New Tennessee GOP Chair Doesn't Care About MajorityIn a post earlier this week, I expressed my support of new Tennessee Republican Chairman Chris Devaney, but expressed concern that his commitment to conservative ideals may not be all that bona fide.
Today, it is revealed that Bill Hobbs will no longer serve as Tennessee Republican Party Communications Director:
As of today, Bill Hobbs is no longer the Communications Director at the Tennessee Republican Party new party chairman Chris Devaney tells Post Politics.
Devaney, in a conversation with Post Politics, made clear that this is not a dismissal and that Hobbs will continue to work with the party.
“Bill Hobbs and I have a good working relationship and he will be continuing to help us as we work through our transition,” said Devaney.
That is political-speak for "I fired Bill Hobbs, now I have to find something to do with him that sounds good, because if the conservative base of the party finds out that I canned Hobbs, they will cook my goose."
When I heard that the Republican Executive Committee had chosen Chris Devaney, I was concerned because his background doesn't seem to lend itself to his being able to connect with the grassroots of the Republican Party. Robin Smith is someone who is a mill worker's daughter, she comes from the stock of the ordinary people whose votes the party is actively seeking in order to win elections. Both she and Bill Hobbs understand what connects with our party's core voters and what causes them instinctively to vote Republican. Chris Devaney seems to be showing very quickly that his primary concern is placating the Country Club wing of the party. With due respect to Senator Baker (and yes, I have great personal respect for the Godfather), one has to wonder if Chris Devaney is more concerned about placating the Howard Baker wing of the party than about winning in 2010.
The short version is that Robin and Bill come from our kind of people-Devaney is clearly sending a signal that he and those around him are not our kind of people.
How serious could the departure of Bill Hobbs be for our election chances in 2010? The Democratic Left is very happy about Hobbs' departure. Noted Left wing Memphis blogger Steve Steffens (Left Wing Cracker) comments:
Personally, I think this is a mistake. You can say a lot of things about Hobbsie, and I’ve said most of them, but I would never call him ineffective.
He fired up the base and moved the message in his direction, which is what a Communications Director is supposed to do.
They will regret this; as a Democratic partisan, I am relieved that he is gone.
It would seem that Steffens speaks for many Democrats. Randy Neal, founder of Knoxviews and perhaps the most noted liberal blogger and activist in East Tennessee says:
But seriously, I agree with LWC [Steffens].
Democrats know what it means to have someone other than Bill Hobbs as Communications Director, and they know that it could lead to such a disaster for the GOP that we could end up with Governor Bill Haslam (who is a de facto Democrat) and Democrats in control of both Houses of the Legislature. All of our hard work would be undone very quickly, and in a State where the Governor has very little executive power, Devaney seems to be telling Tennessee Republicans and conservatives that he would be fine with having Jimmy Naifeh or Gary Odom running our fair State.