It is appearing more and more likely that the House Republican caucus will fill all four top leadership positions sometime between now and Christmas. The group will meet tomorrow morning in Atlanta on the campus of a school with the ACC’s best, but Georgia’s second best NCAA football program. We’re told that tomorrow will be for “discussion only”, but that a vote within the caucus will occur before Christmas, with December 21st as the targeted date as of now.
I remain firmly convinced that the House has one chance to get this right. The new team will have to go to work immediately and demonstrate that Republicans are part of the solution to Georgia’s problems, not just another problem. And while many of us outside that room would like to have a say in the process and selection, the fact remains that the House members are each familiar with the candidates, and probably resent some of the kibitzing about what they should do.
Since that has never stopped me before, I won’t let it now either. But today, I’m not going to recommend who from the House should or should not be elected (though I definitely stand by my earlier position of who should not remain in leadership). Rather, I’m going to list five people whom I think each House member should talk to before they make any final decisions, or at least if they are wavering on their opinions at all:
1) Austin Scott. He’s one of you, but he plans on being on the ballot statewide in November. He’s at been loyal to the House and leadership, yet stood up against the grain when he felt it necessary. He understands your caucus, but is equally concerned about the effect of this choice on the statewide race. He sees all sides, and the implications of a good or bad decision.
2) Tom Graves. He’s bucked the system more than many of you are comfortable with. You may even resent some of the attention he brought to the house when he decided to do what he thought was right instead of what a lot of you did because you were told to do so. But, it turns out, many of you were listening to the wrong people when being told what to do. Seek this man out and at least hear his thoughts on what should happen next.
3) Mike Jacobs. Many of you still arrogantly believe that there is no way you will lose the majority in the house in 2010. And chances are, you are right. You may just lose a member here or there. When you’re talking to Mike Jacobs, be sure to look him in the eye and tell him why voting for a “safe” choice is worth having a Democrat sitting in his seat next year.
4) Lynn Westmoreland. Probably the most independent voice any of you guys (and gals) respect. He’ll be reelected no matter how badly you screw this up. But it was his leadership that made possible the majority you have today – and may squander tomorrow. If you need a reminder of what core conservative values look like, give Lynn a call. The same holds true if you need a reminder of what it was like when we were in the minority.
5) Johnny Isakson. Another person who is running statewide, and someone you should think about when deciding that the pain at the ballot box to maintain status quo. We almost lost a U.S. Senate seat last year, and the other side will be aiming all they have to get this one. Do we really want to give them an assist by not solving our “image” problems now, nor give ourselves the opportunity to make real rule and policy changes that show commitment to our ideals?
You’ll probably see a lot of our regular commenters disagree with some or all of my choices, and say they’re also part of the problem. Guess what, these same commenters want ALL of your heads too, not just the ones in leadership. Talk amongst yourselves, but do look for some outside influences like the ones I mentioned above whom YOU respect, but are not necessarily tied to their future as House members. I think you’ll find that despite differing backgrounds, they will offer you some sound advice.