State's Tea Party says Haslam holds 'socialistic' principles

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 2:40pm

The Tennessee Tea Party accused Gov. Bill Haslam Wednesday of holding “socialistic” principles, upping the ante in the fight over whether to repeal collective bargaining for public school teachers.

To reporters after a speech to the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Republican governor laughed off the Tea Party claim.

“I’ve said all along I’m not going to get into the name-exchanging business with anybody,” he said.

But even Tea Party allies in the legislature quickly came to his defense. Haslam favors limiting collective bargaining to certain issues, including merit pay for teachers, while the Tea Party and hardliners in the legislature want to end teachers’ union collective bargaining altogether.

“That’s absolutely ridiculous,” Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said of the Tea Party’s slam of Haslam.

“The governor and I are working closely on these issues, and I feel like we’ll have some resolution in the end. I hope it will be closer to the Senate bill in the end than it is to the House bill. That’s been my goal from the very beginning,” Ramsey said.

“You don’t get anywhere by calling people names, by insulting people. That’s never been my style and never will be my style, so I disagree with them. I wish they wouldn’t do that. You do catch more with honey than you do with vinegar. Any good ol’ country boy like me knows that if you get punched in the mouth, that makes you bow up even more. So I think that’s the wrong tactic and I disagree with it.”

In its message, the Tea Party said: “Look at our new governor. By all accounts, he is a progressive who was able to leverage family fortunes towards a victory in gaining the Governor’s seat. One only needs to look at his track record as mayor of Knoxville and his embrace of the socialistic principals [sic] such as” environmental issues.

The Tea Party also criticized Haslam for “his two-faced approach” toward Second Amendment issues.

22 Comments on this post:

By: FLeFew on 3/23/11 at 12:52

Who speaks for the Tea Party??? (There is no name in the article.)

I think it is an unorganized group of blowhards who do not understand that they are not the only people on the planet. They are not Conservatives, but are primarily Libertarians as in the ACLU. (Doesn't Steve Gill believe that he is their Guru.)

Give them a gun and they are happy.

By: Antisocialite on 3/23/11 at 1:06

I'm going to go ahead and violate Godwin's law right off the bat.

Does anyone else think that this resembles the SS vs. SA (Brownshirts) conflicts that ended in the Night of the Long Knives?

The emerging 'fiscal conservative' vs. 'social conservative' division has the potential to divide the Republican base in much the same way. Obviously the comparison is hyperbolic (I don't think either of these groups will be slaughtering the other), but I can't help but see the similarities.

From Wikipedia:
Although some of these conflicts were based on personal rivalries, there were also key socioeconomic conflicts between the SS and SA. SS members generally came from the middle class, while the SA had its base among the unemployed and working class. Politically speaking, the SA were more radical than the SS, with its leaders arguing the Nazi revolution had not ended when Hitler achieved power...

Adolf Hitler moved against the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm, because he saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his power.

Once again the analogy is not perfect, since the ability to start street violence is not really seen as a direct threat to power in our system of government anymore, but large street demonstrations definitely are.... we'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.

By: mickeyw on 3/23/11 at 1:09

Which Tea Party faction? Paulites, Palinites, GOPites ?

By: PhiDelt496 on 3/23/11 at 1:38

I think a closer analogy is to the 1912 election when the "Bull Moose" party split the Republican ticket and left the nation in the hands of the worst "progressive" president we have ever had. Had it not been for WWI we would remember Wilson in a much different light.

If the GOP doesnt make a move to center or figure out how to quiet the TP, we will be facing four more years of the Obama and his redistribution of wealth. (Has anyone noticed that all he has really redistributed is the middle class wealth so far).

Am I the only one that is suspicious that they do not cite any source from the Tea Party that made the remark?

By: AmyLiorate on 3/23/11 at 1:53

I'm wondering the same thing Mickey and Phi

By: pswindle on 3/23/11 at 5:29


By: Loner on 3/24/11 at 4:35

Good morning, Nashville!

Name-calling is about all the Tea-Party has in its toolbox. Their "agenda" is nothing more than the last thing that Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh said.

These folks aren't potential domestic terrorists, they just hate the US federal government and everything that it stands for. They're armed and hopped up on Tea-Party brand Hate Tea. They remind me of the Southern secessionists....rebels without a clue.

If our union of states comes apart at the seams, things could get very ugly, very quickly....yes, it CAN happen here. Like the old USSR, we are flat broke, baby.

By: Moonglow1 on 3/24/11 at 6:07

Moonglow1: I prefer socialist principles over the tyrannical attitudes of the tea party. These tea party people are similar to the Taliban. They espouse religious fanaticism, unwillingness to compromise, and they are against public education. They offer nothing in the way of innovative solutions. As the Taliban, tea party people offer chaos, guns & violence, hatred, name calling, cuts cuts and more cuts, and no realistic solutions for the crisis we now face which was caused by Wall Street.

