Nathan Deal: Vulnerable on Ethics
Somehow, my work e-mail address ended up on the mailing list for Eric Gray, a Georgia Democrat. Here's the text of a press release he sent out:
Atlanta – Wednesday was an historic day for Georgia - for the first time, one of the most corrupt Members of Congress became a nominee for Georgia’s highest office.
Congressman Nathan Deal was listed by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an independent watchdog group, as one of the most corrupt Members of Congress, sparking a Congressional ethics probe that forced him to resign his seat less than 5 months ago. In addition, the Congressional Office of Ethics said Deal may have violated up to six House ethics rules while in office.
“Congressman Deal ran away from Washington, thinking he could flee an ethics investigation,” Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Jane Kidd said. “He’s mistaken if he thinks Georgia voters will let him find refuge under the Gold Dome. The last thing Georgia needs is Congressman Deal and his crooked past.
An Atlanta Journal Constitution investigative report revealed that while Rep. Deal was on the Federal payroll, his private business netted $1.4 million in four years thanks to a no-bid contract his company held with the State of Georgia.
“The choice in this election is clear: with Rep. Deal, you get a Washington, D.C. insider tainted by sweetheart deals and ethical corruption,” Kidd concluded. “With Roy Barnes you get an experienced leader who will promote transparency, end special interest favoritism and lead with honesty and integrity so we can make Georgia work again.”
Perhaps I should have blogged about this earlier, when it might have made some kind of difference, but I voted for Karen Handel for a reason when Eric Johnson (the one I voted for in the primary) didn't win. Due to the whole no-bid contract situation, Deal is highly vulnerable on the ethical issue alone. Barnes couldn't rag on Handel for not having a college degree without PO'ing a lot of people, but he certainly will be able to criticize Deal for having ethics problems.
Given the general public anger at incumbents, corrupt politicians, etc., Georgia Republicans have just given Roy Barnes a major advantage in the coming general election, an advantage the Democrats are already jumping on. One hopes this will not be an election-winning advantage, since according to Johnson, the next governor will play a major role in redistricting. Even if Barnes is himself superior to Deal (I haven't studied Barnes' positions), Barnes returning to the Gold Dome would be a major black eye for the Republican Party that tossed him out of the Gold Dome in the first place and would put the Democratic Party in a strong position for years to come.
On another note, I remember reading somewhere that Handel was the candidate of those more concerned with economics than social issues, with Deal being the reverse. I also recall criticism of Karen Handel due to her more socially-liberal stances. Thus, it is possible Deal won in part due to social conservatives winning out over economic conservatives.
Republicans would do well to read the book The Emerging Democratic Majority. The U.S. is getting more socially liberal and if the Republican Party doesn't accomodate this trend, it risks electoral marginalization. Many social-conservative stances aren't even small-government, like the War on Drugs. That is more of an issue nationwide than in Georgia or the South, but it's going to affect us down here sooner or later. After all, Handel, whose strength is in more-liberal Metro Atlanta as opposed to more-conservative rural parts of the state, nearly won the primary, and could have won if she'd asked for a recount (she had every right to do so).
Before someone accuses me of being some unprincipled sell-out hack, I don't want to see fiscal conservatism or a strong national defense (things far more important to me than most social-conservative positions) being dragged into the abyss by a social-conservative millstone, especially if it's the kind of social conservatism contradicts the "leave me alone" sort of government that Republicans should in theory support.
(A government big enough to confiscate alleged "drug dealers" assets without trial or mow down a 95-year-old woman because some dubious informant said he saw drugs at her house is big enough to confiscate your stuff or ventilate you on some other pretext.)