Hog-killing time in Tennessee, just ask Republicans
By JOHN B. BRYAN
It is hog-killing weather in Tennessee, and a huge hog was slain on Wednesday in Nashville as Republican lawmakers let their egos get the best of them taking for granted they had this power thing all figured out. It was suppose to be a slam-dunk effort to replace Speaker of the House Jimmy Naifeh, a Democrat who has served in that capacity for 18 years, with GOP Majority Leader Jason Mumpower, (no pun intended) but that plan went south rather quickly. After seeing the votes were not there to put Naifeh back in as Speaker, the Democrats shifted their support for Republican Kent Williams and with Williams voting for himself the power shifted from Mumpower to another Democratic-supported Speaker of the House. You can say what you want to – pretty slick move by House Democrats. Williams' election by 49 Democrats and one Republican — himself — came as a shock to many, including some Democrats who learned of the plan only minutes before it was played out. His election meant the end of Naifeh's 18-year tenure as Speaker, but it also nipped in the bud Mumpower’s plan, who was licking his chops to become the next Speaker. If the Republicans would have acted humbly about gaining the advantage in the House and had not acted so cocky about their apparent “changing of the guard,” they probably would have been able to put their man in the Speaker’s position. That kind of “I told you so” attitude is what is wrong with our legislature today. Our lawmakers get so caught up in the “me thing” that they lose sight on the job at hand. If the Republicans would have taken their legislative victories in November as well as the Democrats took their beating, everyone would be a little bit better off. Humility is a good thing. Arrogance will bite you. It’s kind of like my old high school football coach Louis Thompson told me once after I scored a meaningless touchdown. He said, “John Bryan, if you’re fortunate enough to get in the end zone, act like you have been there before.” Now that the Republicans have been suckered into the embarrassment of being out-maneuvered by their Democratic rivals, maybe, just maybe they will take their loss like big boys and girls and work together toward a better Tennessee.