Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: My only campaign contribution
That’s right. This is the first election year in my memory where, right up to the end, I resisted all appeals from politicians for campaign contributions. And my check went out today to “Demas for Congress” without an appeal from Nick Demas, an old geezer who is making his first run for public office at 70, as a Republican, in the Sixth District of Tennessee. I’ve never met Nick, but his kid brother John Demas, 67, is one of my oldest friends, one of the original supply-siders going back to the early 1970s when he and Art Laffer were partners at the old Wall Street firm of H.C. Wainwright & Co. It was John who called me last week to inform me about Nick’s quixotic run against a Democratic incumbent of 20 years, Bart Gordon, who on the surface seems unbeatable just because he has been around so long. When I called around to ask some of my political friends about Gordon, they told me they never heard of him and were surprised when I informed them he has been in the House for two decades!! I gather he originally supported term limits, but still has managed to eke out victories every two years in a district just east of Nashville that heavily supports President Bush. Unbeatable?
But what about Nick? Here’s a guy with a PhD in nuclear physics/engineering from the University of Wisconsin on a fellowship from the old Atomic Energy Commission, who taught nuclear engineering at Tennessee Tech from the 70s to the mid-90s. I thought to myself, “Wow!” This is Dr. Nicholas Demas, a nuclear scientist. If elected, HE WOULD BE THE ONLY NUCLEAR ENGINEER ON CAPITAL HILL!! That’s right. Not one member of Congress has training in nuclear physics and there is not one nuclear scientist on any of their staffs! Nor is there one within shouting distance of the White House. Not one. Even as a 70-year-old freshman in Washington – the same age as Ronald Reagan when the Gipper was a freshman in Washington, Demas would have instant credibility and status at a moment when both President Bush and Senator Kerry have said their highest priority in the war against terrorism will be the curtailment of nuclear proliferation.
Why is this old guy running? I think it is because as he has moved into the twilight of his life he has been alarmed at how many questions are facing the American people that are not being addressed. My early training in geophysics at UCLA taught me the scientific method, a method that can bring great benefits when applied to the political world, which seems more and more divorced from reality. As a young journalist in the Washington press corps of the 1960s, I realized that my persistence in asking questions nobody else was asking was due to the fact that none of my colleagues in the press corps were trained in the physical sciences. In a press release sent to local papers in Tennessee yesterday, Dr. Demas raised the kind of questions that would make him an influential member of Congress immediately, questions that are not being asked by Democrats or Republicans:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Demas
Congressman Gordon, How about doing your job?
Cookeville, Tennessee, October 20. 2004 - What a shame Bart Gordon has repeatedly refused even one debate at a time when we so badly need to hear from him. As the Republican candidate for Congress, here are some important questions for Congressman Gordon that people are asking in the Sixth District.
· Why are gasoline prices so high? I read where OPEC has shifted from a "dollar" to a "euro" standard because our government for years and years has been on a paper standard, inflating and deflating and inflating again. Why isn’t anyone asking Alan Greenspan to again make the dollar as good as gold instead of raising interest rates? Who the heck profits from the dollar bouncing around? Do you know? Have you ever asked?
· I thought our forefathers intended the separation of church and state to mean that there should be no government church, like the Church of England. They never meant God shouldn’t be welcome in the schools and other public places? Have you ever asked why there is this disconnect with history? Or done anything about it?
· You got a rating of 25% from the National Tax Payers' Union with regard to your voting record on tax issues. ( When I taught at Tennessee Tech that would score an "F.”) How do you justify being a super big spender and taxer, when the deficit is so high and so many taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet?
· Congressman, you say you're for an even playing field. If that is so, have you ever dug into the question in Congress on why your women constituents earn 79% of what men earn for comparable work? They would like to know and so would I?
· For years and years, we give something like $7 billion to Egypt and Israel every year when we have such a huge deficit and have pressing needs at home. I don’t remember you every saying anything about this? Have you ever thought to ask how long this is going to go on?
· Every time "tax simplification" is mentioned in Washington, H & R Block goes out and places want ads for accountants. The people of the 6th District tell me they’ve heard promises of simplification from both parties for so long that they have given up. You’ve been on the payroll in Congress for almost 20 years. Have you ever inquired, even once, on what’s going on here, and made a stink about it?
· How does it benefit Tennesseans when Washington’s taxes and regulations create more jobs in China than it does in the U.S.? I’ve looked over your public utterances and find no comment. Isn’t this something that interests you? Your constituents would like to know.
· I’m finding almost all of your constituents don't think we'll ever rid ourselves of terrorist threats at home until there is peace in the Middle East. I’m asked how this can happen if the White House entertains the Israeli leader, Ariel Sharon, at his beck and call but refuses to talk to Palestinian leaders, one of whom won the Nobel Peace Prize. I have to guess again that you ain’t interested, but I am, and I will get to the bottom of this on behalf of the people of the 6th District, Tennessee, the USA and the world!!
The people of the Sixth deserve answers, Bart. Dialogue is essential at this critical time in our history, and your failure to stand in front of the voters and debate the issues begs the question: Who is the public servant here—you, Congressman Gordon, or the citizens?
When elected I'll go to Washington and ask questions like these of the leadership of both parties, the President, his cabinet, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, the bureaucracy--and any and all parties that have a duty to serve the people. And I'll keep asking them until I get satisfactory answers and definitive action. I’ll report back to you on our progress, and remain eager to hear your concerns. The people of the Sixth District deserve a Congressman who will not only ask the right questions, but have the right solutions as well.
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Here is Nick’s campaign biography. He is a most impressive fellow. Man on the margin. Keep your fingers crossed!!!
Born in 1934, Nick is the eldest of four brothers raised by George and Helen Demas in Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating from Hughes High School, Nick took his first full time job as a draftsman at the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company. While there he worked closely with the CG&E engineers and decided that engineering was the profession he wanted to pursue.
Nick put himself through college at West Liberty State University in West Virginia, earned his masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh while working full-time at the Bettis Nuclear Power Laboratories operated by Westinghouse Electric Corp., and then, after taking a hiatus during which he owned and operated a restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then worked as an engineer with Fuentes Fluviales (now the Puerto Rico electric company), earned his doctorate in nuclear engineering at the University of Wisconsin supported by an Atomic Energy Commission fellowship. Nick then went back to Westinghouse to work on nuclear reactor designs for both commercial and military applications.
In 1977, Nick joined the faculty at Tennessee Technological University where he taught engineering until his retirement in 1995. Nick and Barbara, his wife of 43 years, raised their three children in Cookeville where they attended Putnam County public schools, and Nick and Barb are very proud of their kids's accomplishments.
An avid outdoorsman, Nick loves the hills and streams around his home in Cookeville where he regularly fishes and hunts.
Nick and Barb sing with the choir of the First United Methodist Church in Cookeville and are also members of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Nashville.
Nick has been actively involved in a number of Cookeville-area organizations, including the Rotary (Paul Harris Fellow), American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association(AHEPA), the Bryan Symphony Orchestra Society, the Society for the Preservation of Barbershop Singing in America and the Putnam County Republicans.
Demas for Congress * P.O. Box 49685 * Algood * TN * 38506