Bill Lee and silhouette image of business people

Are RINOs in Control of the Lee Administration?

I’ve received a few communications lately asking if Bill Lee is being surrounded by or surrounding himself with moderates and “establishment” Republicans, often called RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), and whether that is a portent of a moderate Haslam-type administration. I think I understand why these questions are being asked, and here is my answer.

The concerns that have been expressed are based on appointments made to Lee’s personal administrative staff and to his cabinet. Specifically, there are concerns about an individual who, in one case, gave money to Phil Bredesen in his U.S. Senate campaign and others who have either been employed by moderate Republicans or didn’t like Trump.

An Easy Trap to Fall Into

The first thing I try to remember in situations like this is what is known as guilt by association. For the academic types, this colloquialism is what’s called a logical fallacy, a form of an ad hominem argument. Here’s a personal example of why this is a logical fallacy.

As a college freshman, I almost didn’t ask a particular girl out on a date because I knew she had been seen at a movie and a church hayride with someone I didn’t like from a rival high school. I assumed any girl who would be out with him was “guilty” of being like him or at least liking people like him. So, surely, I thought, she wasn’t “my type.”

But she’d caught my eye, and I did some more digging. It turned out their “association” was not of the dating variety. Guilt by association could have kept me from asking out the wonderful woman who has been my wife for 37 years!

In other words, there may be all kinds of reasons why a person does something with or is associated with another person, so we need to be careful not to attribute all of one person’s qualities and beliefs to another.

For example, I suspect there are people reading this blog who work for or work with someone because that’s their job or part of their job, and they would not want the character qualities or views of that other person attributed to them. Perhaps the person just needed the job, and it was the best one then available.

Also, different people have different thresholds of disagreement they can stomach in their workplace and different ways of compartmentalizing their work and personal values. In a different environment, they might be different.

Giving People the Benefit of the Doubt

In fact, based on my personal knowledge of some of Lee’s appointments, I consider them allies, but I also know that doesn’t mean we will agree all the time. As to the others Lee has appointed that I don’t personally know, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Doing so, to me, is simply the charity about which the Apostle Paul spoke in Corinthians 13. There will be time enough for action if criticism of their actions is later deserved.

But What If They Are RINOs?

This question is where my thinking has changed the most over the last year or so. What I am trying to learn to do when things don’t turn out as I would have hoped is to call to mind what Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “prince of preachers,” said in his sermon on Matthew 20:15: “There is no attribute more comforting to [God’s] children than that of God’s Sovereignty.” I am finding that to be true.

As to our personal situations, Spurgeon went on to say, “Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all.”

The same comfort is also true when it comes to Lee’s administration and those whom he appoints to serve in his administration. In his book The Attributes of God, theologian A.W. Pink wrote:

The absolute and universal supremacy of God is plainly affirmed in many Scriptures. “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all . . . And thou reignest over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12). Note “reignest” now, not “will do so in the Millennium.” “O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none [not even the Devil himself] is able to withstand thee?” (2 Chronicles 20:6). Before Him presidents and popes, kings and emperors, are less than grasshoppers (emphasis supplied).

So, to you who are concerned about Lee’s appointments, fear not. Any RINOs are nothing but grasshoppers in God’s sight! He has the Lee administration under His control.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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11 replies
  1. david
    david says:

    Eant am answer?? Does Lee employee illegals in his business?? I know the answer after being a General Contractor for years and building many jobs as superintendent with other well know contractors. If you wanna know where he stands look where he puts his money? I didn’t get with the program. I did not employee illegals. I paid my Carpenters and Laborers an honest wage. Any Subs I had did too. If not I got rid of them. Ask Bill where he comes down? By the fruit they bear you know where they stand.

    • David
      David says:

      Actually Karen, I believe God runs the interference for all of us and until we see the fruit of what Bill and his staff do, I think the thing to do is what first Corinthian’s 13 calls us to do. Perhaps, too, missed the part where I said therevwill be time enough to respond when there are actual policy actions to evaluate. And I repeated that in today’s commentary too if you’ll notice.

  2. Peggy Starbuck
    Peggy Starbuck says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful blogs. As I read this one, I was humbled to realize how much more I need to pray for our elected officials once they are in office. They have so many decisions to make that influence our society for righteousness or unrighteousness. They need wisdom and understanding of our times and of God’s Word to lead with justice. I can’t imagine they have much down time, and every decision they make is evaluated by the public. I am thankful our Governor is Bill Lee. I will pray for him more.

  3. Perry Davis
    Perry Davis says:

    David, your section “An Easy Trap to Fall Into” is one of the most refreshing things I have ever read by someone in a position like you are. Most people respond to something like this from their perspective and we know each of has our own perspective. We need more people like you that looks beyond and ask questions as you do.

  4. jim kennedy
    jim kennedy says:

    David enjoyed reading your thoughtful explanation.
    My take away would be take a look at the first two years of President Trumps administration (similar situation having never served in any elected capacity) where he was compelled to surround himself with several Rino bad apples who ignited controversy and attempted to steer Potus toward the ‘establishment’ Republicans (McCain ,Flake and Corker ++) and away from the VERY short 40 out of 48 months that both houses do any meaningful work. Contrast that with our 20 out of 48 months at most that Gov. Bill Lee will have so House/Senate cleaning when required will be more difficult.

  5. James West
    James West says:

    God’s Sovereignty is wonderful to fall back on, but it cannot be an excuse for inactivity or perspecuity.

    • Stevan E Iungerich
      Stevan E Iungerich says:

      I agree with part of your remark, but, Perspecuity? [sp] However, even perspicuity (clearness, plainness, transparency) doesn’t seem to be a synonym for inactivity; well, at least not to me.

      • Mary Ann Tackett
        Mary Ann Tackett says:

        You know God gives ua a choice in this time of times. He knows which road we are gonna take before we take it. I’m sure he knows exactly what Bill Lee is gonna do. The thing about it is, if u don’t want the mental anguish of having to fire people who are on the fence (Rhino or Dem) then why start out with them in the first place. On the other hand, maybe some of those will see the light, but it’s usually very few. they are like raising children, if u start them out wrong it’s hard to change their way or their way of thinking, It’s a little late in life to start training people who work in your cabinet. Only thing I can say is God is in Control.

    • DAvid Fowler
      DAvid Fowler says:

      I agree, Jim, which is why I said we can criticize when they actually do wrong. I mentioned God’s sovereignty as the reason why fear, worry and handwringing need not be the form of activity in which we engage. His sovereignty is, as Spurgeon said, a “comfort” not an excuse for not doing what we are called to do in terms of paying attention, making calls, sending emails, voting wisely during elections, and praying. I grew up never hearing about God’s sovereignty and I think it was precisely because many preachers were afraid people wouldn’t “do something,” when in reality and rightly understood, it encourages us to act because we have confidence our acts in fact and in obedience to God are not in vain and it keeps us from our favorite activity of fearing, fretting, and handwringing.

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