Letter: Don't Go There, Bill

In Frank Cagle's April 19 column, he skips over Bill Haslam's not very interested or interesting service in Pilot Oil, to briefly describe the governor's successful yet laid-back term as Knoxville mayor, then goes into more detail about his present incarnation as a Tennessee governor who is allegedly and remarkably, peacefully bringing about some needed changes in the good-old-boy club otherwise known as Tennessee state government. I am as surprised and pleased with Haslam's successes so far as any Democrat could surely be.

What troubles me is that Cagle ends his article suggesting that Haslam would be a good candidate for the vice-presidential ticket with Mitt Romney. Is this merely Tennessee pride? Displaced hubris? Wishful thinking? Acknowledgement of the inevitable political trajectory of a member of perhaps America's greatest non-Texas oil family?

Never mind that (in my opinion) Romney is a clueless and dishonest egomaniac with only a fraction of the character of Bill Haslam.

Wouldn't Haslam be more useful to the common good if he remained as Tennessee's governor for another term? Does family and political ambition always have to trump the suit of the average citizen? I am pretty sure that Big Bill would like to be Regent of the World before he dies, but one of the great things about Little Bill is that he has always appeared to be an honest person who wants to do good for others—remember the story that he stepped away from an executive career with Daddy's company because he disapproved of some of the unhealthy products that are pedaled there at great profit?

Sure, Bill Haslam's integrity and willingness to collaborate would be a refreshing change in Washington, but as with Jimmy Carter, his virtues would be chewed up and spit out without hesitation in our nation's capital. Anyway, he does not seem to have the charisma to be president as the final step, so why would we wish him to waste his time and ours by serving as vice president?

Charles Barber