published Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

End gridlock: Sen. Corker has the right spirit

David Abshire

As a native Chattanoogan transplanted to Washington for half a century, and a historian and author of a number of books, I feel somewhat qualified in the rating of truly great Tennessee senators.

One of my first books of the 1960s, "The South Rejects a Prophet," was on Sen. David M. Key, a Confederate colonel in the Senate who crossed party lines.

In more recent years in Chattanooga, his lineage added Bill Brock, who was not only great as a senator and secretary but also, as head of his party after the Watergate scandal, literally rebuilt the party.

Not from Chattanooga, Tennesseans should take pride in Howard Baker's extraordinary tenure as Senate majority leader. In today's world, Chattanooga has been blessed and honored by the outstanding accomplishments of our own Sen. Bob Corker.

When the American people witness the U.S. House and Senate voting on post offices and flight delays in place of focusing efforts on creating jobs or balancing the budget, it doesn't take an expert to say that Congress is broken.

Most people agree that partisanship is to blame -- if only our lawmakers could just put aside partisan bickering to work together toward consensus building solutions, then we might finally see some real progress on the issues that are truly important to Americans.

Corker's example of working since age 13, graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and saving up to start his own business is the embodiment of the American dream. And yet, at a time when he could have expanded his businesses, he chose to go into public service.

I first came to know him in the 1990s while doing a project with Sen. Bill Frist on improving education throughout the state, and Corker was involved and was an unusually creative mayor of Chattanooga. He later was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, and has spearheaded efforts to deal effectively with the grave issues of our nation in this time of genuine crisis.

Typical of him being ahead of the game, Corker recently has worked with Democratic counterpart and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez to provide support and weapons to the Syrian rebels.

Americans should strive to elect representatives who not only have our values at heart, but are also willing to listen and work with the other side. Congress may be broken, but it doesn't have to be. We all should be more willing to "reach across the aisle," to have those conversations with our friends and neighbors which advance the national dialog.

We admire Corker for his integrity and his character, without which any effort at bipartisanship would surely have failed long ago.

David Abshire is a former United States Ambassador to NATO and cofounded the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is currently the Vice Chairman of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

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nucanuck said...

Are we supposed to proud of Bob Corker for working to provide support and weapons for the Syrian rebels? Seriously?

Most Americans now understand that we should not be taking sides in Syria. We do not have the wisdom nor the ability to shape countries into US client states. We certainly should not be trying to pick winners between the Shia and Sunni sects of Islam.

Bob Corker appears to have been sucked into the American mythology of world diplomacy by force and coercion. We have already done that. It has failed over and over. The arms Corker helped provide have enabled local dissent to erupt into civil war, all because the US (and Israel) favors Sunni control in Syria.

Americans want a strong defense capability, but not dispersed worldwide, not intervening in the affairs of others, not assassinating people whose names we do not even know.

If Bob wants to make us proud, he will lead a movement of non-intervention in other countries. That could get him elected President.

June 18, 2013 at 1:31 a.m.
librul said...

Arming the Syrian rebels and the crises it will engender is exactly the sort of hokum the Center for Strategic and International Studies (fancy name for a neocon think tank) is famous for. With principals and advisors such as Henry Kissinger, and a dizzying array of militarists and corporatists from Coca-Cola to the Carlyle Group, the "recommendations" that have emerged from it are just a small chapter in the horror story of American foreign policy of the last 60 years leading to the teetering empire we now wear around our necks like an albatross.

June 18, 2013 at 7:08 a.m.
Handleit said...

It sounds like the Times has already decided to cross the aisle and support Corker for President.

June 18, 2013 at 8:14 a.m.
gjuster said...

Bipartisanship is not always good. It has put us over 16,000,000,000,000 in debt and forced many bad laws upon Americans.

June 18, 2013 at 8:23 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Why would Pam Sohn want this old tired far right warrior posting in her slot? Seems like Drew filler to me.

June 18, 2013 at 10 a.m.
klifnotes said...

nucanuck, good question. Me thinks dude high jacked Pam's slot without her permission.

Abshire said: We admire Corker for his integrity and his character

The above by Abshire is a joke, right?

Handleit said... It sounds like the Times has already decided to cross the aisle and support Corker for President

If that happens, and Corker is elected, that's about the time we all should pack up and leave America.

June 18, 2013 at 10:13 a.m.
marmadukegarcia said...

Corker is better than most senators, which is not really a compliment.

June 18, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.
scout29c said...

