The 1st district of tennessee House seat was decided on the basis of ethics. It had to be ethics, as little else rose above general conversation amoung the candidates. Not that ethics is unimportant, but politicans believe that misconduct resonates with voters. If character flaws are properly exploited it produces results. This season both candidates took their shots. Following this course Congress could, theoretically, end up with 435 purer, yet philosophically unknown members. Of course, as we know, the theory does not play out.
Candidate Roe repeatly accused incumbent Davis of accepting PAC money. Much of this was, hard to explain PAC money as it had no direct bearing on our district. Roe used the term “pocket” in his television advertisements to define Davis immoral taking of this money. Well, “pocketing” was wrong language, maybe even deceptive language for many people. Under current legislation, FEC rules are in place on how to dispense PAC money and accumulated funds. For instance, Davis could not go out and buy a new Chevorlet with this money. The perception that PAC money was dirty money was well established by the Roe campaign this summer. Usually, perception is all it takes.
Roe’s position on PAC’s puts him in there with the late Millicent Fenwick and just a very few more. Millicent Fenwick was a Republican Congresswomen from New Jersey in the mid-seventies. She said PAC’s were corrupting and refused any of the money. Walter Cronkite used to call her “the conscience of the Congress”. I suppose, by inference, her conscience was all that could be found up there. IF PAC’s are evil, as Roe says, will he prepare legislation to strike PAC’s from the statue books? All of his Tennessee colleagues will be accepting PAC contributions. This fall he will be arm-in-arm on the campaign trail with Sen. Lamar Alexander, who accepts PAC money, same as Davis. I don’t recall Alexander ever saying anything derogatory about PAC’s. If he did it was not very loud or for very long.
Actually, Roe is right about PAC’s. Very right. They are predominantly evil and should be stricken from the face of the earth.
Davis accused Roe of taking money from road contractors, in exchange for a road contract as mayor of Johnson City. In other words, a bribe. Incidentally, Davis received money from contractors as well, including some of the very ones who gave to Roe. Roe responded that bids are sealed bids, therefore, impervious ot manipulation and “politics”. Oh, how naive! Surely, Roe would not want us to believe that all this campaign money, often given to competing candidates, comes from the genuine civic-mindness of these contractors.
Some of the great personal fortunes of our time, are being made by government contractors. To have “sealed bids” is not all there is to handling this lucrative business. Local, State, and Federal bidding on government projects is very complicated and very messy. Just take a look at the problems with the Boeing and Northrop Grumman bid for U.S. Air Force tankers.
Davis challenged Roe’s veracity, by activities related to his role as mayor. Says one thing and does another,etc. Near the end of the campaign it got rediculous, with Davis accusing Roe of contributing, in a circuitous fashion, to Hillary Clinton. Just absurd stuff!
Personalized politics; how vain! People don’t demand more in a campaign and they usually don’t get more. Davis refusal to debate should have been a defacto disqualification. Maybe it was.