published Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Tennessee one of the reddest states of all

Election Day 2012 was further proof that Tennessee is one of the reddest of all Red States.

In addition to Mitt Romney's drubbing of President Obama here, Republicans took supermajority control of both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly for the first time in state history and Sen. Bob Corker and all seven GOP U.S. House members were returned to Washington.

Even local races and ballot initiatives demonstrate Tennessee's tilt towards conservative principles and free market, limited government policy solutions.

DesJarlais wins despite controversy

While Sen. Bob Corker and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District were expected to be re-elected handily, few could predict how embattled 4th District Congressman Scott DesJarlais would fare.

It turns out that, despite his embarrassing mistress-having, abortion-forcing, drug-using, patient-cavorting scandal, the doctor-turned-Congressman defeated his Democratic challenger with relative ease.

The good news for Republicans is that DesJarlais' conservatives voting habits should continue for two more years. The even better news is that, unless too many challengers enter the race and split the vote, DesJarlais should be handily defeated in the Republican primary if he decides to run in 2014. The number of good Republican state lawmakers and county mayors residing in the 4th District likely means that DesJarlais will soon be just an embarrassing memory for his constituents.

A supermajority in Nashville

For the first time in Tennessee's history, Republicans have a "supermajority" in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Tuesday's election gave the GOP the additional two seats it needed in each house to achieve a two-thirds majority in both parts of the legislative branch -- allowing Republicans to pass pretty much anything they want despite Democratic opposition.

Now that Republicans have swept the board, the question is: What to do?

This is not a time for the GOP to flex its newly-grown muscles by throwing around divisive social issues. This is a rare chance to pass legislation that reduces government spending, eliminates superfluous taxes, trims red tape that hinders business, and empowers parents, teachers and students, such as:

• Grocery Tax -- Tennesseans pay the third highest tax on grocery purchases in the country. It disproportionately impacts the poor and should be eliminated.

• The Hall Income Tax -- The tax collects on the raw gains of bond and stock dividends. While the money taken only accounts for 2 percent of total Tennessee revenue, it discourages investors, most significantly the wealthy and elderly, from residing in the state.

• Fight to advance school choice --Traditional government schools fail many Tennessee students. State lawmakers should provide options that allow the parent to decide the best learning environment for their child.

• Economic barriers -- These regulations make business conception and growth nearly impossible. License restrictions and regulatory legislation are often implemented to appease special interest groups. To minimize this effect, oversight committees should be appointed to ensure that the Tennessee worker is given the highest priority.

Politics is a process of compromising interests. Less opposition means less compromise. The GOP supermajority provides an opportunity to enact strong free market, limited government policies. Tennessee Republicans have a history of harping on social issues when they have the spotlight. They should, instead, focus on fiscal responsibility and long-term development.

A new day in East Ridge

The City of East Ridge -- or more, accurately, the People's Republic of East Ridge, given its recent tyrannical decisions to harass entrepreneurs, smokers and pet goats -- is in bad need of a new direction. Plagued by boarded up storefronts, high unemployment and, seemingly, more payday lenders than paycheck providers, Tuesday's election gave residents hope for a better future.

Voters elected Marc Gravitt, a pro-business, fiscal conservative who understands the need to keep the city's spending in check, to the East Ridge City Council. They also re-elected Denny Manning, East Ridge's most consistent voice for low taxes and reducing regulatory burdens.

When combined with Jim Bethune, a council member not up for election on Tuesday, the three men will create a limited government, pro-growth majority on the East Ridge City Council. This new majority should be able to put an end to the city's habit of wasting tax dollars and putting up with bad behavior from its top bureaucrats.

Specifically, Gravitt, Manning and Bethune can end East Ridge's ludicrous practice of having a part-time contract attorney, who has billed East Ridge taxpayers an average of more than $160,000 over the past five years, rather than a cheaper full-time city attorney.

They can also take a serious look at whether East Ridge City Manager Tim Gobble fits in the city's plans going forward. Gobble allegedly interfered with a court case involving his daughter and, despite his $125,000 salary, seemingly spends the better part of his days goofing off on Facebook.

In the past, East Ridge city leaders didn't question the city's wasteful spending on its attorney and looked the other way when it came to the blundering city manager. They wouldn't have considered ways to reduce taxes, cut spending, expand the tax base and encourage new businesses.

But this is a new East Ridge, and residents, business owners and taxpayers (and maybe even pet goats) will be better off as a result.

Sequatchie tax hike halted

For the second time in nine months, the Sequatchie County Commission snuck a half-cent sales tax increase proposal on the ballot. For the second time in nine months, the commissioners sounded like Chicken Little, saying the county's fiscal sky is falling and a tax hike was necessary. In reality, the budget problems were caused by a hefty increase in spending, rather than the lack of revenue. And for the second time in nine months, Sequatchie County voters rejected the commissioners' bogus claim that a tax increase was necessary, defeating the tax hike referendum.

Sequatchie County residents are wise enough to know that, in this economy, if they have to live on less, county leaders shouldn't be allowed to spend more and more -- especially without a compelling reason.

