The Leaf-Chronicle from Clarksville, Tennessee on November 5, 2010 · 7
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The Leaf-Chronicle from Clarksville, Tennessee · 7

Clarksville, Tennessee
Issue Date:
Friday, November 5, 2010
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FRIDAY, NOV. 5, 2010 THE L E A F - C H R O N I C L E A7 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably -to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. M ; First amendment to the Constitution of the United states of America mm our VIEW ; . f Pelosi ETOOOSOBl :fpCUT V Jfl It ' ffcKari shoyld have waited Here is another example of why people continue to lose faith in government officials. Gov. Phil Bredesen, former Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr and Community Development Commissioner Matthew Kisber are involved in a new company called Silicon Ranch Corp. that could promote solar energy investments across the United States. These same three people have spent the past two years in govern' ment trying to develop the solar power industry in Tennessee, which included economic incentives for businesses. Hemlock Semiconductor LLC is uuuuuig a yiaiii in viai ivsviac lu manufacture a basic component for solar panels, and Austin Peay State University is helping to train the workforce. Another polycrystalline silicon manufacturer, Wacker Chemie AG, is setting up shop in the state, and the Bre- ucacn auiiiuuaLiduuu uacu .pu.t million in stimulus funds to create the Tennessee Solar Institute. Additionally, the state invested $15 million in a program administered by - Pathway Lending, to help Tennessee ' companies finance investments in energy-efficient technology. Silicon Ranch is subleasing offices from Pathway. Farr and Pathway's president , both told The Tennessean there is no other business relationship between the two (5ther than the lease. Farr, who was one of the state's top two economic development officials, set up Silicon Ranch Corp. in Delaware in August, which is before he resigned from his state job. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI have been investigating the way he handled some business tax cases unrelated to this new business. Bredesen told The Tennessean he has invested a six-figure amount in Silicon Ranch, harr said the governor is a playing a passive role in the business and described the investment as seed money to help get the venture off the ground. He also said Bre-desen's financial backing was a key factor in deciding to pursue the business. Both Farr and Kisber also told the newspaper that the deal doesn't violate any state laws or ethics rules because Farr is the only employee and not in government anymore. Still, according to corporate records for Silicon Ranch, Bredesen is the company chairman, Kisber its president and Farr the vice chairman and secretary. While what the three have done is not illegal, the appearance of impro-' . priety is unmistakable. It certainly lnnkc oe tViniicrli thpv rnnlil lisp rnn- tacts developed through their state positions to a launch a new business and doing it while two of them are still working for the government. incy uu nave cvciy ngi"- iu auui a new business, but they should have at - least waited until January when they were all in the private sector before, doing something that could be construed as cashing in on their public service. Opinions in this space reflect a consensus of the discussion by The Leaf-Chronicle's Editorial Board. The Leaf-Chronicle encourages readers to be part of our Opinion pages in the form of letters and guest columns, within the following guidelines: Letters must indude your first and last name address and daytime phone number. Only your name, town and ZIP code will be published. Anonymous contributions, pseudonyms and first initials are not allowed. Contributors are limited to one published letter every 15 days. Letters must be less than 300 words. They may be edited for clarity and brevity. All material must be original to the author. Guest columns must be no longer than 500 words and will be held to a higher standard of reader interest than letters. Letters and guest columns may be published or distributed in print or electronic forms. Contact Opinion Editor Alane S. Megna with questions at 931-245-0270 or at LETTERS TO THE EDITOR This was not the change that Obama promised After the midterm election in 2006 where the Democrats took back control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate after 12 years of Republican rule, I wrote about how it was up to the Democrats to make something happen. Now, just four short years later, the American people have decided that it's again the Republicans they favor. This election was historic because it was the first time since the 1930 midterm election that we saw the House change hands without the Senate following suit This follows what most consider an historic presidential election in 2008 when Illinois Sen. Barrack Obama won the presidency. What an exciting two years we have witnessed. As huge of a night as this was, we must not forget the real story here. The Re publicans did win back the American people, but this election was a referendum on President Obama and his lack of duty in his first two years. He ran on change and the change we now have is not the change he promised. In most cases, after all is said and done, change is all you're left with, if you're lucky. The Republicans picking up seats in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois (Barrack Obama's old seat), and Missouri are huge and says a lot about the mindset of the American people. The map that we now see, the trend that was set oh Nov. 2, 2010. looks a lot like the map that we saw in 2000 and 2004. If President Obama does not listen to the American people and work with the Republicans in repealing ObamaCare and continuing the Bush tax cuts, 2012 very easily could be a continuance of 2010. BILLY PARRISH CLARKSVILLE 37043 Can't sell what's not wanted NEW YORK - Two words: Narrative, schmarrative. Democrats have talked endlessly about the importance of narrative missing in President Obama's case. We've heard over and over about the lack of smart messaging and the president's failure to communicate. If only Obama could better express himself, all would be well. Seriously? This is the same president whose soaring rhetoric once sent his ratings into the heavenly realm and who, after assuming office, never stopped expressing himself. For months, he was everywhere. Talking, talking1, talking. Admit it How many times did you flip on the tube and say, "Omigod, he's talking again"? Several teleprompters had to take early retirement from sheer exhaustion. Here's a narrative: You can't sell people what they don't want, no matter how mellifluous your pitch. This is the clear