Your morning jolt: Sam Olens wins speaking role at GOP convention

Attorney General Sam Olens, Mitt Romney’s top elected supporter in the state, was rewarded this morning with a speaking role at this month’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.

His will be the most prominent Georgia face at the four-day launching of the fall presidential campaign. Olens was one of five convention speakers announced by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. Apparently intended to advertise the diversity of the GOP, they include:

Attorney General Sam Olens at the state Capitol in February. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com.

Attorney General Sam Olens at the state Capitol in February. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com.

– Pam Bondi, Florida’s first female attorney general;

– Ted Cruz, who was Texas’ first Hispanic solicitor general. Cruz just won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Consider this a nod to tea party enthusiasts;

– Luis Fortuño, the first Republican elected governor of Puerto Rico since 1969;

– And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the first U.S. governor to beat a recall election.

Olens is identified as the former chairman of the Cobb County commission. The press release does not note that Olens was also the first Jewish candidate elected to a statewide partisan office in Georgia.

Health care is a likely speech topic for Georgia’s attorney general. Olens quickly joined the lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul upon his election as attorney general in 2010. Olens was with Romney in Washington, offering an instant analysis, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision upholding the constitutionality of the measure.

Another connection: Olens’ primary political consultant, Heath Garrett, is part of the Stevens & Schriefer Group. Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer are lead strategists for the Romney campaign in Boston.

“Elections do have consequences and we will start to put our country back on track at the Republican National Convention when we nominate Mitt Romney,” Olens is quoted as saying. The GOP notice does not indicate when the five will address delegates. The convention runs from Aug. 27-30.

***
State Rep. Doug Collins, the GOP candidate for the new 9th District congressional seat, this morning launched this TV attack on runoff rival Martha Zoller and her career as a talk radio host:

Zoller also began airing this runoff campaign closer today, highlighting Collins’ ties to the state Capitol – and her endorsements from the likes of Sarah Palin:

***
South Georgia GOP activists Pat Tippett and Kay Godwin, co-founders of Georgia Conservatives in Action, have endorsed Martha Zoller in the GOP race for the 9th Congressional District in north Georgia.

From the press release:

“As a conservative activist, Martha has been a force for good in promoting the values we hold dear: faith, family, and freedom. As a radio host, she has been a voice for the values of the Tea Party movement since before the movement even had a name.

The endorsement is important, given that rival Doug Collins is characterizing Zoller’s endorsements by Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain as interference by cable TV celebrities from abroad.

***
At a meeting of Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss said his Gang of Six (now 46) effort to construct a bipartisan approach to deficit reduction intends to make its mark during Congress’ lame-duck period. From Maria Saporta of the Saporta Report:

The group is putting together a legislative package (even though there’s still some negotiations and differences within the gang) that will include spending reductions, addressing entitlement issues and instituting tax reform, which likely would result in additional revenues. The overall goal is to have a debt reduction package of at least $4 trillion. That’s the only way the country can protect its economic future, Chambliss said.

“The key is timing,” said Chambliss, when asked if the Gang of 46 would seek support of at least another 14 senators so it could have a solid majority. “The timing right now is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We want to have a process in place that says this is the number ($4 trillion) you have got to hit.”

***
The failure of TSPLOST votes in metro Atlanta and much of Georgia prompted a broader piece from Ed Kilgore – a former Georgia political operative – at the left-leaning New Republic:

The Georgia experience matters nationally for a simple reason: Since 2008, the GOP and its business allies have energized its movement-conservative base (rechristened as the Tea Party Movement) to savagely fight for radically reduced public spending. Now, when increased public investments and the revenues necessary to pay for them are obviously essential to keep a state economy growing, Republicans can no longer dial back the rhetoric, or even count on Democratic voters to help bail them out.

If Republicans conquer Washington in November and Republican-controlled state governments derive the bitter harvest of radically reduced federal support for public services, it will be interesting to see if a “governing wing” of the GOP survives at all in state capitals around the country. And it will be equally interesting to see whether business interests are happy with obtaining better tax rates and less regulation in exchange for dysfunctional government from sea to shining sea.

