The Good People Of Savannah Are Not Pleased To Be A Pawn In The Senate Intramural Skirmishes; Battle Extends To Rest Of South Georgia

The Savannah Morning News has posted this editorial, noting their displeasure that a project that is often cited by members of both political parties as the most important economic development project in Georgia is possibly being used for leverage in the fight for control of the Senate:

Mr. Cagle has no legitimate reason to strip away the $104 million that the state has advanced for port deepening. It’s too important.

The state-owned port in Savannah helps support nearly 300,000 jobs statewide and contributes nearly $15 billion in income and $2.8 billion in state and local taxes. For any statewide politician to put personal ambition over the economic health of fellow Georgians isn’t just the height of selfishness. It’s political suicide. Anyone who suggested it couldn’t get elected dog catcher.

That said, Mr. Carter doesn’t have the reputation of telling fibs. When he says that Mr. Cagle told him last Thursday that we was going to need the lieutenant governor’s support to keep port deepening in the budget, he can’t be brushed off as a teller of tall tales.

Thus neither man should be branded a liar. Instead, chalk up this incident as fallout from increasing tension in the GOP-controlled Senate. It had stripped Mr. Cagle, a fellow Republican re-elected last November, of much of his power before the session started. It gave most of the control to an eight-member GOP caucus chaired by State Sen. Tommie Williams, R-Lyons.

Meanwhile, Jim Galloway is reporting that Uber-Social Conservative Pat Tippett has called for Cagle to resign, with a follow up slight hedge of “if true”:

”I have worked too hard, spent too much money, and hours away from my family to help Republicans get elected. This is not right and I am deeply hurt by the apparent actions of the Lt. Gov. If this is true I do call for his resignation.”

One of Casey Cagle’s most loyal bases is that of Social-Conservatives, particularly in South Georgia.  Yet with South Georgian Tommie Williams increasingly becoming the face of the battle between the Senate Republicans and Cagle, the struggle becomes more delicate for both Cagle’s present, and his political future. 

While I would posit that this battle still remains largely inside baseball, the threat of escalation into the grass roots should concern all parties, and any ability of Tippett and her Georgia Conservatives In Action group could harm Cagle in a future statewide primary.  It would harm him significantly less so should he be campaigning in 2012 to be Georgia’s “Gentleman from the 14th”.


  1. John Vestal says:

    Tippett, Godwin and the rest of the theocrats also couldn’t have been very pleased with Casey’s criticism of the GOP Senate Caucus’ early closed-door push-back on Sunday Sales.

  2. rebelyelp says:

    This has already reached the grassroots. Surely you’ve read the emails from gasenateinformer? Those emails are hitting, as best I can tell, a pretty broad distribution list.

  3. drjay says:

    i’ve known buddy carter for several years, he is absolutely not a liar by any stretch. he’s a stand up guy. the “grassroots” have had all sorts of opportunity to give cagle the business over the past couple of years and have declined to do so, i fail to see how this will be any different…

    • rebelyelp says:

      The only opportunity to “give Cagle the business” was in the 2010 Republican primary. Had either Johnson or Chapman qualified for the LG race we likely wouldn’t be having this conversation today. I think things will be different in 2014, or in 2012 if Cagle wants to take a shot at Congress.

  4. Max Power says:

    Sadly I don’t think this has much traction state-wide. Most folks just don’t understand how important the port of Savannah is.

    • saltycracker says:

      I think the people of Georgia understand the importance of the port but don’t understand the political posturing, hyperbole and sabre rattling.

      Cagle puffing in a meeting is one thing, not supporting the port is another, the latter the people would not take lightly. If he demonstrates he supports it, his opponents need to move on to more solid ground.

  5. Tiberius says:

    Having Patt Tibbett against you is a badge of honor in some GOP circles.

    The more intriguing question is whether Sen. Williams is happy people on his payroll are mouthing off on Facebook about internal GOP Caucus business. Can’t help any negotiations. If he does anything to reel her in will say something about his leadership style.

    • Word says:

      internal GOP Caucus business? What did Pat say that was internal GOP Caucus business? Unfortunately it looks like Cagle was cutting deals in the Democratic Caucus. Cagle is pretty much the Democratic leader in the Senate these days.

      Pat probably shouldn’t have said anything but she is also in charge of a huge conservative group that she represents.

        • I’ve known Pat for 20 years and she is a social conservative. She is not a theocrat.

          Why shouldn’t Pat have said something? If you believe she is the only grassroots conservative concerned then you’re mistaken.

          • KD_fiscal conservative says:

            Question: How is the government legislating and regulating social policy based on the religious beliefs of some, Conservative in any shape, matter or form?

            • Every decision is based upon a set of moral values. That includes decisions regarding legislation.

              Of course, we could make all decisions on utilitarianism if you’re a Benthamite. Would you prefer that? And even the decision to do so is based on personal values.

  6. Howard Roark says:

    Something left out of this report that was in the SMN story:

    But that’s not how Mr. Cagle remembers their private chat.

    A Cagle spokesman said the lieutenant governor would never put port deepening into play to influence a vote. He also said Mr. Cagle remains firmly committed to the project, which will benefit the entire state.

    That’s reassuring. It also makes complete sense.

    Mr. Cagle has no legitimate reason to strip away the $104 million that the state has advanced for port deepening. It’s too important.

    • Archon says:

      Of course the LT Gov doesn’t remember it that way. And Bill Clinton didn’t know the definition of “is”. If what a paid mouth piece says reassures you ok but to me his behavior to regain power after the mess he made last year suggests he would absolutely threaten anything and anyone.

      Howard, Casey has lead the caucus into a pit he is the ox on the front of the cart laying in the ditch. The caucus has tried to right it self and he continues to try and insert himself where is not trusted, wanted, or needed.

      Casey seems to forget that he was not elected for being Casey he was elected because he wasn’t Ralph Reed.

  7. Tiberius says:

    If Cagle was going to promise something, we would promise something he could fulfill: pushing a Dem friendly map aint it. Deal wouldn’t sign it and the HOR wouldn’t pass it. The HOR would throw tradition aside and block it. I don’t believe the redistricing story.

  8. seenbetrdayz says:

    If the city of Savannah were to go ahead and deepen the river on its own, I wonder if Atlanta or Washington would even notice, or would they just keep bickering?

  9. Jane says:

    Savannah should fund it through a regional SPLOST vote. As a conservative I have no problem funding something as long as it is funded locally, has a reasonable budget, and is for a %$%#$ good reason.

    • B Balz says:

      Your comment is either ineptly or naive as it clearly lacks comprehension of the sheer cost of the project and how inadequately local funding would address same.

      • Clone Of B. Plyler says:

        Hold on there Mr. Prickly Neighbor. The cost is sheer, but if a trillion seconds = 32,ooo years then there’s a payment plan! The high hurdle for a local project would probably be the Corp of Engineers.

  10. As I mentioned last week on another post: Cagle will never win another statewide election in which he has a GOP Primary opponent – and I hope he’s primaried forever.

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