Georgia GOP Anger At Fever Pitch

This week’s Courier Herald column:

Last week was a rough one for many longtime Georgia Republicans. Ted Cruz suspended his quest to be the Republican nominee for President, all but ensuring Donald Trump will arrive in Cleveland with well more than the 1,237 votes needed for nomination. Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a “campus carry” bill that would have allowed 21-year-old college students to carry guns in some places on Georgia’s college campuses. And that was just 3 hours of Tuesday.

A popular GOP Governor vetoing a bill that expands gun rights in the face of an earlier veto of a bill dealing with religious freedom has many Republicans are down right angry. Of course, the entire theme of the 2016 election cycle has been one of anger.

The new headlines from the home front won’t do much to quell the fires of anger from those lighting torches who are ready to storm the GOP gates – or at least vote anti-incumbent during primaries in a couple of weeks. There’s little that can be done with the currencies of logic and reason to extinguish burning blind rage.

It was bad enough when the GOP base thought the Governor had attacked God himself with the veto of the religious freedom bill. But when he doubled down with the veto of campus carry legislation, many felt he was going after their religion.

The Governor has two major advantages on his side as we gaze upon the precipice of unprecedented intra-party civil war in Georgia Republican political circles. His tenure as an elected official has long been a determined fate. He is term limited in his role for another two years, and has stated he has no intentions to run for another office. His only remaining judgement will be by history and his maker, and that’s something he doesn’t need to win a 24-hour news cycle in order to handle.

The other is time. The seven months remaining between now and when he stands before the legislature to provide the State of the State address at the beginning of the next meeting of the general assembly will contain a national partisan debate that should take some energy of angry Republicans and redirect it toward Hillary Clinton and a newly confident progressive agenda that is proudly veering toward socialism.

Embedded in the advantage of time is the fact that blind rage is hard to maintain at a fever pitch. If and when that fever breaks, there will be an opening once again for logic and reason. When that time comes, the advantage switches back to Governor Deal.

The coming storm from the national level to curtail the Second Amendment will make the negotiation in Georgia look almost silly by comparison. Georgia’s gun advocates who are currently claiming treason may want to look at the fight coming in DC, and decide if the Governor they have is a needed ally against the President they’re likely to get.

For those that read that statement and dismiss it on a stand of principle, one may ask them to look at the bill that was vetoed. The bill specifically prohibited guns in dorms, frat houses, and sporting events. The Governor wanted those exemptions extended to on campus day care centers and student disciplinary hearings. Which exemption covers the the vast majority of students (and a general public likely to come in contact with students who are packing)?

To paraphrase the old joke, we’ve already established the squishy compromise of principle. Now the Governor is just negotiating the price.

The same is true with a potential religious freedom bill. The Governor has made clear he would sign (and much of today’s opposition would accept) the provisions of this year’s “Pastor Protection Act” that shields religious ceremonies from government intrusion. It is the double talk by some of the religious freedom bills’ sponsors that is causing the confusion. They continue to tell critics the bill has nothing to do with commerce (i.e, baking cakes for gay weddings) while soaking up adulation from the professional evangelical class who is demanding the same bill be passed for that reason. No bill will be signed by this governor until the language matches the sponsor’s claims, and they are honest with those cheering them along about what the bill does – and more importantly, does not do.

In the interim, the Governor will be a convenient punching bag for some. In the longer term, he retains a veto pen for two more years. Perhaps extensive use will not be necessary however. A bitter, national partisan election may be the prescription needed to break the fever.

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auh2oEllynnScottNAtlantaJoshMcKoonTheManUndertheBridge Recent comment authors
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John Konop
John Konop

At the end of the day, governor Deal has been a very good governor. I have not 100% agreed with him, but overall he has been very pragmatic leader. His leadership on bringing back vocational options, promoting business, prison reform, and not buckling to emotional battles verse what is best for Georgia ie this well written post by Charlie, will serve his legacy well. I made no secret, I supported Karen, but with that said, we cannot deny the fact, Deal has done a very good job, especially dealing with many who want headlines, over ever solving anything in both… Read more »

ScottNAtlanta
ScottNAtlanta

I agree…He has done a good job this term, and if I was a crow…I’d be very careful these days. Lots of people besides me will be feasting on lots of crow. Deal stood up and said enough of the crazy, and he is to be commended for it. I think I will go throw up somewhere having just said that…but truth is truth

IrishPat
IrishPat

Pragmatic leadership plus flawed legislation produced two vetoes. Thanks Governor Deal.

blakeage80
blakeage80

“It was bad enough when the GOP base thought the Governor had attacked God himself with the veto of the religious freedom bill. But when he doubled down with the veto of campus carry legislation, many felt he was going after their religion.” This is quite a lot of snark, Charlie. The Governor didn’t do himself any favors when he visited many churches, including my own and that galls me greatly, championing religious freedom. It will be a while before we forget his veto speech which only served to twist the knife. Thankfully, my hope is not in Gov. Deal.… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

Lol….we have real economic issues driven by some really bad policy inherited by Gov Deal. he has taken on the establishment with education reforms, prison reform, transportaion …. Do I 100 percent agree with him obviously no, but to give him no credit would be irrational. Overall by any measure Gov Deal has done a very good job. Like it or not, with RFRA he was weighing a tough decision trying to avoid the Indiana blow up. Campus carry he had simular type issues. Life is very gray, not as black and white as you think. At 54 I have… Read more »

blakeage80
blakeage80

Why do you insist that the subject matter of the 1st and 2nd Amendments aren’t real issues? Economic issues shouldn’t be the only measuring stick used to determine the worth of a piece of legislation.

