Posted: 5:30 pm Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Nathan Deal’s well-controlled terrain becomes slippery 

By Jim Galloway

Within a 36-hour window this week, Nathan Deal tasted the sweet advantages of an incumbent governor running for re-election – and the job’s bitterly cold liabilities as well.

With the wave of a pen, a few conversations and $100 million or so in reserves, Deal on Monday abetted the escape of thousands of public school teachers from the added expenses of a new health care plan – which he himself had approved last year.

Problem solved. Democratic talking point averted.

Helping those same teachers, and tens of thousands of their students, escape their classrooms on Tuesday afternoon, after a well-advertised storm dropped two inches of snow?

That was another matter entirely.

“We can never promise that we will always be correct when it comes to deciding what Mother Nature is going to do. She truly does have a mind of her own,” Deal said in an extraordinary press conference on Wednesday.

And then – after telling reporters that he and his team had been misled by the National Weather Service – the governor apologized to any voters who thought he had dropped the ball on Snowjam ’14.

More than any other figure in state politics, incumbent governors control the terrain they run on. This is why state Sen. Jason Carter, D-Atlanta, faces longer odds in his challenge to Deal than Michelle Nunn, the Democrat running for an open U.S. Senate seat.

Last year, health care experts said hospitals, particularly in rural Georgia, might close because of the governor’s refusal to expand the state’s Medicaid program – now an optional feature of the Affordable Care Act. In the last few weeks, Deal has defused the issue by quietly letting it be known that he would help those vulnerable hospitals bridge any financial gaps.

Early this year, a Cherokee County mom – the wife of a high school science teacher – started a Facebook page to rally opposition to a new state employee health insurance plan that hiked co-pays to unaffordable heights, under a single provider.

Ashley Cline’s Facebook page quickly attracted more than 11,000 supporters. In the Capitol, the movement was first dismissed as an artificial grassroots effort funded by the losing insurance company. Then fingers were pointed at Obamacare. Finally, Deal produced his $100 million solution.

“The response just changed overnight one day. I’m not sure why,” Cline said Tuesday, comfy and safe in her Canton home. Snowflakes were falling, and the governor’s well-controlled terrain was already becoming impassable.

From Chinese emperors and floods to U.S. presidents and hurricanes, weather has been a most troublesome force in politics. Perhaps because, during such disasters, leaders are held hostage by the vast bureaucracies they oversee.

At his Snowjam press conference on Wednesday, Deal portrayed the snowstorm as an event whose impact was thought to be modest until 30 lightning-quick minutes in the 12 o’clock hour on Tuesday revealed its truly paralyzing nature.

But if that was the case, a reporter asked, why was the operations center for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency still closed when she stopped by after 3 p.m.?

Charley English, GEMA’s director, was summoned to the mike. “At two and three o’clock yesterday, it still had not gotten terrible on the roads,” he said.

It is not profitable for governors to be seen as having an arm’s length relationship with reality – not with so many witnesses still trapped on metro Atlanta roads. Right there in front of a hungry scrum of reporters, Deal contradicted his agency chief.

“I was on the roads about that point in time, and it was getting to be gridlocked. The interstates were already experiencing major difficulties. Side roads that people were taking to get off were experiencing difficulties,” Deal said. “So we all have some lessons we need to learn here.”

Behind Deal stood Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who in many ways acted as the governor’s attorney – offering a better defense of his client than the governor himself.

But Reed disagreed with the governor on one point. To show that he understood the threat of Snowjam ’14 very early, the governor had noted that he gave state workers permission to leave at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

In the future, the mayor of Atlanta said he would call for the staggered depopulation of his city – first schoolchildren, then business employees, and lastly, government workers.

Reed’s was arguably a cosmetic improvement. If school children are sent home early when storms threaten, someone must be at home to receive them. And business people and governmental staffers have been known to spawn in mighty numbers.

But the mayor just finished his re-election bid, and has nothing to worry about.

We are scheduled to reach 40 degrees on Thursday. The snow will melt. For Deal, the question is whether the memories of Snowjam ‘14 will thaw by November. Or May, if you’re convinced his Republican primary challengers have a chance.

203 comments
WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

Citizens, please don't make this a Republican vs Democrats. Hasn't this proved that they will all

fail or dissapoint you?  I have known that 30 years. I  was hoping the rest of America  had realized

it. They are both just politicians.  

BrookhavenGuy
BrookhavenGuy

Nathan Deal finally mans up 

“I got this one wrong.”

Deal pledged to reporters that the state would be more aggressive in responding to future weather threats.

“I’m not going to look for a scapegoat,” he said. “I am the governor. The buck stops with me. I accept the responsibility for it, but I also accept the responsibility of being able to make corrective actions as they come into the future.”

 http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/30/22504062-the-buck-stops-with-me-georgia-gov-takes-responsibility-for-snowstorm-response?lite


Maybe Governor Deal saw how it went with Kasim Reed taking the low road on NBC and MSNBC this morning.



notagain
notagain

Deal should contact Crisco,he knows about closing roads.

