Leading GOP state lawmakers are recent comments from the Tennessee Tea Party that the Republican governor is now or in the past has been driven by “socialistic” principles.
Gov. Bill Haslam himself shrugged off the remark and said he wouldn’t engage in name calling.
“I don’t know how to be more clear that we’re trying to focus really hard on things that really matter, and I’ll leave all that stuff to somebody else,” he told reporters after a luncheon with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, generally a fan and a favorite of the tea party, called the comment “absolutely ridiculous.” The Blountville Republican said he’s previously discouraged the group from making what he regards as overheated comments.
The essay, first published on the Tennessee Tea Party website, slammed Haslam and other Republicans for not standing stronger along side efforts to eliminate mandatory collective bargaining among teachers, an issue the conservative activist group is attempting to influence by targeting a handful of House GOP members who are reportedly leaning away from an all-out ban.
“By all accounts he is a progressive who was able to leverage family fortunes towards a victory in gaining the Governor’s seat,” read the Tea Party statement. “One only needs to look at his track record as mayor of Knoxville and his embrace of the socialistic principals such as sustainability and his Agenda 21 initiatives. His two-faced approach towards 2ndamendment freedoms should have been telling.”
The Tennessee Tea Party president said she’s not put off that top Republicans like Ramsey are shunning her group’s comments. “Sometimes he takes to eye-rolling with me,” said Tami Kilmarx.