Meh.

December 9, 2009 23:37 pm

by Erick · 49 comments

Larry O’Neal is definitely in, according to Travis Fain at the Telegraph.

I’m sorry, but I read these two paragraphs and was struck by a profound sense that O’Neal is fine with all the scotch and strippers, but Glenn’s ex-wife turned Glenn into a distraction.

O’Neal promised a different style than Richardson’s boisterous and often confrontational ways. O’Neal acknowledged that Richardson’s affair was common knowledge at the Capitol following Richardson’s divorce in early 2008. But he said it was the stunning interview Richardson’s ex-wife gave to an Atlanta TV station late last month that turned a problem into “too much of a distraction.”

O’Neal said he didn’t know why Burkhalter is stepping away from the speaker’s office and described himself as “a judge-not and I-won’t-be-judged kind of guy, as long as the work gets done.”

Is that really the guy we want? It seems the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” management style got us where we are in the first place.

I think we might need a Google candidate. Their motto is “don’t be evil.” Of course, I’ve always thought that seemed to be an admission against interests that their default was evil, but we could use some “don’t be evil” types.

Let’s be honest — screwing around behind your wife’s back is pretty crappy and if you’re going to cheat on someone who can sue you for half, I suspect you’ll have even less of a problem screwing your principles since they can’t sue you for half.

Silent Outrage December 9, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I believe that the majority here who follow the Pundit agree with you about O’Neal. I’m not sure that what the party needs right now is Sonny’s lawyer who pushed through a retroactive tax cut for him or someone who is okay with the frat house antics of late at the Gold Dome…

I mean, if it were a TV show, yes, but it’s our government…

Three Jack December 9, 2009 at 11:52 pm

if it’s o’neal, the gop has about 2 years left as the majority in ga.

benevolus December 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Apparently that’s more time than most of them have left in their marriages.

AthensRepublican December 9, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Larry O’Neal’s comments don’t reflect that he grasps the severity of the damage to the image of the GOP in the Capitol and the lack of principles and ethics that earned that image. I agree with your analysis Erick.

Ludwig Von Beachbum December 10, 2009 at 4:43 am

Is this the same O’Neal that got Perdue is retroactive tax break?

Howard Roark December 10, 2009 at 6:11 am

Larry O’Neal is not fit to lead!

log224 December 10, 2009 at 6:37 am

Sounds like a bandwagon here, and I’m not on this one. I maintain that O’Neal is one of the perfect legislators to lead the GOP caucus out of critical care and onto recovery.

1) He’s clean.
2) He won’t focus on the past sins but maintain discipline in the House and the party.
3) He might not have the “leadership” credentials everybody wants, but those who have those credentials don’t want the job (who wants blood on their hands?).
4) Ties to Sonny Perdue are mostly irrelevant as Sonny is lame-duck.
5) O’Neal is more than happy to pass the torch to the next leader and not try to hang on to power.

The party needs calm, thoughtful, discipline right now, not someone to come in and bloodlet…there’s plenty of that in the media and on this forum.

Part-Time Atlanta December 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm

7) He’s a Democrat

log224 December 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm

He was only a democrat the first time he ran.

umustbekidding December 10, 2009 at 6:59 am

The good ole boy system marches on.

This shows O’Neal is clueless.

macho December 10, 2009 at 7:48 am

“a judge-not and I-won’t-be-judged kind of guy, as long as the work gets done.”

Isn’t that the whole point of the ethics committee, which is an extension of O’Neil and every other Legislator? Did O’Neil not agree with the “judging” of some members non-payment of taxes? Hopefully every legislator has a point that they will judge a fellow member, regardless of work ethic. It’s just a question of finding the standard: embezzlement, child rapist, murder. O’Neil is hinting that his standard is lower than “married legislators who have sex with lobbyists that have pending legislation.”

I had thought O’Neil was a good pick, but his comment is extremely worrisome. We need somebody who is going to take this problem seriously; somebody who is willing to “judge.”

Bloodhound December 10, 2009 at 7:57 am

O’Neal seems to be true to his ‘word’. He has certainly demonstrated that it doesn’t matter the ethical tact of your actions as long as you buddies receive their loans, tax breaks & land deals.

We are facing a serious challenge in the coming session with the economy/budget issues. We don’t need to be worrying about which cookie jar our leadership has their hands buried in.

O’Neal is not fit to lead!

John Konop December 10, 2009 at 7:58 am

Why did it not alarm O’Neal that he knew Richardson was sleeping with a lobbyist and was co-sponsoring a 300 million dollar pipeline for her company?

