The Most Corrupt in Georgia’s History?

You may recall that a day or so ago, Erick made a post entitled “Ox, McLagan, and Reed” that used a quote from Karen Handel’s spokesman as a starting point.

This is the quote in question: “John Oxendine is the most corrupt politician in Georgia’s history and is far more likely to serve a term in prison than he is to serve as Governor.”

I am no Oxendine apologist. I would like to make that very clear. I do not think he would make a good Governor. Let me also say that I haven’t seen “The Ox Binder” either – no more than you all have. But for the purposes of this post, let’s assume all of that content is true. Let’s assume everything about all of the candidates is true – and I mean everything that has been alleged by various parties over the past few months.

I’m not sure any of these candidates could ever be properly labeled as “the most corrupt politician in Georgia’s history.” More corrupt than Sam Caldwell? More corrupt than the powerful Talmadge Political Machine?

Do I think some of the candidates for state-wide offices are ethically challenged? Emphatically yes. But to quote a good friend of mine, “They ain’t nothin’ but watered down ‘Gene Talmadge wannabees.” Corrupt – yes. Most corrupt – not quite. We have a long history of colorful and corrupt politicians here in Georgia, I suggest everyone dig a little deeper into Georgia History before throwing around titles like “Most Corrupt.”


  1. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    I’m not a Georgia native, and I’m way too young to live in the same era, but I’ve always been intrigued by Marvin Griffin. He seems to strike me as a happy Eugen Talmadge and had some of the funniest quotes.

  2. Dawgfan says:

    Most corrupt, Marvin Griffin hands down. It is said he was giving contracts to his cronines to build boats for state parks that didn’t have lakes.

  3. Provocateur says:

    Ron…I appreciate you giving us an historical perspective. But, Erick’s idea is to make it all seem as extreme as possible in order to spread the many lies of Karen Handel…the biggest lie of which is that she is a “conservative.”

    • Rick Day says:

      TruFact? Hmm, maybe I’ll cross over and vote for her! Nothing interesting, other than the Fort/Balch fight, on the D’s ballot.

      (I voted in the R to knock that R R. Reed out, but damn, afterwards I started getting GOP junk mail for years after! DO NOT WANT.)

      Thanks, you are the greatest!

  4. Quaker says:

    Over-the-top negaitive campaign ads have become the standard locally and nationally in inter- and intra-party contests. Imagine for a moment if Delta, Air Tran, and American advertised that way, highlighting, over-emphasizing, and, yes, lying about each other’s poor safety record, discourteous staff, crowded cabins, lost luggage, delays, cancellations, and overbooking. Imagine if their ads were produced like political ads, with horrific scenes of crashes with bodies and luggage scattered about, snarling flight attendants, passengers resembling laying hens in stacked cages – well, you get the picture. Certainly the public perception of the entire industry would be entirely and dramatically negative. Most people would be afraid to fly at all. That is what politicians’ use of negative ads has done to public service. They have smeared each other with mud to the point that no one has any respect at all for any of them, winners or losers. An that’s sad, because some of them really do want to serve and improve things.

    • MouthoftheSouth says:

      Or the converse, what if politicians competed on price alone, like airlines? Then we would finally have an open market for bribery.

      • B Balz says:

        Ridiculous, what is price for a politician?

        We have dumbed down the political process and the damn shame of it is that those under 35 years old have no idea what has been lost.

        I blame Oprah. (Just kidding, just so ya know.)

        • Ambernappe says:

          Not kidding. Oprah with all her following, so I hear, has done absolutely nothing to educate her following about the way that government is supposed to function. Just google her book club suggestions – sympathy and empathy- yes; government – no.

          Her program is great for women who need advice on bra and jeans fit – government, not so much.

    • Rick Day says:

      Ah, but if you look from the point of view that Atwater Attack Tactics is actually designed to drive intelligent voters away from politics and government, it is doing the status quo an invaluable service.

  5. Great post, Ron! I think that it has become clear that any candidate in this race will take any situation and exaggerate it to the extreme for the sake of a good bumper sticker line.

    • polisavvy says:

      You are so wise beyond your years, Kyle! That’s exactly what they ALL are doing. In my opinion, these candidates must not have any mirrors in their homes.

  6. pcbobby says:

    Indeed that would be a tall order to compare OX to the elder statesmen of corruption at the moment. The Ox’s rap sheet is quite extensive and is filled with equal parts pure corruption and just plain arrogance. At the end of the day, if this self-labeled outsider became governor, we would probably see corruption that could possibly rival The Talmadge Machine.

    • Ambernappe says:

      OX’s father was considered an elder statesman in Georgia Superion Court circles – they say the “acorn fell not far from the tree”.

  7. Technocrat says:

    Corrupt people usually have personal cash as the fruits of their labor. Corrupt people usually have extreme stand out housing estates……..they just cannot help it to show off to their friends.

    Examine the candidates to see which has the trappings of corruption:
    ROY BARNES beats every Republican by at least 20 times just on housing alone.
    Nathan Deal, then by a good margin is Karen Handel, bring up the rear is John Oxendine in home value. Check out who has pools, tennis courts, saunas, lakes and ponds on their property

      • AlanR says:

        No. He earned his money through astute investments in which he risked his money and the money of his other investors. Over a 50 year career.

