Don BredesenReaders will recall the original proposal to give $100,000 in pork to every member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and $300,000 in pork to every Senator to spread around their districts as a sort of bribe. Now the Secretary of State's Office will distribute that money, so this means the Governor will get all the credit for "community enhancement."
I have a wild theory: Some Representatives were refusing to take the money, like Rep. Brian Kelsey, who saw the whole scheme as the vote-buying for which Democrats are notorious. Others figured that if they were going to get that kind of pork to hand out, they might as well do something that will really be of benefit to their constituents' pocketbooks. State Representative Stacey Campfield was working with Knoxville officials to try and use his allotment to provide some tiny amount of relief to Knoxville city residents on their property taxes.
Of course we can't have Representatives refusing to buy votes or who want to use public tax money to provide the public some small relief from taxes, so the best thing to do would be for the Secretary of State to run the whole thing, lest (God forbid) a few legislators might actually use the occasion to serve the people who elected them. This way, King Philip gets all the credit for the newfangled things that all this pork will bring and will in turn continue to receive acclamation from his allies in the press and popularity numbers through the roof, while the scandals and wasteful spending in his administration will be completely ignored-as usual.
You know, for all of the problems that have surfaced in this administration (and are really beginning to come to light in the second term), our Governor is nothing if not a master politician. The man is truly a political genius. I always thought Clinton was incredibly shrewed politically, but Bredesen makes Slick Willie look like a lightweight. He knows how to pull all the right strings to make everyone do it his way, and he gives a new meaning to the phrase "Teflon Don."
Labels: Tennessee politics