PEK
PEK

Just a few things to think about...

If the roads were salted at 2AM on Tuesday morning, would the salt have been blown off the road by traffic?

The roads were reportedly salted at 9AM. Traffic started at 12:15PM. At what point would Atlantans be pissed if they were stuck behind a salt/sand truck at 12:20PM going up 85?

Due to traffic it had to be nearly impossible to resalt anything. Should we then chose to blame drivers? what about employers?

It was stated that the NWS was offering different information regarding snow totals, than the local forecasters. Is there a policy that the state has to go by the NWS vs. the local stations?

From the thousands that were stuck on the roads Tuesday, how many watched the weather and thought "Huh, maybe I shouldn't go to work today. Nah I think I will then I'll stay till the last minute and make it home just in time" -- if that was you well then, welcome to the problem!

Everyone wants to blame someone, I say unless you have only lived in Atl. for 6 months the blame should go right back on you. You know that snow turns to ice in Ga. If the interstates aren't safe when it rains what did you expect from snow? Stop looking for someone to blame and figure it out... White stuff falling from the sky= stay home!

Stuffy
Stuffy

Due to the racial and political environment, the metro area is busy carving itself up into multiple municipalities and governments. The (mostly White) suburbanites here resent Atlanta deeply. Yet, they look to Kasim Reed for answers about why he didn't control the roads and schools which are all out of his jurisdiction. Hilarious. When are going to hear from the governments of Cobb and Douglas about their obvious lack of participation. Their constituents aren't even asking them any questions as they are so obsessed with Mayor Reed. What about Sandy Springs? Brookhaven? Johns Creek? What's that I hear, crickets?



terry789
terry789

Funny how when they want to blame the city of Atlanta, pictures of Cobb County area traffic jams are shown among other traffic jam pictures. But when Cobb County wants to thumb their noses at Atlanta, relocating the braves to the same location near I75 and 285 is seen as a victory over Atlanta. How come the Cobb County morons are not there working with Deal and Reed ? Deal is their own party and still do not have the guts to show up and give a press conference? I live in Sandy Springs and not one press conference by the mayor here. How come Eve Galambos did not urge businesses to close on Tuesday?

mrob
mrob

Our state is so broke and the "Wrong Deal" tried to save the little money left in our coffers to minimized emergency assistance. Now, nearly 12 years of mismanagement of state funds by Republicans in Georgia, that's the good ole' Republican way of lQQking the other way as Democrats need help.


By failing to help the Democrats, the State of Georgia falls also.


Good work, Deal.

Camaro-Bob
Camaro-Bob

I spurrot Gov Deal cuz he is agianst taxs. This just what libtards want is a disister 2 criple the city so they can scar us in 2 payin more taxs 4 thm to waist on welfair

Dman
Dman

If repubs have a choice between a repub or a liberal, they will choose the republican even if it is Deal after what the libs have done to our country the last 6 years... Ths snow event won't matter in November.

earthworx
earthworx

I think the State is going to be very very sorry these two were ever elected to public office. For the governor to say we were misled by the Weather Channel is patently ridiculous. Every single TV station in the city were calling for 1"-2" of snow in the metro area; that includes Atlanta governor.


And Reed brilliant idea to let the children out first; who do they go home to Mayor? What if their parents are working and they can't get in? If you're going to stagger closings then common sense would dictate to let the children out last. That way there will be someone home for them and if conditions get too bad, better to be in school where they can easily accommodate overnight guests than stuck on the highway hoping your gas holds out.

terry789
terry789

Amamzing how Cobb County and other suburbs like to take glee in distancing themselves from ATL when they get the Braves or do their own thing. Yet, all of these politicians in the suburbs are not stepping up in press conference to explain what they have been doing. Hiding behind Deal and Reed. What did Cobb County do to mitigate this?

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

I would like to apoligize to the governor and mayor for inconvenience them. I'm  sure their wives and family did not appreciate the way they have been treated. Besides, we have a lot of nerve expecting them to have to be responsible for our state and  or our international city. The weathermen screwed them!  

mrob
mrob

This latest storm comes on the heels of a similar debacle three years ago, and the intense media coverage has again put the issue in the face of corporate America, he said.

“Historically, Atlanta has always been under the microscope when it comes to traffic congestion, the relative lack of public transit … and the vulnerability to ice storms,” Boyd said. “It’s a wakeup call, and a reminder of something to account for when (companies are) considering Atlanta.”


There you have it, people. The above quote is code-worded to remind companies to think hard as they consider Atlanta as a place of relocation.

