King Phil's party roomAnyone who reads my writing on a semi-regular basis knows that I have neither a lick of trust nor confidence in our popular Governor. The prime reason for this is not because he is a popular Democrat-Ned Ray McWherter was a popular Democrat and compared to the current Governor, Ned Ray needs some kind of commendation for integrity.
Phil Bredesen is one of the most uppity, prideful, arrogant elected leaders in the Union-if not the known world. His popularity, which only recently began to decrease to levels lower than that of Our Lord and Savior, has been based on the illusion that he is all things to all people. To many casual Republicans who don't follow the ins and outs of State politics, he sounds like one of them-after all, we have a hefty surplus, right? What many of them don't know is that Bredesen has already begun to spend it away because the tax schemes that he told us would lay the golden educational egg are proving to be a massive failure. So throughly ruined is the Governor's tobacco tax scheme that he threatened to station agents at our border crossings to try and seize legally purchased goods on which his taxes were not paid. George III has nothing on King Philip.
Then there was TennCare. The State insurance program that many Republicans warned Ned Ray McWherter would bankrupt the State very nearly did. Bredesen ran on a platform of saving TennCare, then admitted after he was elected what most decent Tennesseans already knew-that TennCare had to go so that the State might be saved. Rather than work with Republicans and people of conscience to gradually wean people off of the government teet, Bredesen sought ways to shift the blame for TennCare's collapse to anyone other than himself. He started with his political opponents, and then eventually sank to the level of blaming sick people in the hospital, some of whom were on life support. The Bredesen solution for ending TennCare was to literally pull the plug on thousands of Tennesseans at once. In an odd reversal, it was Republicans led by State Senator Jim Bryson who crusaded not to keep TennCare afloat, but to keep the Governor from killing people with the stroke of a pen. People died because the Governor was not honest with the electorate from the beginning about just what needed to be done with TennCare.
Yet Philip seems aloof from the concerns of everyday folks, divorced from the realities of his neighbors and the larger community around him. The latest example of this comes in the desire of he and First Lady Andrea Conte (is she too ashamed of her husband to share his name?) to build a 13,000 square foot underground entertainment facility at the Governor's Mansion in Nashville's Oak Hill community. The proposed hall would be a giant basement twice the size of the mansion's footprint, and the Governor's neighbors are rightly worried about everything from the construction noise to the unneeded and unwanted traffic. Apparently, having a garden party-style gathering at the mansion isn't good enough for Phil, he wants dinners that will rival the White House. What would John Sevier, Willie Blount, or William Carroll think?
The Governor and First Lady have been working to restore the Governor's Mansion to grace and grandeur ever since Bredesen took office. This has been a largely worthwhile project, especially considering that much of the funds have come from private sources. I don't disagree with the First Couple in the least that Tennesseans deserve a home for the leader of our State that is a showpiece and a point of pride to be kept in good order and passed on to future generations. Nashville is not Washington however (thank God), and having a house befitting the dignity of the Governorship with lovely architecture and fine things inside doesn't mean that a party room twice the size of the house is needed. The Governor's Mansion should be a place of quiet but stellar awe and respect for the office and for the men who have held it for the last 212 years. If it is possible to have modest grandeur, that would be an atmosphere appropriate for Tennessee's Governor's Mansion.
Quiet dignity isn't good enough for Phil-he needs a 13,000 square foot addition to show off.
God Save the King.
Labels: Tennessee politics