attempts by the nattering nabobs of left-wing apparatchiks here in Big Orange Country to cynically try and capitalize on a disgrace for which the left shared the responsibility. Yeah. Uh-huh. That’s right. We said it. Trump was correct when he declared a pox on both their houses. The MSM have tried to vilify Trump for having the temerity to state the glaringly obvious, to which we say: “Keep it up, morons and you will single-handedly get Trump for a second term.
So there the commies were: stinking up the Tennessee state capitol by symbolically pissing on the artistically-challenged Nathan Bedford Forrest statue while blithely ignoring the weight, accuracy and lessons of history as well as our veterans’ sacrifices (again, from both sides). Word is they are going to take their silly show on the road to Johnson City and demand Washington County change its name (Washington was a slave owner). Maybe they will burn down Jefferson City along the way (named after another Democrat slave owner) and also tear down the statue of President Andrew Johnson in Greenville. You know –the guy who helped kick-start Amendments 13 (abolishing slavery), 14 (citizenship for all former slaves) and 15 (giving former slaves the right to vote). Why go after the Little Tailor? Because he was a Republican (like Lincoln), or as the left-wing nutcases that rule the Democrat party in this state like to say: “Because, shut up.”
One thing is certain. Yer not gonna find many mosquitos at the next Mein Kampf Kampfire nor the inevitable accompanying Alt-left counter-spasm.
Now if we can just figure out a way to repel both the alt-right and alt-left idiots away from the Volunteer State.
We recommend roach spray.