Cross posted from Bear Creek Ledger
Today we took a drive to Cookeville for the Lamar Alexander meet and greet. I think Lamar and his staff got more than they bargained for! In their eyes it was to be a simple little pre-campaign stop. You know, glad hand a bit and preview Lamar’s new self aggrandizing video.
My friends and I had intended to bring signs either into the event or stand outside with the signs. Our signs all referenced illegal aliens and the Senate “immigration reform” bill. We decided to join the group inside and leave our signs out in the car. Too bad, I almost wish we’d brought them in.
Once Lamar came in he glad handed with people and the crowd grew to fill the room. I don’t think they expected the large turnout they got. Once Lamar got up to talk the atmosphere in the room immediately changed. Just before Lamar was about to speak one of the men in the room positioned the sign you see in the background and that set the tone for the next 40 minutes.
Sign: No Amnesty even if they call it comprehensive immigration reform.
I loved it but I’m sure Lamar and his staffers weren’t too thrilled.
I’m sitting there and my friends are expecting me to be confrontational but to our surprise it wasn’t me but our friend Sherry who interrupted Lamar while he was speaking. I almost cracked out laughing (if you knew Sherry then you would understand). Sherry told Lamar how people had no trust in the politicians since there had been 6 amnesties given since 1986 and nothing had been done to enforce our laws or secure our borders. She told him no one trusted those in Washington to secure our borders. We had lost confidence in them.
People clapped after Sherry’s statement. Lamar returned to his agenda of extolling his virtues and self promotion. He told us he’d talk for a few minutes, show his video and then would be there to take questions individually. At that point one of the men erupted talking about the immigration deal made behind closed doors with La Raza. Then things got a bit testy and Darrin from the Putnam County Republican Party also got combative. He basically told the guy this is our party and if you don’t like it leave. Darrin finally settled down a bit and told the audience this is how it’s going to be…..Lamar will speak for a few minutes, then show the video and then he will take individual questions from people. There wasn’t going to be any townhall type forum here. My guess? Lamar can’t take having to answer questions to a large group of people who weren’t of his “sort”! Lamar really doesn’t want to get his hands dirty with the little people, you know, the constituents.
So, Lamar finished his spiel and we saw the video and the vultures descended. I was close and was behind some media guy with a recorder. I waited until he was finished and then I got my shot to ask Lamar. First I told Lamar I knew he had voted to eliminate the Z Visa amendment and I thanked him for that. Then I asked him how he would vote if the Z Visa stayed in the bill which only allowed 24 hours for a background check, if the check was not done the illegal automatically got the visa which means felons and gangbangers became legal. And there was no surprise in Lamar’s answer since he didn’t give an answer. Everything with Lamar is well I’ll have to see…….
This was Lamar’s answer on all immigration issues.
Lamar kept saying that this bill included the triggers and “funding” to close the border unlike the bill he voted against last fall. Uhuh. Right.
I mostly heard people say they were looking for a conservative candidate to vote for in the next election. I would say most of the people there were not happy with Lamar and he would have a difficult time getting any support from that crew in the next election. We chatted with Jeremy – one of Lamar’s staffers. He got an earful from us and I don’t think this is the first time he’s heard any of it. I told him my “perception” of Lamar was that he was an elitist and he didn’t think my opinion or those like me mattered. I almost felt sorry for the guy except that he kept defending Lamar.
I forgot, when Lamar first came in, he stopped by to say hi and my friend Sherry (omg – she’s gonna get a reputation now) introduced herself telling him she was from Williamson County. Then she proceeded to tell him that she had to travel to Cookeville to talk to him since Lamar never showed his face in Williamson County where people can actually talk to him. He responded by saying he was in Franklin often. Sherry then said it must have been a secret cause if she’d known she would’ve been there. It was just funny cause Sherry didn’t let him off the hook and he was doing the usual politician pandering saying he’d be sure she was there the next time.
I know I’ve left out whole chunks of the event. It was fun to hear people calling into Steve Gill’s program on the way home. In fact, we got Sherry to call in and tell Steve her version of what she had said. Most people calling in came away with the same view of what happened as me and my friends. There was one caller who gave an entirely different version and I think he must have left about the time Lamar started his spiel.
I don’t know what planet Lamar has been living on but I do think he was taken completely by surprise by the depth of emotion around this issue. With all the phone calls and letters his office has been deluged with how he could be surprised is beyond me. It just tells me he is totally disconnected and his staff either isn’t telling him or he’s just not interested in finding out what his constituents think.
**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email stiknstein-at-gmail-dot-com and let us know at what level you would like to participate.