Was it Disingenuous?

Preston Smith gave a great speech on the floor of the State Senate. I agree with all his points. He hit the right notes.

But I am concerned that conservatives are rallying to embrace him now and should use greater discretion. Based on Smith’s own history in the State Senate, it seems this speech was more designed to save face than stand on principle — damage control in a grand kabuki dance.

I have heard from a number of Republican senators that they were taken aback by his behavior and there is a real rift in the State Senate that he threw his colleagues under the bus after spending a great deal of time as the Judiciary Committee chairman doing roughly what was done to him.

Maybe he is sincere. I hope so. But I am not yet persuaded. I’d be more persuaded, I suppose, if he was not just hurling rocks at his colleagues for going wobbly, but also came up with some suggestions.

Compare Preston to Mitch Seabaugh who also voted no and gave up his seat, but has not taken up the rocks to throw at his colleagues.

Good for them both voting no, but you’ll have to excuse me for thinking that there is more to this grandstanding than all of a sudden finding principles.


  1. Tinkerhell says:

    I don’t know. I know little about the guy. I wouldn’t vote for him just because he gave a great speech but I would hope that someone that was going to stick it out there like that would not do so unless he was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be chewed off by the world. But then it’s pretty clear lots of the animals under the Gold Dome think they can get away with anything and no one will catch em at it. Maybe Smith thinks he can manage to be that big of a hypocrite… I hope not. It was a great speech.

  2. Jeff says:

    One thing about Smith is that he knows EXACTLY where the cameras are, and EXACTLY where the “official” (and otherwise) stuff that can be easily documented happens.

    Smith, Chapman, and Seabaugh were the ONLY Republicans who voted against Casey Cagle’s Sick Tax. BOTH of the Insurance Commissioner candidates who happen to be State Senators voted FOR the Sick Tax, and one of them became Cagle’s new puppet in the aftermath. (Note that Austin Scott and Melvin Everson both voted AGAINST it in the House.)

    What happens behind closed doors will ALWAYS be hear say, and by and large even what happens in Committee is, since there is no online documentation of anything relating to Committees other than when a bill goes in, when it comes out, and MAYBE an Agenda of what day it was discussed. If we had more transparency on these meetings – such as the minutes, or more preferably an audio recording (video would be even better) – some of these Senators complaints would be more easily vetted.

    As it is right now, these Senators’ complaints look like nothing more than the kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar saying he is innocent.

    • ECSnob says:

      So if I am the Vice-Chair of a Committee and the Chair is no longer able to fulfill his duties, or is relieved of them if that is the case, I am a “puppet” for doing my duty?

      Or are you just trying to drag some folks through the mud to give whomever your Ins Comm Candidate some help? You didn’t mention Tom Knox who is also running for Ins. Comm. voted for it…

      I like Peach Pundit in non-election years better… People seem to think better

      • Jeff says:

        Actually, I had forgotten about Knox – I’ve seen NOTHING (other than the *very* recent ad on this site) from his campaign.

        Thanks for the tip though. Updating my post on this now. 😀

        • ECSnob says:

          So “no comment” on the points I made, I see how it is…. And yes the Tom Knox campaign does not seem to get around, Not like the Johnny Come-lately I’m sure your pushing 🙂

          • Jeff says:

            On the substance:

            Harp should have made the same stand Smith did. Indeed, EVERY Republican in the Senate – particularly the ones that have signed the No-Tax pledge, such as Chip Rogers and Tommie Williams – should have made the same stand Smith did.

            Instead, Harp was much more interested in amassing whatever power he could.

            For the record, I haven’t yet decided who to support in the Insurance Commissioner race. I’ve personally met Ralph Hudgens, Stephen Northington, and Gerry Purcell, and I find them all to be good guys, and while I agree with Northington on the issue of Interstate Sales, I haven’t yet looked at their overall platforms and decided who to support. That is something I will be doing the week after qualifying ends.

            • LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

              Jeff, per your remarks regarding committee action, the House video tapes its meetings; while you can retrieve senate committee minutes after the session from the senate committee’s website. Also, a phone call to the chairman’s secretary can usually get you a copy of meeting minutes.

                • ECSnob says:

                  Harp was voted in unanimously by the Committee on Assignments… Trust me with six legislative days left no one wants to take on a new chairmanship…. I would commend Harp before I condemn him, his workload basically doubled.

                  • TidePrideGA says:

                    I thought the point was not that he took the job. Of course, he took the job. He would have been foolish not to. I thought the point was that he voted FOR the bed tax when many feel he should have stood by his “conservative” principles and voted against it.

    • Annie Ethel says:

      There is plenty of transparency on the meetings. You can show up; you can watch it live at the Georgia Legislative Network site; you can get a synopsis from a committee aide; you can ask your elected representative for summary from your elected representative; you can ask for the Daily Legislative Report as a start; then you can quit whining.
      The Assembly can barely afford committee aides and staff as it is, so if you want ‘bonus features’ spoon-fed to you by your government, it will cost more.
      I find the vetting process in the Senate usually leaves much to be desired. Maybe that’s why the House tries to do the heavy lifting first?

      • Jeff says:

        There isn’t even “plenty” of transparency on these meetings even IF you live near the Dome AND can get away from your day job long enough to watch these meetings. Remember, multiple committees meet at one time. There is NO WAY one person can physically be in the same room for 3 diff committees at once.

        Agendas and minutes are only PART of what we need to be able to see. We also need to see exactly what was said, who said it, and how they said it. Remember, human communication is as much about the NONverbal as the verbal.

        I would rather the government spend money on transparency than Halls of Fame and criminalizing victimless behavior such as drug use and prostitution, and that is just a start. Decriminalizing marijuana ALONE would save the State MILLIONS of dollars, MAYBE even into the BILLION range.

        But even in these severe budget times, common sense things like that are left off the table because the Talibaptists in this State would rather show themselves to be holier than everyone else.

  3. kdoc says:

    I personally know some of the folks singled out by Smith, and I have known them to be solid conservatives. That is not to say they shouldn’t have voted for the tax; maybe they did abandon conservative principles at that point. But it makes me wonder if there is more to the story than what we have heard so far.

  4. TPNoGa says:

    Whatever his motives for the speech may have been, the content of his speech needed to be said. And I am glad he said it. What Senator Smith said is how a majority of Republican citizens feel. At least coming from a fellow Senator, it may have actually been heard by the GOP caucus. I don’t care about the messenger, I care about the message.

  5. Glen Ross says:

    I don’t like to question people’s intentions, but I also have a lot of distrust for the gaggle of jokers we call our General Assembly. My intial thought on this was that Smith was content to “go along to get along” until it cost him something. It’s kinda like drawing a line in the sand after you’ve been thrown out the door. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but what he said needed to be said. The level of jackassery at the capitol hasn’t increased recently, it’s just that now it’s being brought to light. And that’s a good thing.

  6. Dave Bearse says:

    “Go along to get along” has been exposed as a General Assembly MO. It remains to be seen whether Georgians will accept this as MO, now that it’s clearly tainted the Senate after being exposed last year in the House.

  7. Rhino Hunter says:

    Preston Smith behaved like an undisciplined child. Leadership is about getting things done, not the kind of pandering and grandstanding to which he subjected Georgia yesterday. As usual, Casey Cagle and Tommie Williams dealt with a difficult situation with grace and dignity. All Preston Smith did yesterday was help Roy Barnes, and the Democrats.

    • TPNoGa says:

      Rhino – I will give you one point, it does help Roy Barnes. The difference is, I think the GOP leadership has been helping Barnes, not Smith. Heck, I am much more likely to vote for Barnes and I have never voted for a Democrat for statewide or federal offices.

      I know where Austin Scott stands (good for him), but where does Karen stand on the sick-tax? Has she expressed an opinion?

