Posted: 9:06 am Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
By Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy
We have an odd convergence this morning. Both U.S. Rep. Paul Broun and Georgia Democrats are demanding that other GOP candidates for U.S. Senate join a conversation about the need to impeach President Barack Obama.
Apparently, both see it as a path to Broun’s Senate nomination.
This episode began at a tea party-infused Gilmer County GOP forum for Republican Senate candidates in Ellijay on Saturday, with this question from the audience: “Obama has perjured himself on multiple occasions. Would you support impeachment if presented with a vote?”
Broun, Eugene Yu and Derrick Grayson all raised their hands. Karen Handel and Art Gardner did not.
After marinating for a few days, the Ellijay roll call began popping up in the national media – which Broun is trying to turn to his advantage. In a follow-up statement issued late Monday, Broun wondered why more Republicans in the race wouldn’t vote for impeachment:
“With the President repeatedly bypassing Congress through executive order, lying to the American people on Obamacare, and failing to address what really happened in Benghazi, I can understand why this would be an important issue to many Georgians right now.
“What I don’t understand, is how a candidate can claim to be a proven conservative, and yet if such a resolution was brought up for a vote, they would oppose it.”
On the opposite side of the field, the Democratic Party of Georgia is eagerly urging Broun’s opponents to clamber to his side with the YouTube video above, which is making the rounds this morning. From the transcript:
“It’s just another day at the ballpark for the Senate candidates in Georgia. Now, where do the other candidates stand on impeaching President Obama?”
Updated: Art Gardner, an Atlanta attorney, sent the following note this afternoon:
“I was at the Gilmer County event and I did not raise my hand to agree with the proposition of pursuing impeachment of the President. My thinking was that pursuing impeachment is a waste of time and energy and that we have much more important issues.
“In short, I think the impeachment question is not a serious issue. I am a serious candidate with serious ideas for solving serious problems. Chasing headlines by talking about impeaching the President is not helping us solve real problems.”
Paul Broun has also put out this video that some might say sums up his career in the U.S. House:
The outlines of the next fight over the debt limit are beginning to emerge. From the Washington Post:
Republican leaders have narrowed their list of possible debt-limit strategies to two options: trading a one-year extension for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, or trading a one-year extension for repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s risk corridors.
Both plans, which were first discussed last week at the House GOP’s annual retreat in Cambridge, Md., will be debated further Tuesday morning, when House Republicans meet at the Capitol. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is said to be open to either approach, as long as it can win heavy GOP support.
We already knew Charley English was on the hot seat, despite Gov. Nathan Deal’s assertions that he wasn’t going to “scapegoat” anyone. But if anything, the chair has warmed up a bit.
Gov. Nathan Deal was dismayed by the email traffic the AJC reported on Monday, and English’s future as GEMA chief is in doubt, according to a person close to Deal who did not wish to be identified.
Publicly, Deal continued to defend English Monday, as he did last week.
“He openly acknowledged he made a mistake,” Deal said. “I think that most of us in our lives have made a mistake. Probably not as obvious as maybe this one. But he is conducting himself as I would expect him. And he has been very diligent in keeping me and my staff updated on the conditions until the state of emergency was terminated last evening.”
There’s always the possibility, even a likelihood, that the weather task force Deal appointed Monday could just be another well-intentioned group that comes up with largely ignored recommendations.
But this task force could be a little more promising. With two votes in his near future, Deal risks keeping the story of the ham-handed government response alive if he turns his back on the brunt of the recommendations.
And although his appointees will lead the board, several prominent Democrats will do their best to press recommendations that the GOP establishment may not otherwise consider.
Consider this: One of the appointees is DeKalb County School Superintendent Michael Thurmond, a former Democratic state labor commissioner who is being urged to consider another run at higher office.
Dalton Mayor David Pennington pulled out a useful pun to describe Deal’s task force plan.
He called it a “snow job” that attempts to whitewash the state’s lackluster response:
“The world’s greatest plan does no good if your leader is asleep at the wheel and can’t execute. Georgia doesn’t need a new task force; it needs a new, real leader at the helm.”
We hear that another governor with traffic problems recently called Gov. Nathan Deal.
No joke: Embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was said to have phoned Deal last week in the wake of Georgia’s icy gridlock. We don’t know what they were talking about, but we hear it might have something to do with Christie’s role as head of the Republican Governor’s Association and his upcoming visit to Georgia this spring.
Presumably, they didn’t jockey over whose traffic-induced political headaches were worse. But we’ll go ahead and say that Christie’s problems are worse. No federal grand jury is looking into Snowjam ’14.
Over at InsiderAdvantage, Todd Rehm reports that Senate Majority Whip Cecil Staton will announce this morning that he won’t seek re-election in the May 20 primary:
In 2012, Staton won reelection in the GOP Primary by 203 votes out of nearly 21,000 ballots cast, and opponent Spencer Price had announced he would run again. Macon attorney John F. Kennedy also announced his campaign for the Senate District 18 seat and appeared to present a serious challenge.
The Macon Telegraph reports that it has a statement that Staton has already drafted.
Given the speed of this year’s session, they’re a little late – but the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders today will roll out its legislative agenda at a state Capitol press conference today. The CCCL is an alliance Georgia’s major conservative political organizations from around the state including the Atlanta Tea Party, Georgia Conservatives in Action, Georgia Republican Assembly, Georgia Right to Life, and Concerned Women for America.
The spokesman for the Georgia GOP broke into CNN’s list of top Tweets on Monday with this exchange:
Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton): It’s so much more fun to watch FOX when it’s someone else being blitzed & sacked!
Ryan Matthew Mahoney (@Ryan_Mahoney): Maybe @HillaryClinton wouldn’t get “blitzed & sacked” by FOX if she came clean about #Benghazi. #gapol #gagop http://ow.ly/tdMKo