Bob is on shaky ground. This Tea Party state will dump him if he even gets a whiff of moderation or any cooperation with Obama. Party comes before local needs. Look at Fleishman. Since his election, not one cent for Chickamauga Lock. The GOP is against it, and he puts party before his district.

Bob better get his views right, or he will be replaced. Endorsements from the left side of the NewsFreePress don’t help.

Gridlock is the GOP’s objective. Nothing is going to happen for the next 3 years. Plan accordingly. The 1%ers already have and are making a killing in the market.

June 18, 2013 at 2:49 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

It was customary at the start of the Civil War for rich citizens to raise, arm, and equip regiments for battle. For this largess, the benefactor was often given the rank of colonel.

I suggest that Col. Corker raise his regiment from his fellow Congressional rabble-rousers and war-profiteers. The Honorable Col. Corker can arm and equip them, and set out immediately for the Syrian front. Perhaps family members will be able to accompany the Colonel as he dashes forth to meet the foe.

Surely the junior Senator from Tennessee would not ask others to do what he so loudly and with great authority asks others to do?

Just think about it. In a few years there could be a statue of Col. Corker on the Hamilton County Courthouse lawn showing the brave Colonel astride a charging steed with this poem.

"Colonel Robert Corker,

Had a chance to fight the Syrians.

Instead He Stayed in Washington,

Sending Baptists and Presbyterians.


Demanded war in the Middle East,

To Fight the Syrian residents.

Wouldn't take the Chance of a Bullet in His Pants

To Join the Long Line of Impotent Presidents.


But Long He Bellowed, and Long He Cried,

Wanting the Head of Assad.

But bullets Kill People and as Head of Business Sheeple

It didn't Take Him too Long to Learn.

Those Muslims are Fanatics,

and I'm too Damn Democratic

To Spill My Blood Over False Fear.

So on the First Plane Back Home,

the Colonel Did Roam,

Leading the Charge from the Rear.


Never mind that He Called for War Action,

Forget His Connections to War Profiteers,

Colonel Corker Survived, While the Brave Soldiers Died,

And Their Deaths Paid the War Financiers.


He Sits High Above on this Saddle,

For All to See and Give Cheer,

But Remember This Fact, Col. Corker Came Back

To Bravely Lead From the Rear."

June 18, 2013 at 8:19 p.m.
kellie2479 said...

Corker is a great Seantor who represents Tennessee well. He has had a huge impact in short order in DC. He is respected.

June 20, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
kellie2479 said...

Are all TFP bloggers liberals? Frustrated writers who can vent all day?

June 20, 2013 at 4:27 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

I'm more a flustered citizen — frustrated with government, Congressmen, and corporations looking to begin another war adventure.

As their pensions get fatter, their portfolios increase, their pockets drop deeper, and their ambitions grow bigger, more people will die. For what?

Rich man's war, poor man's fight.

June 20, 2013 at 7:56 p.m.
jesse said...

We need 99 more Liz Warrens in the senate!!

June 22, 2013 at 2:33 a.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

Let's see how this intervention thing has worked. Korean War 53,000 dead Americans and negotiated gridlock. "Bad guys" still in power in the North. Vietnam 58,000 dead Americans and the "Bad guys" in power throughout. No dominoes though. Th ROW didn't turn commie. Irag and Afghanistan, 4,000 dead Americans and counting. Democrat and Republican presidents were equal failures at these wars.

Essentially McCain and Corker are saying "Trust us, we'll get it right this time". Why would we believe that - Clinton and Obama bombed and stayed out, they were "weak" but no American lives lost and the war are over in Bosnia and Libya.

June 22, 2013 at 10:16 a.m.
fairmon said...

Not having all the information makes it easier to reach convenient conclusions. Time to leave America klifnotes? And go where that you could publicly blast the governments behavior and live as well. Good luck wherever you go. Will you be forfeiting your U.S. citizenship?

June 23, 2013 at 3:25 a.m.
klifnotes said...

Is apparent you haven't traveled much if at all outside the U.S., fairmon. Otherwise, you'd know you're not as free as you think you are. And for every freedom you believe you have, there are already 20 or more laws on the books to take those freedoms away.

June 23, 2013 at 8:43 a.m.
nucanuck said...

fairmon, freedom is no longer much more than a thoughtless rallying call. The US brand of freedom falls somewhere in the middle of what is out there. US citizens living permanently abroad are increasingly finding the new laws applying to ex-pats to be burdensome and many of us who never would have considered renouncing our citizenship, have now at least thought about it.

The American brand is fairly tarnished and we can all argue about why.

June 23, 2013 at 9:41 a.m.
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