No. 332: Waiting for Caesar
⁂ Nashville's Alt-Daily ⁂ Caesar · Sue · 9/11 · Public Land · Godfather · Much More!
- Intro Davis Hunt gives a dispatch from the National Conservatism Conference in Miami
- Nashville Megan Podsiedlik details the back and forth between SEC candidate Mark Pulliam and the state GOP.
- Elsewhere Ellis Crawford reflects on 9/11.
- And More A man discovers a rare tree and Michael Anton's observations of The Godfather.
Good morning, everyone.
There's a kind of low-level, well-managed chaos among the attendees of this year's National Conservatism Conference in Miami. It's more subdued than last year, I am told, but it's still there. Peter Thiel in his opening address described this hodge-podge of people making up the "movement" as heterogenous and defying description.
For those that don't know, the National Conservatism Conference, in its third year, is a gathering of conservative activists, intellectuals, and politicians. Fashioning itself as the intellectual counterpart to the more populist CPAC, the list of speakers runs the gamut from Ron DeSantis (who delivered a competent chronicle of his wins in the state of Florida over the past few years) to the daughter of famed Hollywood writer John Milius, Amanda Milius.
To set the stage, Chairman Cristopher Demuth described the present situation in the U.S. as one simultaneously experiencing material affluence, technological mastery, and civilizational collapse. That last one seems a bit melodramatic in contrast to the other two until Peter Thiel took to the stage and opined on the "natural resource curse" which he refashioned as the "tech curse."
Also known as the paradox of plenty or the poverty paradox, the curse is the phenomenon of countries with an abundance of natural resources having less economic growth, less democracy, or worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources. Thiel offered a defense of California (it is the economic engine of the country whether you want to admit it or not) while cautioning against "nihilistic negation" which is the tendency to dismiss whatever California is doing entirely. This deliberate ignorance, he pointed out, will cause other states like Texas and Florida to reproduce the conditions of California if its plight is not properly understood. It was a grounded speech that attendees seemed to receive well.
Many other ideas got bandied about—many good ones. For example, Saurabh Sharma, founder of American Moment, pointed out the distinct lack of a patronage network on the Right outside of the oil and gas industry—person non grata numero uno for the present regime. That might go some way to explaining why the Left seems so deadset on their push for green energy policies. From the same session, R.R. Reno jokingly suggested that the children of anyone making over $250,000 a year should have to serve in the military.
Julie Kelly used the occasion to bring attention to the abysmal treatment of the January 6th protestors. She earned the most enthusiastic, impassioned response of any speaker I saw, but afterward, people seemed surprised that her speech—instead of the other, more technical and intellectual ones—got such a response.
This points to the crux of the whole conference. Julie actually expressed empathy and anger in a clear direction (the DOJ) and directly addressed a cogent problem affecting and drawing attention to who the base was. There were jeremiads directed at "protecting the family," but aside from Julie, few seemed concerned with or even wanted to discuss who the people they want to govern were. What attendees (or at least the ones I talked to) seemed to want was something else. They didn't want justice or freedom or anything of that sort. They wanted someone to follow. A Caesar.
Across the whole of the conference is a kind of expectant energy. People are waiting for this leader to arise. Whispers circulated that Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters would be the guy (he does have an uncanny resemblance to Julius Caesar.) Or maybe it'd be DeSantis whose wins stood out distinctly from the raised complaints of other speakers.
I'll have more tomorrow.
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Thanks for reading.
✵ A TENNESSEE PAST-TIME: SUING THE GOP
GOP drama is still unfolding surrounding the nullified election of Mark Pulliam, who won an uncontested race in District 2.
On August 4th, Mark Pulliam– lawyer, writer, and self-proclaimed “critic of a legal system run amok”-- won the Tennessee Republican Party’s State Executive Committeeman race in District 2. He secured the office with 302 write-in votes reported by the Secretary of State's office in Blount and Polk counties. The race was called into question by the GOP post-election, perhaps for good reason: after all, Pulliam’s unprecedented election presented a unique circumstance in which an unvetted Republican candidate was elected to a position within the Tennessee Republican Party.
