Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Test

In case readers may be wondering why I will not trust that a Republican Speaker of the Tennessee House is inevitable until the roll is called on January 13th, it is because of stories like this:

All 50 Republicans in the House have signed pledges to back a Republican speaker and speaker pro tem. Despite the apparent rock-solid support of the GOP, the Covington Democrat said "there's a lot of time between now and January 13," when the House will convene and elect its speaker.

All 50 Republicans in the House have signed pledges to back a Republican speaker and speaker pro tem. Despite the apparent rock-solid support of the GOP, the Covington Democrat said "there's a lot of time between now and January 13," when the House will convene and elect its speaker.

"I am trying to get the votes right now. Every day I'm trying," he said.

At one point during the budget briefing, about a half-dozen lawmakers, including Naifeh, Minority Leader Jason Mumpower, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, were clustered in a back hallway behind the hearing room.

Heads together, Mumpower, Naifeh and House Republican Charles Sargent spoke in low tones as cigarette smoke drifted in through an open outside door propped open so Sargent could smoke as they talked.

Jimmy Naifeh is right about one thing, and that is that there is plenty of time between now and January 13th for him to cobble together an arrangement to remain Speaker. He only needs one vote, and it should be remembered that the "Republicans" who have supported him in the past have already demonstrated that they have no loyalty to their own caucus. Hence, why should these people be trusted to keep their word if they have already demonstrated to the party that they are disloyal in the extreme?

There is also a real possibility that Jason Mumpower may be going about this the wrong way. Recall that the rules in both the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Senate state that if no candidate receives a majority of the votes for Speaker, the previous Speaker remains in control. The pledge that Mumpower caused all House Republicans to sign said "we pledge to support a Republican for Speaker." Nowhere did this document say which Republican they were pledging to support. A backhanded way for the Naifeh Republicans to insure that Boss Hogg remains Speaker of the House is to cast their votes for a third person, something the rules do allow-and it would only take one such vote to return the House to the control of Jimmy Naifeh's iron hand. All the while the member or members who engaged in such devious behavior could say "I kept my word and voted for a Republican for Speaker."

The Republican majority that the people of this State elected on November 4th will not be secure until there is a Republican in command of the House of Representatives. Rest assured that Jimmy Naifeh and his minions have no regard for such a small thing as the results of an election. The hypocrisy in all of this is that if the situation were reversed, the Democrats would be beating the door down to get into the Speaker's office in the Plaza.

It is in a circumstance like this where Jason Mumpower's worth and ability as a leader is going to be tested. If the truth were told, it was probably Naifeh's Republican supporters who gave Mumpower the votes that he needed to defeat Bill Dunn in the Leadership vote two years ago, because Jimmy Naifeh despises Dunn and Dunn's removal was likely viewed by Naifeh as beneficial to him at the time. Nonetheless, from the day Mumpower assumed the roll of Republican Leader he spoke of gaining a majority in the House. He made the case to many in the grassroots who had supported his opponent for Leader that his sole goal was to gain a majority in the House and to assume the Speaker's gavel. He was our man, he said, and we could trust that he would fight the power.

Now, the majority that Mumpower was proclaiming would change the face of the General Assembly has been achieved. Jason Mumpower is on the cusp of becoming Speaker of the House, and if he does so, his position as Leader will be impregnable for as long as the GOP remains in control. If Mumpower fails to keep his men and women together after promising that he had the votes to be elected Speaker, then it brings into question whether this is Mumpower's majority, or whether the majority was achieved by the hard work of a lot of other people who will never get the credit-and who still will not see a Republican Speaker.

This is do-or-die time for Mumpower. It isn't just the Speaker's chair that will be on the line January 13th, but Jason Mumpower's reputation.

I want to see Jason Mumpower with that gavel. If he is not, all of the effort placed into getting a majority will be nothing but a waste.

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At Thursday, November 13, 2008 1:33:00 PM, Anonymous Joshua Arrowood said...

Will you be going down? I wanted to but I will be unable to go.

At Thursday, November 13, 2008 2:12:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I badly want to go. To go, I will need a ride over to Nashville. If anyone from Upper East Tennessee is headed that way on the 12th or very early in the morning on the 13th, let me know, send me an e-mail if anyone can get me a ride there.

At Saturday, November 15, 2008 10:44:00 PM, Blogger Rick said...

Wonder which Republican(s) Naifeh has the goods?

If Naifeh does get a Republican vote then you know they have some dirty laundry otherwise Jimbo wouldn't be so confident.


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