John Konop
John Konop

LOL….a minority person would argue about your interpretation of the first amendment. As far as the second Gov Deal is not taking guns away from anyone with this veto. It is just a debate over where you can carry the gun.Finally at the end of the day, it is about the economy with voters on a macro,

blakeage80
blakeage80

I haven’t offered an interpretation. I simply pointed out that you always talk about economics as if its the only things that matter. Economic freedom and prosperity is extremely important and the Gov. has one a great deal to improve the economic outlook of GA, but it’s not the only thing that matters. The 2nd Amendment speaks of both keeping and bearing arms. That means owning and carrying them around.

TheManUndertheBridge
TheManUndertheBridge

With respect blakeage80, I doubt that any of our Founding Fathers could contemplated a schoolhouse filled with the kinds of kids we see today. Some of the good ones are entitled, narcissistic, idiots transfixed by their devices, making them perfect targets for evil doers. Other good ones are vets, older adults, and responsible KIDS. How about we not put the responsibility of lethal force on these students? How about we try to agree that making the use of a weapon on campus a minimum 10 year sentence? How about we agree that simply securing the campus is a place to… Read more »

TheManUndertheBridge
TheManUndertheBridge

History will treat Gov. Deal kindly as his legacy upholds our State motto of justice, moderation and wisdom. More importantly he took populist (and popular) legislation and tempered it with the reality of what positive benefits would accrue from these laws. Sketchy benefits at best. Take campus carry. While we may think that in a perfect scenario Little Mary from Gwinnett or Sweet Bobby from Rome might carefully aim and shoot their assailant, with military precision, the ‘fog of war’ is real and that is an unlikely event. Even if the ‘perfect shot’ was taken, it is hard to imagine… Read more »

JoshMcKoon
JoshMcKoon

SB 129 carefully mirrored the Federal RFRA. The only ways it departed from it at all was to include preambulatory language recognizing the prevention of discrimination as a compelling state interest and to state no private right of action would be available to an employee against an employer. To state otherwise is simply to lie. Of course the bill that was sent to the Governor contained two other pieces of legislation and departed from a simple adoption of the federal standard for free exercise claims.

TheManUndertheBridge
TheManUndertheBridge

One last note, regarding RFRA and Campus Carry. The former has nothing to do with religious freedom, and the latter has zilch to do with the 2nd Amendment. Anyone making that claim is either disingenuous or naive, or both. These two Bills are a ‘solution’ in search of a problem in this very angry election year. “Tell ’em what they are getting, give it to ’em, tell ’em who got it for ’em” These two Bills were political au jus to go with red meat in an election year, plain and simple. The only thing Sen. McKoon earned this year… Read more »

JoshMcKoon
JoshMcKoon

Courts interpret the language of the First Amendment using legal standards. In Georgia an inmate in federal prison has greater protection of his First Amendment free exercise right than you or I do from state or local government. SB 129 would have ended that absurdity by making the legal standard uniform. To suggest it had nothing to do with religious freedom reveals either ignorance of the subject matter or a desire to mislead others.

JoshMcKoon
JoshMcKoon

Anyone who thinks the state budget should be used as a political weapon does not deserve to be in office.

Ellynn
Ellynn

Irony thy name is Sen. McKoon.

John Konop
John Konop

LOL….that has to make the Hall of Fame of GP comments….LOL

auh2o
auh2o

“The 2nd Amendment means a lot to me and this Bill has nothing to do with it.” I’m waiting for you to post this obvious falsehood a third time. Will doing so make it more true? “Repeat the lie, Repeat the lie…” Of course it has something to do with the 2nd Amendment. It limits an American citizen’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Maybe VA Tech might have been prevented or lessened by an armed student or the other school shootings, too. How are those Gun Free Zones working out for you? But, no, keep espousing the Leftist… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

Auh20, You made my point using the word “limits”, as you pointed out it does not take guns away from anyone. I have always been a big supporter of the second amendment, but we are debating limits. For instance you would not want people having tanks, nukes, bazookas……if you agree with any of that, than you support with having “limits ” . As a parent of a college student, and a high school student, I do have concerns with the carry law. Kids are kids, not sure this was fully thought-out. The students do not want it overwhelmingly on the… Read more »