Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fun With Tennessee Politics

This is so rich on so many levels. Rep. Kent Williams, from Elizabethton, Carter County, TN, is Speaker of the House. And he did it by doing what he said he would do--vote for a Republican. The Republican turned out to be himself!

This is making national news. Tennessee Republicans thought they had a mandate to push through all their stone age legislation. Not so fast. The Dems pulled a fast one and elected a moderate Republican.

I like Kent Williams. He is tough, smart, and has integrity. He cares about Tennessee as opposed to partisan politics:

Williams said that “I probably did violate my promise,” but that it was outweighed by a desire for change that would bring bipartisan fairness to the Legislature while protecting employees.

“I believe history will record that this was a great thing for the state of Tennessee,” he said.

Williams said he would push for passage of a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution that has been killed in Naifeh-appointed committees in past years after winning approval in the Republican-controlled Senate.

While saying he still considers himself a Republican and will not become a Democrat, Williams acknowledged that he may be banished from the GOP.

The Republicans think leadership is get a majority and be boss of the planet. That is not the leadership we need. Here is video of the historic event:

And an article in The Tennesseean.


  1. I have to disagree with your position. The Democrat Party has been in charge of the House since the end of Reconstruction--close to 140 years of power for the same political party. That's a LONG time for one particular group to be in charge, you would have to agree.

    What Williams did was dishonest and deceitful, to his constituents, his party colleagues, and the people of Tennessee. Now, because the Democrats were so desperate to hold onto their power and Williams was gullible or arrogant, the House is in utter disarray and nothing will be accomplished. How can anyone expect Republicans to work with back-stabbers they cannot trust? Would YOU trust someone who lied to you, as Williams did?

    If any party in Tennessee believes they are the "boss of the planet," it is the Democrats.

  2. Well, you may be right about the Democrats wanting to hold onto power. But given that the Republican agenda I have seen consists mostly of:
    1) making non-US-born, non_English-speaking people second class citizens
    2) making GLBT persons second class citizens
    3) making progressives second class citizens
    4) making women second class citizens
    5) making jobs for cronies and families more important than health care for children

    I am okay with the Democrats wanting to hold onto some power.

    Also, I'm not sure where you're from, but I imagine you ARE a conservative if you think that Kent Williams is a moderate. He's willing to be bi-partisan, which means he is more interested in upholding the State Constitution than the state Republican Party. Again, I'm okay with that.

  3. I thought this article in the JC Press said it well, quoting former speaker, Ralph Cole:

    “My opinion is that Rep. Williams has a lot of friends in both the Democratic caucus and the Republican caucus, and that since he will work in a bipartisan way, more will be accomplished than someone who would try to run the House in a partisan way,”

    Republicans have a choice--act like whining babies, or get to work across lines for our state.

  4. Right on, John! And if those in the state Republican Party don't quit with the hissy-fit, the fault for not accomplishing anything will be on them, not Kent Williams.

    Now, I think I'm going to Dino's for lunch!

  5. John,

    Politically, I probably like where this guy is coming from ... pushing an anti-abortion constitutional amendment is fine with me.

    But how much integrity does he really have? He admitted he "probably broke (his) promise."

    I don't know the ins and outs of TN politics like you folks who live there, but I am surprised to read you cheering on someone who sounds very conservative who also may have misled his own party.

    John Erthein
    Erie, PA

  6. If Williams made a promise to Mumpower to vote for him as Speaker of the House, but someone better came along, which would be the act of lesser integrity; vote for him anyway, or vote for the better man?

    To whom does Williams owe his allegiance? Mumpower and the TN Republican Party or the people of TN? We are not privy to the discussions that Mumpower and Williams had before the election, but I can hazard a guess that they were no more open than the ones Williams had with the Dems. I certainly didn't hear anything about them other than Mumpower's arrogant assumption that he would prevail.

    I'm not sure he mislead anyone but Mumpower, and frankly, that doesn't bother me all that much.

    Here in Carter County, the last election went 74% Republican to 26% Democrat and that's just for President! If I were to have voted as a Democrat in Carter County and vote only FOR Democrats, I would have had one office out of approximately 13 to vote for. Therefore, progressives have the choice of voting for a Republican, voting for no one, or voting for someone who stands a snowball's chance in Hell of getting elected.

    That is our reality.

  7. If Williams made a promise to Mumpower to vote for him as Speaker of the House, but someone better came along, which would be the act of lesser integrity; vote for him anyway, or vote for the better man?

    Great question, and not just in this context! I don't know the answer.

    Of course, it turns out the better man was Williams himself, which is convenient, you must admit. ;-)

  8. Convenient AND lucky for those of us who feel a kinship to the Boston Tea Party rebels!

  9. I posted a comment to this site and notice that it has been taken off. I can see that you Mr. Shuck have no tolerance for the truth, and apparently no backbone for a dissenting opinion.

  10. Michael,

    You posted your objectionable comment on this post

    Perhaps before you insult and make assumptions, you learn how to read a blog.

    Furthermore, speaking of "backbone" Michael, I own up to my opinions with my full name, while you hide behind anonymity.