Friday, December 04, 2009

Note to SEC: No On Re-instating Williams

Rumors abound that the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee may take up a motion to re-instate Tennessee House Speaker Kent Williams at their quarterly meeting tomorrow. In my column today, I explain why that should not happen:

The problem is that Kent Williams put his name to a paper stating that he would vote for a Republican for Speaker, and he knew that by "Republican" it was accepted that this meant the Republican nominee for this position. Williams joined 49 other Republicans the month after the 2008 election to nominate Jason Mumpower for Speaker unanimously, 50-0. For his part, Kent Williams has always claimed that his final decision to accept the Democratic nomination for Speaker of the House did not come until moments before the vote. Williams says that he just "changed his mind," and he apparently had problems with Jason Mumpower for quite some time. Apparently, changing one's mind is, in Kent Williams' universe, enough of an excuse to forgive the breaking of one's good word.

Kent Williams had ample opportunity to voice his objections to Mumpower, and even to do so in a very public way. I know that if it had been me in Kent Williams' shoes, and I had been turned off by Jason Mumpower's means or methods of securing power to the degree that I would consider colluding to stop him, I certainly would not put my name to paper saying that I would support him, much less say I was planning to vote for him on the air or in public, as Kent Williams did at least once. Beyond merely issues relating to Williams' (or anyone else's) relationship to Jason Mumpower, Williams' behavior brings into question whether his word can be trusted, and then even if it is proven that it can be, he apparently failed to let his true feelings about the developing situation on Capitol Hill be known when he had the chance. If he objected to Jason Mumpower being Speaker of the House, he needed to take a stand rather than run, hide, and then engage in chicanery and deception. When I believe something strongly enough to put my name to it, I stand by what I have said, and if I can't, I don't make the promise to begin with-even if not doing so might cost me dearly politically.

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