The "Wrong Deal" and Georgia have follow the extreme conservative path for now nearly 12 years, and look at what have it cause Georgia nationally. The "Wrong Deal" is so conservative that he refused to use the best recourses to solve 2' of snow problem for a major city which resulted in a traffic nightmare on major interstates highways and also kids stranded in schools for days.


The "Wrong Deal" stated that the National weather forecaster had the local weather forecasted wrong. 

I sat here and watch the weather  forecast on Monday that indicated that the snow fall would be more significantly south of Henry County and, as far south to Macon with 4-6" of accumulation than Atlanta which could possibly receive up to 2-4 inches of snow.  I understood the forecast and therefore, I made preparations to go grocery shopping earlier that morning. Now why the "Wrong Deal' not make early preparations as governor to make plans ahead of a possible crisis?


I had said all alone and the "Wrong Deal" have proven my point, that he does not care about our public school systems. The "Wrong Deal" continue to LQQK the other way as it relate to Georgia Public Schools. It's what I called "a conservative and a one way of seeing things the Republican way."


Zell Miller and Roy Barnes would have never abandon our school system, even in a time of crisis--like 2''of snow.

tomkat1111
tomkat1111

Deal could have called out the national guard to get the school kids home, but he didn't.

SS88
SS88

Everyone is talking about who controls what.  You don't need control to have INFLUENCE.  And everyone involved in this debacle was in a position where they could INFLUENCE the outcome.  Even among the business community.  A conference call between the mayor, governor, state school supt, chamber, and DOT with the message "The weather predictions have changed. I encourage everyone to stay home and off the roads.  I am closing the state/city/etc. and ask you do the same." could have easily solved this.  Everyone hangs up the phone, makes the call to their deputies, news channels, etc. and fans out so by the time everyone got up at 5-6a and turned on the radio or TV the MSA was blanketed with the message STAY HOME.

Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

When You Fail To Plan You Plan To Fail

EXCUSES ARE TOOLS OF THE WEAK, INCOMPETENT AND SPINELESS..............

ThomasBrown
ThomasBrown

Slippery ?


You mean like the roads he left without salt, sand, or rocks - leaving hundreds of thousands of cars unable to drive, while he makes excuses that he cannot read a weather map like all the rest of us ?

junebug2
junebug2

The entitlement mentality/nanny state attitude strikes again.  If my coffee's not hot, it's the government's fault.  Neither Gov. Deal nor Mayor Reed had anything to do with the unfortunate falling on Tuesday of a small amount of snow that melted and then refroze as ice on all major Atlanta roads, snarling traffic.  Fifty years ago if nature caused a problem, people accepted and dealt with it themselves.

digdeep
digdeep

I just think we got a card from the bottom of the deck from Gov. DEAL...What say you?

and Mayor Reed..Glad you got back from your "trade mission..(.ha.) to South America.

Did not want you to miss this one.

mrob
mrob

@BrookhavenGuy  Question? Will the "Wrong Deal" man up that he is corrupted?


Apparently not, but of the two choices, Deal would rather man up to 2" of snow.

That's the "Wrong Deal" of a responsible Governor.

terry789
terry789

@Stuffy Exactly. Reed should take blame (and he accepted blame briefly before getting overly defensive when he went on the Today show) for not leaning on the APS to close schools . (I don't know why he keeps reverting to the staggered closing lesson learned when school closing should be the main lesson learned here).


Having said that, you see Cobb County guys and Perimeter city guys always jumping first to claim credit for any good things happening in their areas , but they have been strangely silent the least 3 days. I did not hear one statement from them asking local businesses and schools to do their best to close.

Camaro-Bob
Camaro-Bob

@Stuffy We resent Altanta deeply cuz it is a citi full of thugs and gays that want 2 ruin R live. I bet they skrewed this up just 2 mess with the good christins that live away form that mess. 

Camaro-Bob
Camaro-Bob

@terry789 It B cuz of mayer Kissim Read that the trafic in Cob got so bad. He shuold of had of done more then he did. 

mrob
mrob

@Joe-T Are you  using your school computer? Being deep in the woods and riding on roads of red clay, I believe your land line must be frozen or you have a computer virus?

SS88
SS88

@mrobCompanies will continue to move here because of the business friendly corporate environment that allows them to do anything and everything with no consequences.  Underpay and bully your employees?  No problem!  No where to build?  Not to worry, fire up the bulldozers and take down more trees!  Fire everyone on a whim?  Have at it!  Don't want to pay taxes?  C'mon down!

We will let you do what you want, when you want and if those pesky people you employ complain we'll let you get rid of them "at will" because who needs trouble-makers?  We've got enough unemployed people desperate for jobs to keep you rolling in compliant workers for decades.

