Leahy and Carmichael: The End of the McNally Era

Mar 13, 2023

Live from Music Row, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to discuss reactions to Tennessee Lt. Governor Randy McNally’s recent social media snafu and his removal from office.

Leahy: In studio, the original all-star panelist. Crom, The Tennessee Star, we’ve been in business now for over six years. We’re the only real conservative news site in the state, and in that six years, I have never written an editorial until yesterday. And so with your permission Crom, I’m gonna read that editorial and I’d like to get your response to it.

Carmichael: Alrighty.

Leahy: Alright, here we go. Headline: Tennessee Star Editorial: Lt. Governor McNally Must Resign from Leadership Now. It is painfully obvious to anyone who has watched the confused public responses of 79-year-old Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally to the controversy surrounding his inexplicable social media postings that he’s lost a step mentally.

McNally also faces health and physical challenges, not unusual for a man his age. In February, he underwent a medical procedure to install a heart pacemaker. On Saturday, McNally was skewered mercilessly in a Saturday night live skit that went viral around the country and subjected him to withering ridicule.

Sources familiar with the Tennessee political landscape tell The Tennessee Star that McNally is simply not all there mentally and has been declining for some. Recently he has had difficulty recalling the names of colleagues he has known for years. Those sources add Lieutenant Governor McNally can no longer perform his duties as Speaker of the state Senate. and Lieutenant Governor and he must resign from both leadership roles immediately.

Now, he was elected to reelected to the state Senate this past November, and while his constituents in the Fifth State Senate District deserve representation for the balance of this session of the Tennessee General Assembly, expected to adjourn sometime in May, McNally must carefully consider whether he is capable of serving the remainder of that four-year term, which ends in January.

He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives 45 years ago in 1978. He was 34 years old at the time. He has served in the Tennessee General Assembly ever since. He was elected Speaker of the State Senate and Lieutenant Governor in 2019 and reelected in 2021 and 2020.

If Lieutenant Governor McNally cares about his constituents and the state of Tennessee, which we at The Tennessee Star believe he does, he will resign as Speaker of the State Senate and Lieutenant Governor immediately. The McNally era is over. The Lieutenant Governor can do this the easy way and resign from leadership now or he can do it the hard way.

If Lieutenant Governor McNally chooses the hard way, the outcome will be the same. He will be removed from his position of leadership, either by a vote of the Republican caucus in the state Senate or by impeachment proceedings.

It is our hope that Lieutenant Governor McNally and those who advise him will choose the easy way and he will resign his leadership position immediately. And I signed that in my capacity, Michael Patrick Leahy as editor-in-chief of The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.

Crom, that was our first editorial – and so far, only editorial – at The Tennessee Star. Your thoughts?

Carmichael: I saw the piece on Saturday Night Live and I didn’t see it because I watch Saturday Night Live, but you sent it to me.

Leahy: I sent you the three-and-a-half-minute clip.

Carmichael: And I watched it. And my first reaction to it was, well, this, this, this must be a gross exaggeration, and those tweets must be fake. Well, they weren’t. I was surprised and confounded. And as I’ve also learned and as you have pointed out in the editorial is Randy McNally is no longer the person he used to be.

Leahy: And that’s sad.

Carmichael: It’s sad that he’s not the person he used to be, but Tennessee deserves a person in that in that particular position who has all of his faculties and is thinking clearly because our state requires that. He served 45 years.

Leahy: That’s a long time.

Carmichael: And that’s a very long time.

Leahy: And he’s had a strong record over that period of time and has served his constituents well.

Carmichael: This isn’t a condemnation of his record until recently. What he did recently is inexplicable.

Leahy: It’s inexplicable

Carmichael: It’s also bizarre.

Leahy: It’s telling.

Carmichael: And so for that reason, I hope as your editorial suggests, that he takes the honorable way out as the head of the Senate. You said through when?

Leahy: His term ends in January 2027.

Carmichael: Then he should also consider resigning his senate seat but not during this session.

Leahy: He doesn’t need to resign this session from the Senate seat.

Carmichael: Right. But from the Senate leadership. He should withdraw.

Leahy: That’s what he should do. The problem is if you’ve been in power, even if you’re not all there…

Carmichael: Now, let me ask you a question. You said there are a number of different ways that this session is going to last for another six weeks.

Leahy: Six to eight weeks.

Carmichael: Six to eight weeks. So let’s say that he doesn’t resign, when is the person who holds that position elected to that position? Is it the beginning of each session?

Leahy: The Speaker of both the state senate, who is also our lieutenant governor under our constitution, and the person who would succeed the governor, if the governor is, you know, incapacitated or leaves office for whatever reason. And then the Speaker of the House, they’re all elected at the beginning of the session.

Carmichael: Of each session?

Leahy: Yes. Of each session for a two-year term.

Carmichael: Is the second year next year?

Leahy: Yes. So if they came back in January of next year, and he still was Speaker of the state Senate, they’d have to go through a process to bring it to the state clerk and bring up a special vote on whether to keep him.

Carmichael: Is that an impeachment or a special vote?

Leahy: There are two elements. They could actually go through the process right now in this session to remove him as the Speaker of the State Senate and Lieutenant Governor.

But that would require a vote and they’d have to put it before the clerk of the State Senate who I think reports to the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker. So that would be problematic. It could happen. They could remove him now by a vote of the state Senate. There would have to be some machinations going on.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Randy McNally” by Adam Kleinheider. CC BY-SA 4.0. Background Photo “Tennessee State Capitol” by Andre Porter. CC BY-SA 3.0.