***
Not many people – including me – noticed these two paragraphs in a weekend Associated Press piece on the Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to continue its ban on gay leaders and members:

Back in 1994, during a political debate in Massachusetts, [Mitt] Romney said this: “I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”

A Romney spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said in an e-mail that this remains Romney’s position today.

***
The political influence of state Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, appears to be rocketing through the American heartland. Sort of.

From The Breeze newspaper in northern Rhode Island:

[A] local teacher who aspires to be the next representative in House District 54 lifted nearly all of his election platform from the website of Jason Carter, a member of the Georgia State Senate.

A North Providence resident and Providence educator, second-time District 54 candidate William “Bill” O’Brien copied approximately 1,000 words of Carter, an incumbent state lawmaker in Georgia and the grandson of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and pasted them onto his own website, www.williamobrien2012.com.

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today examines statements by state Sen. Fran Miller, R-Dunwoody, who says that, in the down-sizing of state government, education has received the fewest cuts.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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29 comments Add your comment

the cat

August 8th, 2012
9:49 am

I read the following like 3 times and still don’t know his position:

Back in 1994, during a political debate in Massachusetts, [Mitt] Romney said this: “I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Rabun Jack

August 8th, 2012
9:50 am

Pat Tippett and Kay Godwin live about as far away from the 9th Congressional as Sarah Palin does.

More outsiders trying to tell GA9 how to vote.

td

August 8th, 2012
9:51 am

It appears Sam is setting himself up for a run to become governor in the future.

RomeGaGuy

August 8th, 2012
9:57 am

The 2018 GA Governor’s race just got interesting

td

August 8th, 2012
9:57 am

the cat

August 8th, 2012
9:49 am

I read the following like 3 times and still don’t know his position:

Let me help you a little here. Romney says the Boy scouts are a private organization and can write its own rules as to they want to be members of the organization. He then says personally I believe that gay people should be allowed to become members.

Pretty clear to me and a very conservative to libertarian position in that government should not interfere in the affairs of a private organization but his personal feelings are that this organization should allow all to participate.

Eric

August 8th, 2012
10:00 am

@td. You should change your name to gd…Because you’re a gd genius.

Jackie Stokes

August 8th, 2012
10:00 am

Martha really thinks all these outside groups/people will help her win? She was the clear front runner a few months back and then Doug came in 1st in the primary.

She has yet to produce one local official who supporters her and is relying on a bunch of failed presidential wannabees in place of a grassroots campaign. In my county, she doesn’t have anyone attend our GOP meetings on her behalf, ever.

Eric

August 8th, 2012
10:02 am

@td (soon to be known as gd). I mean about Olens, not Romney/Boy Scouts (the ultimate non-position position).

TeaPartyPO'd

August 8th, 2012
10:04 am

For all Zoller’s talk of being a “Conservative Firebrand”, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain don’t exactly have a great track record of family values and personal integrity. Maybe that would work in a moon colony, but not here in the 9th CD.

In my humble opinion, I’d say the self-proclaimed fireband is burning out. Her latest TV attack on the GOP legislature is a perfect example of how out of touch she is with the 9th. We actually like our Governor and our State Senators/Reps. We elected them and they are doing a good job overall.

East Cobb RINO, Inc. (LLC)

August 8th, 2012
10:27 am

Keep reading it cat. Just like chasing your tail.

amos33

August 8th, 2012
10:28 am

If Sarah Palin does not have a major role in the GOP convention then the Republicans can forget winning anything. I mean we got a loser promoted by a loser facing an Incumbant? Wakeup GOP!

DJ Sniper

August 8th, 2012
10:49 am

I still don’t understand why Palin has any semblence of relevance. Can we please ship her back to Alaska for good?

East Cobb RINO, Inc. (LLC)

August 8th, 2012
11:12 am

“I mean we got a loser promoted by a loser facing an Incumbant? ”
**********************************

Indeed. What the GOP really needs is a loser promoted by a loser promoted by a quitter facing an Incumbant.

are you all serious?

