Emily Wagster Pettus wrote a news/op-ed piece on Monday outlining a narrative that says essentially that the Legislature is dragging out of the gates. It is, in her words, an “exceptionally slow start”.
This is a narrative that’s been repeated on liberal blogs and among Democrat partisans. They essentially are trying to say that Republicans can’t get their act together and don’t know what they’re doing.
Well, let’s look at the facts. First, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves appointed his committee chairs the day after everyone was sworn in. I don’t know what exactly everyone’s expectations were, but that was pretty durn fast.
Gunn was sworn in and elected Speaker on January 3. His committee appointments were made on January 20.
So certainly, former Speaker Billy McCoy, who was re-elected as Speaker in 2008, certainly had his act together to appoint committees and take on the people’s business faster than Gunn, right? Wrong. According to the YallPolitics Memory Division, McCoy appointed his committee chairs on January 19, 2008 (a Friday) – essentially the same day that Gunn did four years later. But you certainly didn’t see the press navel gazing about the glacial pace of the legislature then. There doesn’t seem to have been any mention of inaugural balls or open-bar receptions to cast aspersions on the pace of leadership in 2008 like there has been in 2012.
Emily Pettus is very smart, but the premise of this article was both uncharacteristically wrong and the context was uncharacteristically sloppy for her.