By Steve Hunley

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi standing in front of her $24,000 refrigerator has never left my mind, especially when the economic policy of the Democratic Party is more Alexandria Ocasio Cortez than John F. Kennedy.  Pelosi was showing off her collection of Jeni’s ice cream, which retails at $11.75 per pint.  That means it’s $94 a gallon!  San Francisco has the priciest real estate in the country and Pelosi and her minions are hardly tribunes of the people.

Ocasio-Cortez is the poster child of the socialist view of economics.  For those of you who want to remind me she has an economics degree from Boston College, all I can say is whatever.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a moron and has less idea about the working of economics than my dog Sophie.  Socialists peddle the theory that the wealthy have somehow acquired their money through exploitation of those who have less.  The socialists seem to believe there is only so much money and billionaires and millionaires have accumulated their wealth through keeping some folks down.  Others, those who actually understand economics, realize there is an abundance of opportunity to make a good living for every American if one will apply himself or herself.  It is the entire explanation behind entrepreneurism, which has made America a wealthy nation. 

There are going to be a slew of socialists running for Knoxville’s City Council next year.  The election cycle has already begun and incumbents Lauren Rider, Andrew Roberto, Gwen McKenzie and Tommy Smith are sure to be challenged by local socialist candidates.  Seema Singh was the first self-described “Democratic socialist” to be elected to the City Council almost four years ago and her seat will be up for election as well.  Amelia Parker, another socialist, was elected in 2019 by defeating the initial favorite for the seat, Amy Midis.

 Singh has disappointed some members of the radical leftist flock and it remains to be seen if she will face an opponent who runs as a “true” progressive or however else a more purist socialist challenger would label himself or herself.  It doesn’t really matter; it’s sort of like the distinction between a “Democratic socialist” and a “socialist.”  There is no distinction.

How will Lauren Rider, Gwen McKenzie, Andrew Roberto and Tommy Smith fare against socialist challengers?  That’s anybody’s guess, especially as all of them are Democrats and don’t want to offend any particular constituency.  Rider, McKenzie and Roberto were elected four years ago, while Smith was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of South Knoxville Councilwoman Stephanie Welch, who joined the administration of Indya Kincannon.   The problem for the incumbents is going to be distinguishing themselves from their socialist opponents while twisting and turning so as not to offend a soul.  That is about nigh unto impossible a task as humanly possible.  Some of the incumbents seem to be looking to run for reelection by holding as firmly to Mayor Indya Kincannon’s skirt tail as they can, although nobody knows whether that will do them any good or not.  The strategy of the city council incumbents seem to be virtue-signaling to the socialists.  My guess is that is a truly bad strategy if the goal is to win an election.

The socialists have already drawn a line in the sand; they have declared they are for not merely defunding the police, but abolishing the police department altogether.  That should make for a fine distinction right there.  If the incumbents are too squeamish about declaring their own support for the KPD or even public safety, then it opens the door wide for someone else to run on a public safety platform.  Considering how crime is already rising inside the City of Knoxville, that should make for an interesting campaign.  Just a couple of years ago, it would have been inconceivable that any candidate could run for public office in the United States of America who refused to endorse the simple idea of public safety; now, not so much.  Don’t be surprised if the City Council incumbents are loath to say they support having a police department or even back public safety.  I can’t see how any candidate sidesteps the issue, as surely someone or some entity will quiz all the candidates for council if they support defunding the police or hiring more officers and implementing more training.  It seems unlikely council candidates claiming a social worker is just as good as a police officer in filling out an accident report or appear at the scene of a robbery, rape or murder are going to get anywhere.  That is if voters actually know the views of the people asking for their votes.

The council incumbents are already ringing the affordable housing bell, stampeding in their haste to burnish their progressive credentials in advance of the election.  Keep in mind, only a small fraction of registered voters ordinarily come out to vote and the number usually falls from election to election.  The lack of interest and participation by city voters should be an embarrassment to decent people, but it does raise the question of just what happens if someone shines the light of truth upon the views of the various candidates?  What happens if the voters are riled?  That is an interesting question and the City of Knoxville raised property taxes under the administration of Mayor Madeline Rogero, largely to pay for the generous pensions for retired city workers.  It is no secret Indya Kincannon is planning to raise Knoxville’s property taxes once again, likely as the precursor to expand the “affordable housing” demanded by the socialists. 

There certainly is a finite amount of money in the government’s coffers, unless it is the federal government, which deficit spends constantly.  When one area of the government expands, another must necessarily contract.  The socialists want to diminish the police department and replace the spending with social programs and giveaways, all to be paid for by the taxpayers.  To the socialists, business, big or small, exist solely for one reason: to pay taxes to support their social welfare programs.  The only growth the socialist wish to see inside the City of Knoxville are housing projects.

Independents and Republicans – – – yes, there are some inside the city – – – will have to decide whether they want to vote against outright socialists or the faux socialism of incumbents too scared to take a stand against higher taxes and the “woke” agenda of a handful of people.  Or do they simply stay at home?