Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Shows The Cowardice Of Red State Governments
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Earlier: Former AR Gov. Asa Cuckinson, Useless On Immigration, Runs Against GOP Base In Odd 2024 Presidential Bid

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee recently outraged conservatives by supporting red flag laws, which empower the government to seize a citizen’s guns if he is deemed a “threat.” Leftist bureaucrats will obviously abuse these laws to crush the Second Amendment rights of Americans with the “wrong” political opinions. As it should, the gun rights movement strongly opposes the laws. But Lee backed this idea to appease the gun grabbers after the “transgender” mass shooting at Covenant School [Tennessee governor calls for law removing guns from dangerous people, by Liz Crampton, Politico, April 11, 2023]. And Lee isn’t the only cowardly Red State governor who refuses to protect the rights of the Historic American Nation. Others also placate leftists despite legislative supermajorities and their own voters’ demands.

Lee is no stranger to this arrangement. He’s repeatedly sabotaged the interests of the conservative base. Elected governor in 2018 as a MAGA conservative, he’s proven to be anything but. His knees began wobbling in the first months of his governorship. In February 2019, a college photo surfaced that showed him in a Confederate outfit at a fraternity party. He profusely apologized. “While I never intentionally acted in an insensitive way, with 40 years of hindsight, I have come to realize that was insensitive and have come to regret that,” he said at the time. Then came his support in 2020 for erasing Nathan Bedford Forrest (a native Tennessean) from official state honors. He canceled Nathan Bedford Forrest Day and backed the removal of the Confederate general’s bust from the state capitol.

Said Lee:

Forrest represents pain, suffering and brutal crimes committed against African Americans and that pain is very real for many of our fellow Tennesseans as they walk the halls of our statehouse and evaluate how he could be one of the just 9 busts elevated to a place of honor and reverence.

[Gov. Bill Lee calls for Nathan Bedford Forrest bust to be relocated to museum, by Natalie Allison, The Tennessean, July 8, 2020]

Lee made the right noises on immigration when he campaigned in 2018. But he proved to be a serious disappointment. In 2019, then-President Donald Trump told Republican governors they could keep refugees out of their states. State Republicans hoped the governor would accept Trump’s offer, but Lee rejected it and insisted Tennessee would welcome refugees. GOP leaders criticized the move, but that didn’t bother Lee. He had a “biblical mandate,” he claimed, to import the foreigners. America “has generations of a history of providing opportunity to those who are oppressed,” he said at the time. His enthusiasm for refugees probably stems from his wife’s working with Kurdish refugees.

Lee is also friendly to cheap foreign labor. Last year, he signed a bill to allow immigrants, including illegal aliens signed up for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to get work licenses. The bill will help at least 7,000 DACA recipients and 3,000 migrants with Temporary Protected Status [Workforce Expansion Bill passes State Senate, will allow immigrants to obtain trade licensure, by Darby McCarthy, WTVF, April 16, 2022]. The Chamber of Commerce championed the bill to help the bottom line of its members. Unfortunately, a majority of Republicans voted for the bill in the legislature. So they kowtowed to the Cheap Labor Lobby, too.

Lee knows immigration squishiness makes for bad politics in a deep red state, so he tries to compensate for his weakness with harsh rhetoric toward the Biden’s Regime’s immigration policies. Since 2021, he has attacked the federal government for sending illegal aliens to the state. Last December, he demanded the Immigration and Customs Enforcement stop releasing detainees there. But much of this is just rhetoric. Lee fussed about unaccompanied illegal-alien kids being housed in the state in 2021, but his own administration OK’d the housing. Actions speak louder than words [Lee is either ignorant or dishonest in migrant children situation, by Holly McCall, Tennessee Lookout, May 28, 2021].

Lee is also a proponent of “criminal justice reform”— leftist code for releasing black criminals from prison. In 2021, he signed legislation that would help criminals get jobs and avoid jail time if they were convicted of low-level offenses [Gov. Bill Lee signs two criminal justice reform bills, by Caroline Sutton, WTVF, May 24, 2021]. Criminal justice reform is good, he said, because it means fewer people in jail. “People” means, again, blacks.

Lee offered this lachrymose take:

You have to recognize that they're human beings. They’re people. They’ve got children. Many of them have wives or husbands. They’ve got loved ones, they’ve got a desire to pay the penalty for their crime but they also have a desire to be a productive citizen.

[Gov. Lee: Criminal justice reform will mean fewer people in jail, by Kyle Horan, WTVF, May 21, 2021]

Yeah? Well, crime victims have wives, and kids and “loved ones,” too.

