Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Making a partisan out of me

I have said before that I believe that there are some good and honest Democrats in Nashville, but that the Democratic Leadership of this State has become corrupted by nearly a century-and-a-half of power. Though I stand by my initial view, it is noteworthy that House Democrats-a group constantly chiming on about the baneful effects of "partisanship" and condemning "partisan rhetoric" or "partisan maneuvering" in the House-seem to define being overly partisan as disagreeing with the Democratic Party's collective course of action and daring to say or do something about it. Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Henry Fincher of Cookeville had these very public remarks to say about working with Republicans in a Democratic Caucus meeting quoted in the Knoxville News-Sentinel:

"I don't trust Republicans," said Rep. Henry Fincher, D-Cookeville, during a stormy meeting of the House Democratic Caucus. "My heart says it's not right to deal with them.

"I say we kick their ass and be done with it," Fincher said. "If we give into them now, we'll be giving in to them the rest of the session and the next one."

To be fair to Fincher, these were remarks made in a Democratic Caucus meeting. The caucus of either party is a partisan group, and a party caucus is not really a government body. Hence, I do not believe party caucuses ought to be open meetings.

With that said, Fincher's remarks just exude a spirit of bipartisanship, cooperation, and good feeling, don't they? The Party that dares to talk to Republicans about bipartisanship and how we are being too "partisan" is saying things in their Caucus about not trusting Republicans, it not being "right to deal with them" and kicking "their ass." This is lovely-it just makes me want to deal with these people in a spirit of harmony, peace, and brotherhood for the good of Tennessee.

If you want to see a a real partisan, I wish my maternal Grandfather were still here. In the dictionary under "partisan Republican" they ought to put a picture of him. A former Democrat who switched parties in late 1950's, he believed that there were many good things about America. If you wanted to see what was wrong with America, he would suggest attending a Democratic Convention. He used to say that if there is some kind of corruption in government "start digging, there's a Democrat in the woodpile somewhere." He collectively referred to Democrats as "Democrap," and he once told me that he honestly believed that the Democratic Party is led by Satan. He was nearing his passing from this world the day that the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton. He had been mumbling things in a way that none of us could understand for some days, but when several of us announced to him that the House had just impeached Bill Clinton, his head jolted up and he said in a very clear and understandable voice and tone "that is the best news I've heard all day."

Now that is a partisan...

In my life, I have tried to moderate my views on the evilness of our opposition. I have met many Democrats who are good people at heart and who are willing to work with us for a better America, and some in Nashville who might even be willing to negotiate with conservatives and Republicans and not just "kick [our] ass and be done with it." There are a few, at least I thought, who not only respect our views but will treat our people with dignity and work with us to come up with budget proposals that are reasonable and acceptable to us. Republicans weren't even asking to scuttle the cigarette tax, they just wanted an amendment to pay for school construction with lottery funds. They weren't asking for the buffet, they just wanted the scraps. As a result they were accused of being partisan and when they began to use a parliamentary maneuver to stand up for their rights, the Democrats used a far cheaper maneuver to shut them up.

The unfortunate result of all of this is that I have begun to wonder, after observing the events of Monday night, if my Grandfather was not more right than I sometimes care to admit. He thought Democrats were lying two-faced connivers who are filled with hatred for those who love America, do good, and live holy. Most importantly and simply of all, he thought that when it came to politics, no Democrat was the least bit worthy of anything approaching trust or confidence. My faith that very many in Tennessee's Democratic establishment are in this business to do things justly has been dealt a severe blow of reality by the events of this week.

As far as what Henry Fincher said-I find it to be truly unfortunate that after observing quite a bit of what went on this week, I have to say the feeling is mutual. This whole business is starting to make a hard partisan out of me again.

I don't trust Democrats. My heart says it's not right to deal with them.



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