Further Thoughts on Ben Harbin

I have a secret that is not so very secret. For the past week or so, since news of Harbin’s DUI, my inbox has overflowed with tips about his personal life, along with names, pictures, etc.

I think an objective review of Peach Pundit will show I don’t shy away from posting stuff like that. But I think this is a different case. There is no media story out or, like in the case of Glenn Richardson, about to come out about Ben Harbin, beyond his DUI.

What I will say is that Ben Harbin clearly has some deep personal issues that need to be resolved. A lot of people are wanting something said publicly because Mr. Harbin has held himself out, apparently, to be a deacon of his church. I don’t know if he still is, but I would say to Mr. Harbin directly that, should the things I’ve been emailed be true, he should go pull out his Bible, open it to 1 Timothy 3 and read.


If he cannot say he honestly meets the criteria the Apostle Paul sets forth for being a deacon, he should leave the position (assuming he is still one). And Mr. Harbin, if you are having difficulty in this, let me be more blunt — should your personal life have the issues my email suggests you have, you should not be serving as a deacon.

Now, to those of you throwing stones at Mr. Harbin in my email, I’ve read them. I find delving into the personal lives of political figures distasteful. I know the GOP does it to the Democrats and vice versa, but there are also innocent families involved who don’t need to have their family’s dirty laundry aired.

Should something come out of all of this making Mr. Harbin’s personal life newsworthy beyond his DUI, I’ll post. Until then, I’ll take a pass and leave Mr. Harbin’s family to provide the tough love he probably needs.

50 comments

  1. Chris says:

    I agree completly, with one provision: If any of the stuff you’ve been emailed is 1) proveably true and 2) impacts his ability to be a state representative or chair the appropriations committee, then the public ought to know.

    If its just someone living a less than perfect life – than the saying about glass houses comes to mind.

  2. Samuel says:

    Ben Harbin’s official house web site has been amended this weekend delting reference to Ben being a Deacon of Baker Woods Baptist Church.

    Does this mean Ben is no longer a Deacon at Baker Woods Baptist Church?

    Ben forgot to amend the house prior session’s web sites.

  3. IndyInjun says:

    Ben has been my state representative since his election to the House. He has made us proud of his keen professionalism and attention to detail during his rise to finance chairman. I have admired him all along and would loved to have seen him run for Congress.

    However, politics is destroying this fine man and he needs to ditch it now.

    My great concern is based upon a progression of events and observations, of which the DUI episode is just greater evidence that things are not right in his life.

    He should put himself first now. Politics can resume later.

    We should all be alarmed when the forces in play can be so harmful to a fine man like Ben Harbin. We should pray not only for him, but what our futures look like given the state of politics at all levels.

    This being written, at this juncture he would retain his seat if he stood for reelection.

  4. Romegaguy says:

    Thank you Erick. I agree with your thoughts on this matter. Name one lobbyist that hasnt taken the Chair of Approps out to dinner or lunch. I would be extremely careful accusing someone of something in a public medium that is not a public figure.

  5. Bill Simon says:

    Erick,

    How fascinating of you to publish stuff like this about Ben Harbin.

    In all my years of doing the Political Vine, I stayed away from engaging in the “personal life” type of stuff and sticking only to the political lives of people.

    While some may think the melding of the “personal stuff” with the “political stuff” is okay (like you apparently do), I have to disagree.

    For instance, I know that Mark Burkhalter is one of the sleaziest (and greediest) members of the House. Yet, I don’t publish all that I know about him in his personal life.

    If you’re going to start publishing all of the presumptions and assumptions about Ben Harbin, you shouldn’t hold back for ANYONE else out there going forward from here.

    After all, it is very well known about other members of the House and Senate (Republican and Democrat) who engage in extracurricular activities that most “properly-minded” people would find distasteful and offensive to themselves.

    You started with Harbin. Don’t stop with him. YOU now have the duty to continue the exposures of our elected leaders.

  6. Samuel says:

    Mr. Bill Simon,

    It seems to me that YOU have an obligation to tell us what you have on Rep. Mark Burkhalter that you think makes him sleazy and greedy. My my, looks like Monday is GOP laundry day.

