RTP sources report that embattled Rep. Charles Sargent has a rather curious past for someone who is now a member of GOP House leadership (Chair, House Finance Committee).
Way back in ancient times (1982 to be exact), Chuck was Williamson County chairman for a Democrat.
In and of itself, that might not be seem like such a big deal. After all, other Dem politicians “got religion” and had conversions (usually under threat of political annihilation) to the GOP, so what’s the big deal, you say?
Well. Sargent was the chairman for a very flawed candidate, Democrat Randy Tyree. And just who was Tyree running against? Why, none other than Governor (now Senator) Lamar Alexander! Tyree was the mayor of Knoxville who wanted to be governor (sound familiar?). Lamar! easily won re-election and Tyree was heaved into the political dustbin.
Considering the usual reliability of our source, RTP believes this information to be true. But in the interest of fairness (and our desire to start an argument) we invite Charles Sargent to dispute it. He can reach us at:
Why is it that every time Bill Haslam thinks someone is challenging his political manhood, he gets his panties in a wad?
The most recent example of him soiling his unmentionables when someone disagrees with him came when a number of GOP legislators sent him a letter demanding the resignation of his commissioner of education, Kevin Huffman (oh, have we mentioned recently that shortly before Haslam offered him the job, Huffman wrote an editorial in the Washington Post bragging that he voted for Obama? Just trying to keep our readers up to date on just one of the many Democrats Haslam has hired to run our state government).
Our “Republican” governor worked himself up to a full snit and proclaimed: “If you’re going to write a letter instead of coming in to talk, to me it says you’re not really concerned with getting to the right answer.” (Well!)
We think Bill is kinda missing the point here. It seems to us that since the legislators already had a pretty good idea how the governor would respond to the request to fire Huffman, they decided it would be more efficient to send him a letter. That way they could avoid having to wait a couple of months for the guv’s staff to get around to scheduling a meeting on the second Tuesday of the third week of September. A meeting would also require legislators to drive from the four corners of the state and that would just add pesky greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Wouldn’t want to kill the planet for a meeting just so you could tell them to go screw themselves and the constituents they rode in on, now would you, governor?
And there is the whole Emily Post thing: Which finger sandwiches are proper to serve at a hostile meeting? And the seating arrangements could be a problem. For instance who would have to sit next to Mark Cate? According to RTP sources, back in the spring, Cate tried to help recruit primary challengers against some of the signers of the letter? Awkward!
And don’t forget all the “thank you” cards you would have to write the participants.
Yeah, a letter was a lot better.
At a breakfast forum yesterday in Franklin, embattled incumbent Charles Sargent was asked why he did not sign the letter from fellow Republicans to the governor demanding the resignation of Kevin “IVFO” Huffman. Sargent replied that he would have signed the letter, but “no one asked me.”
Really, Charlie? That’s the best you can do?
After playing the role of enforcer and using every sleazy legislative trick he could muster in an attempt to block any anti-Common core or anti-PARCC testing legislation from making to the House floor, Charles Sargent actually has the nerve to say “Why, I would have signed the letter if someone had asked.”
We understand that you were not asked to sign the letter by your colleagues, because to do so would be hypocritical after everything you did during session to cover Huffman’s butt.
But, hey, we are all about redemption and second chances here at RTP. There is another candidate forum this evening, so you will have a great opportunity to let your position be known, Mr. Chairman. We’ll make this really easy for you. Attached is a copy of the letter your GOP colleagues sent to the governor. Heck, we don’t care if you draft your own letter calling for Huffman’s immediately dismissal. Just sign the letter.
Anything less and your would rightly be accused of lying. Of course this wouldn’t be the first time you were caught telling a whopper and hoping the voters don’t notice. (RTP: “So who’s the liar? Who’s the coward?”).
Just sign the damn letter, Charles.
How long will Kevin Huffman stay in Tennessee?
