The GOP is About to Make Another Mistake
Tuesday was the 13th of course.
It's completely understandable that Republicans would want to expel Kent Williams after his stunt today in snatching the Speaker's chair for himself. The House, and Tennessee government, will be in chaos for months, just as we face the worst budget problem in a generation.
But it's a mistake to boot him. The first thing Democrats do is take him as one of their own, thereby giving themselves the de jure majority again! And don't think that Williams will be given any freedom as a Democrat. He will be Naifeh's bitch from then on. The supposed palaver about how Williams wants to appoint committee chairs based on merit and cooperation will not be Naifeh's.
Better to keep Williams in the party and make him, if he so chooses, depart on his own. Let his constituents in the 4th District see his actions for what they are.
What angry Republicans can do is this: Go to the dollar store, or a Fred's or Walgreen's, and buy a pack of those plastic coins kids use as play money or pirate's dubloons. Whenever you encounter Williams, just drop a few in front of him (on the ground or the table) and say, "Here are your thirty pieces of silver." Especially do it in front of Jimmy Naifeh!
Non-legislators can mail a few in an envelope to his House office with the same message. (See here for the address.) Let's see how long it takes before they begin piling up!
Everything I've heard so far has been that this move was a closely guarded secret kept by a literal few until Monday night and Tuesday during the session. Go to the Main Street Journal website to see a whole raft of stories on what happened. I don't think the Republicans can be too heavily faulted here for "letting" this happen. Their biggest mistake was under-estimating just what a conniving, scheming, vindictive thug of a man Jimmy Naifeh is.
It's times like this I almost wish I was a believing Christian just so that I could be assured Naifeh will roast in Hell for eternity.
Remember, the constitutional officers have yet to be appointed and now the Democrats likely control things unless a couple can be peeled away and the Republicans can stay strong. Not likely, given how the Democrats voted en bloc today. Say, someone should ask Senator Jim Kyle if he still believes constitutional candidates should still reveal their personal and campaign finances!
Also, redistricting is now in their hands. That means, at minimum, ten more years of a Democratically carved State district map. You think Naifeh was having fun today? Wait for redistricting....
INSTANT UPDATE: From a comment I spotted on the web:
In the November general elections, according to the Secretary of State's office, these were the voter breakdowns for all legislative candidates in the 99 districts for the House of Representatives:
Republicans: 1,134,374 - 54.2%
Democrats: 914,108 - 43.7%
Independents/Write-Ins: 43,955 - 2.1%
What the Democrats did today was anti-democratic; just the worst, most naked kind of power grab I've seen in a while. Regardless of party, it's a slap in the face to Tennessee voters. They clearly didn't want Naifeh in charge any more.
In fact, TN Republicans won with the same kind of "mandate" that Obama has. Imagine if McCain had tried to steal that election somehow! Democrats would be wailing a different story for sure. But ... it's not their ox being gored today, so as you'll see if you tour lefty blogs, they're all happy little putschers tonight.