Tennessee Democrats are buzzing about a confrontation between Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and Bill Farmer, who was chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party during the 2002 election.
Farmer, who's bent out of shape over Bredesen's support for an overhaul of the state's workers' compensation system, told the governor "man to man" at the state party's annual Jackson Day dinner May 1 that he wished Republican Van Hilleary had defeated Bredesen two years ago.
If Hilleary had been elected, Farmer's logic goes, the General Assembly's Democratic leadership would have killed any attempt to reform the system in the manner Bredesen proposes. (Not that that would be a blatantly partisan maneuver or anything.)
"This is sad," Farmer was quoted as saying after the row. "I worked hard to elect a Democrat as governor. (The attorney has been active in the anti-workers' comp reform movement taken up by the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association.) "I stood on many a platform and told people that if you elect a Democratic governor, he would understand working people, he would help them. Unfortunately, I now owe an apology to a lot of people in Tennessee."
For his part, Bredesen called Farmer's approach "rude" and has no plans to alter the workers' comp initiative that he believes is vital for Tennessee to compete in the business arena.
Farmer wasn't always a Van fan. Here is a sampling of what the one-time Democratic Party patriarch had to say about the former congressman: "Like he is on so many issues, Congressman Hilleary is truly hypocritical when it comes to business incentives. He and his family benefited from a public-private partnership, then failed to live up to their end of the bargain."
And: "Republican Van Hilleary is struggling to distance himself from his party's leader Gov. Don Sundquist. With each passing day, the Republicans become more and more embarrassed at how they have let this state suffer under executive mismanagement."
Speaking of which, Republicans are naturally having a good guffaw at the Democrats' expense. Imagine, after all, what it would have been like if Jim Burnett, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party during Republican Don Sundquist's re-election campaign in 1998, went on to run the vehemently anti-Sundquist Hilleary campaign in 2002.
Oh wait, that actually happened.
The fledgling (and still growing) Music Row Democrats continue their impressive trend of attracting nationally known speakers as they welcome former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to town. Reno, who served under President Bill Clinton and somehow managed to hold onto her office for eight years without ever getting the boot, will be appearing along with her sister, environmental activist Maggy Reno Hurchalla, at the Belcourt Theatre June 4 at 11:30 a.m.
Hurchalla has an impressive record in her own right, earning the Environmental Protection Agency's National Wetlands Award for Volunteer Leadership, the National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation and Conservationist of the Year from the Florida Everglades Coalition.
For more information, visit www.musicrowdemocrats.com.
For almost three years, University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds has been the sole proprietor of one of the most popular Web sites in the world. Writing under the nom de Web "Instapundit," the prolific Reynolds has opined on political, legal and scientific matters for a number of years. His weekly readership runs in the hundreds of thousands and includes many influential people in politics and journalism. Now, Reynolds has indicated he is starting to run out of gas and may cut back his posts, which sometimes run as many as 20 a day.
"I'm trying to treat Instapundit less like work," Reynolds wrote on Instapundit.com Monday night. "That may mean less blogging or not, but I started this because it was fun, and I want to keep it that way, not succumb to blog fatigue.... I don't want that. And if I didn't respond to your e-mail, it's because there are about 4,000 e-mails sitting on the server right now, and I haven't even tried to keep up over the past several days. That's part of having it not feel like work, too."
We don't expect 4,000 e-mails, but if you have a good tip, a nice comment or a biting criticism, e-mail Roger at email@example.com.
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