Robert Brown: New rules by GOP ‘cabal’ turn Senate Democrats into bystanders

When a “cabal” of Senate Republicans stripped Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of most of his authority this month, they also turned Democratic senators into bystanders – and disenfranchised the 3 million people they represent, Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown of Macon declared Tuesday.

“We are not going to be bound by these rules. You can infer whatever you like from that,” Brown said.

When the General Assembly convenes in January, Republicans will have 35 members in the Senate — just three shy of the necessary two-thirds majority needed to rule on any issue without Democratic interference.

Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon. AJC

Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon. AJC

When pressed, the Democratic leader has a single word: “Disrupt.”

“The power of the minority is always to be able to disrupt,” he added.

Brown also referred to the new Republican requirement that all senators recite a pledge of allegiance to the state flag of Georgia as “an abomination” – though he said this was a personal opinion, not a caucus position.

“I’m an American. I did not fight to separate from this country. My ancestors, even though they couldn’t vote in some instances, were Americans who pledged their allegiance to the American flag – not the Georgia flag,” Brown said. “I think what is being done here is symbolically saying we are somehow not a part of that country that remains America.”

The Senate GOP caucus voted to require a pledge to the state flag at the same Nov. 5 meeting where it stripped Cagle of most of his authority. State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, author of the flag proposal, said it wasn’t his intention to ignite yet another debate over the issue of state sovereignty.

State Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, said he will absent himself from the chamber rather than recite a pledge to the state flag.

But Sen. George Hooks, D-Americus, one of the designers of the current flag – adopted in 2003, said he would lead the first pledge. Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, said he, too, would recite the pledge.

Carter’s grandfather, the former president, played a quiet but important role in raising the current flag – as an alternative to a statewide vote, proposed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, on the 1956 state flag and its Confederate battle emblem.

In his press conference with reporters, Brown said he had discussed the new Senate rules with Cagle.

Said Brown:

”The lieutenant governor, I don’t think, has quite absorbed this yet. He’s still reading the Bible and talking about loving people, getting along – and how he was elected by the people.

“And he’s going to go around the state and let the people know that he has an agenda. I don’t think he’s quite understood that, basically, all he’ll be able to do under these circumstances is cry that river that Mark Taylor talked about….I don’t think he’s absorbed the raw politics that has been played on him.”

The minority leader disputed the “power-sharing” descriptions that Republicans in the Senate have given to their move. “If you’re not in the same room where the decision is being made, that’s a strange kind of sharing,” he said.

But Brown said he was more disturbed by the impact the rule changes will have on the Democratic caucus:

”I think, basically, disenfranchises over 3 million Georgians. It makes the Democratic minority a non-player. All the way from very petty things like – normally we are able to go down for points of personal privilege at the beginning of the day. They’re now moving that to the bottom of the calendar. Which means we’ll be talking to desks or talking to ourselves. This is a way of stifling our voices….

“While we’ve had our differences with the lieutenant governor, he has tried to bring a modicum of fairness to this process. He has met with me, the minority leader, in prior years to discuss committee assignments and committee appointments. Ultimately, the decision will be with the majority party. But to completely shut us out in the manner in which this cabal of Republicans are doing I think is unconscionable.”

Brown said he has been asked by the Republican caucus to submit Democratic requests for committee assignments “under the new rules” – i.e., to the Committee on Assignments that now rules the Senate, rather than the lieutenant governor.

Never mind that the rules won’t be adopted until January, or that Brown hasn’t seen a final draft. “If you’re living under the new Confederacy, that’s the way you can do it,” he said.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

60 comments Add your comment

td

November 16th, 2010
2:36 pm

“If you’re living under the new Confederacy, that’s the way you can do it,”

I guess this is going to get some white votes back to the democratic party?

yuzeyurbrain

November 16th, 2010
2:39 pm

If Casey had been able to control his zipper he wouldn’t be in this pickle. Kind of like the Republican Bill Clinton. As for statehouse Dems, they have been essentially irrelevant for 8 years. It does seem however that they will occasionally be useful to one GOP faction or the other; so I don’t see why some Republicans are going out of their way to humiliate Dems.

Jeff

November 16th, 2010
2:40 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this almost exactly what happened for more than 100 years of Democratic rule?

