Jim Galloway On Paybacks

March 29, 2012 9:33 am

by Charlie · 29 comments

Jim wrote the column I was planning on writing today.  He got there first, so mine was changed quite a bit.  There are a couple of themes here that will be revisited during the off season, which is also, conveniently, the campaign season.

On Josh McKoon and his quixotic quest for ethics reform:

“It was bad enough that McKoon, a rookie finishing out his first term, was one of the few Republican lawmakers to side with those who think that members of the Legislature ought not to accept gifts worth more than $100 or so.

But McKoon may have gone a step too far. When this newspaper noted last week that a new report judged Georgia to have the weakest anti-corruption laws in the nation, McKoon pushed out a photo of the front page headline via Twitter.

On Tuesday, the Senate Rules Committee gutted a measure sponsored by McKoon that merely paired a few lawmakers with citizens interested in tougher ethics laws to form a study committee. The civilians were stripped from the committee, and membership reshuffled to eliminate McKoon – a member of Common Cause at home.

“We wanted senior members of the Legislature to be on it,” explained Don Balfour, R-Snellville, chairman of the rules committee. And he saw no need for outsiders to be involved.

And on Georgia Right To Life, and their inability to compromise with anyone who will disagree with them, and their inability to, not so coincidentally, get any of their legislation passed:

Cooper is chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, trained in a Catholic hospital and has taught obstetric nursing. She walked out of the vote for HB 954, the anti-abortion bill. The measure lacked an exception for rape and incest, which she might have tolerated. But it also omitted an exception for pregnancies in which the fetus has no chance of survival.

(After passage by the House, the Senate addressed Cooper’s concern for “medically futile” pregnancies, but the amended bill is now stalled.)

“What these groups forget is – they think that all districts reflect how they are,” Cooper said. The suburbs of metro Atlanta aren’t the bastions of Republicans that they once were. Rick Santorum finished third in her district in this month’s presidential primary.

“I’m probably more conservative than my district, because I am pro-life,” she said. Cooper, a 16-year veteran of the Legislature, doesn’t like to be threatened, but she’s also steamed because she sees her Republican party losing touch with the political center.

Consider this a primer for an ongoing discussion that we’ll be having around here.

John Vestal March 29, 2012 at 9:38 am

Is a live blog going to be running here today? Bueller?

John Vestal March 29, 2012 at 11:01 am
Calypso March 29, 2012 at 9:44 am

Balfour is a dick.

cheapseats March 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

I would be happy if he was the only one that fit that description.

So very, very done with political parties. Can anybody honestly argue that we’re any better off with single party rule under Republicans than we were with single party rule under the Dems?

We just changed the focus of the dickishness – without any benefit to any of those pesky citizens.

For all you “strict constitutionalists” – where is there any requirement to have political parties? Why do we allow them to control our government?

Charlie March 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

Without arguing the merits, can we clean up the language just a bit? We’re a “family” blog. Which means, just because your uncle is a dick doesn’t mean you should call him that at Sunday dinner.

Calypso March 29, 2012 at 10:30 am

Apologies for my exceedingly apt, though off-color, description of the waste legally known as Don Balfour, but more commonly referred to by considerably less polite names.

Please feel free to insert a more tasteful, though less descriptive, euphemism in its stead.

cheapseats March 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I was too caught up and using the language of the poster to whom I was replying. That’s no excuse and I offer my apologies and humbly accept the proffered “Do Better” card.

Romegaguy March 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm

You cant call someone a d&#$ but it is ok to say that a Supreme Court Justice like to fornicate with goats. Got it.

Ken March 29, 2012 at 10:20 am

‘Strict Constitutionalists’ would rightly argue that parties are not expressly prohibited so they are allowed. That’s how the Constitution works.

In addition, parties are used because they are vastly more efficient and effective in winning elections than individuals running. That’s simply how it is and I’m sure you can work out the reasons for yourself and I’m too pressed for time to list them.

cheapseats March 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

No argument about “that’s simply how it is” – and I doubt anybody would argue that we’ve become a nation of simpletons so we’ll continue to support the status quo because change is really hard ya’ know. Besides, who has time to think all this stuff through with the new seasons of Top Chef and American Idol?

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it is broke, let somebody else worry about fixing it.

We are a proud people.

Cassandra March 30, 2012 at 8:51 am

So sayeth the Lumbees, “We are a proud people.”

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm

“For all you “strict constitutionalists” – where is there any requirement to have political parties? Why do we allow them to control our government?”

You’re right, there is no requirement to have political parties, we “allow” them to control our government because in a way they’re like a union, they make sure all the money flows through them. The political parties are basically just one big financial racket as we’ve witnessed first hand in the Georgia General Assembly for time immemorial.

Ken March 29, 2012 at 10:16 am

Josh McKoon is one of the good guys – and while some GOP officials may not like his ideas on ethics reform, there are a couple of things to remember:

1 – McKoon is right.
2 – McKoon’s legislation would have stopped the Democrats from using ethics as an issue.

