Broad Logic: Is Bredesen a lame duck or just lame?

Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 11:00pm

So Tennessee is a place that doesn’t mind stunting economic development by limiting retailers and inconveniencing millions of shoppers who might want to buy a bottle of cabernet at Publix (by God, that’s unlawful), but where it’s perfectly fine to sidle up to a bar packing heat and order nine rounds of Southern Comfort (in fact, let’s pass a law making it so).

Such is the case when there’s a Republican majority in the state House — a group beyond saving — and a governor whose mysterious work ethic and bizarre sense of priorities deem it simply too much trouble to involve himself on either the front or back ends of such monumentally moronic legislative efforts.

While Gov. Phil Bredesen vetoed the guns-in-bars bill, he did so knowing as an absolute certainty that the legislature would override it. How did he know? Because he wasn’t willing to lift a finger to have the veto sustained.

“I guess the issue for me was it seems this would have taken a very difficult, all-out effort,” he told reporters by way of explanation. He characterized the bill as “an invitation to disaster” but defended his hands-off approach by saying he had “bigger fish to fry” in passing the state budget, which, now that we mention it, is pretty well a dog too, as it victimizes the mentally disabled and others whose lives are already tough enough.

It also represents yet another year gone by for a state whose tax structure is flat broken — and especially ineffective when the economy takes a nosedive as it has in the last year.

But fatalism — or laziness — has been a theme with our governor for much of his political career. Last fall, Bredesen advised then-presidential candidate Barack Obama to skip any meaningful campaign efforts in the state, indicating it would be a waste of time and resources. The governor himself apparently did very little to help his party — that would have meant exerting some effort — and the result: Tennessee joined only Arkansas and Louisiana (states distinguished mostly by abject poverty and poor educational systems) in demonstrating during November’s election increased Republican strength over 2004 levels.

The only real effort we’ve seen recently from Bredesen, who has over the years been fond of saying, “I’m going to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” has been his relatively overt but unsuccessful campaign to secure a cabinet post.

While crafting a budget under the current economic conditions has certainly required a considerable amount of time and difficult decision-making, it happens to be an inescapable requirement of the job, and Bredesen has in the past demonstrated an ability to balance more than one task at a time. Which is why his lack of leadership and unwillingness to expend any political capital on issues that have generated considerable public discussion are especially disappointing, if not entirely surprising.

Clearly there are aspects of the job he continues to enjoy. But they are more often than not of the shiny-object variety, such as closed-door deals with Volkswagen and Wacker Chemie.

The announcement that those two German companies would open plants in Tennessee has led to his latest adventure. He’s off to Switzerland, Germany and Poland on an economic development tour, saying in a press release in advance of the trip that a recession is as good a time as any to “redouble” state efforts to lure higher-paying jobs to the state.

No argument there. But throwing up his hands on what may seem like more mundane issues will only make business recruitment more difficult.

State lawmakers’ obsession with expanding the presence of lethal weapons where men drink can’t help to endear the state to industry considering relocations here. Coupled with the state of our schools, which only are notable for their lack of achievement, these embarrassing legislative triumphs over reason and good judgment have to make Tennessee less attractive, not more.

Beyond all that, why is Bredesen hoarding his political capital? Just what is he saving it for? He’s not one to take counsel from columnists, but it shouldn’t go without saying that this lame duck should quack more. Otherwise, he’s just lame.

18 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 6/15/09 at 3:56

Phil don't "lure" jobs here he buys them with our money to make himself look good.

Did it as Mayor and repeated as Governor.

By: eastnashville37207 on 6/15/09 at 4:09

Bredesen is both. Lame and a lame duck.

By: Kosh III on 6/15/09 at 7:02

Lame.
I voted Green Party rather than vote for this DINO.
The only thing he knows to do is throw our money at rich corporations and kick the poor and helpless to the curb.
Good Riddance. Lame. Lame. Lame.

By: geotenn on 6/15/09 at 7:37

Gov. Bredesen and his friends on the Hill have done as much damage as they can to the least fortunate in the state this year. I can't wait to see how they surpass themselves in the next session.

By: geotenn on 6/15/09 at 7:39

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.": Samuel Adams

By: BigPapa on 6/15/09 at 8:42

How you can criticize Phil over the lack of wine in a grocery store is beyond me. Personally I think he's done a good job. No more yapping about an income tax, or the total chaos of the Sundquist Administration. It's been a nice run, especially compared to that moron.

By: concernednashvillian on 6/15/09 at 8:59

He's a smart guy, but real passion for people or causes has always been missing.

By: frodo on 6/15/09 at 9:28

Do you suppose Liz just naturally wakes up like this every morning? At least we got her to say the words "flat" and "tax" in the same sentence. That is progress, even if unintended.

Has there ever been a governor or a man, or a governor who is a man, who Liz did not loathe?

