Opinion » Editorial

Stacey’s Gift



Well, let's just go ahead and admit it. If Knoxville state Senator Stacey Campfield's fellow Republicans succeed in purging him, via an establishment-backed candidate, in this August's GOP primary, we may join in the public celebration that is

almost certain to occur. But we'll be shamming a little bit.

The fact is, if he goes, we'll miss Stacey. Who else but Mr. "Don't Say Gay," aka Senator "Starve the Children," is anywhere near as capable of raising to consciousness the most outrageous and unworthy thoughts still extant in a Western Civilization striving to live up to its textbook ideals?

Who else is so good at giving voice to the undeclared agenda that is at the heart of the current Tea-Party-dominated Tennessee General Assembly?

"Starve the children?" Maybe an overstatement — though that's exactly what was at the core of Campfield's late, unlamented bill to take state assistance away from households whose children happened to be failing at school. "Ignore the children and starve their parents" is more accurate as a description of an administration and a legislature that have run riot over local school boards' wishes and made it impossible for concepts such as minimum wage and living wage even to be discussed by the state's city and county jurisdictions. So, of course, let's add the concept of "disempower local governments" as an aspect of the overall state GOP mantra.

Campfield is down with all that — and more. But he has begun to offend his masters in the state Republican Party. Why? Because he talks too much (and writes too much on his blog), expressing too candidly what's really on the mind of his party leaders. He's blabbing state secrets, as it were.

Campfield may finally have crossed the line this week, however, and in so doing has become a candidate for official elimination. On his tacky/sassy online blog Camp4u, he supplied the following "Thought of the Week" on Monday: "Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of manditory sign ups for "train rides" for Jews in the '40s."

Comparing insurance company sign-ups for health care to the annihilation of Jews in Hitler's Final Solution? Not one ranking Republican, let alone Democrats and just folks, was willing to follow him there. The statement was, as state Democratic Chairman Roy Herron said, "outrageous, pathetic, and hateful." To be sure. But what delights us more are almost identical statements by state GOP Chairman Chris Devaney ("No political or policy disagreement should ever be compared to the suffering endured by an entire generation of people.") and House GOP Majority Leader Gerald McCormick ("[The] disgraceful blog post compared a policy dispute with the suffering of an entire race of people ... .")

And there, in a nutshell (ahem), is Campfield's redeeming public service: By going so outrageously far afield, he is forcing his party's leaders — who have done their share of demonizing the political opposition — into admitting that all their public bluster and invective aimed at Democrats is really just policy disagreement in disguise.

Fine, then. Let us henceforth reason together — and be thankful to Campfield for his own (inadvertent) contribution to political dialogue.

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