After the events of this week, I have been ruminating in my mind how I should react to the treachery and deceit of Kent Williams to his fellow Republicans across Tennessee. Some question whether Williams should be allowed to remain in the Republican Party, and there does seem to be some division among the betrayed on the matter. One school of thought says that now that Williams occupies the chair of the House for the next two years, however ill-gotten, the GOP leadership should do its best to put Williams to the test. Since obtaining the Chair Tuesday, Williams has made a number of promises to Leader Mumpower and other Republicans. The test will be whether he keeps these. His word thus far hasn't been worth all that much.
Another mentality says that Williams must be removed from the party post-haste, because failing to do so sends a message to other "squishy" House Republicans (there are about 7 or 8 of them) that there are no real consequences for stabbing the party leadership in the back. Several of these members come from districts that are so Republican that removal of the party's backing would cost them their political career. The quick removal of Kent Williams from official party ranks would send a message that failing to stand with leadership on votes for officers of the body will mean paying a very steep price.
Regardless of what the final decision is on Kent Williams' Republican status, there is one thing that I will do for Williams-I will pray for him. I believe that there is hope for every soul, even someone who has done something so cold as to betray his leaders and the party which brought him to the House with its label and support. Representative Williams says that he needs no sermons. I doubt that I am the only one who think he needs a reminder of the Commandment concerning the bearing of false witness.
Now that I have arrived back in White Pine (although I have to return to Nashville on Saturday for a day-long Knights of Columbus mid-year meeting) after the Day of Infamy at the Legislature, the magnitude of what has occurred is really beginning to sink in.
I must sadly say that the events of this past week has dealt a severe blow to what ability I might have had to trust a Democrat-any Democrat. I watched as even those people who I thought were honorable went along with such a dishonorable, decietful, and despicable act. I suspect that a lot of Republicans in the General Assembly feel the same way. None of them can trust a single person in the Democratic Caucus on their honor. Democrats in Nashville, it would seem, have no morals, faith, or fear. I am not even sure that I trust the ones who I thought were friendly anymore, on a personal level.
This lack of trust will likely impact business in the General Assembly. If the Democrats had delayed the vote on constitutional officers any longer, there was serious talk among Republicans of sending the General Assembly into "lock down," refusing to allow adjornment until the Joint Convention met, which the GOP has more than enough numbers in both Houses to do.
Do not be surprised if there is a serious threat of lock-down before this session-now officially underway-is complete.
Representative Williams has announced before the House that he needs no sermons after several members have addressed the House over the last two days about lying and forgiveness.
Representative Williams has made a few promises to the House Republican Caucus. If he does not keep those promises, which I am not now privy to reveal, I propose that Republicans spread the Gospel on the House floor by every necessary means.
In the wake of the slick, tawdry, backroom dealing done by Tennessee Democrats to make Kent Williams Speaker of the Tennessee House, I must admit that my opinions of certain Democrats has changed, and none for the better.
Some days ago I said that I thought House Democratic Leader Gary Odom was an honorable man. It was Odom who went to Carter County over Thanksgiving to strike the deal which made Kent Williams the faux-Speaker. What was the deal? Williams becomes the Speaker, with all of the prestige attached to that position, while the Democrats get everything else. Forget the fact that we had an election, that Kent Williams ran as a Republican, that the Republicans won a one-vote majority, and that the caucus nominee for Speaker was Jason Mumpower. Odom didn't like the election result, so he used the Speakership vote as a bribe for a weak man to overturn an election. Odom thinks he is getting a good deal out of this whole affair as well, because he believes that within two years, he will be Speaker of the House.
I know that Mike Turner is a regular reader of this blog, so Representative Turner should read and ponder this very carefully: You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You know that Williams will slow the business of the House to a turtle's pace because he hasn't a clue what he is doing, and you could have joined other principled people to stall or stop this before it began, but instead you sided with Judas. If the situation were reversed, and 49 Republicans made a turncoat Democrat Speaker, I'll bet all of you would have a different opinion.
I am on the House floor at this hour, and I am still agog at what happened here yesterday. Kent Williams guaranteed at least twelve members of the House Republican Caucus that he was going to vote for Jason Mumpower, and told Mumpower this three times. The deal to make Williams speaker was a Democratic coup d'etat so that control of this House can be maintained. Democrats had better never talk to me about the 2000 Presidential Election again. The party opposite accuses us of "stealing" a presidential vote. In Tennessee yesterday, Democrats made an arrangement to nullify an entire legislative election-and that is precisely what happened.
