Opinion: Under the Gold Dome, eyes are already turned to 2018

Just over a week ago we all changed our clocks to “spring forward” for daylight savings time. But if you only moved ahead an hour, I’m afraid to report you’re way behind: In Georgia, we just flipped the calendar to 2018.

Next year’s state elections have dominated the current year’s legislative session, never more so than this past week. The contest got off to a semi-official start when the AJC reported Secretary of State Brian Kemp will jump into the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal. Next to enter the fray, most likely, is Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

Gov. Nathan Deal greets legislators before his 2016 “State of the State” address. At the Capitol, the big topic these days is who will succeed him. (AJC Photo / Bob Andres)

After that, it’s anyone’s guess how big the field grows, and how quickly. But you can expect April to be busy.

Speculation about whether Speaker David Ralston will run for governor as well is practically insatiable in the halls of the Capitol. Then there are figures such as Lynn Westmoreland, the former congressman whose name never fails to be mentioned in these conversations. I expect at least two state senators to run, and most observers anticipate an “outsider” from the business world as well, a la David Perdue in the 2014 Senate race.

Speaking of Perdue: Those associated with the senator and his cousin, ex-Gov. Sonny, are known to be seeking a candidate to back. As are those in Deal’s orbit. Expect a surprise entrant or two. The field won’t get as large as last year’s GOP presidential primary, or this year’s special election in the Sixth Congressional District, but it looks to be a full one. (That’s before we get to the Democratic side, a topic for another day.)

Given the foregoing array of possible candidates, not to mention the emerging scramble to replace them in the seats they now occupy, we could see dramatic turnover in the highest levels of state government. Imagine, for instance, that Cagle and Ralston not only both run for governor, but both lose. In that case, we would see a totally new group in charge of the House, the Senate and the executive branch. At a minimum, having two new faces in those three offices is very plausible.

In the near term, that probably means gridlock. Already, there’s a sense under the Gold Dome that personal ambitions, and efforts to thwart the same, are shaping the legislative process behind closed doors. Assuming the recent trend of light lawmaking in election years continues in 2018, we will go three straight years without any major legislation on the state’s most pressing issues. Even the handful of relatively high-profile bills in play this year — on subjects from school choice to taxes — are temporarily stalled.

Beyond 2018, though, big turnover could mean a big opening for changes in state lawmaking.

Allow me to make some generalizations about the past several years. The Deal administration has been cool to far-reaching changes in tax policy. The Senate under Cagle has been reticent when it comes to school choice. Ralston’s House tends to pump the brakes more often on issues pushed by social conservatives. None of the three power centers has pushed very hard for systemic reforms to health care, though Cagle this year did launch a task force on that topic.

Taken together, the accumulation of pressing state needs on various topics, the relative inaction of recent years, and the potential of an electoral shake-up may spark a flurry of conservative reforms after the dust settles.

Maybe that’s why so many people are in such a hurry to spring forward to 2018.

Reader Comments 0

174 comments
MarkVV
MarkVV

I do not know what is more frightening – whether Donald Trump tells the lies because he believes them, or that he does not believe them but he tells them anyway.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Andy your president would do well to remember that religious freedom means we have the right to believe or not as we see fit – not that we have the right to impose our religious beliefs on all through the creation of public policy.  That's something Nathan Deal understands.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@breckenridge Coming from the party that has been imposing it's immorality on our country, some of the most sickest things imaginable, things that contribute absolutely nothing to the benefit of society. This only works one way, don't it? Your days of destroying us are over and it would be in your best interest to understand that. 


It is why you are on the outs. And we can definitely make it a permanent sort of thing.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Hello fidel, 


Remember a couple of weeks ago when you asked me about the impending death of the Deep State? Well, you should turn on your TV. It even seems as though obozo has been ensnared.


I tried to tell y'all. I said, "you are playing with fire." Many times I warned you. And here you are, sure enough, getting burned.


President Trump is way, way smarter than you are.


Deal with it.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Yes, what did the President know and when did he know it?


And now I'm finding out the FBI isn't cooperating with this new investigation.


Time to fry some fish.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Well, well, I've been out of pocket all day and just found out that President Trump's wires were indeed tapped.


Enjoy your last days of freedom, fascii.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@AndyManUSA#45 You must have been dreaming. But with regard to his campaign people being caught in doing something nefarious, those sure could be the last days of that bunch.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Ah the good old days, when the great Charlie Daniels said And if the Russians don't believe that they can all go straight to hell.  But now? Well.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Yeah, I can just see Jethro out in the boonies, sitting on the porch with some hayseed dangling from his lips wondering who the Russians wanted him to vote for.


I posit, who do you think had the bigger influence on the election, Vladmir or the lying fake news media?


Uh huh.

MarkVV
MarkVV

AndyManUSA#45: “You have to be a mental midget to believe that the Russians influenced, in any way, the outcome of our presidential election.

AndyMan got his writing a little garbled. It should have been that

“anybody with the intelligence ranging from a mental midget up understands that the Russians most likely influenced the outcome of our presidential election.”

