Georgia’s Republicans after Richardson

Before this week, no one would have lumped Tiger Woods together with Glenn Richardson. Now, like the golfer, Georgia’s just-resigned speaker of the House finds himself a new member of an undesirable club.

The institution of marriage has been bruised before by politicians’ infidelity — the charge that Richardson’s ex-wife, Susan, leveled against the speaker during a television interview Monday. Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards: List all of them, and it starts to sound like a new verse to “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

For some other institutions, namely Georgia politics and specifically the state’s Republican Party, the fires of purification could be ignited soon.

I lived out of state for the vast majority of the Richardson era, which ended Thursday after Susan Richardson’s revelations.

What I have heard since returning about the House under Richardson, however, is not good: intraparty fights and retribution against noncompliant members; squabbles with the governor and the Senate; and most important, a failure to make progress on many of the state’s most pressing problems.

Like Richardson’s affair — which House Minority Leader DuBose Porter described as something “everyone around the Capitol knew to be true” — this unspectacular record was bubbling just beneath the surface of Georgia politics. The question was whether Democrats were poised, in terms of both leadership and voters’ partisan leanings, to take advantage in the 2010 elections.

Before Susan Richardson’s interview, the answer for House and Senate races, and perhaps the gubernatorial contest, appeared to be a solid “no.” That may have changed.

And, frankly, Republicans will deserve what they get if it’s proven that GOP leaders ignored Richardson’s dalliance with a lobbyist while he supported a push by her company, Atlanta Gas Light, for state permission to build a new pipeline.

This is the most serious allegation that Susan Richardson raised, and it will take more than her interview and Porter’s common knowledge to prove the speaker guilty. Here are some key questions: Who knew what, when, and how did this information affect (or not) the ultimately unsuccessful pipeline bill and the handling of a subsequent ethics complaint against the speaker?

Republican leaders may have good answers to these questions. But they need to clear the air.

What won’t work is the counterargument that Democrats had their own ethical problems back when they held power. That rings fairly hollow right about now. Voters have already punished Democrats.

There will be charges of hypocrisy that a member of the Republican Party, which champions family values, didn’t live up to that standard.

For me, however, failure to govern appropriately is much more damning than any such charges of hypocrisy.

Any cause suffers when it is let down in this way by one of its proponents. But that doesn’t mean the GOP needs to drop family values. (What would the party be afterward, anti-families?) Good causes need champions. What the GOP needs to do is drop the members who make a mockery of those values.

While they’re at it, they might reflect on the tendency of power to corrupt — and ask whether they have dedicated themselves sufficiently during their time in power to the goal of limiting state government, and therefore the risk of malgovernance by imperfect individuals.

Now is another good time for Republicans to rededicate themselves to that cause.

58 comments Add your comment

Shawn G

December 4th, 2009
8:33 pm

It is hypocrisy when these same Republicans uphold marriage as a sacred cow and push a Constitutional Amendment to not allow same sex marriage…this grand institution that they claim will be so damaged if gay people marry seems to be full of people fully capable of destroying its sanctity all by themselves….

Raw Milk Drinker

December 4th, 2009
8:37 pm

The hell of it is, 6-7 years ago a lot of the current legislators were elected and serving as Democrats. Even Sonny was once a Democrat until he got benched. When the power shifted to a different party, new letterheads and lapel pins made for a lot of Cinderella Republicans. Power is one of the best aphrodisiacs availible. Access to money equals power. As a friend of mine likes to say,” Bait a trap with (sex) and he’ll get caught in it everytime.”

Icarus

December 5th, 2009
3:01 am

Agreed Kyle. We made this bed. We either lie in it, or clean it up.

Once a Republican

December 5th, 2009
4:39 am

The former wife had to get the bum thrown out, not the politicans or the party. Now comes Burkhalter, a perfect knockoff from Richardson. That is – a money grubbing, developer/builder/attorney/scumbag. His history of involvement or self-serving are worse that Richardson. Politicians in Georgia are about as grand as the school system – last in the country. Oh yeah, Cox is a Republican and a developer/builder/scumbag like the rest.

arnold

December 5th, 2009
5:29 am

We have the same political beliefs now as when the politicians were Democrats. Their views stay the same. They just changed parties.