Sorry for responding in kind to the columnist from the Scene, er, oops, the City Paper. That the governor fails to carry water for her pet crusades is not something over which a choose to lose sleep.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/15/09 at 10:36

frodo, couldn't have said it better myself.

By: joemama1977 on 6/15/09 at 11:58

What does it say about your journalism when the very first sentence contains the false statement "...but where it’s perfectly fine to sidle up to a bar packing heat and order nine rounds of Southern Comfort (in fact, let’s pass a law making it so)."? It is not perfectly fine, and in fact it is against the law to consume alcohol in a bar or restaurant while "packing heat". To say otherwise is this journalist showing her ignorance. Buying the cabernet at Publix is just as "unlawful" at this present time as having a drink in a bar while "packing heat". If you don't like either law, then go out and try to change it.

It seems to me that so many of these people who are against the "guns in bars" law have not even read it. If you have a difference of opinion based on the facts, then so be it. But let's not use bad journalism containing untrue statements, such as this writer begins with, in an effort to try to change people's minds.

The rest of the article might have been great, and contained a whole bunch of true facts. I will never know because, to me, there was no credibility left in it so why bother reading.

By: timebomb on 6/15/09 at 12:21

Bredesen moved down here from yankeeland, I believe, Mass. He couldn't get elected dog catcher there because they keep electing a fat killer. But I do think that there is no need to carry a gun in a bar, but if their going to let them they need to keep a tight grip on the drinking. Drinking and guns don't mix, ask Dick Cheeney. He couldn't have stopped it anyway. I hope if I am right about him coming from Mass that when his term is up that he move his ugly ass back. He's an idiot.

By: scratchme on 6/15/09 at 12:25

Of course this bill allows people who carry guns to drink in bars. It creates a provision to allow them in, but creates no provision to limit alcohol consumption. The bill may state that it's not allowed, but the whole reason the governor, the police chiefs, Jimmy Naifeh and restaurants themselves were and are opposed to the legislation is because it's impossible to know who is and isn't carrying a concealed weapon and, therefore, to know who should and shouldn't be served.

By: millenboy on 6/15/09 at 3:42

From Wiki:
Bredesen was born in Oceanport, New Jersey. His father, a captain in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, was stationed at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey at the time of Bredesen's birth. The family lived in various locations during Bredesen's early childhood, including Canandaigua, New York and Arlington, Massachusetts.

When his parents separated in 1951, ... in Shortsville, New York, where they lived with Bredesen's maternal grandmother, a widow. Shortsville is the community Bredesen considers to be his hometown, and he lived there until he left for college.

No matter where he came from he has been a competent technocrat. A businessman's democrat. If it wasn't for that bunker....

By: sidneyames on 6/15/09 at 3:44

Of course this bill allows people who carry guns to drink in bars. It creates a provision to allow them in, but creates no provision to limit alcohol consumption. The bill may state that it's not allowed, but the whole reason the governor, the police chiefs, Jimmy Naifeh and restaurants themselves were and are opposed to the legislation is because it's impossible to know who is and isn't carrying a concealed weapon and, therefore, to know who should and shouldn't be served.

Well, as an establishment owner, I have the right to have people "declare" their guns at the door and then they won't be served. Besides, usually it's the criminals who don't even register guns who kill people. So what's all the fuss?

By: PromosFriend on 6/15/09 at 4:28

Dear Liz (and the other fool that thinks HCP citizens can legally drink while carrying):

"....but where it’s perfectly fine to sidle up to a bar packing heat and order nine rounds of Southern Comfort ...."

False, and a fine example of poor journalism ethics. Tennessee has very strict laws that prohibit the consumption of alcohol with a weapon in one's possession. While the server may not know whether a client is carrying, the client does. The first sip of an alcoholic beverage puts the person carrying at considerable risk of fines, imprisonment, and loss of the right to carry, or possibly even own firearms.

By: PromosFriend on 6/15/09 at 4:32

Now, on to the job that Gov. Bredesen has done. I don't agree with him all of the time, but I'm glad that I voted for him twice. I've been voting since 1972 and can easily say that, overall, Bredesen is the best governor that we've had from then to now. I just hope the next one is as businesslike as he has been, instead of trying to find out who to pander to next.

By: pswindle on 6/16/09 at 9:00

How quickly we forget. Do you remember the state of TN when the last GOP governor left office? Thank you Gov. Bredesesn for saving our state from total ruins. I can not understand why the republicans get such joy in callling and saying terrible things about their fellow Tennesseans and Americans. Sen. Black's staffer is a prime examble of where the GOP is going.

By: JohnGalt on 6/16/09 at 12:04

I can't remember the last time Liz got her knickers in such a knot. And, she's usually closer to the facts than she obviously is in this rant. Her cow-orkers might want to steer clear of her for a while.