Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dem's go to school

Brian Hornbeck in Knoxville provides us a link to a YouTube video with my State Senator Joe Haynes (D-Nashville) at a Democrat Caucus breakfast which took place a bit back. Brian calls Haynes comments "whining". It came across to me as Sen. Haynes providing a primer to these Democrats on how the legislature works. Apparently, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey's (R-Blountville) election to the Lt. Governor position created another world for these folks as they require a primer on who is in charge of the house and senate and how it works now. It comes off as if, heretofore, these Democrats just got their orders and followed them without any real understanding of the process.

At about 8:43 Sen. Haynes says it didn't matter to him who was Speaker of the Senate as long as it was a Democrat. Apparently, party affiliation ranks higher than such abilities as knowing how the system works, familiarity with the issues, ability to create coalitions to get legislation passed or stopped.

Amusingly, he repeatedly refers to someone who can only be Senator Rosalind Kurita (D-Clarksville) only by the pronoun "she". Never by name.

At 4:52 he points out that 'they' picked Senator Tommy Kilby (D-Wartburg) to head a committee [Environment, Conservation and Tourism] because he's leaving and 'can't hurt them'--as if that tactic has never been done before and is unfair in some way.

At 4:36 comes the quote 'couldn't pass gas' that Brian highlights. Haynes says:

"...we couldn't pass gas in the Senate right now with the Democrats if the Republicans make up their minds to sit [out or down] on us".
And that's so key-- the Republicans must make up their minds, remain solid and not wobble if they're serious about making long lasting changes in how this state is run.

At 3:23 Sen. Haynes shares the shocking news that a minimum wage bill will be killed in committee saying "it won't come to the floor". If giving things a fair chance at an up or down vote on the floor is so important to Sen. Haynes perhaps he could go to bat for Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) who's bills aren't just killed in committee they're mocked and toyed with before hand.

2:33 Haynes reminds everyone that
"...the Republican Speaker (any speaker) has the ability to appoint whoever they want to, to whatever committee and appoint the chairs to those committees. It's completely within the power of one person and that's the way the system is in the House and in the Senate. It's an extremely powerful position."
How is it that these legislators don't know this already? And what is Sen. Haynes suggesting he'll do to rein in the power of Lt. Gov. Ramsey's counterpoint, Speaker Naifeh? If Haynes doesn't speak up against Speaker Naifeh's tactics he's got no credibility with me in complaining about Lt. Gov. Ramsey's tactics.

At 2:03 he opines that a medical malpractice reform bill will come out of the Senate, barely. And then goes on to say it's doctors that are the problem--this lawyer married to a judge guarantees "it's not bad lawyers, bad courts and bad judges".

And finally at :45 he reminds them that the House job just got harder saying that "always in the past" the House and the Senate shared the task of stopping bad bills.
"This time the House of Representatives will have to be the goalkeeper, so to speak."
Well since House Speaker James O. "Jimmy" Naifeh (D-Covington) , has never been one to be shy about utilizing all that power and has had plenty of experience utilizing that 'extremely powerful position" he'll continue to be a goalie that Haynes can, and the Predators could be, proud of.

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