Like it or not, to the winner goes the spoils. Republicans rise on points of personal privilege just as much as Dems, and will be just as affected there. Difference is that typically R PPPs were to recognize some group or some such, while D PPPs were typically more D talking points about issues that most of the State doesn’t care about, such as the Domicilliary in Milledgeville.

GaBlue

November 16th, 2010
2:47 pm

Does anyone in Georgia actually still believe he or she is represented? Hello? If you don’t have millions in the bank, or the means to help your elected officials move from debt into the realm of extreme profits, your voice, opinions, and needs matter just slightly less than the lizards who run around on the golf course on St. Simon’s.

Jeff @ 2:40,

Um, it’s the same people, sparky. Same ideals, same philosophy, same agenda as the Jim Crow Dixiecrats. The Dems lost Georgia because they attempted to move FORWARD. Repubs took Georgia because they said, “HEY, we’re back here!” But please, keep kidding yourself it helps you sleep at night.

captguitarman

November 16th, 2010
2:56 pm

No good can come of this. We all recall the heady days of King Roy and the Dems running both houses under the Dome. It was infuriating, and the Pubs all talked about and longed for the day this type of one party, arrogant and crony driven governance would end. Then along came “What, Me Worry?” Governor Perdue and “Don’t Take One Step Closer, Or I’ll Pull The Trigger” Speaker Richardson . . . . and so much for the end of “that” kind of governance in Georgia. And here we go again, but even worse — the opposition voice has for all practical purposes been eliminated. It was enlightening to read about how Sonny helped along his grain bidness with state Port Authority agents while he was Governor (what ethics violation?), and now even worse, we have a Governor on the verge of bankruptcy getting into office just in the nick of time. And now the entire legislature is controlled by the Gov’s Pub party. I doubt we will hear much any more from the House and Senate Ethics committees (assuming they will still exist or any one will want to even serve on them) with all this bidness opportunities now before them. Especially after the Pubs move them down into their new offices in the rear stalls of the men’s room, down in the basement, right next to the boiler room.

Uncle Jessie

November 16th, 2010
3:01 pm

Georgia is a state, that is ‘nother word fer nation. We is not a colony or province, We seceded from british empire wit some other states and created federal govment to serve our needs. Dat other flag represents our service organization, our flag represents us, the folks of Georgia. We is Georgians and proud of it, if you aint find you some place else to be a servant. Read the constitution and see that we only gives some duties and authority to fed organization we retains all other powers (10th. amendment makes this clear) We does not bow down to king of that empire some folks is wanting to create, this is the type of thing the founding fathers warned us about. Wake up! Yee Haw!

RED

November 16th, 2010
3:03 pm

See what happens when you lose and you deserve it.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

November 16th, 2010
3:05 pm

You are also a conquered nation state. Sherman should have finished the job.

Road Scholar

November 16th, 2010
3:18 pm

yuzeyerbrain: “If Casey had been able to control his zipper he wouldn’t be in this pickle. ”

Shouldn’t that be: If Casey had been able to control his pickle, it wouldn’t be stuck in his zipper?

JD

November 16th, 2010
3:19 pm

I recall Republicans running on a platform to bring open debate and fairness to the legislative process. The decried the mean policies of Tom Murphy, Zell Miller, and Mark Taylor for shutting them out of the process.

Guess they dun forgot those principles.

BW

November 16th, 2010
3:21 pm

LOL Aaron Burr….it’s amazing to me the amount of pride for an entity that got its ass thoroughly beaten once Lincoln stopping screwing around with those traitors….unfortunately he went the appeasement route and pardoned the ring leaders and look what that got him. It’s basically a field day for older social conservatives because that’s all this particular installment will pass….nothing involving funding because we’re taxed too much already. No water deals, no transportation infrastructure or funding for the existing infrastructure, no port dredging for the larger ships coming once the Panama Canal is widened. The least they could do is reapportion the power into North Georgia & metro Atlanta which is the economic hub for the state…I don’t care what those farmers say. The hilarious part is that we will actually end up spending more money to do less…the vision of the leaders of this country is non-existent.

