The meeting

As I write, the House GOP is going into conference. The Governor will address them. David Ralston, Bill Hembree, Larry O’Neal, Jerry Keen, and others are all fighting now for the top job.

The danger is that several of the guys negate each other and help get someone unacceptable elected Speaker.

I speak for everyone here on the front page at Peach Pundit: of the list above, Jerry Keen is unacceptable as Speaker.

The heirs of the status quo must go, and Keen is directly the heir of this mess. Keeping him in leadership is a sign the GOP has not learned its lesson.

I have a very many good friends who know and like Keen tremendously. I am sure he is a great guy. But we need to turn the ship around. The status quo does not do that.

Keen must go and we must move on.


    • ByteMe says:

      He threw his hat into the ring for Speaker Pro Tem with the caveat that he never ever wants to be Speaker.

  1. Ludwig Von Beachbum says:

    From The Brunswick News (which is kind of a joke)

    Keen won’t seek speaker post
    Date December 10, 2009
    Section(s) Local News
    Byline By NEVIN BATIWALLA The Brunswick News

    The next permanent speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives won’t be from St. Simons Island.

    House majority leader Jerry Keen, R-St. Simons, put an end Wednesday to speculation that he would pursue the position, which was thrown up for grabs after Rep. Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, quit amid depression and scandal.

    “It’s just not a job that I ever wanted,” Keen said.

    In his fifth term representing House District 179, Keen said he is honored and content to continue to serve as House majority leader.

    “I enjoy being a part-time legislator,” he said. “It allows me to be active here (on St. Simons Island), live here, stay here and spend most of my time here. If I wanted to run and live in Atlanta every day, I would have run for governor.”

    Keen first signaled he had no interest in the position last week, but that was when Mark Burkhalter, R-Johns Creek, was presumed to be next in line for the position that presides at sessions of the House and appoints committee chairs. After Burkhalter, who is speaker pro tem, announced Monday he would not seek the leadership role and instead pursue other career opportunities, Keen’s name popped back up on the political radar.

    When the Georgia General Assembly returns in January, Burkhalter will temporarily take over the role of speaker until legislators elect a new speaker, who stands second in line for gubernatorial succession.

    Burkhalter has not said why he would not seek the post, but after Richardson resigned following claims by his former wife that he had had an affair with a lobbyist with interests before the Legislature, there is speculation that Burkhalter’s own baggage could be a factor. In 1999 he took a trip to Daufuskie Island, S.C., with strippers, all of which was paid for by lobbyists.

    The Republican caucus will meet Friday to discuss the party’s direction. With the approaching session likely to be a difficult one, given the state’s financial woes, Keen had taken the position that the less change the better. But that seems to have shifted after Burkhalter withdrew.

    “It’s important now to get a new face as our leader, someone who can put us back together,” he said.

    Richardson, once a powerful player in state politics, announced his resignation as speaker and representative last week, days after his former wife, Susan Richardson, revealed in a television interview that her then-husband had an affair with a lobbyist for an Atlanta utility at the same time he was pushing legislation beneficial for the utility. She said she had incriminating e-mails, text messages and voice mails from her former husband in which he threatened to abuse his power as speaker and have state authorities deal with her.

    Glenn Richardson has also been battling depression and said he had attempted suicide weeks before his resignation.

    While some observers have down-played the effect of Richardson’s saga on the image of the state’s Republican party, Keen said perception matters. Fair or not, the scandal makes the whole party look bad, he said.

    “It’s just the way of the world we live in,” Keen said. “There is nothing we can do about it. When the person at the top has a fall, obviously it’s going to reflect poorly on everyone, whether that is right or wrong.”

    State Rep. Roger Lane, R-Darien, said it’s important to resolve the leadership question in a timely manner.

    While Republicans hold a majority in the House, Lane said if the party isn’t unified in selecting a speaker, the doors could open for some Democrats to play a role and perhaps back a Republican candidate to leverage for influence in future issues.

    “It wouldn’t surprise me to see Democrats try to gain leverage,” Lane said. “This is politics. Anything can happen.”

    One former Democrat-turned-Republican, state Rep. Tommy Smith, Alma, has already announced that he would be interested in the post.

  2. Lawton Sack says:

    As a Georgia Republican, I have to say that these closed meetings have got to stop. I don’t want to hear that tired phrase: This is how politics works. Have they totally forgotten that they are representing us?

    They must think that we are just plain stupid and are going to sit back and take it. Make the vote public. Period. Let us see who the Representatives vote for. This is just common sense.

      • Lawton Sack says:

        The “official” vote may not happen in this meeting, but I am sure a vote will be happening.

        I wonder if they are going to make them stand up and say: “If you have had an affair or have not paid your taxes within the last year, sit down.” Then: “If you have had an affair or have not paid your taxes within the last three years, sit down.” Etc. Etc. And whoever is standing last gets the position.

    • B Balz says:

      From AJC:

      Reps. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) and Jill Chambers (R-Atlanta) made the motion to keep the meeting open and ballots were handed out to the members.

      Good on them!

      • Bill Greene says:

        Another Representative moved that the vote on closing the meeting be a show of hands, rather than secret ballot, so that everyone can know how they voted; the move was seconded. Rep. Donna Sheldon replied, “The Chair [her] has decided that the vote will be by secret ballot.”

        Sheldon then declared that the vote was in favor of making it a closed meeting. She didn’t say what the count was, although the rules say that 2/3 must agree to it.

