Why The TEA Party May Have Committed Hara-Kiri With Their Opposition To Speaker Ralston, And Why It’s Not A Big Deal.

May 22, 2014 13:04 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 124 comments

Let me preface this post with this: I always hesitate to write about my colleagues in the House, especially about Speaker Ralston, because it’s easy for some to dismiss what I say by assuming either I was forced to write the post, or that I’m trying to curry favor. Neither of those things are true, and I hope folks will read this with an open mind.

As you folks know, Debbie Dooley, Ray Boyd, and other TEA Party people from around Georgia campaigned hard against House Speaker David Ralston. You also now know that their efforts fell flat as Ralston won 65% of the vote on Tuesday (for more on how the TEA Party fared Tuesday, read Jon’s post). The entire episode has left me puzzled.

The Georgia Integrity Project, the organization responsible for the attack campaign on Ralston was formed a couple of years ago to be “the conservative alternative to Organizing For America.” OFA, as readers of this blog will know, is the huge grassroots organization that helped propel President Obama to two national election victories. It seems GIP has changed it’s mission from being a grassroots organizing organization to being an attack dog organization. Since they’ve filed no campaign disclosures we have no idea who is paying for all this, nor do we know how much money they have raised and spent.

What we do know, according to a recent email from the group, is that the war against Ralston will now go statewide, no doubt as part of an effort to pressure House members to do what they failed to do this past Tuesday, namely remove Ralston from the Speaker-ship. The good news for you is the politics of personal destruction is coming to your TV screen and answering machine soon.

Last summer several TEA Party groups conservative groups, including TEA Party organizations, requested a meeting with members of the House GOP Caucus at our annual retreat. I and about a dozen of my colleagues attended. The purpose of the meeting was supposed to be how House members and the TEA Party these groups could work together and set aside the friction which had previously existed. If you haven’t noticed, TEA Party leadership rarely has much nice to say about GOP members of the House, especially Speaker Ralston. This has always been puzzling to me because we’re pretty dang conservative in the House. To characterize the House as a bunch of RINOs and the Senate and a bunch of conservatives simply isn’t accurate – not saying the Senate are RINOs, just saying we in the House aren’t either. I attended the meeting hoping to make progress on that issue and left the meeting feeling like progress had indeed been made.

I don’t feel that way anymore. Many of the TEA Party representatives who were in the meeting that day campaigned against Ralston in his district.  Others in attendance representing other conservative groups did not campaign against the Speaker.

I think right now relations between rank and file members of the House and organized TEA Party groups around the state are at an all time low. Why? In addition to the scorched earth campaign against Ralston let me show you the text of a question I asked Debbie Dooley on Facebook recently (I never got an answer):

Debbie Dooley here’s why I’m confused: We had this year perhaps the best legislative session for conservatives in the four years I’ve been in office. We passed a major 2nd Amendment rights bill, we passed the toughest anti-Obamacare piece of legislation in the nation, we took away the Governor’s ability to expand medicaid without legislative approval, we passed three article V convention items (I know you support at least one of them), we passed a delegate limitation act to prevent even the remote possibility of a runaway convention, and we sent to the voters a Georgia constitutional amendment preventing there to EVER be an income tax increase in Georgia. We did all this and several other good things and all I hear from you is a quote from NPR in Atlanta saying liberal Democrat Jason Carter voted right this year. Then you go create a “wall of shame” to blacklist anyone who attended a campaign event for the Speaker and call two of Georgia’s most solidly conservative House members “insiders” who have been “co-opted.” You publicly said last year I was not a friend of the tea party because I was too close to Speaker Ralston. I don’t understand where your rage against House conservatives comes from, especially after we all met last summer to talk about how we (conservative members of the House and Tea Party folks) could work together? What went wrong?

Most of the legislation I mentioned above were initiated in the House, but all should be things that warm the hearts of TEA Party folks everywhere. Why then was this the year they decided to unleash a well funded, highly negative campaign filled with personal attacks against Speaker Ralston? I just don’t get it and I think it has done great damage, perhaps even fatal damage, to the organized TEA Party movement here in Georgia.

Why do I say that? Two main reasons: first of all, the people who know Ralston best decided to reject the claims made by the Georgia Integrity Project and reelect him overwhelmingly. But also for another important reason: By attacking Ralston and if I’m right and they are poised to go after House members who support Ralston, they are effectively declaring war on the entire House Republican Caucus, all 119 of us. What is the purpose of this war and where will it end up? I don’t know the purpose but I can tell you where it will end up: David Ralston will remain Speaker and they will lose.

The sad thing is, none of this needs to happen. There is no need for a war with the House GOP Caucus. There was no need for a campaign against David Ralston. As shown above in the question I asked Ms. Dooley, the House has passed plenty of good, TEA Party friendly legislation. The kind of legislation the TEA Party wants is what most Republicans want too so why are we fighting? Furthermore, the culture of the Legislature is changing, and quickly. The days of Legislators bragging about how much pork they being home have been gone for years. The days of people getting elected for life are gone as well. There are many other internal improvements that have been made before and during my time in the House. Perhaps most importantly, guys like me and my friends on the more conservative side of the GOP political continuum can propose bills, and if we can make a compelling argument our bills will move through the Legislative process and for the most part rise or fall on their own merit. All of this should be interpreted as good news for TEA Party folks but for reasons I can’t grasp, they’re not.

The truth of the matter is in Georgia, and around the nation, the TEA Party is now another group in the broader GOP coalition, as Ben Domenech says better than I can:

Over the past five years, the Tea Party’s agenda and efforts have been subsumed into the larger Republican mantras in a number of ways. Their movement is now effectively one more chunk of the Republican base – and just as different candidates appeal to different factions (social conservatives, defense hawks, small business), the Tea Party’s priorities are heeded or ignored to different degrees. McConnell’s approach has been to sound the gong on all sorts of Tea Party issues this election season, and this has been the approach adopted by several others as well – Thom Tillis was full-throated on the Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, Jack Kingston and David Perdue did their best to depict themselves as having an affinity to the more palatable aspects of the Tea Party agenda, and Monica Wehby made Obamacare issue number one for her campaign.

To a certain extent, McConnell, Eric Cantor, and other establishment figures are conceding a key premise of the Tea Party’s complaint: that the Republican status quo is unacceptable, that it’s damaged in a fundamental way, and needs a serious overhaul in order to win.

Again, the things Domenech says should be interpreted as good news by TEA Party folks.

So folks in organized TEA Parties here in Georgia have a choice: follow the Georgia Integrity Project and the others in the “destroy Ralston” movement over the cliff, or pull back and continue to build on the successes they’ve had. It doesn’t matter to me because the important issues the original TEA Party movement brought to the forefront have traction, and will continue to have traction whether they work with us or not.

{ 124 comments… read them below or add one }

GaConservative23 May 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Amen.

I’ll never understand how TEA Party members can look at the Georgia Legislature and not be happy with the conservative legislation they’ve passed. It’s baffling.

Baker May 22, 2014 at 2:53 pm

My perspective: it all goes back to ethics. No one believes real progress has been made on that side of things, whatever limited legislation has been passed means more has gone under the table and outside of the Gold Dome. The ethics commission still hasn’t been anywhere close to fixed and an all-expenses paid trip to Europe (where they must’ve dined with Angela Merkel considering the cost of it) from lobbyists is unforgiveable. Maybe there are details here that you are aware of that make it seem better but for a lot of us rubes in the public, the impression we have is that Georgia’s ethics situation is still a pit. That’s all it is. That’s why I voted against Nathan Deal. That’s why these folks campaigned against David Ralston.

seekingtounderstand May 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm

When the story broke about David Ralstons trip to Europe, I called his office and spoke to one of his staff. I pleaded that we needed to raise our ethics standards at the state capital and give the folks leadership to believe in. With the democrats pushing their agenda thru at the fed level, it would be a great selling point for Georgia to be known as a place with great conservative leadership. People will get tired of corruption and we will return to democrat ruled state again if we don’t. With a one party state you can just about do as you please.
The staff member I talked to was polite but thought it was funny that I called.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm

“My perspective: it all goes back to ethics. No one believes real progress has been made on that side of things”

…Well stated, Baker.

The belief that no real progress has been made on ETHICS is the main reason that the Tea Party is and will continue to stay hot on the cases of the GOP.

Other reasons that the Tea Party will continue to stay on the GOP’s case is to ensure that the party adheres to the Conservative and Libertarian values of small government and limited spending.

Buzz, you know that I respect you, both as a politician and as a human being. But your missive asking why the Tea Party movement remains on your case as legislators and as a party basically amounts to desperately begging the Tea Party movement to leave you and your colleagues alone.

Now I don’t necessarily like, approve or condone the nasty personal attacks that went on in GOP primaries when the establishment and incumbents were challenged by Tea Party candidates on their right flanks, particularly in the Ralston-Snider race, but it’s not the Tea Party movement’s job to leave you alone.

It’s the Tea Party movement’s job to keep the GOP establishment honest by continuously hounding the GOP establishment into staying true to the Conservative and Libertarian principles that this nation was founded and built upon.

