by Judson Phillips
Conservatives love to rail against the Republicans who control the Tennessee General Assembly.
And why not?
These Republicans go out every two years (or four if they are in the Senate) and tell the voters how conservative they are. Then, once they have been given their next two year, no-cut contract, they proceed to vote the way the lobbyists want them to.
Since the Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2008, they have not met a spending plan they did not like. The state budget has skyrocketed.
And what do conservatives do?
They get on Facebook and complain.
Recently some of my Facebook friends were shocked to discover that American Muslim Advisory Council has a “Muslim Day” on Capitol Hill. Activists go and push their agenda to legislators. The Muslims are not the only group that does that. All kinds of groups do it. They range from farmers to the bat-guano crazy left.
And there are a couple of center right groups that go up there.
When is there a conservative day on Capitol Hill?
The answer is, there isn’t. There is not a day when conservatives go to Capitol Hill and tell legislators what conservatives want.
It really isn’t a shock that Republicans are not listening to conservatives on the Hill. Because there aren’t that many going up there, there is no organized effort and there is no agenda.
The closest thing to an umbrella group for conservatives, was the Tea Party. However, it was focused mostly only national issues and conservative unity in the Tea Party movement of 2009 lasted less than two months.
The Bible says, “You have not because you ask not.” It also says, “Ask and you shall receive.” Both of those statements are very true in politics.
Conservative groups need to unite, pick a day and go to Capitol Hill to promote a conservative agenda. What is a conservative agenda for Tennessee? There are a lot of things it could be but perhaps here is a simple place to start.
The General Assembly exists to do two things. It allocates a budget for the state and it passes laws. It passes far too many laws.
Tennessee’s budget has mushroomed since Republicans took control of the General Assembly a decade ago. Here’s a simple two-point agenda for the General Assembly this year.
First, pass a budget that is one percent smaller than the budget that was passed in 2018. The last budget that Governor Haslam proposed was $37.8 billion. Reducing the budget by one percent would be a cut of $378 million. That could be done by eliminating some minor waste and redundancy in government.
The second point is this. For 2019, pass no new laws.
Does Tennessee need any new laws? Currently the Tennessee Code Annotated, the body of laws that governs this state, runs over twenty volumes and is thousands of pages long. Is there any burning issue that requires a new law be passed this year?
Has someone invented a new crime that must be dealt with now? Is there some new law that the people of Tennessee are demanding must be passed?
The answer is no. The truth is, there are too many laws on the books.
One of President Trump’s great achievements has been regulatory reform at the Federal level. The President told his staff, for every new regulation promulgated, at least two regulations must be repealed.
Why don’t we do that with Tennessee laws?
Conservatives have a real problem in Tennessee. We love to get on Facebook and complain about how worthless the Republicans on the Hill are. But when it comes to doing the work to make sure the General Assembly acts in a conservative manner, we are nowhere to be found.
Who is found up on the Hill?
The special interests and the lobbyists.
They go up to the Hill. They talk to the Representatives and Senators.
They ask and they receive.
It is about time conservatives did some asking and started receiving.