Roy Exum: New Year’s Day, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

My New Year’s Resolution is to get my country back. I believe that I am a staunch patriot and subscribe fully to not just the American Dream but the Promise ours is the greatest nation since the beginning of time. I also believe, very strongly, that the nation I adore was founded on Christian principles and biblical truths. Now, quite frankly, I have become weary and find my patience has grown short for those who I believe hinder our daily goal of being the best we can be as a nation, a state, a city and as an individual.

That is why I am announcing today, on this the very first day of an election year, I will never vote for Senator Lamar Alexander or Congressman Chuck Fleischmann again. While I am confident neither incumbent could care less, I believe the time is nigh for the American people to rid Washington of its growing riffraff and unworthy flotsam. I have voted a conservative ballot most of my life but the time has come for the American people to demand accountability and clear results from those we send to represent us.

I like Chuck Fleischmann. I admire his family. But in the past two years I believe he has been very instrumental as part of “the worst Congress in the history of the United States” and, while he did very little in his first term, his second has been an abomination. He has never written a bill to my knowledge, much less passed one, and the realization that his is nothing more than another whining voice in some “bully brigade” makes me sick to my stomach.

Lamar Alexander, who I have never before failed at the ballot box, has become a bitter disappointment to me.  Alexander is now 73 and I believe the former Tennessee governor has lost his compass. I’m not a big Tea Party person but a number of conservative groups across the state are really down on him for some puzzling decisions he has made. He is quick to point out Obama’s mistakes but I can’t see where he has done anything to counter them.

He was interviewed by the Editorial Board of the Nashville Tennessean several weeks ago and, when asked specifically about a bill that would strengthen federal legislation in curbing horse abuse in Tennessee, he said that while “Soring is wrong. It’s illegal,” he told the group some of the bill’s provisions are unnecessary. Lamar said the horse industry should “self govern” but fails to recognize a half-century where that has failed miserably.

The better story is that Steven B. Smith, the State Finance Chairman for Alexander’s 2014 campaign, is deeply involved in the callous Big Lick crowd that is solely responsible for the need to reform the federal laws. Smith, just elected as president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association, has also used his influence in the state’s Republican circles -- neither of the state’s senators or not one of seven Representatives dare endorse the bill, which is tragic. (Note: 248 members of Congress from other states have endorsed HR1518, while 37 Senators have endorsed S.1406.)

Please! Lamar Alexander and Chuck Fleischmann are both members of Tennessee’s Republican Party that shamefully – and infamously -- shunned Barack Obama when the President came to Chattanooga in late July and visited our Amazon plant. Fleischmann was even seen at the airport that very day and claimed he “had to get to work” rather than display the statesmanship his constituents should demand of the now bedraggled and much-maligned GOP.

The biggest problem is the fact that the best-suited challengers wouldn’t get into Washington politics on a bet right now. While it is much like football fans who cry “Fire the coach” and then find there are no replacements any better, I am so disenchanted and frustrated with Alexander and Fleischmann that I’ll take anybody. I mean, anybody.

Alexander, with a rich war chest, is a heavy favorite to beat challenger Joe Carr in the Republican primary on August 7 and, while I know little about Carr, I can promise that on this first day of January he already has my vote. Alexander’s approval ratings are lousy, said to be less than 50 percent in some polls, As things progress and if Carr shows promise, I’ll ask my family and friends to vote for Joe, too.

Chuck Fleischmann, at present, is unopposed but I am confident someone will emerge in coming weeks because he is so vulnerable.  I like Weston Wamp much more than Fleischmann, for example, and I’m told there may be others who believe they have a chance for a November upset. I sure hope so.

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