— Joey Garrison, firstname.lastname@example.org
There is more on last weekend’s straw poll controversy. The poll in the race for Senate (Alexander vs. Carr) conducted at the Davidson County GOP Picnic, was suddenly called off AFTER the votes were starting to be counted.
Thanks to RTP’s merry band of Tipsters (RTPtipline@gmail.com), more accusations are flying and they are focused squarely on Alexander supporters. Verbatim from our sources:
“According to those who counted the votes the campaign manager for Lamar Alexander, Alice Rolli was seen filling out multiple ballots (there is video ).
Those who counted the ballots say Ms. Rolli paid for 36 ballots after she became concerned about the Carr turnout and was leaked information that Lamar was loosing [sic] the straw poll. All this can be verified by those who actually counted the votes
Does anyone out there have a link to the video mentioned above? We are not sure we have ever seen video evidence of stuffing a ballot box. RTP promises to post the video link with no editing or commentary, unless of course, we feel like it….
It’s been several days since 15 GOP legislators called on “Republican” Gov. Bill Haslam to fire education commissioner Kevin “I voted for Obama” Huffman. Since then, at least one statewide teacher’s group, Tennessee Professional Educators, has publicly joined the “no confidence” vote on Huffman.
But what about the teacher’s union — the T.E.A.? They claim to represent teachers’ interests, but they have been conspicuously quiet on the issue. Surely their members are no fans of The Huffmeister. Almost to a person, teachers across the state oppose Huffman’s drive to enrich Pearson and PARCC with even more testing initiatives. When the TCAP debacle unfolded, T.E.A. was quick with the press release condemning Huffman’s screw-up (or cover-up). But as for actually calling for the governor to fire his sorry ass, they seem strangely reticent. To our knowledge, they have never specifically called on the governor to fire Huffman and certainly have not done so recently.
Some would interpret this post as nothing more than an blatant attempt to shame the T.E.A. into taking a stand on behalf of what members they have left. They would be correct in that interpretation.
Maybe Jim Wrye has spent so many hours schmoozing with the likes of Harry Brooks and Jamie Woodson that he now finds it difficult to get up off his knees and stand up for teachers. Maybe T.E.A.’s position on the board of S.C.O.R.E. — the lead advocates for more testing and other pernicious education “reform” programs presents such an egregious conflict of interest — has effectively sold their soul to the Devil, er, Huffman.
Whatever the reason, the T.E.A. needs to grow a pair and do the right thing. Now.
News this morning that former Clinton fundraising sleazeball and current governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe has said to hell with the Virginia legislature, HE can expand Medicaid without their permission. This from a Washington Post editorial (when the Post disagrees with a Democrat, now that’s news…):
Virginia’s governor claims he can expand Medicaid on his own say-so
June 21, 2014
VIRGINIA GOV. Terry McAuliffe (D) faced a tough choice this week, with only bad options amid the biggest Obamacare fight in the country. Republicans in the legislature have been determined to turn down billions in federal money to cover some 400,000 low-income Virginians. Mr. McAuliffe on Friday announced that he would go it alone, bypassing the General Assembly and unilaterally expanding access to affordable health care in the state. In a public address, the governor insisted that he had many legal avenues, and he assigned his secretary of health and human services to bring him a plan by Sept. 1st.
It was Mr. McAuliffe who sought the democratic validity of expanding low-income health coverage with legislative approval. He asked the General Assembly to approve taking the cash the federal government set aside to pump up the state’s Medicaid program, or at least to accept the money and expand coverage among low-income Virginians some other way. Months of deadlock resulted, but in the end Mr. McAuliffe failed to persuade lawmakers.
But as he develops his backup plan, Mr. McAuliffe cannot pretend as though the General Assembly has not spoken.
When Bill Haslam said he wouldn’t expand Medicaid without the legislature’s permission, the General Assembly invoked Ronald Reagan (“Trust, but verify”) and humiliated the governor by making him come back before the legislature to plead for any plan that involved extending the reach of ObamaCare through the Medicaid expansion trap.
