He Is, But Has Not?

The Speaker has not resigned. Yet. Insider Advantage reported last night and I received several phone calls from legislators all saying the Speaker would be resigning.

He lingers on. I think, though, that it is time for the Speaker to go. I had hoped he would be able to stay on, but the existence of the text messages, etc. make it too damaging for him.

No legislative leaders openly called for Richardson (R-Hiram) to resign. But several lawmakers and other Republican operatives said privately that Richardson may be too damaged politically to continue as speaker, and some said they expect him to quickly step down. A measure of his waning support came in the muted reaction of House Majority Leader Jerry Keen, a close ally of the speaker’s who passed when given the chance to say Richardson should stay in office. “What I think would be fair,” said Keen (R-St. Simons Island), “is to let me get back [to the Capitol] and sit down with our leadership team and talk with the speaker.”

Richardson stayed out of sight Tuesday. He left his Capitol office before noon without meeting with House leaders or other Republican officials, including Gov. Sonny Perdue. The speaker’s office initially said it would release a statement from Richardson, but later announced it would have no comment.

One additional point — I was too hasty in my criticisms of Mrs. Richardson the other night. I read Fox 5’s interview, but did not actually watch the tape — I’m not much on watching train wrecks. Several people, though, including my wife, said I really needed to actually watch it, much like people who heard the JFK-Nixon debate on radio thought Nixon won and those who saw it on TV thought JFK won, watching this was different from reading it.

So I did.

She comes across as very composed and much less angry than the article reads. That makes it even more devastating for the Speaker.

I had hoped Speaker Richardson would be able to overcome this and hang on. But having watched that interview now and confirmed the existence of all the texts, etc., I do not think he can or should.

A leader always needs some level of moral authority. He has none left. He, though only a representative from one county, is the Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives. Voters are not going to want him to remain in his position given the facts of this matter. There is no way to spin it out.

I applaud the Speaker for being candid about his problems. I would like to think he could remain, given the dearth of other leadership able to replace him and, frankly, his honesty in job and effectiveness. The Speaker is, regardless of what you think of him, a man of his word. If he says he will do something, he will. In the present leadership of the state, despite his unpredictable ways, he is generally more reliable than most.

But no man is indispensable and the Speaker must now resign in favor of Mark Burkhalter, who the constitution directs will automatically take the Speaker’s place and hold an election for Speaker.

26 comments

  1. ByteMe says:

    I applaud the Speaker for being candid about his problems.

    Uhh, try “less than candid”. Adultery, abuse of office for sexual gains, threats made via electronic communications (likely a crime)… and he has so far refused to own up to any of it. Only in “RepublicanWorld” that Erick is trying to spin is this considered “candid”.

  2. AthensRepublican says:

    I am glad to see you come around to that conclusion instead of your initial counter attack on Mrs. Richardson. Many of the allegations have been known for sometime and the Speaker’s lack of ethics, uncontrollable temper and pettiness have made him an unpopular political figure in Georgia for the last few years. I am amazed at just how far the blind loyalty of his followers went in their unwavering support of him. It seems anything embarrassing or unethical he did or said was overlooked and excused. For many who worked hard for decades to build a GOP majority in this state fighting against Tom Murphy, Richardson became all to reminiscent of who they had been fighting.

  3. The story of Glenn Richardson saddens me. We’re watching a Greek tragedy unfold right before our eyes and I don’t enjoy it one bit. The only question is will Richardson turn his life around and learn something from all this.

        • Mad Dog says:

          Buzz,

          I know it’s lame but I have to say it. Political talent? Does he have more than … Hitler? Napoleon? Stalin? Marx? Saddam Hussein, Milosevic, Marco, Mugabe, Afewerki, Berdymuhammedov, Al-Qaddafi, Khamenei, Jintao, Mao, King Abdullah, Than Shwe, Kim Jong-II, Suharto, al-Bashir, Shwe, Musharraf, Niyazov, Nguema …

          I should have kept the list shorter. Maybe used great political talents executed or in prison …. instead of just listing the worst people with political talent and power.

          Or I could have just been rude. Oswald’s great potential as a sniper has been lost to history just because he picked the wrong targets. What a shame…

          Maybe I just missed the satire of your post.

          MD

  4. B Balz says:

    “… sending her 49 text messages in which he accused her of abandoning their children, threatened to beat her and vowed to use the Georgia State Patrol and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to track her down…” – AJC

    That sort of behavior is really hard to reverse, possible, but hard.

    Now that Mr. Burkhalter is lined up for Speaker, you can bet the pro-Milton County camp just got a huge boost.

  5. Painterman says:

    Mrs Richardson was never suportive of Glenn’s political ambitions and she would love nothing more than to see all this taken from him.
    She also did not mention that she went on several vacation trips with Glenn and the family. Those close to them, know that Glenn was serious in trying to put his family back together and repair the damage. Now it appears that she strings him along for over a year at the possibility of reconciliation only to suddenly drops the kids off to go on a weekend trip with her new boyfriend. That Glenn got upset isn’t hard to understand.
    I hate to see this having to be played out in public and I know the Speaker realizes a huge mistake was made on his part and believe he truely wanted to try and restore things. The realization was apparently that it wasn’t going to happen was a crushing blow to him.
    Can he survive this. We’ll have to see. I’d say that he can if he wants too. The question is does he want to?

  6. Painterman says:

    All that being said, the moral here is still. whether Speaker, Tiger or whoever, if you keep your zipper shut when it should be, you will not have to have your life aired out in public.

    If you’re a Democrat though it doesn’t matter as much. ie. Bill Clinton.

  7. The Comma Guy says:

    I wonder if there will be any consequences in terms of the sham ethics hearing that was conducted by Richardson appointees on this same issue. The Speaker was cleared of any wrong-doing by his colleagues, yet everyone now agrees that his actions were wrong and he should be sanctioned. Makes me wonder if there will be other consequences or allegations about the ethics “investigation.”

    One other thought – if Richardson was willing to use the threat of criminal prosecutions against his ex-wire and girlfriend’s former employer, who else got such threats?

    • ByteMe says:

      They’ll go into denial claiming “we never saw any evidence of it” even though they took great pains not to investigate any of the charges. Voters won’t see through this unless there’s a paper trail that says they knew about some of the evidence and refused to follow it.

    • Mad Dog says:

      LOL!

      Was it Truman who said the President should have the right to execute two people a year without giving any reason as to why?

      It wouldn’t be necessary to execute anyone, just make sure to publish the short list from time to time.

      “Put this guy on the next plane to Siberia. Mail him his clothes. I want him counting snowflakes by the end of today.”

      Soft power versus hard power. We could even do political capital.

      “Yeah, the Speaker just got caught with his pants down and his hand in the cookie jar. But he still has a machine gun in the other hand. And all I have is a book of ethics.”

  8. Mad Dog says:

    A woman scorned …

    I really don’t see that as being a negative comment on women.

    More of a comment on cheating husbands. They deserve Hell’s fury. Doesn’t the Bible damn people to Hell for adultery?

    “Don’t do the Crime if you can’t do the Time .. in Hell.”

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