In all honesty, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of the Steve Haley event held at his house this afternoon. I certainly support him--- I’ve made my feelings on Ophelia Ford abundantly clear in the past. I met him when he was running against her the first time around, and I certainly liked him
I figured I was just going to another event. Meet the candidate, shake hands, etc. I’ve been to many, and I’ll no doubt go to many more in my lifetime.
But this one was anything but typical.
I’m guessing that somewhere around fifty people gathered to hear three of the most electrifying political speeches delivered in this area since… I don’t know when.
First out of the gate was Brad Watkins. Now, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Brad Watkins grow as a leader over the last couple of years. I’m proud to say I was there when it first started, when I met up with him and Merritt Haine in Otherlands Coffee Shop for the first meeting of what would come to be known as Democracy For Memphis. He’s grown into his role as organizer, and has turned into one of the better speakers in local politics. And this afternoon, he gave the most powerful speech I’ve ever seen him give. He spoke about campaign finance reform, which has never been a barn burner of a topic--- But he made it one. And for the record, I thought he was delivering a hell of a speech even before he quoted me. I beamed with pride at having been quoted and mentioned by name in such a good speech.
Next up was Rep. John DeBerry, State Representative for District 90. I get out to political events. From what I hear, he does too, although until today, I’d never met him. And I live in his district. So again, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
To say I was impressed would be an understatement. As he spoke, I could imagine him speaking in front of much bigger crowds. The thing that holds him back from it though is actually the very thing that’s great about him--- He doesn’t do fundraisers. He spoke about the need for legislators to be free of special interest money. Unlike other politicians that talk about that, he walks the walk. It was an amazing speech, and I can’t help wishing that he was running for higher office.
Then Steve Haley came out and spoke himself. He’s a truly remarkable candidate with a polished speaking style honed over his years as an instructor at Southwest. He hit on many of the same points that Brad and Rep. DeBerry hit on, but remarkably, it never got tiring.
So… How much do you think Ophelia Ford is speaking out on campaign finance reform? Never mind. Stupid question.
Afterwards, Autoegocrat, Leftwing Cracker, West Tennessee Liberal, Brad Watkins and I talked to Tom Guleff, a candidate for the Republican nomination in the Tennessee 9th District Congressional Race. I’m not sure how wise it is for me to endorse a candidate in the Republican primary--- I’m more than a little concerned that hardcore Republicans would see me liking a candidate as a bad thing. But you know what? This is precisely the kind of guy they need. I told him this to his face, and I’m telling anyone who reads this now--- If there were more Republicans like Tom Guleff, there would be more Republicans. I’m sure that if we sat down and talked about issues, we would find plenty to disagree on. But he’s a hell of a guy. He graduated West Point and went on to serve in the First Gulf War with the 101st.
Guleff will have a hard time beating the mountains of money his opponent has spent. But I certainly hope he does. And the Commercial Appeal happens to agree with me.
All in all, a remarkable event. Those of you who missed it happened to miss one of the best political events in a long time.
Autoegocrat has an audio recording of some of the speeches. If he gets us a transcript, I plan to link to it.
My good friend Autoegocrat has posted the mp3 files and transcripts of the speeches yesterday. Do yourself a favor and check them out.