Tag Archives: leadership

Alexander Gaining in Power by Quitting Leadership??

Newspapers around the state carry reports today on Sen. Lamar Alexander’s plans to give up his Senate Republican leadership post, mostly pegged on the proposition that the move will give the state’s senior senator more flexibility and, as a result more power.
A sampler of snippets from the stories:
From the Tennessean: Sen. Lamar Alexander’s decision to resign his Senate leadership role could give the veteran lawmaker more power, not less, and help him advocate for issues important to Tennessee, analysts say….. “He’s enjoyed his leadership role, but it’s been a role that’s more about helping the conference and his colleagues succeed as Republican messengers,” said Tom Ingram, a Nashville-based political strategist who has worked on and off for Alexander since the 1970s.
Alexander “has felt constrained by that in terms of being able to deal as aggressively and directly with some of the issues as he’d like to,” Ingram said.
From the News Sentinel: U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander may be giving up power when he resigns in January from one of the U.S. Senate’s most influential leadership positions, but he figures he’ll get back something possibly more important: His independence. …. Alexander’s decision to step down from the leadership job stunned his colleagues, but Alexander said he had been contemplating the move for several months.
He said he wrote his resignation speech while on a fishing vacation in August, but delayed making the announcement until he was certain he was comfortable with the decision.
From the Chattanooga TFP: The former Tennessee governor, U.S. secretary of education and two-time presidential candidate said he now spends about 40 percent of his time on leadership matters, media strategies and political goals, completely different tasks, he said, from fighting for “research, scholarships, highways and other government functions that make it easier and cheaper to create jobs.”
“A lot of my job is political messaging, and we have 47 political messengers in the Republican conference,” he joked. “So they can do that.” According to news reports, the Senate Republican Conference chairman manages private strategy meetings and drives the conference’s message.
In careful remarks to reporters, Alexander’s junior colleague, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Senate leadership positions tend to be “a little stifling,” adding that a resignation allows Alexander to “express himself more fully.”
From the Commercial Appeal: Sen. Lamar Alexander said Tuesday…. (the) move he said will “liberate me to spend more time working to achieve results on the issues I care the most about.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised his colleague with a review of his career in the (Nixon) White House, as a two-term governor of Tennessee, and president of the University of Tennessee — “that was when they used to play football,” he joked.

Gov Faults Media for ‘Yada Yada Yada’ on ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ Ignoring Important Things

Starting with campaign opponents characterizing Bill Haslam as “an amiable featherbrain incapable of leadership,” Jeff Woods writes that similar critiques continue now that he has passed six months in office as governor.
Haslam suggests that the media may be at fault.
The governor complained that the media paid little attention to the appointment of the first superintendent of the Tennessee’s Achievement Student District, an attempt to turn around the state’s lowest-performing schools. At the same time, reporters closely watched the “Don’t Say Gay” bill to ban the mention of homosexuality before the ninth grade in Tennessee’s public schools.
“The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill didn’t pass and probably is never going to pass. At the same time, we hired Chris Barbic to run the Achievement School District, which is a huge deal. That got this much attention,” the governor said, holding his fingers an inch apart.
” ‘Don’t Say Gay’ got 100 articles. Well, something’s wrong with that picture.
” ‘Don’t Say Gay’ is real sexy and yada yada yada. It’s not going anywhere. Who runs the Student Achievement District is huge. But you’d be lucky to find two paragraphs on that.
“I say we’ve got a product to deliver, and I’m going to focus a lot of my time on delivering that product. People say, ‘Well, you weren’t 100 percent engaged on the session.’ That’s fair in one way. I probably will be more engaged going forward. But I’ve also got a job to do.”
Haslam said he is focused working behind the scenes to improve public schools and the state’s economy and to cut costs in the operation of the government.
“Those are real problems,” he said. “If we’re not working on them, they are not going to be addressed or it’s going to cost us money or our kids aren’t going to have as much opportunity. I don’t think that by focusing on that I’m ducking issues.”

UPDATE: Sen. Stacey Campfield, sponsor of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, responds on his blog HERE. (He thinks the bill will pass, but agrees with the governor in media-bashing.)