Porter responds

DuBose Porter, Georgia House Minority Leader and candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor, has responded to my post from earlier today, explaining the decision not to run someone against Glenn Richardson for Speaker.

As the Minority Leader, it was my role to second the acclamation, as we, the Democratic Caucus, had voted to do so. Previously, and at every other opportunity, we had put up a protest candidate, which had resulted in nothing. We felt it would show Georgia that we were the party ready to do the real work for the people during the financial crisis. And, with Glenn in that position, we felt there was a better chance the corruption would come to light sooner rather than later, as it has. This was a direct benefit to Georgia’s citizens.

I can see how, without knowledge of the caucus meeting prior to the acclamation, one would not have known that this decision was enacted by me at the request of the Democratic Caucus. Without that knowledge I agree it would have seemed in contrast to my very long fight against corruption and the Hawk system. I hope this resolves your questions. If you looked further down the transcript from that day you will see where I voted against the rules and voiced, once again, opposition to the Hawks.

To further make sure the public realized we in no way approved of the Speaker or the Speaker Pro-Tem, we, the Democratic House Caucus, issued this press release the same day as the above acclamation. Please be sure and read the section in bold print:

The first regular session of the 150th General Assembly began with the usual pomp and circumstance today at 10:00 am. First up was the swearing in of all 180 members of the Georgia House of Representatives. With hands on their bibles, members were administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Leah Ward Sears. Next, the house elected by acclimation Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) for Speaker of the House and Mark Burkhalter (R-Alpharetta) for Speaker Pro Tem. These are the one and two positions in the House and this year the Democrats broke with traditional legislative procedure by not nominating a candidate. By no means was this an endorsement of Mr. Richardson and Mr. Burkhalter by the Democrats but rather recognition of the seriousness of this year’s session. With a faltering economy, more Georgia businesses closing their doors, record job loss, and a $2 billion shortfall in the state budget, the hope is that we can move quickly and address the serious problems the state faces.

The House then voted to approve the house rules but it was not without controversy. In 2005 the majority party instituted the “Hawks” system and it remains in place. These are designated members by the Speaker of the House that can vote on any committee at any time at the discretion of the Speaker, even without having served on the committee or any prior knowledge of the subject matter before the committee. Many believe this represents a dictatorship and goes against everything that a democracy represents. Members will also have to take their cell phone conversations out of the house chamber after today. However texting will still be allowed.

Rounding out the morning was the election of Phil Tucker as House Door Keeper and Roger Hines as House Messenger. Governor Perdue will be giving his State of the State and Budget address on Wednesday before a joint House and Senate session of the General Assembly. The legislature will be in recess the week of January 19th, which is the Martin Luther King Holiday, and begin budget hearings on Wednesday, January 21st.

32 comments

  1. mitchmartin says:

    Ok then, how about a response as to why the Democratic House refused to pass ethics reform in 2003 and 2004 after it had cleared the Senate. Only when the Republicans took over in 2005 did ethics reform pass, though some portions of Governor Perdue’s bill was gutted. Much of the provisions that Democrats did not pass in 03 and 04 are now showing up in their new-religion-found proposals that are being rolled out — gift limits, giving the State Ethics Commission jurisdiction over legislative complaints, etc.

  2. AthensRepublican says:

    I also thought these words rather odd:

    “And, with Glenn in that position, we felt there was a better chance the corruption would come to light sooner rather than later, as it has. This was a direct benefit to Georgia’s citizens.”

    Forget about direct benefit to Georgia’s citizens, but more about opportunity for the Democratic Party. That’s the way I interpret it. Porter once showed some good principles when he challenged a tyrant named Tom Murphy. Hmmm…good case for term limits?

    • ByteMe says:

      Yeah, that section wasn’t exactly well-thought-out. Letting evil have its way so that it could blow up? Uhhh, not the best way to “lead”.

      • Agreed, that part of the letter was a pretty flat note.

        However, I wish that anyone had mentioned prior to now that Porter’s second was due to the vote of the overall Democratic caucus. I still think that vote makes less sense than putting up at least a token protest candidate… but the complete picture looks MUCH less harsh than the impression I had after reading the original post.

        Oh well, at least Peach Pundit’s power to get direct responses out of legislators through use of half-baked attacks DOES reach across the aisle! 🙂

        • AthensRepublican says:

          I never thought it was much of an issue that even needed a response. Then Porter responds and reveals that he was hoping this would blow up so he and the Democrats could seize it as an opportunity. “This was a direct benefit to Georgia’s citizens.” Pathetic!

          Yeah…Porter wants us to believe he has a long track record of fighting corruption and championing ethics under the Gold Dome. He has been in the legislature for over 20 years and for most of that time as a part of the majority. Did he ever speak up against the Democrats paying their high end living expenses out of their campaign accounts?

          I don’t buy what Porter is trying to sell here and I don’t think the majority of Democrats (much less voters as a whole) will buy it either.

