Paper: Memo on Bob Corker

This brief memo was a class assignment in preparation for our US Congress simulation, in which I played the role of Bob Corker.

Bob Corker is a conservative Republican from Tennessee who serves on the Foreign Relations committee. He is a backer of free trade; believes that Iran and North Korea must renounce nuclear weapons; wants to promote energy independence; is hawkish on Iraq and a general Bushite on terrorism (voting to limit FISA, against deployment limits, and against the 9/11 Commission recommendations); and is generally for stronger limits on immigration, stating we should strengthen the border controls, voting against the comprehensive reform bill, and voting for English as the national language.

Corker was born in South Carolina in 1952, but his family moved to Tennessee when he was 11. He got his first job 2 years later, and after earning a degree in industrial management, Corker started a construction company. He was immensely successful, selling it in 1990, and dumping his other business (a real estate group) in 2006. Being a construction worker, he found that government interference and regulations didn’t go well. Corker appears to be religious — a church mission trip to Haiti in the eighties is credited for his involvement in government and involvement in poverty. His work on the Foreign Relations Committee may not be his primary focus — he also has a place with the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, in which he’s expected to devote effort to health care.

Electorally, Corker is most supported by moderate Republicans. He has in the past supported abortion, although he claims to have changed his position on that issue. In his primary he spent some time playing to the base, commenting that he didn’t see any differences in position between him and his opponents (who were considered to be more conservative); Corker won the primary with 48% of the vote. He won the general election by about 3% of the vote, but gathered some national infamy when the Republican National Committee aired the infamous “Call me, Harold” ad against his opponent Harold Ford, Jr. Corker hasn’t made many waves since his election (he appears to either prefer the inside game or be keeping a low profile), and his only bill remotely connected to foreign relations (A bill to provide enhanced education and employment opportunities for military spouses) is currently in committee. His only other bill to be introduced was a campaign finance bill to give candidates control over money which is explicitly spent on their behalf. This, in connection with his fairly strong denunciation of the “Call me” ad, has made him seem apologetic and probably lowered his chances of ever running a strong outside game with confrontation. Additionally, his low margin of victory in the general election will probably prod him towards conciliatory attitudes.