Posted: 9:10 am Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Frankly, my dear: A friendly, taxpayer-funded note from Phil Gingrey 

By Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

frank2

The image above is a mailing that arrived Wednesday at an AJC reporter’s house in U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey’s district. The Marietta Republican’s message is rather clear on the subject of immigration: “Secure Our Borders. Enforce Current Law. No Amnesty.”

But squint and cock your head just so to look at the bottom half: “Public document – official business. This document was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense.”

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blogWe’ve spent a lot of time in the heated U.S. Senate race talking about the perils of incumbency, but here’s an upside for the three sitting congressmen: The chance to advertise your views on hot-button issues to your constituents and have the taxpayers foot the bill, in the form of Congress’ franking privilege.

Gingrey does not mention the U.S. Senate, his opponents or even the date for people to get out and vote for him – May 20. That would run afoul of the law.

But he’s free to send you a photo of himself surveying the Mexican border and ask your opinion on securing said border.

frank1The cost of the mailing will not be publicly available for several months. The most recent numbers we have are through Sept. 30, 2013. In the first nine months of last year, Gingrey and Rep. Jack Kingston did not send any mass mailings in their districts, while Rep. Paul Broun — who has a known fondness for franking — spent $48,000 on a mailing to 136,000 of his constituents.

***

Gov. Nathan Deal already has more than $4 million in the bank ahead of a competitive primary and a general election featuring Democrat Jason Carter. But more help is on the way.

Deal allies confirmed this morning that they have created a new Super PAC called the Georgia Victory Fund. First reported by Politico, the group is led by GOP operatives Chip Lake and Stefan Passantino. Its mission is to boost Deal and tear down Carter.

You’ll recall another fund tied to Deal, called Real PAC, raised more than $800,000 late last year before disbanding. The new account has been around since March 2013 and federal records show it had about $15,000 in the bank by the year’s end. But expect fundraising to ramp up considerably, especially given that Deal is barred from raising campaign cash during the legislative session.

***

One reason for bringing in a Super PAC: Over at the University of Virginia, Larry Sabato and his Crystal Ball have moved Georgia’s governor’s race from “safe Republican” to “likely Republican” – a subtle shift that takes into account the state’s shifting dynamics. From the Crystal Ball:

“As one shrewd local observer told us, Atlanta’s suburbs, politically, are similar to Northern Virginia 15 years ago, and we know how Democratic that region has become….

“As in Kansas, an upset would be a big surprise, but this is no longer a sleepy contest.”

***

A celebrating state Rep. Virgil Fludd, D-Tyrone has sent a note to friends about redistricting in Fayette County, where at-large voting has prevailed. It includes this:

“U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. has approved a new district voting plan that was developed by his office several weeks ago. The plaintiffs and NAACP who sued Fayette County in August of 2012 have been waiting for months for Judge Batten to make a final decision in which maps to impose and allow for district voting to prevail in Fayette County.

“The judge’s most recent ruling clears the final hurdle for elections to move forward for the Board of Commissioners and School Board elections. The next elections will allow candidates in each of 5 separate districts run for office and be selected only by the voters in those respective districts. The lawsuit was decided on in May of 2013, where Judge Batten issued an 81-page ruling indicating that the current at-large voting system in Fayette discriminated against black voters.”

***

Karen Handel thinks the recent winter weather is evidence that the Earth is not getting warmer.

In an interview last week with libertarian blogger Jason Pye, the Senate hopeful was asked about environmental policy. Said Handel:

“Having come off of two back-to-back snowstorms and frigid weather in Georgia, I’m in the camp of strongly disputing the whole global warming trend that some harp on.”

Handel went on to attack the EPA. But she was chuckling when she talked about the snowstorms, so we followed up with her campaign manager to see if Handel was being facetious. Corry Bliss’ reply: “Karen does not believe in global warming.”

***

A conservative-leaning alliance conducted one of the more interesting polls we’ve seen lately.

The survey put 923 respondents through a “triple filter” to find the most hard-core Republican voters. Only those who had voted in at least twice in the last four major elections, those who stuck to the GOP side of the primary ballot and those who intended to vote in the Republican contest this year were allowed.

It was conducted by Hicks Evaluation Group and Apache Political between Feb. 13 and Feb. 16 — just after the second round of ice beset metro Atlanta.

