Is the “fix” in?

As you already know, Speaker Glenn Richardson, Majority Leader Jerry Keen and Speaker Pro-Tem Mark Burkhalter met with Gov. Sonny Perdue last night to figure out what to do about this current dilemma.

While I’m not writing any of this as fact, enough people have given me information to piece together an idea of what seems to be going on. Here is what I have gathered so far:

  • Richardson resigns not just from his position as Speaker, but he resigns his seat from the legislature. Many wondered what the next step would be, whether he would stick around.
  • Burkhalter would be sworn in as the next Speaker, but resign from the legislature when appointed Executive Director of the World Congress Center by the Governor.
  • Keen would then run for Speaker.

If this turns out to be true, then the fix is in and the status quo remains in the House Republican caucus. I can’t imagine what the reaction will be among the rank-and-file. You have to wonder how much contact leadership has had with them in the last 48 to 72 hours about this peculiar situation.

It seems the sense is If there is a negative reaction from what may be perceived as a preordained conclusion inside the caucus, you have to wonder who will be stepping in as potential candidates for Speaker. Rumors are abound, but remember this, more members of the caucus voted against Keen last year than they did Richardson.

Also, what does this mean for the caucus? The implications of this move well beyond Glenn Richardson, indeed the future of the House Republican caucus seems to hang in the balance, not necessarily from an electoral perspective, but the future of leadership and policy.

[UPDATE] Rep. Barry Loudermilk has confirmed with me that he is considering a run for Speaker and has OK’d use of his name here.

40 comments

  1. AthensRepublican says:

    The calls are growing louder and louder that the current leadership in the House of Representatives need to be replaced. From what I know of Jerry Keen he seems to be a decent guy, but he needs to explain his tolerance of this mess for so long. Why was he silent? Why did he stand against those who were not silent?

    Ken in Eastman said it best in an earlier post on this forum: “The only people who should be seriously considered for the Speakership are those who openly stood against Richardson. Pure commonsense dictates that Speaker Richardson’s supporters not be considered for the Speakership. Give me a man or woman with fortitude and the foresight to do what’s right and the Georgia GOP and the state of Georgia will both be well served.”

    • ieee says:

      With all due respect, you don’t know enough about Jerry Keen to assess his decency. Here is a post that I made earlier:

      Ah, Jerry Keen, Georgia’s number 1 criminal legislator. The one who worked so hard to pass so many laws that he KNEW were illegal. One of Georgia’s criminal legislators who thought it was just fine to force Georgia families from homes that they owned, all for no legitimate reason. He MUST also have known that his laws would in fact put children in more danger than they were. All experts told him that at least.

      Has anyone in the history of Georgia had more laws overturned than Criminal Keen? Has anyone written more worse-than-worthless and counterproductive laws? It’s hard to imagine.

      If you need to understand what kind of “person” Criminal Keen is, all you have to do is look at his actions when he was trying to pass his “Sex Offender” laws. Is was quite apparent that he is a person that is nearly unhinged, an anti-reality zealot.

      He just came right out and said that a major goal of his laws was to drive people listed on Sex Offender Registries out of Georgia. It’s hard to fathom that any decent legislator/leader/person could possibly have that as a goal. He was saying that he thinks people listed on the Registries are a real scourge and danger to society, so much so that they must be monitored every second. So, his “solution” to that problem is to push those people off onto other people? Move the problem somewhere else?

      Is that how Criminal Keen solves all of his problems? By pushing them off onto someone else? Wow, that is real leadership. He calls himself a Christian too. Yeah, I don’t think so. Real leaders solve problems, they don’t push them onto other people. You won’t find any informed people who will say his laws solved any problem. Keen didn’t solve any problems but he created plenty.

      And as if his first round of “Sex Offender” law stupidity was not enough, he came back around during a subsequent legislative session to add more. That was when he added his “bus stop” Banishment against people on the Registries. Did anyone read the opinion piece that he wrote for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution in support of that bit of stupidity? In it, he hysterically and theatrically described how without his law a very young child (believe he said 6 years old) would be forced to walk to his/her bus stop in the early morning darkness RIGHT PAST A SEX OFFENDER’S HOME!!!!!! (have to say that with the appropriate level of hysteria)

      The big question I had about that was – does Keen really believe that is a problem or does he really think that Georgia citizens are so thoroughly stupid that they would read that and think “oh yeah, we need bus stop Banishment”? The reality was that anyone in their right mind was thinking “Who the F would allow a young child to walk to their bus stop alone and remain there unsupervised?” The stupidity of that whole law is just too difficult to comprehend. Oh, BTW, that wasn’t the only gem that Keen offered up in his opinion piece. You really ought to read it to get an idea what he’s about.

