Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Schism in the Senate

In Georgia, Republicans control everything. They have significant majorities in both the House and Senate, and they hold every statewide office. You'd think that would be a recipe for the GOP freely passing legislation on issues near and dear to their base. Red Meat for the Red Team. You would be wrong. Internal power struggles have all but derailed the GOP legislative agenda in Georgia. There will be no revision of the tax structure, no "job creation" bill. The immigration bill is on life support. The budget has yet to pass. About all they've done is gut the HOPE Scholarship.  No where is this fight more evident than in the State Senate.

There's a civil war among the Republican majority in the Georgia Senate, and today claimed a causality as Sen. Cecil Staton resigned as Majority Whip amid accusations that the IP address associated with Staton's computer was the same as the IP address of one "Beth Merkleson" who has written a number of emails attacking Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Many, including the Republican Speaker of the House, argue that the people of Georgia are the real victims in ongoing Senate power struggle.

What silly playground games. Who has time for this nonsense when we are again slashing education, gutting the HOPE scholarship and don't even know how our state government plans to pay its bills?  

I couldn't care less about Staton's role in these emails, but the people of his district, which happens to be my district, deserve better than a senator who is so caught up in the politics of personal power at the expense of the people's business.He should resign, or at the very least, decline to run again in 2012. If he runs, he needs opposition - in his own primary. How embarrassing.

Despite his resignation, just two days before the end of session, Staton denies that he is connected to the emails. I'm not sure that passes the smell test, but whatever. He is as much to blame as anyone for the internal fight in the Senate that has resulted in little to nothing being accomplished this session. Regardless of the origin of the emails, no one would argue that there is any love lost between Staton and Cagle. After all, though the fault lines in the caucus were evident even before the November election, Staton was among those who met in Macon just three days after the election to, in essence, affect a coup, revising Senate rules to strip Cagle of most of his power. What started behind closed doors has now become a spectacle for all to view. Doesn't it always?


Anonymous said...

Staton can solve this problem easy. He can ask Cox communications to turn over the location of the IP addresses to Jim Galloway who broke the story.

Arch Adams is a rock star.

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