Attention General Assembly: Less Frat House, More R.O.T.C. Please

There have been numerous comparisons this week to the General Assembly this week to that of a frat house. One would have to wonder with so many running on a platform of “Christian Values” if they actually thought GOD was Gamma Omicron Delta. This environment was crystallized for me when I was talking to one legislator, when I asked him what we were missing in our reports at Peach Pundit.

He strongly suggested that I take a look at who is leaving the legislature. He said the Melvin Eversons, The Tom Graves, The Austin Scotts, and the Jeff Chapmans of the world aren’t the ones running around on their wives, and they’re not the ones selling out to lobbyists with the highest bundled contributions or wearing the shortest skirts. Frankly, he told me, they were just getting fed up with it.

He said there are many who are sick and tired of working on issues, fighting for the true conservative position, only to have the bill hijacked at the last moment by an attractive lobbyist or one who will bring a $25,000 contribution. It is this culture of institutional arrogance, corruption, and mocking of the values that brought this party to power that must end.

Matthew 16:26 asks us “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” I think we have found the answer by looking to our majority in the General Assembly. We have gained absolute power, but forgotten the rallying cry when we were the absolute minority. Absolute power does indeed corrupt absolutely. We can no longer pretend we are better than them. Our leaders are human, and subject to the same temptations that any mortal would be with unbridled and unchecked power. We have certainly lost our way as a party, and are dangerously close to losing our soul.

The glimmer of hope burns from the back benches, and seems to be illuminating among the middle ranks of the House Republican caucus. A backroom deal to quietly transfer powers among the current regime was rejected on its face. There have been two resignations, and there will be an openly contested election for Speaker, Speaker Pro Tem, and Majority Whip.

This is not enough to move us out of the frat house. I would suggest that the members who think they’re in the State’s most exclusive fraternity look across their campus to the nearest military facility for some direction.

West Point, The Air Force Academy, and many other schools have adopted “The Cadet Honor Code” as a requirement for enrollment. Members of Georgia’s General Assembly should do the same. It states:

I will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.

I’ll re-emphasize the last part, because it is vitally necessary if there is to be a credible change, it can no longer be a fraternity of members who believe they are doing nothing wrong, but work hard at maintaining plausible deniability for the actions of their peers. Republican election officials must no longer tolerate those who do.

When announcing his assumption of power, Mark Burkhalter told the AJC that the Republicans have an image problem. I beg to differ. We have an actual problem, because we have tolerated those who do.

We have leaders who have both participated in scandal, and those who have stood by and tolerated those who do. In doing so, they now lack the moral authority to lead this caucus and this House.

Jerry Keen has not been implicated in either a personal or legislative scandal. But he has tolerated those who have been. As an active member of this leadership team, he must also bear the burden of responsibility for things getting this far out of control.

In order for the caucus to heal, in order for the caucus to lead during an upcoming legislative session, and in order for Republicans to regain a moral authority to govern according to principles they claim to represent, Jerry Keen must either step down, or be removed by his peers.

72 comments

  1. NorthGAGOP says:

    Shouldn’t Eric Johnson be number 1 on the tolerant list. I know he wasn’t in the house, but he was in a leadership position and did sweep at lot of stuff under the rug.

    • Silent Outrage says:

      If only the rest of the story were public in regards to what else Eric Johnson swept under the rug. When, and I feel confident that eventually it will, it all comes out, Eric will be seen in a very different, completely unflattering, light; and his campaign for Governor will be dead on arrival – no matter how much money he squeezes out of the special interests.

      Let there be no doubt about it, the status quo of corruption, scandal, blackmail, and outright deceit lives in Eric Johnson.

  2. Doug Deal says:

    Blame the people who only look at the R or D after a name in the general or how much money is raised on who they will support in a primary.

    Why do you think certain candidates gets more money from big money donors? They are willing to play ball. But, every election, Peach Pundit comments on how much money is raised as if it is the only thing of importance to consider when casting a vote.

  3. politicalwidow says:

    Eric Johnson had to follow the law when judging the ethics complaint and under the law he could do nothing but dismiss it. You cannot ruin someone’s career with rumors. Rumors run rampant at the Capitol and while many of them are true you must have evidence in an ethics hearing. I know Eric Johnson has made tough decisions and enforced strict ethics on his staff and those he did have control over.
    I bet Eric would have loved nothing more than to get rid of those guys with as much trouble as they gave him.