      If Keen had any sense, he would have passed a law that would have required that parents/guardians supervise their children in transit and at bus stops. Now that is a law that would actually do something. Even I, as one of the great Unwashed who is listed on a Registry, did that. I didn’t even consider thinking that the nanny state was somehow going to be “protecting” my children and certainly not by such an idiotic method as moving all the “bad guys” away from my children’s bus stop. It’s stupefying.

      The fact is, Georgia doesn’t need the kind of “leadership” that Criminal Keen inflicts. He is a disgrace certainly to Christians and Republicans (He is the EXACT kind of person who so polarizes people against those groups.). He is no less of a disgrace to American principles and decent people in general.

      • AthensRepublican says:

        Well you are making Jerry Keen sound like a better choice. I am sure he appreciates your post.

        Aren’t you that guy that has been on the Sex Offender Registry for the last decade? Still haven’t moved to Vermont?

        • ieee says:

          You thinking what I said makes “Jerry Keen sound like a better choice” is nothing but a great indicator of your intellect or, more likely, your inability to “think” without your emotions controlling the process. I haven’t read enough of your stuff to know. No matter though, you’re just like 95+% of the people in this country.

          • ieee says:

            This is a response to the post by AthenReplublication made December 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm. (There was no “REPLY” word under that post and I’ve been too lazy to try to figure out why not.)

            AthensRepublican said “Thanks. I am glad 95% of the country agrees on something.”

            Good Lord! That is so lame that I shouldn’t even comment. But, I can do it without wasting much of my time.

            You can’t draw your conclusion based on what I said. It’s not that 95% of the country agrees on something, it is that they share some of your deficiencies. In the post you were responding to, I listed a couple of deficiencies as possible reasons for you thinking I made Criminal Jerry Keen “sound like a better choice”. Based on what you just said and a few of your other posts that I read, I now know what the main deficiency is.

      • John Konop says:

        ieee

        YOU SAID;

        ….If Keen had any sense, he would have passed a law that would have required that parents/guardians supervise their children in transit and at bus stops……

        HUH?

        You think a law should be passed that parents must monitor kids at a bus stop? This is a crazy idea! Many of us understand the Registry Law has put people on the list that should not be on it like someone caught taking a leak in public, two consenting teenagers having sex…… But the truth is the risk of child molesters is a major issue. Not only does it create tremendous harm for life for the victims, most agree the chance of rehabilitation and cure for molesters is between slim and zero.

        At the end of the day as a parent I have no issue with barring molesters away from kids for life and keeping them lock up for life. No different than if someone is mentally ill and it causes the to be murder people. We must protect the greater society!

        • ieee says:

          You said “You think a law should be passed that parents must monitor kids at a bus stop? This is a crazy idea!”

          Of course I don’t think that. It is a crazy idea because it would require parents to be accountable and responsible. We sure as hell don’t need that in the United States these days. No, what Georgia should do is pass some more idiotic, worse-than-worthless “Sex Offender” laws and then we can all just continue pretending that they are doing something useful.

          Actually, when I said that law should be passed, it was a bit tongue in cheek because I don’t really believe much in nanny governments and I think they’ve grown far, far, far, far too large and they are really out of control. The last thing we need is more government.

          However, parents absolutely should watch their children to, from, and at bus stops. That doesn’t mean one or two parents can’t watch a number of families of course. That is how I did it when I raised my children.

          Having said all that, a parent is irresponsible if he/she/they do not supervise their children at bus stops and given the nanny laws that we’ve all allowed to be created, perhaps parents should be held criminally negligent if something happens that they could have prevented. I mean, if you support laws that require parents to put children in seat belts, why would you not support a bus stop supervision law? There is no doubt children need to be supervised there. There is also no doubt that a “supervision” law would be about a billion more times effective than Keen’s Sex Offender Banishment law.