If the Tea Party Movement has to get nasty to ensure that the GOP doesn’t stray far away from those bedrock Conservative and Libertarian principles like it did during the George W. Bush administration, then so be it. There’s nothing wrong with making establishment incumbents like Speaker Ralston have to get up off of their duffs and do some hard work to stay accountable to the voters.

By asking (or begging) the Tea Party movement to leave you and your GOP colleagues alone, you are basically asking the Tea Party to no longer hold you strictly accountable to the voters who put you guys in office.

The Tea Party’s candidates may not have necessarily won many races, but the Tea Party as a whole has scored a major victory during the GOP Primary season by making the GOP establishment be much more accountable to the voting public.

There’s nothing wrong with politicians having to do just a little bit of hard work to stay in the offices that they were elected to by the voters.

Baker May 22, 2014 at 3:58 pm

To be fair, and correct me if I’m wrong here Buzz, I don’t think he was begging them to leave them alone, I think it’s more he doesn’t want them to become irrelevant based upon picking the wrong battles and losing credibility.

Buzz Brockway May 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Correct.

And, when you disagree with something, don’t hold a press conference calling us all RINOs.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 22, 2014 at 7:28 pm

You may not like it and it may not be pleasant for you personally when a Tea Party-affiliated legislator holds a press conference calling you all RINOs, but that approach, as undesirable as it may be, certainly seemed to be effective in motivating the Georgia Legislature to pass the important anti-Obamacare legislation that it tried to pan in the waning days of the 2014 Georgia General Assembly.

Charlie May 22, 2014 at 9:28 pm

As someone who has been known to hold a broad brush…

Let me be clear on what that does. It draws some public opinion to the problem. Some.

Those same people who weren’t paying attention blame everyone, and often the wrong ones.

As such, the electeds who know that the scalp that is taken may not (and likely won’t be) from the actual transgressor(s), close ranks.

And it makes the problem harder, not easier, to solve.

Problems require solutions, based in policy and reason.

Gathering torches and pitchforks only results in the good and the bad joining together for mutually beneficial self-defense. Which they are usually very good at.

And then the cycle of status quo continues.

seenbetrdayz May 23, 2014 at 5:55 am

Problems require solutions, based in policy and reason.

I guess now would be a bad time to quote George Washington when he said:

“Government is not eloquence. It is not reason. It is force.”

Raleigh May 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Let me get this straight

1. We passed a major 2nd Amendment rights bill
2. We passed the toughest anti-Obamacare piece of legislation in the nation.
3. We passed three article V convention items
4. We passed a delegate limitation act to prevent even the remote possibility of a runaway convention

Did any of these things actually,

1. Reduce the size of STATE government? ( Was at least 1 department eliminated?)
2. Eliminate not just reduce a STATE tax such as Income taxes or any STATE tax at all?
3. Eliminate any STATE required professional license or any STATE regulation at all.

Maybe a new definition of the term “Conservative” is needed since the definition of the term seems to be in question. I favor Reductionist, A person dedicated to reducing the size and scope of government by reducing or eliminating Departments, Taxes, and Regulations. That should clear things up.

Just for full disclosure I am NOT a member of any Tea Party or similar group.

Baker May 22, 2014 at 3:02 pm
mattk May 22, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Yes, the second amendment bill did a lot of things, but as to your list it…

Removed the requirement of Firearm Dealers to obtain a state firearm’s dealer license. July 1st there will only be the federal one.

Expanded firearm preemption so that it covers state departments and authorities. July 1st no state department or authority can regulate firearms (unless specifically stated in the law).

While it is not a tax, it also removed the requirement to get get fingerprinted on renewal which will cut the cost of a carry license in half for those renewing.

Working with Ralston got those things passed. The Senate tried to kill the bill and with the help of Ralston, the bill got passed.

Ellynn May 22, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Help me out here, why should we eliminate state professional licensing?

Baker May 22, 2014 at 5:13 pm

It doesn’t need to be completely eliminated but for instance, do all these jobs need to have state require licenses?

https://explorer.dol.state.ga.us/mis/current/cerliccurrent.pdf

Animal control workers? You can either catch ‘em or not.
Landscaper and groundskeeper?
Interior designer? If people like your taste and what not, why should you have to pay $500ish dollars to the state and a bunch more for required education to be an interior designer.
Barbers and hairstylists? Do you realize how expensive/difficult/hoops you have to jump through to become one of these?
Manicurist/nail technician? “Complete a 525 hour course of at least 4 months at a board approved school, or serve as an apprentice in a beauty shop or beauty salon for a period of at least 1050 credit hours” There are girls all over the state who have been doing this their whole lives for free and could jump right into but alas, the state requires the above and more to be able to do it for a living.

Many more examples abound.

caroline May 22, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Barbers and hairstylists should be licensed because of health concerns. You can spread all kinds of diseases styling hair if you don’t know what you are doing. The same for manicurists. I guess you don’t know that if they don’t have standards that they can spread diseases too. You apparently don’t realize that being a manicurist is more than just putting on nail polish these days.

But interior designer? No reason for that but why not unlicense real estate agents? What’s the deal with them having to have a license? As far as groundskeepers well, that would mostly depend on whether they handled chemicals from my POV. I sure would not want someone dumping chemicals who didn’t know what they were doing.

Ellynn May 22, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Unlike an Interior Decorator who makes sure all your pillows tastefully match your sofa and does not need to go to school to learn how to put the right colored vase on the correct shelf of the den she just charged you a fortune to ‘redo’, Interior Designers are allowed to pull down non-structural walls in buildings, basic code upgrades to commerical spaces and change the path egress. They work mainly in commerical projects, not residentual. They make sure the wall covering pasted all over your office has a Class B flame spread, and that new door has impact glass on the pannel, and a handle that can be used by your assistant from his wheel chair… and that is all looks tasteful while doing so…

Baker May 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Almost all of these should be best standards and practices ensured by the business owner, and some kind of certification from a trade association maybe. Government doesn’t need to be involved.

caroline May 23, 2014 at 8:05 pm

You obviously have never dealt with a trade organization. Their goals are to restrict the flow of people into their profession to keep the salaries up of the people currently in the profession.

Baker May 24, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I dont disagree with you but can’t you see how some of these licensing requirements also do the same thing and are often put in place by lobbyists of said trade association. Government doesn’t need to be involved in many of these professions.

Sherena Arrington May 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Sen. Ligon was able to get the fines substantially reduced on barbers and hairstylists. These businesses in his district were being fined (on first offenses) up to $500.00 without any warnings to correct the situation. SB 336 and SB 337 have at least offered these businesses the relief they need from bureaucratic bully tactics.

Baker May 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Also, I didn’t mention this, but a good deal of the time, professional associations and such lobby state legislatures to get these requirements in place to keep out competition and keep prices up. That’s ridiculous and a great example of how we don’t really a free market in the U.S.

Raleigh May 22, 2014 at 9:01 pm
Raleigh May 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm

About 2 years ago the state added “Music Therapist” to the list of required state licenses. Maybe they can help get Dueling Banjos out of head each time the legislature is in session.

All kidding aside why should the state do this when many of the professions can be covered by national trade associations?

Three Jack May 23, 2014 at 8:23 am

Exactly Raleigh! It would seem the legislators spent time trying to appease a certain element within the party so they can toot horns claiming to be ‘conservative’ (whatever that means). But their misguided efforts resulted in passage of useless legislation while more critical issues were ignored…again.

The Tea Party began because a CNBC reporter went on a rant about debt/deficits and government spending. It has strayed far from that initial set of ideals due to poor management caused by a very loose leadership structure. Unfortunately much of the TP leadership is made up of the old anti-abortion clan who understand how to organize and raise money, but needed a new cause. Voila, let’s pander to the fiscal conservatives, they’re pissed and have more money to donate!

seekingtounderstand May 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Would like to ask if the Tea Party is just a group “made up in order to control the debate” move by our GOP? We are a one party state and have been for over 100 years. One party controls Atlanta and one party controls the rest of GA.
When I listen to what the Tea Party says at meetings and in the news…………….just makes me wonder. Anybody else wonder if the Tea Party is controlled by the GOP in order to control elections?
Tea Party if you really wanted to get your guys elected you should have focused on the
Used Car Tax and Toll roads and is Common Core a way for big data to gather information on our kids and then perhaps sell that information later…………….but you didn’t which makes me think you are a fake organization working for…………….we can only guess.

Lawton Sack May 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

To answer your questions: no the GOP does not control the TEA Party nor did they create the TEA Party.

seekingtounderstand May 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm

But they sure do use the Tea Party, when everyone knows the folks who claim to be the tea party reps don’t have much support. If you ever go to one of their events on an issue like TSPLOST you see it.

objective May 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

some ppl will always find something to complain about, and complain loudly.
the political strategist you quote seems to realize what’s been apparent to many already – that the tea party faithful is just a small bloc, many of whom like to argumentatively yell a relatively extreme and impractical agenda. so- candidates and official can extrapolate and honor the reasonable principles and practical policies to get the most votes from the bloc while not losing the rest of the 90%.
the georgia groups got it best when they focused on ethics.

seekingtounderstand May 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Would someone from PeachPundit to answer a question about the Kingston vs. Perdue race.
The one tie they both have in common is the GA Port……………….granted this is one of the most important pieces to our state economy but it makes me wonder what deals are at stake. Must be big?
Most of the common folk I talked to voted for Karen Handel or their old congressman.
But when I asked insiders working for our government they always said Kingston or Perdue.
Wish I knew more of what is going on with the port and how important it is to our State.
We could use some good news.

