I have to say, there’s a certain something that, once Southern Beale pointed it out, I’ve not been able to unsee: the rise of the unnamed, put-upon Republicans.
In Beale’s post, there’s a quote from Ron Ramsey: “Most people don’t want to be cited publicly. … They are dealing with the Department of Revenue, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and think there will be repercussions.”
But after drawing withering criticism in the media and elsewhere for his crackdown, Haslam is biding his time and walking gingerly around this topic. The public swamped the governor’s office with complaints about the arrests. Of 400 emails to the governor’s office, only 11 supported Haslam. He now acknowledges both sides in the controversy and casts himself as caught in the middle.“
You know, this is one of those that there’s a lot of opinions on. I have a lot of people who thought that when we went in and tried to implement a curfew that we were wrong,” the governor told reporters last week. “I’ve had a whole lot of people say I can’t believe that’s happening on that property. If I went and set up a tent there four weeks ago, would you have let me stay? So there’s a lot of passionate feelings around it on both sides.”
(Now, let’s just acknowledge that it’s a bit strange, when you find yourself between 400 people on one side and 11 people on the other, to cast yourself as being in the middle of any thing. But more importantly, note the “whole lot of people” who remain nameless.)
And then over at Pith, Rick Womick is telling Steve Gill about more nameless people: “As for my fellow legislators, I’ve gotten multiple phone calls of support and text messages of support. Those who are not wanting to speak out publicly are not wanting to come out and condemn me either. They are quietly supporting me in the background.”
Here is my question: Didn’t the Republicans win? Do we not live in a state where the Democratic party is a hopeless clusterfuck of “As long as I get mine, fuck the rest of you” and well-meaning people who get burnt out throwing themselves against the immovable wall of the “I got mine” folks?
So, why are so many Republicans, who seem to be thrilled with the behavior of prominent Republicans, not willing to come forward and say so in public? If these are popular and wide-spread opinions, if the majority of Tennesseans put you in office, why are so many Republicans not willing to say “Yes, I believe this”; “Yes, I saw this”; “Yes, I, too, experienced this” and put their names on it?
The Republicans are in charge. The Democrats are in disarray. Who are these Republicans afraid of?
Is this really such a state full of chickenshits that even when the political costs could not be lower, Republicans still won’t step up and own their positions?