    • Game Fan says:

      So what’s the mechanism and where’s the funding to investigate and compile evidence for an ethics hearing which, may not be illegal but might be un-ethical? That’s what the ethics committee is for, correct? I mean, when is the last time an ethics committee did something without political pressure or before it became headline news? (I hope they’re reading this stuff in DC. 😉 )

    • Silent Outrage says:

      Yes the ethics that he enforced on the lobbyist/campaign aid/senate aid that works for him are real strict… And everyone who knows, knows exactly who I’m talking about…

      NOTE SARCASM

    • ready2rumble says:

      According to this morning Political Insider, the Speakers affair was “common knowledge” at the capitol. Johnson was part of the leadership team that just looked the other way.

      • umustbekidding says:

        Well, in the past the Hall County GOP had pulled so much crap and the leadership did nothing about it so I didn’t want to be a part of it. It has been better under Jim Pilgrim which has gotten me interested again.

  4. NorthGAGOP says:

    Politicalwidow,
    What’s the old saying – Where theres a will theres a way

    Handel didn’t have the legal authority to remove Sheriff Jackie Barrett from office, yet she found a way to make it happen.

  5. CMOB says:

    Amen Reverend Icarus, Amen!

    You run on the platform of “Christian Values” you die by it. To tolerate those who do corrupts as well. Image problem my a**, it’s a problem.

  6. Nathan says:

    When Burkhalter said that we have an “image problem” in the Republican Party, he refers only to the symptom. Scandal and corruption leads to image problems (duh). The only way to fix the image problem is to fix the cause of it…corruption. Thankfully we are now addressing that problem.

  7. politicalwidow says:

    So don’t follow the law and just kick someone out of the General Assembly for having an affair which was really all the rumors were about? Only the voters can remove someone from office in an election because they are a cheater.
    If you are a Handel supporter and touting her for that reason then that is fine, but Eric cannot be blamed for this.

    • Silent Outrage says:

      No one suggested kicking him out, but you do have a responsibility to uphold the Constitution of this state and the ethical character of the Chamber to at least investigate accusations of corruption.

      When you turn a blind eye and don’t even ask one question, hold one hearing or even ASK the person accused ANYTHING – you are turning a blind eye to known corruption.

  8. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    Great article. And I agree with umustbekidding ( she is also cute). I pulled out of our local GOP because of the self serving idiot ambulance chasing lawyer that is running it. What a complete douche bag !

    Oh and I have many lawyer friends. I just call it like a I see it.

  9. Bill Greene says:

    This is the result of “Republicans” who like to call themselves “pragmatists” instead of sticking to actual conservative and Constitutional principles. They’re the same ones who like to snicker at conservative Constitutionalists who stand against “pragmatic” bills, or introduce bills that actually work to limit government and keep it within its Constitutional boundaries.

    And now, the “pragmatists” suddenly drag themselves up off of their couches and barstools and raise a stink, pretending to take the moral high ground when they’ve been forfeiting their principled souls for years. Great.

      • Game Fan says:

        HAHA Bill Greene is bringing some game. 🙂 And of course the Dems like to see the infighting. So why not give ’em what they want? And many Dems, as well as many Republicans, sad to say, view the infighting as some type of implosion. Others however will be glad to see some of the shysters swept out of office. They’re just in the way. This corruption is what’s killing the party, at least at the national level.

        • Game Fan says:

          I’d like to add that generally it’s the “control” crowd that sees everything from the “top down” who think the Republican Party is all about “leaders” and defending/ignoring the shenanigans. But others of course recognize that GA has millions of people. Millions of conservatives. Better than the career politicians.

  10. ByteMe says:

    it can no longer be a fraternity of members who believe they are doing nothing wrong, but work hard at maintaining plausible deniability for the actions of their peers.

    Someone help me out here…. who was it who famously said “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican”?

    • Ramblinwreck says:

      He never met some of the people leading the GOP leaders in the Georgia House and Senate or he might have phrased that differently.

      • ByteMe says:

        Ohhhh, I’m very sure he met many that were like them. You think this level of corruption and duplicity is new?

    • DTK says:

      I’ve never understood why some people think this is a good retort. So, yeah, Reagan said that. He also challenged a sitting president in a primary and ran such a hard fought campaign that it helped to crush any shot Ford had of holding the office. So what are we supposed to make of that?

    • Silent Outrage says:

      Reagan would have run against this culture of corruption at full tilt and would have called out every single person by name for their absolute corruption and dereliction of duty.

      These people have done the State of Georgia a huge diservice and if the House and Senate don’t get it together by the end of the year, we as voters should find new people that can – regardless of party.

      We should find real conservatives who have a solid moral foundation to go and do the people’s business and not go up there to get their cheat on, enrich themselves, and have inside deals.