Baker May 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm
Charlie May 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm

This is called a thread jack, has nothing to do with Buzz’s post, and you’ve been around long enough that if you were really seaking to understand you would know better.

Any additional responses to your question will be deleted. Take it to an open thread, which as a reminder, all Morning Reads are open threads.

SpaceCaptain May 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm

My problem with the modern Tea Party is that they let people ruin what was a great grass roots effort with a strong singular focus. It bubbled up and spread like a prairie fire bringing conservatives, libertarians, and independents to a cause they all cared about, a growing federal government and out of control spending. What has it become? A splintered, fractured group of cranks that are in it for their own self edification. What is their focus? Well, that is a good question and I don’t have a great answer. It seems they are all over the map and that map is not limited to raising hell at the local and state levels and trying to oust conservative Republicans they don’t like for various and sundry reasons. Time for some sanity, time for the adults to re-enter the room and bring back some focus. I have a theory about our local Tea Party folks and I think it is true for our State and across the country where we are seeing the same kind of antics. They are frustrated, like many of us are with the way things are going in Washington and they have had limited success in making change there. We can get into their choices for U.S. Senate candidates for now 3 election cycles at another time. That said, the game has not changed up there so they have shifted focus. That focus is now on State and Local governments that are all required to have balanced budgets. They don’t print money down at the State Capitol or at your local County Headquarters or City Hall. So what now? Will they find their way, will they continue the death spiral? Like I said, I don’t have the answer, I just know what they are doing is not working.

seenbetrdayz May 23, 2014 at 5:52 am

I think it makes more sense to start local, actually, and perhaps they should have done that to start with. I realized one reason we can’t get any decent reps going for us at the federal level when I saw the nonsense that occurred at the 2012 convention. When party leadership can pull a resolution because the vote isn’t gonna go their way, we have serious problems at the state level which will continuously serve as obstacles to changing anything at the Fed. level.

Romegaguy May 22, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Buzz I think the problem with some Tea party types is they are more interested in the ME party.

Charlie May 22, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Someone wanted to buy a vowel so they sold the “A” and traded the “T” even for an “M”.

saltycracker May 23, 2014 at 7:44 am

Pogo Possum recognized the ME First party long ago, in a South Georgia swamp, in a flat boat.

Dave Bearse May 22, 2014 at 11:16 pm

There isn’t any objective data to support the statement: “The days of people getting elected for life are gone as well” unless you include incumbents choosing not to run or those seeking higher/another office and not being elected.

There’s what, about one-two dozen out of 236 General Assembly seats that are competitive party-wise? (My definition of competitive being 54-46 or closer.) That’s 5%-10%. Which means the primary winner, if there’s even a primary challenge, in a non-competitive district is a very strong favorite to win.

Drop down from the general to primaries, the only real potential competition for 90%+ of the seats, and look at this week’s numbers:

Senate: Only 13 incumbents in primaries, less than a quarter of the seats (not that all incumbents are running of course). Nine of those 13 incumbents won decisively with 60% or more. That leaves Dugan, Balfour, Murphy and Thompson. Dugan won 55-45. Balfour is a special circumstance. Murphy is in a runoff—and his circumstance is arguably extraordinary. The only clean loss was a Thompson’s bare wire 49-51 (154 votes).

House: Only 35 incumbents in primaries, less than a fifth of the seats. 28 won with 56% or more. 4 of the other 7 were two squeakers winning with 52 and 51, and two runoffs where there was daylight between the incumbent and runnerup, meaning the incumbent has a good chance of winning the runoff. That leaves special circumstance Moore and Gregory losses, and Talton’s 46-54 loss the latter the only clean loss.

Thus far only two (Thompson and Talton) haven’t made the cut out of what I’d estimate to be 170 incumbents running for re-election, excluding Balfour, Moore and Gregory. The days of running and being re-elected for life are as alive as they ever were.

Baker May 23, 2014 at 12:00 am

“The days of running and being re-elected for life are as alive as they ever were.”

Yes. And this makes real solutions that much harder to get to. Primary voters are the hardcore of each respective party & if a district is for sure going to go for one party, primaries will just push politicians to the extremes. I don’t know what the answer to this is but it’s a huge problem. Could Iowa an example? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iowa_congressional_districts

And yes, I know the Feds have a large say in all this but none-the-less that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem.

Dave Bearse May 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Baker, a bunch that has already back being fed by special interests after so-called ethics reform isn’t going to let someone else control the seat arrangement at the table.

I have the consolation of residence in House 81 and Senate 42. Fran MillarS-42 is more than as reasonable a Republican as could be expected in a safe seat. (Sorry Fran if it being said is detrimental, but it being detrimental instead of an advantage is part of the problem.)
81 is among those one-two dozen competitive districts in the state.

I’m late for dinner, but will comment in more detail on the gerrymander and one of its pernicious effects on leadership in the near future.

John Konop May 23, 2014 at 6:37 am

I like and respect Debbie Dooley and consider her a friend…..through the years we have been together and on opposite sides on many issues….As many of you know I have defended Debbie when I thought the attacks have become personal in nature over real debate on issues….

Also I have never met Speaker Ralston as I have said numerous times on this blog…..many of you know I was one of the first to defend him when once again the attacks seemed personal over real issues….I do think that Debbie made a mistake with this situations as with other, Tea Party leadership….We saw this support of attack style candidates over substance backfired in Cherokee County as well…..

I think it is time for cooler heads…I do think we need to focus on what we agree on not the spewing..ie improving transportation, medical pot…..The agenda should always be about solving problems first…btw nothing is a 100 percent solution….but we must move the ball forward.

debbie0040 May 23, 2014 at 10:58 am

Rep. Brockway, you are clearly trying to position yourself to move up in House Leadership with your post.

GA Integrity Project consists of many groups and we have a 6 month education project about David Ralston and others. The election in the 7th was merely a vehicle to make public negative things about Speaker Ralston. We didn’t even began running ads until 3 weeks out.The plan continues in the rest of the state. We plan on bringing out more information about Speaker Ralston’s bank loan and there are even more cases of his abuse of legislative leave.

David Ralston had never been challenged since he has been Speaker. Sam Snider came from 12% to garner 35% of the vote in the district. 30% of the voters in Ralston’s home county of Fannin rejected him and wanted someone else to represent them and 40% in Gilmer County rejected him. Understand that they wanted to trade in having a very powerful Speaker of the House represent them for a novice legislator. Ralston out spent Snider 15-1. Snider was a novice in running for political office. Ralston people were projecting late Tuesday afternoon that the Speaker would win with 80 % of the vote. They fell short. Snider’s good running for his first time out showed that the Speaker is vulnerable and will have to keep looking over his shoulder. People on Snider’s team are going to stay involved as voice of the people and will be continuing to educate the public about the maneuverings of the Speaker in the upcoming legislative session. Speaker Ralston will have to pay more attention to the needs of his district and less to the needs of the State and Atlanta. you can bet when the Speaker kills a bill or passes a bill that are not consistent with the values in his district, the people will be informed.

You talk about how conservative the House is. Is it conservative to give 500,000 to a county to build a ball field? Was the legal maneuverings with the hospital bed tax to bypass the state Constitution conservative ? How about the internet sales tax, ad valorum tax, TSPLOST (Speaker Ralston gave a rousing speech on the House floor to pass the legislation that created TSPLOST),
fees that have been passed, etc. I could name many other instances as well. Is it conservative to use tax dollars to help build a new stadium for the Falcons ? Is it conservative to by-pass the lobbyist gift/contribution laws with the GA House Republican Trust? Isn’t ethics part of conservative values?

If the Dems were in control and were doing some of the same things the House Republican Leadership is doing, the Republicans would be screaming at the top of their lungs..

You give us the small things and expect us to be content. You prefer we focus on the Dems and the Federal government and leave the state level alone. Even the bill that contained HB 707 was watered down.

We had to fight tooth and nail to get the Republican House Leadership pass ethics reform and even then it contained loopholes about gift giving from lobbyists. You had the leader of the House get up at the GA GOP Convention and proclaim that ethics reform was an issue of the left.

David Ralston declared war on the tea party and grassroots with the ethics bill which you, Rep. Brockway helped write. The intent was to keep us from coming to the Capitol. It seems we were interfering with the lobbyists and their gifts. It sent a strong signal that you did not want to have to deal with citizen activists at the people’s house. The original legislation would have required volunteers even on a local level have to register as lobbyists in order to speak with their elected official and pay a 300.00 fee. This would have included garden clubs, boy scouts, little league teams, churches, etc. You don’t think we understood what was going on? After much public outcry, you all claimed that was not the intent of the Speaker or leadership. Really ? So, one of two possible scenarios with that. Either the seasoned legislators that were on the committee that introduced the bill were too incompetent to know the ramifications or it was on purpose. Which is it?

