On Monday morning’s Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – the hosts gave a detailed analysis of Bill Lee’s “Ten for Tenn” list of priorities that Governor-Elect Bill Lee posted on his website on July 3, 2018 (which is no longer available to view) and how those priorities seem to have changed after his election win. This program will air again today, Tuesday, from 5:00 am to 8:00 am.
Gill: Trying to figure out the distinction between Bill Lee 2018 and Bill Lee 2019. As a candidate, Bill Lee put out a very specific, very detailed plan for Tennessee that he would follow if he was elected Governor. He put this out about a month before the election when he was in a fight with Randy Boyd and Diane Black and to some extent, Beth Harwell, to show that he was actually the “conservative.”
Randy Boyd was being attacked as a moderate. Diane Black was being attacked for a gone Washington says one thing but when you looked at what she was actually doing in Washington she was either voting both ways or couldn’t be trusted. And Bill Lee was running as “I’m the trusted conservative. I’m the Christian guy.”
Now of course in the Ten Commandments there’s that one about thou shall not bare false witness. Thou shall not lie. You shouldn’t put something out that is false in order to fool people into voting for you.
So what did Bill Lee put in writing as his contract with Tennessee during the campaign, a month before election day to try and show he was more conservative than Randy Boyd and Diane Black?
He put out his Ten for Tenn, that again, his words not ours, he dubbed as his contract with Tennesseans. That it was his conservative vision of what he would do as Governor. And I think people like Mae Beavers,who endorsed him about that same time, helped actually put this together. He was pulling endorsements from folks that were solid dependable known conservatives to endorse him and to endorse his plan, so his list, that again he put out, put on his website, of course now it’s missing now. You go to the same URL, [https://billlee.com/tenfortenn/] the same link…
Leahy: The page is gone.
Gill: It’s not there anymore.
Leahy: The page is gone.
Gill: It was apparently internet invisible ink.
Leahy: It has disappeared.
Gill: It’s disappeared. But there’s a new one on his transition page. He now has nine self described priorities.
Leahy: How many of those ten from his original “Ten for Tenn” contract . . . how many of those are on his new nine list of priorities?
Gill: I guess nine just isn’t as deliberative. Nine for Nolensville. Nine for Knoxville. Maybe he was trying to run statewide so he needed ten for ten and now it’s just nine things that I might stick to but I’m not even inaugurated yet, I’m not even sworn in yet so we’ll see if that even lasts the next month. But out of the ten that he promised in his again, his words, contract with Tennesseans. Do you think the Lee Company sticks to their contracts as well?
Leahy: They must, they must.
Gill: Anyway, out of the ten items, seven are gone from his nine priorities as listed on his…
Leahy: Now let me ask you this. If seven are gone and that was a contract that he apparently, was signed with the people of Tennessee before they voted in the primary . . .
Gill: That’s what he said he was doing.
Leahy: Is it a good business practice to not honor that contract? To actually “disappear” the contract?
Gill goes on to explain the concept of a contract by using the metaphor of a person hiring a contractor to build a deck and all the specifications with a solid price amount of which you leave a deposit. You signed the contract and that contract is not honored yet you are demanded one hundred percent of the pay. Breach of contract. Another metaphor used was that of a restaurant showing a menu on their website and then you go in and order and what is served is not what you ordered. Gill went on to describe the “original” top Ten of Tenn and how they relate to his new nine priorities and the details of who he’s put into his administration and those that would hold over from the Haslam administration. Gill distinctly described it as a “bureaucratic insider mentality.”
Leahy: So, but I don’t see criminal justice reform on this Ten for Tenn list before the primary. I don’t see it at all.
Gill: No that wasn’t there.
Leahy: Wasn’t there. But it’s there now.
Gill: Again, it’s kind of amazing once you bring in Democrats and RINO Republicans to run your administration, it’s amazing how the priority list changes. And for Bill Lee, that means seven of the ten promises he made with his contract for Tennesseans have now disappeared. And his new priorities tend to be more like the establishment RHINO Democrats that he’s assembled as his team.
Leahy: What I want to know Steve is, and by the way, anybody who voted for Bill Lee who wants to comment on this or even if you didn’t vote for Bill Lee, can call us here at 615-737-9522.
Gill: And I want to be particularly anxious to hear from folks like, well I mean, we’ve got a lot of good friends that are conservatives, we’re conservatives, you know, Bill Lee put this out as this is why you should vote for me because I’m a conservative and here’s what I’ll do specifically. Don’t trust Randy Boyd, he’s a moderate. Don’t trust Diane Black, she’s a “Washington moderate”. And they’re both being mean to each other so vote for me because I’m a Christian and I’m a conservative and here’s my list of ten specific items that justify a vote for me. Mae Beavers endorsed him and that was a big impact on a lot of voters, particularly in middle Tennessee. Because if Mae says he’s a conservative, if Mae endorses these ten items then I believe here. Mae, you feel like you got hornswoggled? Jeff Hartline…
Gill: Jeff Hartline was a big early conservative supporter of Bill Lee. Helped give credential and credibility to Bill Lee. I think Jeff may have had some input into the Ten for Tennessee. When they’ve thrown out seven of the ten items. Now with the new priorities of Bill Lee. And again this isn’t saying that his new priorities are bad, some of them are nice enough policies. But they’re a move to the establishment, they’re a move to the left, they’re a move away from what he promised. And fine, why not say “I’ve developed additional priorities that I’m going to work on.” Like Healthy Tennessee.
Well that’s good you know, it sounds a little like they may be moving towards doing what Bill Haslam tried to do twice as Governor pushing Obamacare expansion. And maybe now that the lobbyists’ from the healthcare industry are sitting at the table helping select the people that are going to be governing with Bill Lee. Maybe all of a sudden expansion of Obamacare is a priority.
Maybe the person he puts in as his Commissioner of Revenue will be somebody who’s a tax cutter. Not somebody who embraced the gas tax increase. Raising taxes on Tennessee drivers three hundred billion dollars at a time, well three hundred million dollars at a time we had a two hundred billion dollar surplus. Now maybe his Commissioner of Revenue will be a tax cutter or maybe it’s going to be somebody who was at the department of revenue who was maybe even the Commissioner of Revenue who helped push the Haslam tax increase. Transportation. Will it be somebody new who’s got a track record for effectively watching tax payer dollars? Or will it be the same folks who’ve waisted tax payer dollars.
We will see with the additional appointments that Bill Lee makes whether his priorities as established during the campaign will be the same one’s as he governs. I mean for example, Commissioner of Education. Will it be somebody who has a track record as being pro common core, or will it be someone who’s been opposed to common core, and in favor of education reforms that actually work. So, personnel is policy. And we’re already seeing that the people that Bill Lee is putting into a senior leadership positions both in his cabinet and in his governor’s office are not people who’s apparently subscribed to the ten items he campaigned on because seven of the ten are now missing.
Leahy concluded the conversation by asking the question to Bill Lee supporters and those that didn’t support him .
“What does it say about the integrity of a politician who campaigns a month prior to a primary on a contract? And clearly has a website with a separate URL with all elements of that contract, and then disappears that contract. Makes no mention of that contract after he wins the primary?” Leahy asked.
Gill responded by wondering what has changed besides the fact his administration contradicts the priority list initially produced on his website to the Tennesseans.
Listen to the full conversation in this bonus-sized segment:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.