      • ByteMe says:

        Or he would have had them working for him and turned a blind eye. It was only after he suddenly died that we found out what the heck Bill Casey was doing over at CIA with their ops and it wasn’t legal stuff.

        It’s easier to believe the myth than to look at the cold reality. Reagan was right about politicians: they won’t say “boo” about the bad behavior of anyone on their own team until they become a liability.

        And we can plainly see how well that’s worked for the rest of us.

  11. Ken in Eastman says:

    Excellent post!

    Leadership means using your own judgment and doing what is right despite pressures and the convenience of “going along” with everyone else.

    Jerry Keen went along. Now he needs to move along.

  12. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    who was it who famously said “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican”?

    Well Ronald said that. But I think he was not dealing with these kind of republicans.

      • ByteMe says:

        Not quickly enough. That’s really the underlying reason for why the leaders are all in this mess together: no one wanted to start a fight within the party. So, like grains of sand that keep getting added to a pile, the larger the pile and the longer it goes without an avelanche, the bigger and more destructive the avelanche.

        In other words: this fight should have happened when the “Hawks” were created several years back.

        • Game Fan says:

          Opponents of the more hawkish elements in the Republican party have been shouting from the rooftops since the fall of the Berlin Wall. “Iron Triangle” anyone? Our foreign policy is like a dumb blind retarded kid with a shotgun. And we’ve got a bunch of drunkards giving him booze and ammo. It’s all they can do. And did you guys really think Obama was going to end the war? Crooks and liars and corporate puppets everywhere.

  13. Progressive Dem says:

    Eric Johnson has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. This mud is all over him.

    And with Nathan “Sweetheart” Deal’s potential to implode at any moment with another “ghetto grandmother” comment, the Ox might get in a runoff yet.

  14. politicalwidow says:

    I was not responding to the original post, just to the fact that Eric should not be considered number one on the tolerant list, because he is not tolerant of such behavior. He has gotten rid of staff for inappropriate behavior. You cannot hang this all on him. I am sure his Senate was not totally exempt from such things but there is no comparing the two bodies in this situation.

  15. LongTimeListener says:

    You know, I keep hearing about how horrible anyone who has worked with Glenn Richardson is, and how horrible that some members of leadership have taken money from lobbyist in the past, and how we need to remove from leadership anyone who participated in this. Well, I know how many trips Glenn made around the state to raise money for various members of the state house. I know how much money lots of folks in both caucuses have received from lobbyists. The level of hypocrisy from the “off with all their heads” crowd is astounding. Shall we raise the stakes? Just to show how chaste and pure they all are, how about all these folks return any money raised for them by Glenn or any member of the current leadership, and any contributions received from a lobbyist? Otherwise, it seems clear to me they are covered by the very taint they sanctimoniously claim to abhor. What we need right now is a stable leadership team who can negotiate the tricky waters that lay ahead, while advancing a conservative agenda. Larry and Jan can do this for us. What we don’t need are a bunch of clueless amateurs who are trying to take advantage of this situation to leap over established and competent leaders for their own gain.

    • Hissy Fit says:

      Heaven’s to Betsy! This has to be the best post on this site since the Inquisition started. Hear Hear!!!!!!!!!!

    • 1magnoliapeach says:

      Agree! Surely there is someone in the House Leadership/or fringes thereof, who albeit may have been seen as a Richardson supporter that can balance these “Back Row” R’s? Please, is there really anyone who believes it’s all or nothing here in terms of the “New Leadership” in the House.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      If you sent this message to every member of the House caucus,, neither Larry or Jan would stand a chance. “Leap over established and competent leaders?” Like who-Jerry Keen and Ben Harbin?

    • CMOB says:

      Are you saying there are just 3 or 4 who can lead and the rest of the rest are hacks and a bunch of clueless amateurs that some how got elected? Get real there many who can do the job and pointing out that the kings don’t have clothes on is needed.

      One of the major problems is peckng order due to how long someone has been around. Those who lead do so with title or not. Going along to get along and looking the other way because they say the are legislating morals and family values is a hoax and the kings are still naked.

    • Silent Outrage says:

      Good Lord Almighty… I think House Members are coming on here themselves now trying to make their case cause only someone part and parcel of the game would think that logic makes sense…

    • Ludowici says:

      Jan…Jan who? Jan Jones? PLEASE say it ain’t so. She’s either got a good plant on PP or she’s fooling somebody. Word is she’s out like the other “leaders” in the House…rightly so…

  16. Georgia Judge says:

    Anyone who knows EJ knows that he is not foolish enough to ignore facts in a ethics/judicial setting.Kahn should have brought the facts but he did not possess them so he brought a complaint based solely on rumor and gossip,which equals zero in an ethics hearing.
    It is not the role of Judge or Jury to produce facts but rather to interpret them,end of story.