You were one of the ones that went after Sam Moore over his very bad bill that would have prevented law enforcement from identifying child molesters stalking schools or playgrounds. Yet the Republican leader of the House-your spokesperson- defends child molesters and pedophiles and tries to help them escape justice. Ralston chooses his clients.

“In February of 2014, Speaker David Ralston made the following statement, “The Republican majority in the House chose to stand with Georgia’s families and with children. That bill chooses to stand with sex offenders and pedophiles. And that’s something that I can’t fathom,” said House speaker David Ralston. ”

Yet he chooses to defend them for money..
http://gaintegrityproject.nationbuilder.com/david_ralston_defends_child_molesters

Very hypocritical..
And David Ralston’s consultant (who makes 5,000 per month as a contractor for the GA GOP) sent this email to local media people:

From: Joel McElhannon
Sent: ‎Sunday‎, ‎April‎ ‎27‎, ‎2014 ‎6‎:‎53‎ ‎PM
To: Lisa

Lisa, thank you for your email.

At this time I will not be placing any additional advertising with FYN.
During this campaign, we have placed equal advertising with each media
outlet in the district, including FYN, both to communicate with voters and
to support local businesses. I¹m curious how much money has Sam Snider -
not his rich radicals from Atlanta, but Snider himself – spent with your
business in comparison with David Ralston?

But that is not the main reason I have decided to cancel our planned
advertising program with FYN. It¹s time to call this charade what it is.

It has been plainly apparent since the beginning of this race that your
husband is quarterbacking Snider¹s campaign and is now coordinating this
childish smear campaign by outsiders.

I respect that local media outlets are a business and need ad revenue. I
gladly do business with those outlets that are simply playing fair and
running their business in a professional manner.

However, I will not do business with those who are masterminding these
cheap shot attacks on good public servants like David Ralton, especially
when they are in bed with dangerous radicals. The people you are working
with literally advocate for eliminating loitering laws that protect school
children from child molesters in the name of “liberty”. Their agenda is a
threat to every family and every child in this state. To say that I¹m
disappointed that FYN would collude with these efforts is an
understatement. It¹s simply disgraceful, and I will have nothing to do
with subsidizing your incredibly poor judgment.

I know Brian has been orchestrating Snider¹s strategy meetings from the
beginning. I know these smear ads are produced by FYN. I give you credit
for your boldness in asking, but I will not subsidize this charade and
these false attacks any more.

I am reallocating our resources to professional media outlets that are
fair and impartial.

Thank you,

Joel

It looks like you Rep/ Brockway has joined the chorus of wanting the tea party to focus on federal issues and let the unethical behavior continue on the local level. Not going to happen.

Us dangerous radicals may just sit out November..

Ed May 23, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Meh. Getting 30% of the vote isn’t really an accomplishment. Getting 40% maybe.

Baker May 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Speaking of bank loans…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiFSQ_f12Bs

I think the focus can be on ethics without bringing in all the bit about child molesters, even Jeffrey Dahmer gets a lawyer by the way.

And fwiw, building roads is one of a handful of actual responsibilities government actually does…just sayin’

Romegaguy May 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Is it ethical for someone to max out to a campaign and then have a “raffle” that is conveniently won by the candidate’s father?

Is it ok for an organization to “raise money to give to like minded candidates” but instead pays themselves half a million dollars from the money they raised? Oops. I’m sorry it was only $375,000…

Buzz Brockway May 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Debbie,

You can try to make this about me if you want but the question remains for TEA Party folks around the state: Are they going to follow Debbie Dooley off the cliff and kill off the TEA Party movement in Georgia or are they going to get back to what the TEA Party was supposed to be about and build on their prior successes.

Based on some of the contacts I received from TEA Party activists since I posted this I think your support is smaller than you assume and getting smaller.

John Walraven May 25, 2014 at 10:35 am

Debbie wrote: “GA Integrity Project consists of many groups and we have a 6 month education project about David Ralston and others. The election in the 7th was merely a vehicle to make public negative things about Speaker Ralston.”

“Merely a vehicle to make public negative things” about a political candidate? That was your intent? So you have admitted that you wanted to “use” an election to negatively impact a candidate in that election?

Wow. I don’t think I’d of said that. You were using electioneering communications to “make public negative things”. That’s not what a Social Welfare organization is legally structured for. But why should Georgia expect different? The same crazy radicals show up at the Capitol and advocate for and against the passage of legislation for forty days and aren’t lobbying, either.

And after whipping y’all 65-35 I can promise you this: the Speaker ain’t looking over his shoulder. He’s looking forward. You’re little party is looking in the rearview mirror and it looks like the aftermath of a tornado.

Please sit out in November. Pretty please?

debbie0040 May 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm

GA Integrity Project was not trying to influence the election. We weren’t the only ones educating citizens on candidates. The chamber backed group was.

We made it clear the education process was long term and we sent the ads out in email state wide . We did not even run the first ad until 2 1/2 weeks out
After early voting had gotten started.

We are going to continue the education process. We will bring out other stuff like his bank loan , abuse of legislative leave, the GA House Repyblucan trust , etc

Ralston got 65% of the vote in the district. Gov Deal got 71%

John Walraven May 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm

“The election in the seventh was a vehicle to make negative things known” about the candidate for re-election. You just put it in writing.

debbie0040 May 27, 2014 at 4:25 pm

The information was sent out state wide from the very beginning not just to the 7 the district. It is an education effort and not directed to one district .
It is a bipartisan education effort not directed at specific voters.

There are many groups that are part of GA Integrity Project

Don’t hear you complaining about the 501c4 the chamber started and it was directed in specific districts like Gregory’s or Spencer’s.

Tighter scrutiny should also be paid to the GA House Republican Trust as well.

We are going to hold a state wide conference the last weekend in July and there will be educational / training courses offered.

Just for the record, GA Integrity Project had an attorney in D.C that specializes in C4s and everything is run by him even ad content.

Doug Grammer May 25, 2014 at 10:58 pm

According to the Georgia Integrity Project’s webpage: (The) “Georgia Integrity Project is a 501c4 non-partisan social welfare organization whose purpose is to educate voters on the issues. Our goal is to increase voter participation in all elections and make sure educated, informed voters dominate the election process. ”

According to Debbie on peach pundit: “GA Integrity Project was not trying to influence the election.”

Which statement is true? Either it is involved with voters and elections or it is not.

John Walraven May 27, 2014 at 10:19 am

Elections are not “vehicles”. They are choices. Stating the intent to bring negative information and attention to a candidate running in an election is presenting voters with information clearly meant to influence their choice.

debbie0040 May 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Trying to educate citizens and voters on the issues is not trying to influence elections.

The information was disseminated state wide not just in the district. Most of the unethical behavior was connected to District.

debbie0040 May 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm

We also did not engage in get out the vote activity if any kind not did we even

Just heard that Joe McKutchen’s tv show that had run on ETC Cable for 13 years was cancelled a few days after the election. The owner of ETC is a close friend of Ralston .

Ethics is a major issue and ethics matter. There were personal matters we stayed away from in regard to Ralston because we stayed on issues.

xdog May 23, 2014 at 11:24 am

“Us dangerous radicals may just sit out November”

Please think about starting today. I don’t know if I can stand both Hice and Loudermilk in Congress at the same time.

I’m not a Ralston fan. I was as outraged as anyone about his big-dollar junket and his ‘what’s the problem’ response. I think the ethics commission is a sham and an extension of the Deal re-election campaign. I think Tom Graves and Chip Rogers are thieves and grifters. Someone should take them all to task, preferably by sending them home. But you people need to focus if you’re going to make it as a pressure group.

How Ralston makes his living is irrelevant unless you feel that no one accused of a crime should receive criminal representation. Talk about Joel and Liz and FYN is too inside-ball for me. I get that you’re aggrieved but wtf does all that have to do with gaining political sway?

If your group would ever dial down their fear and outrage and try for a change to make solid, verifiable, relevant points, the kind grown-ups try to make and children almost never do, you might find yourself with a few more allies.

Romegaguy May 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Remember when Debbie said that her kind of voters were going to sit out of a November election when their boy Ralphie didn’t get the nomination for Lt. Governor? How did that work out for Casey?

By the way, I have a sudden craving for steak

debbie0040 May 23, 2014 at 11:38 am

What is relevant is that David Ralston went after Sam Moore for siding with child molesters when he does. What is relevant is that the Speaker kills legislation that child advocates support to strengthen laws. Ralston killed a bill this past session that would increase the statutes of limitations that victims of child molestation can sue their molester. Don’t pretend to be one thing when you are not.

Does the GOP really want this rhetoric going in to November, “One of the leading Republican leaders in the state makes his living defending child molesters and helping them avoid justice?”

