Right of Right 

"True conservative" Angelo Cobrasci veers away from both parties.

Wearing a red, white, and blue ball cap and a gray POW/MIA T-shirt, Angelo Cobrasci leans back in his seat in the bar area at Coletta's Italian Restaurant in Bartlett.

"Bush is a bitch," says Cobrasci, as he sips his Bud Light. "He's a moderate, and I'm being very liberal about that. I don't feel like he represents a true conservative Republican."

Cobrasci describes himself as a "true conservative," a man who "believes in the Constitution as it was written." He even has his own group, the Shelby County Coalition of Conservative Republicans (SCCCR), which promotes and endorses political candidates who hold similar values.

"People think of 'conservatives' as mainstream Republicans," says Cobrasci. "With us, it's not a Republican or Democrat issue. It's a constitutional issue. The Constitution is as it stands. It's not wavering. It doesn't change as society changes."

SCCCR, which meets monthly at Coletta's, has spent the past couple of months prepping for the upcoming election by handing out its own ballot of candidates -- politicians they believe embody the ideals of true conservatives. Some of the 42 names on the ballot are Democrats, who, Cobrasci says, hold views similar to his.

"A Democrat can still be a conservative Republican," says Cobrasci, who goes on to list a few he thinks would qualify, like county mayor A C Wharton.

He says SCCCR members interview candidates to determine what they stand for and to weed out those he says "blow smoke up your ass." He denounces Republicans-in-name-only (RINOs) and "neocons," who, he says, are only conservative when they want to be.

Cobrasci and several other SCCCR members have been parking a trailer they call the "war wagon" at grocery stores, movie theaters, and parks. They hand out information on their candidates. Cobrasci says it's their way of "bringing politics to the people."

Cobrasci is quick to share his views on the hot issues of the day:


"The Constitution in no way supports or denies homosexuality," says Cobrasci. "Am I for homosexuality? No. Do I hate homosexuals? No. That is your right. Do I want [a man] to walk up and pat me on the ass? No."


"I'm against illegal immigration. Say I get a speeding ticket. I'm not going to get amnesty for that. I have to pay it. We don't get amnesty here when we do something wrong, but they can come over here and rape, pillage, and murder. Let's take care of our own backyard first."


"It should be for those who are actually in a position where they can't afford health care, not a free ride. Doctors and lawyers who are on TennCare need their asses whupped."

The religious right?

"Sometimes they freak me out. I'm Catholic, and I believe this country was founded by Christians, but to force religion on someone ... if you allow any religion, you should allow all but one -- Satanism. That takes away from morals and ethics."


"I don't want a one-world nation."


"Pro-life or pro-choice should be a state situation, not a federal issue."

However, the "Statement of Principles" on Cobrasci's Web site, DefendersofFreedom.org, says that "every unborn child has a fundamental Right-to-Life." The Web site also emphasizes the importance of the "traditional family" and encourages people to bear arms in an effort to prevent crime and provide security.

Cobrasci claims his group has 750 members in Shelby County, and he says there are other CCR groups in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and a few more in Tennessee. He founded the group in 1989 as "Defenders of Freedom" and changed the name last year.

Would he ever consider running for political office? Cobrasci says bluntly, "Hell, no! I've had people begging me. They know I'd represent the people, but I'd never get elected because I don't know when to keep my mouth shut. There are always elitists in both parties that don't want you to say anything. People just need to be who the hell they are."

Cobrasci is definitely who the hell he is.

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