Last amended on April 27, 2019, the bylaws of the State Executive Committee (SEC) are inconveniently silent on the subject. To remedy the situation, the SEC–acting as the State Primary Board–called a meeting on September 7th. Though Pulliam’s bona fide Republican background stood up to the scrutiny of SEC members during the meeting, the committee nullified the election with a vote of 25-13. The now-vacated position will be filled by appointment.
MARK PULLIAM REACHES OUT TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Addressing Secretary of State (SOS) Tre Hargett in an email on September 8th, Pulliam stated: ”I wish to bring to the attention of the Tennessee Secretary of State an unprecedented action that calls into question the integrity of elections in Tennessee. As such, it requires your immediate consideration, and action.”
Pulliam then points out that no challenge to his campaign was raised during the 50-day period between the election and the filing of his candidacy. He closed his message by questioning the retroactive nullification of his election and formally requesting an investigation into the matter.
COORDINATOR OF ELECTIONS RESPONDS
Coordinator of Elections, Mark Goins, responded to Pulliam’s request on September 9th stating, “Secretary of State Tre Hargett and I do not have authority to intervene and change the decision of the Tennessee Republican Party’s State Executive Committee.”
Citing Freedom of Association Rights under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Goins quoted from California Democratic Party v. Jones (2000) :
Unsurprisingly, our cases vigorously affirm the special place the First Amendment reserves for, and the special protection it accords, the process by which a political party ‘select[s] a standard bearer who best represents the party's ideologies and preferences.’ The moment of choosing the party's nominee, we have said, is ‘the crucial juncture at which the appeal to common principles may be translated into concerted action, and hence to political power in the community.’
Pulliam told The Pamphleteer he’s considering his options. As it stands, the Tennessee Republican Party’s state executive committeeman for District 2 will be appointed after the swearing in of new SEC members on September 15th.
The Pamphleteer will provide updates as the situation continues to unfold.
- Trump-backed Turning Point tour event ‘not approved’ at Williamson County school (Tennessean) A tour stop organized by a powerful conservative student group with ties to former President Donald Trump will not take place at Nolensville High School.
- Tennessee ranks 10th in education freedom (Center Square) Tennessee ranked fourth on its spending return as it ranks 43rd in spending at a cost-of-living adjusted $12,241 per pupil. The state ranked 28th in its combined fourth-grade and eighth-grade math and reading average scores on National Assessment of Educational Progress exams.
- Tennessee Tech Investigating On-Campus Child Drag Show (Star) After a video depicting children participating in an on-campus drag show was widely shared around the internet, Tennessee Tech University President Phil Oldham said he was offended, and that the school is investigating.
- Tennessee ranks 16th in campaign finance integrity (Center Square) Tennessee scored a 72.14 out of 100 while Washington (83.99), California (80.95), Maine (80.48) and Connecticut (79.52) led the way. The lowest scores were Indiana (38.33), South Dakota (45.06), Utah (45.48) and Alabama (49.64).
- Sharon Hurt reportedly building team for 2023 mayoral run (Post) At-Large Metro Councilmember Sharon Hurt confirmed to Axios’ Nate Rau that she has compiled a team in advance of a potential run for mayor in 2023. She has not yet responded to a Post request for comment.
- Government Operations chair tells universities to drop LGBTQ policies (Lookout) The House chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Government Operations Committee is unilaterally ordering state universities to suspend any policies making LGBTQ students a protected class amid federal litigation.
- Casada seeks up to 6-month delay for public corruption trial (TNJ) According to his waiver of his right to a speedy trial, Casada wants the trial moved up to 180 days. If the postponement were anchored to his original Oct. 25 date, the trial would be rescheduled for no later than April 23 next year.
