Are House Republicans Retarded, Scared, or Shell Shocked?

“It’s common knowledge that the best and wisest piece of legislation stands no chance with the House GOP leadership in competition with short skirts and liquor.”

I have a hard time grasping at this one.

It’s funny, I was thinking about Denny Hastert and then got an email making the case. Then I saw Jim Galloway had mentioned the name too.

Let’s review: Gingrich got tossed. The House rallied to Bob Livingston. Livingston couldn’t keep it in his pants. He resigned before the election. They all went with the safe choice of Hastert.

End of story, right?


Hastert was fine when he had Tom DeLay to whip people into shape. When DeLay left, Hastert fell apart. See, people went with the guy who was the least threatening to the rest of them and he never really had clout. The show was run by his staff, not by him.

When things got topsy-turvy, things went to hell quickly. By 2006, Hastert really was not leading and without DeLay the caucus was lost. That’s not to say DeLay was good or bad. Whether you liked him or not, there was a reason they called the man the “Hammer.”

I guess that’s why I can’t get excited by Larry O’Neal. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know the guy. But O’Neal strikes me as more of the same, but safe. I don’t know of any stories about him other than he cavorts with all the same lobbyists and goes to all the same parties. He just goes home alone.

But he’s the same or at least strikes me as that way. He has been part of that culture. He has been one of the adults in the room, for sure, but like with Keen I think going with O’Neal will be perceived as a safe bet that isn’t really going to turn the ship around.

And the House GOP needs to turn the ship around.

I don’t know the guys who are running for Speaker. I guess, given where I live, I should think it would be great to have Larry O’Neal as Speaker or see Allen Peake or Jim Cole elevated in some way.

And it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Peake or Cole, I suspect, could be refreshing faces in leadership and reassure entrepreneurs in the state. They’re fine men worth really considering.

But I guess what I’m getting at is that when crisis comes, the herd tends to seek the closest, safest shelter. The caucus, though, really isn’t a herd. And it should favor the bold over the safe, particularly if it can find a bold choice that is also safe.

I think that’s possible. I hope they’ll consider it. Good men are leaving the House because of the terrible leadership the House GOP has put in place. I don’t blame them. It’s common knowledge that the best and wisest piece of legislation stands no chance with the House GOP leadership in competition with short skirts and liquor.

I think the guys who backed Glenn et al should probably ask themselves what they want to do. Then they should do the opposite. Status quo won’t help.


  1. AthensRepublican says:

    Erick, I can’t figure out where you are at from one hour to the next. BUT this makes absolute sense. I would only hope they don’t jump on any bandwagon too soon. Let the candidates come out. Let them state their case (including O’Neal). Let them (the Republican caucus) make their decision. Good post Erick!

  2. IndyInjun says:

    Hastert covered up for Mark Foley, a guy with the hots for male House pages, to preserve a GOP vote.

    Yeah, that is about right.

    The party of the Socons won largely on gay bashing in 2004, then not only found a gaymite infestation in the Congress, but a “Speaker” who was silent amidst the sounds of the wood being eaten.

    Yes, Erick, the self destruction of the GOP was operating full speed ahead in DC and Atlanta.

    The chasm between words and deeds was, and is, simply astounding.

    • While purging is completely uncomfortable sometimes it is necessary. I hardly see this as the unraveling of the GOP in Georgia but quite the contrary. The establishment would love to project that we’re stupid (hmmmm, think there’s a title of a pretty good book that points to this). The fact is, it is showing that this Party will not be complacent with the perpetual arrogance. There are plenty of competent people who are willing to learn and serve. That’s the process of government.

      Funny thing is we’re always looking for a political saviour. There is none. It simply takes principled people to be part of the process and not quit when the battle heats up.

      Ethical issues and corruption are not a Republican, Democrat or any other flavor of politics problem. These were conscious choices made by people who had the ability to do the right thing but chose not too.

      Dems would do well in purging their aisles as well. If memory serves me correctly there are folks who don’t pay their taxes and serving today that not a peep is said about.

      I think our Party will emerge well if we promote based on integrity and competency.

      I remember a campaign mantra from a few years ago in a heated contest. It said something about doing the right thing when no one is looking. I wonder what shelf that ended up on.

      • IndyInjun says:

        What is happening is most welcome, long overdue, and can be nothing but positive. We need strong leadership because revenues are crashing that will require very, very tough decisions.

        Anyone who gets any manner of state payment can expect to see a cut and a lot of folks are going to be enraged. To stand for office in these times requires leadership and that might mean deconstructing some of the deals that have been made by the current batch of hack politicians and party boys.

