For the first time since the Reconstruction, the Republican Party has taken control of the Tennessee General Assembly – top to bottom, house to senate, the whole bicameral enchilada. (Go ahead. Take a moment. Laugh or Cry. Whatever suits you.) Personally, I think there’s a damn good reason why state political history is what it is – but eh, politics are kinda like fractions. Every now and then, folks need a refresher course.
Naturally, the Republicans are being terribly humble and gracious about their victory while the State Democrats are setting speed records for fastest finger-pointing in all the land. They’re blaming Obama and the National Party for not paying more attention to the state and/or McCain’s unusually muscular performance – which essentially means the same thing.
I guess the Obama/Baptist backlash might have been a factor. Heck, the fact that UT football wasn’t distracting enough Republican voters in the East might have been a factor. Mostly though, the Republicans won because they worked for it. They ran hard, mean, aggressive, poured money and manpower into the campaigns and did not let up until the polls closed on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Democratic Party was off… well hell, I don’t know what they were off doing but whatever it was, they apparently weren’t doing it right.
So what’s done is done. Better luck next time – and now we all look forward.
Folks around here seem to have different opinions on what this Red Assembly in the Orange State will mean. Mr. C thinks the Republican Majority means we should all move to Kentucky. Uncle Rube, on the other hand, claims a Republican Majority will ensure that nothing much gets spent – as opposed to Democratic Majorities, who hand out funding like it’s somebody else’s money.
I don’t agree with either of them and foresee lots of changes under a red rule – some good and some bad.
- The Republican party now holds the redistricting pen. Speaker Ron Ramsey has already made statements indicating the Republicans would be just as fair to Democrats as they have been to Republicans. This means the GOP will un-gerrymander the previously gerrymandered… then regerrymander in their favor and perhaps add a pinch more gerrymandering for good measure. By this time it is over, if there are no lawsuits pending, Democrats will be lucky to have two or three reliable seats at the Big Table and some state scraps.
- Ron Ramsey will retain his post as Lt. Governor. Though I’d prefer we pick a different one, I’m guessing we’re stuck with him.
- Ramsey will now seriously consider a 2010 gubernatorial bid. Although he’s confessed to kicking around the notion: I don’t think he considered it a real possibility because no one else considered it a real possibility. (He was more like the “last resort” candidate who we’d elect only if Bill Frist didn’t run, all the other Republicans died and it was absolutely, unavoidably necessary in order to to prevent a Harold Ford Jr. administration – not that there’s anything wrong with Harold: we just don’t want Jake-n-em over there and trashing up the bunker.) The party gains, however, will likely leave Ron so emboldened, buoyed, overinflated and downright swelled-up in the head – like a dead opossum on an Alabama highway in July – his delusions of being Governor will solidify into a full-blown plan – and the whole thing might be contagious. Consequently, if the notion of “Ron Ramsey for Governor” does turn out to be communicable – all Tennesseans will be forced to unite forces and beg Bill Frist to run or we could move to Alabama. I hear the football is good there.
- House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh is out. So, I shall shed a tear for him… okay, I won’t. After all, if the small office, lack of a gavel and constant razzing by House Republicans becomes too unbearable, Naifeh can always step-down and use his wife Betty’s connections to secure a job – perhaps one lobbying for the Brady Campaign.
- The next House Speaker WILL be Republican and each Republican legislator WILL exhibit blind loyalty to their party – OR ELSE! There will be none of those Mike Williams-John Wilder/ Rosalind Kurita-Ron Ramsey type surprises. I mean you saw how the whole crossover thing worked out for them, right?
- Expect Jason Mumpower to be House Speaker: don’t expect him to morph into Mister Jenkins – no way honey, not even on his best day. I did hear a few other Republicans would like the job – but (a) Beth Harwell has already backed down, (b) Mumpower is the Minority leader and (c) Mumpower is to Ramsey what Chester is to Spike. Anyway, I like the notion of Mumpower getting the gavel because I like Mumpower… in fact, the only thing that could make it better is, if at some point during the next session, he hits Tony Shipley in the teeth with it. What do the bylaws say about stuff like that?
- The majority and the gavel will almost certainly enable Mumpower to get his balls back – which might be useful since some folks here swear he gave the other set to Ramsey.
- With committee assignments resting in Republican hands: it is likely that Tennesseans will soon be able to take their guns into state parks and restaurants or other places where alcohol is served.
- The database of carry permit holders will not remain public record. Get `em while you can.
- Secretary of State Riley Darnell, Comptroller John Morgan, and State Treasurer Dale Simms wll be replaced with Republicans.
- Van Hilleary will be one of the replacements.
