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.
"But, we are one conference. We are one party. We are accountable for each other."
Last night, Erick Erickson of Redstate.com posted some caustic criticism that included these paragraphs:
Graves's rapid support for McCarthy can only be seen as opportunistic. Then, and making matters worse, it is one thing to opportunistically support a guy like McCarthy and entirely something else to actually nominate McCarthy and give him some sort of conservative seal of approval….
Graves has had some crummy votes since he has been in Congress, but going so far as to nominate McCarthy goes a bit too far. The conservative love affair with Graves was already waning. It is time to just end it. Let's see what he gets for himself by trading the veneer of conservatism.
And from the Facebook page of Joe McCutchen of Ellijay:
"Very disappointed that Kevin McCarthy was elected Majority leader and that my friend Tom Graves nominated him. Raul Labrador was much more conservative than McCarthy as McCarthy like Cantor is a big Government Republican."
Jack Kingston's "stranger danger" campaign against U.S. Senate runoff rival David Perdue continues this morning with an endorsement from former GOP chairman Sue Everhart, an ex-Karen Handel supporter. From the press release:
"Jack Kingston has been in the trenches with Georgia Republicans for over three decades fighting for the causes you and I believe in," Everhart said. "He is one of us, a lifelong Georgia Republican with a proven conservative record of service.
In Washington, the big news Thursday was President Barack Obama's announcement that he would sent 300 military advisers to Iraq to assess the situation there and aid the government against fast-advancing ISIS. Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss went on CNN to discuss the announcement with Jake Tapper.
The bottom line from Chambliss: "He didn't tell us what his goal is and what his plan is to achieve that goal."
One of the reasons Chambliss said we have a national interest in this fight is if there is instability in the region: "You're going to see the price of gas increase more than it should." (And it already is.) Tapper pointed out that could be a worrisome sentiment for many Americans, and Chambliss clarified:
"We should not go to war for cheaper gasoline, but our economy is driven by that. And that's why providing stability in that part of the world is important to us. We never went into Iraq on the very first day with the idea that oil was an issue, but stability in the region is important."
President Obama has named White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors his point man on the burgeoning scandal over Veterans Affairs hospitals that have falsified lengthy wait times for veterans to get care. Today, Nabors is touring the Atlanta VA Medical Center and meeting with officials there to gauge the situation.
Phoenix was the epicenter of the controversy, but Atlanta had the third-longest recorded wait times for patients in the country, according to a USA Today analysis.
The U.S. House and Senate have passed bills designed to improve wait times and reform the VA system in part by building new facilities -- including a clinic in Cobb County. Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has been assigned to a conference committee of lawmakers to work out the differences.
Said Isakson: “I look forward to being a part of the effort to fix the VA’s problems and put into place reforms to instill a system of accountability for the future."
Gov. Nathan Deal and state lawmakers took an unusual route when they decided to infuse the K-12 system with an extra $300 million. Rather than ordering across-the-board raises for teachers, Deal opted to give the extra funding to school boards to decide for themselves how to spend it.
Deal on Thursday vented at the handful of districts that haven't used the funding to restore school calendars to a full 180 days, end furloughs for teachers or increase salaries.
"It disappoints me greatly and I would hope that the constituents of those counties would ask the hard questions of the school board members. 'If adjoining school board districts are able to go back to 180 days and give their teachers a full year without furloughs, why is our system not able to do that?' Those are the hard questions that need to be asked at the local level because we believe the money that we sent them in almost every case would allow them to eliminate furloughs."
Members of Georgia's Libertarian slate have announced that they'll officially qualify with Secretary of State Brian Kemp at 9 a.m. next Tuesday: Andrew Hunt, founder and former CEO of the nanotechnology company, nGimat, for governor; Amanda Swafford, a former member of the Flowery Branch city council, for U.S. Senate; and Aaron Gilmer, an auditor with Automatic Data Processing, for the District 4 seat of the Public Service Commission.
Which brings us to the topic of runoffs. Republican counselor Eric Tanenblatt, through his friend Jeremy Berry, has cleared up the matter of timing for us.
Legislation signed by Gov. Nathan Deal earlier this year sets up two different dates in the race for governor and U.S. Senate.
A Senate runoff, a federal affair subject to a federal judge’s order, would be held nine weeks after the general election, or Jan. 6. A runoff for governor, a state matter, would be held 28 days after the general, or Dec. 2.
In other words, if both races remain tight, Georgia voters can look forward to three more trips to the polls before we call the season finished.
Clayton County has become one more place where a county commission is struggling with its support for the local hospital. The issue has delayed the commission's vote on next year's budget, according to the Clayton News-Daily:
The 2015 SPLOST voters passed in May kicks in $3 million of that money, but providing the additional $9 million has become a problem.
"Do we need a hospital? Yes," said Chairman Jeff Turner. "How do we help the hospital? That's what we need to decide as a board."
Another day, another victory for gay marriage. From the New York Times:
Both measures, passed by large majorities, are a reversal for a church that in 1991 and in 2008 barred its pastors from performing same-sex marriages, and that has held ecclesiastical trials for ministers who violated the ban and blessed gay couples.
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