Gov. Nathan Deal tallied about 80 percent of support, but surprisingly about 8 percent of respondents said they would vote for Democrat Jason Carter.

That’s far above the 3 percent of GOP voters who said they would side with Carter in an AJC poll released in early January. Since then, Deal has faced criticism for his handling of a Jan. 28 ice storm and unrest from teachers over changes to the state health insurance plan.

Another intriguing finding involved the Common Core guidelines, believed to be anathema to many conservatives. The pollster found that some 42 percent of voters would abandon the program, about 30 percent would keep it, and the remaining — roughly a quarter of respondents — had no opinion on the program’s future.

When those who support abandonment of Common Core were asked if they would still want to drop the program even if it meant spending more state education dollars, more than three quarters said they still would. That speaks to still-simmering discontent from the base on the program.

***

The race to replace U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, in Congress includes two coastal state lawmakers – both of whom injected themselves into the news on Wednesday:

– State Sen. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler, introduced S.R. 747, which encourages the repeal or amendment of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, a 2012 measure passed by Congress to bring solvency to the federal flood insurance program.

The new law is poised to raise federally subsidized flood insurance premiums drastically. In Washington, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has passed a bill out the Senate that would delay implementation. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has promised a vote on a House version next week.

Says Carter:

“Bringing flood insurance costs closer to true market value is important, but we cannot do this on the backs of the citizens of coastal Georgia. It has the potential to cause another housing market crash in an already unstable climate.”

– State Rep. Jeff Chapman, R-Brunswick, last year introduced H.B. 267, a bill that would prevent Georgia Power from collecting profits on cost overruns associated with two new nuclear plants now under construction at Plant Vogtle.

The measure was popular among tea party and consumer types, but in the face of heavy lobbying from utility lobbyists, it never gained any traction in the Legislature.

Nonetheless, Chapman declared victory – even as he withdrew his own bill on Wednesday. From the press release:

“Facing growing media scrutiny and public pressure to do the right thing, Georgia Power has now yielded to a Public Service Commission order to cease collecting profits from cost overruns at Plant Vogtle, saving Georgia’s ratepayers tens-of-millions of dollars. Having accomplished my purpose, I would like to announce that I am withdrawing HB 267 for consideration.

“When people work together for the common good, there is much to be accomplished.”

81 comments
DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

I don't actually see the problem. This was legal, justifiable, and exposable.


ex animo

davidfarrar

LuanneTaylor
LuanneTaylor

flood insurance was always extremely inexpensive, I just moved from the coast of Alabama and it was still very low cost.  Fact is, this type of insurance will affect a very small percentage of folks.  What is the big deal?

Gingrey is an outdated old guy who will do whatever his party tells him to do, he needs to go.

Carter, I hope I hope, will show Deal the door!   While I do not like to use the Rs own words, in this case it applies...we can not trust him, or any R, to enforce the laws of the land.  Be gone and forgotten. 

Bernie31
Bernie31

"I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!" - Butterfly McQueen....Neither does Phil. :)

PatrickThompson
PatrickThompson

We paid for this blovated material from Gingrey so he could express his uninformed opinion on immigration and demonstrate his conservative bravado on areas of immigration that aren't really an issue any longer  - deportations highest ever, border tighter than ever, spending on border highest ever - but in this finely crafted advertisement he never says what he would do to resolve our real immigration issues for the people who are here, are working, have families and are contributing to the fabric of America and its success. Is immigration a border problem? We should be using immigration and the fact that people want to work here, go to school here, start businesses here to our advantage. Or we can buy into Gingrey's fear-mongering.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Phil Gingrey was run out of medicine by patients who continually sued him for malpractice.  Although he hasn't been satisfied with the salary that we tax-payers have been shoveling his way, he hasn't done any real work in Congress either except to embarrass Georgia periodically (unfortunately he is protected from malpractice suits there.)  The chance that those old Confederates, gun lovers, and scheming terrorists up in the North Georgia mountains are likely to wake up out of their moonshine stupor and cast enough votes to make him a U.S. Senator seems unlikely.

DontTread
DontTread

I recall some billboards in certain blue states where the government encouraged applying for public assistance even if you were here illegally.  Somehow I don't think a private company paid for this, which means this was also paid for at taxpayer expense, in addition to the expense of the aforementioned public assistance.


