Saturday, December 05, 2009

Question of the weekend: Primaries

Earlier in the week I discussed the need to close partisan primaries in Tennessee to those voters who identify as members of the parties holding primaries. Subsequently, I talked about the need for political parties to pay for primaries if they choose primaries as the means of nominating candidates.

Our question of the weekend.

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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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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Primary Colors

Tennessee's political parties should consider closing our primaries-and in the long run, paying for part or all of the nominating process on the party's dime:

State law already allows for a political party to choose its nominees for office in a way other than by primary, because how a party chooses to nominate candidates is ultimately up to that party and its governing body. Yet by custom and tradition, primaries are the preferred method to nominate candidates. Because the process is a party political one, parties may throw out a perfectly good result at will, or accept a questionable one as they see fit (not that doing either is the right thing to do).

Closing the primary in Tennessee seems the logical way to insure that candidates pass either party's rules of muster-and in a closed primary system, the major parties must enact such standards of legitimacy and keep them. Without a closed primary and set standards, our parties engage in a "pick and choose" standard with no criteria but anger for the enforcement of that standard. However, if the political parties are going to exercise the franchise in the form of a primary to nominate, parties ought to foot the bill.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Kelsey's In, Dems Are Way Out

The lion of the Right in Tennessee, Brian Kelsey, is now a State Senator-and the Democratic shuffle/collapse begins:

Brother Kelsey did not win this election, he was anointed with acclamation by the voters of the 31st District. Democrats will whine about low-voter turnout, but there could have been a 60 per cent turnout yesterday and Brian Kelsey would still be going to the Tennessee Senate. This was not a victory, this was a thorough preview of the coming destruction of the Tennessee Democratic Party. If anyone had doubts that a conservative true believer like Kelsey could win, those doubts are erased. Those who still live in the fantasy world of Democratic relevance will be thrown into reality in a very hard way next November when Brian Kelsey is re-elected to a full term in his own right.

Meanwhile, West Tennessee Blue Dog Democrat Congressman John Tanner has announced that he will not seek re-election, and State Senator Roy Herron-well, he is not running for the Democratic nomination for Governor anymore-now he is running for Congress.

This development is said to make Mike "Not Ned Ray" McWherter the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. On the bloody morning after, one tin soldier rides away.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Kelsey Night

Why Brian Kelsey will win today's special Senate election in Shelby County:

Some of the trash talk from the Left in the blogosphere in West Tennessee about how badly Brian Kelsey is going to be beaten today has become so ridiculous that one can only deduce that the Democrats know they are going to lose the election in Shelby County today, and they might lose it by a wide margin. For all of the talk about Brian Kelsey and his "antics," the thing that makes Kelsey unique is that when Brian Kelsey tells you what his principles and beliefs are, he turns around and votes the way that he tells you he believes.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Keep 'Em Closed

Today I call on State Rep. Debra Maggart and the Tennessee House GOP Caucus to continue pushing for closed primaries in Tennessee:

David Davis did have a point, however-he was almost certainly defeated because of Democratic crossover voters, since Tennessee law allows crossover voting with such ease and no trace of party identification. I have known people who have told me "oh, I am a Republican but I vote in the Democratic primary so I can try and nominate the weaker candidate." It is no Republican's business who the Democrats choose to nominate as their candidate for office until that person is nominated, and then it is the GOP's business to beat them. The same is true for Democrats-the nomination of Republican candidates should be the business of Republicans alone.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Sunday of Advent

Luke 21:25:36:

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves;

Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. And he spoke to them in a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees: When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh;

So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly. For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth.

Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.

As another year in the cycle of the Church's time in this world ends and another one begins today, we are reminded from the words of Our Lord that the time of His second Advent, which many believe we are currently living in (recall that God's time and our own are not measured in the same way), will be no picnic. The Lord's first coming and the Advent of the world in the era of Grace was one of humility. The Second Coming will be one of power and glory to be preceeded by great tribulation in this world. This period of pain is not the result of the desire by the Lord to inflict suffering on humanity, but rather of man's own choice of sinfulness and inhumanity to one another.

Why, then, would the Church choose one of the most dire passages of the New Testament not only to kick off the Liturgical Year, but also to begin the season in which we prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the Incarnation? Perhaps it is to remind us that as the Lord was born in a stable and lay in a feeding trough on His first night, we, too, are born in strife and destined through our decision to follow Christ to have it just a bit rough. Following Christ in these times isn't something that is meant to be a walk in the park. In the rush of shopping and preparing for Christmas, we need to be reminded in a very thorough way that the purpose of the first Coming of Christ was to pave the way for the Second.

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