Tagged: Phil Bryant

Memo to Professor George and The Clarion Ledger: It Was Gov. Fordice, Not Gov. “Fordyce”

It is not a scientific survey but my gut feeling is that during recent months The Clarion Ledger’s guest columns, op-eds, etc. have leaned even more toward left field than in the past. The most recent example was a guest column that appeared in the newspaper’s online edition in early June. If the column appeared in the print edition, I did not see it. The article was written by Carol V.R. George. George was identified a research professor of history emerita at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. George has a new book that deals with the murders and struggle for civil rights in Neshoba County. The column also noted George “splits her time in Florida and New York.” In her column, George takes shots at the college board for not extending the contract of Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones and essentially adds criticism of Mississippi’s “good ole boy” network, past and present. However, not once, but five times in her column, George refers to Kirk Fordice, who served two terms as governor.  Five times George spells the late governor’s name as “Fordyce.” Before someone who “splits her time in Florida and New York” dispenses advice to Mississippians and comments on state politics and history, I would suggest she correctly spell the now late governor’s name. Which leads to another question about the spelling: Does The Clarion Ledger still employ copy editors?

Did any reporter ask Adrian Shipman who is paying her expense lawyers? It is certainly not Shipman.

Last week the Mississippi Supreme Court heard arguments from the two sides involved in the constitutional amendments dealing with public education that voters will consider next November. Sitting behind the lawyers was the Oxford mother of two children, Adrian Shipman, who is the plaintiff in the case opposing the legislature’s amendment versus the one supported by the Better Schools, Better Jobs organization. The press noted that Shipman spoke to reporters after the hearing. Do you think any of those reporters asked Shipman who is paying the expensive lawyers who are representing her? I think you know the answer to that. The Better Schools, Better Jobs organization has been quick to cry foul about the Mississippi Legislature and other opponents of its constitutional amendment. On the other hand, shouldn’t we know who is Shipman’s real benefactor?
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Gov. Bryant Throws Republican Nominee for AG Under the Bus

AG Hood’s “campaign season lawsuit” endorsed by Gov. Bryant

On April 24, with the header “AG Hood files campaign season lawsuit,” I commented on the recent lawsuit that Democrat Attorney General filed in Hinds County against State Farm. While it has been almost 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, Hood’s suit seeks to recover damages related to the hurricane. State Farm responded that the company had resolved all outstanding issues with Hood following court proceedings in 2007 and 2008. Until the recent lawsuit, over six years later, State Farm officials said they had heard nothing more from Hood. Interesting timing isn’t it? I also said at the time that by filing in Hinds County Circuit Hood had at least a 75 percent chance of success because three of the four circuit court judges in that county lean to the left side of the political spectrum.

Hood’s re-election opponent is former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst. Hurst has a fine reputation as a prosecutor of criminal corruption in the state and if he can raise enough money, he could post a serious threat to Hood’s re-election. At the time I also noted State Farm, like most big insurance companies, is a favorite political whipping boy of Democrat candidates. It turns out State Farm is also a political whipping boy of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. Last week while on the Gulf Coast, Bryant said he supports Hood’s lawsuit against State Farm. Bryant was quoted by Sun Herald reporter Anita Lee as saying he supports “homeowners to have their day in court.” Bryant not only played demagogue with an issue he thought would be popular on the coast, he sandbagged Hurst. While it was not a political endorsement of Hood, the only Democrat statewide elected official, by supporting Hood’s suit against State Farm Bryant undercut Hood’s Republican opponent. Bryant’s action had more than a few Republicans scratching their heads. Most of them feel Bryant doesn’t really care about any other Republicans running for statewide office.

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Politicians Can Play Games with Qualifying Deadline

The qualifying deadline for statewide, district, legislative, and local candidates is February 27. At this writing, four of the eight statewide incumbents have qualified for re-election. They are State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, State Auditor Stacey Pickering, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, and Commissioner of Agriculture Cindy Hyde-Smith. That leaves Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Attorney General Jim Hood, and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann as the four who have not filed their qualifying papers for re-election. There’s no question that at some point before the deadline Bryant and Reeves will qualify to seek re-election, which leads to some speculation regarding the 2015 plans for Hood and Hosemann.

Although Pickering has qualified to seek another term as auditor, you might also put a question mark by his name. It is no secret that Pickering has told numerous people that he would like a higher paying job in either the private sector or even state government. The state job most often mentioned is that of commissioner of the Department of Revenue, which pays about $50,000 more per year than he makes as auditor. The term of Ed Morgan, the current commissioner of the department, expires in June of 2016. Current rumors speculate that Pickering could withdraw his qualifying papers, take a job in the private sector for a year, and then be appointed by Gov. Bryant to take Morgan’s place next year. That would allow Bryant and tea party favorite (and Chris McDaniel sidekick), state Sen. Michael Watson to run for auditor. The other scenario is that Pickering wins re-election, resigns later to take the Department of Revenue job, and Bryant could appoint Watson to serve out the remainder of Pickering’s term. The engineer for this train would be kingmaker and Bryant insider, Prince Josh Gregory.

