Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ted Cruz appoints kooky Kevin Kookogey as Tenn. Chair of his campaign.

by Rod Williams, June 9, 2015- I really hate to see this. I have had mixed views of Ted Cruz.  I have heard some of his speeches and have been stirred. I want our country to change course and I believe Ted Cruz is one of the people who, if he were president, could make that happen. He would take us in the direction I want to go. He also has a compelling personal story.  I am convinced he is a principled conservative and he is very smart.

On the other hand, his 21-hour filibuster was a  kind of a phony self-aggrandizing political stunt. It served no purpose. It was not really a filibuster as it didn't block anything. Senate rules set a limit on how long he could delay a vote and the outcome of the vote to fund the government and avoid a government shut down was never in doubt. Cruz even voted to advance the bill he was "filibustering," joining a 100-to-0 vote to take up the spending bill.

Despite my view of his filibuster, Curz was still one of my favored top contenders for the Republican nomination, not on top but somewhere below Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal but ahead of Rand Paul and way ahead of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.  With his appointment of Keven Kookogey to be his Tennessee Chairman, he dropped a few points in my favorability rating.

Kookogey is the former one-term chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party. While I do not have first-hand knowledge of what he did as Chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, I have heard that he greatly damaged the party, that contributors withheld funds and that many Republicans were embarrassed by him.   As County Party chairman he advanced an anti-Muslim and anti-Agenda 21 agenda and he advocated purging the party of insufficiently conservative members and was critical of Gov. Haslam and other elected Republicans.

The anti-agenda 21 movement which has now pretty much disappeared was based on a weird theory that the United Nations planned to kill 96% of the world's population by poisoning them with aspartame and fluoride, although to be fair, most opponents of Agenda 21 probably were never aware of that part of the theory.  In its milder form, the anti-Agenda 21 movement believed that Agenda 21 was a United Nations plan to take away American sovereignty, redistribute wealth and take away property rights in the name of environmentalism.

Across the nation anti-Agenda 21 activists opposed everything from traffic calming, to reintroducing wolves into the wild, to sidewalks, smart meters, and almost all forms of planning and mass transit as being part of agenda 21. This anti-agenda 21 movement originated with the John Birch Society and was spread by people like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. Anti-agenda hysteria worked its way into the Republican Party with the National GOP adopting an Anti-Agenda 21 party platform plank. The national GOP party platform plank however was short and vague. The Williamson County Republican Party under Kookogey adopted a strongly worded Anti-Agenda 21 resolution that you can still find at this link.  When Kookogey was County Party chairman, the party's webpage had a tab devoted to Agenda 21. After he was no longer chair, the website was redesigned, and no longer featured an Agenda 21 tab.

Kookogy's anti-Islam activism included being part of the group taking out a full page ad against Gov. Haslam over his administration's hiring of a qualified Muslim, Samar Ali,  to work in the Department of Economic and Community Development.   The Williamson County party under Kookogey also hosted an event for controversial Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders.  I am not naive and think we must be diligent in protecting ourselves from terrorism. I even hope Arabic speaking FBI agents are attended mosques and I am not opposed to a little profiling,  but by the same token I do not want to let a legitimate concern over terrorism and a clash of cultures lead to bigotry and betraying our constitutional rights.  It was irrational to oppose a person with Ms Ali's talent and experience just because she is a Muslim. Also, against all logic, the $5,000 full-page ad condemned Haslam by saying he was seeking to impose Sharia Law in Tennessee.  Now that is just kooky!

Kevin Kookogey is a part of that embarrassing, and maybe even dangerous, fringe of the Republican Party. Ted Cruz should not have burdened himself with the baggage of Kevin Kookogey as his Tennessee state campaign chairman. The campaign for the GOP nomination will most likely be wrapped up by the time of the Tennessee presidential preference primary anyway, but if Ted Cruz is appointing people like Kevin Kookogey to be his campaign chairmen in other states, then his campaign is doomed. If this is the kind of people he is comfortable with, I would not want him to be president.

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