Thursday, January 15, 2009

Breathing now

I'm breathing a bit easier now that the Tennessee legislature swept the vote for constitutional officers. Though I will grant that I am disappointed by the previous conduct of our new comptroller. I'm trusting that Tre Harget will not allow the sort of Election Commission nonsense that resulted in the special election in Nashville for English as the city's official language. That democrat controlled body dug its heels in and has done all it can to keep the people from voting. Plenty of house cleaning to be done in that portion of the job to be sure.

I was happy to see Rep. Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) actually acting as majority leader instead of Rep. Gary Odom (D-Nashville) as was the case on Tuesday.

However, I'm still very suspicious of what's going to go one during this recess. I'm conflicted about tossing the traitor overboard in swift retribution and waiting to see if the fellow can redeem himself by placing Republicans in charge of the important committees at least in line with their majority numbers. This would include Calendar and Rules where so much good legislation that did manage to get through the partisan system went to die. I'm wondering about Rep. Les Winningham's (D-Huntsville) excused absence from voting, presumably to tend to his gravely ill wife. Will he return as Education Committee Chair?

And you've just gotta wonder what's up with HR 0001. Blue Collar Muse has a very ghoulish take on that this morning:

Given the extreme detail with which the rest of the document [creating a Speaker Emertus position for Naifeh] details the qualifications for Speaker Emeritus, the lack of detail concerning the office's powers, functions and duties is startling. Would Naifeh refuse to perform any function or duty assigned to him by the Speaker unless he gets to be Speaker Emeritus? Is it customary for the Speaker to specifically assign functions and duties to a particular member? Given that Kent Williams chose, as his first official act as Speaker of the House, to turn the Speaker's gavel back over to Naifeh is it possible Williams could simply step down as Speaker for an unspecified time and appoint Naifeh as Speaker in his stead?
It's one thing to honor the man for his service (and as I write that I remember that income tax fight) but it's another to make accommodation for handing power back to him. Let's hope the Republicans can hold the line as well as they did today and vote no on HR0001. No offense, sir.

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