- Al. Neyer Raises $200 Million Private Equity Real Estate Development Fund (Now Next)
➫ SEPTEMBER 11th AND SELECTIVE MEMORY
Elllis Crawford • In never forgetting 9/11, we willfully neglect that we could have curtailed our current epidemic of government overreach two decades ago
Last year, the 20th anniversary of 9/11 passed as would any day meant to commemorate enduring freedom occurring 36 hours after the president announced his now defunct OSHA-enforced nationwide vaccine mandate— a direct assault on bodily autonomy that his staff proudly touted as the ultimate constitutional work-around. A tenure-track professor tweeted some incendiary stuff about the attacks’ role in “heteropatriarchal capitalistic systems” and received cover from her university in the obligatory fallout. Joe Biden made an empty plea for unity despite spending the week demonizing the 50% of Red State voters who remain unvaccinated. Donald Trump again upstaged the most popular president in history in his latest Shadow Leader surprise visit with the salt of the Earth as he commended NYC police officers and firefighters.
Such pageantry was enough to make those old enough to yearn for the semi-sincere moment when Congress joined together hours after the attacks to sing “God Bless America,” an event about as spontaneous as Uncle Joe’s ice-cream photo ops. For many, our leaders’ exhibition of unity showcased the same comforts as a Hallmark movie—ensconced in cringe but a reminder of both our commonality and the unflagging American dream—which neither partisan politics nor terrorists who somehow bested our defense protocols with box cutters could shake. Yet, the Biden administration’s authoritarian flexing of bureaucracy as skirted responsibility for the Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan reveals the long-neglected truth about this winsome display: our politicians weren’t singing to show solidarity in the face of a threat. Like a child humming while exploring a dark basement, they were masking their fear as the policies that defined their careers became unglued.
✶ CHART OF THE DAY: PUBLIC LANDS
⚔ MISSIVES ⚔
- 📑 Lawyers for former President Donald Trump expanded on their arguments against the government’s request to exclude classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago from the vetting process a federal judge approved last week.
- 📈 Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she remains hopeful the US economy can avoid recession, but added that Americans understand the need for the Federal Reserve to conquer inflation.
- 🇷🇺 Russia withdrew more forces from the Kharkiv region on Monday, retreating from a vast swath of northeastern Ukraine as Kyiv’s forces continued their push into Russian-occupied territory and the government pledged that all areas seized by Moscow would be retaken.
- 🇬🇧 Events to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II are continuing across the U.K. this week, after King Charles III was proclaimed monarch at a ceremony in London over the weekend.
THINGS TO DO
View the full calendar and learn about upcoming shows here.
🎙 This is a huge week for music in Nashville as tons of artists descend on our city for The Americana Fest. Walk into any live music bar or venue this week and chances are you'll have walked in on a festival event. Both below – marked (AF) – and on our Pamphleteer's Picks playlist, you'll find our favorite artists from the lineup this year.
🍺 The Pamphleteer hosts Bar Hours on the third Thursday of every month (the next meeting is this Thursday, September 15th) at Lucky's 3 Star Bar from 6-8 PM. The first ten guests get drinks on the company tab.
🎪 Check out our favorite driving distance festivals this summer.
👨🏻🌾 The Pamphleteer farmer's market guide.
⚔️ The Knights in Armor exhibit is running till October 10th at the Frist: European arms and armor from the renowned collection of the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy.
🎡 The first annual Nashville Fair is running every day from the 9th to the 18th at the fairgrounds.
🎧 Listen to the Pamphleteer's Picks on Spotify, our playlist of the best bands playing in town this week.
🎩 History Class @ Bold Patriot Brewing, 5p, Info
🎺 Jazz in the Park @ Church Street Park, 5p, Free, Info
🎸 Harry Fontana @ American Legion Post 82, 7p, Free, Info
💀 Grateful Monday @ Acme Feed & Seed, 7p, Free, Info
🕺 Motown Monday @ The 5 Spot, 9p, $5, Info
🎹 Jazz Jam @ The Villager, 11p, Free, Info
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Today's newsletter is brought to you by Megan Podsiedlik (Nashville), Edward Landstreet (Local Noise), and Davis Hunt (everything else).