Ouch …

“I was part of that wild and crazy Class of ’94 that shook the political landscape by taking over the House after more than 50 years of unfettered Democrat control. We came to Washington full of ideals and conviction. But sadly, what they say about absolute power is coming to reality in the 2005 GOP Washington. Republicans in just 10 years have developed the arrogance it took the Democrats 30 years to develop.”

— Former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK), writing in the Las Vegas Review-Journal (courtesy of Political Wire).

Here in Georgia, Georgia Republicans, in just 3 years, have developed the arrogance it took the Democrats 150 years to develop.


  1. Warrior says:

    And what is the basis for that statement? No deficit. Tax cuts (except on smokers). Ethics, budget and health care reforms. Tort reform. Where is the “arrogance”? Republicans fixed the gerrymandered districts and resolved the flag issue with a vote. You just don’t like us, but have no evidence. Recent polls showed public is pleased with legislature.

  2. Actually I think more Democrats voted for Sonny’s flag vote than Republicans. Either way it was not a “Republican” fix. In fact, Sonny kind of hung the House Dems out to dry on that one.

  3. Ben King says:

    As far as arrogance, just look at the way that the GOP restructured the legislature – the house hawks, imposing engrossment in the Senate, BS committee rules about amendments needing to be submitted 24 hours ahead of time (and not accepting stuff that was like 22 hours ahead), repeated fiascos in the house (it seemed like every day richardson had to apologize on the floor for berating someone out of turn), what they did to the Lt. Gov’s office.

    I’m not going to argue that the districts Democrats drew were unbiased, just like the one’s the GOP drew weren’t unbiased. But what they did do was an unprecedented mid-census redistricting on Congressional maps that were upheld in court.

    health care reforms? surely you don’t mean the ‘if you pay a day late you are cut out for three months’ policy on peach care? That has been a real success… That is the kind of arrogance Decaturguy may talking about, using little kids on peach care as some sort of ‘lesson in responsibilitly’ for people who _by definition_ are too poor to afford the basics.

  4. Bull Moose says:

    I agree with JC Watts on his view of what has happened in Washington. Watts could have stayed in DC forever as a House Member but realized that there is more to life.

    So many of his former colleagues should do likewise.

    It’s time to clean the house.

    Now as far as GA House and Senate go, I agree that absolute power has not been good, especially in the House, but I think that Senator Johnson has been much better at leading the Senate.

    Many times, it’s been Eric who has stopped bad legislation that the House passed from moving forward.

    I say, let the House be Democrat, the Senate Republican. We need checks and balances.

  5. buzzbrockway says:

    The GOP Congressional maps did nothing to change the balance of power in the delegation. The two swing districts are still swing districts. Ask Congressman David Scott if his new 13th district is easy to serve in than the one Roy Barnes drew for him. I suspect he’d say it is.

    Are there arrogant Republicans? Of course there are. However, to say the Republicans have governened in an arrogant fashion is as silly as saying all Republicans in Georgia are corrupt because Abramoff is corrupt. Isn’t that the rallying cry of the Georgia Dems right now?

  6. GAWire says:

    >>”””I say, let the House be Democrat, the Senate Republican. We need checks and balances.”””

    Wouldn’t that take away the whole electoral (i.e. Democratic) process? Eliminating the representation based on the peoples’ votes would ultimately eliminate any hope of realistic checks and balances.

    I know you weren’t serious with that suggestion (hope note), but I just wanted to point that out.

    As to Watts’ point, Washington has a way of instilling arrogance in anyone. I worked for a freshman member in the 104th and you could certainly feel the refreshing vibrance and energy in the GOP. Oh, the good ole’ days . . .

    By the way, JC Watts is a great guy! I know he isn’t interested, but what if I threw a “JC in ’08” out there?

  7. Ben King says:

    >Wouldn’t that take away the whole electoral (i.e. Democratic) process? Eliminating the representation based on the peoples’ votes would ultimately eliminate any hope of realistic checks and balances.

    ummmm I’m pretty sure he meant that he wouldn’t object if Democrats were voted back into power in the House, not some sort of Bull Moose fiat.

  8. UGA Wins 2005 says:

    The fact that the House and Senate accomplished more in the 2005 session than in many years counts for nothing I guess.

