Winners and Losers from last week’s Special Election
Pundits frequently try to extrapolate deeper meaning from special elections. Sometimes such elections are harbingers of future results. Sometimes they are meaningless as predictors of electoral activity. But the special election to fill Ryan Haynes seat (HD 14) was not a predictor so much as it was a confirmation of the political landscape in the legislature.
There were a variety of issues discussed in last week’s competition between Zachary and Carson, but none loomed as large as InsureTN. Zachary was against it and Carson was for it. Carson had the backing of the entire Haslam political organization, Including Sen./Dr. Richard (Dicky) Briggs. The Haslam/Carson/Briggs forces got their butts handed to them.
Let’s start with the Losers:
Gov. Bill Haslam –
Bill and the boys got the band back together again for a reprise of his disastrous Advance Tennessee gambit in the primaries one year ago. In that effort, the Haslamists rounded up the usual suspects and blew a quarter million dollars attacking fellow incumbent Republicans who opposed the governor’s agenda. In the House, Haslam lost a net of one seat. This time, the same crew got together and got the same result. The net loss of a reliable Haslam vote.
Chamber of Commerce
These bozos couldn’t put together an effective coalition if they had twice as much money and three times as many political consultants. What was particularly pathetic was their attempt to confuse voters by creating a front group they called Tennesseans for Prosperity, a laughable phony version of Americans for Prosperity (who weighed in against InsureTN). What will these political geniuses come up with next: “Hope and Change?” “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too?” A new state logo?
Knoxville News-Sentinel —
While the MSM has generally had their nose up the governor’s derriere the last 4+ years, none have had it surgically attached like the editors at the KNS. Their dogmatic advocacy for expanding ObamaCare through InsureTN and their support of the gas tax are just their most recent disconnects from their readership. And their endorsement for Carson was like the Kiss of Death. They better be glad the Knoxville Journal is no longer around, or they would be hemorrhaging readers like a stuck pig.
Sen. Richard Briggs –
Dr. Dicky-boy is reknowned for his quiet arrogance and high-handed treatment of others. Now he can add “political moron” to the line of letters that follow his name. Getting involved in a primary in a house district inside your own senate district is almost never a good idea. But Briggs plunged ahead and single handedly managed to put himself on the target list for a primary opponent his next time out. RTP thinks Zachary would make an excellent state senator – don’t you?
Honorable mention: Cong. Jimmy Duncan —
It should have been embarrassing enough for the good Congressman that the unknown and unfunded Zachary got 40% of the vote and won two counties against Duncan last year. But Jimmy made it much worse with his thinly-veiled attempt to seek revenge on Zachary and coming out for Carson. In so doing, he made it all the less likely that a member of the Duncan clan will hold on to his Congressional seat next time it’s up. We think Zachary would make an excellent congressman – don’t you?
And the Winners:
Oh, yeah – those guys. Never mind that our leaders such as Bill Haslam have absolutely no idea how they are going to pay for Obamacare or that the “free money” they promise isn’t even real money (just added to the national debt – and more taxes). “Let’s fool the taxpayers into believing we are giving them a bunch of free stuff” that they or their children will eventually have to pay for in – you guessed it – higher taxes.
Zachary called their bluff on InsureTN and they just can’t stand it. When the Chamber of Commerce and newspapers and politicians like Bill Haslam and Barack Obama can tell us how they are going to pay for InsureTN, then maybe – just maybe — the taxpayers will give a crap about their opinion.
Andy Ogles and AFP –
When AFP honcho Ogles said AFP was going to challenge the Governor’s agenda, the governor tried to man up and challenged the AFP to “Bring it on.”
Well, they “brought it” governor. How do you like it? Choked on it yet?
Conservatives in the legislature –
Be they members of the shadowy Conservative Majority Caucus, or just unaffiliated conservatives who are fed up with their leadership squelching conservative agendas, last week’s election was particularly sweet. The screw is turning on the establishment leadership, and this most recent example only underscored the Naifeh-lite crowd’s days are numbered.
Honorable mention:Rep. Glen Casada —
If he didn’t mind being called a “radical right-wing extremist politician” by the Chamber of Commerce, then Glen is a winner.