By Steve Hunley

Some Time Republican

Former Knoxville mayor Victor Ashe has openly called for a primary challenger to oppose County Commissioner Kyle Ward. As I recall, Ward defeated a well-heeled primary challenger in Scott Broyles. In fact, Broyles was the choice of the establishment Republicans inside the Fourth District. I’d be willing to bet Ashe supported Broyles, if the former mayor voted in the Republican primary. Ward not only beat the favorite candidate of the country club set, but pretty much kicked his butt. The first person Ashe suggested as a challenger to Ward was Marlene Davis, who is a Democrat.

Victor has a lengthy history of not supporting fellow Republicans and picking at Kyle Ward over the Board of Health isn’t likely to be a winning issue with a majority of the GOP. And nobody deserves more credit for increasing the Democrat vote inside the Fourth District than Victor Ashe.

By the time Kyle Ward comes up for reelection in 2024 the Knox County Board of Health “issue” will be moldering in its grave. And who are the folks shrieking about the county commission dissolving the Board of Health? By and large, they are partisan Democrats.

Oddly, I don’t recall Victor giving Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon or the city council the same kind of treatment for their abject failure to do anything about enforcing the Board of Health regulations. Let us not forget the biggest coronavirus hot spot inside the City of Knoxville was the University of Tennessee. That was also the biggest hot spot for the coronavirus when Knox County was one of the hottest spots in the entire country. Nor should we forget the Board of Health never uttered a peep about the city’s failure to enforce their edicts. And let’s not pretend it had anything to do with jurisdiction. Knoxville is inside Knox County and there was at least one member of the Board of Health who wanted to extend the Board’s power beyond Knox County. The truth is nobody held Kincannon and the city government to the same standard as the county government, Victor Ashe included.

I’ve reminded folks at every opportunity of the series of twenty plus photos taken during the height of the virus wreaking havoc in our community of UT students at bars that were wide open, nobody wearing a mask and not a single person socially distanced. Yet none of the social justice warriors posting on their various outlets had a thing to say about it. Here’s another inconvenient truth: the masking policy of Mayor Kincannon and the Knoxville City Council amounted to NO masking. They can say whatever they like, but the truth is the anti-maskers and the city government had the same practical view of things in practice. At least the anti-maskers have integrity about their beliefs; the city officials paid lip service to masking during the height of the pandemic. The end effect of their policy is absolutely the same.


Picking At Bill & Marsha…Again

Speaking of Democrats, Georgianna Vines over at the Knoxville News-Sentinel is evidently horrified Tennessee’s senators are taking applications for federal offices in the Volunteer State. As Joe Biden is a Democrat, Georgianna thinks it’s only fitting for the two Democrats in Congress from Tennessee, Jim Cooper of Nashville and Steve Cohen from Memphis, to supervise the selection of U. S. attorneys, U. S. Marshals and the like. Well, just to be sure, I asked our resident historian, Ray Hill, about the process and he told me the Senate must confirm all those appointments. All of those patronage plums are subject to the Senate’s “advising and consenting” to the nominations made by the president.

At the end of the day, both Senator Blackburn and Senator Hagerty have the right to veto any nominee by declaring that person “politically and personally objectionable,” which senatorial courtesy requires be rejected by the full Senate. So, Georgianna, Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn are actually doing their jobs instead of rolling over and playing dead.


Head For the Border

The Knoxville News Sentinel, in conjunction with the Compass, appears to be attempting to create its own issue out of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s participation in the 287(g) program.  In essence, that is an agreement between the sheriff’s department and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement program.  The Sentinel, using its Compass, is supposing the opinion rendered by the Knox County Law Director’s office is wrong and the county commission must ratify the agreement.

The breakdown is pretty clear; the two Democrats on the county commission want some clarity and probably would not vote for the sheriff’s department to participate in the 287(g) program.  The great majority of Republicans on the county commission are supportive of the sheriff’s department participating in the program.

The Sentinel quotes Stewart Harris, a highly respected legal scholar who teaches at the Duncan School of Law at Lincoln Memorial University, as saying, “Our nation and our state are founded on the bedrock principle of the rule of law.  That means that everyone from state officials to common citizens are bound by the same laws.  If we allow public officials to ignore state laws, then we attack the very foundations of our government.”

Professor Harris is exactly right.  We are and should be a nation of laws, yet the Sentinel, a thoroughly Democratic and “progressive” newspaper, seems to pick and choose which laws we should follow and those which we can ignore.  For instance, let’s start with the most obvious example: immigration and illegal aliens.  The leftist yard signs not withstanding to the contrary, the law is crystal clear: walking across the border of the United States of America is not immigrating to our country.  It is absolutely illegal under the law.  Being here illegally means someone can be deported back to his/her own country, which is what the 287(g) provision is all about.

Presently, we have district attorneys across the United States who openly say which laws they will and will not prosecute, which is not legal.  There is no basis under the law to allow prosecutors to pick and choose what crimes to prosecute.  That authority belongs to the state legislatures.  Nor do election officials have the right to alter or otherwise change the law prior to elections without action by the legislatures.

The Sentinel is picking at what they perceive to be a scab on the Sheriff’s Department’s knee.  Sue and test the law and, if necessary, the Commissioners can ratify the 287(g) program and Knox County’s participation in that program.

I doubt very much if the Sentinel and its USA Today overlords support ICE or believe in deporting illegal aliens.  No country on earth except the United States lets anybody who wishes to walk across its borders and Congress has never changed the law.  It’s still illegal.


Burchett All Over

National news media has discovered what everybody in Tennessee’s Second Congressional District already knew: Congressman Tim Burchett is good copy. Burchett has been on Newsmax several times recently talking about the “infrastructure” pork package sponsored by the Biden administration. On Easter Sunday, Congressman Burchett was on the Andrew Wilkow Show on Sirius XM radio where he told the audience about The Knoxville Focus. Thanks, Tim, for the plug!