Monday, July 31, 2006

A Breath of Fresh Air…

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.


Wintermute said...

If Auto will digitize it if it's not a digital recorder, we can convert it to mp3 of good quality and post the audio files somewhere.

As for Guleff, I would have to get over this and this.

With a Ford prince in the general, it may not be a cakewalk for the Democratic nominee.

Freedonian said...

Having met him, I can assure you that it was tongue in cheek. He's also the guy that issued a press release about picking up Joe Ford Jr. at the airport so he wouldn't get lost in an unfamiliar city.

autoegocrat said...

Working on the audio right now. I played hooky from work so that i could get it done.

This event will also be the subject of a Daily Kos diary.

autoegocrat said...

I just reviewed the audio.

Brad didn't come out clearly enough to post the audio, but I can put on some headphones and transcribe it. The same goes for Steve.

John DeBerry's voice is crisp enough that it came through well. I'm looking for some audio tools to try and clean up the whole thing, and hopefully I can rescue the audio for Brad and Steve.

Next time, I need to sit up front. I wasn't planning on posting any of this until I heard what was said; my original intent was to simply get a feel for the capabilities and limitations of the recorder. Mission accomplished.

autoegocrat said...


Wintermute said...

Free, I see you trust Republicans more than I do; but you haven't been bitten as often as I have.

autoegocrat said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
autoegocrat said...

I finally finished it all. The only holdup now is that my damned ISP gets knocked out every five minutes, making it impossible to upload the audio files to a host server.

I have one file uploaded, two to go. It will all be up before the evening, I hope.

Freedonian said...


Ordinarily, I would agree with you. But ask WTL, Cracker, or Auto. When this guy does a press release, he's got his tongue so thoroughly in cheek that it has to cause some kind of physical pain.

Freedonian said...


You da man!

I certainly understand about the ISP. My problem the last couple of hours that I was at work was the power itself. Just as I was leaving, the transformer blew up.

Brad Watkins said...

Thanks Rick..your check is in the mail.....

Freedonian said...

Don't forget, my friend--- You get the "I plugged Rick in my speech" discount.

Tom Guleff said...

I like that Guleff dude.

I spoke to him awhile back at Memphis Pizza Cafe (no less, the midtown location), I think he had the large pie with onions and green peppers....he was a good tipper,too.

Please, someone help Guleff find his way.........I am sure he's like all those other Republicans (they all look alike and sound alike, plus they're not very smart, either)..heck, probably nothing new with this guy...

Tom Guleff