Saturday, January 18, 2003

A Marvel To Behold

Part of the reason I started Half-Bakered was that I was stunned at how the local paper, the Commercial Appeal, could, day after day, twist and distort stories with impugnity. No one called them on their sins of commision and omission, their mischaracterisations, their water-carrying, and their outright assassinations of their enemies.

So, this story provokes the usual ire in me. Historic events are paved over with the asphalt of oblivion and retinted with the rosiness of business-as-usual.

Covering the opening sessions of the Tennessee State Legislature, Paula Wade and Richard Locker write:
Republicans nominated Rep. Diane Black of Hendersonville to oppose Naifeh, but the Covington Democrat won the votes of all 54 House Democrats plus 11 Republicans.
And there you go, history dropped down the memory hole. For the first time, Republican House members ran someone against the tin god Naifeh and actually made a credible showing! But the way Wade/Locker write it, you don't learn that those 36 votes even existed. They instead focus on Naifeh's raw numbers and disappear the opposition, making Naifeh seem far more powerful than he is.

Which is the point, I assume. Naifeh lost a lot of public credibility during the latter days of the Income Tax War, especially when he and Sundquist began to play their power games with the State government itself. Then Naifeh encounters serious opposition in his re-election, from a last minute write-in candidate, no less! It was only his prescient gerry-mandering of his House district, to bring in more Democrats from neighboring counties to balance the votes he was losing in Tipton County, that saved his bacon.

And then Tre Hargett (with vocal support from political writer/adviser Frank Cagle), tries to organise the House Republicans into a voting bloc, another first. Their 36 vote showing is moderately impressive, simply for the accomplishment. But it's the fact of organised opposition to Naifeh, in public, that's meaningful. (Bill Hobbs, writing in covers this.) And all that gets brushed aside by two writers with an agenda. A pro-tax agenda.

Anti-tax writers and talk show hosts have vowed to recruit primary opponents and target Republicans who supported Naifeh, who championed the ill-fated income tax proposal last year.
It's already happened, and changed the face of the Legislature! Now, seeing Naifeh wounded and bleeding, anti-tax/pro-fiscal control Republicans are motivated, at last. (BTW, the "anti-tax writers" remark is a first for the CA. They usually don't deign to notice any competition like that. And I'm pretty sure they're referring to Frank Cagle here, as he's been the most visible drum-beater for Republican unity against and opposition to Naifeh.)

And that electoral backlash against Republicans who support Naifeh is most likely going to intensify. As Bill Hobbs reports today, via the Tennessean, Naifeh is taking his revenge. It's only to be expected from a political thug like Naifeh, but too many legislators seem to keep expecting a junk yard dawg to act nice. They're fools and they deserve their coming defeat. It's only our having to suffer them for two more years that hurts.

You can expect the Commercial Appeal, and Tennessee's other papers, to lionise these useful idiots in the meantime, as they renew their press in the coming Legislative session, for an income tax.

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