God forbid if Phil Gingrey were to send a postcard with a position on an issue before Congress, of which he is a member.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

I can see it now:Jason Carter sweeps into the Governorship and the old vinyls come out.What?You don’t have a Smithsonian relic vinyl recording made famous by Ben Selvin and his orchestra (1930) featuring the horrendous voice of Annette Henshaw and those funsters, the “Rollickers?” If not, go on Ebay and get one.Be sure to hold on to it for another euphoric moment when Hillary decides to run for POTUS.If so, whip out you old RCA Victrola (“His Master’s Voice”) and play that old vinyl over and over and over till it puts you into a mindless oblivion.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

Interesting article at Salon.com: http://www.salon.com/2014/02/20/gops_chilling_new_assault_on_voting_why_this_man_wants_to_close_georgia_voting_sites/

Republicans in Georgia’s General Assembly are advancing a bill to dramatically scale back early voting for elections in hundreds of cities across the state. 

More of our voting rights are slowly, systematically being whittled away.  Supposedly, according to the goopers, early voting eliminates the need to have so many polling precincts, so they closed/consolodated many precincts around the state. That being accomplished, this bill now will curtail the early voting period. So the upshot is, we have fewer places to vote, and less time to vote. Combine this with the repup proclivity for placing an abundance of voting booths in solid red areas, while placing an inadequate number in Dem precincts, and viola! election engineering at its best (or worst, if you believe in one person one vote)

Who said the repuppies don't know how to make the gummint work. They make it work great for repuppies.

PSWallace
PSWallace

I agree with you on the seemingly unseemly nature of Mr. Gingrey's mailing, vis a vis use of government resources to secure election. Next thing you know, if this thing is not stopped, a politician will be campaigning on how much Federal money he can bring to the district, or what free healthcare he could give you.

NOlongerRepublican
NOlongerRepublican

Not sure if this is the place to rant or not...but Kiev is burning...Venezuela is on the verge or civil war, Syrians are living in an extreme;y harsh reality of civil war atrocities and the lead news story for the AJC is the shortstop of the baseball team got a 7 year contract. Really? No wonder Georgians and the rest of America doesn't give a rat's a** about the rest of the world or its people. Geez

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Well, I got a mailing, weeks after the legislative session began, from David Ralston, whose questions were so weighted they were unable to be answered by me, similar to those I get from the Republican National Committee. Proudly displayed this mailing Not paid by public funds, which makes the question, Which special interest groupmDID pay for it, David?

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

Another day of almost entirely leftist posters on this blog, proving that the AJC attracts a very non representative class of Georgia voters.  Preaching to the choir might be a good outlet for frustration, but does not advance the liberal agenda at the voting booth.

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

I can't decide just what it is that makes, otherwise, arguably, intelligent people to take such a stupid, public, position. Is it the fear of the, coal-rich, Koch brothers, and their ilk, or the evangelicals that insist on a literal interpretation of a trumped-up translation - and biased - explanation of what was written by who knows who a couple of thousand years ago and published as God's Word...at least according to some Roman Emperor that claimed to have 'seen the light'.

Regardless, the question I hope will be asked of every one of the Republican candidates in the primary debates is, 'Tell us (name goes here), are you really that stupid, or do you just think we are?'

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

If the Republicans are so confident in Deal's re-election, why are they stripping the Medicaid Expansion decision out of the Governor's office?  We still have Deal's subpoena and pending testimony regarding the $25,000 he accepted to withdraw the state healthcare contract from United and give it back to Wellpoint without competitive bidding and the $58,000 he accepted to support the privatization of the child welfare/safety program.  Most Georgians are now becoming aware of all the unethical charges and fines Deal incurred in the U.S. Congress and the fact that external agencies have identified him as the worst governor in the United States.


http://www.citizensforethics.org/worst-governors-in-america


Jason Carter has a lot of information with which to work.  Many Georgians are not yet educated regarding how badly they have been snowed and how much federal money has been lost because of anger and resentment on the part of this failed governor.


honested
honested

I guess Larry Sabato is now anathema to our resident wrong wingers.


