One of the RTP crew was lucky enough to escape frozen Tennessee and join the Republican governors at their meeting in Florida this week. Here is his/her on the scene report:
The weather has been overcast, rainy and windy since we arrived on Monday, but at least it’s not snowing. The big word today is that Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam may well be the next chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association. Now before he and his staff get the big-head over that possibility, here are some behind the scenes factoids about how this may happen.
First, the reason Haslam is being considered at all is that no one else wants the job. All those who are the first tier candidates have declared they are not interested. Some of them are running for president. Others don’t want to try and follow the banner election earlier this month. Duplicating those results would be nearly impossible. And lastly, there are only two races for governor next year — hardly worth the large amount of time you would have to spend as head of the RGA.
Second — Haslam is everyone’s second choice. The best line we heard was last night over drinks at Bar Luna. The chief of staff of another, more prominent governor told us: “No one wants the damn job. We might as well give it to Miss Congeniality (Haslam).” If Haslam gets the post, think of it as a “meteoric rise to mediocrity.”
But that hasn’t kept the governor’s minions from lobbying like crazy to get him the post. Mark Cate was spotted this morning flitting around the Palm Court from chief-of-staff to chief-of-staff. Now Mark didn’t draw the attention that Haley Barbour did with his garish red shirt yesterday, but he looked the part with his severe dark suit, white shirt and frisky yellow tie. But enough of our fashion report….
Where have we seen this scenario play out before? Oh, that’s right — when Big Jim and Jimmy couldn’t figure out what Bill could contribute to the family business, they decided the best thing for Pilot was to run Bill for mayor of Knoxville. Now that no one can figure out who will take the job that no one wants, the governors appear to have settled on Bill to be the chairman of the RGA. How thoughtful of them.