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A Little Plaid Revision

On his Little Plaid Blog, Lamar Alexander has lately been chronicling his statewide bus tour in search of a magical third term.

The blog’s name is a reference to Lamar Alexander’s Little Plaid Book, which the former Tennessee governor and incumbent Republican U.S. senator penned in 1998. (Note: You can buy a “like new” used copy on Amazon for as little as $58.67.)

The pithy subtitle to the slim volume is, “311 rules, reminders, and lessons about running for office and making a difference, whether it’s for president of the United States or president of your senior class.”

You’ll observe that the subordinate heading doesn’t in fact specify that the rules outlined between the tract’s tartan covers apply to U.S. senators, per se.

Little plaid bookAnd that’s good, because otherwise the distinguished Washington insider renowned for bipartisan wheeling and dealing might have difficulty giving plausible grounds for why seeking another stint in the august halls of the nation’s Capitol doesn’t contravene LPB Rule 297, which declares, “Serve two terms and get out.”

Back in the 1980s, though, “that’s exactly what I did as governor,” Alexander said following an early morning rally Wednesday in Chattanooga.

But Tennessee’s senior senator cautioned against literalism when interpreting ancient texts. “I wrote the book in the 1990s,” he said.

It should be noted that another little compilation of political wisdom and reminders for holders and seekers of government office has been floating around Tennessee in recognizable form since the Seventies — the 1870s, that is. Its Article III, Section 4 proclaims that this state’s governors must leave office after two consecutive terms.

To be sure, it is intriguing to contemplate how events might have transpired if Alexander would have attempted to stay in office longer than the time specified under the law. Maybe Keel Hunt ought to try his hand at historical fiction.

Like the Volunteer State’s constitution, Alexander said his Little Plaid Book may occasionally need updating.  This year, he’s thinking of adding a new rule to the list.

“Rule 312 — it’s going to be, ‘If you hear anything new about a candidate for the United States Senate in the last few days before the election, don’t believe any of it,'” Alexander said.

Sage judgment, indeed, senator. But why fuss with that sublime subtitle in any way? Just swap in the new rule in place of an old one that, for whatever reason, is no longer applicable. Who’s going to notice?

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Carr or Lamar? Mindblowing Upset or Run-of-the-Mill Blowout?

Just hours before election day the GOP primary contest between incumbent U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Tea-Party-backed state Rep. Joe Carr is still a tough call. Both candidates claim the winds of momentum are blowing in their favor, and there’s fair reason to conclude at this late hour that anything can still happen.

Although a poll released last week by the Alexander campaign showed the longtime politician besting his closest opponent by more than two-to-one, Carr contended at a “Beat Lamar” rally in East Ridge over the weekend that the race is “very, very, very close.”

According to Carr, he’s recently been contacted by four members of the Tennessee General Assembly working on his behalf, who have all told him that from what they’ve seen, he’s winning, and that “two out of three voters” are in his corner.

Carr, a three-term Republican state representative from Lascassas, is challenging the political powerhouse of Alexander, a two-term U.S. Senator, former Tennessee governor, former U.S. Department of Education secretary and two-time candidate for president.

Both campaigns have touted their recent endorsements as evidence of their conservative credentials, as well as their penchant for getting things done.

Carr has recently picked up the endorsements from national Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin. Conservative commentator and radio host Laura Ingraham and has long had the support of the Beat Lamar PAC.

Alexander’s endorsements run deep. He was backed recently by two former chairmen of the American Conservative Union — Al Cardenas and David Keene. Keene is also a former president of the National Rifle Association.  Additionally, Alexander has been supported by many Republican leaders in the state, such as Gov. Bill Haslam and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.

In his criticism of Alexander, Carr has done his best to tie the incumbent to the policies of the Obama administration, such as Obamacare and immigration reform.

Much of Carr’s attack on his opponent’s Conservative credentials focused on Alexander’s support of what all seven Republican members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation called “amnesty.”

Alexander has defended his vote for the legislation, arguing that voting against the bill was really a vote for amnesty.

Meanwhile, although campaigning for a third term, Alexander has paid little attention to Carr, other than one mailer sent out in Middle Tennessee — Carr’s own turf — criticizing the state-level politician over a vote for Common Core in relation to the state applying for “Race to the Top” funds.

Carr has said that he was not proud of having made that vote, and in a interview with The Murfreesboro Post last year characterized it as “a choice between a really bad vote and a really bad vote.”

And, although Alexander has been a recent vocal critic of the Obama Administration’s handling of the immigration crisis, according to The Washington Post, Alexander said that he hasn’t heard much talk about immigration from his constituency.

“We have a chance to have a Republican majority in the United State Senate. I’d like to be a part of that majority, send a message to President Obama, fix the debt, fix our borders, return education decisions back to the states and replace Obamacare,” Alexander said to reporters Wednesday, at a campaign event in Chattanooga with Haslam and Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.