  3. Andre says:

    As the resident Democrat around these here parts, I have some lingering resentment towards DuBose Porter for failing to nominate a Democratic candidate for Speaker. However, my biggest gripe stems from the fact that Porter has done absolutely nothing to put the House Democratic Caucus in a position to re-claim the majority.

    In 2008, eighty-one Republicans were left unopposed in the state House. DuBose Porter has been a piss-poor excuse for House Democratic Leader and I seriously doubt he’ll finish higher than 3rd in the gubernatorial primary next year.

    • AthensRepublican says:

      Well I don’t think anyone could have logically gotten away with blaming Porter for the Richardson problem. That is, until he posted his ridiculous response.

    • swgolde says:

      You have got to be kidding me, Andre. As a fellow Democrat, I think DuBose has done an outstanding job as caucus leader. You want to point blame in this case, go right at the DPG. DuBose and the House caucus have enough to worry about, and its not just on their shoulders to find candidates.

      DuBose has been an outstanding leader, bringing the caucus back from nothingness. The DPG has constantly failed us, with their inability to appoint a number of positions, such as anyone to handle communications.

  4. Georgia Judge says:

    Ok,we R’s have had a rough go of it the last couple of weeks,but as expected the Caucus handled their House cleaning and its time to move on.There is much to be done for our State and despite our recent challenges dont kid yourself we are much better equipped to address these challenges than the D’s.
    With Glenn gone and Mark no longer in Leadership and out of the running for the World Congress position they can no longer set back and throw darts and act holier than thou,as hillarious as it was to hear the various Dems preach about ethics.They must put up ideas and solutions and thats where they fall on their face and ring a hollow drum.I feel very confident that we will see a very successful and productive session,and that we will go on to have a great election season.
    The lets sit back and watch it implode mentality and Monday morning quarterbacking is what you get with the current Democratic Party of Georgia and it’s not going to help us through our challenges or sell in November.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Cagle will self destruct like Richardson. Just give him some more rope. I have some to spare.

      Why aren’t the Reps moving against dead weight committee leaders?

      James Mills on Banking? Thinks the federal government is causing the banks to fail at a record pace in Georgia.

      He can share the rope with Cagle.

  5. Goldwater Conservative says:

    Perhaps my take on this has already been voiced by another on PP, but it deserves repeating even if it has.

    What Porter and the democratic caucus did by not nominating a protest candidate for Speaker was brilliant. For one, as far as the public is concerned, the democratic party showed that it is not interested in partaking in futile political procedures and wants to do the work of The People. Whether that is true or not is not what matters, what matters is that if the Democratic party can raise enough money to convey that message it will be received very positively by the voting community.

    Secondly, and this is what is the brilliant part, knowing of Richardsons infidelities and still not putting up a protest nominee to me states that the Democratic caucus, more than anything, wanted to ensure a public embarrassment to the GOP. Atleast, that is what I would have done were I still an operative.

    The Party with the supposed monopoly over Christian morals and family values elected a philandering and corrupt (no suprise) Speaker to lead them in the legislative process. At this point I would recommend the Democratic Caucus to issue a statement asking that all legislation passed under the Richardson Regime to be reassessed in the wake of this scandal.

    “For a chamber of such repute to be besmirched by a pathological liar and cheat such as former Speaker Richardson, we, in order to establish and maintain the level of integrity and responsibility bestowed upon us by the People of this Great State hereby request that all legislation that has gone through the committee process be re-evaluated. We can not know the extent to which Speaker Richardson’s corruption and deceit has robbed the People of Georgia of liberty and justice until such a measure is undertaken.”
    (Intro to Speech that should be given by Democratic leadership in January).

  6. Ken in Eastman says:

    What Porter and the democratic caucus did by not nominating a protest candidate for Speaker was brilliant.

    Nice try at spin, but it doesn’t work. Even persons with chronic olfactory conditions will smell this one a mile off.

    What DuBious Porter and his minions did is cave to someone who was out of control. There was no foresight here, just contentment with their status as the minority party.

  7. Goldwater Conservative says:

    I honestly disagree. I know you don’t want to believe that Democrats strategize, but they do.

    Nobody in that party is content with being in the minority. Other than the rewards that come with being a legislator, the motives for going into public office also include policy making and in our system that is pretty much a function of being in the majority.

    Tort reform is a big deal for the democratic party. Right now every person in GA should be praying to their deity that a drunk doctor does not operate on their child. The GOP stated very clearly that a person’s life is only worth $350k. I am wealthy enough that I would offer you $350k to kill your child so you could give an honest answer about whether or not the money was worth it. There is no difference between that and the GOP’s version of tort “reform.”

    Injustices such as this are a huge motivator for people to seek elective office and for a party to seek a majority.

    Afterall, it isn’t Porter’s fault that that inept moron Jane Kidd got elected to the chairmanship.

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      Oh, but I DO believe that Democrats strategize – usually at midnight over a bubbling cauldron, but I do believe they do so.

      In this case; however, I think you are giving too much credit.

