Lotfi Firing Likely To Backfire With Many GOP Caucus Members.
By now everyone in state government knows about the firing of the aide to Rep. Andy Holt, Michael Lotfi. Harwell apparently instructed House Clerk Joe McCord to dispatch Connie Ridley to do the axe job.
Harwell was doing what she loves to do: punishing the most vulnerable by vindictively seeking revenge for perceived slights and challenges to her power. It is a pattern she has repeated again and again and again and again.
Lotfi’s “crime” was helping re-elect conservative incumbent Republican legislators. This he did on his own time and in so doing made a few bucks to supplement the paltry salaries legislative aides receive from Connie Ridley’s office. Compare this to the likes of Walker and Taylor Ferrell who were financially rewarded by GOP state chairman Ryan Haynes for opposing conservative incumbent Republican legislators. Lotfi’s real crime was working for conservative members of the House GOP caucus who might vote for Harwell’s opponent in the coming race for Speaker.
When Harwell’s henchwoman Connie Ridley told Lotfi he was being fired, she said one of the reasons for his firing was that “he was making too much money.” Based on the Tennessean story, to help make that determination Ridley reached back to money Lotfi made in 2014 – BEFORE he even started working in the legislature. To this, RTP asks Ms. Ridley the obvious question: “Where the hell do you get off deciding how much money someone made before they came to work in your offices is relevant, Ms. Ridley? It’s none of your damn business.
Of course, when asked directly about the circumstances, she hid behind the old canard that she “was not allowed to discuss personnel actions.” Then the Tennessean asked Harwell’s office about the matter and they were referred back to Connie Ridley. See how that works? What a bunch of craven, dishonest cowards.
Harwell, using her hacks to deliver her own special brand of nasty and petty vindictiveness, has unintentionally delivered a political gift to her opponents in the Speaker’s race. According to our sources, in conversations with GOP caucus members, Rep. Jimmy Matlock has positioned himself as a Speaker who wants to put an end to the constant retributions and intimidation. Matlock has advocated a more open House built on respect and inclusion as opposed to deceitful fiscal notes, muzzling members who do not toe the line, punitive firings, encouraging the defeat of Republicans who dare hold a position different from that of the speaker or the governor, plus any number of other tactics and rules designed to stifle debate, not promote it.
Harwell’s churlish action against a low-level staffer serves as a stark reminder to all members of the House GOP of what another two years of Harwell will be like. If anything, it promises an even more regressive and revenge-laden, dictatorial style of running the House. She could not have hurt herself more with her colleagues if she had tried.
Time to put Harwell and her Hacks on Ice.
Post Script: The Tennessean reported that one of the accusations the Speaker and her lap dogs hurled at Lotfi was that he was suspected to be the person behind Rocky Top. While we are flattered that Harwell, Ridley, the MSM, etc. continued to be obsessed with our little blog, it came as quite a surprise to the crew here at Rocky Top. Nothing against Lotfi, but none of us can recall ever being introduced to Lotfi, much less having worked with him in any capacity.
Of course his not being a member of the Rocky Top crew is something of a tribute to Lotfi’s superior good judgement. He definitely hangs out with a better class of people than we do.