Wilting under the continuing unfair and unrelenting pressure from Rocky Top Politics, the Governor has fired his chief of staff, Mark “Haters Gonna Hate” Cate.
Did Rocky Top really cause Mark Cate to leave? Of course not. But humor us with the little conceit that in some small way we may have helped set the stage for incompetence and arrogance inside the governor’s office to finally destroy itself. Cate was always going to self-destruct. RTP just gave him a little extra push.
No, the responsibility for this debacle lays squarely at the feet of the governor, and Mark Cate was just an obnoxious manifestation of what happens when the guy at the top is ideologically out of sync with the legislature and his red-state electorate and who also surrounds himself with toadies who lack the experience to govern and the courage to tell the boss when he has his head up his butt.
Was Cate fired? Probably. But we will likely never know, nor should we care. What we do know is that Cate leaves the governor’s office while the smoldering ruins of his/their latest debacle are still burning (curious timing for a departure, eh?). The question is. What now?
“Calling Dr. Ingram, Calling Dr. Ingram.”
WANTED: Someone to fill the recently-opened position of Chief of Staff to a high-ranking, stupid rich governmental chief executive. QUALIFICATIONS: Must be blindly loyal, politically inexperienced, arrogant to a fault, and enjoy attempting to bully those who disagree with you. Excellent retirement package provided by your employer.
So what’s next? First, look to the professional gubernatorial suck-ups like Harwell and McCormick to go into overdrive trying to protect Haslam’s golden niblets from further abuse. Which is precisely what they did ruing the caucus conference call last Friday when InsureGate hit). After all, Haslam still has over a billion reason$ why they will continue to do his bidding whenever possible.
But the same conditions that got Haslam in this mess (left of center agendas, political tone-deafness, astonishingly bad staff choices, etc.) still exist. Unless Haslam does an ideological 180 (not likely), the next Cate v2 edition is likely to end with the same result.
Will Ingram step in to take charge of the kiddie corps? Will Randy Boyd move over from ECD just weeks into his tenure there? Will Haslam hire an ideological soulmate with Democrat-tendencies? Or will someone in the Haslamist community buy a clue and hire a Jim Henry type who can at least paper-over some of the problems with the legislature?
Who knows? Anything can happen. Just know that Rocky Top Politics is on the job and will bring you any and all news we can find out or make up.
Hasta la vista, El Cato.