Keith

November 16th, 2010
3:22 pm

Senator Brown, most of those “3 million” Georgians that you say aren’t represented now, probably voted for Carol Porter for Lt. Gov. and still wouldn’t have been represented even if Cagle was still runing the show. Robert Brown = FAIL

Keith Helms

November 16th, 2010
3:25 pm

Who cares what bigot Robert Brown thinks or says? Certainly not the tax payers of Macon, Georgia. He has done nothing for Bibb County, not one job or one state grant.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

November 16th, 2010
3:25 pm

Okay, Senator Brown, using YOUR LOGIC then, everyone represented by Republicans during the Obama-care debate were – using YOUR WORD – “disenfranchised” due to Pelosi-Reid’s use of procedural rules to bar any meaningful debate about that issue.

Will you carry your crusade about “disenfranchisment” to Pelosi-Reid-Obama? I doubt it.

Just like your national party leaders, you refuse to accept the results of the election. You don’t “get it”.

DawgDad

November 16th, 2010
3:30 pm

Elections have consequences.

Perhaps if the members and supporters of the Democratic Party spent less time alienating Georgia voters they wouldn’t be in this predicament? Well, no, as I flip through the pages of the AJC and these web pages I see the Democrats are as arrogant, condescending, and baiting as ever.

SPSU

November 16th, 2010
3:36 pm

Hopefully Charlie Browns senate seat will dissolve when redistricting occurs

Scott

November 16th, 2010
3:38 pm

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely…
doesn’t matter who is in control…we as Georgians will lose in the long run because talking points and ideology is more important to our legislators. Oh and lining their pockets like the Governor is currently doing while thumbing his nose at every single Georgian republican OR democrat…thats important too

The Snark

November 16th, 2010
3:39 pm

Jeff: You’re wrong.

GaBlue

November 16th, 2010
3:43 pm

DawgDad,

I agree. Elections have consequences, and the Democratic Party of Georgia failed miserably on many numerous fronts. In particular, I think it’s a mistake for them to appeal to the voters’ better nature. Fear, fear, prejudice, division, and fear work much better. The people of Georgia are SO! SCARED! of anything and everybody with a “D” beside their name, they’ll even elect a bankrupt crook Governor and help him turn his own personal finances around, rather than demand something better for our drain-circling state. Hear that sucking noise? Consesquences.

By the way, WAR DAMN EAGLE!

Scott

November 16th, 2010
3:43 pm

@SPSU
Quite the opposite I think. Most of the population gained is centered in Metro Atlanta and other urban areas of the state. It would take some real gerrymandering to write districts that dilute minority voting, needless to say it wouldn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of passing on the federal level (remember the state of Georgia still must get federal approval). I think it took 2 years and a couple of rewrites last go ’round.

The Centrist

November 16th, 2010
3:51 pm

Absolutely beautiful. Same Southern folks, just switched their party name and kept their same old antics.

BW

November 16th, 2010
3:55 pm

Centrist

There are some people that would actually have you believe that the people that call themselves Republicans were the same Dixiecrats from pre Civil Rights era…the politics have not changed. In Ronnie’s words….the party left them and the Republican party welcomed them with open arms. Once the labor element was minimized the switchover was complete.

Just a taxpayer

November 16th, 2010
3:56 pm

This isn’t about Casey Cagle, who is a good leader. This is about politics. And sheer stupidity on the part of the “cabal”. With a single leader in the House, Ralston; and a single Governor’s voice, the Senate has created a committee of 8 senators who will be deciding leadership issues. Add to this the contingency of Democrats seeking to disrupt the senate process and you have an enormous mess, where no Georgian wins. Eight committee members providing leadership…Talk about herding cats.

The Centrist

November 16th, 2010
3:59 pm

Those who are employed by “real” small businesses, or children under the age of 25, or a female of childbearing age, or have a pre-existing illness of something like migranes are going to be really happy with the forthcoming BoehnerCare.

Just a taxpayer

November 16th, 2010
3:59 pm

The Democratic party in the south has lost its way. It has become a representation of the African American community and has ceased to be a party when many voices are heard.

Retired Soldier

November 16th, 2010
4:03 pm

GaBlue-

Just a word of advice. If you continue to think that way you and the Dems will continue to lose big. Maybe, just maybe you need to figure out what the voters want and then convince them you Dems can do it better. If a “bankrupt crook” was elected over your candidate, maybe the problem is you.

Until you realize it’s the voters wishes that win elections you are doomed to be a minority party.

