Georgia Governor GOP Primary: Birthers, Bigots and Crooks, Oh My
by Charles Lemos, Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 02:48:30 AM EDT
They say they are running for the GOP nomination but frankly in looking at the top three contenders - there are seven total running - it's abundantly clear that the winner may also hold the title of the last bigot left standing.
First, there's John Oxendine, the four-term Insurance Commissioner. He's a birther but then again so is Representative Nathan Deal, a nine-term member of Congress who representing Georgia’s 9th congressional district and who in December 2009 sent a letter to White House formally questioning President Obama's place of birth. The other major candidate in the race is Karen Handel, the former Georgia Secretary of State. She, to the best of my knowledge, isn't a birther but as the good ol' boys have started to accuse her of being too cozy with the gays, she's resorted to out-bigotting the bigots.
Karen Handel's crime, such as it were, was meeting, yes that's right meeting, with Log Cabin Republicans when she was running for Fulton County Commissioner in 2003 and then cutting them a $75.00 cheque. That led John Oxendine, Rep. Nathan Deal and former State Senator Eric Johnson to charge that she somehow coddled gay interests.
Here's a Nathan Deal ad accusing Karen Handel of lying about her views on gay domestic partnership benefits and gay adoption.
Meanwhile the Oxendine campaign has sent out a mailer (pdf) accusing Handel of being pro-abortion, pro-gay rights and just too liberal for Georgia. Oh the sleaze factor is high but then this the Georgia GOP we are talking about.
But the trifecta sleaze award has to go to Rep. Nathan Deal who is not only a birther and a bigot but corrupt. From Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics in Washington:
Rep. Deal, along with his business partner Ken Cronan, owns a lucrative business, Recovery Services, Inc., that – through a no-bid contract – provides inspection stations to the state for the inspection of salvaged vehicles. The business earned $1.4 million between 2004-2008 and Rep. Deal personally took home $150,000 a year.
In 2008, Georgia Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham took over responsibility for the inspection system and found the operational costs and locations of the inspection stations to be too costly and restrictive. Comm. Graham decided the best course of action was to reform the system and award contracts through a competitive bidding process.
Rep. Deal and his staff, with assistance from Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, arranged meetings with Comm. Graham at which Rep. Deal and his chief of staff were present, to persuade him to reconsider his decisions, including the proposed elimination of $1.7 million that has been allocated for the program. After Comm. Graham’s plan was passed by the Georgia House, Rep. Deal’s chief of staff used his House email to contact Georgia state officials in an effort to stop the plan from passing the state Senate. The money for the program was eventually kept in the budget.
Rep. Deal’s abuse of his position and taxpayer resources to maintain a personally lucrative business deal does not reflect creditably on the House.
For what is worth, Newt Gingrich has endorsed Rep. Nathan Deal while Sarah Palin and Erik Erickson have endorsed Karen Handel. Polls show a close race with no candidate securing the votes to win outright meaning that a run-off is likely. The winner will likely face former Governor Ray Barnes who is coasting towards the Democratic nomination. The 11 Alive interview with Karen Handel is below the fold. It's a train wreck.
Handel: (The Log Cabin Republican check is) certainly not a membership. And I don't think going to an event constitutes membership, nor does it constitute agreeing with everything they have to say either.
Richards: Why did you do that?
A: Well, when you're out campaigning -- remember, I was campaigning for Fulton County Commission -- so I think it was important for me to speak to all the various Republican groups. Let's remember a lot of Republicans have spoken to the Log Cabin organization, from, I think (Senator Johnny) Isakson has spoken, Sonny Perdue has spoken. It was part of going out and trying to run a comprehensive campaign. And the key, I think, was to make sure that I was doing the outreach with folks. And it was better to not have folks be adversarial against me, and so that was the whole point of it.
Q: You said there were issues where you may have agreed and disagreed on. What were the issues you agreed with them on?
A: From taxes and cutting the spending at Fulton County and candidly, the organization was a good ally on those types of fiscal issues.
Q: You have said that you are -- you're against gay marriage, right?
A: Mm hm. Absolutely. Marriage is between one man and one woman. And I've been very very clear about that. And the record is clear about any of the other issues like domestic partner benefits or anything like that. In fact in Fulton, I voted no on domestic partner benefits.
Q: Are you against civil unions for gays?
A: Yes. I think that's not an issue that has come forward in Georgia. We have the constitutional amendment against gay marriage, and I don't want to see any taxpayer funding going toward benefits etcetera for a couple that is not married. In our state and for me, marriage is for one man and one woman.
Q: Why is that?
A: Why is marriage between one man and one woman? (Laughs). Are you serious?
Q: Yes. Well why -- do you view committed gay relationships as being less legitimate than committed heterosexual relationships?
A: As a Christian, I view relationships and marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Q: But what about the legitimacy of the relationship? Do you have any gay friends? Do you know gay couples?
A: Of course I do. Are we going to spend our whole day talking on this issue?
Q: I want to know how you feel about this.
A: I've been very clear. And you know, as a Christian, marriage is between a man and a woman. I do not think that gay relationships are -- they are not what God intended. And that's just my viewpoint on it. Others might disagree with that. But I would also hope that if you look at what is happening in our state, we've got issues we need to be focused on in Georgia. We have a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. And it's something that I supported wholeheartedly. We have that, and let's get dealing with the other issues that we also need to deal with in Georgia. And the press can help with that. (Laughs).
Q: Frequently, folks in the legislature kind of threaten to -- there are always rumblings in the legislature that they may outlaw gay adoptions. You're against gay adoption.
A: I am against gay adoption. But remember -- I mean, if there is legislation on that, certainly I will follow that and look at it. But in the end, ultimately courts are going to be the ones to have to make the decision on that and it's always in the best interests of the child. Do I think that gay parents is in the best interest of the child? No. But we do have our court system that deals with many and most of those issues.
Q: Would you favor outlawing gay adoptions?
A: Yeah, I would consider that, absolutely.
Q: Do you know any gay couples with children?
A: Not that I'm aware of.
Q: So you think gay couples are less qualified to function as parents than straight couples?
A: I think that for a child to be in a household -- in a family in a household with a situation where the parents are not married, as in one man and one woman, is not the best household for a child.
Q: Is it better or worse than a single parent household?
A: Doug, I'm really trying to be straightforward with you but I'm not going to debate all the nuances. I've made it abundantly clear that I think that marriage is between a man and a woman. And that's what I believe, and I don't know what more you would like me to add to that.
Q: I guess I want to know why you think gay parents aren't as legitimate as heterosexual parents.
A: Because I don't.
Q: (Pause) Well, I realize that.
A: Well, Doug, we're not going to spend the whole day discussing this issue. And you know, it 's really kind of disappointing -- we invited you on this (leg of the bus trip).
Q: I know.
A: So we're going to need to move on.