In Which I Soften to Governor Baby

After my day in WTF? land–and can I just say that I felt so bad because I had coffee with one of my favorite people on the planet, someone it would have been completely inappropriate to tell about what had just happened, and I couldn’t pay a lick of attention to him. I was completely faking being interested while my brain echoed with, “My god! Why were you going to wipe that lump of earwax and plastic on my desk?! In front of me? Why god, why?!?!?!?!?!”s from earlier in the day. Not that god was going to do that, but… ugh… anyway.–I caught the end of Haslam’s State of the State.

Eh, it didn’t suck. His digs at the federal government are annoying and hilarious. But, in general, he said the things I would expect a non-evil Republican to say. And he seemed willing to put some skin in the game and ask the legislature for at least judicial reform to his liking (and against the liking of many of them). I think it’s going to be interesting to watch him position himself for the next election. Last night, he did some moving-to-the-center bits that made me laugh because it means that he thinks the Tea Party is over. Those folks aren’t a cohesive enough unit anymore to need his pandering.

The thing that’s got to be at the back of his mind–and watch for this because I bet it’s at the back of Beth Harwell’s as well–is that this state already has a large, disgruntled voting block with no state wide candidates that represent them. It’s not that hard to stand in front of the state and say, “Listen, you already know who I am. You already know all the ways my political beliefs differ from yours, so I am never going to unpleasantly surprise you. And look how I’ve managed to reign in the worst impulses of my party.” And it’s not that hard to believe that Democrats would respond to that.

Which, of course, then makes it more likely that Democrats will try to position themselves similarly–which is unfortunate–because you know they’ll think voters are responding positively to Haslam and Harwell’s positions and not to the promise of being who they claim to be and reigning in the far right. So, that’s going to suck and be hilarious.

But look for some reaching out to Democratic voters’ concerns. Haslam and Harwell want those votes.