Defeating the sales tax increase will prove one of the wisest things Sequatchie County voters ever did. Not having access to even more tax dollars to spend will force county leaders to do what they should have done months ago: look for ways to trim wasteful spending, find opportunities to outsource government services that private service providers can perform more efficiently and consider how best to spend county residents' hard-earned money.

Most importantly, Sequatchie County Commissioners will be forced to look at the steep increase in the Sequatchie County School System budget and ask tough questions about how those tax dollars are spent.

By acting like responsible leaders rather than teenagers on vacation with daddy's credit card, Sequatchie's public officials can use this defeat of the sales tax hike to get the county's budget under control. By doing so, they can finally put a stop to their bad habit of trying to push unnecessary tax hikes on county residents.

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aae1049 said...

Yep, the Red State, with the exception of the Davidson County and 2 West Counties.

November 7, 2012 at 6:15 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Nationally, republican religious nut-jobs Akin and Mourdock snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for their idiotic rape and abortion comments. Apparently it was "God's will" that they lost.

Locally, DesJarlais will be the buffoon wearing the dunce cap in Congress, sitting by himself in the corner where he'll be made to shout "unclean" every five minutes by the Republican party taskmaster. His leprosy will make him a lame duck and a continual embarrassment for Tennessee.

Gardenhire beat McGary though McGary had support from the "Pinocchio" Greg Vital camp after Gardenhire's squeaker defeat of Vital in the primary. But Vital has money and crony-capitalist developer support so look for him to attempt to buy another election in the future.

And the world keeps spinning.

November 7, 2012 at 8:19 a.m.
gypsylady said...

And Signal Mountain voters decided they had a "purty" good council after all and kept it the way it was. You forgot that part.

November 7, 2012 at 9:23 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Yes, Tennessee is deep red, but does anyone believe that a national party with terrible gender and minority appeal is headed in a winning direction? Deep red may well mean...backward.

November 7, 2012 at 10:33 a.m.

Tennessee has long been a one party-state. The label may change, but not the substance.

A few decades of transition gave a bit of an impression otherwise, but only to those who weren't paying attention.

Of course, things would be different with actual representative government, but Baker v. Carr didn't fix that.

At least we're still open primary.

Jungle primary might be of more use though.

November 7, 2012 at 12:01 p.m.
librul said...

Yep - it's red ... which, for me, denotes embarrassment as the color has become connected with Republican capitalists rather than democratic Socialists.

November 7, 2012 at 2:48 p.m.
joneses said...

The problem with Scott Desjarlais opponent was I never heard him say what he supported or did not support. I do not even know his name. The only thing I got from "whats his name" is he did not support Scott Desjarlais. Another example of a dummycrat being ashamed of what he stands for.

By the way, I think the Tennessee Legislature should flex it's muscle to offset Hussein Obama flexing his.

November 8, 2012 at 7:04 a.m.
jjmez said...

By the way, I think the Tennessee Legislature should flex it's muscle to offset Hussein Obama flexing his.

joneses, both you and Rusty Limpaugh have run that hussein in the ground. That's why your boy Rom Rom really lost. True patriotic Americans were turned off by all the hate coming from the right. We know just the thought throws you and your kind into a hissy fit and cause convulsions, but it's President Obama. Get use to it and stop parroting Limpaugh.

November 8, 2012 at 8:08 a.m.

Really, you didn't know what Eric Stewart stood for? Then why didn't you take some personal responsibility and find out? Oh wait, you couldn't even get his name. Funny you must have missed all the Desjarlais ads where all he had to offer was bashing of Stewart.

Maybe Desjarlais was ashamed of himself.

November 8, 2012 at 9:44 a.m.
Leaf said...

Tennesse is one of the reddest states and also ranks near the bottom in education. But correlation is not causation. ;)

November 8, 2012 at 1:55 p.m.
librul said...

Happy said: "Maybe Desjarlais was ashamed of himself."


Nah - Lying, misoginy, philandery - its the NEW christianity!

November 9, 2012 at 7:50 a.m.

Well, at least they kept one out of three.

November 9, 2012 at 12:58 p.m.
joneses said...

jjmez,

Obama won because he is making fools out of gullible, blind people like you.

November 9, 2012 at 7:56 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Romney lost because his magic underwear failed.

November 9, 2012 at 9:08 p.m.
joneses said...

daytons

And Harry Reid's magic underwear has crawled up his ass so far it has touched his crap stained brain he has become a blubbering idiot. Harry is a Mormon stupid.

November 9, 2012 at 9:52 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Flagged that one too. C'mon Francis, I know you can get your point across without using 14 year old locker room language.

November 10, 2012 at 3:39 p.m.
chet123 said...

Tennessee Red???? nahhhhhh!!!!!!....maybe this why its a butt hole backward state with one of the lowest income of the 50 state.......highest army volunteers because employment is so low and high school graduate cant find work to support their families.......with the most uneducated people in the country....next to mississippi....hmmmmm!!!!

I wouldnt Brags about being stupid!!!! ha ha ha ha!

November 23, 2012 at 12:49 p.m.
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