HELO CONFLICT OF INTEREST!

macho December 10, 2009 at 8:02 am

In light of some of the more recent revelations, Richardson’s deal seems fairly minor. It keeps getting worse and we need some serious internal “judging” go on stat, because guess what, the voters like to “judge” every two years.

John Konop December 10, 2009 at 8:26 am

O’Neal is an attorney and I would he shocked if would not tell you attempt of robbing someone is a crime as well as robbing someone. We the tax payers are the victims in this case.

Any office holder that knows of a major conflict of interest and does not disclose it before voting has violated the trust of the people they represent. We should have very tough laws around conflict of interest. This is a major reason why county , state and national budgets are out of control.

Booray December 10, 2009 at 10:03 am

That’s not what the story says. 2008 was long after the bill was considered. Just to be accurate.

John Konop December 10, 2009 at 10:31 am

Booray

From O’Neil:

…..But he said it was the stunning interview Richardson’s ex-wife gave to an Atlanta TV station late last month that turned a problem into “too much of a distraction.”…..

….“a judge-not and I-won’t-be-judged kind of guy, as long as the work gets done.”…..

Conflict of Interest:

Especially as an Attorney you would think he would point out the abuse of power via his wife and the lobbyist over calling it a “DISTRACTION”.

As a tax payer I want the work done ethically and as a legislator he should be disclosing and using judgment over obvious unethical behavior! The reason we are having budget problems is because it should not be a about just getting the work done!

Booray December 10, 2009 at 10:55 am

Are we discussing the common knowledge comment, or going off on other things?

O’Neal said it was common knowledge after the divorce, not when the bill was being considered. That’s a factual statement in the story that seems to be getting blown way out of proportion or context.

Off with their heads in Atlanta, but make sure it’s the right heads. That’s my view.

Booray December 10, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I find it interesting that a post which says “off with their heads, but make sure it’s the right heads” is given a negative rating.

Being wise and thoughtful is always a good trait in any situation. Random retribution is always not.

macho December 10, 2009 at 8:05 am

Absolutely Clueless!

O’Neil doesn’t get it, move on to the next candidate.

macho December 10, 2009 at 8:33 am

The members of the House need to understand the gravity of the situation. At this point, you’re either trying to fix the problem or you’re part of the problem; there is no in between.

Doug Deal December 10, 2009 at 8:37 am

For what it’s worth, I just got a Facebook message from Allen Peake saying he is backing O’Neal.

Ludwig Von Beachbum December 10, 2009 at 8:45 am

This the same O’Neal

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)”

Ludwig Von Beachbum December 10, 2009 at 8:48 am

YES YES IT IS

FROM THE ABOVE LINK

Controversial Land Deals

Unlike his immediate predecessors, Perdue actively managed his personal financial assets rather than place them in a blind trust. During his time as governor, he nearly doubled his personal fortune from $4.4 million to $8 million.James Salzer and Jim Galloway, “Perdue asks crowd to ‘pray up a storm,’” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 13, 2007.(18)James Salzer and Jim Galloway, “Perdue asks crowd to ‘pray up a storm,’” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 13, 2007.

In 2003, Perdue set up a company that he called Maryson LLC (an abbreviation of his and wife Mary’s names) to buy 101 acres near his home for $303,000. The lawyer representing Maryson was state Rep. Larry O’Neal (R) from Perdue’s hometown of Bonaire, who also was chairman of the Georgia House Ways and Means Committee. Perdue paid taxes on the land, but never disclosed his interest in the land on his 2003 and 2004 financial disclosure forms.James Salzer, “Perdue coasts to win in governor’s race,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 8, 2006.(19)James Salzer, “Perdue coasts to win in governor’s race,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 8, 2006.

In 2004, the land purchased by Maryson doubled in value after a developer bought an adjacent 20,000 acres and announced plans to build 35,000 homes on it. Georgia environmental officials had been hoping for years to buy the 20,000 acres, but the state didn’t bid on it when it finally became available. Perdue said the state didn’t have the money to buy the land, so it was sold to the developer instead.“Perdue ethics charges linger,” Associated Press/Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, Dec. 27, 2006.(20)“Perdue ethics charges linger,” Associated Press/Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, Dec. 27, 2006.

