“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” — Bill Clinton, 1998
Andrea Zelinski of the NashvillePost asked a couple of hard questions of Gov. Bill Haslam regarding the targeting and funding of efforts to defeat incumbent legislators of his own party.
In response, Haslam tried to duck and weave away from responsibility, but failed miserably to remove the odious nature of his activities and those of his staff and his friends. Instead, he revealed a bizarre disconnect between his actions and his painfully lame justifications for those actions. Here is RTP’s dead-on analysis of the prevarications and evasions our governor attempted as he twisted himself with moral gymnastics that would have made Bubba blush.
Asked whether he denies Womick’s assertion that the governor had a direct hand in targeting lawmakers, Haslam said, “Again, I have folks who have supported us who are concerned about who gets elected to the legislature, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
RTP: Note that the Guv did not answer the question. Does his reference to unnamed “folks who have supported us” include his chief of staff, Mark Cate? You’re damn right it does. Does it include state party chair, Chris Devaney and/or others that he encouraged and directed? Very likely. But isn’t it more than just a little cowardly to try to remove yourself from actions that you obviously knew about and either approved or did not try to dissuade others from carrying out?
Haslam said, “I didn’t select one opponent, I can assure you that.” He added he didn’t encourage anyone to run against targeted legislators.
RTP: He didn’t select one opponent”? Did he select more than “one”? There is scant difference in directing your chief of staff to recruit and doing it yourself. In fact, as a political matter, there is no difference between the two. His excruciating parsing is as artless as it is stupid. It’s the same defense one uses when trying to convince the cops that you were only driving the getaway car: “I didn’t actually rob the bank.” Same crime, same complicity, same guilt.
As you know, contests get very personal. And so you start to hear lots of conversation back and forth about who’s doing this or that, and you know, it’s not always accurate,” he said
RTP: No Sh**, Sherlock. Contests can “get very personal,” and the governor and his lackeys made it VERY personal. “Not always accurate” pretty much sums up the governors entire response,
The governor’s smarmy parsing of words only adds to the discomfort among legislators – even those he considers friends – who realize that at some point the governor is likely to do the same thing to them (“I know that Mark Cate and three cabinet members testified the administration supported your bill, but they were only speaking for themselves. Did you ever actually hear me personally say I was backing your legislation? Well, did you?).
Man up, Bill. Take responsibility for your actions. And quit trying to convince us of your version of “I never had sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” It’s unseemly, lacks character and it doesn’t work.
You not only govern like a Democrat. You’re actually beginning to sound like one….