Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why Bredesen's Poll Numbers Are High

Posted By on Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 9:45 AM

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OK, excuse the rant, but this is exactly what's wrong with Tennessee politics today. The governor, who has accomplished very little in six years except the dismantling of TennCare, enjoys a sky-high approval rating, according to this Chattanooga Times Free Press poll. State GOP chair Robin Smith credits Bredesen's "well-oiled communications machine." That's laughable. Bredesen's so-called communications machine doesn't do much communicating. It takes reporters days, sometimes weeks, to persuade his press secretary, Lydia Lenker, to phone back. Then when she finally does, she won't say anything that isn't obvious. Bredesen has a "communications director," Michael Drescher, but he doesn't communicate either. I've never been able to figure out exactly what he does. No, what makes Bredesen popular is the very fact that he doesn't try to do much of anything. That's what Tennesseans want: a do-nothing government. A potted plant as governor would score record high poll numbers. In many ways, it's understandable, since our legislature is filled with rubes. But the state also faces mounting unmet needs in health care and education. Our tax system is inadequate and unfair. Our acceptance of the status quo should be a source of shame. As long as the public rewards governors for acquiescing, nothing will change.

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