Rex: Non-partisan, my derriere

Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 11:45pm

Rex misses former co-worker Clint Brewer, who has taken up residence at the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, and wishes he would tell his think-tank colleagues to come out of the closet and officially pick a political side.

The TCPR bills itself as an “independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization,” something that both Democrats and Republicans at the state Capitol have long dismissed as hogwash.

In fact, lawmakers have a hard time keeping a straight face at the mere utterance of that description. As the late great Fate Thomas used to say, “Be what you is, baby. Be what you is.”

But as of last week, TCPR at least has made a step in the right direction.

Talk radio personality Phil Valentine penned a fund-raising letter that was dispatched on behalf of the group. It included this: “Right now, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research is making the case for conservative, fiscally sound policies on the full range of issues facing our state today.”

And there was this gem too: “The resentment is not just over the current liberal health-care proposals but the bailouts, the overspending, and the sprint to socialism this country has witnessed over the last six months.”

Valentine sweetens the pitch by writing that contributions of $1,000 or more will earn benefactors an autographed copy of his treatise, The Conservative’s Handbook, which is available on Amazon for $13.57.

Rex is all for people pushing whatever agenda moves them, whether they use tea bags or recycled ones, but it will now be a bit harder for TCPR to cloak itself in a blanket of nonpartisanship, even if it’s only there tax purposes.

Just be what you is, baby. Be what you is.

Harpeth Hall FFA

Who knew that the upscale all-girls high school Harpeth Hall had a chapter of Future Farmers of America? Rex didn’t until he saw a little nugget last week from HH alum Reese Witherspoon on the Web site.

Asked if she liked to cook, Silverspoon, er Witherspoon, replied, “I do. And Jake [Gyllenhall, her beau] is a great cook. He does a lot. We spend the weekends outside L.A, in Ojai, where I have a farmhouse. We have chickens, and we grow cucumbers and tomatoes. I love it. It reminds me of where I grew up in Tennessee.”

Really? There are chickens on Woodmont Boulevard in Green Hills? At your parents’ house? Really? Rex guesses that the only chicken she saw when she lived in Nashville was Kentucky Fried or in the salad at the Belle Meade Plantation restaurant.

Thanks for playing up the country bumpkin image of Nashville, Reese.

Nissan 287(g)

Rex stopped by this week to check out the Metro Council's Public Safety Committee meeting on 287(g), featuring Sheriff Daron Hall and program critic David Esquivel, a Bass Berry & Sims attorney.

At the end of his comments, Esquivel used “economic terms” to make his argument against the controversial law enforcement program targeting illegals. The Nashville area has the headquarters of Nissan North America, which happens to be one of the leading auto sellers in Mexico, he noted.

“How long will it be a until a Nissan executive from Mexico has a rental car with a faulty blinker and winds up in a Metro jail because of it?” Esquivel asked.

Referring to the woman who was forced to give birth in Davidson County Sheriff’s Office custody, he continued, “Maybe Juana Villegas' story in The New York Times did not make enough waves locally to get people worried about 287(g), but what happens when the story of a Nissan executive lands in The Wall Street Journal? Or in the Mexico City paper, where Nissan is fighting to outsell its rivals?”

Wedding Belle

Rex learned last week that his favorite underutilized media personality, Stephanie Langston, has accepted the marriage proposal of local technology marketing guru John Hardin.

For those who remember the pre-Brad Schmitt days at WKRN-Channel 2, Langston was the “always on the go” entertainment reporter on a red carpet near you.

While Rex doesn’t know Hardin personally, he does know his dad, super attorney and generally swell guy Hal Hardin.

According to Rex’s sources, John took a knee at his own birthday party and begged the poor girl to settle for him. Just kidding.

Anyway, Rex doesn’t know where they are registered or when the nuptials will occur but wishes the happy couple a long and wonderful life together.

5 Comments on this post:

By: BenDover on 10/26/09 at 8:22

Partisanship, or lack of partisanship, can be determined where you define the center, Rex.

JFK would be labeled a right-wing extremist these days; so Valentine finding something in common with TCPR doesn't condemn them so much as it illustrates a poorly positioned apex on the Tennessee political seesaw.

By: NonyaBidness on 10/26/09 at 9:35

I was pleased to receive the fund raising letter from the TCPR and note that the return envelope did not require a stamp. I was happy to waste just a little of their money, even if it was just the cost of postage, by returning the envelope empty.

And Phil Valentine is not "conservative." He's an uninformed right wing idealogue in the Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh vein. Oppose everything Obama (even the Chicago Olympics bid), and damn the truth and/or consequences.

By: Time for Truth on 10/26/09 at 10:58

I keep hearing this 'JFK would be a conservative' argument and it holds no water. Most modern Presidents after FDR and before Reagan governed from the approximate middle and didn't have to pass litmus tests to get the party's nod to run.

While I support the intent of the primary system the result has been that the candidate with the most money and/or the one who panders most convincingly to either party's partisan base often gets the nomination. One only needs to look at Joe Leiberman's primary loss and McCain's selection of extremist lightweight Sarah Palin as his running mate to see examples of this.

I've read Barry Goldwater's autobiography and most teabagging righties would call him a 'RINO' in today's extreme-right Republican party.

By: pswindle on 10/26/09 at 1:16

Everytime, I hear about the conservative GOP, I want to run for cover. TN should let all voices be heard. It is time for the liberals in TN to speak up, and take our state back before we become completely brain=dead.

By: Shuzilla on 10/28/09 at 1:54

"Thanks for playing up the country bumpkin image of Nashville, Reese."

Rex, I don't know which "plays up the bumpkin image" more; (1) Reese's offhand remark, (2) being so thinned-skinned as to respond in print about said remark instead of just letting it go, or (3) our having chosen farming to remain within the limits of our fair city in place of a $4 billion investment and the tens of thousands of jobs it would have brought.