New best friends — the GOP and tea parties — are about to clash over ethics in Georgia

Exactly what will happen in Georgia on Tuesday is still locked inside someone else’s crystal ball. Not mine.

A governor’s race may or may not be resolved. At least two members of Congress may or may not fall.

But one thing is certain: In a couple of days, in ballroom after ballroom across the country, tea partyists and Republicans will wrap their arms around each other in celebration and declare themselves family.

This is how all the very best feuds start.

For the last 18 months, participants in the tea party movement have insisted that they are something other than an auxiliary of the GOP. And with Republican control of at least half of Congress all but certain, the last few days have produced signs that many tea partyists actually believe that they are indeed something different.

Julianne Thompson, an Atlanta Tea Part organizer. Josh D. Weiss/Special

Julianne Thompson, an Atlanta Tea Part organizer. Josh D. Weiss/Special

Former U.S. House majority leader Dick Armey of Texas is chairman of FreedomWorks, the Washington-based group that has bankrolled several tea party organizations.

Last week, a conservative Christian magazine published an interview with Armey in which he dissected the failure of the last GOP ascension to congressional power in 1994. Armey spoke of a Republican party besotted with power and backroom dealing.

He declared that President Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, then U.S. House speaker, held private meetings to talk about their girlfriends over wine and cigars. “It’s just not true,” said Gingrich, who is inching closer to a ’12 presidential run, after a rally in Gwinnett County.

At the state Capitol, visiting Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — another Republican with the White House on his mind — indicated that he understands the relationship between tea partyists and the GOP remains fragile.

He warned that new GOP leaders of Congress had best stick to their promises. “I think it’s really important that people campaign like they’re going to govern, and govern like they campaign,” Pawlenty said. “Because if you don’t do that, the public understands that’s a form of hypocrisy. And that’s why they don’t like politicians.”

Only after President Barack Obama has vetoed GOP legislation and it is clear that the votes to override it aren’t there will Republicans be permitted to go to the “Plan B” of deal making, Pawlenty said.

But one of the most immediate signs of friction between Republicans and the tea party movement may be in Georgia rather than Washington. Three weekends ago in McDonough, representatives of dozens of tea party groups in Georgia gathered to put the finishing touches on a petition they are demanding that state lawmakers sign.

Republicans will be eager to endorse many of the petition’s points: Property and income tax reform, a constitutional limit on spending, mandatory public school and university courses on the paperwork produced by the Founding Fathers, and more court-based confrontations to block expansion of the federal government.

But those in control of the state Legislature are less enthused about other requirements of the tea party petition. Such as a ban on state contracts for family members of the governor, the lieutenant governor or members of the General Assembly.

Trips funded by lobbyists would be prohibited. Lobbyists would be required to report any money spent on a lawmaker within five working days. The petition demands that immediate family member of lawmakers, governors and lieutenant governors be banned from serving as lobbyists.

We are only a year away from the fall of House Speaker Glenn Richardson, the Hiram legislator done in by an angry ex-wife who kept track of his affair with a female lobbyist. And the state GOP’s new partner doesn’t think enough has been done to rectify the situation.

She may not be the Republican nominee for governor, but many tea partyists think Karen Handel had a point. The focus on ethics is no accident.

“We do feel like that has been a problem in the state of Georgia — whether you’re talking about Democrats or Republicans,” said Julianne Thompson, an Atlanta Tea Party organizer.

And how many state lawmakers have signed the petition? “We’ve had a few,” Thompson said. But many lawmakers have been hesitant about giving up those free trips to the Daytona 500. Or the contract that gives the brother-in-law his start.

“That’s disconcerting,” Thompson said.

But the emphasis on ethics — tea party groups want to form an alliance with other interested parties — should serve as proof they won’t be placed on any leash by the GOP, she said.

Sometime soon, the names of lawmakers who have signed the tea party petition will be released, Thompson said. Along with a list of those who have refused.

There is no feud like a family feud.

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38 comments Add your comment

Internecine Warfare!!!

October 30th, 2010
3:12 pm

Bring it on!!!!!!!!


Gooberstan will be the battleground.

Hey, that has happened before, with devastating results.


Doug Craig

October 30th, 2010
3:14 pm

Notice how few GOP people are getting Tea party support. Chuck Donovan and John Monds have both won awards from the Tea party. You want small government vote Libertarian

First Man Standing

October 30th, 2010
3:22 pm

Tea Party: all talk about taxes. No talk about national security. Given the recent threats, we should be asking tough questions about some of these neophytes. Someone like Jim Marshall for example, does not need on the job training on security issues.


October 30th, 2010
3:23 pm

Wishful thinking, Galloway.

Your Democratic party is dying in Georgia and under tremendous stress nationally.


October 30th, 2010
3:29 pm

You ignorant s!ut,
You only have one house in the hand
You have to have both, with a 60-vote super majority in the Senate, to do anything in Washington now, or do they not have basic cable in your state?
Now start sucking up to Governor Palin and maybe she will let you run for VP

Pat H

October 30th, 2010
3:29 pm

Both Newt and Armey are open borders globalists – good for amoral corporations, bad for Americans. We have had enough of these RINOS.


