Gov. Nathan Deal and the concentration of power

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As Dink NeSmith tells it, he was removed from the University System’s Board of Regents a year ago for the sin of being insufficiently submissive to Gov. Nathan Deal. In a newspaper column last week, NeSmith accused Deal of violating the independence guaranteed to the regents by the state constitution, calling the Deal administration “the most domineering and arrogant” in the state’s history.

The response by Deal spokesman Brian Robinson?

“This is a tantrum by another name…. When you don’t get asked to the prom, you can be cool about it and act like you have better things to do, or you can have a public meltdown on the school PA system and make wild accusations against the person who turned a blind eye to your inviting smiles.”

That doesn’t strike me as the response of an organization trying to refute an allegation of arrogance. It is instead a trumpeting of that arrogance. But given the record, it is hardly a surprise. This is not an isolated incident, it is a continuance of a pattern.

In 2014, Deal forced out two members of the Department of Community Health Board who dared to question a surprise proposal to increase nursing-home rates. ( The chief beneficiaries included nursing-home owners who donated heavily to Deal.) In 2011, he forced Warren Budd, a well-respected Republican businessman, from the Department of Natural Resources Board, again for daring to exercise independent judgment. Budd’s story was similar to that of NeSmith: Under Deal, the DNR board was no longer allowed to function as a board, with Deal’s office even dictating whom the board could elect as its officers.

Robinson’s response? “If anyone on any board considers himself indispensable, this is what educators call a ‘teachable moment’.”

Like his predecessors, Deal has a history of naming supporters and friends to important posts, but he taken that practice to new heights by seeming to ignore the issue of qualifications. To cite just one prominent example, he named a former director of the state GOP as Georgia’s transportation planning director, a post previously held by a trained transportation engineer, turning a professional post into a political post. And Deal’s ambitions are quietly redrawing the basic architecture of state government.

In 2013, Deal stripped control of an honors program for top high-school students from the state Department of Education, giving it to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. In 2012, he shifted a major workforce-training program out of the constitutionally independent Department of Labor and into the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development.

As part of his criminal justice reform package, Deal successfully pushed legislation creating the Governor’s Office of Transition, Support, and Reentry, giving it duties once performed by the Department of Corrections, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Department of Juvenile Justice. He also just stripped the state Soil and Water Commission of its independence to bring its functions under his influence.

As a congressman, Deal used his political influence to try to bully state officials into allowing his company to keep a lucrative, state-granted auto-salvage monopoly. As governor, his office was also secretly involved in hiring a new director of the state ethics commission, a supposedly independent agency that was then investigating Deal’s political fundraising. To put it mildly, his record is that of a man who does not respect boundaries.

And in November 2016, Georgians will vote on a constitutional amendment giving Deal the power to take full control of local schools, stripping elected officials, voters and parents of any effective voice in their operation. The legislation does call for allowing “community feedback and input,” but if you listen to NeSmith, Budd and others, I’m not sure it’s wise to take much comfort in that.

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511 comments
Dixie Chicken
Dixie Chicken

Nathan Deal is the most corrupt governor in the Unites States. What an embarrassment for Georgia.  

lvg
lvg

Great article Jay!

Shady is next going to set up Governor' Office of Sales Tax Forgiveness for the  $74 million his buds at Copart owes the State and the  Office of Reporter Ejectment of anyone caught filming GOP events open to the public without Deal's approval.The will be ejected by body slamming and hair pulling.


Jke
Jke

Trying to figure out the point of this op-ed/blog.

We do, or do not want a strong governor? We do, or do not expect that supporters and friends will be appointed to boards and other offices, rather than those who did not support, or who are enemies? Can anyone point out any administration, in Georgia, the White House, or any other statehouse, that has done anything different. Sure, you can make a reasonable argument that someone in 1500 appointments wasn't the most qualified, but again, we see that everyday at the federal level and in every state. It's just going to happen. Regarding some positions that have been moved closer to the governor's office--good. There is more accountablility that way.  

EliasDenny
EliasDenny

@Jke  There is no end totum of stupid people in our state.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

The response by Deal spokesman Brian Robinson?

".........When you don’t get asked to the prom, you can be cool about it and act like you have better things to do, or you can have a public meltdown on the school PA system and make wild accusations against the person who turned a blind eye to your inviting smiles.”

Sounds like one of the many analogies put forth by your liberals, jay. Too "cute" by half.

schnirt

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

"Everybody is talkin‘ these days about Tammany men growin’ rich on graft, but nobody thinks of drawin‘ the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft. There’s all the difference in the world between the two. Yes, many of our men have grown rich in politics. I have myself. I’ve made a big fortune out of the game, and I’m gettin’ richer every day, but I’ve not gone in for dishonest graft—blackmailin' gamblers, saloonkeepers, disorderly people, etc.—and neither has any of the men who have made big fortunes in politics." George Washington Plunkitt of Tammany Hall

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5030/

Peachs
Peachs

You expect crooks in the governor’s office it has be a proud tradition that under the monopoly of a national Republican Party has turned into a Hitler youth organization. What I don’t like is bringing religion into the mix.Some people confuse the crooks and Jesus and a large reason, particularly with the Baptist, to have young people dropping out of or just not joining that denomination.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Yes_Jesus_Can 

Go ahead and defend the shooter, Kammy.

