Weekly Obsession: Now entering the Realm, The Lord High Cancellor

Friday, February 8, 2013 at 6:02pm

Talk to a Tennessee Republican for more than 15 minutes about philosophy of government and no doubt they’ll parrot that they want to “get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

That quote from nihilist-in-conservative-clothing Grover Norquist is so fetishized by the GOP, it’s all but plastered on the wall at caucus meetings, awaiting the worshipful slap of eager hands like Notre Dame’s famous “Play Like A Champion Today” plaque.

While Tennessee’s legislative Republicans will no doubt be happy to perform the final act and thus take credit for the government’s destruction and the resulting anarcho-fundamentalist-capitalist paradise, there is the messy and complicated matter of doing the shrinking.

They need their own Rick Moranis.

Rep. Glen Casada and Sen. Jack Johnson have proposed the creation of an Office of the Repealer — an executive branch position charged with identifying unnecessary or “oppressive” state laws and recommending their repeal to the legislature.

The cognitive dissonance of creating more government with the ultimate goal of creating less government notwithstanding, is dubbing some ex-Republican legislator as Lord High Cancellor really worth the $75,000 he’ll be paid?

Upon election, Gov. Bill Haslam promised a top-to-bottom review of state government, with an eye to eliminating redundancies and unnecessary positions. This review resulted in a statistically insignificant level of cuts.

At their press conference, Casada and Johnson rattled off a number of state laws they find humorously unnecessary. Things like the prohibition against the launching of more than 25 balloons. While that law is certainly silly, the number of jobs created by its elimination will be nil, unless local balloon men, desperate to blow up a 26th balloon, have been hoarding balloon-blower resumes for decades.

Identifying these laws doesn’t require a new government position. It requires typing in “Weird Laws TN” into Google and clicking on any of the legion of websites that collate these anachronisms.

Not to put too fine a point on it — but don’t the people of Tennessee elect legislators to craft laws with the goal of creating a better and more efficient government? Why add an executive branch position when there are 132 (allegedly) perfectly capable lawmakers, all of whom (presumably) can read and think on their own? All of whom have some notion of what good government is, and are all allowed — even charged — to write legislation reflecting that philosophy.

What is the Lord High Cancellor if not a sinecure?

Tennessee is already paying people to run the state and now Republicans want us to pay people to eliminate it? Maybe the supermajority is so cynical they are willing to pay someone $75,000 annually so they have a scapegoat for when some popular project falls under the Cancellor’s ax?

“Well, we asked him for recommendations and this is what he recommended. Don’t blame us.”

Allow me to make a recommendation: Do your job. Don’t hire an old pal to do it for you.

9 Comments on this post:

By: ancienthighway on 2/12/13 at 5:47

Ah, come on now! If the people on the Hill had to find and eliminate all the weird laws in TN:

1. It would take time from introducing new weird laws.
2. It would take time from introducing new laws to throw the state back 75 years in time to the "good ol' days"
3. It would take time from introducing the "fantasy laws" demonstrating to the world that "The South Will Rise Again."

By: Kosh III on 2/12/13 at 7:29

"Upon election, Gov. Bill Haslam promised a top-to-bottom review of state government, "

Yet this supposedly comprehensive review did not find ANY of the problems at DCS which are plastered over the front page almost every day.

By: Elmer Gantry on 2/12/13 at 9:46

...At their press conference, Casada and Johnson rattled off a number of state laws they find humorously unnecessary. Things like the prohibition against the launching of more than 25 balloons. While that law is certainly silly, the number of jobs created by its elimination will be nil, unless local balloon men, desperate to blow up a 26th balloon, have been hoarding balloon-blower resumes for decades.

TNGA Rep. Glen Casada and Sen. Jack Johnson have proposed the creation of an "Office of the Repealer" at a $75,000 annual salary? Perhaps --- but only if the Casada/Jaskson bill would also first eliminate the plum job of Executive Assistant to the Comptroller.

This proposal is clearly a duplication of state services --- during December 2010, Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson created the patently bogus (and second highest paying within the Comptroller offce) job of Executive Assistant to the Comptroller for TNGA Rep. Jason Mumpower at a salary of $124,800 per year.

