Your morning jolt: Watch for fallout from the clash between Westmoreland and Oxendine

No doubt you’ve seen this morning’s top political story:

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland said Monday that he believes Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine used an investigation into a failed insurance company in an attempt to pressure him to take a low profile in the governor’s race.

Westmoreland said Oxendine, a Republican candidate for governor, called him about an investigation into Southeastern U.S. Insurance, where Westmoreland served on an advisory board in 2003 and 2004. He said Oxendine told him that his name was found in company documents.

Westmoreland said Oxendine never said anything explicit, but the congressman said he felt a message was being sent. He said Oxendine said to him repeatedly that he would try to keep his name from becoming public as a favor.

Oxendine denied trying to pressure Westmoreland. He said politics had nothing to do with the call.

“Normally I would have had a staff person call him,” Oxendine said. “But since the guy is a sitting congressman, I thought it would be a little demeaning to have a staff person call him.”

Westmoreland is supporting Rep. Nathan Deal for governor. He said the call felt like a “shakedown.”

“I think he thought he was going to worry me,” Westmoreland said. “It smells funny.”

Westmoreland’s entrance into the 2010 race for governor – not as a candidate, but as a combatant – is likely to have several effects. First, it jeopardizes an effort Oxendine had started last week to strengthen his image as a champion of ethics reform.

More important, Westmoreland and Oxendine share strong followings among the conservative Christian core of the state GOP. One can’t credit Westmoreland and still believe in Oxendine. Or vice versa. This has the makings of a split.

Lastly, we now know that Westmoreland’s name is being bandied about in this investigation. The former House minority leader says he attended a total of three meetings of the advisory board, and was required to quit when he was elected to Congress in 2004. But Clark Fain, who served as CEO of SEUS, had other Republican connections as well. Will they be drawn in?

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson says his colleagues are about to approve the nomination of a Labor Department solicitor who misled him and other senators.

Isakson on Monday voted against the motion to end debate on the nomination of New York labor commissioner Patricia Smith, but was rebuffed on a 60-32 vote. A final confirmation vote is expected later this week.

Isakson had already asked President Barack Obama back in September to withdraw the nomination because of what Isakson called her “evasive” answers.

Specifically, Isakson was concerned with Smith’s statements regarding a program called “Wage Watch,” which deputized what Isakson calls private activist groups to inspect small businesses to look for violations of wage and hour laws.

In April 2009, Isakson says he wrote to Smith and asked if she foresaw “the possibility of instituting similar efforts on the national level.” Smith said no.

However, documents procured by the Senate committee looking into her nomination revealed that Smith wrote in January 2009 that she would like to double the number of organizations involved, “while laying the foundation to expand the program to various parts of Long Island and upstate New York.” She continued, “We’re creating a movement here, and the more the merrier.”

“The Senate should not tolerate a nominee intentionally misleading a standing committee of this body. My guess is that the Democrat majority would not have stood for that under the previous administration and they shouldn’t stand for it today,” Isakson said.

Other reports worth looking at this morning:

From the Washington Post:

Sex education classes that focus on encouraging children to remain abstinent can persuade a significant proportion to delay sexual activity, researchers reported Monday in a landmark study that could have major implications for U.S. efforts to protect young people against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Again from the Post:

President Obama’s top defense officials will tell the Senate on Tuesday that the military will no longer aggressively pursue disciplinary action against gay service members whose orientation is revealed against their will by third parties, sources say.

And this sobering piece from the New York Times:

By President Obama’s own optimistic projections, American deficits will not return to what are widely considered sustainable levels over the next 10 years. In fact, in 2019 and 2020 — years after Mr. Obama has left the political scene, even if he serves two terms — they start rising again sharply, to more than 5 percent of gross domestic product.

His budget draws a picture of a nation that like many American homeowners simply cannot get above water.

For Mr. Obama and his successors, the effect of those projections is clear: Unless miraculous growth, or miraculous political compromises, creates some unforeseen change over the next decade, there is virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors.

Beyond that lies the possibility that the United States could begin to suffer the same disease that has afflicted Japan over the past decade. As debt grew more rapidly than income, that country’s influence around the world eroded.