Of course, they are still sad that rove was wrong about 'rob-me's numbers so who cares.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

Global warming - of course.  Average temperature measurements prove it and polar ice cap melting is proven.  Where did all the snow and rain come from?  You are right - melted polar ice caps.  These are not complicated concepts - most of us learned them in 6th grade science.  Suspicion of science is always present - dominated by those confused by reality in general and abstract concepts in particular.  Is it important that all understand these principles - not really - if we can agree on air pollution (anybody voting for that?) and water purity (anybody voting to contaminate the water supply?) we can probably move ahead nicely without agreeing on the accuracy of temperature measurements.  Of course, we do not want any elected officials who are voting to contaminate the air, water, and earth.  Anybody for voting for them?

Derwin0
Derwin0

@PatrickThompson  I got a mailing from David Scott not too long ago, as well as Paul Broun (Henry County is in both districts).  So why only the mentions of Republicans doing it, when they all do it?  Oh yeah, AJC agenda...

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@PSWallace   if this thing is not stopped, a politician will be campaigning on how much Federal money he can bring to the district, or what free healthcare he could give you. 

***********************

Yeah, especially since "be afraid, be very afraid," and "Obama is a secret muslim socialist who will destroy the country" no longer resonates with voters.

honested
honested

@NOlongerRepublican  

It's much easier for 'journalists' to focus on people getting paid an obscene sum to play a kid's game reliant on public subsidies to exist.

Can you think of a better set of contradictions?

NWGAL
NWGAL

Seriously, the same rant every day? C, don't you get tired of hearing yourself say the same thing day after day?

Kamchak
Kamchak

Another day, and another whine about the typical liberal bias of the AJC. SSDD.

Just sayin'.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@DirtyDawg  

You solved the case of the Who Dunnit-2014:" Who broke into the the Republican offices and stole their Q&A cards for the Dumbocratic Race for Guv.

honested
honested

@DirtyDawg  

You just summed up the history of 'divine right autocrats'.

Depending on fear, superstition and wealth envy to hold sway over an obviously confused 'base'.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@Ralph-43

Well, well, Ralphie.  I did got to this site and, guess what?  It's no wonder they grade governors the way they do.  readd some of the articles and try to guess which side of the political spectrum their "journalists" are firmly seated in.  Clue:  It isn't Libertarian or conservative.  Not even a clear thinking Democrat (of which there re darn few) would argue that point.

I'm really surprised you don't quote that real soldier of fair reporting, Chris Matthews of BSNBC.

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Loved the Worst Report...but really...they couldn't include Christie/New Jersey? Is it because there's a 'real' investigation underway?

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@The_Centrist  

Was there ever a time when the DJC even ATTEMPTED to be fair?  They claim to "balance" the left and right by having Kyle Wingfield write some blather that looks - on the surface - like a though from the right but it fails.  to that the DJC gives its readers These TRES AMIGO lefties, Jay Bookman and Luckovich.  Yeah, I hear it: Well, they also have Michael Ramirez's cartoons.  Yes, they do print those.  but Michael Ramirez is not paid by Cox Enterprises. 

What the people at Cox like to hide are the facts (U.S. Census Bureau and Audited Media com.):

28-County Population: 2000 - 4,112,198

28-County Population: 2010 - 5,268,820

Population gain: 1,020,829 - 28.1% gain


2000 circulation of COMBINED newspapers - 680,000

2000 circulation of DJC only newspaper - 152,000 (incl. 6,700 digital subscribers)

Circulation (LOSS): 77%


This proves this region loves the "Progressive-Liberal" cox Newspaper.  don't tell the folks in Dunwoody, they still think this paper is viable, fair, balanced and just what we want.

 


Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@The_Centrist  

Not so Centrist

Do you whine all the time of just when you blog? 

To say you are a baby would be an understatement.  It is a much closer to reality than you being a "Centrist". 

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@Ralph-43  

Ralphie:  I suppose when they offered Physics in school you high-tailed it out the front door.  Please correct me if I'm wrong:

Ice is the only solid on this planet that displaces not only it's own weight in water but also it's own volume.  In other words, for you Global-Warmers, when Ice melts, the water produced fill the area the ice was in.  It melted ice) DOES NOT leave a hole.  Ergo, if all the ice at the polar ice caps melts, there would be a tremendous area to fill with water.  But, the Al gores and John Kerrys of the world still think the earth is flat and the moon is a cosmic reflection from some far off universe.  Probably the same universe that created mankind through the "Big Bang."


MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@AuntieChrist @PSWallace

AuntiC-----:  Please post the URL for the poll that shows that this "---" remark is true.  I'll give you plenty of time.  The national polls shown (even on BSNBC - GASP!) don't indicate that.  And why not.  BSNBC would nvver publish anything negative about TSAR Obama. 

And, oh, I am to assume that you count yourself as one of the insane voters, don't you?

Oops!  Correction to the above, I meant "sane."  Silly me for making that egregious mistake.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

I always wonder if he makes a daily appearance at Kyle's blog, complaining about the tea party crowd who hang out there... somehow I doubt it.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@Kamchak I don't know, I think it's a cry for help. He's a lonely old guy that no one at home listens to, largely ignored by those around him. At least he gets a response when he comes here to post his daily mewling.  When someone is desperate for attention, even the derision his comments receive here is preferable to being ignored.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@honested @DirtyDawg 

Man, I gotta give it to you (dis)honest - you sure have a hancle on this situation.  Of course, you cheated because you are quite familiar with the fear, superstition, and envy of wealth - not to mention hobbits and Trolls that go along with being a liberal Dumbocrat.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

What a silly post.  You culd just as easily argue that the decline is because the paper isn't liberal enough.

 The Washington Times is bankrupt - does that mean that readers hate it's conservative slant?

And the decline in sales of the AJC is probably typical of newspapers everywhere, because of the internet. 

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

@MichaelHannigan - Mickey:  I am not sure what you are trying to say - but it was certainly unclear to me.  I received my Physics education from Nobel laureates - how about you?  I'll stick with their findings and deriding Al Gore (who was actually elected President) and John Kerry accomplishes nothing for your argument.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@AuntieChrist @Kamchak

You missed your calling AC.  You should have been a Palm Reader.  You're SO INTELLIGENT!  You read minds...is there nothing short of coherent verbiage to write that escapes you?

NWGAL
NWGAL

Then thank you for giving it to the Democrats.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@NWGAL  

you're right!  Dumbo IS and elephant and the symbol of the Republican Party.

Give you three guesses, not counting the first two:  What is the symbol of the Democratic Party?

comment:  Gimme the Dumbo (mixed-metaphor and all) symbol any day!

NWGAL
NWGAL

Dumbocrat? Wasn't Dumbo an elephant? Thought those were the symbol of Republicans. Maybe you're just mixing metaphors?

Kamchak
Kamchak

Again -- it's a simple matter to delete your post and correct your mistakes.

First day with that brand new abby normal brain?

Just askin'

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@Kamchak  

a typo, you mindless idiot.  Write to the TRES AMIGOS at the DJC and have them write a correction/edit program. The word SHB "handle."

Jes Tellin'

Kamchak
Kamchak

What's a "hancle"?

Just askin'.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@CherokeeCounty  

Silly post, say you.  The numbers don't lie (check them out with Google).

I have heard some of the most outlandish remarks - written and spoken - over the years, but the DJC being "too liberal?"

I did not say the DJC was bankrupt, nor did I insinuate it.  With all the Cox money behind it, why wouldn't it survive.  BUT, with a million residents moving into the area wouldn't you expect that some would at least subscribe to the the paper?  Of course, some did...the problem is, more "somes" chose to not renew for whatever reason.  From a purely political standpoint, there are still more Republican votes (albeit shrinking) in the 28-county area than Democratic votes.


I won't argue about the decline of newspapers, in general, as I believe as many others do that it is indeed the political standing and bias of the press that is driving most, if not all, the decline.  


And, yes, the internet will eventually - for better or worse - shape the political landscape of this country.


The demise of this republic won't be guns or economics or jobs; it will be our attitudes against each other.  I personally thought George Bush did this country a lot of harm and divided us, but that's nothing compared to what's happening today.

MichaelHannigan
MichaelHannigan

@Ralph-43 @MichaelHannigan  

If you need an explanation of what I said, I cannot help you.  It's written in plain American English and to the point.  Either you prove that Ice caps leave a hold in the earth and their melted water goes into the ocean and causes it to rise, all the while leaving the gaping hold where the ice WAS or go back and ask your Nobel Laureates to explain it to you.

This is a nothing more than a basic physics question, involving frozen water (ice), and water displacement; and not a chemical question of any sort that I know of.

As for the derisive nature (as you think) of my blog, perhaps; but tell that to your fellow leftists on the TRES AMIGOS blogs. What I say pales when compared to some of them.