    Democrats still whinning and slinging snot over the fact that after 130 yrs of one party rule here, their days are over. Too bad.

  9. Actually I would prefer the House to be elected on some sort of proportional basis and the Senate to be elected by district (as it is now). It doesn’t really make sense to have a bicameral legislature if the legislatures are elected in the exact same way (Nebraska has taken care of this problem).

    With a House that was elected similar to how the statewide officials are elected (but every 2 years instead of 1) it would encourage pragmattic approaches to Georgia’s problems and also be more of a direct filter of what Georgian’s actually wanted. And obviously about 80% of the House (40% in each party) near the top of their party list would be safe and not in danger of losing their seats, but it would give the 20% most vulnerable to swings of the electorate a good reason to work with members of both parties.

    Not to mention that it would mostly take care of the problem of party switching. A guy like Greg Morris can switch and be relatively sure he’ll keep his seat as a Republican even if there is a good year for Democrats. But if he switched under some sort of proportional scheme, he’d be #101 on the Republican list, which would mean they’d need to get something like 56% of all House votes the next year for him to keep his seat. A guy like him who allegedly “wants” to be a Democrat but is dissatisfied with the direction of the party would have to basically stay a Democrat and do something about it instead of just making up some lame excuse so he can stay in the legislature regardless of party.

    The problem with my proportional idea (it would also eliminate redistricting) is that I think it is unconstitutional.

  10. Hammertime says:

    Hardcore: The flag vote was initiated by Perdue and settled by a split legislature (Sen was GOP and House was Dem).

    I still haven’t heard Decaturguy justify his comparison of state legislature with congress. Even if we agree with Watts, I don’t see the comparison…

  11. Erick says:

    I don’t see the comparison between the state and federal levels. It’s true that the Democrats are going to make corruption the issue for 2006, but I think they will have to desperately stretch the truth to make it fit in Georgia — though even I admit they will have an easier time with Reed than with any other candidate, if only because the media has been bashing the hell out of him.

  12. Ben King says:

    Chris, I would be open to the sort of thing you are talking about. I’m not sure if I’d go for that exactly, but I kind of want to explore the idea some. I’d also be up for doing something with the Senate like 4 year terms and half up for re-election each cycle. But I’m not sure if state-level politicians have anywhere near that kind of patience – how many are really interested in governing and how many are just looking to run for higher office?

    Also, can I just point out that it appears that Erick and Hammertime have basically just admited a need for the state GOP to distance itself from the national party? I guess the Political Insider the other day mentioned this as well. But how long has it been since the national GOP party has been a drag on the state party?

    How much do voters notice a difference between state and national politics? To a certain degree, since Southern Dems have been distancing themselves from national Dems for a while. But I would postulate that the state GOP has tied its success to the national party a LOT more than the Democrats have. Didn’t Brian Kemp beat Vaughn in Athens at least partly on national security? That stuff doesn’t fly unless there is a lot of blurring between the state and the national GOP in people’s minds.

    Plus, Reed not only is involved with all the scandal stuff, but he’s a constant reminder of how much the state and the national party are connected. Reed was state GOP chair, but also the Bush SE coordinator. He’s running for Lt. Gov, but he’s got more ties in Washington than he does in Atlanta (maybe not technically true, I have no idea, but he certainly has that image).

    So I don’t know if that connection has to be there to explicitly for it to resonate with people. But also, I think I mentioned some things in my first comment that I think relates to the State GOP and arrogance. The corruption is there, too, but I’ll leave that to Bobby Kahn since he does such a good job riling you guys up.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    Bull: How the heck do you propose the House will be returned to being owned by the Dems?

    From what I understand, there are going to be some more Dem-to-GOP defections occuring soon, making the total GOP to be on the order of…well, I dunno exact numbers, but, at least 100 in the House. That’s a lot to have turn over to Dem possession.

  14. Maurice Atkinson says:

    “””Here in Georgia, Georgia Republicans, in just 3 years, have developed the arrogance it took the Democrats 150 years to develop.””””

    I don’t buy into this. There are an enormous amount of great Republicans that are concerned about the way government operates, and are trying to make a difference.

    The Republican Party is in a process of defining itself. We’ve been a minority forever, until now. Sure there are going to be some self serving people. That’s why it is important to recruit and involve capable people that want to make a significant difference for all people.