Michael Silver May 23, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Speaker Ralston is an attorney for goodness sake. An attorney has a duty to all of us to make sure everyone charged with a crime has the best defense possible. Note, that I wrote “ALL OF US”. Defense Attorneys defend the Liberty of all of us and forces the Government to prove their charges.

Without Defense Attorneys, our Justice System would be nothing but mob rule and persecution of the unpopular. The argument that child molesters and drunks shouldn’t be afforded good counsel is abhorrent to me and everyone who believes that government power should be limited and subservient to the People.

The Tea Party is way off-track with their hostility to Ralston. For them to claim Tea Party Favorite Snider is some ethical saint is funny. I mean its funny that Snider runs a contest and his dad wins said contest. Yeh, that’s a coincidence.

When real ethical issues occur, such as when the regulator gets a cush job from the regulated, the Tea Party is silent. I suppose its a coincidence that the chairman of the Senate committee overseeing the budget and operations of the University System gets a $165,000 job from the system he was supposed to be overseeing (Sen Staton) for all these years. That doesn’t look like a payoff, does it? Its a coincidence. The silence from the “ethical” Tea Party is deafening.

Not only is the Tea Party off base on their targeting of Ralston, the Tea Party has a distrubing view of what is ethical or unethical.

griftdrift May 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm

There’s a reason the original “Utopia” was an island.

The only way to maintain ideological purity is to burn all the bridges.

Charlie May 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm

And the witches. Don’t forget to burn the witches.

saltycracker May 23, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Start with the bridges over the Chattahoochee :)

Romegaguy May 27, 2014 at 2:31 pm
debbie0040 May 23, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Buzz, I have spoken to many leaders of tea parties and they urge me to continue on. Anyone can call themselves a tea party activists. It is the ones that are active and attend meetings that you need to worry about and they are very angry right now. I am on the Board of Directors of Tea Party Patriots and one of 3 State Coordinators in Georgia for TPP. Do you honestly think yours and the Speaker’s attempt to marginalize us will be successful ? Especially the ones affiliated with Tea Party Patriots. I was just the person out front. They are multitudes behind the scenes. Is GA Right To Life crazy radicals , too ? You should read the thread in our tea party Google Group now. You are mentioned and it wasn’t by me..

Buzz, you are hypocritical in that you blasted Sam Moore for his legislation but defend your Leader’s defense of child molester. Do you not find it hypocritical or do you give him a pass because he is Speaker?

I did come out against Beth Merkleson and the cushy job.

Buzz Brockway May 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Debbie,

I’m easy to get in touch with so if someone in your google group has a problem with me they know where to find me. I’d be happy to talk with them and answer any question they may have. In fact, you have my cell phone number. Feel free to post it in the google group and tell your folks they can call me. anytime.

I’m not trying to marginalize the TEA Party. You are marginalizing the TEA Party with your scorched earth politics.

You posted in the Atlanta Tea Party facebook page that I couldn’t be trusted and was not friendly to the tea party. Do you remember why you posted that? I do. I was quoted in the AJC as saying I agree with much of what the TEA Party stands for but I always reserved the right to make up my own mind about legislation. Apparently that was not good enough for you so you posted your comment to your group. Is that really what your brand of TEA Party is all about? Complete obedience?

MattMD May 23, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Debbie,

That word you like to throw out, “hypocrisy”, it doesn’t mean what you think it does.

Also, Ralston is an attorney and people are entitled to a defense. What about this is so difficult to understand?

You are absolutely nuts.

John Walraven May 25, 2014 at 10:19 am

A’men. We have this little thing called the Bill of Rights.

John Walraven May 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

National Right to Life believed that GRTL were crazy radicals. GRTL joined their so-called “pro-abort” forces that they decry to oppose federal legislation that would have prohibited thousands of abortions. Why? So that they could inject their radical views into the healing of rape victims, even those betrayed by the disgusting rape by a family member, on how to move on with their lives. National Right to Life thought that was pretty radical and voted them off the island. You took that position yourself and I can’t remember anyone talking about rape and abortion on that rainy night at the Capitol when thousands rallied and the TEA Party movement was born. Talk about losing your focus.

Tom Taylor May 23, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Buzz,

This post has certainly provoked some response. But, as a Japanese linguist, I have to let you know that the proper term for ritual disembowelment after being disgraced is Seppuku. With that said, a very interesting thread.

Have a great weekend, remember our fallen warriors.

debbie0040 May 24, 2014 at 9:21 am

David Ralston had no business saying he couldn’t fathom siding with child molesters when he can for money. Rep. Brockway and other house members denounced Sam Moore and his legislation, but are silent on the the leader of the house defending child molesters and helping them escape justice. Their attitude seems to be it is no ok if you are not part of Ralstons circle of supporters but is ok to sdie with child molesters and pedophiles if yoiu are Ralston. The average person does not look favorably at attorneys much less those that defend child molesters. We will see when the ads start running in other house districts. One of the highest ranking Republican officials in Georgia makes his living defending child molesters. He also abuses the legislative leave authority and it is pretty widespread-not just a few cases. And then there is his million dollar baby- his bank loan.

I am going to work hard to make sure either Kingston or Perdue wins in November but other than that race, I won’t have much involvement and many, many feel the same way.

Bill Evelyn of State of Georgia Tea Party asked me to post this for him:

David Ralston’s Epic Failure

The chest pounding and braying from the Ralston camp is ridiculous. A man first elected to office in 1992 from his District, who has served 14 years in Fannin, Gilmer, and Dawson either as Senator or House Representative received just 64.7% of the vote in the Republican Primary. Nearly four out of 10 Republican voters chose to vote for the humble wrestling coach and high school teacher. That’s horrible! There is no reason to brag that Ralston won the day. He lost and only the most committed 18% of Republicans showed to the polls.

Ralston’s has 100% name recognition, he is the leader of the Republicans in the house, he is Speaker of the House, and he went into this race with nearly a one million dollar war chest. He should have won 90% to 95% of the vote. He knows it too. The unknown new comer Sam Snider who was out spent 17 to 1 still garnered 35% of the vote. That is an epic failure by the 7th District Representative David Ralston.

Next term Ralston should not be elected Speaker. His agenda is a failure. David Ralston a life long Republican has an agenda of taxation, big government, and cronyism. That is why nearly four out of 10 Republicans turned their back on him. Most were tea party, pro-life, and pro-ethics conservatives.

Ralston should not be strutting around like a proud Rooster. He should be reaching out to the tea parties, pro-life groups, and pro-ethics conservatives. The Republican caucus in the House and all House representatives should reject him as Speaker in 2015. His agenda is failed and he is a failed politician.

Jon Richards May 24, 2014 at 10:05 am

You seem to misunderstand how the legal – criminal justice system works. The Speaker can both be against child molesters and willing to defend a person who is alleged to be a child molester in court. Remember, the alleged criminal is innocent until proven guilty. Ralston’s job is to make the case the defendant should not be found guilty. That’s not the same thing as being pro-child molester.

John Konop May 24, 2014 at 10:20 am

In all due respect it sounds like you are advocating that if a person is accused of a serious crime they should not have a lawyer…..This was a cornerstone issue our founding fathers fought and died for….No matter the crime someone is accused of a person deserves the right to have a lawyer…If lawyers are blacklisted for representing clients based on the crime they are accused of the system falls apart. The blacklisting of lawyers for the above goes against a fundamental right for all….As far as Sam Moore he admits he made mistakes with his bill…..Equating Sam Moore making a mistake with black listing lawyers makes no sense….In fact, Sam I am fairly sure would not support black listing lawyers based on who they represent…..I do think as I have said in public as well as to Sam…..his bills had some merit, it just was not well thought out….it needed to be focused on the issue without opening a pandora box……Sadly I think he did more harm than good….via the focus being on the mistakes in the bill over the issue….I do think it was wrong how some people made nasty accusations about Sam on a personal nature via the mistakes he made on the bill….Sam told me he was accused of some very ugly accusations…the reason I get a long with many on both sides is I call them like I see them…..Not saying I am always right…..my views are not based on a being part of a camp……

Will Durant May 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

So basically you guys reject a basic tenet taught in all Law schools that one measure of integrity in a lawyer is to represent someone who is unpopular or even hated. Did you know that Chief Justice John Roberts once did appellate work for a convicted murderer of 8 people?

Again I refer to the values stated on the Tea Party Patriots site: “We are most free when the Constitution is followed and each branch of government serves as a check and balance to the others. We are a nation of written laws. One law for all and equal application of the law is a founding principle that distinguishes America from the lands immigrants fled to escape oppression. No American President, Republican or Democrat, should ever go around the Constitution, no matter how important the issue. No government entity is above the law, and no public official may act outside or above the law.”

So as an officer of the court, Mr. Ralston has seen that certain defendants receive their 6th amendment rights under the Constitution and not allowed anyone to “go around” this basic right. Now you wish to vilify him for adhering to your very own principles.

Your actions and threats prove you to be no better than a lynch mob.