October 30th, 2010
3:31 pm

Does Speaker Newt deny that he was having his own affair while letting an impeachment trial to tear the country apart, or just the sharing of notes with President Clinton?


October 30th, 2010
3:36 pm

First Man,
How you going to PAY for that military?
We currently spend more that the rest of the world, which is why supposedly peace loving countries can have better overall lives, as we continue to be what President Bush ran against – being the worlds police force.

the original and still the best John Galt

October 30th, 2010
3:38 pm

The Tea Party has already been co-opted by the Republicrat arm of the Establishment party, as witnessed by Caribou Barbi becoming a Tea Party spokesperson despite being as Establishment as a Republicrat can be.

Anyone not voting Libertarian is voting for the status quo, because the difference in the two wings of the Establishment party is the difference in Tweedledee and Tweedledum.


October 30th, 2010
3:38 pm

I know withdraw from the debate to enjoy the game, go GATORS!


October 30th, 2010
3:50 pm

The tea baggers are a scarey bunch. All you have to do is look at Angle (NEV), McDonnell (DEL), Miller (AK), Paladino (NY), Buck (COL), and Paul (KY). Thes people are radical idiots.

First Man Standing

October 30th, 2010
3:54 pm

Security isn’t free. But, I guess we can pass some tax cuts to pay for securing America. Right TeaParty?

Last Man Standing

October 30th, 2010
3:56 pm

First Man Standing:

You can stick a fork in Marshall – he’s done.

Last Man Standing

October 30th, 2010
4:00 pm


At long last we agree on something! Go Gators!


October 30th, 2010
4:02 pm

Tea party? In Georgia? No sign of it.

If the Tea Party had any influence in Georgia we would not have Nathan Deal, a career politician who switched parties so he wouldn’t have to give up his government job as the Republican nominee for governor. A career politician who feels entitled to some serious anti-free market government no-bid contracts. An ex-Democrat that produced mysterious, incomplete tax returns. A Washington insider who voted YES for a good chunk of our growing debt.

Tea Party in Georgia? Forget it. Not going to happen. The good ol boys and Baptists are in charge. That’s the way it will stay. Ethics? Lol.

Last Man Standing

October 30th, 2010
4:03 pm

bart :

We have Obama as president, Pelosi as speaker and Reed running the senate, and you call Tea Party people radical? Get a clue!

Billy Bob

October 30th, 2010
4:18 pm

Just hope this Casey Cagle accusation is fully investigated. If Cagle, his secretary and the other party involved really never did the Lewinski thing in his office – they should pursue a legal claim or be willing to be sworn-in and hooked to the lie detector. Let’s see if they are really willing to stand up. If not, I will just have to believe there is truth in the ethics complaint and chalk Casey up as a liar.

Penny Lane

October 30th, 2010
4:49 pm

Excellent point, Billy Bob.


October 30th, 2010
5:03 pm

Libertarian guys and girls, listen to what your candidate is saying as he tries to edge into what he thinks is the mainstream. He isn’t too sure about those gay people and them immigrants. He’s waffling pretty much everywhere. To my mind if you are a token party you should at least espouse what the party says.

I’m not gay; but, when Monds said he wasn’t sure about letting gays marry, that pretty much did it for me as a protest vote. I thought Libertarians didn’t want government interfering with peoples’ lives. Me thinks Mr. Monds is pandering to the GOP unwashed to the detriment of his purity.

I’m not at all happy with Roy and other than not voting, he seems to be what I’ve got. Or, I could vote for Deal and do an over and under on the indictment date.

Bobby Anthony

October 30th, 2010
5:06 pm

Are the papers they want the schools to teach the letters of Thomas Jefferson where he states that Jesus was a good man but not a god?

Last Man Standing

October 30th, 2010
5:11 pm

Billy Bob:

“Just hope this Casey Cagle accusation is fully investigated”

Not to worry! Cagle is not a democrat so the AJC will spare no effort when it comes to an investifation. When they are through with it, you’ll even know the color of Cagle’s poop.

No Longer Republican

October 30th, 2010
5:23 pm

I’m sure the Rethugs will have a hay day Tuesday thanks to the Tea Party wackos. But, in two years, when they have accomplished absolutely nothing in Washington, and they won’t. Americans will be angry again and maybe the Dems will learn how to propagandize like the Rethugs do and they will take back the house and senate, and re-elect Obama. Wouldn’t that be so nice!


October 30th, 2010
5:24 pm

His poop is brown like most of ours. I came into the stall he just left at the Georgia State MARTA/theater thing, and that nasty old man didn’t bother to flush.

Last Man Standing Before a Urinal

October 30th, 2010
5:48 pm

For the last 8 years, Georgia has been a ONE PARTY STATE. 50+ bank failures, thousands of foreclosures, 11 percent unemployment, education in the toilet, state House Speaker resigns under shame, runner up speaker drops out, UGA loses to the Gators, etc. What does one party rule get you in GA? If the legislature is going to be Republican, at least vote Libertarian to balance out one party rule.


