Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Speaker

There has been much discussion this week about whether or not Speaker Kent Williams should be readmitted to the Republican Party, and the apparent divisions within Republican ranks in the Tennessee House, which leads to our question of the weekend for reader comments.

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At Saturday, November 14, 2009 12:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's Kingsport Times News Editorial

Williams has shown GOP that he cannot be trusted

Published November 13th, 2009

In rebuking a false friend, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche observed, “I’m not upset that you lied to me. I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

So it is with Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams, who, after a cynical betrayal of his colleagues earlier this year, now says he wants to be reinstated into the Republican Party before the next legislative session begins in January.

After signing a public pledge that he would support the nominee of his party late last year, Williams, then a Republican from Carter County, broke that promise in exchange for the top House slot long occupied by Democrat Jimmy Naifeh. For his willingness to knife the members of his party in the back, Williams was elected speaker courtesy of all 49 House Democratic votes — and his own.

Not surprisingly, Williams was subsequently stripped of his Republican credentials by an understandably outraged state Republican Party.

Of his desire to regain a place in the Tennessee GOP, Williams told the Associated Press at a fundraiser for his new political action committee that “I just want to know where I stand.”

The irony of that statement, of course, is that Rep. Williams stands where he has chosen to place himself.

Whether the state Republican executive committee votes to allow Rep. Williams back into the party — something it could do as early as Dec. 5 — it’s impossible to imagine that the Elizabethton restaurateur will ever be trusted again. Nor should he be.

Williams forfeited others’ presumption of his honesty and good will last January.

It should not be forgotten that no one forced Rep. Williams to sign a pledge that he would support his party’s nominee — then widely understood to be Rep. Jason Mumpower of Bristol — for speaker. Williams did that of his own free will. To publicly make that pledge, only to break it for his own personal aggrandizement, was, and remains, a dishonorable act for which Williams has never apologized.

Indeed, it is Williams who unaccountably continues to affect an air of victimhood for being shunned by the colleagues he betrayed.

His conduct reminds of the story about the boy who murdered his parents, then threw himself on the mercy of the court as an orphan.

Rep. Williams has already bartered away the trust once placed in him when he cynically plotted to advance his personal political standing at the expense of his colleagues and the Republican constituents who elected him.

It’s exceedingly clear that the only allegiance Kent Williams has is to himself.

Some Tennessee Republicans may be inclined to forgive or ignore Rep. Williams’ duplicity in the past in exchange for his vote in a closely divided House. But they need to know that by doing so they are not merely excusing bad behavior, but elevating expediency over experience.

At Saturday, November 14, 2009 12:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe we should look at Mumpower's relationships with lobbyist if we want to start talking about unseaworthiness.


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