  7. Bill Simon says:

    Samuel,

    What “seems” to you is not my concern. I have no obligation to tell anyone else why I feel the way I feel about anyone that I feel a certain way about, positive or negative.

    What seems to ME is that you should remove your head from your rearend and live your life in the exact fashion you think everyone else should live their lives.

  8. Lee Benedict says:

    I issued a press release Thursday and no paper printed it. However, if you click on my name you will be directed to my website and there is a copy of it on the homepage.

  9. Rpolitic says:

    It looks to me that Ben has made himself the priority. In fact in his quote from the speaker’s office he says that he looked up to see a pedestrian and then later he is thankful that He (Ben) did not get hurt. How about the poor shmuck crossing the street that you saw?
    2 There are plenty of lobbyists who work to gain respect and choose not to buy it.

  10. Lee Benedict says:

    [DELETED] lobbies for 5 different organizations. If you look at her reports, MANY MANY times there were other people reported as being at the same meal with Harbin and [DELETED]. Please stop trying to make a soap opera out of this. Ben Harbin was charged with DUI…focus on that ad give him his day in court. BTW, I wish that he would come forth and speak to those he represents.

  11. Samuel says:

    Mr. Bill Simon,

    It’s not nice to call anyone sleazy and greedy without any details. Not nice.

    What you obviously don’t know about me sir is I DO LIVE IN THE EXACT FASHION I THINK EVERYONE ELSE SHOULD LIVE!

    I thank God every day my standards have not been lessened these past seven terms under the Gold Dome.

  12. Bill Simon says:

    Samuel,

    By your use of the formal “Mr.” and “sir”, it demonstrates to me that you are rather young and, therefore, likely not knowledgable about a lot of people in the political world in Georgia. I am not responsible for your education.

    I am not the only one who thinks the way I think about Burkhalter. Anyone with half a brain who witnessed his “do-or-die” sponsorship on last year’s legislative attempt to ramrod a gift for AGL Resources down gas customers’ throats should provide more than enough indication of Burkhalter’s allegiance to the wrong constituents.

  13. IndyInjun says:

    Looking too deeply into the personal lives of anyone will reveal flaws. From the collateral damages all over the place one would think that such examination would be foolhardy.

    My observation is that Ben has changed. He no longer returns calls, he has been observed to exhibit an un-Ben-like abrasiveness, and now this DUI. These changes in behavior have spoken loudly to me that there are problems there.

    I don’t really know or care about the rest, except that – and I objected to this with the Richardson mess – sex with a lobbiest is a LOT worse from a voters POV, because the public interest gets screwed. If there is proof of this, it needs to come out.

    Ben Harbin has done too great a job for us to deny him his seat, but if politics is causing these changes in him, he is better off without it.

  14. Samuel says:

    Mr. Simon, I’m flattered sir you think me young. Quite the opposite sir, though I often wish otherwise. As for my political education, I’ve earned many graduate degrees in political life and in school. I’ve seen much and experienced more these many many years; 14 in Atlanta. I just thought you should share your information on Mr. Burkhalter since today appears to be laundry day. For those who think I’ve been a little rough on little Benjie; he deserves it; he’s been far rougher on more since assuming the majority.

  15. RJL says:

    Looks like a three-way race down the stretch between Simon, Samuel and Benedict for the Foghorn Leghorn Award.

  16. Bill Simon says:

    Samuel,

    I say, I say…this here isn’t a quilting-bee where the little old ladies gather ’round and swap gossip, Son….I say, I say, do you understand now?

  17. Rick Day says:

    I wish I had something witty to add, but alas, the clowns have taken all the best lines.

    Isn’t it time we quit holding politicans to impossible standards of perfection re- 1Timothy Leary420, and focus on their leadership and not their Christian Values(tm)?

    Conversely, isn’t it time candidates wean them selves from suckling at the christian agenda activist’s teat, to get elected as their toady?

  18. drjay says:

    i’ve read this post two or three times now and i don’t think this is a big dirt digging gossipy expose of harbin–the dui arrest sort of speaks for itself and the rest is merely an acknowledgement of the emails received about the other stuff–stuff that is being posted about much more openly and blatantly on some other blogs btw.

