A Sign In The Sky

Campaign billboards seem to be all the rage in the eastern part of Tennessee.  I’ve seen them for candidates for Governor and the statehouse.  Now that I think about it, I might have even seen one for a federal race.  Personally I have never really understood the point of a campaign billboard.  Sure they do raise visibility, but how many more yard signs could one get for the cost of a single billboard?  Billboards show that a campaign has money, but yard signs in peoples’ yards add the human dimension.  They indicate that the person who lives on or owns the property cares enough about his or her candidate to let his or her neighbors know of their public support.  Nevertheless, while driving through Hamblen County last month, one billboard caught my eye.  It displayed a smiling image of a statehouse candidate on one side and President Obama on the other.  The sign informed the reader that Larry Mullins was a Delegate at Barack Obama’s nomination convention in 2008.  The message was simple and to the point.  Larry Mullins is a Democrat who supports Democratic leaders like Obama.

The more I thought about the sign, the more it nagged me.  Do Democratic voters really need a rallying cry to support their candidate?  Wouldn’t a fairly rural community of approximately 60,000 residents have heavily supported John McCain over Barack Obama back in the 2008 election?  With this assumption in mind, I decided to check the Tennessee State Board of Elections website.  Sure enough, McCain won in a landside, 15,508 votes to 6,807.  Like in most areas of the country, I think it would be safe to assume that the President’s popularity has decreased since 2008, so that means an even greater majority of voters in Hamblen County would be against him.  It just didn’t make sense to me why the Mullins campaign would tie themselves to such a negative in the community like President Obama.

About an hour ago, I was out driving through Hamblen County and came across the vexing sign once more.  Finding a safe spot alongside the road, I pulled over and grabbed my camera.  It was possible that I remembered the billboard incorrectly.  If not, I could determine what organization or person was foolhardy enough to pay for this ad.  Upon closer inspection, here is what I found.

As you can see in the small lettering at the top of the billboard, the Tennessee Republican Party paid for the ad.  The sign doesn’t serve as a clarion call to Democrats but rather a grim warning to Hamblen County voters.  It is as if the sign reads, “Hey Hamblen County, you overwhelmingly rejected the guy on the right two years ago!  Larry Mullins, the guy on the left, strongly supported him then, so shouldn’t you reject him as well now?”

I doubt that few, if any voters in Hamblen County, Tennessee have given as much thought to this billboard that I have. I will admit, however, that it did give me something to ponder until I took the time to discover all of the details.  Although I still recommend against campaign billboards for the reasons stated above, maybe a few of them, like this sign in the sky, have some hidden value.

Ron Paul In Richmond

Photo thanks to RonPaul.com

For those of you who haven’t heard the exciting news by now, Dr. No is coming to Richmond!  He will be one of the central speakers at the Greater Richmond Convention Center during the 2010 Virginia Tea Party Convention.  His speech is scheduled for 2:25 PM on Saturday, so if you are planning on attending, make sure not to miss him.  Read more about it at http://www.vateapartyconvention.com/. Other speakers include Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, AG Ken Cuccinelli, and former Senator George Allen.  It is encouraging to see so many Virginia leaders working alongside the Tea Party movement and Representative Paul.  I wish that I could join you all on Saturday, but as I’ll be about four hundred miles away, I guess I’m going to skip this one.  Nevertheless, many bloggers from the Jeffersoniad will be on hand for the event, so I’m sure there will be a lot of great coverage.  Once they have their posts up, I’ll link you to several.

So join the Tea Party crowd in Richmond this Saturday, October 9.  It should be a day to remember.

Letters from Nancy

This past week or so, my inbox box has been abuzz with emails from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  The interesting thing is that the Democrats have been consistently writing that they will maintain their majority after the November election.  As Pelosi writes, “We will retain our Democratic Majority in the House because I have you in this fight”.  Now obviously she doesn’t have my backing, and I would expect the Democrats to suffer a strong backlash in these midterm elections in protest of Obamacare, a continually faltering and protracted conflict far beyond our borders, and the general weakness of the economy and the job market.

The historical trend is that the party in the White House will lose seats in both houses of Congress in midterm elections.  For example, when did the Democrats most recently gain control of Congress?  2006, during the middle of Bush’s second term.  After a forty-year drought, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives during Clinton’s first mid term in 1994.  Although there are exceptions, there have only been three times in the last one hundred years that have bucked this trend.  In the current cycle, according to Rasmussen Reports, Republicans have enjoyed a small, but uninterrupted, advantage on a generic ballot since June 28 of last year.   In addition, they report that the number of folks who identify themselves as Democrats have fallen to record lows.

Republicans will make gains in next months election, of that I am certain.  However, I am not unwilling to make the claim that this upcoming election will be a “slam dunk” for the Republican Party, nor do I think it necessarily should be.  Voters are in general fed up with politics and usual and until and unless one party (the Republicans) is consistently willing to stand for the Constitution and a limited government, the government will continually vacillate between the two parties, casting each aside in turn as they hope for something better.  We must reject politicians like Pelosi who claim first priority over our income, our general welfare, and even our children.  I don’t know who will be speaker after the November election, but given her very low popularity, 59% negative according to a yesterday’s Rasmussen Reports, I would expect that both Nancy’s reign and her letters are soon coming to an end.