GaBlue

November 16th, 2010
4:10 pm

Retired Soldier,

“If a bankrupt crook was elected over your candidate, maybe the problem is you.”

Um, that’s what I said, Dude. What part of my post were you refuting?

The Repubs have a much better grasp of how to get the voters’ attention and get them to the polls, frantically poking that screen for whomever has an “R” beside the name. SO! SCARED! not to.

The Centrist

November 16th, 2010
4:18 pm

Retired Soldier. Please name some of the Georgia voter’s wishes that the State Dems have dismissed, particularly in the last eight years? Being against gunowners taking firearms into courthouses or airports? Or, against eliminating healthcare for the working poor and children?

td

November 16th, 2010
4:20 pm

I think I told you libs a year ago that because of your choice of Obama as president that Georgia would turn deep red and that at least the House would be taken back over by Republicans. My prediction came true with not only Georgia and the House but also 10 additional Republican Governors and over 600 additional state legislative seats. Biggest turn around since the great depression.

Now for my next prediction: If Obama lets the remaining libs in the House and Senate continue with their policy agenda and does not turn hard to the right (like Clinton did) and make conservative policy decisions then the American people will nominate Sarah Palin and she will be the next President of the United States.

This is all on the hands of you libs of who the next President will be. Either you all go to you lib politicians and tell them to stop trying to go farther to the left and start cooperating with the conservatives (tea party) or else you will be saying President Palin

redneck

November 16th, 2010
4:24 pm

ITS REFUDIATE

GaBlue

November 16th, 2010
4:25 pm

td,

Are you saying we SHOULD have campaigned for McCrusty and McGidget (and more of the same *bleep*) so hard that the population of the other 49 states would have no choice but to listen to us — all so Georgia could elect state officers who plan to do something besides set up their own financial futures? Hmmm.. Good to know, for next time, anyway. THANKS!!!

Retired Soldier

November 16th, 2010
4:27 pm

GaBlue (dude)-

My point is “dude” that if you think Deal was corrupt and a crook and you still lose, you and the Dems have a major problem. That’s all “dude”.

Retired Soldier

November 16th, 2010
4:30 pm

Centrist-

That is a question you have to answer for yourself. The election results don’t lie. The Dems in Ga have achieved minor party status. If you think the voters have a good grasp of what your party stands for, more power to you. Enjoy your time in never never land.

The Centrist

November 16th, 2010
4:34 pm

Somehow I doubt that of the 8 million citizens of Georgia, and the 2.5 million that voted, that all of the 1.1 million people who voted for a “Successful Civil Liberties Crooked Lawyer” could be profiled as members of the NAACP.

kreedham

November 16th, 2010
4:39 pm

I’ve said this in another blog but I’ll say it here!

The nation’s economy stinks and there aren’t enough jobs so we throw out the Democrats after just 2 years in power..

The state’s economy stinks and there aren’t enough jobs but the voters of Georgia, after 8 years of Republican domination, just vote for more Republicans.

To those that vote Republican, that’s you’re choice, just saying you may not be too happy with what you got!

With Nathan Deal’s personal financial situation and other problems we may yet get a Governor Cagle!

GaBlue

November 16th, 2010
4:39 pm

Retired Soldier,

“The Dems in Ga have achieved minor party status. If you think the voters have a good grasp of what your party stands for, more power to you. Enjoy your time in never never land.”

Um, I think the point is that the voters DON’T understand what the Ga Dems stand for. They also don’t understand what the Ga Repubs really stand for. See, they think the Repubs stand for “freedom” and “values.” That’s about the same depth of understanding as “Sesame Street was brought to you today by the letter R.” Don’t take my word for it, though. Start asking random people — with whom you do not normally discuss politics — about their representation and “leadership” at the state level. Ask if they can tell you anything at all that was not spouted in TV ads throughout October. Anything….. If you can get beyond a blank stare, most of them will throw Obama’s name in there somewhere. Just ask “td.”

kreedham

November 16th, 2010
4:42 pm

I somewhat favor voting out incumbents, there’s always a few worth keeping. My challenge all you Republicans out there is, that if you’re not happy with how the state legislature runs the next 2 years then have someone run against the incumbent in the primary. That way you can still vote for a republican cause I know that no matter how much you might not like your guy, you’ll still vote for him against a democrat!. That’s all right by me, just get us some new republicans.

