Tuesday, February 10, 2009

He left the party

For years people have been complaining that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Now, when the Tennessee Republican Party is trying to demonstrate that there will be, people are complaining that they've done a foolish thing in kicking
Speaker of the House Rep. Kent Williams (R I -Elizabethton)
out of the party. They fear we'll lose our 'majority' or being out gamed. In a world that doesn't like black and white and excuses everything by pleading for fairness, compromise and begs us to consider extenuating circumstances the man with the backbone in the debate who will stand on principle is a woman named Robin Smith, TN GOP Chairman.

The bottom line here is that a political party is a team. The team depends upon people agreeing to certain principles that define the mission of the team. Part of being a team is working with your teammates to accomplish the goal. Trust in your team members to do their jobs and not be 'ball hogs' is essential. Trusting the team captain to call the plays and your fellow team members to execute those plays is what makes a successful team. On what planet should someone who is not a team player expect to stay on the team? It wasn't rogue players like Williams that got Pat Summit 1000 wins.

From my point of view Speaker Williams crossed the line when promised to vote for a Republican Speaker and Speaker Pro Tempore and did not. No one had a gun to his head. No one was threatening his family. He signed that pledge, gave his word, and now we know what his word is worth....nothing. No man who is a proven liar should be running the Tennessee House. Period. Why can't that be agreed upon? Because we expect politicians to lie? We shouldn't.

In her statement announcing that Williams will no longer be considered a Bona Fide Republican Smith lists a good number of things that demonstrate clearly to me, and every other frustrated Republican in this state, that there was more than ample reason to tell Williams he's off the team. What team member treats his teammates this way? He gave the other team significant power over legislation which will hobble the mission of the team. He gave the bigger offices and salaries to the other team. He IS dragging down the good name of the rest of the team. Frankly, I believe Smith's only acknowledging the fact that Williams has already left the team.

Obviously, the man is an island unto himself. Big snort comes when you know what shenanigans he's being playing out and then read this:

"I am a yes man for the people of Carter County and now that I am speaker I am a yes man for the people of Tennessee. They are my boss.” Kingsport TimesNews
And I should believe anything that comes out of the mouth of Speaker Williams? Your bosses, Speaker Williams, voted for a Republican majority. You gave us the back of your hand.

Having demonstrated that he is untrustworthy the Republicans have done exactly the right thing in cutting Williams from the team and moving on with team members that can be trusted and will work for the party goals. So here's your dimes worth of difference between the parties. The Republicans won't give safe haven to dishonorable men.

UPDATE: Here's the video of Robin Smith's 9:00 minute statement via Truman Bean. Two points jumped out at me.
  1. Kent Williams hadn't met his party chairman until December 15, 2008 when she introduced herself to him. He's been in office 2 years already. How is it that they hadn't met before then? How involved in your party are you if you haven't even met the Chairman? (Minute 3:01 in the video below.)
  2. Smith points out the absolute truth that Williams was elected Speaker of the House by the Democrats and himself. He is clearly the Democrat's Speaker, not the Republican's.


Nashteach said...

We need more independents anyway, so it works for me, too. Though truly, I'd prefer we just throw all 99 of them out and start over. It's all like a really, really bad movie.

Kay Brooks said...

I don't know about all 99 but I can probably name about 30 that if gone, would improve their ability to actually do business a hundredfold.

N.S. Allen said...

In a partisan sense, I'm all in favor of the Republicans renouncing Williams. A conjunction of the terms "Republicans" and "majority in a legislative body" is something that I can quite happily do without.

That being said, it's an amazingly bone-headed, political move. Even assuming that the party loses no immediate power by giving up their official majority, which I assume to be the case, kicking Kent to the curb is not going to make anyone behave better.

After all, is Kent going to suddenly decide to be a model Republican, now? Not if he's smart. He's, by all indications, anathema to his own caucus, at this point, and this act doubles down on that. If he wants political backing and has half a brain, this is just going to push him closer to the Democratic side of the aisle.

Will it make Republicans elsewhere in the caucus quake in their boots? Also not likely. For one thing, the example being made of Williams isn't likely to come up again in the near future, and, for another, Williams has suffered little material harm and become Speaker, for his troubles. That possibility won't exactly have representatives quaking in their boots, when they get the urge to buck the party line.

The only real advantage the Republicans seem to glean from this is getting to feel good about having purged the infidel from their ranks. Which I'm sure is a nice feeling, but it's not exactly the sort of far-sighted goal that I'd want my political leaders to have.