The problem with special interests is that they can't ever declare victory and go home. Without keeping members in a mindless frenzy they can't keep the dues coming in to support their lavish lifestyle. Tennessee is Exhibit A on what's wrong with the special-interest lobbies at work today.
We first had the gun lobby outraged at our Legislature. After they passed bill after bill legalizing carrying guns everywhere except Sunday School, they went nuts when conservative Republicans hesitated to override an owner's property rights and forbid them from asking employees not to bring guns to work.
The latest craziness is the anti-tax boys. Grover Norquist and the head of Americans for Prosperity have been in Nashville. Tennessee begins as a state without a general income tax and as one of the lowest-taxed states in America. Since the Republicans took control of the Legislature, they have abolished the gift tax. They have abolished the inheritance tax. They have cut the sales tax on food twice.
The Republicans have a serious proposal for phasing out the Hall Income Tax on investment income. They have every intention of doing it. But because they considered delaying the start of the phase-out for one year, given the current budget shortfall, the anti-tax groups have been throwing a hissy fit.
I would suggest they go expend their efforts and their contributors' money in California or New York, where people are being strangled by state and local taxes. For them to pitch a fit and go nuts about Tennessee, given our low taxes and plans to cut them even more, it makes it obvious what they are: Greedy opportunists, thugs and bullies who don't recognize who their friends are.
The idea that they can insult legislators in the Plaza and threaten to fund a primary opponent? Run attack radio ads because a senator suggested now is not the time to make further cuts? They don't understand politics. They don't understand good fiscal policy. They don't have common sense. They are just stupid. You don't win friends and pass legislation that way.
I trust the Republicans in the state Legislature to do two things: Cut taxes as much as they are able; and do what is fiscally responsible. They are elected by the conservative voters of Tennessee and they don't need any outside agitators to tell them what they need to do. No more than the Second Amendment-loving conservatives in the state Legislature need the NRA or the Tennessee Firearms Association to tell them what to do about guns.
(The latest gun proposal, by the way, is to allow people to carry guns in plain sight any place they wish to wear them without having to get a permit.)
I think the voters in Tennessee know the attitude of our legislators. I think they can trust them to do the right thing on the Second Amendment and on taxes.
I would suggest that the gun lobby and the anti-taxers go spend their money in a blue state getting some relief for Americans who are being regulated to death. They are here because they think they can get some cheap victories to tout in fund-raising letters and raise more money and pay themselves higher salaries.
If you are a member of a gun lobby or an anti-tax lobby organization, perhaps you should let the leadership know that you wish they would work on your issue someplace where the liberals are strangling the rights of the people. Quit wasting money in Tennessee having hissy fits about minuscule issues that we can depend on the Republican Super Majority to solve.
Every dime your organization spends in Nashville is wasted and could be put to better use in some other state.
Wise up. Read something besides your organization's propaganda. They are playing you for a fool and if you care about your issue you ought to care about the stupid tactics being used by highly-paid, incompetent lobbyists who ought to be fired.
Otherwise, you are a sucker.