Pezold: Sam Moore Is Unique – Just Not The Way He Would Have You Believe

April 2, 2014 9:00 am

by Charlie · 22 comments

The following is a guest column written by Freshman Representative John Pezold. His opinions are his own, but strongly endorsed by the editor who is glad to post it:

Georgia State Representative Sam Moore (R-Ball Ground) has enjoyed quite a bit of press recently. While it began with his proposed bill to change restrictions on convicted sex offenders, much of what is being said about him is coming straight from the horse’s mouth. In his most recent newsletter, Rep. Moore proudly called himself “the most independent voice under the gold dome.” He went on to say,”In case you’re not aware, I’m the only representative who has not taken any lobbyist food, lobbyist money, or lobbyist gifts. Ever. Even a free Coke sitting in front of me during a long meeting, where I was both hungry and thirsty…I wouldn’t touch it. Lobbyist food and gifts are poison to me.”

On its face, the quote sounds admirable. Unfortunately, it is nothing more than a misrepresentation of facts to malign his colleagues while promoting himself. I can almost hear the narrator of this fictional drama in which he is the lead character. “Lone wolf defies the odds. In spite of tens of thousands of insider dollars contributed to his opponent, Sam did what no other candidate has ever done in the history of ever. And then proceeds to eschew all ‘perks’ when he gets there. He is a man who walks alone.” Cue the sad violin music and the lone tear falling down the cheek. It makes for a fantastic and compelling narrative, doesn’t it?

Hailing from Cherokee County, Representative Moore knows full well that not one, but two members of his own delegation, Michael Caldwell and Scot Turner, have politely refused all lobbyist donations and gifts. And there are others with similar standards. The difference is, Representatives Caldwell and Turner are simply living by the standard they chose without vilifying those who see things differently. Mr. Moore, on the other hand, infers that every other member is “poisoned” by lobbyist goodies. While Moore’s efforts to eliminate lobbyist influence from his own role as a legislator is commendable, he knows he is not alone in those efforts. Obviously, we have to guard against influence of any kind from anywhere, but denying ourselves a Coke during a long meeting does not relegate us to the status of martyr. It just leaves us thirsty.

Mr. Moore’s communications, along with those from Nathan Adams of Campaign For Liberty Georgia Gun Owners Georgia Taxpayers United, would have you believe that prior to his arrival in the Georgia General Assembly, no elected official in the history of politics has overcome $30,000 in ‘insider contributions’ to his opponent (or taken a stand against Obamacare, or supported the Second Amendment, or suggested rules changes regarding conference committee reports - but I digress). Once again, he isn’t telling the truth. Several of his colleagues have beaten well-funded incumbents, including me. His own delegation mate defeated a four-term incumbent in spite of over $100,000 of ‘insider money.’ My opponent raised almost $80k of ‘insider money.’ One of Moore’s closest allies, Representative Charles Gregory, was victorious in a similar situation. Defying the odds clearly didn’t affect all of us the same way.

It would have been easy for all of us who unseated well-funded incumbents to come in with chips on our shoulders. It probably would have felt really good to rub victory in people’s faces and live in bitterness as if the world was against us. To be honest, I understand that feeling. But once we were elected, our focus had to shift from the frustration of a hard-fought campaign to doing the best we could for the people of our districts. At the end of the day, this is not about us. It’s about the people we serve. It’s about the people who elected us.

Soon after I was elected, I heard the words “team player” fairly often. Part of me assumed that I would have to compromise myself or “check my principles at the door” to get anything done. Doing that may be the easy route to success, but it is certainly not required.  In many respects, politics is just like any other line of work. If we fail to treat people with respect, they won’t want to work with us making it tough to do business. Whether Representative Moore likes it or not, politics is a team sport. I suppose that’s why this whole situation puzzles me. Any of us can be successful if we are willing to put in the time and effort to build relationships rather than intentionally trying to destroy them. And for all the flack that Charles Gregory has taken the last two sessions, I will say this: I certainly don’t always agree with Representative Gregory, but I’ve always known him to be respectful of our disagreements. And he’s certainly not a liar. Judging by Mr. Moore’s antics in his first 20 legislative days, he has made it clear that he doesn’t want to play on anyone’s team. Not even those who agree with him most of the time.

In order to get a bill passed into law there are numerous hurdles that must be cleared. It must first maneuver the committee process. Then it must make it to the floor for a vote. Then it must gain 91 votes. Then it must maneuver the committee process in the Senate. Then it must make it to the Senate floor for a vote. Then it must garner 29 votes. Then it must be signed by the Governor. Clearing all of these hurdles is a complicated process. Is it more complicated than it needs to be? At times it is. But if you’re too busy throwing bombs to build relationships, the task is nearly impossible.

