"What's really been happening in Tennessee politics is that rich guys win. Forget ideology. Just good fundraising isn't going to get the job done if you're running against guys who get their money at the Anytime Teller Machine. So I don't know that it's a really a battle of ideology as it is a battle of checkbooks. If Wamp or Ramsey had an unlimited bank account, we'd have a different race."
And here’s something we didn’t include in the dead-tree edition: Gill also dissed the Tea Party movement as all but inconsequential in Tennessee.
“The Tea Parties, quite frankly, are four or five guys who gather at the coffee shop and declare themselves the Tea Party of such and such and start issuing press releases. There’s no organization.”
Sounding very much like an establishment guy himself, Gill says the Tennessee Republican Party already espouses Tea Party views for the most part. The state GOP was taken over by its right wing during the horn-honking protests against the state income tax a decade ago, according to Gill.
“The Tea Party isn’t as big a factor in Tennessee as it may be in other places. We’ve had that movement already. The horn honkers are basically the same thing as the Tea Party. It’s a lot of the same players. The horn honkers moved into office. A lot of our legislators were folks who got their start out there in the horn-honking process. We didn’t form a formal horn-honking party or even a horn-honking wing of the Republican Party. All those people just gravitated into the party, and it became the anti-income tax party. It basically subsumed and took over the Republican Party.”
If all those right-wingers only had some cash …