NOW TOO MUCH FOR US? We liked the cut of Rep. Jones' jib!


Governor Lee's proposal: As we watched last evening's Last Word, we liked the cut of his jib.

Stumbling over his description of the proposal, Lawrence asked Rep. Justin Jones (D-Tennessee) what he thought about it. At one point in his reply, Rep. Jones said this:

JONES (4/12/23): I really hope, and I believe, that the governor wants to be a good-faith partner.

There was a good deal more than that to Jones' presentation. But when we saw the young legislator say that, we liked the cut of his jib.

Three cheers for Rep. Jones! In that moment, he said he believes that the governor "wants to be a good-faith partner." 

He was referring to Governor Bill Lee of the ruby-red state of Tennessee.

Lee was elected governor in 2018. He was re-elected last year. 

Meanwhile, as we've asked before, who lost Tennessee? The numbers in those two elections look like this:

Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2018
Bill Lee (R): 1,336,106 (59.6%)
Karl Dean (D): 864,863 (38.6%)

Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2022
Bill Lee (R): 1,129,390 (64.9%)
Jason Martin (D): 572,818 (32.9%)

For the record, 2018 was a down year for Tennessee Republicans. 

It was President Donald J. Trump's midterm election. As elsewhere, this seemed to swell overall turnout—and it knocked Republican victory margins down in several major races in the Volunteer State.

By last year, the victory margin was back up to 32 points in the governor's race. Tennessee is a bright red state.

As we noted last week, Tennessee was still electing lots of Democrats as of the 1990s. Today, the Volunteer State is ruby red. Who lost Tennessee?

We'll set that important question aside for some other day. Today, Bill Lee is governor of a bright red state—and we liked the cut of Rep. Jones' jib when he seemed to come to terms with that unmistakable fact.

For the record, Governor Lee is a pol our blue tribe might not be inclined to admire. 

Lee has signed a bunch of bills which blue tribe members would surely oppose. At this site, we admired Rep. Jones when he found it within his power to say that he hopes, and truly believes, that Governor Lee is sincere about this:

COCHRANE (4/13/23): As protesters continue to pressure the legislature to move to tighten access to guns in the state, Republican lawmakers have largely focused on legislation that would pour millions of dollars into security at both public and private schools. But on Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, announced he would sign an executive order tightening background checks for buying guns in the state and speeding up the process of reviewing criminal histories and mental health information from the courts.

Mr. Lee also called on the legislature to draft and pass what he described as “an order of protection law” that would ensure that people found by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others would not have access to guns. He repeatedly declined to refer to the measure as a red flag law, a term some conservatives have resisted both on the state and the national level, instead describing it as “a law that I think is appropriate for our state today.”

He has been open about the personal impact of the attack at the Covenant School: His wife, Maria, was close friends with Cindy Peak, one of the staff members killed, and the two women were set to have dinner the night of the shooting.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, a Republican, has also expressed support for a red flag law after the Covenant School shooting...

So reports Emily Cochrane in this morning's New York Times. As he spoke with Lawrence last night, Rep. Jones said these proposals aren't enough. But he was also willing to say that he truly believes that Gov. Lee is sincere.

Rep. Jones is only 27. The people who feed us our tribal tapioca are crafting instant mythologies about Rep. Jones, mythologies designed to please us.

"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray" that Rep. Jones will emerge as a political leader who possesses the type of wisdom which helps our flailing and floundering nation emerge from our deeply dysfunctional current state—the type of wisdom which might help us move "back out of all this now too much for us."

Needless to say, there are no such guarantees. But we liked the cut of the legislator's jib when he said what he said last night.

Like every other Democrat in his state, Rep. Jones faces a daunting reality at the present time. He holds office in a bright red state—and then too, we all face the reality given voice by Professor Cottom in yesterday's New York Times:

COTTOM (4/12/23): I keep my eyes on the South for a lot of reasons. This is my home. It is the region of this nation’s original sin. Nothing about the future of this country can be resolved unless it is first resolved here: not the climate crisis or the border or life expectancy or anything else of national importance, unless you solve it in the South and with the people of the South.

Professor Cottom basically got it right. Given the way our creaking political system works, nothing is going to be resolved unless it's at least partly resolved in the South, unless it can be solved, at least in part, with the people of that region.

Professor Cottom got it right. Over the past few nights, we're inclined to think that Lawrence possibly hasn't.

