TODAY: THE LOSERS.
There are too many losers to count, but we’ll start the ball rolling with these:
- Rep. Kevin Brooks.
Kev tried to have it both ways, declaring publicly he was undecided while trying to recruit votes in favor of InsureTN behind the scenes. Not good.
- Governor Haslam and staff — especially Mark Cate.
The most common question heard around LP these last couple of days has been: “What the hell was he thinking?” Even his supporters can’t figure out why the Guv was so willing to expend such enormous tons of political capital for such a nebulous, ill-conceived, waste-of-money big government expansion program. Not only did his plan fail, he created an absolute toxic atmosphere in the legislature. It’s going to be a long Lame-Duck journey for Haslam.
“Bully Boy” Mark Cate has hopefully realized that belligerent pontification is not the way to win the hearts and minds of people who, unlike Cate, were actually elected to their positions by the voters. Mark’s mouth needs to occasionally check in with his ass before he tries to cash big political checks at the Bank of the General Assembly. Oh, and his testimony needs better preparation and some serious fact-checking.
And let’s not forget the ubiquitous Kiddie Korps of legislative liaisons employed by the governor’s office. These well-intentioned “Millennial Minions” get passing grades for their studied earnestness, but are seen as little more than human playback machines for spouting the administration’s talking points. A favorite game of legislators is to screw with them, just to see their reaction. They’re cute, but ineffectual.
- Liberal Media Sycophants and Prostitute Pollsters.
Even for the predictable liberal media, their willingness to stash their intellectual principles into a blind trust in order to blindly cover (or pimp) for InsureTN was breathtaking. Giving the governor a pass on the facts wasn’t enough for this crew. They shamelessly repeated the governor’s assertions that it “wasn’t Obamacare” and that it “won’t cost taxpayers a dime” and that “we could get out after two years if we wanted to” without challenging the falsity of such comments. But many went a step further, quoting without challenge the MTSU poll and the pollsters the governor hired, without questioning their methodology, sample sizes, demographics, etc. (more on the pollsters in later postings). In short, the media willingly whored itself out to the governor’s bogus narrative. Just when we thought the media couldn’t lose any more credibility – they did.
However, there were two notable exceptions to the above: Tom Humphrey and the AP’s Eric Schelzig. Humphrey played it pretty much down the middle. More importantly, he used his extensive relationships and gave generally objective analysis to the process itself – just what you would expect from the Dean. Schelzig wrote a scathing analysis outlining the “poisonous atmosphere” the governor’s program had created in the legislature, quoting equally from opponents and proponents. Trouble was, that article got more play from newspapers outside of Tennessee than it did in-state. Surprised?
- The Chamber, THA, TMA and their Democrat lobbyists.
The Hospital Association pulled out all the stops to get their mitts on all the “free” taxpayer money to bail out their hospitals. Of course, no one bothered to ask why their hospitals were in such trouble. Check out the millions in bonuses paid out by one of the mega-hospitals (Erlanger in Chattanooga) that were crying poverty. The CEO pay scale was off the charts, especially for the big hospitals, with most receiving salaries, stock options and other bonuses in the millions. There is no sympathy for them.
Of course, these organizations were represented by a hoard of lobbyists, many of whom spent their entire careers as Democrats and who have been trying to enter the witness protection program ever since the GOP took control. But many GOP members are catching on. But not so for GOP leadership and their relenting hunger for more money from the lobbyists’ clients to pad their personal PAC accounts (Beth, we are looking in the direction of your $1.4 million here).
But let’s not leave out the “Republican” lobbyists who unsuccessfully pimped – er — lobbied for the governor’s plan. Incompetence knows no party labels. Hope you got paid up front.
5. Legislative leadership.
Speaker Harwell avoided having to take a position and didn’t even have to hide out in the bathroom this time to avoid a difficult vote (for you newcomers, ask Ron Ramsey about that last comment). But she certainly didn’t help her gubernatorial plans. McCormick probably guaranteed himself a primary challenge in 18 months and helped further divided the GOP caucus. The manner in which leadership “led” insures the rest of this session will be the most contentious and divisive in recent history…and that’s just among Republicans!
Special Mention – Sen. Jeff Yarbro.
It didn’t take long for the young senator’s smirking, liberal arrogance to wear thin. After a couple of gratuitous snide remarks about the “seriousness” of the GOP majority in addressing the issue, “Pajama Boy” Yarbro was bitch-slapped by Sen. Todd Gardenhire in front of everyone.
Pour yourself another cup of Ovaltine before you think about trying that again, Jeff.