We had the Democrats who became Dixiecrats. Then morphed into Republicans when LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act. It’s all the same old same old. Just a different political party name.

Limbaugh Voted For Hillary

December 5th, 2009
8:26 am

When the hypocrites outnumber the righteous, your governance is based on a false premise. Using the “holier than thou” mantra to win elections is a demonstrable misstatement of the truth. Drop the morality angle completely, Republicans. Values are not the exclusive province of one particular political party.

Chris Broe

December 5th, 2009
8:38 am

Kyle Wingfield makes a wonderful snitch now that he’s found his niche in tabloid journalism. He name-drops better than Perez Hilton. He titillates better than Mary Hart. It took me fifteen minutes to read this wet piece because half way through it, I had to change my Hanes. Kyle threw in everything but the cigar.

It’s not enough to resign any more. The ditto heads want to wallow in the details of “dalliances, affairs, bubbling squabbles and hollow rings”.

Of course the truth is that if Kyle were to stick his nose into the Email trail of any number of bills he would find interns with benefits, lobbyists with more benefits. BFFs with the best benefits.

Most bills get passed because you can only sext one BFF at a time, you know.

Kyle even tried to tie a bow around this crowd pleaser at the end, “Now is another good time for Republicans to rededicate themselves to that cause”.

Aw, that’s so sweet. Kyle thinks there’s a cause.

Grading Kyle Wingfield: In spite of the classic hard-reporting aspects, (”What did they know, and when did they know it..”), this piece is a perfectly-trite overgeneralization about our elected children at play.

C+

midtownguy

December 5th, 2009
9:20 am

Just a note: The gay citizens of midtown are just loving this!

Clown Puncher

December 5th, 2009
9:21 am

Look at Chris “Broe”, the AJC.com liberal blog clown of the decade. The poor thing has to infiltrate every opined opinion. We have in “Broe” comments such fine snippets like “dittoheads” and other cute little 3rd grade mindless, bedwetting liberal like “Republicans…[they] think there’s a cause.”

Yeah, bedwetter, there IS a cause. You’re gonna start finding out in 2010 with your FAILED left wingnut dear leadership from the Pelosicrats on up.

Clown Puncher

December 5th, 2009
9:40 am

Now that the trash has been taken care of, let’s get on with the business of getting on, shall we?

Now normally when a Republican is president and unemployment is over 5%, the DNC lame stream media like DNCNN, PMSNBC, and New York Slimes will incessantly pound us with “news” like how horrible the economy is, how people are starving, and how awful it is that Republicans exist and allow people to starve to death, let alone how they can be in power.

Flash forward to the Obama presidency, nearly a year in power, and Democrats controlling Congress, nearly three years in power: at the beginning of 2009 we were told by Democrats that the trillion dollar (yeah, it’s more like a trillion) “Stimulus” Bill needed to be IMMEDIATELY passed to stop unemployment from going over 8%. As facts and evidence start being exposed about the so-called stimulus bill, it becomes apparent how incompetent these bed wetting liberal leftists are who happen to be running Washington. We even had one of them proclaim that Congress doesn’t really read bills!

So anyway, the BIG news of the week besides Tiger was that unemployment DROPPED!!! Yes sir and yes ma’am. DROPPED. It dropped an astounding .2% from 10.2% to 10.0%. Naturally the DNC lame stream media is jumping for joy and proclaiming how great it is. First of all, do you think the DNC lame stream media and non-liberal biased outlets like DNCNN would have let months and months go by with a Republican in office while unemployment – let alone the out of control deficit spending and a failing war in Afghanistan – go unchecked and unbitched about? That reminds me, how come we haven’t heard the bed wetting liberals wet themselves about Iraq lately?

Oh I’m sorry, I got off track. Anyway, back to the incompetence quota, yeah, that’s the same DNC lame stream media that didn’t go FACT FINDING on the Obama Administration’s claims about “saving” and “creating” jobs with that so-called Stimulus Bill. Facts? What do Obamabots care about facts? So what if some jobs proclaimed by Democrats and the Obama administration were created in districts that DO NOT EXIST?

