This article was sent to me and, after verifying the source, I found out that this is a rough draft that was leaked to the press. The full article will be out next week, and Rep. Clem says that he is actually up to 20 reasons why conservatives don’t trust Bob Corker.

12 Years and 12 Reasons Why Conservatives Do Not Trust Bob Corker:

And What Corker Can Do to Fix It.

I would first like to let the readers know my biases and my intentions with this article. I support Ed Bryant. I am also Bob Corker’s state representative. While I still think Ed Bryant has a real chance of winning, I do recognize that Bob Corker is the front runner. I believe that Bob Corker is honestly perplexed and does not understand why conservatives distrust him so much. So, while some of my comments may appear harsh the purpose of this article is to hopefully bring the republican party together behind whomever becomes the republican nominee for the US Senate.

Most people in Corker’s camp believe that conservative’s mistrust of Corker is solely based upon Corker’s comments about being pro-choice 12 years ago. People in Corker’s camp would be correct to criticize conservatives for making such a big deal out of a few comments 12 years ago, especially considering that Corker has repeatedly declared that he is now pro-life. I would respond that Corker’s pro-choice comments of
12 years ago were only the beginning.

Corker’s supporters are equally sensitive to any criticism about Corker raising taxes during his recent stint at Mayor of Chattanooga. Again, if raising taxes and his pro-choice stance were the only two liberal things Bob Corker did between 1994 and present then the criticism would be weak. Unfortunately, there is much more. Every single time Corker took a stand it was either for a liberal idea such as abortion or taxes. Every single time Corker became involved in back room deals and fundraising it was for moderate republicans over conservative republicans or worse he helped democrats over republicans. Bob Corker was never involved in politics prior to 1994. From 1994 to 2005 Corker was involved. And, his involvement shows a clear and unmistakable pattern.

1. Corker has no record of political involvement until well into his 40’s. So, we can only evaluate his political involvement for a relatively short 12 years (1994 to 2006). And, he has made some rather dramatic changes in what he stands for. The changes have always benefited him politically. Conservatives have legitimate concerns that Corker may swing back to his liberal beliefs as demonstrated from 1994 though 2005 when it will benefit him politically.

2. Corker repeatedly told many people including me, that he did not believe that government should have any restrictions on abortion in 1994.

3. When Corker became Gov. Sundquist’s Finance Commissioner Corker made several comments that led many republican state legislators to believe that Corker supported an income tax and was quite possibly the motivation behind Sundquist’s eventual move for an income tax.

4. When Corker Was Finance Commissioner several republicans attempted to amend the Governor’s budget with what is known at the Hyde-Amendment to prohibit any state dollars for paying for abortions. Corker was harsh and powerful in his condemnation of these republicans. This was never public. But, republican legislators clearly remember the back room negotiating when Corker as Commissioner of Finance came down fast, hard and harsh on republicans for attempting to put such a pro-life amendment on “his budget.” Corker now claims that he opposed this pro-life amendment because it was last minute. The truth is that Corker was still militantly pro-choice.

5. In 2001 when Bob Corker was first elected Mayor the first thing he did was raise taxes. He was smart enough to realize that if he raised taxes early then he could run for re-election as Mayor or for US Senate in
subsequent years long after the memory of him raising taxes had faded. Corker learned this from Sundquist who apparently believed in raising taxes just before leaving office.

6. In 2002 Corker refused to assist the republican nominee for governor. He described himself as a non-partisan Mayor who would not risk offending anyone by identifying himself with any particular political party.

7. In 2002 I was personally involved in helping set up a meeting between the state Republican Party and Bob Corker. We knew that Corker didn’t like the republican nominee for governor. So, we decided not to ask Corker to help the republican nominee for governor. Instead, the state republican party asked Corker to assist them in raising money for the state party and/or legislative races. Corker refused. Corker said, (and I paraphrase), “I am not a partisan or a republican mayor. I am neutral and will not assist the Republican Party in raising money for legislative races.”

8. Two weeks later Bob Corker invited 40 of the wealthiest business leaders to his Mayor’s office for a “meet and greet” for democrat candidate for governor, Phil Bredesen. Corker denies this was a fundraiser. The state republican party approached me several times (I was Corker’s state representative) to confirm this because they couldn’t believe their ears.

9. Later in 2002, Bob Corker expressed his displeasure that the Hamilton County Republican Delegation was so conservative. Corker attempted to replace his conservative republican legislator with a moderate republican. Corker, his wife, his mother, his father, his chief of staff, his chief of staff’s wife and the list goes on all maxed out at $1,000 each donations to unseat the conservative legislator. That legislator was me. I barely won that primary. Corker warned me after my primary victory that he and his immediate family merely gave $10,000 to unseat me. He merely raised a total of $40,000 to unseat me. He warned me not to go public with my displeasure because he was capable of raising over $100,000 to unseat me the next time if I publicly complained.

