Monthly Archives: March, 2015

Was Devaney’s re-election a sham?

devaney

Were SEC members “played”?

Establishment leaders desperate to keep control of chairmanship.

Littleton entry a major threat.

The evidence is beginning to pile up. Aside from Chris Devaney’s genuine desire to do humanitarian work in Haiti, it appears the circumstances surrounding his re-election and sudden resignation were a carefully orchestrated attempt by allies of the governor and other establishment types to insure the chairmanship does not fall into the hands of a – gasp! – conservative.

There is a growing suspicion that Devaney was asked by the powers-that-be to run for re-election with full knowledge that he was planning a move to Haiti after the first of the year and would resign just a few weeks into his 2-year term.  That action would prevent conservatives (in this case, Joe Carr) or anyone else not to their liking from attaining the chairmanship. It would give establishment types time to recruit and set up a transition for the candidate of their choosing.

After Devaney’s re-election, the next clue was the curious case of Ryan Haynes and his House committee chairmanship. Haynes did nothaynes retain his chairmanship this year. Astute observers of the process thought this was a highly unusual, since a renewal of his position was considered automatic.  Tellingly, news reports detailed those who lost their chairman positions, along with reasons as to why they had fallen into disfavor with Harwell and House leadership. But there was nary a negative word about Haynes’ non-reappointment coming from Haynes, the Speaker or anyone else in leadership positions. In fact, Haynes told colleagues that he “didn’t have time” to be chairman again and that he had other things planned. It now looks as though the fix was already in and the “other plans” for the 29-year-old representative included leaving the state hous seat he had just been elected to in November for a better-paying political gig.

Then came Devaney’s resignation announcement. Literally within minutes, Haynes issued a press release entering the race and obtained an excuse slip from Speaker Harwell to abandoned his desk last week during the middle of the legislative session. Haynes immediately left Nashville and began a desperate dash to secure support among the state executive committee members before anyone else knew what was happening. The incredibly short two-week period between Devaney’s resignation and the SEC meeting to elect a new chairman fit right into the plan.

Late last week it looked like it was all coming together for Haynes and his handlers. It took precious days for possible candidates to assess their chances and begin making the moves to challenge Haynes. Those candidates ranged from FOX News personalities to Vanderbilt professors, with Haynes trying to position himself as some sort of consensus candidate.

But the powerbrokers did not see the entry of Rep. Mary Littleton coming.

littletonLittleton is arguably head and shoulders above Haynes in state party experience. She is a (twice) former vice chairman of the state party and a former member of the state executive committee. Haynes was still in elementary school when Littleton was already working in the trenches to help pave the way to elect people like Haynes.

In just the last 72 hours, Littleton has begun the tedious task of calling the 66 people who will make the decision on April 11th. These are the very same people who were hoodwinked back in December when the last election for chairman took place.

Will they be fooled again? Will they compliantly line up like sheep to vote for Haynes or will they ask hard questions and vote with their eyes wide open?

We’ll see. More on this later.

Challenge Accepted, Governor!

“The Republican governor told reporters on Thursday that the more often lawmakers take up his plan, the more chances his administration has to quell concerns about the proposal”

RTP and the taxpayers of Tennessee gladly accept Gov. Bill Haslam’s challenge.  Bogus, unscientific, loaded polling aside, the voters know an ObamaCare Trojan horse when they see one, and Insure TN is such a horse.

Despite (or maybe because of) his humiliating defeat during a special session on the issue, Haslam is like the dolt who keeps touching the hot stove and, having learned nothing from the pain of the experience, insists on touching it again and again.

Who knows?  Maybe we could make the consideration and defeat of Insure TN/ObamaCare expansion an annual festival like Mule Day, replete with rides, funnel cakes and games (“Come one, come all and take your best shot at the dunking machine.  As usual, the guest sitting in the dunking chair will be Gov. Bill Haslam!”).

muleAs they can tell you down in Columbia, mules can be stubborn asses.

So can governors.

 

Cause & Effect?

On Thursday, RTP took Rep. Ryan Haynes to task for not showing up for his current job (state representative) while he was pursuing another political job (state GOP chairman). Within hours of that posting, Haynes announced he would resign his state rep. position should he win the GOP chairman’s job.