Now, Democrats have an issue. I believe legislators overlook ethics as a driving force, but I still believe it was THE driving force in the GOP gains in the US House in 1994. Don’t underestimate people’s grasp of the basic ideas of justice and fairness.

John Vestal March 29, 2012 at 10:22 am

Agree on Josh McKoon. He’s not always right (see: Sunday sales) but he has a pretty good batting average, relatively speaking.

CobbGOPer March 29, 2012 at 10:30 am

What everybody is forgetting is that Karen Handel ran on ethics as well, against a guy with visible ethics problems, and still couldn’t win. What makes you think the Democrats will do any better with it?

I think a part of the reason – perhaps sub-consciously – that the GOP leadership seem to have a tin ear lately is because they saw the election of “Raw” Deal as a signal that voters weren’t paying as much attention to ethics and didn’t really care so long as they were working to improve the local economy. And the economy is improving somewhat, but not fast enough to deflect from the ‘let them eat cake’ attitude the GOP has taken of late.

Ken March 29, 2012 at 11:40 am

I believe you’re misreading voter motivations. The run-off in the governor’s race was not a one-issue contest.

Ethics will likely be an issue in the legislative elections, though the GOP is in no danger yet. Besides, what else to Democrats have to run on?

CobbGOPer March 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Oh, I forgot, that runoff was also about how Karen was a secret lesbian, excuse me for my absentmindedness.

chamblee54 March 29, 2012 at 11:33 am

While Georgia can make rules about abortion, ultimately it is a federal issue. What happens under the gold dome is not going to save any unborn chirren. What fussing about abortion will do is take attention away from ethics legislation, or lack thereof. While the parliament of whores is wailing about the unborn, “SOMEBODY” is scraping the gold off the dome.
http://chamblee54.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/gold-dome-follies/

Calypso March 29, 2012 at 11:43 am

“While the parliament of whores is wailing about the unborn, “SOMEBODY” is scraping the gold off the dome.”

How DARE you call that body a parliament.

chamblee54 March 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm

My bad. It is really a funkadelic.
I also apologize to any sex worker who was offended by this comment.
chamblee54

Harry March 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Don’t worry, they’re not easily offended. All flavors of whores are preparing to exit the city.

Harry March 30, 2012 at 12:43 am

The abortionist whores lost the battle. Some babies’ lives will be spared.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 30, 2012 at 2:09 am

“Some babies’ lives will be spared.”

Maybe. But not very many as there are very few, if any, elective abortions performed after 20 weeks.

Virtually all abortions performed after 20 weeks are due to high-risk or medically futile pregnancies where either the health and/or life of the mother are at-risk or the fetus has a fatal defect (no lungs, no heart, etc) and may well be stillborn or live a very short and painful time after birth.

What’s very disturbing is that there were no exceptions for rape and incest in the bill which, to the everyday cynic who has any knowledge of this lawmaking body’s history of ethical challenges, seems to have been intentionally left-out so as to either invite an unlikely possible veto from Governor Deal or a legal challenge (which is more likely) so as to make work for and create some career opportunities for our highly-esteemed legislators’ peers in the law profession.

HB 954 wasn’t about “saving lives”, it was about attempting to create a distraction from the Legislature’s obvious ethical shortcomings while turning-out the GOP’s base of socially-conservative voters, which is especially true for the bill’s author, former Democrat-recently- turned-Republican Doug McKillip of Athens, who desperately needs the religious base of the GOP to turnout in his favor in the fall elections to act as a hedge against possible payback from disgrunted Democrats in his district who feel betrayed by his defection to the GOP.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 30, 2012 at 3:00 am

Since there are virtually no elective abortions performed after 20 weeks and this bill contains exceptions for the life and health of the mother and medically-futile pregnancies, this bill actually does nothing more than bans abortions resulting rape and incest after 20 weeks since the the bill contains no exceptions for rape and incest.

This bill does virtually NOTHING to cut down on the number of elective abortions since virtually all elective abortions are performed before 2o weeks (most doctors won’t even perform elective abortions after 20 weeks unless they’re some kind of quack or something).

Wow! What an accomplishment. The Legislature basically spent all that time banning nothing.

Keep up the good work, Georgia General Assembly!

Smoke and mirrors…smoke and mirrors…

Calypso March 30, 2012 at 8:04 am

LDIG, please refrain from interjecting facts and reality into the pandering indignation and chest/bible-thumping of those legislators supporting this abominable bill.

Harry March 30, 2012 at 8:40 am

It is worthwhile if just one life is saved, but consider that another purpose is to place more and more stringent regulations on the abortion “procedure” resulting in court challenges and hopefully causing a future Supreme Court to revisit the issue of whether one human has the right to take the life of another under any circumstances.

CobbGOPer March 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm

“…causing a future Supreme Court to revisit the issue of whether one human has the right to take the life of another under any circumstances.”

And yet I would bet $100 that you’re in favor of capitol punishment, right?

Harry March 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm

…”whether one human has the right to take the life of an innocent person under any circumstances”

Cassandra March 30, 2012 at 8:53 am

Perhaps a powerful man’s vision of more substantive and less pol symbolic Bills will be the order next Session. I hope so.

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