Press Release from the Republican Party of Tennessee, Jan. 30, 2014:
By Chris Devaney
Divided. Troubled. Deteriorating.
Those were the top three words used by respondents to a national poll from NBC News asking about the state of our Union. Some may be surprised at those adjectives being used to label America. But should anyone be, in this era of a White House that continually places an emphasis on campaigning — and dividing — in lieu of leading?
The latest example of President Obama’s preference for lecturing on the hustings, and not policymaking, will occur later today here in Music City. Mr. Obama is scheduled to be at McGavock High School, where he will surely remind us all of the lofty promises made to America during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
On its face, this should be expected: Presidents rally support for their causes. In fact, it has nearly become a time-honored tradition for our national chief executives to travel around the country and make an appeal directly to Americans. Typically, this involves corralling support from Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.
But this Oval Office eschews that last part and tends to use such occasions to extol the virtues of an expanded federal apparatus while rapping Republicans over the head for their failure to fall in lockstep behind the president. See his last stop in Tennessee as an example. Mr. Obama’s Chattanooga speech quickly morphed into a rally — far below what’s expected of a statesman seeking solutions. And Obama seriously wonders why he cannot get anything through Congress?
Perhaps he should take a page from the way we do things here in Tennessee. Instead of allowing his team to play the search-and-destroy political games that abound in Washington, President Obama should focus on building bridges with members of Congress. Or how about an emphasis on crafting smart policy instead of smart comments in stump speeches?
That’s not how we operate here. You see, in Tennessee we have a great story to tell. We’re moving and achieving like never before. Gov. Bill Haslam was elected in 2010 to bring a jobs-focused approach to Volunteer State government — and he’s succeeding in completely revamping how our state markets itself and lures investment. Thanks to his vision and the hard work of our Republican legislators, Tennessee has been named a top five state for job growth and was recently awarded the title of “State of the Year” for economic development. In education, Tennessee is the fastest-improving state and we saw the largest gains in the classroom that have ever been measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
But these accolades were not given because Gov. Haslam bludgeoned his way through the General Assembly or because every single legislator with a different idea was undermined or castigated. Quite the contrary. An environment of innovation has dominated legislative deliberations where fiscally responsible and unique policy perspectives have been advanced. The results speak for themselves.
In Tennessee, Republicans are building an opportunity economy for all. That means children, regardless of income or ZIP code, are prepared by high-performing schools to enter society ready to contribute, families are given a stable environment to grow, and careers are created for long-term financial success. All this is being accomplished by a governor and legislature that are working together and not embroiled in never-ending campaigns.
Amid thick irony, Obama is going to say he wants what we have in Tennessee for the rest of the nation. Of course, that would require him to quit campaigning. And if you think that’s going to happen, then I have a first-class ticket on Air Force One to sell you.