      • Ken in Eastman says:

        Well stated, Maurice!

        I believe when we do what’s right that it benefits the state and the party in the long run. The short term may be ugly, but then it’s over and we can move on.

  3. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    Let’s just hope we don’t have all Denny Hasterts for candidates, and the rank and file votes common sense instead of political posturing.

    We need some leaders who believe in limited government and are honest to right this sinking ship. I am only afraid that the few who exist won’t even get a look by the caucus because they haven’t been playing the game right.

  4. Silent Outrage says:

    Well, we know that Richardson and Burkhalter are gone. Now all that is left is Keen, Jones, and Earhart. If you’re going to have a clean house, might as well get rid of the entire leadership team. They all covered up the scandal and corruption going on for way too long and they should all do the honorable thing and not put themselves up for reelection to their respective posts.

    They are like the crew on the Titanic insisting that the ship couldn’t sink while it kept taking on water…

    • Cavalier says:

      This mentality that we must throw babies out with bath water is utterly ridiculous! Some of these men have done nothing wrong. Replacing every piece of the leadership puzzle with rookies would be nothing but colossal chaos the likes of which we have already experienced. I, for one, do not particularly care to be stuck in this state of uproarious ridiculousness any longer than is absolutely necessary.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Competitive two party system? No non-incumbent Democrats have won statewide in years, and neither chamber of the legislature is two-party competitive excepting a short period when power switch from D to R. The assertion that Georgia is or has recently been competitive is disingenuous.

  5. 1magnoliapeach says:

    Power seems to cause people with the best intentions to forget how they got the power in the first place. It is a double edged sword.

  6. log224 says:


    O’Neal or someone like him is probably the best course short-term. I’m picking up what you’re putting down on leadership; you can’t pass a torch that’s gone out to someone who has no fire.

    However, the GOP is the major administration and legislative party in Georgia right now. The party needs less sparks and someone to clean up all the gasoline on the floor, to continue the analogy. O’Neal is a steady, thoughtful lawyer (I know him somewhat) and will make steady, thoughtful decisions without allowing any sparks to ignite that pool of fuel and burn down the whole place.

    Haley Barbour has been advocating leaving the GOP field wide open in the national context, and I believe he’s right–a natural leader will emerge without the back-room hacks trying to engineer it. In Georgia we need a time of stand-down so that the adults can sort through the dirty laundry and let the next torch-bearer rise without the current brood of hacks engineering it.

    Will it be the best leader? Who knows, names are thrown around…but at least there will be someone who will properly vet and discipline the caucus without burning down the whole house.

  7. Bloodhound says:

    Rep. O’Neal?

    Isn’t he the individual who assisted Sonny in the Oaky Woods debacle a couple of years ago?

    If memory serves, it was Larry O’Neal who formed the real estate company for Mrs. Sonny so they could purchase 100 acres adjacant to Oaky Woods. It was Larry O’Neal who serves on the board of the bank that loaned Sonny’s childhood friends the money to purchase the 19,000 acres after Sonny turned down the Nature Conservancy’s bid to protect that Wildlife Management Area, wasn’t it?

    Who was the Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee when the “Private City Act” was hatched? Rep. O’Neal I think?

    Wasn’t that the legislation that would have allowed the developers of Oaky Woods to levy taxes on the citizenry?

    Aren’t we lucky that 51% of our voters saw through that scam?

    Is someone that entrenched in cronyism the man we want in the Speaker’s Chair?

    I hope not.

  8. IndyInjun says:

    I think the GOP lost any rationale for its existence with the passage of Medicare D.

    1. It was the biggest social program since LBJ, yet was rammed thru by the GOP controlled government. It is a direct contradiction to the GOP platform.

    2. The guys who ran the numbers were intimidated into not disclosing them by a GOP administration.

    3. Contributions from Big Pharma exploded in the 2 cycles before it passed. Afterward they fell back to pre Medicare D levels.

    4. Medicare D allowed $billions of costs to be unloaded onto the public by corporate plans.

    5. Medicare D does not allow for competitive bidding nor does it allow for drug reimportation. The GOP thus raped the people.

    6. The House Chairman over the committee that originated Medicare D, Tauzin , immediately quit Congress for a $2 million a year job fronting for Big Pharma.

    For 10 years the GOP made war on the people, crapped on its principles, told genuine conservatives to kiss a$# and now wonders why we want it to DIE?

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