Archive for March, 2010

An ‘impeach Thurbert Baker’ movement?

Interesting Tweet from Erick Erickson of Redstate.com:

Members of Georgia House of Representatives are considering impeachment articles against GA-Atty Gen for failing to sue Feds over Obamacare.

This is the first we’ve heard — no other details are available, as yet. But, no aspersions on anyone, but you have to wonder if this might be a Republican plot to avoid Roy Barnes in November.

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Bill Clinton as a hand towel for George W. Bush

The two ex-presidents were down in Haiti, shaking hands with locals, when George W. Bush encountered … something. Possibly slimy.

What’s a hygienic-minded Westerner to do? At the 17-second mark in this BBC video posted on YouTube, Bush gives Bill Clinton an efficient little pat-wipe on the shoulder:

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Georgia Democrats and the health care dilemma

Clearly, the substance of the argument is different. But for anyone who grew up in the South during the ’50s and ’60s, the rhythm of the debate over health care has become eerily familiar.

We have John Lewis on the receiving end of invective from an angry crowd. A tortured Congress squeezes out a bill after decades of hesitation. A jubilant president signs it.

Back home, the Legislature immediately attempts a declaration of state sovereignty. The governor calls Congress’ action “a travesty,” and presses for a lawsuit to block what he declares to be an unconstitutional expansion of federal power.

And Democrats, just like in the old days, suddenly find themselves worrying about being tied too closely to a president and a ruling Washington regime.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has been eager to help. “It is imperative that current candidates for elected office publicly state their plans to either support the Obama-Pelosi legislation or fight for the people of Georgia,” the …

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9th District race to replace Nathan Deal shifted to May 11

The Associated Press just reported the following:

Gov. Sonny Perdue is pushing back the date for a special election in North Georgia to May 11.

Voters in the 9th congressional district must select a replacement for Nathan Deal in the U.S. House and fill the legislative seats held by state Sen. Lee Hawkins and Rep. Tom Graves.

All three elections had been set for April 27.

But Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said Wednesday that the secretary of state’s office was concerned there was not enough time to get ballots returned from military members stationed overseas.

The qualifying period for candidates wishing to run will remain March 29-31.

Deal left Congress to pursue the Republican nomination for governor. Hawkins and Graves resigned to run for Deal’s seat.

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Thurbert Baker’s answer to Sonny Perdue: Health care lawsuit a waste of money

Attorney General Thurbert Baker, a Democratic candidate for governor, has rejected Gov. Sonny Perdue’s demand that he join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health care reform law.

Read the entire thing here. But this is the meat:

Based upon my understanding of the current Act, I am unaware of any constitutional infirmities and do not think it would be prudent, legally or fiscally, to pursue such litigation. I must therefore respectfully decline your request.

While I understand that the new law is the subject of ongoing debate here in Georgia and around the nation, I do not believe that Georgia has a viable legal claim against the United States. Considering our state’s current severe budgetary crisis, with vital services like education and law enforcement being cut deeply, I cannot justify a decision to initiate expensive and time-consuming litigation that I believe has no legal merit.

In short, this litigation is likely to fail and will consume …

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Congressional elite exempted from health care law?

This article from Roll Call is causing a stir in D.C. this morning:

While most staffers will soon be required to purchase insurance plans created in the health care reform bill, their colleagues who work in leadership and committee offices may be off the hook.

A provision of the act — which President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday — requires only that “Members of Congress and congressional staff” have access to health care options created in the legislation. But the bill defines staff as employees who work in a Member’s “official office,” a term that does not appear to include staffers in committee and leadership offices….

[A] significant number of staffers may get to keep their current plan, if a recent Congressional Research Service memo is correct in speculating that the reform act excludes leadership and committee staffers from the requirement.

More than 160 staffers work in just the leadership offices of Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell …

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Your morning jolt: ‘I might not agree with repeal and start over’ on health care, says Phil Gingrey

At least a few Republicans have begun parsing what they mean when they call for the repeal of the new health care law.

On Tuesday, in a CNN interview, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta) admitted there were portions of the legislation he likes – including the provision that would allow parents to carry their offspring on their insurance until age 26.

Said Gingrey:

“When we say start over, we don’t mean throw everything out – throw out the baby with the bath water. We mean, take the best of this bill and combine it with our ideas like buying insurance across state lines and equalizing the tax treatment and creating high-risk pools.

“Of course, all of the language regarding electronic medical records I’m in favor of. So I might not fully agree with completely repealing and starting over.”

Here’s the clip, posted on YouTube by the liberal group ThinkProgress:

Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich and Gov. Sonny Perdue will have a joint press conference on health care at …

Continue reading Your morning jolt: ‘I might not agree with repeal and start over’ on health care, says Phil Gingrey »

Nathan Deal passes out Thurbert Baker’s phone number

Republican candidate for governor Nathan Deal, freed from his Washington job, has passed the office number, fax number, and e-mail address of Attorney General Thurbert Baker to supporters, urging them to call and demand that Baker join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health care law.

Baker, of course, is a Democratic candidate for governor. It’s fine sport to bait a rival.

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Republican Nathan Deal (AP)

Quoth the former congressman:

“Mr. Baker, the people of Georgia are speaking. On Sunday, nine of the 13 members of the Georgia Congressional Delegation voted against this bill. These lawmakers represent 70 percent of Georgia voters.

It is time for you to do your constitutional duty and stand up for our state.”

We talked to Baker last night about this very topic, at the Jefferson-Jackson Day event – before President Barack Obama signed the legislation.

Said Baker:

We’ve gotten a lot of phone calls [Monday], there’s no question about it. First of all, we …

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Saxby Chambliss joins effort to repeal health care law

Saxby Chambliss is one of a dozen senators who have signed onto Republican legislation that would repeal the new health care law.

The measure is sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, says USA Today, which also notes:

The phrase “repeal it” has become a Republican/Tea Party mantra in recent days. There’s even a website, repealit.org, which displays Senate and House candidates who have pledged to repeal the new law.

Whatever you think about the health care fight, it’s important to acknowledge that Republican rhetoric has turned a significant corner in the last few days.

Back in January, during a session with reporters in Atlanta, former House speaker Newt Gingrich said this:

“If they stay inside those two bills, I think every Republican candidate in the country is going to say that they want to replace the bill with something better.

“I don’t think they’ll use the word ‘repeal.’ I think they’ll use the word ‘replace.’ We need health …

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Austin Scott: Lift the toll on Ga. 400

The Republican campaign for governor continued at the state Capitol this afternoon.

State Rep. Austin Scott (R-Tifton), in an apparent attempt to attract the attention of metro Atlanta commuters, has introduced HB 1443, which would dismantle the State Road and Tollway Authority as well as the toll on Ga. 400 – which raises $22 million annually.

Quoting from his press release:

“When this project began, citizens and government agreed that the toll would come down when the road was paid for. Yet when Roy Barnes was governor, he directed a change in the legislation that will leave the toll up indefinitely.

“Now more than ever, Georgians should be concerned with their ever-expanding government. Why should taxpayers spend $20 million to run an agency that provides $2 million in road maintenance?”

But this is from an article written last March by my AJC colleague Ariel Hart:

Not only will drivers continue to pay a toll on Ga. 400 through 2011, but they may be paying even more …

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