        Unless of course you subscribe to the Obama theory that there’s something wrong with working hard and getting rich.

    • Rick Day says:


      Barnes has been practicing law for 8 years. Lawyers have to get paid, or the bar sanctions them. I read it!

      What was your point again, other than grade kudos to Barne’s mad lawyerin’ skills?

  8. ZazaPachulia says:

    Karen’s doing her best to make Oxendine look less bad…

    I spit out my coffee this morning when I heard Denis O’Hayer call Karen on an outright lie this morning on WABE 90.1

    Here’s the link: Karen on Georgia Public Radio this morning.

    Scroll forward to about the 14 minute mark to hear the snippet that was on the air this morning.

    Karen: “I don’t support domestic partner benefits”
    O’Hayer: “Part of the question about maintaining existing policies on domestic partner benefits centers on the debate you participated in in 2003 where the question was asked. Well, I was the moderator of that debate.”
    Karen: “Right”
    O’Hayer: “I talked to someone else who was there and both of us recall that you said you would support the benefits that were already in place.”
    Karen: [tries to talk her way out of it]

    Question for Karen supporters: How can you expect me to vote for a candidate who is so deluded and out of touch that she lies to someone (the moderator of her former debates) who she should full well know has the ammo to call her on the exact lie? It’s absurd.

    Again, I don’t have a problem with Karen supporting gay rights. I support gay rights! But the lying is ridiculous. What a disgrace.

    • ZazaPachulia says:

      And can we get some attention on the front page on this? We got Handel’s response to the latest lame Ox attack ad yesterday… Just sayin’

        • Three Jack says:

          attention to what…a total non-issue? ox is a habitual ethics violator, deal scammed millions for himself using the influence of his office and you guys are worried about whether or not karen is for/against domestic partner benefits…not even close to being front page topic again.

              • LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

                DB? That’s real nice. But since your reading comprehension-impaired, the issue isn’t about her support for domestic partner benefits, it about her chronic lying about it. She’s a liar, plain and simple. She’s not even a good liar.

                Now I ask you, why would you or anyone else vote for such a blatant liar?

          • ZazaPachulia says:

            It’s not domestic partner benefits…

            It’s Karen lying on the radio to the man who moderated one of her previous Fulton County debates.

            What does it say about Karen’s ethics and character that she has the audacity to outright lie and just hope O’Hayer wouldn’t call her on it? Or did she simply convince herself that what she said in the past is no longer true? Either way, her refusal to take ownership of her previous stands is truly alarming.

            Had Karen answered O’Hayer’s first question the way she tried to back out of the mess when he called her on the lie, I’d have some respect for her. But she didn’t. And she’s a repeat offender with these truth-telling issues.

            • Three Jack says:

              o’hayer doesn’t have any proof that she answered the way he implies, he says so as he asks the question.

              if she is a ‘liar’ based on one statement like this, then i doubt you will ever find a suitable candidate to support.

              • ZazaPachulia says:

                The “I personally heard you say otherwise while addressing me and I checked with others that were there to make sure I wasn’t hearing things” statement sounds like proof to me.

                This is not a campaign-acceptable pandering fib. On NPR this morning, Karen tried to sell her lie to a man who she knew (or should have known) clearly had the evidence to proclaim the contrary. Once O’Hayer called her on it, Karen essentially admitted that she lied a few minutes earlier. It was ridiculous and baffling piece of radio.

              • Provocateur says:

                I think there is a bread-crumb path to her lying about 4 times on several issues. But, you Handel folks certainly have the Obama-stance down pat in that all you do is accuse everyone else (including an objective news guy like Denis O’Hayer) of lying.

                • Three Jack says:

                  you guys just really hate that karen is now the frontrunner…the desperation behind your baseless allegations is so obvious.

                  • Provocateur says:

                    What I actually love is the inside polling numbers I got from a Handel source this afternoon: She is the “frontrunner” alright. She is the frontrunner in the downward direction of losing votes and support.

                  • ZazaPachulia says:

                    three jack: I personally would take Karen over the other three frontrunners. But being the lesser of four evils is no reason to giver her a pass when she so obviously screws up.

                    I’m likely voting for Chapman in the primary, originally supported Scott and I’ll probably vote Barnes in the general.

                    I don’t hate Karen, and with the link I provided, the “allegation” is obviously not “baseless”

  9. griftdrift says:

    Caldwell. Hands down. Some of the stories from his administration read like fiction. At the peak of his power, he was considered the third most powerful man in the state. The Labor Commissioner. Third most powerful. Enough said.

    And as a boy, I had the “pleasure” to see the boat.

  10. Technocrat says:

    How does one compare the different types of corruption produced by women vs men. Now there is a possibility that different sexual orenintations may somewhat overlap across genders

    Obviously Handel is the most corrupt REPUBLICAN WOMAN running in the race. As for the men they can only be compared to each other.

  11. TalmadgeGhost says:

    Ya’ll carpetbaggers have no idea. None.

    The one main and major difference I would point out is that back in the day, men in positions of power cavorted with their secretaries – not lobbyists.

    It’s an entirely different matter if you end up ‘screwing the entire state’.

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