Friday, June 27, 2008
What if Ben Atchley,Tom Leatherwood etc. had acted like Kentuckys GOP?
Former GOP Senate Minority Leader Ben Atchley has been in the news this week with his endorsement of State Rep Stacey Campfields primary opponent and former Senator Leatherwood has made some waves this week as well with the news of Utah Congressmans Chris Cannon's defeat. Now Ive never met Blackburn or Campfield so Im not "shilling" for either of them. But my problem with Atchley and Leatherwood goes back to the nineties with two events that happened in Nashville and Kentucky. In Kentucky back in 1999, the GOP convinced two democrats to switch parties to give them a senate majority for the first time in modern history and the same thing pretty much happened in Nashville in late 1995 with Hamilton and Crowe switching parties. But thats where the similarities end. Kentucky Senate GOP leader David Williams and his fellow senators went in right after the party switching and removed all the democrats from their leadership positions. They had to fight a democrat Governor and a democrat State House but they stood strong on their conservative platform in spite of all that and held their slim senate majority after the 2000 elections. That guaranteed them a place at the redistricting table in '01 and they took advantage of it. They kept Anne Northup in Congress four years longer than she would have stayed if the democrats had won back the majority in 2000 and they used it to expand their senate majority to what is now a 23-15 margin. They also for a brief time controlled all six of the congressional seats in Kentucky thanks mainly to David Williams and his aggresive leadership team in the Kentucky Senate during the redistricting process. Now contrast that with Ben Atchley and his crew down here. When Mr Atchley was asked at the press conference announcing the switch of Crowe and Hamilton if he would be assuming the Lt Governors post he acted as if it was a war crime to even suggest removing John Wilder from that position. The Atchley types even pressured Bob Shutt to abandon his '96 campaign against Wilder because they didnt want to "hurt" John's feelings. I remember certain GOP legislators like Randy Stamps getting so disgusted with the Atchley types they just threw in the towel and left the legislature and who could blame Mr Stamps. Atchley and that crowd were acting like elementary school sissies with their new senate majority when they should have been fighting for conservative values in the legislature like the David Williams did in Kentucky. Just imagine what Tennessee would be like today if Atchley,Leatherwood and the rest of the GOP caucus had done what their Kentucky senate brethren did. If they had acted like real conservatives when they gained the majority they would have turned out a bigger GOP vote in the seats won by Kurita and Graves. They likely would have held on to power through redistricting in 2002 if they had won those two seats. They could have removed Carroll from Bobby Carters seat and replaced it with Henderson. There would have been no Don McCleary if that would have happened and Lowe Finney would still be running around Jackson in Robert Hill's shadow. The Congressional delegation would look different as well. Bart Gordon and Lincoln Davis would have much tougher districts than they currently have and Leatherwood could have got a lot of the GOP vote in Shelby and Fayette moved into John Tanners seat and he could have run against him in '02 for Congress. But instead of doing that they instead spent a lot of the past decade fighting their fellow GOPers in the primaries. Its disappointing in one sense from a conservative point of view but hey what can you expect. This is politicians we are talking about after all.