Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Dr. Carol Swain to the studio.
During the second hour, Swain discusses her top commentary at The Tennessee Star in which she endorses for Bill Hagerty for U.S. Senator.
Leahy: It’s Thursday and we are joined in-studio live by our good friend, all-star panelist, former Vanderbilt professor, and former candidate for mayor. And an all aground great person Carol Swain. Good morning.
Swain: You mean I got out of bed. (Giggles)
Leahy: Well Carol you did it again. You generated some controversy.
Swain: You mean I got out of bed.
Leahy: Well you know its very interesting as you know we have a very hotly contested Senate primary here. The United States Senate primary to replace Senator Lamar Alexander. The election is August 6. Two very strong candidates. Former Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty. Vanderbilt Emergency Surgeon Dr. Manny Sethi. In full disclosure, we like them both. They both advertise on the tennesseestar.com and The Tennessee Star Report.
Swain: So they both are helping your financial bottom line.
Leahy: They are!
Swain: I know you like them both.
Leahy: Of course, we like them both. And we try to report on it in a straight forward way. And are supporters and they have both been on the program here.
Swain: I’ve met them both.
Leahy: You’ve met them both.
Leahy: And they’ve both been in here. We’ve talked to them. But it’s interesting because the president while Bill Hagerty was ambassador to Japan endorsed him almost a year ago and people said the president endorsed him so its a done deal. But Dr. Manny said you know what? He can endorse who he wants and he’s running a very good campaign. The polls show it neck and neck. Manny’s got some momentum. Bill Hagerty has a record and probably a bigger bank account. But Manny has got enough money. It’s a fascinating race. You have weighed in. Tell us about this top commentary.
Swain: First of all, as you know I initially planned to sit it out and not endorse publicly.
Leahy: We talked about that. You told me that you were probably going to sit it out when the last time we discussed this. But you always surprise me, Carol.
Swain: Well, there is so much at stake. And I am working closely with the Trump administration and with the GOP. And our nation is at a crossroads. And I believe that we need someone who can hit the ground running and who understands Washington and who does have the president’s back. Who is trustworthy.
And I initially was not happy with President Trump for entering the Senate race so early because there were many other people that probably would have run had the president not indicated his choice. But we know that the president has experienced repeatedly people who have gone into office and who really have backstabbed him and that are untrustworthy.
And his selection of Bill Hagerty is a selection that’s based on his knowledge of Bill. Bill’s relationship with Don, Jr. No one can dispute Don, Jr.’s conservatism or the fact that he has his father’s back. Those are some of the reasons that I believe that President Trump made the decision that he did.
Leahy: It’s interesting. I think you are quite right in your analysis that the fact that he endorsed Bill Hagerty so early caused many people who might have otherwise run not to run. We’ve talked to several of those people. What I find interesting when I look at them I don’t see a lot of differences on the issues.
You did address some of these issues in your commentary. It’s the top commentary on the tennesseestar.com. And the title of the commentary is Carol Swain Commentary: Bill Hagerty is My Choice For the U.S. Senate. Tell us about the issues when you look at these two candidates. How do you distinguish them?
Swain: For one thing, if you go to the websites, Bill Hagerty has 19 issue positions and these are issues that affect the state as well as the national and international scene. And he has knowledge of the world. I’ve heard him speak and he’s talking about issues that I really care about in a way that I want them addressed.
When I hear Manny Sethi he spends a lot of time talking about illegal immigration and his faith. We’ve been down that road before with Bill Lee. I think that when you are running for office it’s very important for you to focus on the issues affecting the state, the nation, and the international scene.
And your faith should influence everything you do. But if you are living a Christian life that should not be something that you have to have on your website and in every commercial. I think that it excites Christian conservatives and I’m a Christian conservative. We get excited when someone says Jesus.
And Republican candidates know that and Republican strategists know that. All they have to do in some cases in the Bible Belt is to use faith as a way to push a candidate as opposed to issues. And we know that those candidates have repeatedly disappointed us. I believe that there is a place for experience.
If you have a candidate who is not experienced and they go to Washington or they go to lead a state they are going to be dependent on their advisors because they are really not going to fully understand the political scene. I am speaking as a political scientist, I’m someone that taught political science for 28 years.
Leahy: You have a Ph.D. in political science.
Swain: Yes. I taught it for 28 years but I studied it for far longer. And I’ve watched the candidates. And my first book, Black Faces and Black Interests the Representation of African Americans in Congress. I traveled all across the country with White and Black members of Congress. And so I watched these candidates very closely and their styles and what they did and what was and was not effective. So I really studied Congress. In fact, at Princeton, I was tenured as a congressional scholar. And we do look at candidates I guess maybe differently.
Leahy: Interesting. What I thought was very interesting in your piece, and by the way, not in this segment but in the next segment we are going to look at some of our readers who have responded to your commentary.
Swain: And I would be happy to talk with any of them.
Leahy: I know this about Carol. She does not shy away from discussions about anything.
Swain: And I used to be terribly shy.
Leahy: I know. How did that happen?
Swain: I had a Christian conversion experience late in life in 1999. The Lord just removed my fear of public speaking because he impressed on my mind that he had given me a message bigger than me and that I should just focus on the message. And once I realized that I only had to please God than it didn’t matter if people laughed at me or I made a mistake. It really took the pressure off. And it released me to be able to speak.
Listen to the full second hour here:
– – –
Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Bill Hagerty” by Bill Hagerty. Photo “Manny Sethi” by Manny Sethi.