Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Gov. Haslam Needs History Lessons

For some years I've been a fan of Betsy Phillip's writing, she's wicked smart and has a razor sharp style and calls out BS for what it is. I'm sure some readers get a little uncomfortable with her honesty and her views since she doesn't shrink away from tough issues. Her work at Pith In The Wind has been a must-read.

Example - her take-down of what she calls our "beloved rich-person governor", Bill Haslam. 

"He can't claim that things are worse now than it was 50 years ago, which anyone who's had a decent recent US history class would know is just laughable on its face, and expect that claim to have rhetorical weight AND to want more people to have the opportunity to have good educations. Governor Haslam, either you need a state full of people who don't know better to believe your campaign speeches or you can have an educated populace. But you can't have both."

Her post takes issue with this quote from The Gov:

"The Republican answer — I think, the smart answer — is to say we’re going to give everybody the opportunities that they deserve,” he said. “There’s some people who say ... we can just tax more people at the top end and that can help more people at the bottom end, (and) it’ll all work out.

"But we’ve been trying that for the past 50 years, with the Great Society and all of that. The problem has only actually gotten worse.”

That idea that Republicans are going to "give everybody the opportunities that they deserve" ... I don't think most folks see that as the role of government. Isn't it more "protect the opportunities" of state residents? And oh yes, 50 years have seen huge improvements in most every aspect of life for Tennesseans, not a spiral down into Doom and Gloom. Always defining lifestyles and politics as stuck in the landscape of Us vs Them circa 1960s is a losing and deceptive game for all.

Betsy's right - coming from a family worth a billion dollars, The Gov has a disconnect when it comes to income inequality - mostly because he just hasn't brought any wisdom to the issue. He's kept everything status quo, same as it ever was. Longtime party leaders are calling the shots and defining the state's policies. The Gov is just along for the ride and too often he sounds deeply misinformed.