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Those suspicious of voters who vote are no doubt delighted with a Republican proposal to have legislators in Nashville choose Tennessee’s candidates for the U.S. Senate. And in a way, it is a miraculous idea. Making senators beholden to Nashville legislators instead of Tennessee voters promises a level of creative corruption new to most of us, and that’s saying a lot, considering the fecal nature of our politics during the past few decades. But never underestimate the new GOP. That’s why I say hats off to visionary state Sen. Frank Niceley and the mystifying Frank Cagle [“Getting Attention,” Frank Talk, Feb 14, 2013] for thinking deeply inside the box and finding yet more boxes. It’s all quite simple, really. Why should voters bother with federal primary elections when someone in Nashville can do our thinking for us?
Not that I’m necessarily opposed to Niceley’s bill. Watching U.S. senators kiss Nashville derrière would be spectacularly entertaining. Just how deeply and how lovingly must a future LAMAR! gum the gluteus of some homegrown paragon of neo-billy rectitude such as Stacey Campfield whenever nomination day rolls around? How much back-room ideological slobber and inchoate drool would be required to secure one prickly vote from one prickish chawbacon strutting the obscured halls of the Tennessee State House?
So I say go for it, GOP! Niceley’s bill promises the best political theater since Basil Marceaux.com squared off with June Griffin to win the Republican nomination for some obscure Nashville office a few years ago, though precisely which office they sought none of us can quite remember. But who cares? We’re talking Nashville here.
Which raises the question: Nashville who? Dolly lives in Sevierville, and the Vols are right here at home! Nashville is a crowded, greasy spot on the interstate! And that, my friend, is probably the whole point of Sen. Niceley’s proposal. Few of us know what goes on in those dank warrens beneath Legislative Plaza, and those who know ain’t saying all that much. So if his bill passes, look for FRANK! signs to appear all too suddenly in your neighborhood. And if you like the guy, send him some Chapstick.