Georgia GOP criticizes Deal for anti-gay bill veto

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Delegates to the state GOP convention in Augusta spanked Gov. Nathan Deal for vetoing an anti-gay “religious freedom” bill and lawmakers for failing to override it. Who proposed the rebuke? The Gold Dome's hater-in-chief, state Sen. Josh McKoon.

McKoon (photo) – the legislative push behind legislation that targets LGBT people, non English speakers and the driver's licenses of immigrants without legal status – presented “A Resolution On Getting Back to the Basics of Republican Principles.” At least the principles that anti-gay Republicans like McKoon hold near and dear.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the delegates of the Georgia Republican Party convention to call upon our elected Republican legislators, and our Governor, to get back to the basics of republican principles and demonstrate what true Republican leadership is; namely, limited, transparent government; lower taxes, reduced regulations, true individual liberty to exercise publicly and privately our religious beliefs and rights to free speech, thus creating an environment that encourages the individual to pursue the American Dream while knowing that their First, Second, and all constitutional rights will be protected, rather than be limited in our rights to the interpretation favored by Big Business, Hollywood, and Chambers of Commerce;

The smack at Deal came in response to House Bill 757, a measure that legislative leaders hijacked to insert anti-LGBT provisions that they quickly pushed through the General Assembly for passage. Deal vetoed it, quieting a growing national backlash that threatened the state's economy and lucrative film industry. But angry lawmakers and religious activists rebelled, calling for an override vote and condemning what they called the “Hollywood values” that opposed the bill. McKoon even took a legislative shot at businesses and industries that opposed his legislation.

In April, the fringes of Georgia's Republican Party voted to censure Deal over the veto, though McKoon criticized the action. Apparently until he had time to spearhead his own condemnation on Saturday.

The resolution received a mixed reaction at the state convention on Saturday even as party leaders limited debate on it. Via Georgia Pol:

With many delegates waiting in line to speak, the question was called and the measure was put up for a vote. The resolution passed. While there was no count taken of votes cast for either side, a reasonable minority voted against it. While Republican conventions are dominated by the party’s grassroots base as opposed to its more business friendly supporters, some of those attending this convention had a different definition of basic Republican principles than did others.

Others, including Georgia Pol publisher Charlie Harper, called the resolution the work of “peak hypocrisy.”

Peak hypocrisy was achieved when Senator Josh McKoon presented a resolution “On getting back to the basics of Republican Principles”. The resolution defined those basic principles, perhaps totally coincidentally, as issues McKoon has sponsored and failed to get enacted into law. The word “censure” did not appear, but it took direct slaps at the state House and Governor’s office, but spared himself and largely his fellow Senators. Self-serving much?

And Republican activist, Forsyth County delegate and Georgia Pol contributor Will Kremer called McKoon and the resolution “ridiculous.” Via Georgia Pol:

First of all, we have two types of politicians. There are the politicians that fundraise, and they make problems their base, and they use that to build a coalition. We have politicians that work towards solutions. This resolution is complete and utter garbage. It’s garbage.

To say that we need to get back to the basics because we passed funding for transportation and because we oppose, at times, some bill that could potentially discriminate? That’s ridiculous. And I think that we are better than passing a resolution that justifies that. We need to unite together and go along with the conservative principles that we have and thank our leaders for passing solutions.

A former Deal aide, Brian Robinson, also condemned the resolution. Via the AJC:

The resolution said the actions give “the appearance that the legislative and executive Republican Party leadership has lost the vision of principled, conservative leadership they promised.”

Brian Robinson, a former Deal aide, called the slight against his former boss hypocritical. Many of the same activists willing to condemn Deal for his vetoes are looking the other way when it comes to Trump, who he said is “with them on 25 percent” of issues.

“Ask them to explain the difference and all they can do is yell ‘Hillary’ and ‘Supreme Court,’” Robinson said. “If we just required a minimal amount of intellectual consistency of ourselves, maybe we could regroup and appreciate what a fantastic job our Republican governor has done.”

Even some Republicans at the state convention made a show of thanking Deal for the veto. The gay-led Georgia Republicans for the Future greeted convention-goers with a banner that shouts, “THANK YOU GOVERNOR DEAL.”

McKoon, of course, criticized the banner and called it the work of a “shadowy group.”


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