The Republican Glass:

Is it half-empty, or half-full?

Outrage abounds following yesterday’s election of Kent Wiliams, R-Elizabethton, as Speaker of the House in the Tennessee Legislature.  Williams is described as a moderate, and claims to have the best interest of the State at heart:

“Today is not about Kent Williams or Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, and it’s not about Jason Mumpower,” Williams said. “It’s not about Democrats and Republicans. Today is about change. … We need to utilize the talents of all the members of this General Assembly, not just the Democratic Party and not just the Republican Party. … For too many years, we’ve had talented representatives sit on the sidelines without any input into legislation. A lot of legislation we want to vote on we don’t get the chance. That’s going to change.”

There are plenty of places to get the spilled milk version, but consider for a moment whether there may be an upside:  under Mumpower’s leadership, might there be a possibility that the House would have operated in much the same manner as under Naifeh’s iron fist, but with favoritism of different individuals and issues?  Might such partisanship, coupled with too much change, too fast, have resulted in a backlash loss of majority two years from now?

In my view, it’s important to have some balance, because it’s going to matter much more that Republicans have a majority two years from now when redistricting occurs, and when we elect the next governor.  I’m willing to live with more gradual change, to prevent catastrophic losses in 2010.

Therefore, I reserve judgment on Williams’ speakership until I see what he does.  He is a Republican, elected by the people of his district with a substantial victory.  While his method may have been deplorable, it’s the same playbook used by John Wilder in the 1990s, which benefited Republicans in the Senate.


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