Anyone But Chip May 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

Not only that, Debbie and the local Tea Partys just don’t have any philosophical consistency. When their darling Marlow was getting savaged in the press after news of the video broke that purported to show how far she went to lie and place an innocent man in jeopardy they hammered the innocent until proven guilty theme. Apparently it doesn’t go both ways.

John Walraven May 25, 2014 at 10:39 pm

He won his election and he’s a “failed politician”? This isn’t Russia, is it Danny?

Harry May 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

The basic issue in my opinion is that, on both sides of legislative bodies, whoever is the current majority party leadership controls the membership like a cult. For the most part members are not allowed meaningful independence. You either line up with the leadership and cooperate, or you don’t and aren’t allowed to play and draw a funded primary challenger. Where Democrats have the majority, they are even worse than Republicans.

Michael Silver May 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Harry,

After watching the 4+ pro-gun bills flow through the House, I can say that the House and Speaker Ralston doesn’t operate that way.

The Senate under the “leadership” of Cagle does seem to operate in the manner you described.

I’m still frick’n disgusted with the Tea Party for going after the leader who does everything the Tea Party claims to be for. Its as if the Tea Party is a false flag operation advancing the interest of Big Government Chamber of Commerce Republicans.

Harry May 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm

I too have a positive view of Speaker Ralston and acknowledge he’s far more open on the House side than was Tom Murphy, for one. Sorry to speak badly of the deceased but Murphy was a tyrant. I don’t know what’s the problem with Casey Cagle, but if he wants the support from social conservatives and gun owners in future elections then he needs to show us a little love.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Tom Murphy may have been a tyrant, but he was an effective tyrant that kept the Georgia House from getting sidetracked and ending up in some of the very-weird places that both chambers of the legislature seem to end up in these days.

Murphy’s seemingly tyrannical rule also probably helped the Democrats to stay in power in Georgia much-longer than they probably would have been otherwise.

As for Casey Cagle, I don’t think that Social Conservatives and Gun Owners are necessarily his target audience as much as suburban moderates seem to be (particularly suburban female moderates and some crossover Democrats)….So if social conservatives and Second Amendment advocates are expecting to get tons of love from Casey Cagle, they’re probably out-of-luck.

To put in terms that long-time Peach Pundit readers may be able to better understand, Casey Cagle’s target audience is much more the Bridget Cantrells and Charlie Harpers of the world and much less the Harrys and the Michael Silvers of the world.

…Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, that’s just the space that Casey Cagle occupies on the political spectrum.

Remember, Casey Cagle first won statewide office in 2006 by defeating the socially-conservative Ralph Reed, so Cagle probably does not necessarily feel obligated to appeal heavily to Social Conservatives.

Also keep in mind that Cagle was the leading vote-getter in the 2010 General Election and that Cagle ran unopposed in the 2010 and 2014 GOP Primaries, so Cagle probably does not necessarily feel the need to go out of his way to appeal heavily to Social Conservatives and Second Amendment advocates at this particular point in his political career.

In any case, Cagle’s lack of personal attention to Social Conservatives and Second Amendment advocates seems to have worked extremely well for him so far.

John Konop May 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Casey also works a room of an event like Johnny…..they are the top two I have seen in the GOP in Georgia….

Michael Silver May 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Totally agree with both of you (John and LDIG). You guys are dead on target.

Harry May 24, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Casey Cagle is by no means the worst alternative, also I’m not saying he unequivocally requires people like me, however he’ll need to show more love of our social concerns if he wants to count on our support. My main issue with Casey Cagle is that he is too authoritarian and heavy-handed in his leadership of the senate; but that is unfortunately the norm rather than the exception.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 25, 2014 at 12:14 am

The problem with Casey Cagle is that he probably does not necessarily think that he needs to show more love to the concerns of Social Conservatives and Second Amendment advocates at this point, particularly since he has been able to skate by largely being to the left of those two key constituencies during his statewide political career.

And if Hillary Clinton runs in ’16 things likely will not get any better for Social Conservatives and Second Amendment advocates (but particularly for Social Conservatives) as much of the political system likely moves to the left (away from Social Conservatives) to desperately chase the female and minority voters that Clinton will be perceived to have a lock on.

Social Conservatives and Second Amendment advocates had better enjoy the few political concessions that they are currently getting from state government because there is a strong chance that you will be largely ignored in a Hillary-dominated political regime where even much of the GOP is desperately chasing minorities and moderate female voters. If Hillary runs as expected, the current pre-2016 political climate could likely be as good as it gets for Social Conservatives and Second Amendment advocates for awhile.

It also might have been the leadership tactics from Cagle that you describe on the 2010 Trauma tax that resulted in the rebellion/coup against Cagle in the Senate during the 2011-12 legislative sessions that was led in large part by none other than notable ex-Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, who is no longer in state government.

Harry May 25, 2014 at 1:15 am

Yep, it’s likely to get worse for us socons before it gets better.

debbie0040 May 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm

The Senate is more open than is the House and is run better. It is not run like a dictatorship. I think Lt. Governor Cagle is doing a fine job and so is Senate leadership.

You don’t care about anything else but one issue and are willing to ignore the ethical lapses. Ralston does not do everything the tea party stands for . We stand for limited government. What department has been done away with or even consolidated? Look at the tax increases or fees that have passed. That is not tea party values. The Repeal ObamaCare was watered down. I could give you example after example.

I will say one thing Michael, when you guys run into issue in the future trying to pass pro 2nd Amendment Legislation and the Speaker is a roadblock or anyone else is, don’t ask us for help. You are totally on your own.

We oppose corporate welfare and the government picking winners and losers and are at odds with the Chamber.

The activists will continue on with running the ads state wide educating voters on Ralston. I have the backing of tea party leaders across the state and also other conservative groups. I am just out front so all the attention and ire is focused on me. That is the way it is supposed to be… :) GA Right To Life sent out mailpieces urging people to vote against Ralston.

With Ralston’s comments to Jim Galloway, it seems he believes those that believe in holding GOP elected officials accountable have no place in the GOP.

The GA GOP should be very concerned about the low turnout in the primary considering there were hotly contested races for U.S. Senate and Congress. The dems had a low turnout but there were no hotly contested races to draw people to the polls.

The GA GOP is alienating conservative voters by keeping Joel McElhannon on as a contractor after he said those opposing Ralston sided with pedophiles and were a danger to children state wide. The GA GOP is taking for granted that voters will just turn out in November to prevent the Dems from getting elected. Considering the low turnout in the primary, that is a huge mistake. Where is the GOTV efforts?

John Walraven May 25, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Yeah…the GOP is “alienating” voters by keeping a consultant on board. No, the GOP is simply beating you everywhere you turn and it’s making you mad. Keep screwing up the TEA Party and leave us Republicans alone. You hold the constitution up like Robert Byrd while ignoring what’s written in it to protect citizens while you bash lawyers for doing their job. Consultants succeed when they stay in the background and their clients do well in elections. That’s what happened Tuesday and that’s why you’re angry.

Would you please explain how a campaign consultant figures into your educational efforts that supposedly were not meant to influence the electorate for the defeat of the candidate he worked for?

Please? The more you write, the more exhibits we gather.

debbie0040 May 27, 2014 at 5:03 pm

I am not the one that is angry. Ralston is

As for the GA GOP, they have a consultant that has clients in a contested GOP primary. How is that not taking sides?

You guys are going to depend on the ground game of the GA GOP
No need to come to us for volunteers

debbie0040 May 27, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Our issue with Joel and the GA GOP was separate from GA Integrity Project.
I am not GA Integrity Project and I am not the only one that makes decisions. I have other organizations as well.
Some organizations are LLCs

debbie0040 May 27, 2014 at 6:47 pm

So “John “are you saying the GA GOP was involved in contested primaries?

That would make sense why they hired a Campaign consultant with clients in contested primaries handle their Victory Fund who also had clients that benefitted or controlled the GA House Republican Trust .

debbie0040 May 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm

John, you lobbyists sure love David Ralston.

Romegaguy May 27, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Wasnt that long ago that debbie was telling us how horribly ran the Senate was and that the State Constitution didnt allow for the Lt. Governor (unless he was named Ralph) to run the Senate.

Buzz Brockway May 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I remember a time when you said if the Senate allowed Casey Cagle to run the place again you would sue to stop it.

ConservativeCaucus May 25, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Buzz, thank you for your thoughtful (and obviously thought-provoking) post. Count me among those who wants more conservative governance and would therefore be more aligned ideologically with TEA party goals. However, both their methods and strategy seems off. Methods have been discussed at length, so I will touch on the strategy piece:

They seem to pick the wrong battles. A Chinese general is famous for saying something to the effect of, “win first, then go to war.” Instead of picking battles they can win (open seats, party-switchers, and impediments to the conservative cause), they take on Governor Deal and Speaker Ralston. Now any bill they get behind next year takes a real hit if they come out publicly for it… and that truly is a shame. I want many of the same things they want, but now their support actually can hurt the causes they support.

