September 5, 2023 8:57 AM
Courier Herald column for the week of September 3rd:
Labor Day is that paradoxical holiday when we don’t work in order to celebrate working. Some work hard to get the job done. Others seem to work harder at making things difficult for everyone but themselves.
In Georgia state politics the elected official who has most committed himself to this path is State Senator Colton Moore, who is at least for now a member of the Republican caucus residing in Trenton Georgia. In the last week or so Moore has advocated for defunding the office charged with prosecuting violent crime in the state’s largest county, and began stoking fires for another civil war.
These are the kinds of statements which those who followed Moore during his unexceptional and brief career in the Georgia House came to expect. Moore was then largely ignored as he was generally ineffective and thus considered harmless. That was before Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. That same “illegitimate” election gave us Senator Moore by just 809 votes.
It’s hard to criticize Moore for blatant opportunism. That’s a feature, not a bug, of the industry.
Moore has decided to instead take the path of the self-righteous Pharisee, promoting himself as the only Senator willing to address the political acts of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. It’s true that Willis indicted former President Donald Trump, former Georgia GOP Chairman and former Senate Majority Leader David Shafer, and a host of others in their actions following Trump’s loss in Georgia. It’s also true that District Attorneys in Georgia are elected by the people – the same process that elects Moore.
One could even make a case that a grand jury in either Dade or Fulton counties would likely find evidence that both Willis and Moore are just playing to their political bases with their actions. There are differences, however.
Willis is unapologetically and methodically working the system that she has been elected to oversee. Moore has decided that the people in his own party, in his own chamber, are the problem.
The Senator has initiated a call for a special session of the legislature as an emergency to deal with Willis. He wants her impeached and her office defunded.
To do either would require a supermajority vote of both the House and Senate – votes the Republicans do not have in either chamber even if they were all dumb enough to follow this exercise to its logical conclusion. Moore knows this. He just hopes the people that have long since given up – the ones who threats of a civil war would appeal to – don’t know or don’t care.
He’s singled out two fellow Republican Senators for not signing his petition, and has been tweeting out their personal cell phone number. This has not only drawn rebukes from those in his own caucus, but the Governor and House Speaker as well.
It’s the perfect path to martyrdom, which is likely Moore’s only plan. Moore succeeded former Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, who was able to deliver state funding and services to his district by being an effective member of the legislator and via the power the Chairman of the Senate Rules committee is able to wield.
Disdainful of the entire process, Moore knows he would never be able to match Mullis’ success. Becoming a pariah to all other elected officials building statewide name ID in the process is a heck of a way to play the victim card. This is a hand that Moore has effectively dealt unto himself.
He may be in touch with the voters of his district, but Republicans statewide are right to remain distant from his demands. A recent poll conducted by the University of Georgia puts Governor Kemp’s approval rating at 80% among Republicans. Other polls show him doing quite well with independents and even Democrats.
Last week Governor Brian Kemp appeared on the Ruthless Podcast prior to the Republican Presidential debate. He noted that he wasn’t doing traditional media that day despite multiple national requests, because all they wanted to talk to him about was the 2020 election and Trump’s Georgia indictments. He noted, quite astutely, that every minute Republicans spend talking about 2020 is a moment that they’re not laying out a vision and contrast to win in 2024.
The man polling at 80% is the one voters understand is working every day, through every situation nature and politics has thrown at him and at our state, to get us to the best place we can be. One is loudly making noise with a temper tantrum while only distancing himself from his own party. Voters may be more entertained by one, but they know the difference.