My first taste of politics was the 1964 Republican National Convention, held in San Francisco’s Cow Palace. I was the Chairman of the Tom Collins chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom, which I had organized at Diablo Valley College in the East Bay, 20 miles west of the city.
A few of us went to the San Francisco airport to greet Barry Goldwater when he arrived. I went to a speech at some venue and sat directly behind my hero, William F. Buckley, whose leg was in a cast from a skiing accident. Buckley liked people to think that he had injured himself by kicking at a TV set, but it wasn’t true. I was able to sneak into the Cow Palace to hear Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois nominate Barry Goldwater for President. Dirksen was an old fashioned orator, and his speech, “The Peddler’s Grandson” was high level political rhetoric.
I’ve been hooked on politics ever since. Political campaigns have always been the most fun, but legislative politics can be pretty interesting as well. And in that vein, Monday the Tennessee House will vote on Wolf-PAC’s bill, HJR 809.
The Wolf-PAC team, led by Leah Lancaster, feels good about the vote, but you don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, and it isn’t a lock. There are 99 members of the Tennessee House, 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats.
These people are not professional politicians, or professional legislators. Legislating is just a part time job, and there’s hardly any money in it. These men and women make their living as insurance agents, or lawyers, or merchants, or farmers. They’re just regular people. People with a desire to serve and a yen for politics, and political combat. They enjoy what they do, and consider it an honor.
Few of them have any special knowledge or expertise in the things they’re voting on. They’re more or less average Americans, with all the strengths, and weaknesses, that entails.
So, with a group of 99 citizen/legislators, you just never know. One of them can get some crazy idea, and if he’s convincing enough, or influential enough, get a bunch of his colleagues to go along with him. That’s what I’m concerned about on Tuesday’s vote.
However, our sponsor is respected senior statesman Rep. Kelly Keisling, a 69 year old insurance agent from Byrdstown, population 803, the county seat of Pickett County. Kelly is a Great Living American, and I’m sure is more than capable of dealing with any unforeseen problems. But just in case, the Reagan Project will be promoting this bill with key legislative leaders, and getting back in touch with an old friend, State Rep. Dennis Powers, of Jacksboro.
Dennis is an insurance agent, and a long time champion of Article V. Babbie and I met him on our tour through the South, in the spring of 2014. I’d stopped by Dennis’s office at the capital while we were in Nashville, but they were out of session, so I left a note with a staffer. Later, in Charleston, South Carolina, we met him at a small dinner party hosted by David Biddulph of the BBA Task Force.
Dennis is quite a character, and I hope I’m able to get through to him before Mondays’ vote. In politics, you leave no stone unturned.