If our neighboring state serves as a cautionary example, it seems the Tennessee legislature’s fears were well-founded. This is Haslam’s most recent statement on Medicaid expansion:
May 8, 2014
Gov. Bill Haslam assured reporters Wednesday he hasn’t given up on the prospect of the state accepting federal funding to expand taxpayer-financed health coverage for lower income Tennesseans.
Speaking during a press conference at Lipscomb University in Nashville, the Republican governor stressed, as he has before, that his administration faces a daunting political challenge in fashioning a Medicaid-expansion policy acceptable both to the Obama administration and the GOP-run Tennessee General Assembly.“Getting something passed — even if it is something that we get approved with (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), and it’s something that we think is good for Tennessee — will not be an easy sell at all,” said Haslam. “That is why we are working so hard in Washington to get something that can sell here.”
Our “Republican” governor just won’t let it go, seemingly content to beat the dead horse until the legislature bitch-slaps him once again. Some people never learn. Democrat Gov.Terry McAuliffe is one of those people. “Republican” Gov. Bill Haslam is another.
Everyone older than, say, 30 remembers “Baghdad Bob,” the comical and incompetent liar that served as Saddam Hussein’s mouthpiece during the Desert Storm war. Baghdad Bob was caught on video declaring to the news cameras that there were no American troops in Baghdad, while American tanks could be seen moving across the screen directly behind “Baghdad.”
Now Gov. Bill Haslam appears to have his very own Baghdad Bob: spokesman David Smith.
When a group of 15 legislators from Haslam’s own party penned a letter to the governor yesterday demanding the resignation of his commissioner of education, Kevin “IVFO” Huffman, David Smith (or should we now call him “Doofus Dave”?) donned his best sneering, condescending attitude:
Haslam spokesman Dave Smith accused the group of playing politics.
“Education is one of the most serious issues for the future of our state, and the governor believes there is a more productive way to discuss something so significant than through a letter by a small group of legislators more interested in trying to get headlines than substance,” he said. “Our office reached out to several of these members earlier in the week to discuss their concerns, and it is disappointing they chose a political stunt instead of constructive dialogue.”
Yeah, just one problem with your statement, Doofus. “Reaching out” and “constructive dialogue” for this governor and his staff has consisted of pleading not to say anything so as “not to embarrass the governor” or failing that, threatening legislators who dare speak out with primary opposition. So much for “dialogue.”
As for “political stunts,” we will concede Bill Haslam knows something about that subject. Of course, preening in front of the cameras while promising to give teachers a pay raise, only to take it back a few months later would probably not be a “political stunt” as you define it. Neither would conveniently delaying TCAP scores until 400 education writers were safely out of town. Nope — no stunting going on here, eh? Please, get serious, Dave. You can start with losing the bow tie. It only works on Bo Watson.
The political equivalent of saying there are no American tanks in Baghdad is to pompously declare that approximately 1/5 of the House Republican caucus is somehow playing politics and grandstanding because they dared to bring up a serious subject that governor refuses to address. Over 50 school superintendents (who sent their own letter to Haslam last year declaring they had “no confidence” in Huffman), the thousands of teachers and school administrators who are members of the Professional Educators of Tennessee (who issued a statement yesterday) and the huge numbers of other Tennessee teachers and parents who all agree with the 15 legislators who signed yesterday’s letter ALL must be grandstanding according to you. Oh, and the newspapers and news columnists who have called for investigation and even Huffman’s resignation are engaged in “political stunts?” Looks like you and the governor are going to need a much larger grandstand, Dave.
And we suppose the 82 legislators (out of 93) who voted on March 13th to delay the entire Common Core program for two years were just “a small group of legislators?” Learned to add, Doofus.
Doofus Dave and Gov. Haslam need to turn around and see the tanks.