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Leftovers from MEC’s Hobnob Event

The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC), the state’s chamber of commerce, held its annual Hobnob on October 29. As usual, a large crowd estimated at about 1,800 people attended. The format was about the same as in previous years. The eight statewide elected officials and House Speaker Philip Gunn each spoke for about 10 minutes except for Gov. Phil Bryant, properly so, was given 15 minutes. Because of the U.S. Senate contest, longtime incumbent Republican Thad Cochran and his Democrat opponent, former congressman Travis Childers, were also allocated time. MEC officials gave each speaker a lavish introduction that would probably equal those given for a George Washington or Thomas Jefferson. In their brief allocated time each elected official gave an equally glowing report of the wonderful things they have done during their term in office. A few other impressions:

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Is “Coach” Hosemann the Reason Bo Wallace Threw Interception Against LSU?

After Gov. Phil Bryant made a strong run for the Chuck Schumer Award initially won by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Hosemann may be making another push to retain the award. For three straight weeks Hosemann has been on the sidelines for big games: Mississippi State-Auburn, Ole Miss-Tennessee, and last Saturday night in Baton Rouge for Ole Miss-LSU. There may be more to the story than competition for the Chuck Schumer Award and more self-serving photo ops.

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Gov. Bryant May Compete with Hosemann for Chuck Schumer Award

Shortly after Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann captured our initial Chuck Schumer Award, Gov. Phil Bryant quickly showed that he will be a strong contender for the same award. For those that need a recap of the award, it is named for U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York. Schumer is in his third term in the Senate and before that served many years in the U.S. House. He had a well-known and well-deserved reputation for finding any television camera or any photo-opportunity. Most everyone in Mississippi is very proud of the current success on the gridiron for Mississippi State and Ole Miss. It is unparalleled that both schools are ranked in the top three in the nation (until the Black Bears were upset by the LSU Tigers this past weekend). There is still a lot of football to be played this season but the pride of Mississippians is very obvious.

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Handwriting on the Wall? Leadership Change at Ole Miss?

There has been controversy surrounding Dan Jones from almost the time that he was named chancellor of the University of Mississippi in 2009. I heard reports almost two years ago that there was an effort by Ole Miss alumni to replace Jones. There was even some buzz last week before the trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning held their regular meeting in Hattiesburg, MS. Rumors and some confirmed reports said that during an executive session of the college board a move would be made to end Jones’ tenure at Ole Miss and his contract would not be extended.

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Why Don’t They Like Tate?

Why don’t they like Lt. Governor Tate Reeves?

During the 2011 campaign when Reeves moved up to lieutenant governor from his job as state treasurer, a longtime Republican leader asked me, “Is Tate Reeves as smart as he thinks he is?” A more recent questioner also asked why some Republicans don’t like Reeves. My reply was that Reeves is both smart and tough. His response was, “And he’s a conservative.” My  luncheon companion then noted that right-wing radio talk show hosts Paul Gallo and J.T. (Williamson) are clearly obvious in their dislike of Reeves. Super Talk radio even frequently runs a network promo that says, “It’s a sad day when Mississippi’s lieutenant governor plays politics with children’s and people’s lives.”

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Playing the God Card Worse Than Playing the Race Card

No one can question the very conservative credentials of nationally  syndicated columnist Cal Thomas. Yet, in a column published in early May, Thomas cited Matthew 6:6 when Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Thomas, of course, was commenting in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding prayer at government meetings. Thomas noted that in the majority opinion Justice Anthony Kennedy said that prayers offered at a town council meeting are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation’s traditions. Thomas added, “If prayer is largely ‘ceremonial’ and ‘traditional’ then it has lost all meaning. One might was well chant ‘2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate’.”

And the reason I am noting Thomas’ comments about the decision of the Supreme Court? Headline this week: “Palazzo (Mississippi Congressman) hands out 535 Bibles on Capitol Hill.”

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Independent Thinking Son-in-Laws, or Bryant and Lott Covering Both Sides?

On June 19, five days before the GOP runoff, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum appeared in Madison at a rally for Chris McDaniel. Santorum represented Pennsylvania in the senate for two terms until he was trounced 59-to-41 percent in his 2006 re-election bid. It was the largest defeat for an incumbent U.S. Senator since 1980. He then ran unsuccessfully for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. I suspect he would like to run for president again in 2016. Obviously with his endorsement of McDaniel, he is courting the tea party wing of the GOP.

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