Retired Soldier

November 16th, 2010
4:48 pm

GaBlue-

I love it when Dems/Libs blame the voter for being stupid. That is a sure fire way for you to spend a long time in never never land. Maybe, just maybe the voters reject what you stand for.

Keep blaming the voters, I love it!

Retired Soldier

November 16th, 2010
4:54 pm

kreedham-

That’s not true, I consider myself a dyed in the wool republican, but in every election there are one or more Dems I vote for because in my opinion they are alot better than the Rep candidate.

GaBlue

November 16th, 2010
4:57 pm

Retired Soldier,

I never said our voters were stupid. My assertion is that most of them are simply not informed on the candidates beyond the letter that’s beside the name. I stand by that assertion, and invited you to make that observation (or disprove it) for yourself. Now I remember that all YOU seem to care about is dissing “libs.” So sorry I forgot, and engaged you in discourse. Once again, MY BAD. I apologize.

The Centrist

November 16th, 2010
4:58 pm

What did the election results really say Retired Soldier? Shame to admit that the majority of the 1.34 million people voted for Nathan Deal simply because he says he is a Republican? As you have shown, there are no real policy driven reasons for the results. It is funny that Cagle helped Deal out on his contract, was applauded for getting a few worthwhile legislation passed after the Richardson fiasco years, and look what he got for his efforts. He must be a RINO.

— Peach Pundit

November 16th, 2010
5:00 pm

[...] So this is what being irrelevant looks like … When a “cabal” of Senate Republicans stripped Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of most of his authority this month, they also turned Democratic senators into bystanders – and disenfranchised the 3 million people they represent, Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown of Macon declared Tuesday. [...]

George P. Burdell

November 16th, 2010
5:03 pm

Regarding the Democrats feeling left out, I am reminded of the response by Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor when the then-minority Republicans cried foul, “Cry me a river.”

Retired Soldier

November 16th, 2010
5:09 pm

GaBlue-

You sound just like Obama at his press conference, if we had just explained our position better! Not. The public is fully aware of your message, they reject it. As long as you refuse to understand that simple fact you will be in never never land, fighting the Libertarians for the second largest party in Ga.

GaBlue

November 16th, 2010
5:10 pm

Mr. Burdell,

The biggest difference between Mark Taylor and the Georgia Republicans currently in power is that Mr. Taylor did not sell out and flip parties to get the majority of the votes. I’ll bet he regrets not doing so as much as Nathan Deal is glad he did. A good ol’ boy by any other name is still… what he is. The revolution is an illusion, folks. It never happened.

Retired Soldier

November 16th, 2010
5:12 pm

Centrist-

It was a simple message, the majority of the voters reject the democratic message. Cagle is lucky he was left with what power he still has. This will be his last 4 years in elective office.

GaBlue

November 16th, 2010
5:13 pm

Retired Soldier,

I am not in never never land. My FIRST post of the day blamed the Ga Democrats for their own demise. You just want to argue with me because you don’t like “libs.” Regardless of what I write, you — for some reason I can only speculate upon — get off on kicking sand in somebody’s face when they’re down, bless your heart. Was it good for you? Hope so. Have a lovely evening.

David in Atlanta

November 16th, 2010
5:13 pm

There’s a Pledge of Allegiance to the STATE flag? Who the heck came up with that? Dumbest idea I’ve heard in a long time. Probably mentions something about Cooter from the Dukes of Hazzard. Our politicians are apparently doing their part to keep Georgia in the running for “dumbest state” award.

The Centrist

November 16th, 2010
5:21 pm

Chameleons have been running the State of Georgia since Reconstruction, but back then they were able to use their voting bloc influence in Washington to get pork barrel spending to take care the State level cronies. RINOs are getting caught in the backwash and the rest of the DINOs are switching to be like the RINOs, but they are all Chameleons. What the Irrelevant people can hope for is that the Tea Party forces the DC Republican to be true to their word by drying up wasteful federal spending, force a realistic view of the deficit and debt, and eliminate the spoils that the Chameleons have relied upon over the past 150 years.

Retired Soldier

November 16th, 2010
5:25 pm

Centrist-

A post I agree with. My goodness, do I have a temperture?