  19. drjay says:

    depending on how involved his trip to the hospital was he may have had blood drawn there and they would have likely run his blood alcohol–but it would not have been “for the police” and they would likely have to subpeona it, if it was indeed done and they decide they want it to make there case.

  20. Darth Mike says:

    From the newspaper article, it looks like he took one standardized field sobriety test and refused to take a breath test (the result is immediately available).

    There are 3 of the field tests which complete the SFSTs (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests). The HGN, the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand.

    It says only one was done, I am guessing the HGN. This is at best 76% accurate when given by itself. The 3 SFSTS are 92-96% accurate when given together.

    No reason given that I have heard for only 1 FST being given.

    He would have been given the chance for a breath test or a blood test. This is voluntary. Since there is no mention of one in the article, it looks like he refused the state requested test.

    This means that his license is supposed to be suspended for a 1 year period. I am curious if the officer sent in the license suspension form to the State of Georgia DDS (Dept of Driver Services) which gets the ball rolling on the license suspension. This happens almost always (although, to be honest, it is not always done). If it was not done, then he was given a break that most other people are not given.

    He would not be required to give a blood test at the hospital. He could refuse the test since there was not a serious accident with injuries to other people. If he refused the test, then he would not be entitled to a test of his own choosing. However, if blood was drawn at the hospital for any medical treatment, then the hospital could be subpoenaed for the evidence of his blood.

    To me, the questions are 1) Why did he refuse the Implied Consent Warning for the state requested test. If he is for law and order, then he should have agreed to take the test and accept responsibility for his actions. Or, as his actions indicate, is he only for law and order when it is not him in the firing line? and 2) Is the form 1205 for his license suspension filled out and sent in to the state DDS. If not, WHY NOT????

  21. nrallen says:

    Ben Harbin actually took 3 field sobriety tests; the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk-and-Turn test, and the One Leg Stand test.

    Results from the Tests
    Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test – 6 clues observed
    Walk-and-Turn Test – 4 clues observed
    One Leg Stand Test – 5 clues observed

    At Grady Memorial Hospital the police officer requested a blood alcohol test, but Ben Harbin refused. The officer then released Mr. Harbin to Atlanta Corrections and placed the citations and the Georgia DS 1205 form into their possision.

    **Source: City of Atlanta Police Incident Report #07-140-0145-00 which can be found here –>http://chronicle.augusta.com/images/headlines/052307/harbinDUI.pdf

  22. RJL says:

    Implied consent in GA covers drawing blood (or did you mean just a breath BAC was requested while at Grady)? If he planned to refuse the BAC, his biggest mistake was taking the FSTs. And even though NTSB has the 3 tests, as Darth notes above, judges will let law enforcement get away with almost anything, including ABCs backwards and stop at F (while standing on one leg on a gravel slope and the officer holding your cane or walker).

    Nope; never had one. But 4th, 5th and 16th Ammendment rights are slowly draining away.

  23. bowersville says:

    RJL, the 4th 5th and 16th have absolutely nothing to do with DUI or driving. Driving on public property, the highway, is a privilege, not a right specified by the Constitution nor an amendment to said document.

    When you step up to the counter and sign on the dotted line for a privilege, a drivers license, you give your implied consent for DUI testing…period.

  24. RJL says:

    Well, my good bowerboro, then you have just subjugated your rights as an individual (see Constitution) in favor of “authority,” a rather disturbing trend of reversal amongst conservatives and the GOP. The Constitution, and your rights protected therein, has everything to do with how any law is enforced by the State, including DUI laws which have bred like rabbits in recent years.

    I presume from your comment that you care not for your protections of probable cause, unreasonable search and seizure (including your person), absolute protection of self-incrimination, or the right to counsel so long as those in “authority” are not inconvenienced in their actions to arrest you, regardless of the statute involved.

    How extremely gracious of the state to grant unto you the very privilege to drive, irregardless of what rights you indemnify to do so, and how lemmingly and thankfully you conform.

  25. Samuel says:

    RJL – I’m AFU reading your alphabet – I have no idea what BAC’s and FST’s by the NSTB are. Let’s just spell it out real plain like – Ben Harbin was D-R-U-N-K while driving a C-A-R in a B-A-D neighborhood when he shouldn’t have been.