Surely U Jest

December 5th, 2009
10:03 am

To Shawn G’s point, clearly it’s not gays that are destroying marriage in Georgia. Perhaps the Republicans should “man-up” and show the depth of their commitment to marriage by passing ground-breaking legislation that limits state income tax benefits and deductions related to marital status to the first marriage for either partner, a “divorce penalty” so to speak. Now think about the power of this toward getting couples to think-twice about splitting up if the DOMA were amended to do the same? It’s so easy to pass legislation that you don’t have to live with as we have seen with a congress that already has top-notch health benefits.

Mutts R Stupid

December 5th, 2009
10:17 am

I bet the crooked Army officers on trial for stealing from our soldiers in Iraq are all good republicans. Will the AJC make an effort to cover this story – “Major Gets 17½ Years in Iraq Contract Case,” or ignore it as they do most other important news that does not meet the Political Correct world of Cindy Lou and the other Blacks-R-Victims-of-Whity crowd. Here is the link for the story from the wsj http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125980636539574013.html

So far, three former Army majors and one lieutenant colonel have pleaded guilty to money-laundering, bribery and other charges. Another major is awaiting trial, while sentencing of former Maj. Christopher Murray is slated to occur in Georgia in two weeks. Do you think the ajc could spare a reporter or at least an intern to cover this trial? It is right here in Georgia after all. There could be a Pulitzer in it for someone. Compare and contrast the treatment of these 17 Black Officers and senior enlisted soldiers with treatment of Kellog, Brown, and Root (at the time owned by Dick Cheney’s Haliburton). Surely the AJC can spare at least one unpaid intern for the sentencing of former Major Christopher Murray and the trial of another Major. I mean, the ajc is a NEWSPAPER, is it not, and this is NEWS.

Clown Puncher

December 5th, 2009
10:32 am

“I bet the crooked Army officers on trial for stealing from our soldiers in Iraq are all good republicans. ”

That’s funny, Mutts. You liberals are the ones who love stealing from honest, law abiding, hard working citizens who just happen to EARN more than others and give it to slackers, losers, and baby machines who earn LESS in the form of income tax and wealth redistribution.

By the way, how much coverage did the Atlanta Urinal Constipation do on that Army major muslim convert who murdered 13 soldiers have? Did you bellyache over that as much as you are here? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

willie

December 5th, 2009
10:37 am

Mutts R Stupid

December 5th, 2009
10:17 am
Wow! What an amazing article! MRS, you did good. Maybe Kyle should hire you out of his own pocket for such good reporting. Are you a harvard graduate? Well, since it is about blacks it is not reportable on the ajc. It would get censored by the upper echelon really fast. However you keep it coming and I will keep reading and repeating.

One tired American

December 5th, 2009
10:46 am

Frankly no suprise here. Its true that the Richardson affair was common knowledge under the Gold Dome. Its time for Republicans and all Georgia leaders to start leading by moral example and stop acting like they are above the law. All of them need to get serious about the real issues in this state like leaving a decent world for our children by providing decent and competent education instead of perpetuating pork barrel and PACS even when they are lame duck politicans. I am sick of elected officials on both the state and local levels who are most interested in preserving the present status quo by screwing the future. Wise up Georgia voters-Let’s drive the rascals out!

Algonquin J. Calhoun

December 5th, 2009
11:00 am

David Axeltoad, I’m glad you’re now honest enough to call yourself the clown you are. The Repuklicans are not worthy of holding any office. They, like you, are greedy, dishonest maggots who belong in a penitentiary, not in any dis-service to the public. Democrats will remain in power because Refublicans aren’t worthy!

Clown Puncher

December 5th, 2009
11:27 am

“The Repuklicans are not worthy of holding any office.”

Yeah Algo, your beloved Dear Leaders in Congress and The Chosen One in office are such HIGHLY competent and openly honest non-corrupt, non-lying, non-thieving, non-cronyism bunch, aren’t they?

Idiotic liberal tool.

Mutts R Stupid

December 5th, 2009
11:29 am

jd – I whole heartedly agree, you have my vote for Post-of-the-Day award.