To cheer you up after that, we offer Stephen Colbert’s interview last night of Harold Ford Jr., the former Tennessee congressman who’s looking at a change of venue to New York:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Harold Ford Jr.
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Economy

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

41 comments Add your comment

GoOx

February 2nd, 2010
9:36 am

The liberal AJC attacking my man Ox again. This time they take on two conservative stalwarts, playing a he said he said game. My man OX did the right thing and called the Congressman to let him know what was going on. End of story.

Intown Lib

February 2nd, 2010
9:46 am

One can only hope the Republican gubernatorial candidates will bring each other down enough for one of the two Democrats who might actually implement decent public policy (Barnes or Baker) can win.

GA Mountain Repub

February 2nd, 2010
10:01 am

GoOX, so you support elected officials who have had dozens of expensive meals and $500 plus bottles of wine with special interests, dating back to at least 1998, and maybe before? Who do you think is paying for those meals, ultimately? Oh yes, it’s true.

GoOx

February 2nd, 2010
10:04 am

GMR – Please stop spreading false rumors about my man Ox. I haven;t seen any lobbyist disclosure with expensive meals.

lmno

February 2nd, 2010
10:19 am

This conversation is classic Oxendine for anyone whose dealt with him.

goox-and take handel with you...

February 2nd, 2010
10:19 am

Oxendine, and his silly attempts at playing political hardball by abusing his office, fleecing insurance execs for campaign contributions or trying to intimidate fellow republicans, is done. Now I see why he didn’t resign like the other elected officials running–he has to abuse his office to try to get over. What an idiot.

DH

February 2nd, 2010
10:30 am

The fact that “GoOx” keeps saying “my man Ox” confirms that everything about Oxendine turns my stomach.

[...] news story the “beginning of the end” for the GOP gubernatorial candidate. Jim Galloway says this tete-a-tete could split the state’s GOP — and wonders if any other elephants are [...]

AngryVoter

February 2nd, 2010
10:48 am

It seems that so much stink settles around Oxendine. Most of us live our lives without being at the scene of a shooting, without being called on the carpet for wrongly using government cars and sirens, without geing accused of trying to shake someone down, without having family members accused of serious crimes, without the other rumors and scandal that seem to stick on Oxendine like gum on his shoe.

Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt and do not attribute any responsibility to him for these things, why would we want a governor who seems to be a human black cloud?

Although I ascribe to the axiom that if you smell smoke, there is likely fire. It just seems very smokey anytime Oxendine’s around.

GA Mountain Repub

February 2nd, 2010
11:14 am

GoOx, apparently you know as little about the law as you do about Ox. Company reps and officers don’t have to disclose the cost of the vintage grapes Ox orders, as lobbyists do. Better have another sip of the koolaide ox man.

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
11:30 am

When is he just going to go away and give it up? He’s in the news what seems like daily with nothing good ever said about him. I truly hope that the Ox supporters are waking up and smelling the coffee that this man (and I use the term loosely) would not be a good choice for governor. He needs to just go away (and take his bullying staffers with him).

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

February 2nd, 2010
11:47 am

Barnes and bewigged Baker are proven no good, “Intown Lib.” We can know with absolute moral certainty that neither has any integrity.

Baker’s passed up multiple chances to show character while in office, and Barnes is unctuous, sleazy, physical coward/Vietnam law school draft-dodger and bank profiteer as “conflict-of-interest politician” personified.

Since the filing deadline has passed, failing a write-in campaign for some as yet to be found leader, perhaps we should consider Dubose Porter, one clever enough to leave his law practice and work in the newspaper business?

Can any neighbors of Porter in Dublin vouch for his morals and good character? At least he isn’t trying to hide his baldness.

Intown Lib
February 2nd, 2010
9:46 am

One can only hope the Republican gubernatorial candidates will bring each other down enough for one of the two Democrats who might actually implement decent public policy (Barnes or Baker) can win.

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
12:01 pm

Don’t count the Republican candidates out just yet, Will Jones. There are still a couple who could give Roy and run for his money — and neither are Ox. If you haven’t read Peach Pundit today, perhaps you should and you will see one of the two GOP candidates, who has no baggage, and could be excellent choice for the GOP.

Gary

February 2nd, 2010
12:03 pm

Oxendine is starting to remind me of Reed in early 2006 when it looked like he was a shoe-in for the Lt. Governor’s office. We all know what happened there and I am starting to see if happen again with Ox. The man has been elected to statewide office several times and can only muster 39-44% of the vote? He won’t be on the ballot come November. I predict the GOP will either send Handel or Deal to the general election.