So in short, I urge you to re-think your strategy. The Republic needs the Right to defeat the Left and we are in real danger of that not being able to happen.

debbie0040 May 25, 2014 at 1:51 pm

You joined the chorus of those that believe we should just ignore the bad policies and unethical behavior of the GOP and just concentrate on the Dems. That is not going to happen there are some Republicans that are part of the problem not just Democrats

I did not get involved with the Governors race in the primary. I have no plans to get involved with it at all.

Michael Silver May 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Their poor target selection ripples to the US Senate race.

Jim Galloway of the Atlanta Journal Constitution – Political Insider accurately described our choices in the Senate race as: “a former Fortune 500 CEO and the candidate favored by one of their most active enemies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

GREAT! :(

seekingtounderstand May 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

Did anyone else think that the timing of the Ga Port money coming thru just days after these where voted in seem coincidental?
Both have ties to the port.

Tom Taylor May 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

That General would be Sun Tzu, quoted from his famous work, “The Art of War”. A lot of his lessons still apply to many business and political issues today.

ConservativeCaucus May 25, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Then you fundamentally misunderstand my comments. I didn’t say that. I said there is more than one way to skin a cat and I asked TP groups to be introspective about how to have the most impact moving forward.

Also, I didn’t say you specifically about the Gov’s as you are correct in saying that TEA Party activism isn’t confined to one group or person. However, many in the TP movement took on Governor Deal and Speaker Ralston. And because of that, any bill you publicly get behind will struggle. We have many of the same end result goals.

debbie0040 May 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

It is all part of a process that is far from over. Just stay tuned. There are many layers that will all fit together once everything is revealed…We have nothing to lose by continuing going after Ralston. We are educating citizens in House districts state wide who David Ralston is and who elects Speaker of the House..

The activists in Ralston’s district will continue to inform citizens about Ralston as well and he will have to advocate for issues important to his district and when he doesn’t, I am sure activists will educate the citizens on it. Won’t be too long before it will be apparent that Ralston can’t afford to go against the wishes of the citizens of his district and act in the best interest of the State or Atlanta..

Step by step, layer by layer….

The people in House districts have a much louder voice than David Ralston does-especially with thousands of phone calls …

After reading the comments on PP and also sharing the comments with other conservative activists, I don’t believe there will be unity within the GA GOP for a few years…

ConservativeCaucus May 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm

That may be true. And GA would benefit in having both the House and Senate caucuses to the right (and I certainly don’t hold the Senate and LG in the same regard you do). There is a battle for the soul of the party and that CAN produce a positive outcome.

That being said, do you see my point that if Ralston and Deal are in power next January, the TP’s public support of those measures might actually hurt their chances of passage?

John Walraven May 25, 2014 at 10:26 pm

“continuing going after Ralston”.

“Step by step, layer by layer,” as you said, you uncover the rationale behind the communications leveled against a candidate in an election.

Please keep talking. Preferably in writing.

If you’re striving, as you say, to prevent unity within the GA GOP “for a few years” then please do as you threatened and stay at home in November. You’ll recall what that’s like.

ConservativeCaucus May 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Rep Taylor: you sir, are correct!

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 25, 2014 at 6:34 pm

If one was really cynical, one might say that the Georgia GOP might be laying the groundwork to disassociate itself from the TEA Party, move to the left on the political spectrum and chase the state’s growing demographic of moderate and minority voters.

Basically the Georgia GOP does not want to play along with TEA Partiers, Social Conservatives, Conservative Libertarians and Second Amendment advocates anymore and is trying to justify what may likely be an upcoming move to the left by discrediting its right wing.

It appears that the Georgia GOP has reached the point where it does not think that there’s much more money to be made and much more power to be gained with truly Conservative voters that it thinks are too far to the right of the political spectrum.

The Georgia GOP may be thinking that there’s much more money to be made and more power to be gained further to the left on the political spectrum with moderate and minority voters than there is on the right and it does not want the Democrats to beat them to it first.

The Georgia GOP basically appears to be laying the groundwork to dump the Debbie Dooleys, the Harrys, the Michael Silvers and the Charles Gregorys of the world and desperately go after the Bridget Cantrells (Michelle Nunn/Hillary Clinton voters), the Charlie Harpers, the Barack Obama voters, etc…

…Because the Georgia GOP likely thinks that there’s much more income and political power growth potential with moderate, liberal and minority voters than they think there is with Socially Conservative and Conservative Libertarian voters.

ConservativeCaucus May 25, 2014 at 7:29 pm

think there is some truth in that. I think that is a losing strategy to write off your base (both cultural and small government types), but the business wing of the party appears to be asserting itself more these days. The more that the GOP allows the Chamber to influence their policy decisions, I think the party will shrink.

Jon Richards May 25, 2014 at 8:07 pm

You appear to think that the ‘business’ caucus of the GOP is acting the way it is because it dislikes the Tea Party. Actually, I don’t think that’s true. Chamber of Commerce types dislike the laws and regulations passed by the Democratic majority over the past six years, from Dodd Frank to the EPA; you name it.

They would like nothing more than to get the Senate under GOP control. That would stop the bleeding. And they are scared of a Tea Party candidate who will appear to be so far to the right that he or she will lose in the general election. They are especially frustrated when a Tea Party candidate defeats someone viewed as an electable Republican in a primary, and then goes on to lose in the general.

That electable Republican may not be as pleasing to some in the base as the Tea Party candidate would be, but he or she would win in November, and help make up a GOP Senate majority.

Harry May 25, 2014 at 9:12 pm

No one should automatically assume that an establishment type would succeed to motivate a large number of conservatives and libertarians to vote for him. As everybody has said, the problem for the GOP is it’s really two, three, or four branches. If a candidate convinces enough of them to vote for him then he wins in November. Don’t imagine that a Perdue gets enough votes to win. No matter how much he spends, there are too many negatives to motivate very many non-establishment types to the polls for him. Not saying I wouldn’t vote for him myself, but as to his chances of being elected in Georgia he compares to Guy Milner. Kingston has problems which are more geographical than ideological. I’d vote for him, but Kingston needs to find a better way to connect with all those Oprah-watching, non-ideological metro Atlanta voters who look down their noses at their country cousins.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Excellent analysis, Harry.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 25, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I don’t necessarily think that the ‘business’ caucus of the GOP dislikes the TEA Party as much as it thinks that there’s no more money to be made or power to be gained from the GOP’s continued close affiliation with the TEA Party.

Mr. Richards, I understand what you are saying about the business and Chamber of Commerce types wanting to get the U.S. Senate under GOP control because they think that the GOP is infinitely much more amenable to their political agenda than the Democrats. But one gets the feeling these days that the business and Chamber of Commerce types are increasingly thinking that they can much more easily increase their money and power by eliminating the TEA Party and SoCons and maybe even 2nd Amendment advocates from the political equation. One gets the feeling that the business and Chamber of Commerce types feel this way because the right flank of the political spectrum does not always happily play along with the business/Chamber of Commerce caucus’ political and social agendas.

(…Here in Georgia it was the TEA Party that played the dominant role in helping to defeat the 2012 T-SPLOST that was authored by the business community….The TEA Party also heavily backed the Religious Liberty bills that the business community absolutely abhorred during the 2014 Legislative session in GA and other states….Meanwhile the business community has increasingly heavily-backed the legalization of gay marriage which Social Conservatives obviously strongly dislike but moderate voters (particularly moderate female voters) increasingly support.)

Also here in Georgia, the GOP has the state’s rapidly-changing demographics to contend with as many suburban metro Atlanta counties that had overwhelmingly majority white populations 2-3 decades ago are now stand either on the verge of having ‘majority-minority’ populations or already have increasingly ‘majority-minority’ populations.

(…Suburban metro Atlanta counties with past overwhelmingly white populations like Clayton, DeKalb, Rockdale, Gwinnett and Douglas counties are now ‘majority-minority’ counties, while formerly overwhelmingly white Henry, Newton and Cobb counties now stand on the verge of becoming ‘majority-minority’ counties within the next decade or so.)

Non-white minorities also currently make up 45% of Georgia’s population (up from 30% in 1990) and are expected to continue to grow in number to make up a majority of Georgia’s population within the next decade or so (…the 45% minority population is similar to that of the Democrat-dominated state of Maryland).

With Democrat candidates like Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter unexpectedly continuing to perform well in the polls and with many moderate voters threatening to vote for them (particularly with many moderate female voters threatening to vote for Nunn just because she’s a woman in a state with a dearth of female political leadership) and with many Conservative voters threatening to stay home in November, the Georgia GOP likely fears that it could potentially come up short this year if a large chunk of moderates join minorities to vote Democrat and Conservatives don’t vote in large enough numbers.

If the Georgia GOP unexpectedly loses control of the moderate voters that it has had a grip on for the past 12 years to the Democrats, and if alienated Conservatives stay home, the unexpected struggle of the party will likely motivate the Georgia GOP to move to the left away from Conservative voters even faster than it might have already been planning to do moving forward.