          You said, “Not only does it create tremendous harm for life for the victims, most agree the chance of rehabilitation and cure for molesters is between slim and zero.” Every part of that statement is categorically false. Those are very popular myths that are constantly repeated by people who are uninformed. Look to experts and facts, ignore government propaganda.

          You said, “At the end of the day as a parent I have no issue with barring molesters away from kids for life and keeping them lock up for life.” That is not at all what I was speaking of and it is not at all what is occurring. Georgia’s laws do absolutely nothing to keep anyone away from children. If you believe that, you’ve been had. In fact, I know plenty of people who believe the moral response to Georgia’s laws is that people listed on the Registries should be around children often and they are.

          What is occurring is wrong. The laws are not simply worthless, they are much worse. They are counterproductive (including increasing recidivism), negligibly useful, immoral, anti-religious, and anti-American. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of “Americans”, as long as terrible, anti-American laws are not affecting them personally, they are more than happy to allow them to exist without resistance while they stand by and enjoy watching people get injured. It’s a great reality show for them and that is what America is about today.

  2. Fawkes says:

    One question that comes to my mind is: How many of our Republican legislators are really caught up in this mess? Unethical behavior in the House via Richardson, the same in the Senate via Cagle. Who is next? There is NO way this was hidden from the rest of the Republicans within the legislature. Why did they put up with this for so long? Why did no one come forward?

    My guess, power. The Republicans have remained in the majority for so long that it has gone to their heads. It is now a chore to find a fine and ethical one among the whole bunch. Oh next Session will be filled with legislation on ethics and “ratcheting together” the Party’s ethical stance. But do they really mean it?

    Will Republicans be sorry once all of this comes out? Probably, but they’ll just be sorry they got caught. Legislators knew about this for a LONG time and should have come forward IMMEDIATELY.

    This could very well be the beginning of the bell’s toll for the Republican Party. I pray they can get their act together. Lord knows this coming General Assembly is going to be a difficult one…

  3. Ken in Eastman says:

    Thanks, Athens Republican.

    For convenience, here’s the original post:

    Let’s put this in focus, shall we?

    When Tom Murphy ran the state house like a whore house, we Republicans were outraged because of his massive ethical lapses. We were going to do a better job, remember?

    We were amazed at Murphy’s arrogance and astounded by his treatment of fellow house members who disagreed with him. Of course he was a Democrat, so what could we expect?

    The problem is that Speaker Glenn Richardson has exhibited the same petty retributions and the beginnings of the same ethical problems that Murphy gleefully wallowed in throughout his career.

    Richardson was out of control and showed no sign of slowing his descent into TomMurphyLand. The members of the Georgia House knew it and most, either out of a misguided sense of loyalty to Richardson – not the people of this state – or out of fear of his vindictiveness failed to oust him.

    The only people who should be seriously considered for the Speakership are those who openly stood against Richardson. Pure commonsense dictates that Speaker Richardson’s supporters not be considered for the Speakership.

    Give me a man or woman with fortitude and the foresight to do what’s right and the Georgia GOP and the state of Georgia will both be well served.

    From below the gnat line,

  4. Georgia Politico says:

    Here is a nickel’s worth of free advice to the House Republican Caucus:

    No backroom deals.

    Just hold a good old fashioned election.

    Any member of the GOP caucus with a desire to run for Speaker should run. They should be allowed to make their case to their Republican colleagues. And there should be an up or down vote on each candidate vying to be the GOP nominee for Speaker of the House.

    One last caveat:

    The Republican nominee for Speaker should have the support of the majority of the majority; meaning that a candidate should get the votes of fifty percent plus one in the House Republican Caucus.

    • Mad Dog says:

      GP,

      I think that was a dime’s worth. You should have left the caveat out. Just the up or down vote. No backroom deals. Open on the floor action.

      And I ain’t even considered a Republican. I just think your idea would be good for government, Georgia, and the reputation of good politicians … if there are any left.

      MD

  5. fishtail says:

    Jason…your analysis leaves out a crucial item…how does Richardson get taken care of when he exits? The Speaker’s job pays about $100k annually and it appears that is his main source of income since his real estate law firm and local bank are going down the tubes. I predict something like a teaching position at The Institute of Government at UGA.

  6. fishtail says:

    Mad Dog…I don’t know about that comparison, because he could and he did, but it didn’t have anything to do with teaching.

