Friday, September 30, 2011

Lamar Alexander Makes a Pitch for Coalition Government

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Alexander at the UM Law School
  • jb
  • Alexander at the UM Law School
Lamar Alexander is revisiting his past at the same time he is redesigning his future. The state’s senior U.S. Senator, who recently announced he is stepping down from his leadership post as GOP caucus chairman in the Senate, treated students at the University of Memphis Law School to a vision of his political beginnings on Thursday.

Speaking on “The Rule of Law,” Alexander outlined the scenario whereby he had become governor a few days early in 1979 in order to prevent his corrupt predecessor, Ray Blanton, from freeing an indeterminate number of state prisoners via commutations or pardons. As Alexander told the story, which was illustrated by a vintage videoclip of his emergency sign-in ceremony from Nashville’s Channel 5, one of those prisoners was rumored to be James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King.

A key point of the story was the bipartisan agreement to break precedent , involving such Democratic officials as the two then Speakers of the House and Senate — Ned McWherter and John Wilder, respectively.

Besides illustrating the pre-eminence of “the rule of law,” the saga clearly suggested the ecumenical nature of Alexander’s new professional course. As Alexander told the UM law students. “This liberates me to do the things I care about the most” — e.g., fashioning “a coalition of good Republicans and good Democrats” regarding matters like the safe disposal of nuclear waste, reform of No Child Left Behind, and the looming national debt.

Alexander used a football analogy regarding his decision to drop out of the leadership post: “If you’re in the huddle, and the quarterback says, we want to sweep left end, and you want to go around the right end, so I go around right end and everybody else is going around left end, that’s not a very good place for me to be.”

Said Alexander: "I can do more in a body where you need 60 votes as an independent senator," adding, "I'm still a good Republican."

The former governor also tipped his hands on presidential preferences for 2012. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Alexander said, “I like the governors.” That would be former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, current Texas governor Rick Perry, and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman. Executive experience, the ability to set an agenda, and practice in forming coalitions were all desiderata for the office of president, as the onetime presidential aspirant (1996, 2000) saw it.

And he even praised Perry for sticking to his guns on the one thing the conservartive Texas governor’s rivals have abused him for — his relatively liberal policy of extending educational benefits to children of potentially illegal Mexican immigrants.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Election 2018: Winners, Losers, and Close Calls

      Locally, the blue wave still had power, though most Democratic challengers to incumbent Republicans fell short; statewide, the red wall remained stout in wins by Lee and Blackburn; the Council's referenda all go down to defeat. (ORIGINAL ARTICLE RESTORED.)
    • Dems Promise Big Reveal on McCormick School Board Attendance

      Acing on behalf of reelection campaign of Democratic state Rep. Dwayne Thompson, Mike Stewart, head of Democratic House caucus, schedules Monday press conference on "dismal" school board attendance of GOP opponent Scott McCormick.

Speaking of School Consolidation

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

  • Another Big Shoe Drops with Lane's Entry in Sheriff's Race

    County Homeland Security director holds kickoff rally in Millington; considered major contender for GOP nomination.
    • Sep 13, 2017
  • Cohen to Introduce Articles of Impeachment against Trump

    Ranking member of House Judiciary subcommittee, says, apropos Charlottesville and Trump's apparent defense of the white nationalist fomentors there: "There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen."
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • Cohen Tells It!

    In which Memphis’ Democratic congressman Steve Cohen, addressing an apparent GOP effort to muddy the waters on the Russian inquiry, not only takes no crap but gives it back where it came from. This is worth watching from beginning to end -- even for those who might disagree on the politics of the matter.
    • Jul 26, 2017

Most Commented On

  • Rally to Safeguard Mueller Investigation

    Scenes from Saturday's mass rally at Civic Center Plaza to protest potential tampering by President Trump with special investigator Robert Mueller's inquiry into collusion with Russian sabotage of the 2016 presidential election.
    • Nov 10, 2018
  • Election 2018: Winners, Losers, and Close Calls

    Locally, the blue wave still had power, though most Democratic challengers to incumbent Republicans fell short; statewide, the red wall remained stout in wins by Lee and Blackburn; the Council's referenda all go down to defeat. (ORIGINAL ARTICLE RESTORED.)
    • Nov 7, 2018
  • More »
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation