— Gov. Bill Haslam, 2-11-2017
And there you have it.
After 6+ years of “conservative” leadership, Gov. Bill Haslam let down his guard in Smithville Saturday night. What he said may as well have come straight from the mouth of Nancy Pelosi or Bernie Sanders.
The new online publication, The Tennessee Star, has wracked up several exclusive stories in its mere two weeks of existence. They were the first to report on the growing opposition at the highest levels of the legislature to the governor’s proposed gas tax. When House Majority Leader Glen Casada went on record in a video interview with the Tennessee Star (finally, a video of Glen that doesn’t include a hot blonde) supporting Rep. David Hawk’s counter-proposal for funding roads, Haslam went ballistic. First he called and asked to be on the Nashville-based and conservative Ralph Bristol radio show (something he largely avoided for the last few years), then he took to the road to try and salvage his latest legislative disaster. That took him to Smithville, where he rambled around about the gas tax. Finally, in frustration, he blurted out the statement above. You can see the video here.
If you are a Republican legislator, you have to ask yourself: “Why in God’s name should I support a governor who has such a warped, non-conservative view of government?”
If you are a Democrat legislator, you have to ask yourself: “Wait, what? Did Haslam just switch parties? First he proposed expanding Obamacare in Tennessee. Then he openly voted against Trump, and now this? [Random] non-Deity be praised! More taxes for everyone!”
Welcome to official lame duck status, Governor. Came a little early, didn’t it?