Zeb

December 5th, 2009
11:35 am

Georgia’s capital seems full of self-serving egotistical bully-boys. That is why Georgia is becoming a caricature of a banana republic, where only insiders prosper, and the citizenry is considered sheep to be fleeced. The Democrats were bad, but this crop of Republicans is about as low as you can go. I believe there are candidates for governor who would change the status quo: David Poythress, Dubose Porter and Jeff Chapman. Although I don’t necessarily agree with all their politics, I believe they are honorable gentlement who would immediately work to purge corruption and self-dealing, which have been the main drivers of our state government for some time now.

David Axelfraud

December 5th, 2009
12:05 pm

Algonquin J. Calhoun, the elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top does it?

David Axelfraud

December 5th, 2009
12:06 pm

Algonquin J. Calhoun, I don’t seem to remember posting on this article by Kyle. Why are you attacking me?

David Axelfraud

December 5th, 2009
12:09 pm

Kyle, I believe Algonquin J. Calhoun has gone off the deep end.

She calls me: clown, greedy, dishonest maggots who belong in a penitentiary, not in any dis-service to the public.

She also writes: Democrats will remain in power because Refublicans aren’t worthy!

LOLOLOL!!!!!!!! Yeah, the polls all show Republicans leading in every single category. What a loon.

George

December 5th, 2009
12:12 pm

Let’s see if I understand this logic. Because Richardson has perhaps been a hypocrite, along with Mark Sanford and others, laws preserving marriage as between one man and one woman should be repealed. This would be like saying that Al Gore’s flying around in a private jet and living in a big house (which may be the actions of a hypocrite) disprove global warming.

Actually, hypocrisy proves that a standard exists. If there were no standards, there could be no hypocrites.

The most important reason to preserve marriage is that it is, based on history, critical to the organization and survival of society. The law does not just command and prohibit. Since ancient lawgivers and the earliest philosophers, including Aristotle, it has been recognized that the law also has an inevitable and powerful educational effect. What is the future of our society when five-year-old kindergarteners are taught, as is now happening in states like Massachusetts (thanks to its lawless Supreme Judicial Court), that before they marry a person of the opposite sex they may want to consider marrying one of the same sex? And, given the corollaries of same-sex marriage such as polygamy and incestuous marriage, in a short time these five-year-olds will also be asked to consider whether they want to marry a group of persons (of the same, opposite, or mixed sexes) or persons from their own family. Obviously, if marriage is redefined in this manner, it will soon become meaningless for everyone and the family unit will be destroyed. The legalization of the equivalent of same-sex marriage in Scandinavia appears to be having this very effect.

jd

December 5th, 2009
1:10 pm

Reading the idiotic posts of others on this board reminds me of the sports page before the Georgia-Georgia Tech game. Democraps vs. Retardicans. Neither party has represented the people of this country, only themselves. It’s time for a revolution to clean this country top to bottom of the filth that calls itself Democrat and Republican. Members of each party have destroyed this country, beginning with Lincoln freeing the slaves and culminating with Bush 43 and the financial debacle he started. Now, we have to watch as Obama presides over the funeral of this once great country. Thanks for nothing, political parties.

Will

December 5th, 2009
1:31 pm

While we are on the subject of republican hypocrisy:

Each month that unemployment news as been bad, republicans piously proclaim this as further proof of the failed Obama Presidency (after all, its been 11 whole months since he took office and all he had facing him was two unpopular wars, a billion dollar budget deficit and the worst economy since the Great Depression).

With yesterday’s positive employment numbers, do you think these same republicans will now give the Obama Administration credit?

Me neither.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 5th, 2009
2:05 pm

Dear Will @ 1:31, we understand you are unable to read statistics, so we provide this service for you. While the unemployment rate dropped, this occurred at the same time as an increase in unemployment, another 11,000 jobs lost. The only way for the rate to drop while unemployment increases is for a large number of discouraged workers to drop out of the market entirely. Proof of democrat efficacy?

Burroughston Broch

December 5th, 2009
3:53 pm

The real lesson here was nailed by George Wallace, “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties.”
Pigs and prostitutes act the same, whether they are red or blue, or masquerade as donkeys or pachyderms.
Take it back, pigs are more honest.

Clown Puncher

December 5th, 2009
3:57 pm

Ragnar: don’t forget that DEMOCRATS have controlled Congress for nearly three years, let alone nearly one year in the White House. At what point do those asshats start taking responsibility for their failures? Oh my bad, they’re liberal Democrats – not man enough to accept personal responsibilities.