Tomorrow: Mr. Gorbachev, build up that wall! (No Divisive Remark Left Behind)


  1. It's entirely possible that Lee's proposed order was influenced by his friend's death in the shooting. It's also possible that Jones is a shrewd politician who knows an opening when he sees one. In Bobworld, anything is possible.

    From Bob's favorite cable-news channel (/s):


  2. "Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, announced he would sign an executive order tightening ..."

    Good for him.

    ...and that, in our humble opinion, is exactly the difference between normal ordinary people and your, dear Bob, good-decent liberal tribesmen: normal ordinary people are not dogmatic. They are more pragmatic, less ideological...

  3. "Rep. Jones said these proposals aren't enough. But he was also willing to say that he truly believes that Gov. Lee is sincere."

    Somerby urges Democrats to be nice to Republicans such as Lee. But if being nice to politicians would cause them to enact the kind of measures our nations desperately need, how sincere would those politicians then be?

    A sincere person enacts executive orders because they are needed and will benefit constituents. They don't do it because someone in the opposing party says something marginally friendlier than usual. Enacting measures out of flattery is not how a sincere person governs.

    So, I do not see the value in what Somerby suggests -- that we offer hope and belief to Republicans who have not shown Lee's wisdom, who call for more extreme measures (such as arming teachers in the classroom). Praising such suggestions would only muddy the water and prevent progress on meaningful gun control.

    And is Lee sincere? Perhaps, an astute politician, he has seen the writing on the wall in the protesters reactions to expelling Jones and Pearson, and he is shoring up his own political base by enacting reasonable measures. I can believe he might mourn the deaths in that shooting, but most Republicans who mourn the dead also blame the left and do not engage in serious thinking, no matter how deep their grief.

    I see this as Somerby's version of "thoughts and prayers" in the context of mass shootings. No one considers that a sincere intervention. It seems like a subterfuge, and that's why calling Lee's efforts sincere may be a falsehood, even if Jones's response is political astute because it curries favor with Republican power, after that power got Jones kicked out of his job. Is Jones being craven? Hard to know, but I myself hope and believe he is sincere and not sucking up to the source of power in his state in exchange for token gestures that challenge nothing about gun rights in that state.

  4. "Nothing about the future of this country can be resolved unless it is first resolved here:"

    This is false but pleasing to those who come from the South. Our political system, with its electoral college, ensures that no one can be elected while totally ignoring the South, but it doesn't mean the South is material to important change to solve our nation's problems. This is why many other states feel like they could do better if they were to secede and not be troubled by the backwardness of the South, whose people are a drain on the nation's resources, subsidized by the Blue states.

    The South may be seen as a repository of values and traditions, but it is not seen as the heart of technological advances, higher education, medical progress, innovation and industry, or any other means to solving our nation's problems. It is a place where every social problem is worse, where the impact of global warming will be worst (and yet the people are doing nothing to prepare for that). It is a place where being a spoiler is admired (as DeSantis destroys culture and education) and where the rest of the nation laughs at Florida Man and Donald Trump. The South knows how it is regarded in the rest of the country -- it is the heart of their defensive attitude and their desire for revenge. These are the people who prospered off of slavery and cannot raise themselves from their destitution without the help of enslaved black people.

    Flattering the South isn't going to win elections (except IN the South), and it isn't going to solve one single problem our nation is facing. People in the South need to recognize their own situation and work with others to improve their lives. That isn't going to happen while demagogues cater to their ignorance while seeking their votes. The South needs to smarten up -- but I don't see that happening while folks like Somerby urge others to pretend respect that we just do not feel. I feel sorry for Cottam, but lying to people isn't the way to help them.

  5. The second amendment is evil.

  6. Could one be more of a phony than Somerby?

    Here is what Rep Justin Jones actually said about Governor Lee:

    “ The Governor is a damn coward who is waging war against his own constituents.

    We must rise up, fight back.

    The whole administration is monument to white supremacy and must be removed.


    Those above comments by Jones are how you fight the injustice perpetrated by right wingers, that’s how you motivate an electorate.

    Jones is an effective and inspiring politician, Somerby is shill for the Right.

  7. Without context, Cottom’s quote makes little sense; in all likelihood Somerby is misusing Cottom in way she would find repulsive, considering her life’s work has been promoting the notion that America is a deeply racist country that oppresses people of color, particularly Black women - a notion that Somerby spends a significant amount of effort countering.

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