Perhaps you should respond to what I actually post rather than respond to the $h*t you merely make up and wish I had posted.

Just suggestin'.

honested
honested

Before moving on, remember nathan deal has apparently achieved 'most crooked Governor in Georgia History' status without really breaking a sweat.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

And Deal’s ambitions are quietly redrawing the basic architecture of state government.

Quite a "ballsy" comment coming from an 0bama supporter. 

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

I will taken the 0bama high-road and say, before Deal it wasn't the government we deserve, it wasn't a good government without him. 

I'll taken also my usage from Jayson Bookman:

Like his predecessors, Deal has a history of naming supporters and friends to important posts, but he taken that practice to new heights by seeming to ignore the issue of qualifications.

Yup.  He done taken, and he done maken good money. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

OT, but I think some here may find this of interest.


If you've donated to the Wounded Warrior Project (as I have on a regular basis for years), you might be interested to know that they've apparently become VERY litigious.


I may have to reconsider my support.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/04/wounded-warrior-charity-unleashes-hell-on-other-veteran-groups.html?source=DailyBeast&utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=55477c1704d3013821000001&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook&via=FB_Page#


Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Yes_Jesus_Can @Tuna Meowt The Clinton foundation has done an incredible amount of good around the globe


Even Chris Wallace called out the author telling him he had ZERO evidence of impropriety by the Clintons


he fumbled to answer. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Yes_Jesus_Can @HeadleyLamar @Tuna Meowt She clearly did. 


In your biased opinion I have no doubt that is true


Even if Clinton had wanted to make sure the sale was approved, it wouldn’t have been possible for her to do it on her own. CFIUS is made up of not only the Secretary of State, but also the secretaries of Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, Commerce, Defense, and Energy, as well as the heads of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Labor are non-voting members, and CFIUS’s work is also observed by representatives of other agencies like the National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget. The idea that Clinton could have convinced all those officials and all those departments to change their position on the sale, even if she had wanted to, borders on the absurd.


The facts don't agree.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@HeadleyLamar @Yes_Jesus_Can @Tuna Meowt 

...and especially given that these uranium guys were supporting the Clinton foundation... the connections should be beyond doubt for a sitting Secretary of State. 

What is painfully obvious is how corrupt Mrs. mendacity is. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Anyone here want to defend what Atlas Juggs and her band of merry Muslim-haters were up to in Texas yesterday?

Anyone at all?

Captain-Obvious
Captain-Obvious

@Visual_Cortex Maybe if you'd use someone's real name . . . .Would you create a term like that if you were referencing Hillary or Michelle?

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Visual_Cortex 

Really hard to ignore the consequences of slapping a Grizzly while wearing salmon drawers.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Captain-Obvious @Visual_Cortex "Tuna, I find the double standard some libs on here have pretty pathetic."


I agree, but I don't find it to be confined to either side of the political spectrum.


I think we could all make our points more effectively without resorting to silly names and the like.


Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Kamchak @Visual_Cortex 

Go ahead and defend the shooter, Kammy.

Maybe you could stop cartoonists from getting on the subway, and militant muslims would applaud. 

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Captain-Obvious @Visual_Cortex ". . .Would you create a term like that if you were referencing Hillary or Michelle?"


Gellar is pretty well-known by that sobriquet in liberal blog circles, but I do agree on the 'don't use silly names when you have a serious point to make' point.  


IMO, it doesn't matter whether you're calling the President "Bozo" or the former VP "Darth Vader;" either way, it detracts from the points we're all trying to make and we could do with less of it.


Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Visual_Cortex @Tuna Meowt @Captain-Obvious I have little respect for Ms. Gellar or VP Cheney, but I do try (and sometimes fail) to refer to them in a professional manner.


That said, I do recognize how difficult that is to do, however, given how UNprofessionally Ms. Gellar behaves.


Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Kamchak @Visual_Cortex 

Kammy,

So you're saying that these guys are animals, and yet we ought to act like civilized, polite, patient men in dealing with their murderous intent? 

Is that what you're saying? 

Likewise
Likewise

This is Republican Governing 101.  If you can't or don't want to kill it, milk it for everything it's got.

straker
straker

visual - "handy list of helpful responses"


You left out one.


"Let's reserve judgment until the accused are actually tried and found guilty or not guilty".  You know, the same we would want for ourselves if we were to be charged with a crime.

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

Where is our "I could be wrong about the isis training camps on the Texico border" column?

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

haha, jihadists shooting up AmeRican buildings, such a funny thing.

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@IReportYouWhine#1 where is the suggestion that these guys crossed the border for training or to do this . . . i'll help you out . . . thus far, there is none . . . be patient though, someone will leak something you'll like shortly.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@Kamchak @IReportYouWhine#1 "JADE HELM 15!"


I'll say it again: I think it's HILARIOUS that Texas cons today are saying the same shyt about Jade Helm as Kim Jong Il used to say about Team Spirit back in the 80s, when I was taking part.


In short, 'war rehearsal exercise' and bullspit like that.