  17. fishtail says:

    Eric had some zipper problems himself. He and Dan Lee even double-dated, imagine that? I know this will set off a fire storm, but I have names. So when Eric swept things under the rug for Richardson and O’Neal, I imagine it was with a wink and a nod.

    • Silent Outrage says:

      Preach on fishtail… Why look into something that involves somone else’s “transgressions” if it will only cause others to reveal your very own “transgressions”.

      While not as torrid as Tiger Wood’s, Eric Johnson had his own little transgression he surely would not like becoming public — and to boot – she’s a lobbyist!

      • fundy1611 says:

        @SilentOutrage….. “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.” Proverbs 10:18

  18. brander says:

    An Image problem Rep. Burkhalter is when you are wrongly accused of having an arrogant assumption that you are above those who elected you to serve them, run around on your wife and worst, violate your Christian faith. A moral problem is when they are right.

    I know it’s not cool or enlightened and definitely not sophisticated but all of these boys need to go to a Church where they are treated like, well a homeless man and not a big contributor. They need to get on their knees with the rest of us, yes all of us, and remember what our founders warned us about.

    Samuel Adams wrote in his journal at the signing of the Declaration of Independence:
    We have this day restored the sovereign to Whom all men ought to be obedient.

    In his first general order to his troops in the Revolutionary war General George Washington admonished:
    Every Officer and man to live and act as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.

    Washington told the delegates of the Constitutional Convention:
    If to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair; the event is in the hand of God!

    The point is simple; our nation has made celebrities out of our electeds, our athletes and our Octomoms. We put the weird and dysfunctional on pedestals and glorify inappropriate behavior in the name of our right to not be judged. Then like the scene from Casablanca we are shocked, shocked when they, the celebrities, act the way we expect them to. What?!

    Maybe the cool thing is to be nonconformist and live by the morals we say we believe in.

  19. Culpepper says:

    NOW they’re fed up?? Where were these paragons of virtue when this stuff was actually HAPPENING? Where was the outrage?

    No, NOW they are cockroaches after the light comes on, scurrying for cover.

  20. oompaloompa says:

    You guys are so full of crap.

    Fishtail, you have your own glass house that is on very shaky ground, so I’d be careful before I just freely went about acting like you were on the inside and “know” all this information with “names.” Big deal. If you were so “:in the know” why did YOU wait so long to say something? Maybe you, yourself, had something to gain, eh? By your own boy sliding into a leadership position?

    Watch it. We know who you are and we know who your “boys” are. Guess what. I have names too. And I ain’t just talking about the ones in the General Assembly.

  21. bartsimpsonisdaman says:

    Hells bells dudes, you can have your damned blind eunichs. Y’all are the schitz.

    Y’all need to start drinking the water.

  22. Silent Outrage says:

    Who needs Melrose Place when you’ve got the Georgia Dome… You couldn’t make up stuff this good…

    Good post though – I very much appreciate and respect the Honor Code. Unfortunately those who have taken an oath to the Constitution do not.

    Sad. Really Sad. This entire episode is going to run off a lot of good people from every getting involved in politics and public service. What’s even more unfortunate is how many people are feeding off and hiding these types of actions that take place.

    Real leaders – people of conviction would stand up against this. It’s a shame that, to date, only a few people have and I think we all need to take note of those who have stood up and spoken out. For those following along it’s Karen Handel, Austin Scott, Rob Telheit, Dubose Porter, Judy Manning, and well that’s just about it…

    • flyonthewall says:

      Silent Outrage,
      Great Post. Something to think about though….What do all of the politicians listed above, with the exception of one, have in common?………….They’re ALL running for a higher office! Imagine that! Call me skeptical or jaded.

      • Silent Outrage says:

        Don’t give in to skeptism or jade – believe in and trust that there can be ethical people in public service for the right reasons. It is a noble calling and if we had good honest people serving, everyone would agree.

        Unfortunately, both on the national and state level, for too long we have had Boss Hog type politicians and that’s gotten us to where we are today.

    • Hortence says:

      I especially like Karen Handel. She seems to be really honest and not just another politician. We need people like that who get in there, get the job done, and don’t play games.