Georgian

December 5th, 2009
4:48 pm

Georgia has a sorry state of “leadership”. From the cozy affair with a lobbyist while pushing legislation for the lobbyist’s benefit…Also, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers openly associates with hate groups. Where’s the hood? Governor Perdue has not accomplished anything significant in his terms in office. AND it seems like those running for Governor are also a sorry bunch. Maybe we will see the rise of the Dems? Dems are not impressive either in GA…how about some independants?

vince neil

December 5th, 2009
5:34 pm

time will tell the future…the democrats shouldn’t get too excited about a chance to re-occupy the corner office and the Republicans do have work to do…..the clean up is beginning…………………… but the most profound difference between the R and the D is that the R will take their problems out and make them leave….name the D who has really had to leave office at the insistance of their own party…..I can name dozens who were either forced out by the opposition or are still in office………

vince neil

December 5th, 2009
6:33 pm

he said asshat…..that is such a great term!

Confucious Larry from Buford

December 5th, 2009
10:13 pm

sweet and sour not same as hot and sour

Rightwing Troll

December 6th, 2009
6:06 am

Have the “conservative” nutsacks impeached Tiger yet? That seems to be the pound of flesh the Bookman nutsacks are screaming for in retibution for Glen’s downfall because of his richard.

Rightwing Troll

December 6th, 2009
6:06 am

Course they’re too daft to realize Tiger’s an entertainer, not a politician…

Algonquin J. Calhoun

December 6th, 2009
8:31 am

Axeldung, you are nothing more than a whining, little turd. Shut up! Refublicans are done!

Michael H. Smith

December 6th, 2009
8:49 am

For me, however, failure to govern appropriately is much more damning than any such charges of hypocrisy.

That statement kind of says it all regardless of political party affiliation, Kyle. The Democrats lost control over this state after a one hundred year near tyrannical rein. Republicans seem poised to follow along behind in the Democrat’s hoof prints by repeating more of the same old, same old missteps.

Personally, I agree totally with your statement: Though in truth, I don’t give a rip about one thing politicians do with their personal time, in their personal relationships and with their personal money. When it comes to the people’s time, the people’s money and the relationships of power that represents money belonging to we the people, which they all owe monogamously to us by virtue of being elected to serve we the individual citizens of this state, if these politicians – any of them – fail to faithfully serve and remain loyal to us, then we should throw their lousy SELF-SERVING BUTTS out of power, out of our offices and out of our government entirely!

Mutts R Stupid

December 6th, 2009
9:15 am

willlie: harvard? Is that an elementary school in Forest Park? Ah never heard of it, so it must not be important.

Michael H. Smith

December 6th, 2009
9:45 am

A few things or questions that remain which hopefully will be followed-up sometime in the future behind this blog-article, Kyle:

1) Would the citizens of Georgia have received the greater benefit had this pipeline bill past?

2) Would this proposed pipeline have been anti-competitive or have added competition to the market?

3) Given the fact that natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel, than say coal, including the fact of recently released information that indicates the U.S. has more natural gas reserves than the once thought of world leader Russia in recoverable natural gas resources, wouldn’t it make good economic and environmental sense to increase pipeline capacity to deliver more natural gas to Georgia, bearing in mind electric power generating facilities which use natural gas are cleaner than coal-fired plants and what will surely be the emergence of multi-fuel hybrid electric automobiles in the near term?

I have many more questions regarding Georgia’s energy future relative to energy independence. One lousy politician’s or even one or both lousy political party’s self-serving ambitions should not be allowed to steal-away the prosperity rightly due to the citizens of this state. I like so, so too many others am tired of these politicians Democrat and Republican alike whoring the power we have given them to the special interests that do not represent or first place our interests in prosperity, liberty and security ahead of all others concerned.

David Axelfraud

December 6th, 2009
3:46 pm

Algonquin J. Calhoun, and you are nothing more than an uneducated freak from the sewers of Atlanta. Not only are you incapable of reading but you are also a big steaming pile of cow dung. If you really believe the Democrap party is in good shape then you may be the dumbest person to have ever graced the AJC blogs.