Bobby Dixon

February 2nd, 2010
12:05 pm

The ” Ox” will be the best Governor that money can buy.

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
12:07 pm

It will be Handel or one other candidate in the general election. It’s not Ox and it’s not Deal. They both have issues which are going to hurt them with the voters. Their poll numbers will decline while two others will rise. Watch and see. The rally has begun already; but, Rasmussen hasn’t polled anything but based on name recognition. The voters won’t be fooled twice by that.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

February 2nd, 2010
12:23 pm

G-d has cursed the manifestly corrupt (no paper trail with plenty of time to implement it), childless, Quayle-connected carpetbagger Handel, but Georgia should bless her?

I think not.

Dubose Porter may have integrity, and that’s all Georgians need in leadership. We’ve been without it so long.

Someone of good repute with personal witness of Dubose Porter, from Dublin, please weigh-in.

Laurens County

February 2nd, 2010
12:29 pm

DuBose Porter doesn’t have integrity, Will Jones. He is like a mini-Obama without the charisma; he takes all the credit when he is right and shifts blame and points fingers when he is wrong. That man would divide this state until we crumble.

Cutty

February 2nd, 2010
12:32 pm

Folks sending a high school graduate to the general election for Governor with all these problems we face. Wow!

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
12:36 pm

I think it is time to start seriously giving some consideration of Austin Scott. For those of you who have not read anything about him, perhaps you should. I have narrowed my field down to two. Both are well-educated and experienced, with a long proven record of continuous employment (other than legislature). People need to not be spoon fed anymore in deciding which candidate to vote for. They need to educate themselves and research.

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
12:38 pm

By the way, Cutty, she only has a GED (which is easier to get than a high school diploma). There is actually more effort in attending high school than taking a speed course followed by a test.

Lawyer

February 2nd, 2010
12:38 pm

The part about Oxendine attacking some companies/ people to try to be “a champion of the people” is true. Hate to tell you folks, but he is as crooked as they come. He has lined his pockets with ‘donations’ for a long time, and now he’s ‘biting the hand that feeds him”. He is not officially allowed to do certain political campaigning acts yet, so this is a way for him to get his name out and act like he protects the common person. Take this from someone who has “paid the bill” in the past. There are a lot of interesting facts about him that will come out in the next few months.

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
12:42 pm

I have a friend who owns a rather successful insurance business. He told me back when I was talking with him about who I might be supporting in the race that he and several other agents had been “black balled” by Ox and his group because they had refused to contribute to his campaign. I have known this guy for 47 years. He had absolutely no reason to lie to me. Lawyer, you are right, from what my friend said, his guy is more crooked than a country road! We certainly don’t need that as a governor. I hate to say this; but, I am actually being entertained watching this guy implode. :)

Laurens County

February 2nd, 2010
12:43 pm

UGA1954, you may have known him for 47 years, but I don’t know you or him at all

Lawyer

February 2nd, 2010
12:44 pm

Emory Texan

February 2nd, 2010
12:47 pm

Enter your comments here

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
12:49 pm

Right, he didn’t know; and, I have swamp land to sell. He’s very crooked and dirty. We definitely don’t need him in office anytime in any position. He should go and soon. That was the same guy’s property he was hunting on when the accident happened, but he tried to say he didn’t know him all that well. Yeah, right!! CROOKED + DIRTY = THE OX!!

Emory Texan

February 2nd, 2010
12:50 pm

Whoops! lol

Can we just throw all the candidates outs and start over? In Texas there is an upstart nurse, yeah as in a normal person, that has started embarrassing the political establishment in the debates so far (it really has been pretty entertaining). Is there a candidate out there that is an educated, fiery, shoot from the hip type, *average person* instead of a career politician?

Karen Handel is a High School Graduate!!!

February 2nd, 2010
1:06 pm

One would at least hope the qualifications for governor include being a college graduate.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

February 2nd, 2010
1:31 pm

Oxendine works for the Insurance Cartel, isn’t that all you really need to know?

Just a thought

February 2nd, 2010
1:33 pm

Karen Handel may not be bright, but goodness, if Oxendine is elected he’ll probablly be indicted during his first term. There appears to be little ethical about him. I’d take her over him.