According to the annoucement released by both Comptroller Wilson and newly-stamped ExAssComp Mumpower regarding the pretext of his duties within the creation of this new government job:

"Mumpower will serve as the executive assistant to the comptroller. His duties will include serving as a liaison to the General Assembly, representing the comptroller on several boards and commissions and dealing with the overall management of the comptroller’s office.

“I am honored to join Comptroller Wilson, serving alongside him to protect the interests of Tennessee taxpayers,” Mumpower said in a prepared release. “This opportunity will allow me to work with the department to reduce waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer money, while also protecting the fiscal well-being of the state."

Comptroller Wilson was mostly likely put ""under the gun" by Lt. Governor Ramsey to appoint his legislative boy ward Mumpower to this new state plum job --- following Mumps own embarrassing 2009 defeat following his prolonged scheming to be elected as Tennessee Speaker of the House of Representatives --- as Wilson would himself be then soon appearing before Ramsey for re-appointment to his own job as Tennessee Comptroller during January, 2011:

http://www.tnsenate.com/_blog/Newsroom/post/General_Assembly_Re-elects_State_Constitutional_Officers/

Balloons Blow… Don't Let Them Go! Impacts on Wildlife & the Environment
http://balloonsblow.org/impacts-on-wildlife-and-environment

Ballons Can Kill Wildlife
http://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/pollution/dont%20let%20go.pdf

By: ConservativeSailor on 2/12/13 at 12:15

Newt Gingrich made a promise in 1994 that the Republicans would repeal a law a day. Never happened.
An Executive position created to direct the Legislature to repeal laws would essentially remove the co-equal status of Executive and Legislative branches,
The Legislature should do three things:
1. Ignore this STUPID proposal.
2. Establish a joint commission to review legislation for repeal equally devided between parties and houses. Like the budget commission the Feds did. You know. The one that got us Sequestration in March.
3. REQUIRE all new legislation have a Sunset clause that ends the law in five years unless it is renewed.

By: pswindle on 2/12/13 at 5:08

Since the GOP hates government of any kind, I can solve your problem. The GOP needs to reject every government program and that includes SS, Medicare and Medicaid, road money, disaster money and every dime that comes from the Federal Government. EachGOP state would have to raise money to cover all of these or they would be cut. The democrats would keep paying into the programs, and reap the results. If this were to happen the GOP would become a third world people with poverty unbelievable. But, I think that this needs to happen to show the GOP what the government does for you. Together this country can be the most powerful, but not divided. How many GOP seniors live month to month on SS, Medicare or Medicaid? If enough of the NRA members lost loved ones in shootings, do you think that the gun laws would change? Just asking!

By: Ask01 on 2/12/13 at 10:38

pswindle, if NRA members lost loved ones to shootings, they would probably lay the blame on not enough training or firepower.

Beyond those lovable people, however, if enough right wing conservatives lost their jobs to support the excesses of corporate greed and found themselves being lectured by their former friends to get a non existant job, there might be a change in attitude.

The experience would be rough and very traumatic, but on the other hand the adversity would build character. I can only wish for them to learn the valuable lessons to be learned from unemployment.

By: govskeptic on 2/14/13 at 8:10

It appears our posters are uncertain as to what this proposal does or doesn't do.
pswindle always leads the Democrat positions with such clarity and unbiased opinions on any subject political. This position is not needed for any new title nor
fan fair, but only the services of some retired and knowledgeable person that can
read the laws and compare it's standing or usefulness or not to the Tenn Code. Bad
or totally outdated laws don't need a Titled Individual or Group to Approve their repeal.
Both the Republican and Democratic members should recognize those and act
together to repeal the unneeded.

By: jonw on 2/15/13 at 2:48

By: pswindle on 2/12/13 at 5:08: "But, I think that this needs to happen to show the GOP what the government does for you."
____________________
All that the government does for you is taken from someone else &/or borrowed from China.

By: pswindle on 2/18/13 at 12:01

These guys sound like Geo. Bush.