    PS to Mr. Simon: how the heck did you know I was quilting Aunt Bee? I was having fun though!

  26. bowersville says:

    RJL, it’s not that I’m not concerned of appropriate application of Constitutional Law. As you are aware, Federal Appellate case law favors my position.

    I’m not your problem, nor my concerns or the lack there of. Your problem is previous interpretation of the Constitution by the SCOTUS and GaSupremes. Take your argument to the SCOTUS, perhaps you will prevail.

    Since I’m now Bowersboro, are you now RJ Bucko or just plain ole RJL, state court defense attorney?

  27. RJL says:

    But, Bowersville, you contradict yourself because you clearly asserted at 5:52 that such protections “have absolutely nothing to do with DUI or driving.” They do. Do we now agree?

    Stipulated that both appellates and SCOTUS (note to Samuel: Supreme Court Of The United States) have weakened these rights, which underscores my complaint viz conservatives and the GOP (see opinions). Protecting these rights was previously your domain. What happened?

    The “boro” was a play on words from an obscure point of history dealing with name progressions as villages, like comments here, developed; sort of like James(town), Williams(burg), Charles River (City), etc. …. eh, a free “Bucko” awarded, too obscure.

    I am neither an attorney nor offender.

  28. bowersville says:

    RJL, I’m only contradictory in the depths of the imagines of you’re illusions. I enjoy you’re meaningless word soup though.

    Again, if you disagree with the interpretations of the Constitution by the SCOTUS, perhaps in you’re infinite wisdom, your appeal will prevail as truth for all times.

  29. bird says:

    Samuel, I live in Grant Park, the area you referred to as “bad.” It’s a great neighborhood and getting better all the time. I only regret I didn’t buy five years ago when most of the homes were under $350-400K.

    Please come visit us sometime. Have lunch at Grant Central Pizza, walk to the Zoo and see the pandas, go to the Cyclorama, visit the birthplace and grave of Bobby Jones (just up from Margaret Mitchell’s grave), and enjoy the second largest park in Atlanta. And for dinner, try Six Feet Under, Agave, Redfish or Carroll Street Cafe. Everything is within a mile. Or go the extra mile and see the Braves play or visit the Aquarium, Centennial Park, the Capitol, Georgia State, Philips Arena, the Georgia Dome, the Rialto, etc.

    One of the finest neighborhoods in America, and it is only getting better. And hey, didn’t Peach Pundit meet at the Brickstore in Decatur a while back? Well, Grant Park is getting the second location of the Brickstore–yes, great beer and lots of it–need I say more?

    Besides the drunk state reps, it really is a nice neighborhood. See you soon!

  30. RJL says:

    Ok, bowerstown (see, it’s a joke), let’s set all that intellectual mumbo-jumbo aside. Here’s a good one for you:

    Speedy Gonzales, Paul Anderson and Genghis Khan stop off at Riply’s Believe It or Not to make sure their reputations are still intact.

    Speedy goes in first and comes out to report “Yep, I’m still the fastest.”

    Paul is next and comes out to report “Yep, I’m still the strongest (pre steroid).

    Genghis is last and comes out depressed. “I’m no longer the ugliest. Who the hell is Rosie O’Donnell?”

    Soup’ up.

    Bucko

  31. Samuel says:

    Hey Bird – tell me your first name aint Tweety….
    If Ben Harbin staggers around your BAD neighborhood anymore, he’s gonna have to change his last name to Dover!

  32. RJL says:

    Sam — don’t give up your day job. And, by the way (BTW), whatever happened to the Pharaohs?

    Bowersville — look forward to it.

    I have no “Further Thoughts on Ben Harbin.”

  33. bowersville says:

    RJL, maybe the next gathering of the P/P gang if not sooner. Maybe/hopefully it will be at a neutral sight, not a R or D convention.

    According to Ripley’s “Believe it or Not,” some of my friends, including my best friend, my wife, are Democrats.

  34. RJL says:

    Done. Tell your wife we miss her at the Thursday “Handful of Dems left in GA” support group meetings.

    Cue music. Pan back. Aerial. Fade to black. Roll credits.

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