Friday, May 23, 2008

Barry on target about Kim McMillan

Blogger Bruce Barry for the Nashville Scene scored a perfect 10 in his political assessment of former state House Majority Leader Kim McMillan -- who is talking about running for governor.

His Pith in the Wind entry -- -- detailed McMillan's appearance on Liberadio and analyzed her answers as to where she stands politically, or really doesn't stand at all.

When I was following ethics legislation earlier this decade at the state Capitol, McMillan was House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh's lead blocker and obstacle to openness in state government. She helped thwart Rep. Frank Buck's efforts to make it much more difficult for powerbrokers at Legislative Plaza -- elected and non-elected -- to hide who and what they represented and conduct business outside of public scrutiny and at lobbyist-paid functions. There's nothing illegal about any of this, except if public meetings are held behind closed doors. It's just a bad way to conduct the business of the people if government is to first serve the needs of the people, particularly the most vulnerable.

Barry's recount of McMillan's fawning comments about Gov. Phil Bredesen must have been cruel and unusual punishment to transcribe. The fact that she couldn't come up with one thing about how her administration would differ from a Bredesen one may be as much a testament to intellectual laziness as to a lack of a political backbone.

Bredesen is a Democrat in name only. He gutted TennCare after he promised to fix it, he has run government like a business akin to the callousness of Exxon and he proposed to balanced this year's state budget on the backs of the working poor -- which includes state workers. Yet he proposed to keep intact a $100 million economic development fund to reward corporations. Can you smell another Dell deal where the taxpayers get the short end and the much-wooed company eliminates the manufacturing jobs it originally brought to Nashville? Stinks like sweaty feet, doesn't it?

Barry's assertion that McMillan wants Bredesen's endorsement is sadly apparent. And that Bredesen would still have political clout in the state Democratic Party after all he has done says something more damning about Tennessee's Democratic leadership than him.

Hopefully, Bill Purcell will run for the Dem gubernatorial nomination. He's a man who does not want anything to do with Bredesen or an endorsement. Yet he has has the kind of experience that will be needed in a new Tennessee governor. He already has had to clean up after Bredesen as Nashville mayor.

If Purcell doesn't run, then we'll be left with candidates like McMillan, who offer few values that distinguish Tennessee's Democratic Party from card-carrying Republicans nationally.

Barry may not want my praise since my name is 'mud' or something worse in liberal circles locally. But I've got to call them as I see them, and his blog entry on McMillian was good and necessary for voters to know before it's too late. I also owe Rep. Buck, who took a lot of insults and crap at Legislative Plaza for his noble and needed ethics efforts. His retirement from office is this state's great loss.

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