On his Little Plaid Blog, Lamar Alexander has lately been chronicling his statewide bus tour in search of a magical third term.
The blog’s name is a reference to Lamar Alexander’s Little Plaid Book, which the former Tennessee governor and incumbent Republican U.S. senator penned in 1998. (Note: You can buy a “like new” used copy on Amazon for as little as $58.67.)
The pithy subtitle to the slim volume is, “311 rules, reminders, and lessons about running for office and making a difference, whether it’s for president of the United States or president of your senior class.”
You’ll observe that the subordinate heading doesn’t in fact specify that the rules outlined between the tract’s tartan covers apply to U.S. senators, per se.
And that’s good, because otherwise the distinguished Washington insider renowned for bipartisan wheeling and dealing might have difficulty giving plausible grounds for why seeking another stint in the august halls of the nation’s Capitol doesn’t contravene LPB Rule 297, which declares, “Serve two terms and get out.”
Back in the 1980s, though, “that’s exactly what I did as governor,” Alexander said following an early morning rally Wednesday in Chattanooga.
But Tennessee’s senior senator cautioned against literalism when interpreting ancient texts. “I wrote the book in the 1990s,” he said.
It should be noted that another little compilation of political wisdom and reminders for holders and seekers of government office has been floating around Tennessee in recognizable form since the Seventies — the 1870s, that is. Its Article III, Section 4 proclaims that this state’s governors must leave office after two consecutive terms.
To be sure, it is intriguing to contemplate how events might have transpired if Alexander would have attempted to stay in office longer than the time specified under the law. Maybe Keel Hunt ought to try his hand at historical fiction.
Like the Volunteer State’s constitution, Alexander said his Little Plaid Book may occasionally need updating. This year, he’s thinking of adding a new rule to the list.
“Rule 312 — it’s going to be, ‘If you hear anything new about a candidate for the United States Senate in the last few days before the election, don’t believe any of it,'” Alexander said.
Sage judgment, indeed, senator. But why fuss with that sublime subtitle in any way? Just swap in the new rule in place of an old one that, for whatever reason, is no longer applicable. Who’s going to notice?