Actually, the Speaker Pig Naifeh is a RURAL Democrat. The rural West TN crowd has controlled the body for years and years.
The 1960s redistricting was credited by some observers with creating the first Republican majority in the Tennessee House since Reconstruction in 1968; this situation lasted only until the next election in 1970. The Speaker of the House is second in line to succession to the governorship after the Speaker of the Tennessee Senate. Tennessee's second longest-serving Speaker of the House, Ned McWherter, became Governor in 1987. Since 1973, all Speakers have been from a single Democratic faction in West Tennessee; this has become a source of some resentment. The Speaker, under House rules, has the right to appoint all committees and their chairs and assign proposed legislation to committees, giving the Speaker tremendous power to push legislation through or conversely, to block it.
And some freepers want these RAT overlords to control the FEDERAL government as well? Good grief. It's like Illinois where all our "statewide" RAT leaders (Madigan, Hynes, Obama, etc.) live within a couple of miles of each other on Chicago's south side. (interesting enough, embattled Gov. Blago's from the north side), with Mike Madigan as Speaker continually since 1983 (except the 1994 election fluke that resulted in complacent RINO Lee Daniels to be marginal Speaker for 1995-1996)
Looks like the TN Speaker has the same dictatorial power as the IL Speaker to control the agenda unilaterally and bring to the floor and basically pass or block whatever he wants, with the rest of his caucus rubber stamping it. In other words, the "house" wouldn't appoint the U.S. Senator, Mike Madigan and Dem sock puppet Kent Williams would make that choice themselves for our respective states behind closed doors, with the "vote" on the appointment predetermined. Scary stuff.
The problem I have with the "abolish the 17th amendment" gang on FR is they seem to lack the basic conservative principal that individual citizens can make decisions for themselves and don't need government to take care of it for them. Instead, they honestly seem have the same mindset as most liberals: that ordinary people are just too dumb and uniformed to determine their government, so we should be governed by a small group of like-minded blue-blooded elites that know what's best for society, and the citizens should just shut up and go along with it because they're smarter than us. That any "conservative" would have this as a core belief and trust in big government overlords is quite disturbing to me.
Shades of Harry Reid...