October 30th, 2010
6:05 pm

It got us fish ponds, dagnabit!

Last Man Standing

October 30th, 2010
6:09 pm

No Longer Republican:

If truth in advertizing was in affect here, you’d have to change your screen name to “Never Was A Republican”.

Last Man Standing

October 30th, 2010
6:12 pm


“For the last 8 years, Georgia has been a ONE PARTY STATE.”

I guess, to be fair, we can take the 100+ years of one-party Democrat rule and point out every sorry thing that happened during that time.

Last Man Standing Before a Urinal

October 30th, 2010
6:16 pm

If the election has been cast about the last two measly 24 months in Washington, what about the last 8 years of one party stranglehold on Georgia? Remember the great days after the Olympics, when the HOPE scholarship was new and everyone thought getting a new job was easy, when money was flowing, when metro Atlanta was really a hot location for the rest of the country? Look at Charlotte and NC over the last 8 years. We lost a NASCAR race for blank sake. Have you been better off the last 8 years under unbridled Republican control of Georgia politics? Remember, the national debate has been over 24 months. Think about the last 8 years. We won the boatramp wars; wars against Sunday sales; wars against microchipping; and wars against guns in church.

Eve of Destruction? « The Georgia Column

October 30th, 2010
9:14 pm

[...] “In a couple of days, in ballroom after ballroom across the country,” the AJC’s Jim Galloway writes, “[Tea Partiers] and Republicans will wrap their arms around each other in celebration and [...]

roybama barnes

October 31st, 2010
1:29 am

Why did Roy Barnes embolden and empower the most notorious serial pedophile in U.S. history? Why did Roy Barnes call Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills and tell him to “back off” of his investigation that sent Malachi York to prison for 135 years? Why did Roy Barnes take photos with the Nuwaubian cult members in the Governor’s office a mere month before the FBI raid on York’s compound?

Trev of Athens

October 31st, 2010
9:45 am

The Tea Party represent the most ignorant uninformed people in the US. I have yet to hear one even explain what they stand for…………instead all they do is wave flags, wear stupid hats are shout no taxes.


October 31st, 2010
10:15 am

It would be wonderful poetic justice if the Tea Party types managed to enforce morality on the amoral, lying, cheating, greedy, self-serving Georgia legislators. I will applaud them!


October 31st, 2010
11:28 am

Interesting that most Tea Party types want small government….guess making the corrupt state legislators sign away their “perks” will do wonders for slimming down that gov’ment. Won’t happen. Georgia is in for an all out “Civil War” between the Republicans and the folks that have kept their sorry asses in power the last eight plus years. Yippy!!!!

Last Man Standing Gator fan and republican….you better hide boy, yo kind ain’t wanted round here.

professional skeptic

October 31st, 2010
11:48 am

It comes to absolutely no surprise that Georgia Republicans are refusing to give up their shady state contract deals. Business as usual would come to a screeching halt without all that lucrative income paid by Georgia taxpayers. Georgia Republcians love sucking at the government teat, and won’t give it up so easily.

Last Man Standing

October 31st, 2010
12:14 pm

A new poll released Sunday shows Republican Nathan Deal with a 7-point lead over Democrat Roy Barnes in Georgia’s gubernatorial race heading into Tuesday’s general election.

Deal pulled 47 percent of the vote compared with 40 percent for Barnes, according to the poll by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. Libertarian John Monds garnered 6 percent of the vote. Seven percent of voters were undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Deal is below the 50 percent plus one of the vote needed to avoid a runoff under Georgia law. But a spokesman predicted undecided voters would break in favor of the former congressman from Gainesville.


October 31st, 2010
2:03 pm

Guy Millner also barely lead Barnes, Barnes trounced him election day, same song, different year.

lester maddox

October 31st, 2010
11:19 pm

“I guess, to be fair, we can take the 100+ years of one-party Democrat rule and point out every sorry thing that happened during that time.”

Ya’ll did that. You promised to do better. You didn’t. You Republicans can talk about governing, you just can’t do it.


November 1st, 2010
2:09 pm

GA’s GOP is screwed up. Those fools have the audacity to embarrass this state by pushing a candidate like Nathan Deal. This is the same political posturing that had the DNC running the
show her for so long. The Dems are another cluster f***. We deserve better than either of these parties.
The people in this state need to educate themselves. Politicians and their ilk only want power. That goes for every politician from the town Mayor, County Commissioners, School Board, and the state wide offices. You are never their priority after an election. I hate to use a lame movie, but in the last “Legally Blonde”, Sally Field delivers 2 of the most profound lines ever. Speaking of elections, donors, and serving the people she says “the people will believe what we tell them to believe”, and on the topic of why candidates side with donors over their constituents ” you can’t get the people to care”.
Before you let any campaign moron convince you who to vote for….. do your own research. So what if you miss a bit of the ballgame. This is important. If you are not intellectually bright enough to think for yourself…. do us all a favor…… stay home.