Political Insider blog 

AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns

Mitch McConnell — and David Perdue — promise a confrontational GOP Senate

  • 10:03 am Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

With the prospect of taking over the U.S. Senate now in sight, Republicans are now thinking about what they’ll do with the car once they catch it.

More threats to shut the federal government down are a distinct possibility, suggests Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.In an extensive interview here, the typically reserved McConnell laid out his clearest thinking yet of how he would lead the Senate if Republicans gain control of the chamber. The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic [More]

As border kids come to Georgia, Nathan Deal and Jason Carter clash

  • 8:45 am Friday, July 25th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

The screaming letter that Gov. Nathan Deal fired off to the White House was

Shortly after Deal’s office announced the letter, his campaign spokesman Jen Talaber sent out her own missive declaring the children are “victims of misguided federal policy implemented by President Obama” and criticizing his rival, state Sen. Jason Carter, for voting against an immigration crackdown.

Wrote Talaber:

“Where does he stand now that he knows the humanitarian crisis this has sparked? Does he think the Obama administration is handling this well? Does he think the administration should continue sending unaccompanied minors to Georgia without informing the state?”

Carter spokesman Bryan Thomas [More]

A hair-pin turn in U.S. Senate race puts the focus on Michelle Nunn

  • 10:24 am Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

Georgia’s first – and perhaps last – nine-week primary runoff concludes today. A hair-pin turn in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is already underway.

Republicans Jack Kingston and David Perdue have thrown millions of dollars’ worth of insults at each other. Kingston has accused Perdue of consorting with the French. Perdue, on slightly firmer ground, has accused Kingston of being a member of Congress.

In Washington, The Hill newspaper has found someone willing to offer a highly technical assessment of the situation:

They’ve been beating the crap out of each other,” said Georgia-based Republican strategist Chip Lake, who [More]

Sam Olens on the hot seat over Holly LaBerge memo

  • 9:55 am Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Looks like fallout from an ethics probe that, years later, has yet to touch bottom will be the theme of the day.

Late Tuesday, Attorney General Sam Olens issued Said Olens:

“Our civil lawyers determined it was not responsive to the discovery request in the civil litigation.”

In other words, the whistleblowers’ attorneys didn’t ask the right question that might have prompted the memo’s release. However, Olens said he did advise LaBerge to turn it over when the feds asked for relevant documents.

Not everyone is buying into the attorney general’s distinction. “If you gave it to the FBI, why wouldn’t you give it [More]

Blowback for Tom Graves over role in House leadership election

  • 9:11 am Friday, June 20th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

On Thursday, Republicans in the U.S. House elected Kevin McCarthy of California, a business-friendly ally of Speaker John Boehner, to replace the tea party-slain Eric Cantor of Virginia.

The result surprised no one. But what caught many off guard was the man who nominated McCarthy at the closed-door meeting: Tom Graves of Ranger.

“I submit to you today that we cannot make good on the hope of America as a broken party. We cannot lead the way if we do not trust each other. As of late, there has been a lot of talk about holding our leadership accountable, as if [More]

Saxby Chambliss offers a sort-of apology to Australia for Edward Snowden’s leaks

  • 12:33 pm Friday, June 13th, 2014 by Jim Galloway

Folks in Down-Under Land are crediting U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss with making a sort-of apology on behalf of the United States, for Edward Snowden’s disclosure of some embarrassing espionage practices by the Australian government.

Tony Abbott is currently engaged in his first visit to Washington as Australia’s prime minister.

Documents released by Snowden revealed that Australia had eavesdropped on the cell phones of the president of Indonesia, his wife and other members of his inner circle.

From the West Australian newspaper:

It is understood Senator Chambliss had a “tone of remorse” when discussing the Snowden leaks with Mr Abbott along with other members [More]

It could have been Saxby Chambliss…

  • 12:55 pm Friday, June 6th, 2014 by Daniel Malloy, Greg Bluestein and Jim Galloway

You have to know that, somewhere in D.C., Saxby Chambliss is shaking his head, perhaps murmuring, “There but for the grace of God….” From the Associated Press:

JACKSON, Miss. — National tea party groups are divvying up the nuts and bolts of campaigning as they rush to boost Republican Chris McDaniel’s effort to deny Sen. Thad Cochran a seventh term representing Mississippi.

The activist-focused FreedomWorks will run a door-to-door, get-out-the-vote operation ahead of the June 24 runoff. The anti-tax Club for Growth is ready to air even tougher television ads. The Tea Party Express will rally supporters with a bus tour through [More]

Cobb County and the price of poor sportsmanship

  • 10:04 am Monday, June 2nd, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Good sportsmanship has been given a bad rap as a superficial concern of the athlete/dilettante, as irrelevant as an upturned pinky in a melee.

In fact, as any student of Clausewitz would tell you, being a gracious winner is part of the realpolitik of sports. Because just as there is never a last war, there is never a last game.

The upraised middle finger, those loud lies about the sexual history of the pitcher’s mother – all will be recorded and replayed in the opposing team’s locker room just before the next meeting. Anger begets adrenaline.

Over the weekend, our AJC colleagues gave [More]

Senate race: It will be a David Perdue-Jack Kingston runoff

  • 8:23 pm Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 by Jim Galloway and Daniel Malloy

His runoff foe was not yet known, but David Perdue already had an epithet for him or her.

“You know one thing we did do tonight,” Perdue told his cheering supporters in Buckhead. “We retired three career politicians. And we’ve got one more to go.”

It will be Rep. Jack Kingston, the 11-term Congressman who had buckets full of money and establishment support to overcome a regional disadvantage and the baggage of his lengthy political career.

“I think it’s going to be a tough race,” Kingston said. “He’s a guy that has very deep pockets and he’s put in $3 million to $4 [More]

An attempt to continue Saxby Chambliss’ conversation hits a wall

  • 10:48 am Thursday, May 15th, 2014 by Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy and Jim Galloway

Earlier this month, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss published an article inThe writing is a tad thick, but the outline should be familiar to most of you by now: Following the lead of the Simpson-Bowles commission, Chambliss maintains that the only way to address this critical problem — a national security issue, really —  is through a mixture of entitlement cuts and revenue increases. The latter could be achieved through the closing of loopholes, resulting in overall lower tax rates. Specifically:

As I hope I’ve made clear, curing our fiscal ills must begin with our tax code. If it were entirely my [More]