Careful How You Say It
Outside supporters of Tennessee House Speaker candidates need to be careful how they approach tomorrow's vote
The House Republican Caucus, it should be remembered, is not a government entity, but is the legislative arm of the Republican Party in the Tennessee House of Representatives. You must be a member of the House to be a member of the Caucus, and you must profess to be a Republican. The caucus, however, determines what constitutes a Republican for the purpose of its agenda in the House and its members determine who can and can't be a part of it. This is clearly evident in the reality that while the State Republican Party says Kent Williams can't run as a Republican or identify officially as one, the House Republican Caucus officially says that Williams is a member and for their purposes, is a Republican. Since the caucus is an arm of a political party, it may nominate candidates from among its membership for relevant legislative offices. Once those nominations are made, then the vote in January is a public matter.
Since this writer is a Republican Party officer in Jefferson County, one of the things that I've learned in dealing with party matters is that undue outside influence on internal party proceedings is very much frowned upon. The same is true, from what I understand from friends on the other side, in the party opposite. It isn't that the opinions of fellow Republicans or friends of the conservative cause are not valued-quite the contrary-but too much outside influence on an internal party vote brings the divisions in the party to bear for the public to see. Oftentimes, the opposition will look for ways to take advantage of your differences. As a member of the GOP Executive Committee in my county, I've learned to leave my differences with other members at the door and not to take disagreements personally, because we may need to help each other during election season and we're fighting for the same ends. If House Republican Caucus members think that one or two outside groups are trying to unduly influence an internal vote, it could potentially backfire on the groups who would like a certain outcome, because some members may just say "I was leaning one way, but I didn't appreciate the way group X was trying to sway the race or be too involved with member X-I think I'll vote for member Y instead."
Labels: Conservatism, Elections, Local politics, News Media, Political correctness, Republican Party, Tennessee politics