Below, Eliza Fletcher lived in Memphis, TN, until she was murdered. Her alleged killer, Cleotha Abston, lived in the Memphis Penitentiary, before he was released four years early in a 24-year kidnapping sentence.

The state government also tried to stop American Renaissance from hosting its conferences in Tennessee. AmRen sued after the state tried to make the white advocacy group pay for security costs for its future conferences. That punitive fee would’ve forced AmRen out of the state. Fortunately, AmRen won and made Tennessee pay a hefty sum to cover his legal fees. However, it’s still disturbing that a supposedly conservative government in a deep red state tried to punish a pro-white group [Tennessee to pay white nationalist group $46,000 in legal fees after judge's ruling, by Natalie Allison, The Tennessean, December 3, 2019].

Now here’s what should really make conservative Volunteer State voters really furious: Tennessee faces no threat of a Democratic takeover. Trump won the state by more than 60 percent in 2020. Lee won reelection with nearly 65 percent of the vote last year. The state sent just one Democrat to Congress. Republicans have strong supermajorities in both the state house and state senate. Republicans can do what they want. But, for some reason, the governor keeps the state more “moderate” than it should be. At least the supermajority in the state legislature is unlikely to pass Lee’s red flag law [House Republicans balk at governor’s order of protection bill, calling it “red flag,” by Sam Stockard, Tennessee Lookout, April 19, 2023].

This pattern plays out in other states. The Daily Wire recently reported that several deep red state legislatures are barely conservative. These include states such as Utah, Wyoming, and South Carolina. The GOP in these states often kills effective legislation despite supermajorities [Why Did Wyoming Kill School Choice? Deep-Red States Often Don’t Act Like It, Data Shows, by Luke Rosiak, Daily Wire, April 12, 2023].

Sometimes the problems are governors such as Asa Hutchinson, who just completed two terms as governor of deep red Arkansas. VDARE has covered his many sins against the Right. He wants more refugees there, opposes Confederate heritage, is a squish on the “transgender” issue, and proudly boasts of putting white nationalists in jail as a federal prosecutor. He also supported the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. Somehow, he believes this record makes him a viable presidential contender in 2024. Trump won Arkansas with 62 percent of the vote in 2020.

The worst deep red state governor is probably Utah’s Spencer Cox. He makes Bill Lee look like Lester Maddox. Cox has begged for more immigration not only to his state but also to the rest of America. Earlier this year, he proposed sponsoring immigrants to work there [Why Gov. Spencer Cox wants to sponsor immigrants to come work in Utah, by Emily Anderson Stern, Salt Lake Tribune, February 22, 2023]. Cox strongly defended a scholarship funded by the Utah Jazz that excluded white applicants [Something that we should be celebrating’: Gov. Cox defends Jazz student scholarship program, Ryan Miller, KSL, April 16, 2021]. He made Juneteenth a state holiday and backed an “ethnic studies” curriculum for students. He proudly announces his pronouns and vetoed a measure to ban “trans” athletes from girls’ sports. No wonder Time magazine calls him “woke” [The Red-State Governor Who's Not Afraid to Be ‘Woke’, by Molly Ball, Time, August 18, 2022]. Trump won by nearly 60 percent in 2020.

Question is, why are these deep red states so cucked? The Daily Wire pointed the finger at open primaries that allow Democrats to vote, so “moderate” Republicans are elected and run the show [Why Legislatures In The Deep-Red States That Sent Romney And Cheney To Washington ‘Vote Like Liberals,’ by Luke Rosiak, Daily Wire, April 13, 2023]. That’s one possibility. But that doesn’t explain how states without open primaries end up with governors like Lee. Some might be motivated by the desire to attract positive press. That does seem a factor in Cox’s cucking.

But the best explanation for GOP spinelessness is the Business First mentality. Business Firsters think all issues are secondary to the economy. They want to be as friendly to the Chamber of Commerce as possible. They think identity and social issues make the state less attractive to woke corporations, and so won’t do anything to upset them. North Carolina, recall, repealed its “bathroom bill” after the NCAA threatened to stop sponsoring sports championships in the state [N.C.A.A. Ends Boycott of North Carolina After So-Called Bathroom Bill Is Repealed, by Marc Tracy, New York Times, April 4, 2017]. Lee probably backs a red flag law to appease business interests and new residents who buy into the gun-control narrative. He thinks he must do something to calm the protesters and make the state look more moderate. Lee doesn’t want to scare away business with a “far right” image. That explains why Lee, Cox, Hutchinson, and other Republicans cuck. Too many Republicans care more about pleasing woke corporations than fighting for their own constituents.

It’s imperative for ordinary Republicans to change this mentality within their own states. That requires replacing the Business First-Ruling Class GOP elite with leaders who protect the interests of the Historic American Nation.

Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.

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