Were you gang raped in prison?

David Axelfraud

December 6th, 2009
3:48 pm

Algonquin Jackass. Calhound, did you pass the third grade?

hatin' on the stupid

December 6th, 2009
8:09 pm

C(ow)P(ie)”Oh my bad, they’re liberal Democrats – not man enough to accept personal responsibilities.”
Yeah, like you’ve accepted responsibility for the Bush years. When republicans accept responsibility for bankrupting this country with their borrow and spend policies, beginning with Reagan, then they might be taken seriously again. Until then shut up, quit whining, and get out of the way. Shrillness is so unbecoming.

Dusty

December 6th, 2009
9:10 pm

hatin’ on the stupid, @8:09

Well, to maintain the high level of refinement dumped here, let us consider a few things you have conveniently forgotten. America and Democrats should remember that George W. Bush kept the country going strong when we were struck one of the deadliest blows in American history.

You do remember 9/11, don’t you? Who kept the USA strong and safe and took measures to keep terrorists away from our shores? Now, think hard? Yes, our responsible President George W. Bush, who, with all that, did not add trillions upon trillions of debt upon us as Obama is doing.

Furthermore, Obama, after all his complaints about Bush before the election, seems to follow many of the Bush imperatives. I guess you haven’t noticed. Too busy or too afraid to mention it. Better wake up and find out what is really going on.

Diehard

December 6th, 2009
9:23 pm

Can someone please convince Johnny Isakson to run for Governor?

JohnD

December 6th, 2009
10:42 pm

I won’t comment on Richardson’s personal problems. But as a speaker he has been hyper-partisan and is certainly no friend of metro Atlanta. Let’s hope that the GOP steps back from its anti-Atlanta, anti-black and anti-gay antics to pander for votes; and maybe, just maybe, focus on water, transportation, education and reforming tax policy for a change. For example, it would be nice if they’d let metro Atlanta keep more of its tax revenues instead of redistributing wealth to red-state counties that refuse to tax themselves for infrastructure or education.

I doubt we will see any improvement, but its the Christmas season and one can always hope — to be promptly disappointed once the General Assembly convenes in January.

JOHN ODD OWL

December 7th, 2009
2:52 am

The right wing conservative Republicans like Speaker Richardson are pusillanimous liars and hypocrites. The Republicans practice the negative moral virtues as opposed to the positive moral virtues. Principles of Opposites are in effect. Good vs. Evil. The Republicans conjure up evil in the country and they condemn good. The hypocrite Republicans gallivant around the Country yelling and screaming “Do as i say and not as i do”. The Republicans need to “Make like a tree and shut the bleep up”.

JOHN ODD OWL

December 7th, 2009
2:57 am

The Georgia Democrats will win the Governorship and control of both houses of the state legislature next election. Johnny Isksason is history, he will lose by a landslide.

Gerald West

December 7th, 2009
5:51 am

Rich and powerful middle-age men have an age-old predisposition for making fools of themselves over younger women and boys. Men and women of little accomplishment have an age-old predisposition to gloat over the scandals and misfortunes of their betters.

Too bad the American public pays attention to the occasional scandals and indiscretions of our politicians but ignores their continual negligence and incompetence in discharging the duties of their office! Examine carefully the proposals and voting records of opportunist turncoat Dixiecrats like Richardson and Sanford, and you’ll see why our state and country are in irreversible decline. We only condemn our elected charlatans and hypocrites when they find true love outside marriage!

Horrible Horace

December 7th, 2009
7:23 am

If Ms Richardson had kept her husband happy then none of this would ever have occurred.

norman ravitch

December 7th, 2009
8:29 am

Perhaps the only way the Democratic Party in the South (which is in effect the Black Party) can win is if the GOP gets into more sexual scandals.

First Sergeant

December 7th, 2009
8:35 am

Dusty at 9:10 pm; “You do remember 9/11, don’t you? Who kept the USA strong and safe and took measures to keep terrorists away from our shores? Now, think hard? Yes, our responsible President George W. Bush, who, with all that, did not add trillions upon trillions of debt upon us as Obama is doing.”

Dusttie, we won’t even begin to dignify such a “stupid a@@ statement”.