Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker's current re-election campaign is low-key, but that's understandable. Mark Clayton, his opponent, has been disavowed by the state Democratic Party for his association with a known hate group in the nation's capital. Democrats are being urged to write-in a candidate of their choice in next month's election. Such campaigns are almost always ineffective, and Corker's re-election seems to be as sure a thing as there can be in the Nov. 6 election.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. Corker has served honorably and well and has earned an enviable place in the nation's political leadership. He's a keen student of subjects that touch directly on the nation's governance, defense and fiscal future. His knowledge of those topics and a fortuitous arrival in Washington at a time when slots were available to members of his party have earned him seats on the Senate's foreign relations and banking committees - arguably the body's most powerful.
Corker has become a voice of reason. He rejects, for example, the knee-jerk, partisan responses to the deficit problem widely espoused by some members of his party that have prompted the current legislative gridlock. He understands the need for moderation and compromise and indicates that he prefers comprehensive tax reform that requires judicious application of both spending reductions and revenue growth to resolve the deficit problem.
Corker has similarly sensible views on foreign policy as well as an innate understanding of the costs of war and of the limitations of U.S. power abroad. In those realms, too, he provides an informed, thoughtful view of what role the United States should play in global affairs and the financial costs those endeavors accrue. He's not adverse to working across the aisle to produce useful legislation. That's a rare commodity in Republican circles these days.
Corker can be overly partisan on some issues - he voted against the auto bailout and the DREAM act, for example - but on the whole he's demonstrated a clear-headed understanding of vital issues. After the election, the nation will have to come to grips with pressing issues put on hold before the vote. Foremost among them is the need for comprehensive tax reform and spending limits that would help expanded revenue, reduce the deficit and prompt investment that would create new jobs.
Such legislation won't come easy, but Corker is ideally suited by knowledge and temperament to represent the people's interest in the fight to restore equity to the nation's fiscal affairs. He's earned the right to return to Washington.