      As for tort reform, differences should be made between outcomes from errors that should have been prevented and results that are a given part of any procedure. There is a difference and Democrats do not want to distinguish between the two.

      Also, is that $350,000 cap for the total award or is it just for “pain and suffering”?

    • Ken in Eastman says:

      Sorry, I forgot this: Who is responsible for “that inept moron Jane Kidd” being elected?

      I know how it works in the GOP. How does it work with the Democrats?

      • Goldwater Conservative says:

        The state committee elects the chairman.

        Punitive damages/pain and suffering are capped at the $350k. Economic damages are not, but, remember, a child does not make an income…neither do retired people. The economic damages in such cases are limited to medical bills and funeral costs.

        When this is the case there is little economic reason for a plaintiff’s attorney to take a case. The plaintiffs attorney is the individual that puts up all the costs for filing suit. Court fees as well as payroll at their firm or practice. As we have seen in every state where tort caps are introduced, all a malpractice insurance company has to do (and they do this at every turn) is over load the plaintiff’s attorney with paperwork, file for continuances, and lead extraordinarily long “witness” examinations in court. At the end of the day the attorney’s fees and costs often exceed $250k. When an initial determination is made as to whether to take a case, these costs are considered. Far too often people are denied the legal assistance constitutionally provided to them because of economic reasons. When an attorney takes 30-40% of a case’s winnings, and those winnings do not exceed the costs of going to trial, no suit is filed.

        Furthermore, the out of court settlement is used much less often in states that have caps. Why offer an out of court settlement as a malpractice insurance company when you can just raise the cost of the case to a point at which it is no longer economically viable to pursue a lawsuit.

        In addition to all of this, in the infinite wisdom of businessmen in the GOP, there are no separation clauses in their tort “reform” package they passed years ago. What has become the normal practice is for medical partnerships and hospitals to pool their doctors into a law plan at lower costs. This absolves the hospital of liability and places the liability on the doctor, but at a lower cost. It is considered a benefit (like health insurance). But, because there is no separation clause in the Act the hospital can fire the doctor (because we are in a right-to-work state) and the plaintiff is left suing not the hospital or medical partnership that holds the malpractice policy for their doctors, but you are then suing the doctor as an individual. As far as I have been briefed, in every case thus far in GA the medical partnership or hospital has fired their doctors that have committed malpractice and these doctors almost always file for bankruptcy when sued.

        The most disturbing case I have encountered is being worked out right now and involves a drug addict doctor that botched over a dozen circumcisions. The hospital he worked at fired him and now he is being sued by over a dozen people whose baby boys’ lives have been destroyed. The individual doctor is being sued, not the malpractice company…because the hospital held the policy not him. He is going to declare bankruptcy and these people are going to get nothing.

        That is not justice. That is the result of “conservatism” in Georgia. Richardson giving out favors for sex is nothing compared to this.

        • Ken in Eastman says:

          GC,

          Thanks for filling me in on the Democrats method. You probably know that in the GOP the state party chairman is elected in a state party convention by representatives elected from each county. Delegates are apportioned by population.

          In the case of children, I believe that in a case of wrongful death or health liability that projections are made for the earnings potential over the lifetime of the child. It is far from perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

          As I said before, I would like to see two different systems in place. I’m sorry, but if I go through McDonald’s and spill hot coffee in my own lap then that is just a part of life and I shouldn’t try to turn liability insurance into The Wheel of Fortune.

          On the other hand if a doctor amputates the wrong leg, that is another matter and I’m not sure there should be any cap at all on that. For medical malpractice cases if a doctor follows outlined procedure, there are no extenuating circumstances (e.g. the doctor is drugged out or has a hangover) and a not unforseen but unfortunate result occurs (e.g. a patient is warned than a particular brain surgery has a 25% chance of causing blindness even if procedure is followed) then the patient should not have the right to file a liability suit if one of those things does happen.

          As for justice, I will quote an attorney friend of mine, “Don’t confuse justice with the law. They are not the same. If you want justice, wait until you die. You’ll get it then.”

          • ByteMe says:

            BTW, having studied the McD coffee case, I can tell that you drew the wrong conclusion from not having the facts. Fact: the coffee from McD’s was kept at 180 degrees and served that way. You can’t drink a drink hotter than about 130 or so degrees without burning your tongue (and you can’t touch it either without getting burned). So why the extra temp? So that the smell would travel throughout the store and entice people to buy it, thereby earning them more profits. Turns out they were in fact liable for serving a safety hazard wihtout adequate warning labels and have paid for it in hundreds of lawsuits.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Restaurants

            Anyway… care on!

          • ByteMe says:

            I had thought the same thing about the case as you did going into the law prof’s lecture, but once I got more facts — like that McD’s knew it would cause 3rd degree burns, had in fact caused harm to many people before the public lawsuit, and continued to do it to earn more profits — I changed my mind and decided that “tort reform” was just another scam to screw the little people being pushed by our corporatist elected reps.

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