She is the epitome of an efficient, effective Republican.
Straightforward. Willing to work with others. Humble enough to know she doesn't have all the answers.
That's Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville, the speaker of Tennessee's Republican-majority House of Representatives.
Which just goes to show what we've always thought: Harwell is the perfect beard for Tennessee's ultraconservative House Republicans. Once a college professor, she seems so reasonable and reassuring as she repeats her banal talking points. Government is best that's closest to the people. The legislature is listening to constituents and focusing on the economy. And for bonus points at the Commercial Appeal, she "demonstrated a genuine interest in learning about Memphis."
Meanwhile, Republicans in the House under Harwell have restricted abortion rights and banned gay nondiscrimination laws; opened the door to the teaching of creationism in science classes; OK'ed monuments to the Ten Commandments on courthouse lawns; eviscerated the teachers' union; enacted the voter photo ID law to make it hard for minorities and the elderly to vote; and proclaimed in a resolution that U.N. Agenda 21 — an innocent nonbinding blueprint for sustainable growth in emerging economies — could lead to "socialist/communist redistribution of wealth." What are we leaving out?
If Harwell is exerting any moderating influence in the House, we can't tell it. About the only thing she wouldn't allow last session was a law prohibiting business owners from barring guns on their property. Let's be thankful for small favors. Maybe in the future, the speaker will stop more of the GOP's radical agenda, but we're not holding our breath.