Gee, Ryan, we didn’t mean for you to quit your day job, at least not just yet. We primarily wanted you to do the job you were elected to do before you go traipsing off for greener pastures.

As much as RTP would like to take credit for forcing Haynes into his Shermanesque resignation pledge, political types a lot smarter than us are telling RTP Haynes’ promise had more to do with Rep. Mary Littleton’s entry into the chairman’s race (more on this in postings later).

Despite our protests to the contrary, it is not impossible for a sitting member of the legislature to do the job of state party chair (it’s been done at least twice before, most recently by Rep. Beth Harwell), although we would prefer the two not mix. The main complaint we had with Rep. Haynes is that it took him only a nanosecond to walk away from his elected post to pursue his political ambitions — just like it took him a nanosecond before he promised to leave his state rep post before the session was even over if he got elected party chairman.

The lesson here for Ryan Haynes:  Opportunism is never pretty…

“op·por·tun·ism”

/äpərˈt(y)o͞oˌnizəm/ — Opportunism is the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances – with little regard for principles, or with what the consequences are for others. Opportunist actions are expedient actions guided primarily by self-interested motives.

For God’s sake, would someone just put a stake in this guy?

Former Education Commish Kevin Huffman (aka,” Count Commoncore”) may have pulled a Bela Lugosi and climbed out of his grave to torture the villagers all over again. The latest sighting of the bloodsucker of Tennessee taxpayers may Huffman draculahave come during the debate going on in the legislature over the future of the start-up Tennessee Virtual Academy – an organization for which Huffman carried a near-pathological hatred.

Huffman’s minions who are still lurking about the shadows of the Department of Education seem determined to carry out his vendetta against the Academy. Some parents of TNVA students have filed suit claiming that Huffman’s order to close the school was illegal, in part because the three year period for earning a “1” rating (on a 5 scale) under the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) – a rating that could allow a closure — hasn’t happened. Legislation passed in 2013 allowed the Commissioner to close underperforming schools, but as the parents point out, the required third school year assessment and rating won’t occur until the 2015-16 school year.

Huffman’s replacement, Commissioner Candice McQueen, continues to demand that the school close and is being urged on by Mark “Mr. Personality” Cate. TNVA says it will likely hit a 2 on the TVAAS scale this year. McQueen has raised the stakes and is now demanding a 3 before the state will back off. Worse, the Academy’s closing will force its 1,300 students into other schools…many of which are lower performing schools than TNVA. Yeah, that makes lots of sense.

Since there are at least 100 other schools who were also rated as underperforming for three years, it is not really clear why Huffman and his unholy band of deadhead bureaucrats targeted this one school. None of the other schools are being forced to close.

The Commissioner of Education could back off. The Governor could tell her to back off. The courts could force the state to follow its own law and leave TNVA alone for at least another year.  Or the taxpayers could get some torches, pitchforks and Holy water and finish the job.

So, almost exactly one year after the House blindsided Kevin by dumping PARCC testing and delaying Common Core, Kevin may be getting a measure of revenge by leaving behind an issue that could be toxic to those same legislators. The power to indiscriminately close some under-performing schools while keeping other open was likely not a feature of the original legislation – especially if the administration selectively chooses schools to close based on their location, say, like in the districts of those legislators who have opposed the governor on other issues? It could happen. Just ask Advance Tennessee PAC.

Was Count Kevin really that smart? Has he just left a flaming bag of dog poop on the doorstep of schools like Von Helsing Elementary in Grundy County, not to mention the porches of unwary legislators, while he sits back and laughs?

Either way, this really sucks.

 

 

Where’s Waldo?

waldo edited

Channeling his inner Elvis, Ryan Haynes has left the building

 Leaves his constituents high and dry while he pursues his next political job.

And so it begins.

That certainly didn’t take long. Less than 48 hours ago, RTP had some pointed questions for the 29-year-old state rep who wants be state party chairman, Ryan Haynes.

One question was whether Haynes could do both at the same time and whether he would resign his current job before he took on another fulltime job as party chairman. Haynes’ constituents will be pleased to know that it took him less than 24 hours to abandon them. Tuesday arrived to find Haynes not at his desk in the legislature. Same thing on Wednesday — Haynes was AWOL. During the last two days, there were 125 pieces of legislation up for consideration in the two committees of which Haynes is a member. He missed every single discussion and every vote while he was presumably out campaigning for another job.