That same year, Perdue sold off the family farm and invested his $2 million profit in 20 acres in Florida near Walt Disney World. Perdue never saw the land before buying it from developer Stanley Thomas, who Perdue had just appointed to Georgia’s Board of Economic Development, a plum choice for any state developer, and just after Thomas had given $250,000 to the Georgia Republican Party. The land was assessed at just $185,000, substantially reducing Perdue’s tax burden.“Perdue ethics charges linger,” Associated Press/Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, Dec. 27, 2006.(20)“Perdue ethics charges linger,” Associated Press/Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, Dec. 27, 2006.

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)

Ron2008 December 10, 2009 at 9:46 am

Can’t wait till the media gets a hold of all the dirt on the new speaker, hell we might go through quite a few speakers when it’s all said and done.

Brave New World December 10, 2009 at 9:52 am

Ditto Macho!

Moderate Republican has been redefined in the last few weeks. It used to be good to sound moderate and tolerant.

But in times like these, the cream rises to the top.

Polarization of good and evil political philosophy and character will shine light for the people of GA to see clearly who is luke warm and should be spewed out.

I say the people of Georgia are looking for red hot these days, not moderate.

LoyaltyIsMyHonor December 10, 2009 at 10:32 am

Yes, the voters should be electing “Conservative Republicans” who profess their love for God and Guns and profess their hatred of all things Gay and anything related to Abortion. Oh wait, the voters have been doing that for the past decade now….nevermind.

Sorry, a person can be a liberal, moderate, or conservative and still cheat, lie, or steal.

ByteMe December 10, 2009 at 10:48 am

… not to mention abuse their power.

Booray December 10, 2009 at 9:56 am

Folks,

On all this land deal stuff. Isn’t this the same thing Mark Taylor and the Dems spent about $10 trillion of TV on in the 2006 gov’s election claiming it was all dirty?

If this stuff was really so dirty and damaging, wouldn’t we be calling him Gov. Taylor now?

I suppose Dems could try to make a big issue of it again, but it seems like it would be a colossal waste of their time and money (again) because the people of the state pretty much rendered a convincing verdict that this is a dead issue.

Ludwig Von Beachbum December 10, 2009 at 10:06 am

Booray

What is your point? That it did not happen and it is alright?

With your logic Obama wouldn’t be President

Booray December 10, 2009 at 10:13 am

I hear what you’re saying, but a lot of people here seem to acting like this is all “hot news”, as if this hasn’t already been discussed ad nauseum and beat to death three years ago. The Democrats tried REALLY HARD to beat Perdue with this, and after millions of dollars and lots of work with a willing medai to convince people this was a dirty deal, and the people just didn’t agree – at all.

That certainly says this is a political non-issue, since a three-year old issue that was beat to absolute death is usually not what smart political folks try to use in the next campaign.

Now, the people could have been wrong on their ethical judgment about this, but I haven’t yet heard anyone without a partisan ax to grind say this is unethical or wrong. As I recall it, the tax law change introduced here had been introduced or recommended by IRS many places around the country – and that many places around the country had passed that change.

Just because something can be made to look bad doesn’t mean it is bad. Looks to me like there’s a very understandable feeding frenzy going on at the Capitol, and some fish definitely need to get chewed up in it, but some balance and good sense are also in order, and just because something can be made to look bad doesn’t mean someone should be disqualified, especially when the issue has been vetted about as widely as it can possibly be and The People (who are still the boss) said “no problem – move on.”

Ken in Eastman December 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Booray: “Looks to me like there’s a very understandable feeding frenzy going on at the Capitol, and some fish definitely need to get chewed up in it . . .”

This is right as far as it goes, but there is now blood in the water that wasn’t there in 2006.

Booray December 10, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Ken,

Not to be disrespectful, but I just don’t see how an issue that was discussed to death in 2006 is made new again by this situation, because what has happened now has not changed any of the material facts of the situation.

And those facts were laid out over and over again back then, and the public simply didn’t think it was a big deal.

I think people who oppose O’Neal really WANT it to matter again, and I’m not saying the media won’t regurgitate the story again at least briefly.

However, this is not like the Richardson situation, where a very big and new fact was learned in just the last two weeks to make the story relevant again. It is, pretty literally, the definition of old news.

Ken in Eastman December 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Thanks for the reply. I welcome an open discussion and I certainly see no lack of respect in your post. Please understand that I am not attempting to be disprespectful either.

You are right when you state that this is old news and it was discussed at length relative to Governor Perdue. At that time Representative O’Neal was not a blip on the radar screen. All of the big guns were trained on Sonny.