Emory Texan

February 2nd, 2010
1:49 pm

Laurens County, I’m interested in hearing why you say DuBose lacks integrity. I used to know one of his staffers, also from Laurens County actually, and she seemed to think he was a pretty honorable guy. Yeah, he’s partisan, but what politician isn’t these days? Both parties have moved so far from the middle that there is almost no way to find middle ground.

Anyone but Ox

February 2nd, 2010
1:50 pm

I have known Ox for 47 years. And actions speak. “My man Ox” needs to leave town and allow us to move forward with honest, citizen oriented government.

Good Ole Jim Galloway

February 2nd, 2010
2:09 pm

Used to know? Sounds like there’s a story Emory Brat!

mike

February 2nd, 2010
2:28 pm

Good to see Lynn “3 commandment” Westmoreland in the news again. At least it’s not for saying something stupid, at least publically, this time.

mike

February 2nd, 2010
2:31 pm

And as long as we’re putting Colbert interviews into play, watch Westmoreland (with a cameo from Phil Gingrey) from a couple of years ago. Kind a’ makes you proud to be from Georgia.
http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/70730/june-14-2006/better-know-a-district—georgia-s-8th—lynn-westmoreland

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
2:46 pm

Mike, that was the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Real proud to be a Georgian. :)

mike

February 2nd, 2010
3:14 pm

Can’t make that kind of stuff up. You just have to see to believe. For those that haven’t watched, have to fast forward through about the first 1/3 of video to get to the funny stuff.

UGA1954

February 2nd, 2010
3:29 pm

As I watched it, I kept trying to convince myself that it was a joke. Very painful to watch.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

February 2nd, 2010
7:25 pm

“Someone of good repute with personal witness of Dubose Porter, from Dublin, please weigh-in.”

No “offense,” “Laurens County,” but it’s difficult to know of your “good repute” when you are not identifying yourself. His father was an M.D. and his mother seems to have been a DuBose, so there must be some good there…and his newspaper has the doors open, which says good of him, as well.

G-d gave DuBose Porter a wife and four sons…and he got out of the law rackets. He might be a good man.

The working, intelligent people, the yeoman artisanry, the 80% Middle/Working Class, all know of the treason which is afoot in Our Land since Bush’s father killed Kennedy to send us to die in Vietnam, and his grandfather funded Hitler for the Roman Catholic Church, from their U.S. collection plates and the Rockefeller bank.

The Anti-Christ thrives because many are cashing in who can pass for Americans, to the untutored eye.

The People must unite against “the Beast” and “cast” fascist plutocracy,” its pedophile priesthood, promotion of illegal immigration, Wall Street payoffs to shore up their fiat-money, fractional banking scheme, of the Fed, ended by John Kennedy’s EO11,110, and the traitors yet to brought to justice who committed 9/11 and killed John Kennedy and Dr. King.

The false elite Tories have local agents/traitors in counties across Our State who, like otherwise good and decent people I know and love, dismiss the notion, or delude themselves, about Bush’s and Cheney’s having committed 9/11.

Barack Obama, in his speeches and books, gave the impression that he knew the truth of America: the ideal and Dream passed through the generations from our forebears – The People sovereign, under only G-d, by the Creed’s “Annuit Coeptis” and Common Sense…American Exceptionalism.

If, as you suggest, DuBose Porter is a “mini-Obama” in that regard, he is head-and-shoulders above any other name mentioned so far in the Democratic field.

Those yet willing to call themselves members of the Gay Old Party of draft-dodgers, closet-queens, adulterers, bathroom stall perverts, liars and traitors (excluding perhaps Jeff Chapman for his work fighting Mercer Reynolds’ attempted rape of the Golden Isles) are an abomination to the Founders and to all good and decent Georgians worthy of the name.

“Laurens County”: Who, really, are you?

February 2nd, 2010
12:29 pm

DuBose Porter doesn’t have integrity, Will Jones. He is like a mini-Obama without the charisma; he takes all the credit when he is right and shifts blame and points fingers when he is wrong. That man would divide this state until we crumble.

Akennas

February 3rd, 2010
1:45 am

Well, judging by the loonies posting their Ox slanders, he must be the most qualified candidate by far! Have anything to back up your slanders? I didn’t think so…

And Will Jones – get back on your meds, please!