Haynes has reportedly turned over all the legislation he was carrying to Rep. Bill Dunn. Wonder if Dunn gets a cut of Haynes’ salary while he tries to do the job the voters hired Haynes to do?

Voters of the 14th district better get used to it. Haynes has plenty of ambition, for sure. But doing the job he was elected to do is obviously not at the top of his priority list.  The only way one of Haynes’ constituents will get a phone call returned from him is if the constituent is on the state executive committee.

New candidate for GOP State Party Chair?

The political rumor mill was a-buzzin’ late today with news that Ryan Haynes may have some serious competition for the state chairman slot.  And with all due respect to Haynes, this new entry would be an attractive candidate — in more ways than one.

Scottie Nell Hughes

Scottie Nell Hughes

Scottie Hughes, of national FOX News fame, has been approached and is reportedly seriously considering getting into the race.  Besides her obvious good looks, Hughes brings a first-class intellect, a national name and a rock-solid conservative resume.  Her hubby Chris is a member of the GOP state executive committee from Sumner County.

More on this as it develops.

You can’t spell “Crap” without AP.

crapRTP has uncovered the answer as to why AP reporter, Lucas Johnson, wrote a biased and misleading article about the Spivey/Bell legislation to repeal Common Core last week.  In the article, he extensively quoted SCORE spokesperson Teresa Wasson.  Wasson attempted to spin the committee vote and the legislation (which was very negative for SCORE), and did so so badly that Woodson & Co. had to rush out a clarification directly contradicting their own spokesperson.

Johnson, being the crack reporter from AP, didn’t even bother to interview the bill’s author, Spivey, who could have set him and Ms. Wasson straight.  Doing so would have required Johnson to leave his desk in the press room and walk about 15 feet directly across the hall to where the committee was meeting.

So how did this happen?  One could mark it up to just an incompetent reporter.  After all, this is the same yahoo who earlier this year, breathlessly and incorrectly reported that Sen. Delores Gresham had changed her mind and was now in favor of Common Core (she was not, nor had she ever been).

But through extensive, incisive and painstaking research by one of the RTP crew (she looked it up on Google — took about 30 seconds), we uncovered the real reason for Johnson’s Folly.   Immediately previous to her employment at SCORE, Ms. Wasson was a reporter for — wait for it — the Associated Press.

Ta-Da!  Johnson calls his former AP colleague to get the quote he undoubtedly knows she will give and that will fit the preordained narrative that both of them so desperately want to report.  The two AP buddies conspire to spin a pro-Common Core story out of a Common Core disaster while ignoring the key players.

No, no bias here. No MSM collusion either.  Move along, please.  Nothing to see ……

Devaney Departs. Haynes Jumps In. Now for a few questions….

Chris Devaney is resigning as Republican state party chair less than four months after he asked the state executive committee to vote for him. He promised to serve out his term, but on second thought has decided to chuck it and move to Haiti for mission work. To this, we say:

Hasn’t Haiti suffered enough?

We kid, of course. Everyone at RTP, including a couple of us who have done volunteer mission work, wish Devaney and his family the very best in their new endeavors. Godspeed.

Now for his replacement. It was fairly obvious to anyone paying attention that Rep. Ryan Haynes was informed beforehand that Devaney was resigning, because mere minutes after the resignation became public, Haynes conveniently had a statement announcing his candidacy. No attempts at false pretense on his part. It may also be assumed that his candidacy has the approval of fellow Knoxvillian Bill Haslam and that this was all set up in advance to put the governor’s boy in the slot. We’ll see if anyone emerges to challenge Haynes, but with the election apparently set for April 11th, time is short.

A couple of huge glaring questions Haynes did not address in his announcement letter:

RTP has become known as those annoying little pissants who rudely ask difficult questions of those in power. Today is no exception.

Having a sitting state representative serve as party chairman is not without precedent. Jim Henry did it back in the 80’s, when there were not nearly as many Republicans in the legislature as there are now. More recently, Beth Harwell did the job, with mediocre results. In that instance, the de facto chairman was Bob Davis, who served as Deputy Chairman and ran the day-to-day operations while Beth did here legislative duties and toured the state giving speeches and building her bona fides for a possible statewide tun in the future (which will probably happen in 2018).