  23. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    If Handel as well as other candidates were so great they should have made an issue out of the Governors attempt to reward his campaign donor free beach front property that belonged to the citizens of Georgia on Jekyll Island.
    Now in light of what happened to Richardson she is up on the stump talking about ethics. Well the fact is, her former boss is the only sitting governor who had an ethics violation and though the Jekyll deal with Linger Longer fell though, it stunk of the kind of rotten apples in the capital building right now.
    Then you have Jerry Keen and Eric Johnson who were both on board with the Jekyll rape.
    Handel never said a word about Jekyll and her former bosses sleazy attempt to carve it up. One senator did in their party and fought it. When senator Chapman started eminent domain abuse legislation and the Governor stole it, they all remained silent.
    Sleeping around and screwing one woman suddenly matters , but screwing the entire state….well hell…..no big deal.
    What do you expect from a governor that gets himself a retroactive tax break.
    READ
    http://www.whorunsgov.com/Profiles/Sonny_Perdue
    Quote:
    “In 2005, O’Neal, the Ways and Means chairman who helped Perdue buy land in Georgia, pushed through legislation that gave a retroactive tax break for land purchases that saved Perdue $100,000 in taxes owed on the Florida land. Perdue signed the bill into law, saying he didn’t realize until later that he personally benefited from it.“Ethics Issues surrounding Perdue,” Associated Press/AccessNorthGeorgia.com, Dec. 26, 2006.(21)”

  24. B Balz says:

    ” … not go up there to get their cheat on …” Oh that IS funny, if it not so sad.

    Icarus, good post and is certainly based on the proper ideals of public service. What ought to happen is an ethical term, an ideal. As such, while ideals are an aspiration, they are rarely achieved.

    What DOES happen is that comely young women are easily attracted to powerful, older men. Not the fault of these women, power is an undeniable aphrodisiac. To deny this fact of human nature is plainly puerile. As well, to condone or submit to a base desire is weakness, politically and morally.

    Yet what MAY happen is that some men fall prey or may even use their position to solicit base attentions. I think that men of power not exercising self control was first documented on a cave wall somewhere in France. In other words, poor judgment or misuse of office is not new or news.

    Politically, in GA and Nationally, the GOP has a problem; people see gray headed older guys ” … get(ting) their cheat on …” as much more of a hypocrisy than a Dem doing the same because most Dems are not clamoring about their Christian values.

    “Beware the zealot”

  25. jimthink says:

    why has everyone been so afraid to talk about the bill dropped by Jeff May to harm AGL after they fired Richardsons’s Girlfriend lobbyist that worked there. This is how he sought to bring down “hell” upon them for letting her go. Is Jeff May in leadership (Secretary of Republician House Caucus), and does he have any other problems?

  26. James Bond 007 says:

    Dear Political Widow,

    Regarding your post, “So don’t follow the law and just kick someone out of the General Assembly for having an affair which was really all the rumors were about? ”

    I agree that a lot of untrue rumor mongoring goes on at anyone’s workplace and that one should have proof before canning an employee, however we are not talking about “just an affair.” We are talking about affairs with lobbyists. It seems that at least on the inside of the Capitol there was enough verification internally that something needed to be done. The mainstream media has not printed anything like what I have seen on the blogs ao I think they have kept their end of the deal in terms of proof.

    From an outsider’s point of view, most people feel that they do not have the access to legislators that coorporate lobbyists do. Most people can’t hire strippers for the purposes of engaging political bantor, or treat them to a day on an exclusive golf course or take them to fancy dinners at country clubs.

    We certainly don’t have access to the bed that is required for the purpose of getting business done accross the 1000 thread count pillow case. Well on second thought…. if there were one area that anyone had access to, it would be the bed of a legislator, but I don’t know about you but I prefer to er….. stay healthy….

    Anyway, from an outsiders point of view I think it is neccessary for leadership to take action against that kind of conflict of interest because I am not planning to sleep with a legislator so he/she will cut my taxes. What about you?

  27. IndyInjun says:

    You know, the thing that really has griped me all this time about “Conservative Republicans” in this state was that the majority were one-issue social conservatives.

    Having an affair is salacious – just like RIGHT NOW – and the “Family Values” crowd just goes berserk, just like now.

    Meanwhile the PRESENT and futures of every Georgian and every American have been destroyed by people you put into office.

    You go nuts over cheating on wives or gays, yet ignore the fact that the only time that Christ exhibited anger was when he drove the money changers from the temples.

    We have theives in our temples and they have robbed us all blind, but the only ones you get angry about are the ones revealed to be cheating.

    ALL of the legislators and their apologists seem to ignore that they reelected Richardson via voice vote and there were no cries to the contrary noted. Now they come on here with their own ‘reform agendas’

    I have real reform for every one of you.

    RESIGN.

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