Web log for 2016-01-12

Here’s what’s at top of mind this Tuesday morning.

President Barack Obama tonight will give his final State of the Union address, followed by a Republican response from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Obama’s track record as president has been neither as breathtakingly progressive as the “Hope” and “Change” posters seemed to promise, nor as doom-filled as the apocalyptic conspiracy theorists projected. Surely there are disappointed people along both fringes: some who wished for massive wealth redistribution to the 99 percent, and others whose BDSM fantasies had them secretly hoping to be locked up in Nazi-style camps practicing a Kenyan flavor of Sharia Law. All in all, it’s been a mostly moderate, if left-leaning, tenure that has pleased not all of the people, not all of the time.

And the wars continue, so at least the hawks are happy. (No, that’s not right. It’s never enough.)

Here in Tennessee, today the 109th General Assembly opens its second session. The partisan makeup of both houses guarantees that nothing will get passed without GOP approval, but the question remains as to which arm of the GOP maintains control. Dave Boucher of the Nashville USA Today paper breaks it down.

Speaking of the Republican House Caucus, today also marks when its members will at least get some procedures in motion about what to do with Rep. Jeremy Durham, the current Majority Whip.

Looking ahead: I keep trying to decide how much weight to put on the outcomes of the first four primary/caucus contests in the 2016 nominating cycle, and whether to fully focus instead on the March 1st “Super Tuesday” primary, when Tennessee joins a bunch of other states to really make things clearer in this rather murky race. I also remain convinced about which GOP contender will carry Tennessee; but just ask Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee about how much that matters.

Looking further ahead: it’s roughly fourteen months until the next Chattanooga municipal election; and the following year sees an open seat for Governor of Tennessee. Many of us will be watching for the moment when Mayor Andy Berke will publicly decide what he’s going to do about those two things.

See you on Twitter for the #SOTU.

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