By: treehugger7 on 3/24/11 at 6:33

Good points, moonglow. With any luck they will self destruct soon. I find it hilarious that they are accusing this businessman who's made millions of being a socialist. Just goes to show you the tea party does not understand the English language, or much of any thing else.

By: PhiDelt496 on 3/24/11 at 6:47

I am not a Tea Partyer, but they do have some good ideas (when they arent just name calling), just very offputting in their approach to selling and implementing them. But come on Loner and Moonglow, you are making the same rash generalizations about them. You cant sit there and call some one a bunch of name callers, and then compare them to Southern Seccesionists and the Taliban. You are now no better than they are.

Loner, what does it say about the state of the Union in 1860's if a bunch of "rebels without a clue" kept them at war for over 4 years. Be very careful with your derrogatory remarks about the CSA around here. You can get into a whole different argument.

Moonglow, I dont really see the TP ideas as tyrranical, actually socialism typically yeilds to tyrants, what the TP is pitching taken too extreme would be anarchy not tyrrany.

By: FCMullins on 3/24/11 at 7:10


I'm certainly not an expert on anything political but I feel we need to be
more down the middle on everything. Those to the far left and far right
are not the least bit interested in doing what's right for the people. They
are only concerned with doing whatever they can to further their own

By: ruby2922 on 3/24/11 at 7:19

This is a weak news article. Your inability to quote a person makes me wonder if you have don't your own agenda, Mr. Woods.

By: Paul on 3/24/11 at 7:26

There are several "Tea Party" groups, as I understand it, so no one group speaks for all people who claim to be Tea Party members. No people from this group are named. Perhaps editors should have asked the writer to name sources and produce this release, if there was even one to begin with. The writer has a lot of explaining to do. This so-called story is questionable at best. Where are the paper's journalistic standards and ethics?

By: global_citizen on 3/24/11 at 8:52

The tea party wants to raise Ayn Rand from the dead, clone her hundreds of times, and instill her every political office up for grabs. Nothing short of that will satisfy the ridiculous expectations of the tea party.

By: LFCRed on 3/24/11 at 9:19

The fact that these "people" can't even differentiate between "principles" & "principals" in a press release should tell you all you need to know about them.

"Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin

By: global_citizen on 3/24/11 at 9:55

"I find it hilarious that they are accusing this businessman who's made millions of being a socialist. Just goes to show you the tea party does not understand the English language"

Although I can see how you would perceive it to be counter to logic, there are actually quite a few very wealthy, successful businessmen who lean socialist. George Soros is probably the foremost, along with Sergey Brin and Larry Page who founded Google. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have also shown socialist-like leanings.

By: PromosFriend on 3/24/11 at 11:18

1. I agree with those that question Jeff Woods' journalistic integrity when he quotes the tea party without any identifiable source.
2. I also agree that it appears that the tea party is becoming or has become an overzealous, uncompromising group bordering on fanaticism. And, those of us that remember any of our history lessons know what has happened and continues to happen when fanaticism takes control - think Hitler, Pol Pot, the taliban et al.
3. I further agree that if the GOP doesn't get its act together or a miracle working Independent doesn't come forth that we'll have four more years of an increasingly leftward movement in the White House after the elections in 2012.
4. If, or more likely when, the current administration accelerates its campaign towards expanding our nanny state mentality we will see an increase in the polarization of this country.

By: Loner on 3/24/11 at 12:14

"Rebels without a clue" certa, turned against the United States and its Constitution in 1861 and opted to put their lives on the line, so that their rich neighbors could own African Negro slaves. Absolutely clueless.

Check the Confederate Constitution, it identifies African Negro slavery as the the one state's right that was worth going to war over...from the treasonous Southern viewpoint.

All the rebel states issued flowery statements about how the right to own Negro slaves was the reason for the secession.....the smoking guns are still smoking.

The Civil War was basically a war between white supremacists and the federal government, with Southern churches giving the Spiritual OK to the whole filthy business. The Tea Party represents a renaissance of church-approved, anti-federal bigotry.....same crap new wrapper.

By: Loner on 3/24/11 at 12:21

Let me try that again......

"Rebels without a clue" certainly applies to today's Tea Party and the poor Southern white boys, who in 1861, turned against the United States and its Constitution and opted to put their lives on the line, so that their rich neighbors could own African Negro slaves. Absolutely clueless.

By: PhiDelt496 on 3/24/11 at 1:49

For the sake of staying on topic, I will not respond to your simplistic view of the Civil War. However, you do further my point that your cannot claim to be any better than the TPers since you continue to attempt to make an argument using exaggerations, generalizations, and name calling.

By: Loner on 3/24/11 at 3:49


"Exaggerations, generalizations, and name calling"?? Where?

By: not_guilty on 3/24/11 at 4:30

The Mad Hatter called.

He wants his Tea Party back.