      • polisavvy says:

        Representative Scott voted against the bed tax. I guess the other candidates will not be able to throw that one at him.

  8. Archon says:

    Rhino –Tommie and Casey are hypocrites caught by their own insincerity. They made promises, they broke them and they were exposed. Sure they sat their like the spineless leaders they are but grace dignity? Really? These men have neither and havce shown they have no character either.

    Kdoc– I too have known these men for some time now and unfortunately they have changed with their taste of power and celebrity. These are not the men who fought from a minority with conviction. These are men who put power first and foremost.

  9. kcordell says:

    Williams was on Al Gainey’s radio program on WDUN this morning and said that the actions taken were because Smith wouldn’t give them the 29th vote on the bill. He also claimed that the bill was designed to give Georgians a “tax cut” because we wouldn’t have to pay taxes on our health care premiums. At least I “think” that’s what he said. He got angry and started talking really fast.

  10. John Konop says:

    You guys can put your head in the sand and play lets pretend all day if you want! But the reality is at the state and federal level we are about to be overrun by future liabilities. And many of you reflect the values of what got us into this mess. The irony of Preston Smith is he promoted an entitlement program with no money to pay for it ie Medicare part D!

    As I said it is time for real adults to stand up and have a real adult conversation! No more grandstanding just painful truthful solutions! Is anyone really ready to have the tough conversation?

    Nation’s soaring deficit calls for painful choices

    ….She was proud of him. Then she said, “Don’t mess with my Medicare.”
    It won’t be the last threat Bowles gets this year as he directs an 18-member, bipartisan commission through an ocean of red ink that has never been deeper or more foreboding.
    Under Obama’s budget plan, the USA’s debt in 2020 would be nearly the size of the entire economy then. Interest costs would be $900 billion, five times today’s level.

    The White House, Congress, budget experts and typical Americans are growing anxious about the nation’s mounting debt, which is helping to fuel the rise of the anti-tax, anti-big government Tea Party movement.

    Yet the only solutions capable of raising enough money are politically dangerous for the president and Congress: tax increases and major reductions in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
    Neither Democrats nor Republicans want to take the first step.
    The debt hasn’t stopped conservatives from saying tax increases should be off the table when the panel debates how to close Washington’s budget gap — an estimated $1.5 trillion this year alone, equal to the entire federal budget in 1995. Nor has it stopped liberals from saying Medicare, Social Security and other entitlements must be protected……


    • Then cut some darn programs as opposed to expanding them… If you believe that ANY government will let a tax expire then you’re naive. Once they’ve got it, they always go for more. Government NEVER has adequate amounts of money because it is run by POLITICIANS.

      • John Konop says:

        Maurice Atkinson,

        Medicare alone will wipe out the budget on a federal level unless we deal with it. The same is true with government healthcare for statewide retires. NO ONE ARGUES WITH THE MATH!

            • John Konop says:

              I do not think it is realistic to get rid of Medicare because the public we not support it. . From what I read mainly from David Walker former head of the GOA it would take a combination of solutions.

              1) As people live longer we must index the benefit which could be done with a combination from waiting to opt in to a partial subsidy growing to a full benefit.

              2) We should allow people to over contribute tax free pulled out after retirement for healthcare assigned to an individual.

              3) We should cut back on coverage if at all for elective care.

              4) We should promote end life counseling not require it.

              5) We should have a higher contribution system on co-pays based on not using the most efficient healthcare available ie lower if you use dial a doc, drug store…over emergency room or seeing a doctor.

              6) We should take away healthcare providers rights to ignore anti-trust laws.

              7) We should allow people to buy medicine in Canada.

              9) We should crack down on fruad.

              8) We probably would only need a small increase in pay roll taxes if we did the above. Or we could replace FICA with a national sales tax at a low rate.

              I am sure there are may more positive ideas.

    • GOPGeorgia says:

      He likes to complain about it. That doesn’t mean he has a solution that will/would work. In 5 4 3 2 1, he will tell you how he warned us…… That doesn’t mean he could do anything about it.

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