Kent Williams lied to his fellow Republicans, made a deal with the Democrats to make himself Speaker in return for giving the other party power, and betrayed his Caucus and the voters. He does not give a damn.
Even this morning, Williams was running around the plaza trying to kiss arse-he even tried to butter me up, and I won't be rude to the weasel, but I refuse to call him Mr. Speaker-Representative Williams will do.
Democrats in the House and across Tennessee should remember this: You will regret this in a terrible way, and I am not saying that because of the political consequences of this evil doing-those are coming, but you have bigger problems. Your members have elected a Speaker who is known to be short a few bricks, even by some of the old Naifeh Republicans here. He cannot run the House, he will be a puppet of others, and there will be days this year when business in this House grinds to a halt because the Speaker, who has previously been a member all of two years, has no clue what to do.
I'm on the House floor between Reps. Campfield and Dunn, and I was essentially forced to come over here at 9:30am because the rumor spread around the War Memorial by 9:00am that the Capitol was already filling with people. I had barely finished breakfast when Ruth Adams, Frank Niceley's secretary, suggested that we head over to the Capitol immediately to insure our seat. We got on the House floor without a problem, but when I looked up to the balcony at 9:45, the gallery was already full. It is 11:00 now and the people are still coming in up there. It is said that someone brought four busloads of people from their district.
There is still some concern that Kent Williams may vote for Naifeh, largely because of the threat to remove him from the party if he votes Democratic for any Constitutional office. The theory goes that if he wants to vote for Sims or Morgan, why should he then not vote for Jimmy Naifeh, since either way he's out. Many members of the Caucus were at the celebration dinner last night at the City Club-Kent Williams was noticeably absent from a very Republican gathering.
Jason Mumpower still says he's "on top" of the Williams situation, and Williams was notably cheery when I saw him in the hall today. The GOP Caucus meets as we wait.
Constitutional Officers Nominated By GOP On First Ballot
Former House Republican Leader Tre Hargett has been nominated by the Joint Republican House and Senate Caucus for Tennessee Secretary of State. It is speculated that 2006 GOP gubernatorial nominee Jim Bryson finished second.
In the Treasurer's race, David Lillard won out because of two factors. The first was that West Tennessee Republicans seemed to unite behind Lillard in a bloc. Secondly, a strong movement developed among Senate Republicans to keep Ira Brody out of the Treasurer's office amidst revelations of lawsuits against Brody and his corporation and business interests that the candidate failed to disclose. In addition, an "anti-Brody" movement formed that seemed determined to bar the door from Brody by any means necessary, even if it meant nearly the entire 19 Senate Republicans voting as a bloc to prevent a Brody victory-only 35 votes were needed to win.
Former Johnson City Mayor Vance Cheek, Jr. indicated that he was "very pleased" that a good man was elected. Several East Tennessee Representatives expressed concern to The World that Upper East Tennessee was literally getting all of the pie from Speaker of both Houses on down, and some felt the need to divide the spoils of Republican victory more fairly.
If the Tennessee House Republican Caucus were to set up hotlines for people to call in case of a political emergency, the numbers would probably be as described above. With many Representatives and Senators set to arrive in Nashville today, many members, as well as Speaker-designate Jason Mumpower will likely be on the lookout for that emergency call. Car trouble, flat tire, dog eat your shoe? Never fear, the Republican Express is here to make sure you get to Nashville in time to cast that Republican vote for Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.
I have a hunch that great haste will be made to alleviate the slightest emegency that could arise to prevent a voting Republican member of the House from showing up on Tuesday at noon.
I will be at the Capitol this week. I hope to see a few of you there.
Sources close to this situation inform The World that as of this morning, State Representative Steve McDaniel, who has been anything but the paragon of unity during his campaign for and the aftermath of his victory for the Republican nomination for Speaker Pro Tempore of the Tennessee House of Representatives, may in fact reach the plateau of 50 floor votes he needs to be elected the House Number Two.
Multiple sources from the Hill last week had declared that McDaniel did not have 50 votes among his fellow Republicans.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaias the prophet: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare the way before thee. A voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John was in the desert baptizing, and preaching the baptism of penance, unto remission of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all they of Jerusalem, and were baptized by him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
And John was clothed with camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying: There cometh after me one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I have baptized you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. And it came to pass, in those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And forthwith coming up out of he water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit as a dove descending, and remaining on him. And there came a voice from heaven: Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
A conservative journal of social, cultural, and ecclesiatical affairs grounded in a realistic Catholic Christian worldview. It is my hope that this site will be a reflection of Christ,the teachings of His Holy Church, and of the basic vision of a Christian social morality.