As a potential Speaker, O’Neal will be looked at again. Most of the people in the state do not know him and “Oakey Woods” and “tax break” may be the way they define him. I hope that’s not the case, because I think he deserves better, but it is a real possibility.

Personally, I was hoping we would reward someone who openly stood up against Glenn Richardson. The AGL Scandal wasn’t the first sign that there was something wrong with Speaker Richardson. He employed many of the same bully-boy tactics used by Tom Murphy to punish those with whom he had an honest disagreement. That’s not how things should be done.

Over then next four years or so, hard – even brutal – decisions must be made about state services. We need someone with all of the political capital available. Half measures will not work.

Finally, I do not believe Larry O’Neal is dumb. I honestly wonder if he understands how serious the ethics problems plaguing the House will be. I read the article and some of the wording was poorly chosen if he does “get it.”

Mike Hauncho December 10, 2009 at 10:13 am

I say we push for Wendell Willard to stay in the House and serve as Speaker.

Ken in Eastman December 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm

If Larry O’Neal is the answer, then we have asked the wrong question. He does not get it and if he doesn’t get it by now, then he will never get it.

Bloodhound December 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Booray, the land schemes at Disney & Oaky Woods did happen.

It is undeniable fact.

The Governor and Rep. O’Neal used a ‘perfect storm’ of positions and opportunities to pull together profitable land deals and tax breaks for themselves and their friends and in doing so passed up great opportunities to protect a treasured piece of wilderness for future generations of Georgians.

We don’t call Mark Taylor “Governor” because he was a much worse option.

Hopefully, we will not be calling O’Neal “Speaker” because we have so many, much better options.

We have an opportunity and Lord willing we will not fumble!

Booray December 10, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Who is a better option? Not being argumentative, just asking, because the state’s in a pretty bad situation if I recall correctly, so just hiring anybody off the legislative street is not an option.

Also, I’m not that old, but I’ve seen the “grass is greener” argument enough times in politics and football that I don’t just instinctively believe that statement.

For what it is worth – everybody, and I mean everybody, has got a wart on their tail. Some warts are public, some are private, but perfection just can’t be the standard for legislators or people in the real world too.

Ken in Eastman December 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I understand what you’re saying. We need great leadership because we have dire situations that need to be resolved (state revenue income, water fights, etc.) and excluding options at this point is troubling.

We will need a strong, but fair Speaker. I believe Larry O’Neal would be fair. I am concerned with things like Oakey Woods that could damage him in the public’s eye and make it difficult for him to make the hard decisions that have to be made.

The new speaker will need political capital to spend with the public because of cuts in provided services that will have to be made.

If Larry O’Neal becomes the Georgia House Speaker then I will support him and honestly pray that he succeeds. I do not; however, believe he is the best choice.

Bloodhound December 10, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Booray, the jury is still out on who is better. Me personally? Right now I think Rep. Loudermilk would be a good choice. However, during the course of the discussion here and in other venues a couple of other names are brought to light.

There are several better than a man who openly states that he sees no problem with adultery with a lobbyists as long as it doesn’t become a distraction.

Bill Greene December 10, 2009 at 3:48 pm
Tyler Burgess December 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I made a comment on an earlier thread pertaining to O’Neal. I was wrong. I thought he should be Speaker because he would be a unifying force, but his words indicate he wishes to unify people to do business as usual.

GOPGeorgia December 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm

It’s good to admit that you have changed your mind, when YOU have changed YOUR mind.

fishtail December 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm

According to the Macon Telegraph story, Larry O’neal said “it was common knowledge around the Capitol” about Glenn Richardson’s affair with the AGL lobbyist. But Eric Johnson dismissed the ethics complaint on the grounds he knew nothing about it and it was a baseless rumor. ….a rumor that everyone knew was an unspoken fact. Johnson’s attitude about Gold Dome philandering reminds me of the TV commercials that tout “what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas”.

Ludwig Von Beachbum December 10, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Jerry Keen was right there with Eric Johnson

ByteMe December 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Which one was supplying the lubricant?

On second thought, never mind.

Ludwig Von Beachbum December 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Ask any sea captain. With any crew there is always a half dozen that needs to walk the plank.

Then it is smooth sailing a while, then time to get back out the plank

ByteMe December 10, 2009 at 5:52 pm

The real trick is in knowing when to pull out the plank before things get really out of hand and you have to jump ship.

Bill Greene December 11, 2009 at 3:42 pm

“The tree of liberty must be watered periodically with the blood of tyrants and patriots alike. It is its natural manure.” — Thomas Jefferson

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