But now tough questions are being asked of Haynes, and here are just a few of them:

  1. Will Haynes resign his seat and allow a special election? After all. The chairmanship is a full-time job, and during the legislative session, so is serving in the General Assembly. Get ready for the complaints from constituents and party activists that Haynes is slacking off one position at the expense of the other. Also, what job is Haynes giving up to do this? Does he have income outside the legislature? If he does, he didn’t mention it in his letter. Inquiring minds want to know.
  2. How will he segregate his activities? Will he withhold or offer contributions and/or use the
    Haynes and fellow Common Core supporter, Jamie Woodson

    Haynes and fellow Common Core supporter, Jamie Woodson

    communication team of the state party to push his agenda in the legislature? It is not an unreasonable question. If the governor or the Speaker tells Haynes to withhold contributions to recalcitrant conservatives, he will undoubtedly do their bidding.

  3. What are the rules on raising money during session? Under current law, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say the rules that prevent Haynes from soliciting and accepting contributions during session would also apply to soliciting contributions for the party, some of which would go to legislators for their campaigns, possibly including Haynes. Is it illegal? Maybe. Does it look sleazy? Definitely.

We think Haynes should be asked to choose one job or the other. But what do we know? We also think it reasonable to ask Bill Haslam govern like the conservative he said he was when he ran,  instead of the ObamaCare-loving, Common Core champion and left-of-center politician he has proven to be.

RTP outs SCORE on Common Core Repeal Bill. SCORE tries to Walk It Back.

Hate Common Core?  Want to get rid of it?  Then pay close attention to what S.C.O.R.E. says.

Then do the exact opposite.

Fresh from the embarrassment of their own spokesperson giving a live demonstration on how to talk out of one’s ass, SCORE moved to try and mitigate the damage.  At the center of the controversy is a bill offered by Rep. Billy Spivey and Sen. Mike Bell that would “replace Common Core” with a new set of standards developed by Tennessee educators.

As RTP reported on Thursday, SCORE’s spokesperson tried to put the best spin on SCORE’S humiliating exclusion from the negotiations during the drafting of the legislation, not to mention the unanimous vote in committee moving the bill forward. SCORE’s Teresa Wasson declared the bill wasn’t that bad, while claiming it “kept the Common Core standards,” when in fact it did just the opposite.  But after RTP called their bluff, SCORE head honchos immediately ran out the next day and said “Oh, No, No, No, No!  We know it sounded like our spokesperson was okay with the bill.  What she meant to say was that the Spivey bill is bad, bad, bad.  And we firmly oppose it!”

Gee, thanks for clearing that up.  We guess that’s what happens when you try to save face but end up showing your butt.

The fact is, Spivey’s bill strips the governor of over half of his appointments (giving the legislature 6 of the 10 appointments) to the new review panels who will develop the new Tennessee standards.  It also removes the state from the memorandums-of-understanding (MOUs) with other states and entities.  This is also an important concession by the governor, because the MOUs were designed to tie us to Common Core entities and tying our hands if we tried to use something other than Common Core. The MOUs were coordinated by the late, great Kevin “I voted for Obama” Huffman.  Doing away with the MOUs makes it easier for Tennessee to go its own way.

Even a few conservative activists got momentarily caught up in the confusion of the mangled AP stories and started criticizing Spivey’s bill as some sort of sell out.  But a quick reality check (and a more thorough reading of the bill) appears to have quelled that talk.

Kiffin EditedWhat’s next?  SCORE claiming they have no ties to Bill Frist or Bill Gates? Or, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?”  How about, “Lane Kiffin was actually good for Tennessee football?”  Sheesh.

We await SCORE’s next utterance with breathless anticipation accompanied by a large dose of skepticism.

 

 

Lamar! Thought it was a photo-op with Tea Party, not the T.E.A.

His first clue should have been this guy:

Lamar! and the "T.E.A. Party"

Lamar! and the “T.E.A. Party”

Unlike T.E.A. union lobbyist, Jim Wrye, not too many members of the real Tea Party were formerly the Exec. Director of the Alabama Democratic Party as well staff member for former Democrat governor, Don Siegelman (who is now serving a 6-year prison term for bribery and conspiracy).

We suggest Lamar! actually meet with the real Tea Party folks.  Generally speaking, they’re a better class of people.