I could spend lots of time deconstructing absurd emails from candidates or outside groups pretending to be unbiased observers, but I’ll move on. In the business world and in politics, I have learned a few lessons. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. We have to treat people with respect regardless of differences of opinion. It’s just the decent thing to do. Swallowing our pride, admitting when we are wrong and asking for forgiveness is painful, but necessary. Last, and of equal importance, we can’t misrepresent ourselves to look like we are better than others. That is always a losing proposition. Obviously, we who serve in the General Assembly are not perfect men and women and we don’t always meet these standards. When that happens, it is crucial that people hold us accountable to be the kind of men and women worthy of leading our Great State.

While none of us is perfect, the overwhelming majority of the men and women with whom I serve in the Georgia House of Representatives are marked by a gracious and humble spirit. We sense the weight of the responsibility given to us by our constituents. Whether it’s ministry, politics, owning small business or any other profession dealing with the public, arrogance and ignorance are the perfect recipe for disaster. Humility and intellect produces the opposite. I sincerely pray that we all learn lessons from this and use those lessons to become better legislators, and more importantly, better people.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

J April 2, 2014 at 9:29 am

I don’t quite understand the point of this post. Was the intent just to talk bad about a current legislator? Who is the target audience? Is it the people in the Reps district? This is why the republican party continues the same policies because there is so much personal politics. Instead of talking about policy and how we move forward with conservative principles, we have a rep writing about another reps newsletter to his supporters. I get that many people do not like Rep Moore and perhaps for good reason, but cmon man, this seems like a complete waste of time and shows the dysfunction of the party and of government in general. Is that not what the author is professing to stop?

Patrick Mayer April 2, 2014 at 9:45 am

“I don’t quite understand the point of this post.” – Tells me everything I need to know about the drivel you typed after that statement.

Rick Day April 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Now that was a rather harsh, therefore trollish comment to make. Who are you working for supporting in that particular election? Everything s/he typed was a most valid criticism of the system as it exists today.

xdog April 2, 2014 at 9:36 am

If there isn’t a Campaign For Liberty Georgia Gun Owners Georgia Taxpayers United, there should be.

J, did you read this? “…arrogance and ignorance are the perfect recipe for disaster. Humility and intellect produces the opposite.” I believe that is Mr. Pezold’s point.

J April 2, 2014 at 9:44 am

Xdog,

I saw it at the end there, but it seems the whole post is contrary to that point by infighting with another rep on a public forum and for what? Who is he trying to persuade with this?

I do not have a dog in this fight besides being a Ga resident and continuously seeing inaction by our legislators when it comes to getting real things done under the dome and more time talking about each other out of the dome.

Patrick Mayer April 2, 2014 at 9:55 am

Didn’t you post in early February “Hope Sam Moore wins, he is a principled candidate.”?

For someone without “a dog in the fight” supporting someone in a very public forum is pretty odd.

J April 2, 2014 at 10:03 am

I meant that neither are my rep. Listen man, this is exactly what I am talking about, calling it drivel at the outset. I didn’t mean to offend you I just do not see the positive in one rep writing about another in such a way.

Patrick Mayer April 2, 2014 at 10:10 am

It is to inform those in the district, and in other parts of the state, that the subject of the letter is being dishonest with their constituents and the citizens of Georgia.

Sam Moore has embarrassed Georgia consistently since he was elected and a fellow Representative is trying to show that Moore is an anomaly and does not represent what the other public servants are doing down at the Gold Dome.

Rick Day April 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm

OK now keeping dossiers on political bloggers is downright creepy, Patrick. Unless, of course, you possess photographic memory. Doubt anyone in the GOP’s corner is THAT smart *ouch*

xdog April 2, 2014 at 10:24 am

I don’t have a problem when someone points out the obstinacy, self-righteousness, and general flat-headedness of another, whether it’s citizen to citizen or rep to rep. I wish direct challenges happened more often. That’s one answer.

