Rex: Wake me up in November

Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 11:45pm

Rex has been watching the gubernatorial candidates lately and has noticed a few things.

On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp has vowed to “meet ’em at the state line” when it comes to the health care reform law that mandates coverage, and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey showed off his cowboy boots in a commercial while promising to give Washington “the boot” if it doesn’t like
the way we do things here.

When did we become Alabama? These guys sound more like George Wallace on a black-and-white Philco than men who want to lead Tennessee in the 21st century.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam’s former company, Pilot Corp., owned by his family, buying what seems to be significant ad time on prominent conservative Steve Gill’s radio show. Gill is reading the ads himself.

On the other side of the aisle, lone Democratic candidate Mike McWherter, son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, won his primary by attrition and has kept his head down since.

Too bad his state party chair, Nashville’s Chip Forrester, decided to draw his own fire. He recently said some “Democratic activists” are looking at voting “strategically” in August’s GOP primary instead of their own. The subtext: Vote for the weakest opposition.

Democratic voter numbers will be down for sure, but Rex doesn’t think there will be anything “strategic” about it. When you have a state party chair handing out quotes that will help his opposition raise money, it makes you wonder where he’s getting his advice. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele?

We just bumped into each other there … really

Rex likes the bar at the Nashville City Club, especially on weekday afternoons.

The food is good, it’s quiet so Rex can think, and the bartenders are attentive but don’t hover. Most essentially, they know how to make a good martini.

Rex was leaving one recent evening after enjoying his alone time. On the way out, he ran into a passel of Republican House and Senate members, with Secretary of State Tre Hargett in tow.

Wonder if Hargett is holding counseling sessions with GOP members at the City Club. Maybe he’s giving them updates on the changes in the state’s elections office, which he oversees.

Of course, all of this is well and good if one forgets the Open Meetings Act, and if one overlooks Hargett’s pledge to be nonpolitical.

Wasn’t the last guy who held the job booted for being political? Pot, meet kettle.

‘We’re growing a strange crop of agnostics this year’

State Sen. Eric Stewart, D-Belvidere, had a question and needed Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper to answer it.

It wasn’t about health care, education, highways or agriculture. That might have been important, and thus unlikely to draw the attention of this version of the General Assembly.

Stewart wanted the Attorney General to divert staff time and resources to a question that was a bit more ethereal. Because he is an elected official, the AG answered.

Would the creation of a new specialty license plate, asserting that “Jesus is Lord,” violate any federal or state constitutional provisions, especially the provisions against the establishment of religion?

Cooper’s response, which will likely further the calls for his head on a platter since he weighed in against suing the federales over health care reform, is that he pointed out the yes — it would violate federal and state constitutional provisions.

Here’s some free advice to Stewart and anyone else who cares: If you need to wear your religion on your sleeve and your car, buy a bumper sticker.

Got a tip for Rex? Contact him at rnoseworthy@nashvillecitypaper.com

5 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 4/26/10 at 6:46

Is that any different than Alabama and Indiana's to name just
two that has "In God we Trust" on their license plates?

By: Kosh III on 4/26/10 at 8:01

Yes because it is religion-specific.
In God we Trust could mean the Islamic god, the Buddhist god, Jewish god, one of the Hindu gods etc etc

Rather than a Parisaical boast of your faith by an expensive license plate, try showing it by feeding the hungry, tending the sick, visiting the prisoners, protecting the oppressed, by helping the helpless, the hopeless and the hapless.

By: localboy on 4/26/10 at 10:05

amen

By: pswindle on 4/26/10 at 3:01

Go, Mike go.

By: not_guilty on 4/26/10 at 4:23

The First Amendment problems with the license plate described by Senator Stewart are so obvious that even a child can grasp the issue. (Moreover, why should those who understand the lordship of Jesus need or even want Caesar's endorsement, via a tin plate, of that proposition?)

I surmise that the opinion request, coming from a Republican (the party of Mammon, BTW), was intended to force Mr. Cooper into taking a politically unpopular position--which his oath of office sometimes requires. Is it coincidental that this showboating comes when a constitutional amendment to require popular election of the Attorney General is pending? I think not.