message of the midterm elections, and who didn't know? Only Democrats, apparently. They the imperial "they" say that the people weren't voting against the president Check. Most Americans don't dislike the president, as in the person. Obama didn't create this dismal economy, and most acknowledge that fact. But voters were clearly casting a ballot against his policies. And no, the tea 'partiers weren't voting against his pigmentation, as my colleague Eugene Robinson suggested in a recent column. "Take back the country," the popular tea party refrain, doesn't mean reclaim it from "the black man." It means reclaim it from a rogue government , There were so many clues, even the clueless should have seen what was coming. In February 2009, Obama had an approval rating of 76 percent Let me repeat that: 76 percent!!! Few but God poll better. Obviously, one can only go downhill from there, but you can't pin the slide on racism. All those people didn't suddenly realize their president was African-American and become racists. Are there racists in America? Sure. And some of them show up at tea party rallies. Say what you will about the tea party, and there's plenty to say, but it is fundamentally unfair to say the tea partiers are racist It is also just plain incorrect to say that opposition to Obama is anti-black. The election was a referendum on policies that are widely viewed as too overreaching and, therefore, ultimately, threatening to individual freedom. It's that simple. The essential question that voters were i f i answering was whether government or the private sector is better suited to create jobs. This is a question on which historians and economists disagree, but it was the crux of Tuesday's election. At the risk of oversimplifying, the midterm bloodbath was a fight over capitalism. Whether candidates could properly articulate market arguments was less important than whether they understood that expanded government means less individual freedom. You don't need a doctorate in Key-nesian theory to get them apples. Obama's declining popularity since his planet-realigning ascendancy is easy enough to graph. The dipping points in his approval ratings correspond to specific agenda items, such as the stimulus bill and health care reform. Interspersed among those major initiatives were red flags the sizeofChite. In November 2009, New Jersey and Virginia both elected Republican governors Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, respectively. These two elections were referen-dums on Obama's agenda, specifically tied to health care. Then in January came Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, another Democratic state, thundering into the1 Senate to fill the slot left vacant by Ted Kennedy's death. It was less than reassuring to hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tell a gathering of county officials: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" Instead of hearing the people's voices, Democrats and the White House doubled down and began to demonize the opposition. It was Rush Limbaugh's fault Fox News was the problem. John Boehner, today the presumptive speaker of the House, became a target du jour. In an echo of some of the tea party's worst moments, the White House advanced the thfem-versus-us mantra. They're the problem. Except, alas, "they" were The People. And their voices were being ignored. For better or worse, our system of governance doesn't include a monarchy.. Obama didn't need to be a better communicator. He needed to be a better listener. End of story. Kathleen Parker Washington Post columnist was not a demon WASHINGTON - Losing elections is an occupational hazard for politicians, so there's no need to get all weepy about the Democratic officeholders who suddenly find themselves with more time to spend with their families. President Obama still has the ability to set the nation's agenda and also the power of the veto, in case of emergency. Harry Reid is still Senate majority leader. As for John Boehner, he'll soon learn that his new job requires a more extensive vocabulary than "no." But amid the wreckage of Tuesday's GOP rampage, there's one person for whom I feel awful: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She's losing her job not because she does it poorly but because she does it so well. I regret that the nation has never come to know the actual Nancy Pelosi. Most Americans are probably familiar only with the caricature that her political opponents sketched the effete "San Francisco liberal." ' That's not the Nancy Pelosi known to anyone who has ever met her. While the term "San Francisco liberal" is accurate, it's also true that she grew up j- and learned the rough-and-tumble of politics in gritty Baltimore. Her father, Tommy D'Alesandro, was a legendary "Charm City" mayor and political boss. Her education in how to count votes, and keep them counted, began at a young age. When she appears before the cameras, Pelosi often seems stiff and almost brittle. In person, she's warm and engaging also funny, earthy, and just plain good company. She tells a great story. She turns a mean phrase. Colleagues on Capitol Hill almost universally describe her as a good boss and simply a good person. It was frustrating to hear Republicans demonize her in their thunderous public statements, then confess privately that they really liked her. Ain't politics grand? The GOP was only able to make Pelosi an issue because she was so effective as speaker. Obama came to office with a long, ambitious agenda. Pelosi had a big majority to work with, in the House, but it was ideologically diverse Blue Dogs, progressives, everything in between. Somehow, she managed to deliver. I was at the Capitol that day when the House passed the landmark health care bill. Tea party groups were protesting outside, egged on by Republican members of Congress who came out onto a balcony and . led the catcalls. Pelosi did what was right for the country, and what's right isn't always what's popular. Democrats may decide they need a less-polarizing figure as minority leader; if they do, well, that's politics. But I'd love to see her stay in the Democratic leadership and I'm betting that eventually she'd find a way to take back the gavel that she pounds with such righteous authority. .Eugene Robinson Washington Post columnist THE LEAF-CHRONICLE SINCE 1 808, TENNESSEE'S OLDEST NEWSPAPER Ocular Alane S. Megna SENIOR EDITOR COMMUNITY CONVERSATION EDITORIAL BOARD Teresa Owen COMMUNITY MEMBER Richard V. Stevens EXECUTIVE EDITOR ACTING GENERAL MANAGER Gene Washer publisher emeritus PRINCIPLES OF ETHICAL CONDUCT Seeking and reporting the truth in a truthful way Serving the public interest Exercising fair play Maintaining independence Acting with integrity i

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