Another is that Mr. Pezold probably hopes someday to get legislation passed that he and his constituents favor. By drawing a line between himself and the priggish nutter wing of the gagop, he makes clear he’s someone others can do business with. That’s politics. That’s the real business of the lege.

seenbetrdayz April 2, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Eh, you’ll soon come to find that Charlie’s main interest is promoting and defending status quo do-nothing republican leadership under the gold dome. It irritates him to no end that someone could come out of nowhere and win a seat that should have gone to a yes-man republican, and he will do everything in his power to smear dead horses, so he can feel as though he’s done his part to protect the Old Guard. Granted, Moore brought a lot of this on himself, as those who are most visible tend to make the easiest targets, but Charlie’s continued articles on the man read like a guy doing stand up comedy and thinks knock-knock jokes are still all-the-rage. —Bit late for the party.

Robin Wheeler April 3, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Well I don’t think that’s true. If Charlie supported rank and file on every issue, Peach Pundit would not exist. Maybe that’s your opinion, but others…not so much.

Patrick T. Malone April 2, 2014 at 9:59 am

It seems to me that Representative Pezold joins a modest list of current and hopefully future State Representatives who actually get the concept of “Public Service” and that it is possible to maintain your principles while working on solutions that benefit the voters who elected them and the taxpayers who pay them. Well said Representative Pezold.

Rick Day April 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm

In other words, he is willing to be anyone’s leadership lapdog as long as he can, after, oh, 20 years in office, be able to get his agenda moving. Or not.

Based on my observation of being on this blog for many years now, no one is satisfied with the status quo, yet you all continue to blindly support it. Because, you know….liberals

John Pezold April 2, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Interesting observation, Rick. Have a look at my voting record. I’m willing to bet that people in leadership weren’t thrilled when I voted against the Bed Tax bill last year (SB 24).
http://johnpezold.com/legislative_tracker/

Oh, and I’d rather pass a kidney stone than do this for 20 years. That’s why I term limited myself to 4 terms.

Thanks for reading though!

greencracker April 2, 2014 at 10:55 am

Bwahahaha! Pezold joins Abrams in the House Dramatist Caucus:

““Lone wolf defies the odds. In spite of tens of thousands of insider dollars contributed to his opponent, Sam did what no other candidate has ever done in the history of ever. And then proceeds to eschew all ‘perks’ when he gets there. He is a man who walks alone.” Cue the sad violin music and the lone tear falling down the cheek….”

Michael Silver April 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

I thought the free cokes where for everyone, including the public. Did that change?

I remember a Representative telling me where to go and got a couple without being challenged at all.

Stefan April 2, 2014 at 11:30 am

True, but I think the point he was making is that they aren’t paid for by the government, but by private entities (lobbyists), and taking money from private entities tends to corrupt. Which is why he thinks we should all work for the government. Unless I missed something.

Rick Day April 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

uh..what? How did you tie that next to last comment with anything remotely tied to Congressman Moore. Oops…premature, I know!

Coke© is symbolic of a large corporate system, it’s not a free can of water and chemicals. When one make this about a ‘can’ of Coke, you have already lost the high road.

Rick Day April 2, 2014 at 4:24 pm

So what the hell are you going to do when Moore gets re-elected in the primary? Continue to deny the people of Cherokee County representation, while still demanding their taxes?

You are still going to see him. He is going to remember these people who went out of their way to publicly humiliate him. If he fades away it is not due to the will of the people, it is by whim of Leadership. Pardon me for saying F*ck that.

How convenient it must be for the GOP to move their scruples around when it suits the moment.

saltycracker April 2, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Well said Rep. Pezold. We had hoped to see a far right rep that plays hard and respectfully. When any leader is ego driven and acts like the chosen one, look out, we will soon be wacked by the stick we handed him. The tough outcome in May is most likely a potential strong right winger gone rogue will be traded for a RINO.

ieee April 9, 2014 at 2:01 pm

It is too bad that John Pezold shot his credibility in just his second sentence when he said “sex offenders”. It is inaccurate and misleading to say that Moore was attempting to “change restrictions on convicted sex offenders”.

The only way that Moore’s law could have changed restrictions on convicted sex offenders is if it is legal for anyone who is not listed on a Sex Offender Registry to loiter in schools, day cares, etc. And I still don’t know if any non-Registered person can loiter or not but I can’t believe that they can. So the whole “sex offender” thing was just moot and the only reason people like Pezold say it is to mislead and inflame.

If Pezold thinks the Moore issue was about “sex offenders” then I have to assume that he thinks it is okay for people who have shot children in schools with guns to loiter in schools, day cares, etc. I know that he thinks those people are not dangerous because we don’t have a Registry for them. Only “sex offenders” are dangerous and remain so forever.

As far as “relationships” are concerned, perhaps politicians should concentrate solely on the contents of laws and not worry about relationships and who is and isn’t a Republican, Democrat, or whatever.