Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lt. Governor and the State Senate

Let us take the scenario that Dewey Bryant is elected (God forbid!!) Lt. Governor. He will have the power to appoint all the State Senate chairmen. Now he has made it perfectly clear he will appoint ONLY REPUBLICANS as committee chairmen. (Of course, he has flip-flopped on that issue. Please see for more info.)

Right as of this moment, the GOP controls the State Senate 27-25. If that holds up in the general election, Dewey can make all Republican appointments. He's a very partisan Republican and if the State Senate is GOP-controlled, making those appointments makes political sense. To the Republican victors belong the spoils.

But what if the Democrats take over the State Senate. I have a good friend who is a Republican State Senator (He is unopposed for re-election). He was a Republican when all the Republicans in the state could fit in a telephone booth. He knows his politics. He told me the GOP will lose four to six seats in the upper chamber. He even ticked off the Republican seats the Democrats could win. He would be absolutely stunned if the GOP maintained its majority. Now remember: This State Senator is a very strong conservative Republican.

Looking at a gain of six seats, the GOP would have 21 seats to the Democrats' 31. So now let's get this straight. There are 31 Democratic State Senators yet Dewey baby is going to appoint all Republicans to chairmanships? Huh? Are Martians going to dig up all that gold in my back yard?

Here is what could happen (and my Republican friend doesn't think it'll happen, but he doesn't discount the possibility). The Democrats are so pissed off they tell Dewey to kiss their grits and refuse to accept his appointments. (It would be interesting to see how blacks would like being shut out of the legislative process. Remember: State politics in Mississippi has gotten a lot more polarized in the past few years. And there is bitterness in both parties.) So they decide to caucus and say they are rejecting his appointments and vote on a straight-party line vote to reject Dewey's choices. The Democrats may throw a bone or two to some Republicans, but essentially they'll control the legislative process. Dewey will just preside over the State Senate, but the Democrats will just flip Dewey the well-deserved bird.

There is a possibility of the reverse: Jamie Franks being elected and a Republican State Senate. But Franks is wise enough he can't be a die-hard partisan. He said he would make appointments that would "reflect Mississippi." He would appoint Democrats, Republicans, whites and blacks to committee chairs even if the Democrats took control of the State Senate. And he would defuse some of the partisan bickering that has affected the State Legislature.

Dewey has painted himself in a real corner (I keep telling you this guy is an empty suit and is dumb as a brick. I know the guy.). If he keeps his word and appoint only Republicans to committee chairs, he will piss off the probable Democratic Senate and there could be a partisan revolt against him (Just what Haley needs to get his programs through. Dewey won't be Haley's "wing man". He'll be Haley's dodo.). On the other hand, if he flip flops (Surprise!) and appoints chairmen that "reflect Mississippi" (i.e., appoint blacks and white Democrats), he'll piss off the red-meat Republicans whom he will need when he runs for governor in 2011 or re-election as Lt. Governor.

Believe me, Jamie Franks would do a much better job than Dewey. He would keep the waters of the State Senate smoothly flowing. With Bryant, there would be constant turbulence. But if Dewey were elected, it would be a raucous four years. There would be no dull moments with that empty suit and pretty boy being Lt. Governor (Just make sure he has plenty of Dippedy Doo for his gorgeous hair that is coiffed at Monique's.).

1 comment:

Tom Head said...

FWIW, there has been talk that if the Senate ends up in opposite party control from the LG, the majority may reject the suggested chairs anyway and, through some mechanism unfamiliar to me, reduce the power of the LG permanently. Can't remember where I saw this, but if I run across the article again I'll send it your way.