Dman
Dman

I don't understand why so many people think it is our states responsibility to spend Millions of tax dollars for a once every 3 year snow event just so,they can drive around town. That is ridiculous. STAY AT HOME WHEN IT SNOWS PEOPLE. You have lived here long enough to know the streets will be impassable.

terry789
terry789

@SS88 I agree. I don't blame the governor and mayor for the roads iciness. But I blame them AND the suburban mayors and county commissioners for not leaning on the school authorities to close schools at 5 in the morning.

terry789
terry789

@ThomasBrown Salting wasn't the problem. Where the state and city AND THE COUNTIES blundered was not emphasizing to the school districts that it would be a good idea to close. But the blame is to be shared with the schools, private businesses that had the capability of telecommuting but chose not to  , private residents who went about business as usual on Tuesday

BrookhavenGuy
BrookhavenGuy

@junebug2Fifty years ago Atlanta was not a metropolitan area of 5 million people and the the poster child for suburban sprawl with a balkanized system of government that could not coordinate the organization of a one car funeral


Responding to a storm that clogs the roads would seem to be something to be addressed by the public sector rather than follow your apparent suggestion that everyone be self-sufficient devotees of Ayn Rand who live free or die while presumably contracting for private sector snow removal equipment.  I suppose based on your philosophy if your house is struck by lightning and catches on fire you should accept and deal with it yourself rather than expect the fire department to assist in putting out the fire. 

tb420
tb420

@BrookhavenGuy And the he and shady deal went to a Georgia Trend luncheon in which Deal is roasting Reed as Trend Man of the Year 2014 ( something like that )


Arrogance everywhere not a leader to be found

terry789
terry789

@Joe-T@Stuffy And people thought Richard Sherman was paranoid about the thug word. The way you use it, is there any doubt who your comment of thugs is aimed at?

terry789
terry789

@Joe-T@terry789 Are you kidding me?  I have many friends and relatives in Cobb. I live in Sandy Springs. Everyone dropped the ball. I know of many people who were out on the roads when they didn't have to be. So now we are blaming Atlanta for Cobb's problems, but Cobb likes to take credit for anything that happens in their vicinity?

mrob
mrob

@SS88 I agree with you 100%. Georgia will always rank high nationally as a state with a high turn-over rate of employees because of the employment laws that is not employee friendly. Over the long haul, that behavior hurt business financially.

SS88
SS88

@DmanAnd when those employees get fired for staying home because the roads are impassable then what?

terry789
terry789

@Joe-T@terry789@Stuffy No one censored you. So what are you talking about. Just as you have a right ot say it, I have a right to call you on it.

terry789
terry789

@Joe-T@terry789 How stupid are you? the fact that gridlock was at your exits tells me people weren't merely stuck in Atlanta. even those that left Atlanta managed to get stuck in your area. If you live "downstream" from the gridlock, the traffic should be good in your area.


And you are ignoring tose traveling on the top end perimeter from the north towards Vinings and other Cobb exits.

Camaro-Bob
Camaro-Bob

@terry789 @Joe-T How many of thsoe stuk cars were headed 2 the citi? All were headed 2 the safe areas out of Atlanta. 

terry789
terry789

@Joe-T@terry789 What are you blabbering about? Do you know how many businesses there are in Cobb County, Perimeter cities, Alpharetta? Do you know how many problems there were in suburbn schools that chose to stay open?

Camaro-Bob
Camaro-Bob

@terry789 Uh yea if Read had done more the surbubs would have not of had been such a mess

Dman
Dman

You know that a large majority of those folks out on the road didn't have to be there. I went out in the morning and there were tons of people out looking at the snow. I was smart enough to not venture too far from home. My in laws who are retired went on a 20 minute trip and it took 8 hours to get back home. Those are the people I was talking about. Of course there are a few people like your neighbor but they are not the majority and it is no reason to waste millions of tax dollars on a bi-yearly event...

terry789
terry789

@SS88@terry789 Like I said, I don't blame those who do not have that option. But I know quite a few who had either the option to telecommute or enough leverage to get away with an excused absence who chose not to exert that option.

SS88
SS88

@terry789That assumes a lot.  I'm a "white collar" employee too and have the freedom to call out when needed.  I have a telework option.  I have a good work/life balance.  I can leave to get my child whenever I need to.  I can bring her to work with me if needed.

But what about people like my next door neighbor who is an hourly employee at a job that doesn't offer benefits working for a bully boss who fires anyone for anything she doesn't like?  And the millions of people like her?

I think we assume from our positions of privilege that everyone has the same freedoms that we do, and works for a good person who cares about his/her employees.  And that is just not the case sadly enough.

terry789
terry789

@SS88@Dman Some emploees do not hve a choice. I agree. But even  a good portion of those who had a choice did not choose to . I know quite a few idiots who went to work. And in some cases, if you are afraid of getting fired, that means you are not good enough to get away with one freaking absence. I have the telecommuting option. Even if I didn't, I do my job good enough that they would give me a pass if I needed a pass for a day.