Zach Wamped ’em

The second speaker at the Lunch Hour Republicans was Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp.

Since he will be appearing at our Midtown Republican Club meeting June 1st I was interested in hearing what he had to say.

I really came in with no preconceptions.

Congressman Wamp introduced himself and noted he was one of the class of 1994. He has been working in the party since college days. He decided it was time, however, to move from Congress to the Governor’s office, because he feels strongly we need a new direction.

With 57 days left til early voting starts, Wamp has spent a lot of time in Shelby County. He has inaugurated a “Memphis Matters” campaign and promises to put us in the forefront in Nashville. Too often we have been ignored by Nashville, he said. He wants to lead us in a Renaissance comparable to what he helped achieve in Chattanooga. That includes fully funding the Med and emphasizing our distribution center qualities and great business leaders.

Two other problems he wants to discuss that other candidates ignore, he said, are “our state is poor on education and health.” For example, TCAPs are administred at the end of the third grade. “If you can’t read by the third grade, there is a problem. We need to have benchmarks in kindergarten,” he said, noting that if you fail in reading early you fail for the rest of your elementary and high school career.

The Memphis infant mortality rate draws his ire, too, as does the sad fact that half of our state’s 17-24 year olds now wouldn’t qualify for the military.

As for crime, Wamp noted that “having safe communities means keeping repeat offenders off the street,” and he is willing to explore cheaper incarceration vs. letting criminals out.

My favorite issue, however, was his emphasis on state soverignty. “We need a governor with a backbone and a healthy distrust of a big federal government. We can feel freedom lipping through our fingers in this country.”

His was an impressive presentation and it will be interesting to see how he does in debating the other candidates. WKNO has schedule a debate among them for Tuesday night at 7.

A message from Lang

Yesterday I attended the monthly Lunch Hour Republican meeting at Salsa restaurant. Two great speakers were guests and one of them, our Chairman, Lang Wiseman, led off with his thoughts on the coming campaign.

Three things will determine the winning party, he said, “Turnout, turnout and turnout.”

Elaborating, he had graphs to show Republican turnout in the last three elections. In 2006 we got 40% Republican turnout, 8% independents and 3% Dem/African American swing votes. That gave us a 51% win and we had victory by all Republican candidates in County-clerk offices, plus a massive win by Luttrell and Gibbons.

August 2008 garnered only 33% Republican vote, 6% independents and 2% Dem/African American votes. With just 41% of the vote we lost a general sessions court clerk.

May 2010 brought 45% Republican turnout in the primary, which was the highest since 2002.

He concluded also that a candidate in Memphis needs approximately 90,000 to 100,000 votes to win; interstingly McCain garnered 150,000 votes. so the votes are out there.

Chairman Wiseman advised that there are 3 things we must do. Number one: Realize that we have the better candidates. We submitted them all to background checks and they were 100% clean. The Democrats said this was pointless and refused to do it. We must emphasize to citizens that our candidates are superior.

No. 2: Turnout. Apathy and defeatism are often are worst enemies. Statistics show that we can win in Shelby County.

No. 3: Get the swing vote by emphasizing that Republicans are the fiscally responsible party and the most efficient with your tax dollar.

Continuing, Lang said that we don’t have to convert Democrats; we can turnout our base and reach out to independents.

In June we will begin a phone calling campaign with a new computer program called Call fire and then in July we need to start knocking on doors and getting the word out.

As he warned, if we lose this election it could have dire consequences for our country and our county.

Cooking the books, er magazines

I popped into Penzey’s spice store recently and as I was paying I glanced at their cooking magazine, One.

One headline drew my eye: “Recipes for Restorative Justice.” What? Can’t they leave the politics behind? Evidently not, because it has happened before. In fact, I stopped my subscription because social issues seemed to be teamed with recipes and that’s not something I’m looking for in a food magazine. Earlier topics included prisons (complete with a picture of President Bush); immigration; and gay living. Gourmet managed to get into it, too, before it expired, with green emphasis and sly anti war articles. Bon Appetit flirts with the green movement, too, but it hasn’t gone full into that yet. Perhaps that’s why it’s still on the newsstand.