Tag Archives: superlatives

On the Cutting Edge of Red State Conservatism… and more 2013 Legislative Session Superlatives

More 2013 supermajority session superlatives (first installment HERE):
Celebrity of the Year: Sen. Stacey Campfield, of course. Hands down. From Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert to Jon Stewart and Piers Morgan on national TV, from TMZ to Huffington Post on the national blogosphere, they all talked with — or at least about — the red-haired Knoxville Republican on the cutting edge of red state conservatism. He’s been there before, of course, but this session his national media stature grew — and much of Tennessee’s media, including bloggers, went into an absolute tizzy, sometimes just to report that national celebrities had noticed the senator or one of his blog posts. With exceptions such as Bill O’Reilly, most of the attention was negative — much amounted to ridicule — and centered on his bill to tie a parent’s welfare payments to a child’s school performance. He never backed down in rhetorical fights, whether on TV or the News Sentinel website comment sections, but did back down from putting the bill to a Senate floor vote this year, perhaps a politically practical and tacit acknowledgment that others fret more about such things than he.

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Some Superlatives from the Supermajority Session

Some superlative legislative performances during the first supermajority session of Tennessee’s 108th General Assembly:
Best Oratory: Rep. Bill Sanderson, R-Kenton, is generally a fairly mild-mannered and quiet fellow. But on the final day of the session, the bespectacled appliance salesman rose on the House floor to lead the rhetoric in rebellion against what he depicted as dictatorial state senators trying to cram a judicial redistricting bill down the throat of the “people’s chamber.” Gesturing with arms and hands, spinning this direction and that, the impassioned Sanderson’s sizzling speech left jaws dropping — and red “no” lights bright on the vote tally display board.
Best Loser: Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, House sponsor of the failing wine-in-groceries bill, the failing bill to increase penalties for cockfighting and the failing judicial redistricting legislation savaged by Sanderson. The Lundberg losers were bipartisan bills with logical and reasonable policy arguments behind them and entrenched interests opposing them. Just like in the years before the supermajority.
Freshman of the Year, Republican: Rep. William Lamberth of Cottontown introduced the maximum 15 bills permitted under new rules and proceeded to violate the old, unwritten rule that calls for freshmen to keep quiet, listen and learn in their first term. Lamberth saw 10 of his bills enacted, more than any other freshman — perhaps most notably one that makes secret the Department of Safety’s list of 400,000 handgun permit holders. A gregarious sort, the former prosecutor was an aggressive questioner in committees, particularly on crime bills, and rarely was on the losing side of a vote.

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Legislative Superlatives 2011, Part 1

(Note: This is an unedited version of a column written for Sunday’s News Sentinel. Edited version HERE.)
The Republican railroad stayed mostly on the tracks during the legislative session that ended last weekend, delivering boxcar loads of conservative agenda items, thanks to the new super majority.
The chief engineers, House Speaker Ron Ramsey and Senate Speaker Beth Harwell, deserve much of the credit – or blame, depending on your perspective. It’s fair to say, though, that Harwell applied the brakes more often than Ramsey.
Contrary to last session, when Democrats still had a substantive presence, the House was clearly the more moderate body in the 107th General Assembly- stopping a Senate-passed bill on school vouchers, for example, and forcing a compromise on Senate efforts to completely abolish collective bargaining between school boards and teacher unions.
Ergo, if designating a legislator of the year and including the speakers, Harwell would be the logical choice.
If the House Republican Caucus had chosen instead rival candidate Rep. Glen Casada as speaker, one suspects, Ramsey would not have been saying at session’s end that 2011 was just “an appetizer” of conservatism to come and that the “main course” will come later. We would have had the main course already.
But speakers get plenty of credit and attention, so they are excluded from the following list of legislative superlative nominations for the 107th Tennessee General Assembly’s 2011 session:

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