Nothing better illustrates the American spirit of optimism than the long list of Tennesseans vying to be elected to Congress.
After all, with public approval of Congress registering at around 10 percent, isn’t that a little like choosing to play on the losing team?
With our own optimism, The Tennessean is counting on the best candidates to be as motivated by a desire to serve the people of Tennessee as by the prospect of a big salary and good health coverage for life.
Since U.S. senators serve staggered six-year terms, senior Sen. Lamar Alexander does not have to run this year. Sen. Bob Corker, however, is running for his second term — although given the advantages he is enjoying, the Republican from Chattanooga really needn’t break a sweat.
With about $6 million in his campaign war chest, Corker held a big advantage anyway, but the best news he could have received came on the night of the August primary, when Mark Clayton of Nashville unexpectedly won the Democratic nomination for Senate, and the following day, when the state Democratic Party disavowed Clayton.
Clayton is in fact a conservative activist whose views on homosexuality and a number of other social issues are far out of sync with other Democrats’. And his association with an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a hate group is a detail that perhaps many who voted for Clayton wish they had known sooner.
Corker, clearly, is in a different category. He’s a moderate on social issues, moderate to conservative on fiscal and foreign policy. His positions are far more in line with a majority of Tennesseans. Additionally, he has been a go-to lawmaker in the national discussion about financial reform and lately, about foreign policy, as he has been mentioned as the likely chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee if Republicans win control of the Senate.
The clout such a role brings to the home state is important, but truly representing your constituents is more important. We would like to see more of the Sen. Corker who has shown leadership on matters from North Korea to the European economic crisis and less of the Romney surrogate who this week has helped politicize the fallout from the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
Going on Fox News to conjure up an image of “Benghazi-Gate” is not constructive during a time when the U.S. government is weighing its options in responding to the heinous attack.
We doubt, however, that Mr. Clayton could hope to step up and represent all Tennesseans in the halls of Congress. And we should mention the long list of other candidates, as well: Green Party’s Martin Pleasant of Knoxville; Constitution Party’s Kermit Steck, Greeneville; and independents Shaun Crowell, Spring Hill; David Gatchell, Franklin; James Higdon, Jacksboro; Michel Joseph Long, Lenoir City; and Troy Stephen Scoggin, Franklin.
None of the above have demonstrated the breadth of knowledge and depth of experience of Sen. Bob Corker, who has served Tennessee honorably over the past six years on a number of initiatives. The Tennessean endorses his re-election bid.