  7. Jawgadude says:

    Loudermilk might be considered something of a longshot, but he is among the most honorable house members and also one of the most conservative. A very strict Constitutionalist who knows U.S. founding history forwards and backwards. He’s also very tight with Sen. Chip Rogers and this could pave the way for a little more consensus building between the two chambers.

    • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

      I totally agree…about him being honorable and being a longshot.

      It is time for our leaders to be honorable men and women who know that they are serving the public and not the other way around.

    • Jeff says:

      Loudermilk has been endorsed for the position by the woman who said she was “thrilled” a businessman was executed in cold blood in the middle of his church service, who is a good friend of a State Rep that has openly called for war against the US Government, and who is the campaign manager for a Governor candidate that supports said efforts to start the Second American Civil War.

      Sounds like the Kiss of Death to me…

      • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

        If it is who I think y0u are talking about, where did this endorsement occur?

        He can’t help it if she likes him too…hopefully people won’t hold it against him.

        • Jeff says:

          FB. People who got the same email I did there include Mark Rountree, Sam Olens, Stephen Northington, and Orit Sklar – and those are just the ones I can see that I think may be recongized.

          There was a series of emails about drafting Tom Graves for Speaker, and the lady in question sent the following to everyone:

          “I recommend that everyone actually read the legislation he sponsored this past legislative session including the Real ID bill which is seriously disgusting. But what is even more incredible is his logic for why he sponsored it. That in some strange way it was an incremental step toward liberty to move all that tyranny from being basic regulation within DOT to being a part of the Georgia code. With that kind of defense for passing aggressively tyrannical legislation, Tom should be removed from office for perjuring himself concerning his oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution. Furthermore, Article I, Section II, Paragraph V of the Georgia Constitution states that any legislation that is contrary to the Georgia Constitution or the Constitution of the United States is to be declared void by the Judiciary. That won’t be happening either, I’m afraid, since most elected officials these days seem to believe the same as what Senator John Wiles said in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing two weeks ago: “The Constitution is not law.”

          I think Barry Loudermilk would be a better choice for Speaker. ”

          I’ll give her this much – at least she didn’t say Bobby Franklin would be a better choice.

          • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

            Again, I hope people don’t hold her ramblings against Loudermilk. He’s well liked by a lot of people, even people like her. Being liked by her doesn’t make him like her…

            Despite her endorsement, he’d still make a great speaker.

  8. Reading the laid out plans for succession, I can’t help but get the Duke of Hazard theme stuck in my head. The good ole boy system is alive and well at the gold dome.

    At some point we have to start calling for heads. It’s pretty evident that a culture of corruption exists, and I’d venture to say it exists on both sides. It would appear the people of Georgia are incapable of electing honest folks, and unfortunately none of today’s crop of corrupt politicians are near as colorful as the Talmadges. Then at least we could laugh.

  9. B Balz says:

    “I shall never betray your trust” – Talmadge

    I always wondered who tailored his special multi-pocketed topcoat?

  10. South Fulton Guy says:

    Jerry Keen is as nutty as Mary Norwood.

    In his bubble isolation he thinks the standard of living for all of Georgia is like that of Jekyll Island.

    Things may very well get worse than status quo.

  11. ByteMe says:

    Burkhalter would be sworn in as the next Speaker, but resign from the legislature when appointed Executive Director of the World Congress Center by the Governor.

    Burkhalter removed his name from consideration for the GWCC job. The “fix” is most definitely in, but it’s not Keen or anyone else who will benefit from this. Just Burkhalter.

    Which will only be a bad thing if he doesn’t use his new-found powers for the forces of good. And to get metro Atlanta traffic under control.

    • Jeff says:

      I kinda-sorta wonder if particle physics applies here. One key theory in that realm is that the mere act of observation of an event changes the event. I know it is a slim-to-none chance, but it makes me wonder if maybe plans changed based on media reaction – particularly this post.

      • ByteMe says:

        The big boys met at the Governor’s place on Wed night, this was posted Thursday. I think it’s more likely the “fix” was in place before the post.

          • ByteMe says:

            Me too. Burkhalter was in the meeting where it was decided Richardson wouldn’t resign until 1/1 so that Burkhalter could avoid calling for the election during the session (he gets 120 days and that would take it past the end of the session) and consolidate his support.

            The game was rigged before the post was made.

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