That's right. In Bredesen’s view it’s never necessary to raise taxes. All you have to do is tell voters their government can’t deliver Massachusetts-style services. And if Tennessee becomes like, oh say, Haiti in the process, then so be it. Bredesen himself proved this by never raising the sales tax himself during his eight years as governor. Of course, when he took office, the legislature had just passed a billion-dollar tax increase. But we won’t go there. Asked whether Republicans can deliver on their anti-tax promises, the governor said:
"When I came into office, it was almost an article of faith with a lot of people that you had to have sales tax increases every eight years or something like that. I really feel like we’ve demonstrated that as long as you’re willing to tell people there are certain things you can’t do—you can’t have Massachusetts services and Tennessee taxes—but if you’re willing to be circumspect about the kinds of services you offer and realistic about them, I really think you can. … I certainly believe the governor-elect would feel something like this, that Tennessee’s future lies more in being a low-tax state and accepting the level of services that implies than it does trying to be a little more like California or a little more like Massachusetts. I think from a competitive standpoint, it’s a very good place for Tennessee to be. I think it’s consistent with what Tennesseans want, and I believe that I’ve shown that it is in fact possible to do if you’re willing to make some tough choices."
Bredesen also showed a surprisingly blasé attitude toward the disaster that befell his political party in yesterday's elections. As leader of the Tennessee Democratic Party, he has presided over its almost complete collapse. Whose fault is that? It's Washington's, of course. Also, note the governor says he's sorry about only some of the Democratic losses in the legislature.
"It was two years ago when the Republican Party was finished for all time. Who knows what it’ll be like two or four years from now? I watch this kind of thing. I was obviously sorry about some of the people in the state legislature who lost their positions who I think were good people and caught up in a tide. For me, the bottom line is real simple. People are angry right now. I think the Democratic Party two years ago promised change. I don’t think they delivered a change, and I think the public told them that they wanted change. I suspect that if the Republicans don’t deliver change of that sort, that we’ll be back to the Democrats again. This is the way the process is supposed to work, and I think it has. We’ll see in Tennessee and nationally what can be delivered here."