- Expect to see some Republican-style campaign finance reform – which will actually be an unreforming of previously reformed reforms. Campaign contribution limits will be abolished, public disclosure requirements will be relaxed and the Registry of Election Finance, which enforces current campaign finance laws, will be terminated – you know as a “cost-cutting measure.” (wink, wink) At least that’s what Ron Ramsey claimed when similar efforts flopped back in 2000.
- The state will move to the direct election of appellate judges. Therefore, voters should expect judicial campaigns typical of any other political campaign: including shady finances, crappy television ads and perhaps a few mailers accusing opposing judges of being liberal, racist, far left, far right, otherwise biased, soft on crime, anti-business, kid-haters and wearers of pink lace panties under the robes – unless the judges are women… in which case such an allegation could get them elected around here.
- Sex education in schools will be limited to the following non-illustrated pamphlets: “42 Ways to Keep Your Legs Crossed,” “How French-Kissing Girls Can Cause Your Winkie To Rot”, “The Complete Tale of Sodom and Gomorah (Contextually Revised)” and “God Doesn’t Like It When You Mess Around Down There.”
- The Republican-controlled Tennessee Legislature will amend the constitution to clarify: “Any right to an abortion in Tennessee shall only be such as is protected under the United States Constitution as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court, from time to time. Nothing in this Constitution shall be interpreted to require that any state funds be appropriated by the state to fund or pay for any abortion.”
- Lawmakers will then seek to defund Planned Parenthood, shifting family planning and reproductive health monies to more appropriate clinics, which specialize in the counsel of pregnant women regarding their options. Those options will include parenthood, adoption or placing their soul at risk for eternal damnation by seeking other unfunded procedures at a separate facility.
- Anyone selecting the third option will be required to obtain the signature of both parents, grandparents, six cousins, the baby’s daddy and four local pastors. They will also be required to register with the Tennessee Offenders of a Moral Society Registry within six months of the procedure.
- For those women continuing the pregnancy and/or having children out-of-wedlock: legislation will be enacted requiring the mother to pay for a paternity test before the father’s name can be listed on the birth certificate or child support can be ordered – cause ya’ll know those bitches lie. All unwed mothers will also be required to listen to a 4-hour pre-recorded lecture by Representative Stacey Campfield regarding bad girls, welfare whores and other harlots who try to entice and entrap poor innocent men.
- Expect a lot of anti-immigration legislation to pass – including a requirement that all government documents be printed in English Only, higher taxes be imposed on wire money transfers going out of the US, a broad transfer of immigration enforcement responsibilities from the federal government to the state of Tennessee and local “peace officers,” more funding for agencies participating in the 287(g) program.
- You can also expect legislation which calls for the forfeiture of earned wages and personal property of any undocumented immigrants caught committing a dangerous crime – such as jaywalking.
- All government officials (including health care and social workers) and public school administrators will be likely be required to check citizenship status and report any suspected undocumented persons or persons having a funny foreign-sounding name to federal authorities.
- All non-english speaking persons within the state of Tennessee will be required to learn the English Language within a reasonable time period and be able to complete a written examination. Spelling will count against your grade. Those failing the exam will promptly be deported to Georgia. (An unintended result of the law: Georgia will be full of white country folks from Hancock County and Stacey Campfield.)
- We may also see a crackdown on the interstate travel of any people/persons who look “sorta Islamicalish” or “like one a `em Porta-Reekie-ans.” This means all dark-skinned travelers crossing the state borders would be required to obtain written approval/permission from the Senate Republican Caucus. (*Permission slips will be designed using some of Marsha Blackburn’s failed congressional bills, printed in English ONLY, and may include an stipulation making all applicants ineligible for state, federal, and local funds, citizenship or a visa – unless they speak English and agree to change their name to Roy. Failure to obtain and display proper permission documentation when traveling to and from the state of Tennessee could result in deportation or detainment.
Okay, I made up some of this stuff – other stuff I exaggerated, but quite a few of those things mentioned here are actually bills that have been introduced in the General Assembly within the last two years. So, you might want to stay on your toes for the next little while.
And there is some silver lining for the Democrats here.
The new Republican majority will head to work with a predicted $300-600 million deficit. Most of the newly-elected have made promises not to increase or create new taxes, raid the highway fund, cut beneficial programs or redirect the lottery monies. Now, the Governor – being a nice guy and understanding how much the Republicans relish their newfound decision-making power and how hard they worked to get it – well, he could defer to their claims of superior fiscal management abilities by sending them a regular budget with no changes from last year’s spending levels and let them do all of the cutting and balancing.
This would force the Republicans to stand accountable for whatever cuts they make or promises they break: because for the first time in awhile – they don’t have anyone else to blame. Consequently, by the time another election rolls around: Tennesseans will be feeling so betrayed, disillusioned and fed up – blue could very well make a comeback.