funny article from Nashville

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Posted by Lils from ? ( on Thursday, September 05, 2002 at 1:35PM :

it's on local politics, but it's pretty funny... a good template, if you will.
Nashville Scene
August 29-Sept. 4 issue
Hilleary's Secret Plan

Using wire taps and garbage surveillance, the Scene's political investigative team cites evidence that the GOP gubernatorial nominee secretly favors an income tax

By Liz Murray Garrigan and Phil Ashford

Now that the first gubernatorial debate is behind us and the rhetorical lines are taking shape for the fall campaign, Van Hilleary is making such a fuss over his opposition to the income tax that there is only one conclusion that can be reached: The man has a secret plan to impose one.

Consider these two facts:

FACT: After the General Assembly gave up on the income tax, passed a sales tax increase instead, then went home, the Hilleary campaign issued a press release saying that the income tax was a dead issue and that it was time to "move on." Since then, he's spent his time doing almost nothing but talking about the income tax in his campaign against Democratic nominee Phil Bredesen.

FACT: Republicans always promise to be against an income tax, although the last three Republican governors all have ended up endorsing one in some shape or form (although one of them now denies it). In the case of the reviled incumbent, Don Sundquist, progressives have credited him with "growing in office," but then the Republican hard-core views him more as having betrayed them again.

In the case of Hilleary, there is much evidence to show that anyone who opposes an income tax would be making a mistake to vote for Hilleary.

Here's the evidence of his secret plan:

* Hilleary says the current high sales tax rate is "black-and-white wrong." The legislature got out of a budget jam by passing the highest average sales tax rate in the country--one that will crimp the economy, throttle tourism and fall heavily on those with less income. Hilleary is promising to "roll back" the increase. Although Hilleary gives lip service to trimming services--primarily by taking away TennCare benefits from low-income sick people, causing them to get well again--he really hasn't said how he would otherwise close the gap. And everyone knows the easiest way to find a billion dollars is with an income tax.

* Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Bill Farmer recently issued a press release claiming that Hilleary was harboring income tax schemes. If a party chairman says it, it must be true.

* Trained as a lawyer, Hilleary's two main civilian activities before going to Congress have consisted of working for his daddy and running for offices. While neither of these are trivial accomplishments, they don't point to an ability to manage state government in such a way that new efficiencies are achieved. Everyone knows you never put a lawyer--especially a crummy one--in charge when you want to get something done.

* Hilleary has "black-and-white" certainty. During the campaign, Hilleary has had the disquieting habit of reducing every issue down to something that he terms "black and white." Who knows what'll happen when he discovers the color gray.

* Hilleary would be better off than Bredesen under an income tax. Unlike his Democratic opponent, Hilleary will have to live off what he earns as governor. While they do throw in the big house along with the relatively small salary, Hilleary's going to have to be looking to economize everywhere he can. And everyone knows that an income tax is a better deal for those with lower incomes, like the prospective governor. And nobody thinks he's going to go off afterward like Lamar Alexander and make a boatload of money.

* He gave us all the wink-wink signal. During the debate, Hilleary prefaced his promise of no income tax with the code phrase "read my lips." Everyone knows what that means: George Bush the Elder used it--and then proceeded to raise taxes. Hilleary will be able to fall back on saying that he used the phrase to signal that he didn't really mean it.

To be sure, the case so far is just circumstantial. But a wise citizen knows to read the signals a politician gives to understand his true intent. And based on this case, it's pretty clear:

Van Hilleary. Income taxer.

Speaking of the debate

It's two weeks behind us now, but after watching the two heavyweight gubernatorial contenders at the Meharry Medical College debate, we have some overdue advice for each of them.

Mr. Bredesen, you did not shine. In fact, not only did you not shine, you looked like you'd just returned from a hostage situation in which you were tortured with sleep deprivation (though they clearly fed you). We suggest you take a week off from the campaign trail and hole up in a room with a king-sized bed, a bottle of Nyquil and a sack of celery. (Leave the laptop at home and send out a press release saying you've gone hunting.)

Also, if any of the rest of the debates this fall allow you to ask a question of your opponent, try to develop one that isn't in the Debate Preparation Handbook for Dummies. (Readers may recall that you asked Hilleary whether health care is a right or a privilege.)

Mr. Hilleary, we applaud you for your preparedness. Given the expectation that you would tank in the face of your opponent's large brain, we believe you did exceptionally well. Moreover, nice haircut and way to go on sticking out your hand first and showing good gamesmanship.

Your narrow interpretation of the medical malpractice reform issue, however, could use some nuance and sophistication. Also, it's "OB-STE-TRI-CIAN," not "OB-STRE-CIAN." (We shudder to think what he would do with "otolaryngologist.")

-- Lils
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