December 22, 2010

Two Cheers for Tennessee

The Economist once called it "enlightened mountain Republicanism." For whatever reason, Tennesseans have long looked to retired Sen. Howard Baker (McCallie '43), a moderate Republican who forged compromise across the aisles until retiring from the Senate to be Reagan's chief of staff after Iran Contra, as the model for how senators should behave. When Republican senators have lurched too far to the populist right, as Sen. Bill Frist did during the Terry Schiavo mess, their approval ratings have plummeted. The same explains why the once admired former Sen. Al Gore lost the state of Tennessee in 2000 after he was perceived to have lurched too far to the left in the 1990s. Regardless, Sen. Lamar Alexander reminded me yesterday why I supported him in his last campaign, and Sen. Bob Corker (Chattanooga City High School '70) locked up my support for his next election campaign. It would have been all too easy for my two Republican senators to have been petulant drama queens about the New START treaty, but instead here is what Sen. Alexander said yesterday:

And here is Sen. Corker:

It almost makes up for Basil Marceaux: