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Republicans rode the elevators up 27 floors to Waller Lansden's offices yesterday to hear Jason Mumpower speak at their monthly "First Tuesday" club meeting. The master of ceremonies, somebody named Tim Skow, joked about giving House Speaker Kent Williams "flying lessons" off the balcony. Those Republicans--what a wacky bunch!
"I'm just glad to be anywhere that'll have me as a speaker," Mumpower laughed.
He gave the crowd the red meat they craved, vowing to make certain Republicans win in 2010 so they control what happens after the elections: the all-important redrawing of the state's political map.
"I believe that it matters who governs," he said. "I said in '08, 'This is the most important election of our lifetimes.' Well, the elections of 2010 are the most important elections of our lifetime. ... I could just draw [the district lines] fairly and there would be one or two or three more Republican congressmen in this state and several more Republican House members and senators. So the stakes are high. Let's go ahead and buckle down and get ready for 2010 and get the job done. I'm ready for a throwdown."
After the jump, excerpts from the Q&A with club members that followed Mumpower's speech:
Do you see any remorse on the part of the folks on the Democratic
side for the chicanery? It seems like principled people would feel a
degree of remorse when they do something unethical.
I think right now they're attempting to hold on to any degree of power so much that there's not any remorse yet.
All but two of the committees are evenly divided between the Republicans and Democrats? Do you see that as stalemate?
Is that a recipe for success or gridlock? I don't know. It's
kind of a grand experiment. Ask me again in a month and I'll tell you.
Not every issue in Tennessee breaks down on a partisan basis by any
stretch of the mind, so I hope we can have success on some of these
issues. I think the fact that there are more Republicans in the
legislature now--actually, you might see some Democrats have the courage
to vote their conscience more. Seriously.
Some of them have a conscience?
Well, yes. So we'll kind of see how that goes.
If you look out a few years beyond today past another census, what's
going to be changing with regard to congressional districts and the
I do think that Tennessee, if anything, has only become a
deeper shade of red over the past few years. I don't think it's
necessarily anything we've done differently. It's just people waking up
and saying, 'My values are in line with the Republican Party.' ... I
think that's everything to do with why the Democrats chose to do this
year what they chose to do in the House. They're worried about 2010,
knowing they're facing an ever-increasing Republican majority in this
state, that the people of Tennessee have decided they want Republicans
in charge. And my friends on the other side of the aisle there just
can't come to grips with that yet. So they're willing to cut any kind
of Faustian deal they can cut to preserve what little bit of influence
they have.Can't get enough of Mumpower?
Read how he thinks we should cut services, lay off state workers and sink deeper into the recession rather than take any money from that wicked federal government.Update: Mumpower clarifies
Republicans won't turn down the money. "Since other states are going to use it, yes, yes, we should accept it." Boy, are we glad to hear that!