Columnist: Vandy poll shows legislators out of touch with typical Tennessee voter

Excerpt from Commercial Appeal columnist Otis Sanford’s latest:

Just as I suspected, Tennesseans are not nearly as dogmatic, self-centered, hypocritical and closed-minded as most of the people we send to the state legislature.

For example, ordinary Tennesseans understand the value of deliberative compromise. Our lawmakers respond to a request for compromise with, “What part of hell no don’t you understand, the hell or the no?”

Ordinary Tennesseans, for the most part, have compassion for the underprivileged members of our society. Our lawmakers seem to treat those folks as freeloading pariahs.

And ordinary Tennesseans believe local governments should control the parks and playgrounds located within their borders. Our lawmakers check first with their out-of-state contributors, then pass laws stripping control from local leaders.

I say all that based on the findings from the most recent Vanderbilt University poll… a whopping 78 percent of Tennesseans surveyed said they still want lawmakers to debate (the issue (Insure Tennessee) and hold an up-or-down vote… 64 percent of the respondents said they support (Insure Tennessee).

…John Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt and co-director of the Vanderbilt Poll, was almost at a loss in trying to reconcile the poll results with the legislature’s recalcitrance. “There is a major disconnect between the thinking of Tennesseans and the action of our state legislature,” Geer told The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.

And how.

Remember what I wrote a few weeks ago about a parallel universe inhabited by Tennessee’s right-wing politicians? The Vanderbilt Poll confirms it.

Note: The column comes after a CA editorial criticizing Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey for suggesting the Vanderbilt Poll belongs in the trash can.