Harry May 25, 2014 at 10:36 pm

According to your analysis, it seems the GOP can’t win with or without conservatives such as me. You know there are still a boatload of social conservatives in Georgia, and will continue to be around for a long time and eventually, according to our beliefs, we will in fact prevail. Meantime if, as you say, the demographic changes result for the short term in more Democratic votes, then it seems the Chamber of Commerce who needs to be on the side of the political power structure, is already planning to make their peace with the Democrats and leave the GOP corpse to us conservatives, because the Democrats will be the winners anyway.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 25, 2014 at 11:14 pm

There would be much less doubt as to whether the Georgia GOP could continue to win if they had simply governed better over the last 12 years.

During much of their time, ethics has been a total joke (as evidenced by Governor Deal’s current ethics issues) while something as crucial as transportation has been wildly-mishandled to the point that it threatens to take down the entire GOP power structure in GA (see the 2012 T-SPLOST debacle, the recent blight of GDOT and the 2014 Snow Jam as prime examples).

Also, the GA GOP has been in power for 12 years and has yet to do something as simple as eliminating the State Income Tax so that GA can better compete with neighboring states. The GA GOP also appears to have been failing to grow the party like it should have been over the past decade, the same thing that took down GA Democrats and left them in a state of total political oblivion for over a decade.

All of the other issues with the GOP fracturing, the alienation of both Conservatives and moderates, etc, etc, etc, are opportunistic infections that have resulted from the Georgia GOP’s piss-poor governance of Georgia during the 12 years that it has been in power.

It’s astonishing that a party that dominates all statewide offices and with legislative supermajorities such as the Georgia GOP seems to be in a such a fragile state. And it’s a situation that is all of the Georgia GOP’s own making.

If the Georgia GOP had simply governed better (with much more attention to ETHICS) and made better attempts to grow the party (particularly with female voters), maybe the Georgia GOP would not be in such an uneasy and unnerving state of existence about now.

Harry May 26, 2014 at 12:08 am

I can’t take issue with you on that.

debbie0040 May 27, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Ethics began the downfall of the National GOP when it controlled federal government. They were arrogant and cocky as well

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 27, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I don’t care what people say about you Ms. Dooley. You and the Tea Party Patriots will always be superheroes to me for saving the state from that horrible T-SPLOST rip-off of a couple years back.

Just the fact that so many in the GOP establishment don’t like you means that you must be doing something right.

The GOP establishment just does not like actually having to work for votes, that’s all.

seekingtounderstand May 27, 2014 at 11:37 am

So that’s why the AJC and other democrat leaders in Ga didn’t want the case involving Atlanta School Cheating prosecuted any longer?
The Chamber is siding with the Dem party now?
Does anyone know if this is true? It all got forgotten rather quickly and dropped from the front page………….

ConservativeCaucus May 25, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Jon, I might have agreed with you somewhat in the past, but strictly speaking GA politics, it seems clear to me that the Chamber wing of the party wants to eliminate as many cultural and libertarian-minded Republicans as is practical. I think LDG spells that out pretty well. Look, I believe in the old William Buckley rule – nominate the most conservative candidate who can win. I think the chamber focus is to nominate the most big business friendly candidate possible who also isn’t a cultural/small government type.

Jon Richards May 26, 2014 at 8:28 am

We are getting way off topic here, which is maybe a sign that we have beaten the original idea, that the Tea Party / Georgia Integrity Project effort against the Speaker may backfire, to death.

My comment about the Chamber was specifically a reaction to the Tea Party’s efforts to recruit candidates to run against incumbent Republicans, not the ongoing balancing act between the various subgroups that make up the GOP.

CC & TLDIG, your ideas are thought provoking, but are probably better addressed in a separate thread.

Harry May 26, 2014 at 9:55 am

You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think the run against Ralston is connected to the bigger problem of demoralization and decomposition of the GOP on state and national levels. It’s very similar to what happened in 1912 presidential election. Woodrow Wilson (D) received 41.6% of the vote against the GOP’s 60.8% however Wilson was elected president because the GOP was split between two factions. These things happen in a two party system. The Ralston election outcome, while to be sure a victory for a GOP incumbent in a safe district, is part of a larger pattern and the results will not be good for the GOP in the short run. That’s the point of the discussion, and you can’t avoid it.

Will Durant May 26, 2014 at 10:37 am

Sure there are different factions and I’m sure you and LDIG can ruminate all day long on the nuances. The issue at hand is whether the Republican Party is going to allow one purity testing cult that has strayed from its own stated values run an unethical extortion racket while screeching about ethics.

Harry May 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

It’s not so simple.

The Last Democrat in Georgia May 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Jon Richards, May 26, 2014 at 8:28 am-

“My comment about the Chamber was specifically a reaction to the Tea Party’s efforts to recruit candidates to run against incumbent Republicans, not the ongoing balancing act between the various subgroups that make up the GOP.”

But the TEA Party’s continued efforts to recruit candidates to run against incumbent Republicans is what this is all about.

The GOP establishment has gotten tired of being challenged by a TEA Party which often gets in the way of the GOP establishment’s lucrative relationship with big business.

If the TEA Party was bringing the money and power that the big business-controlled GOP establishment likes, the GOP establishment would not have a problem with the TEA Party. But since the TEA Party often gets in the way of the money and the power games of the big business-controlled GOP establishment, and since the GOP establishment also has to spend money to contend with TEA Party challengers (like the money that Speaker Ralston had to spend to contend with Sam Snider), the GOP establishment has gotten tired of playing costly political games with the TEA Party.

From the GOP establishment’s point-of-view, the TEA Party is ‘messing with the money’ that big business and the GOP establishment make together from their extremely-powerful and highly-profitable relationship. So the GOP establishment (at the behest of its big business masters) wants to get its ‘TEA Party problem’ under control by discrediting the TEA Party movement so that the voting public will no longer take the movement seriously.

This is not about the GOP establishment having a sincere concern for the direction of the TEA Party. This is about money and power and the GOP establishment not necessarily being able to obtain as much of it for themselves and their big business masters because of the efforts of the TEA Party.

Three Jack May 26, 2014 at 10:32 am

If TPP does not separate itself from the mindless antics of Debbie Dooley, it will become irrelevant quickly. And that would be a damn shame because the original intent of TPP was not only spot on, it was sorely needed in the political world where ethics are ignored while debt buildup continues unabated.

TPP as a loosely designed organization should consider at least removing her from their BOD if not completely disassociating itself from her. Otherwise the good folks who make up the vast majority of activists seeking governmental efficiency will once again be left with no vehicle in which to promote fiscally conservative ideals.

John Konop May 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Experts claim Goergia will become a toss up state by 2020. At this point traditional fire up the base Phil Kent style politics will be a major liability for he GOP. As demographics change the Tea Party can be a liability for the GOP or an anchor…..If the Tea Party helps foster solutions for transportation , medical pot, individual rights, energy……they could maintain a relavent voice….In my opinion picking a fight with the speaker over solving issues is not a good long term strategy for the TP….The TP needs real policy victories not school yard scuffles…..

WeymanCWannamakerJr May 27, 2014 at 12:39 am

Absolutes and purity tests are best left to preachers and not politicians, even wannabee politicians. Ms. Dooley should remember the old saw about honey drawing more flies than vinegar. The Republican Party should remember the one about it only taking a little bit of vinegar to ruin a whole lot of honey.

Nathan May 27, 2014 at 9:12 am

Georgia is a conservative state, but we’re not as conservative as say Alabama, Mississippi, or a few other “deep red” states in the South. Changing demographics in the metro Atlanta area (on top of a booming population) will continue to chart us on a similar course as North Carolina and Virginia. That’s why the Democrats are targeting states like us and Texas to make inroads and fracture the base. Well, they don’t really have much work to do there seeing that we’re doing a pretty bang-up job of dividing ourselves.

I’ll call your bluff, Debbie. Stay home in November, but I don’t believe you will.

You’re right though. There won’t be much peace within the Republican ranks for years if this continues…and it’ll cause us to return to minority party status in Georgia.

GlynnRep May 28, 2014 at 12:21 am

It all seems pretty simple to me. Buzz agrees to work diligently for ethics reform and Debbie agrees to encourage the grass roots (sometimes loosely referred to as the Tea Party) to go to the polls in November to ensure Republican victories.

Otherwise, the internecine battles persist, with the state GOP aligned with the Chamber of Crony Capitalism and the elected leadership becoming increasingly more arrogant and dedicated to “top down” politics and the grass roots abandoning the Republican Party virtually guaranteeing a socialist future for what once was a great country.

The only thing I cannot see is – Who is the leader that is going to lead to the reconciliation ? A normal person might believe that the Chairman of the Party could take that charge, and attempt to broker a peace between the factions by reaching out to David Ralston, Debbie Dooley et al.

If not a peace, then at least a “working relationship” with open lines of communication.

Is John Padgett the man ?

Somebody better get busy, otherwise we will narrowly beat Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter will be the next Governor.

GlynnRep May 28, 2014 at 12:27 am

I have no idea what the national Republicans are going to do.

Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and John Boehner seem to be certified RINO’s to me. I sure hope that does not offend Buzz, but there it is.

Nominate a true conservative might be an idea.