    Unscrupulous people will and are being exposed and be replaced. As long as our Party embraces our core principles of limited government and places ethics in high priority we will be fine. Seems to me the process is working.

  15. Ben, good points, especially on Senators running on longer terms. One thing I’d like to see polled – what party do Georgian’s think run the state legislature — and how long do they think they’ve been in charge? That could be a problem for state Republicans if national Republicans are still in trouble this time next year. I’d wager the average Georgia voter isn’t sophisticated to know that the Republicans have only been in charge for 2-4 years…if there is a general throw the corrupt Republicans out feeling it will extend from Congress to county commission. Enough to enable a Dem takeover of the legislature? Probably not. But enough to give a new Democratic governor a sizeable base in both houses to get things done with a few moderate Republican legislators (the Olympia Snows of Georgia as it were) probably so.

  16. Hammertime:

    House Bill 380, Final Passage in the Senate
    Democrats voting yes: 22. Republican voting Yes: 11.

    In the House, on final passage (as amended). This is crucial, the amendment removed the old flag thereby “settling” the issue, which was not Sonny’s intent.

    Democrats voting yes: ~85. Republicans voting Yes: 5.

    So please, don’t give me that crap that Republicans somehow settled the issue. Sonny floated an irresponsible bill to have a referendum and the Democrats in the legislature (both branches) did the politically unsafe thing and amended it to make it a lot more friendly. If you think the issue is resolved now, and you are somehow giving credit mostly to Republicans in the legislature, then you are mistaken.

    Glenn Richardson by the way voted against this bill. Eric Johnson deserves some credit for brokering the Senate deal that allowed the Democrats to vote for it (while his own caucus largely bucked him – 19-9 against his position) but Johnson’s sacrificice is minimal compared to the House Democrats who did the right thing and got virtually 0 credit for it.

  17. Bull Moose says:

    Bill — I meant theoretically, it would be a good check to have one house controlled by the Dem’s and the other by the GOP. In reality, that isn’t going to happen.

    In watching the House GOP this past term I was very dissapointed. I am not impressed. If that is the future of the GOP, then, the party is headed in a direction I don’t much care for.

    I’m much more impressed by the Senate. Eric Johnson and his team have done a great job. I would much rather see the wisdom of the Senate prevail as the future direction of our party.

  18. prophet says:

    A what the hell are you talking about??? “Actually I would prefer the House to be elected on some sort of proportional basis and the Senate to be elected by district (as it is now). ” Both houses are elected by proportional basis now!!! Except when Roy stacked the deck with the multi-district (which of course was struck down by the Supremes {that nasty one man-one vote thing}) I think the DOJ would have a cow if you tried to change the Senate to a district. And what would comprise a district and wouldn’t that be proportional anyway?? Or would you propose each county having a senator raising the number of senators to 159?? Just what we need an expansive legislature ready to pass all kinds of new crap!!!
    How about this proposition we elect senators by the amount of tax each voter pays proportionally and those who receive assistance from the government are excluded from voting!! Oh the humanity you bleeding hearts would go nuts!!!

  19. Ben King says:

    >The Republican Party is in a process of defining itself

    I see where you are coming from vis a vis the state party having been a minority party forever. But I don’t think it logically follows that the Ga GOP is still defining itself. Isn’t the mantra “family values, lower taxes, strong military” and of course “smaller government unless we actually get in control of Congress.” I really don’t see the state GOP having any “identity” that gets too far away from that.

  20. Maurice Atkinson says:

    The majority in the House and Senate has been fueled by Democrats switching Party affiliation. Frankly, there is a lack of people who will move from the armchairs to actually being involved in the process (running for office, seeking appointments, working in GOP campaigns). In politics there are both principled and unscrupulous people on both sides. I don’t damn all Democrats. I’m not that naive, but the Party is evolving.

    Of course we embrace “Traditional Family Values, Lower Taxes, Strong Military, and Smaller Government” but because one runs under the banner of the Republican banner does not mean he/she necessarily embraces that philosophy. As with this casino mess, the process can be manipulated.

    It’s going to take principled people to get involved to volunteer to do the work most folks don’t like to do, but it’s got to get done.

    The trends are still with our Party. Hopefully, we will maintained high standards of ethics and the unprincipled politician will be left wandering.

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