Did Williams try to cover his own rear?Recall that last Wednesday we had a discussion on this weblog about State Senator Mike Williams' "follies" as I called them at the time. The fact that not only did Williams vote for Democrat John Wilder as Speaker of the Senate and Lieutenant Governor (thereby thwarting the Republican majority the people had elected-of which he was and is a member) at the beginning of the last session, but with a second Republican majority in of equal numbers he is threatening to do so again. On top of that, we now learn that he has used campaign money for personal use in a fashion that is at best ethically questionable and at worst illegal.
When I wrote about this last week, Steve Mule warned in a comment:
Be careful. This may get to the point where, knowing he can't get re-elected he votes for Wilder just out of spite.
Indeed it may, and as I said in my response to that comment, it may have already gotten to that point. The exposure of Williams' behavior raises questions of all sorts, however. The kind of thing Williams stands accused of (using campaign money for personal use) has been nearly standard practice on the Hill in Nashville for years. Since the Democrats have essentially been the party of power there before anyone reading this blog was alive, it means that the Democratic leadership has allowed such practices as a matter of course for a very long time. As a member of the new Senate majority that has made attempts ethics reform a top priority, it might behoove Williams to flee to the leaders of Tennessee's Ancien Regime in order to cover his own rear end.
Think of it: Williams uses campaign money for his own use, something Ron Ramsey would likely shun. Knowing that he has done it, he votes for Wilder for Lt. Gov., thereby making himself Speaker Pro Tempore of the Senate by prearranged agreement. Since he is now buddy-buddy with Wilder and the second most-powerful officer in the State Senate, he's covered from any serious ethics inquiry.
I'm not saying conclusively that things happened that way, but knowing the Democrats' ethics record, if I'm Williams and I don't want to get nailed, I'm voting for Wilder in a Good Ole Boy agreement to give myself cover.
Labels: Tennessee politics