        It was interesting talking to a number of the Reps. & media folks, even before we got kicked out of the meeting. Some of my pics are up here:

    • Making Sense says:

      Careful, you are going to incur the ire of the State Party for speaking out – remember she thought Glenn didn’t need to resign…

  3. Lawton Sack says:

    There is one comment that keeps haunting me. It comes from Jim Galloway’s @ AJC ( ) speaking about Larry O’Neal:

    He acknowledged that Richardson’s affair was common knowledge at the Capitol following the speaker’s divorce in early 2008. But he said it was the stunning interview Richardson’s ex-wife gave an Atlanta television station late last month that turned the problem into “too much of a distraction.”

    That is ridiculous. It is only a problem if someone makes a big deal about it? If I were a Democrat, I would run that message day and night. Just like we did with Clinton.

  4. SouthPeach says:

    It was common knowledge about the speaker and anyone who believes that ALL the leadership didn’t know about it…well, there is swamp land for sale!!! They all thought they were invinsible. They protected the speaker to save their own little piece of the pie.

    • Bloodhound says:

      Hey Peach! If you contact Larry O’Neal he can have his bank loan the money for that swamp land and then push a nifty piece of legislation aimed at a nice retroactive tax credit for you and your croni—er, uh, I mean friends!

  5. IndyInjun says:

    Who would want to be in the GA at this point?????….I mean the cruel MATH of the state’s financial position dictates massive lay-offs. I hear that pay cuts of 10% are coming, but the MATH says that they need to be 15 or 20%, because of the stunning revenue drops, which are deepening.

    Here again, 4 years ago I was USING THE MATH to query my 2 GOP candidates for GA Senate about what they were going to do to LEAD US OUT of the coming financial wreck. BOTH of them said they were going to kick the can down the road.

    The MATH said Georgia was broke back then, but the HACKS that the people elect had no LEADERSHIP and just went on to increase spending while refusing to fund existing liabilities.

    Now any capable Georgian who understands basic MATH wouldn’t go anywhere near the legislature because the idiots in the GA have made it mathematically impossible to pull this situation out of the fire short of ruinous salary cuts for teachers and tax increases all over the place.

    This state and nation are BROKE and people who understand why and tried to prevent it were ridiculed and sent to electoral Siberia.

    The people who tried to exhibit LEADERSHIP were dismissed as chicken littles, called “negative,” and beaten back at very turn.

    Thinking people won’t go anywhere near politics because now there is absolutely no way out of the mess these idiots put us into.

    • Ken in Eastman says:


      It’s a huge mess all of the way around.

      We had better hope and pray that the best person gets the job – and then hope and pray that it will be enough to begin moving in the right direction.

      And you’re right, the MATH is scary.

      • John Konop says:

        I do not blame the politicians as much as the people. The truth is people want all the perks without the cost. Medicare pays out 3 dollars of service for every 1 dollar as person pays in on average. And we all wonder why people like it? The truth is we have a very selfish me first generation that is selling out our future for short term gain. And the politicians feed off people wanting something for nothing.

        Unless we change this attitude many of you will see your pensions, Medicare, Social Security, VA benefits….. roll back very little if anything at all.

        • IndyInjun says:


          You have it wrong.

          For years the warning was that we were stealing from the generations to come.

          The fact was that we really didn’t care as long as we ‘got ours’ which meant getting theirs in advance.

          The TRUTH – the PRESENT has been stolen and it has been stolen from US. The future generations will be OK, but we made the mess and the mess wiped US out.

        • IndyInjun says:

          BTW, John….how many PP’ers recall the heat I was taking 4 years ago for predicting the financial collapse????…….yeah, where is Donkey Kong now?

          As one financial blogger likes to say “MATH IS

          The folks who promised fiscal conservatism were the ones who made the situation irredeemably lost.

          Now, those who control this government KNOW the math and are merrily looting the last vestiges of wealth before the calamity comes.

          Last week the Financial Times reported that one hedge fund had borrowed (presumably from all the FREE MONEY the Fed is throwing around) $350 BILLION TO PAY A DIVIDEND.

          Staggering sums are being stolen.

          There are NO PROSECUTIONS.

          America is dying – stabbed in the back by those who ran her government.

          • GOPGeorgia says:

            That is the funniest thing I’ve seen on here in a long time! Someone telling JK that they predicted some gloom and doom, with CAPITALIZED words, and using the phrase “the TRUTH!”


          • IndyInjun says:

            The funniest thing I have seen is you claiming to be a Republican, then not being able to defend your position.

  6. IndyInjun says:


    A mentality of entitlement to government checks coupled with the mentality that it is OK to ‘create’ money on an unlimited and unsupported spreadsheet to ‘fund’ unlimited spending won’t die easy.

    When collapse comes, you best figure that the idiot majority will want MORE of it – that is what we see now – until government spending is 100% of the economy. If you want a preview of that read up on Wiemar Republic or Zimbabwe.

    I see absolutely ZERO CHANCE that the people will accept the pain to restore the Constitution, the Republic, a productive economy, a sound monetary system, and LEADERSHIP to get back there.

    There will be a final plea – “GOVERNMENT SAVE US” (it won’t BTW)- coupled with final destruction of the above things that made America great.

    The numbers are these – there has to be a 95% downward adjustment in US debt and the debt has to stop growing. We will get their via default in which savers get $1 for every $10 they have in the bank or hyperinflation to make a 90% reduction of the real value in 5 years.

    We created a country in which PONZI finance was 40% of the economy. This poison debt was sold and distributed all over the world. 40% of the USA economy no longer has any reason to exist.

    Those of us who tried mightily to elect Perot in ’92 warned about gutting the productive capacity of the USA. We were ignored.

    Who will pick up the pieces? History says the American People will chose Barrabus.

    If y’all REALLY care for your children, you better think with greater clarity than anytime in your lives and CHOSE WISELY.

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