10. Bob Corker has a long record of helping big candidates such as George Bush raise money. But, Bob Corker has a reputation of rarely supporting local republicans and never, ever supporting conservative republicans. In other words, if his efforts will help him rub shoulders with those above him then Corker will help. But, Corker will never help republicans that hold offices lower than him. In 2004, Corker raised over $50,000 for the liberal “Black Caucus” which is made up of liberal democrats. He continued to turn a cold shoulder to republicans. Corker is not a team player.

11. As recently as 2005, the Corker machine became involved in the local Chattanooga mayor’s race to replace Bob Corker as mayor. There was a republican candidate, Dan Johnson, who raised $100,000. There was a moderate democrat, Ron Littlefield, who raised about $150,000. Then there was an agnostic left wing liberal, Ann Coulter, who raised over $600,000 with the help of the Corker machine. Corker never publicly endorsed anyone. But, a brief review of Coulter’s campaign disclosure statement will show that Corker’s financial machine was clearly behind the most liberal of the three candidates. Fortunately, she lost.

12. Even as recently as 2006, when Corker visits Nashville Corker has few relationships with republican state legislators, but he is warmly greeted by Democrat Speaker Naifeh. Naifeh who once said, “Bob Corker is a democrat deep down” will publicly honor and stop a House Floor Session to recognize Bob Corker if Naifeh sees Corker in the gallery or sitting in the back of the chamber.

So, the above 12 items do not merely represent Corker’s ardent pro-choice stand in 1994. Corker’s claim to have recently changed his mind on how he will vote on abortion has impressed many local pro-life leaders. But, for those of us who have fought for republican causes these past 12 years we have seen a pattern with Bob Corker that goes well beyond a pro-choice stand of 12 years ago.

When Ed Bryant announced he would run for the US Senate dozens of elected republicans, including many state legislators immediately pledged their support. Van Hilleary had a similar but less impressive group of endorsements. The overwhelming number of republican state legislators have been cool to the thought of Corker. These concerns are real. And, these concerns about Bob Corker directly affect who will be running state government.

1. When back room arm twisting starts this December for control of the state senate who do you think Corker will help? Will he help Bredesen get some republican state senators to vote for a democrat Senate Leader? Or, will Corker help Van Hilleary’s best friend, Ron Ramsey (the current Senate Republican Leader)?

2. When the back room arm twisting starts this December of 2006 for the next Speaker of the Tennessee House will Republican Leader Bill Dunn have the support of US Senator to be the Tennessee Speaker of the House? Or, will the US Senator help his close friend Jimmy Naifeh cut some back room deals to keep democrats in control of the Tennessee House. Note, that House Republican Leader Bill Dunn was the lowly republican legislator who sponsored the Hyde-Amendment 10 years ago and suffered the wrath of Bob Corker.

3. The state republican party has some good conservative leadership. Will the next US Senator use his influence to replace the current state party leadership with moderates?

4. There will be many republican primaries for the State Senate, the State House and Congress over the next 6 years. The next US Senator will be able to quietly and behind the scenes influence those primaries. Will the next US Senator use his influence to move the Republican Party to the left?

5. Will the next US Senator from Tennessee support a pro-choice and liberal senators such as John McCain or Arlen Spector to be the next U.S. Senate Republican Leader? Who are the conservative republican senators supporting? Hint, they all appear to be supporting Ed Bryant. Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sam Brownback (R-KS), John Ensign (R-NV), Trent Lott (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS) have all publicly endorsed Ed Bryant to join them in the US Senate. These conservative US Senators know that Corker will not support them for leadership in the US Senate.

Bob Corker may have changed his mind on abortion just before entering this republican primary. But, Bob Corker has a 12 year history of frequently supporting democrats over republicans. He has a 12 year history of opposing conservative republicans and attempting to replace them with moderates. Bob Corker has a history of opposing pro-life amendments to prevent public funding of abortion.

Senate Republican Leader Ron Ramsey, House Republican Leader Bill Dunn, conservatives at the state party, TN Right to Life and conservatives in the state legislature have a lot to fear with Corker’s future influence as a US Senator. Corker has consistently used his influence in the past to always oppose the conservative positions and the conservative candidates. If you don’t believe this republican party activist then ask the nearest republican state legislator to you about Bob Corker. The few items I mentioned are only a few of the hundreds of stories that republicans in Nashville tell about Bob Corker’s last 12 years of political involvement.

In order for Bob Corker to mend fences with conservatives Bob will need to do more than promise to vote right on abortion. Bob Corker needs to promise to stop systematically and consistently opposing conservatives at every turn. Bob Corker needs to explain a lot more than his recent republican primary conversion. Bob Corker needs to become a team player.

State Representative Chris Clem (R-Signal Mountain)

Rep. Clem has mentioned that an additional point in his article coming out next week is that Corker’s mission trip to Haiti that supposedly changed him into a pro-life Republican, actually occurred in 1984 – long before Corker became involved in politics and began his dealings with the Democrats.

How convenient if Corker were to win the primary – then it really wouldn’t matter to the Democrats if Corker or Ford Jr. won since they’re obviously on the same side.

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