August 8th, 2012
11:15 am

@DJ Sniper…you betcha!

deegee

August 8th, 2012
11:16 am

Wow, Sam Olens, the Jewish orator from Georgia. Can’t wait for that speech.

BIg Hat

August 8th, 2012
11:34 am

It’s raining outside, it’s not raining outside. Whatever it needs to be to get myself elected, then that’s what it is, for now.

OR, as a famous philosopher once said, “I think, therefore I am, but….let me get back to you on that.”

The Snark

August 8th, 2012
11:40 am

td: The Boy Scouts of America is not entirely a “private organization.” It is one of the very few national organizations that holds a federal charter. (The Red Cross is another.) There are some who feel that a federal charter imposes higher obligations to the public than a mere state corporate charter.

The Snark

August 8th, 2012
11:41 am

Will be interesting to see how Mr. Olens uses his opportunity — whether he will show himself to be an intelligent, independent thinker, or merely regurgitate red-meat bumper sticker slogans to wow the crowd.

WOW

August 8th, 2012
12:01 pm

Uh oh! She said something nice about Obama so don’t elect her. Nothing nice about his policies, but him as a person. That is exactly what is wrong with our politics. You don’t agree with them so they must be evil.

yuzeyurbrane

August 8th, 2012
12:09 pm

New Republic article is inciteful. It will be interesting to see if it plays out that way.

Fran Millar’s sole mission in life is to change Georgia to a voucher system, so no wonder that he trims the truth in his comments about education budget. If Politifact had included all levels of public education funding then Millar would have come off as even a bigger lier. If he sincerely cared about public education, he would give up his voucher obsession and lead efforts to restore public education funding at least to their prior levels.

Carol

August 8th, 2012
12:26 pm

the Snark
Will be interesting to see how Mr. Olens uses his opportunity — whether he will show himself to be an intelligent, independent thinker, or merely regurgitate red-meat bumper sticker slogans to wow the crowd.

+++++++++

Aww Snark, you know the answer to that. Olens used to be a stand-up guy when he was in Cobb County. I was sad to see him go. Actually voted for him in his current position. But then it was as if he true colors started showing. He has been more partisan that I would have ever imagined.

GaBlue

August 8th, 2012
12:48 pm

Of course Olens will play to the crowd with the red-meat regurgitation! You can’t stand up in front of Republicans and speak logic, clarity, and common sense anymore! Where’s the tar & feathers? If President Dwight D. Eisenhower himself rose from the grave to speak his mind at this convention, they’d start calling anyone with an “I like Ike” button in a trunk in the attic a “Muslim-loving, tax & spend, godless lefty liberal.”

honested

August 8th, 2012
1:26 pm

Will he be the old Sam Olens, a man who made sense and had a concept of appropriate governance and environmental awareness or the new sam olens, standard rethug sellout?

Danny O

August 8th, 2012
2:02 pm

Martha Zoller’s statement “I know that taxes are relatively low,” is accurate. The Congressional Budget Office issued a report in 2009 that found that the average household federal tax rate was 17.4% in 2009, as low as it had been in 30 years.

SG

August 8th, 2012
2:30 pm

It will be a show down of whining voices between Olens and Romney. Glad I’m going to miss it.

Mountain Man

August 8th, 2012
2:42 pm

Oh please, please don’t elect Wacky Martha Zoller! If that happens it will be over my dead vote!

Steve

August 8th, 2012
3:53 pm

When the narrow minded Republicans who run this state finally wake up, the casino money will be flowing up Highway 441 to Cherokee, N.C. They will have full table games late this summer. Instead of worrying about guns and abortion, worry about how we make money to pay bills in the state of Georgia. Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, etc. has casinos and they benefit greatly. Where do Atlantans gamble? See above states!!!!!

jd

August 8th, 2012
4:47 pm

When Republicans last ruled over Georgia — the period was called ‘Reconstruction.’
This period shall be called ‘Deconstruction’

Olens to Speak at GOP Convention

August 8th, 2012
4:56 pm

[...] Galloway of the AJC speculates that Olens may speak on health care, since he led Georgia’s legal challenge against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act [...]