Only one, whose intelligence is below that of a mental midget would argue that In the election, in which the outcome was decided by a few thousands votes in a few “battleground states,” the incessant drumbeat of the one-sided release of hacked DNC e-mails, which the media highlighted as “unfavorable to Hillary Clinton,” (regardless how insignificant they were), has not changed any minds of undecided voters, when those reports were not balanced by similar revelations from the Trump’s campaign.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@MarkVV


Don't be absurd. A few John Podesta leaked emails had virtually no influence on the race and his emails had little, if anything to do with Hillary. So quit being a sore loser. Hilz lost because she was a horrible candidate. 


Furthermore, your statement doesn't stand up to scrutiny when considering that the Rs still dominated at the Congressional level and at the state level. Congressional and state races had nada to do with leaked John Podesta emails. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Doom a classical liberal @MarkVV " A few John Podesta leaked emails had virtually no influence on the race..."

And how do you know that?

"Furthermore, your statement doesn't stand up to scrutiny when considering that the Rs still dominated at the Congressional level and at the state level"

Apparently you do not understand the difference between the.congressional and state races and the presidential election.

Doom a classical liberal
Doom a classical liberal

@MarkVV @Doom a classical liberal


And how do I know that? The same way you know for a fact that the Russians influenced the outcome of the election. 


In regards to Congressional and state elections the point went straight over your head. And that point is that Hilz fared about the same as Dems overall performance-not very well. There was no reason to expect that she would have done better based upon overall results for the Dims. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Doom a classical liberal @MarkVV The difference is, I never claimed as a fact that Russian influenced the outcome of the election. I am not responsible for your failures in comprehension.  

Caius
Caius

Comey's term runs to Sept 2023. He disclosed in congressional testimony that he is now registered as an Independent.  His name appears on the list to contributors to the McCain and Romney campaigns.


Which raises the question why would Obama nominate a Republican to be FBI director?



Resist Trump
Resist Trump

Maybe because Obama isn't the evil, radical left wing idealogue the right would've liked us to believe he was?

breckenridge
breckenridge

 Sounds like you're agreeing that any hard evidence implicating Trump in any collusion with the Russians would have been gained prior to the election. 

Sarge you raise a good point here. Even if Flynn, Sessions, Manfort etc were involved in nefarious activity, that does not mean Trump himself was involved in or had knowledge of such.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@breckenridge

Now for you 'n Sarge's next assignment--find where I had posted that I believed Trump himself was directly involved?

His staff are under investigation. That's what we know.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@Visual_Cortex @breckenridge 

My comment was not a refutation of something you said.  I was simply pointing out that Trump may not have had knowledge - or there may be no evidence that he had knowledge - of heinous activity.

breckenridge
breckenridge

A tip of the cap to Fox News for pulling that lying dirtbag loser Andrew Napolitano off the air.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

I'm so old I can remember when firing a flippin' travel agency was sufficient grounds to induce - what was the drama-queenie phrase? - "intentional attempt to do harm to the government of the United States, for political purposes"

Lawd a mercy, however did we survive?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Anyway, Andy, you ought to send Comey flowers and chocolates every month, given that your precious President Trump likely never would've gotten elected without Comey's aid and comfort.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Visual_Cortex  Sounds like you're agreeing that any hard evidence implicating Trump in any collusion with the Russians would have been gained prior to the election. The question then would be why is Comey, continuing an investigation? Now by announcing that he's doing so, only places a cloud of uncertainty over the Trump administration, which benefits the Democrats. Maybe you should be sending Comey, flowers and chocolates every month. 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

"Comey can't be fired."


The Federal Bureau of Inve-stigation is not an extra judicial branch of the US Government. They are fully accou-ntable to the Department of Justice and the Executive. It is within the cap-acity of the DOJ to review past investigations of the FBI, for instance the clinton email scandal, for impro-priety. As it stands today, the Executive obvio-usly does not have complete loy-alty from the DOJ, but once that is reasonably established, Comey's investigation and subse-quent extra judicial pardoning of clinton should be opened up and laid ba-re for all to see.


Lot of worms in that can.


Comey wouldn't survive the day.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 In truth, a U.S. president can’t do much for Mr. Putin, except for one thing: give him a convenient enemy. The breadth of opinion in support of this proposition is truly impressive. In 2014, the New Yorker magazine noted a Putin regime “shift in orientation . . . in which isolation and conflict with the West are virtues in and of themselves.” In January, the Hoover Institution’s Paul Gregory wrote of the regime’s need to persuade the Russian people of an “imminent threat from the decadent hegemonic West.”


Mr. Putin’s efforts in the U.S. election and elsewhere (Syria, Libya, Ukraine) really only ever had one audience, the Russian people, who must be kept supine despite an unraveling economy, lawlessness, corruption. How is their restlessness to be suppressed? By citing the supposedly warlike designs of the U.S.


Notice that we don’t suggest collusion between Mr. Putin and Mr. Schiff, whose ambition plays so incidentally into Mr. Putin’s hands.


Irreparable damage is being done, both home and abroad. 


https://www.wsj.com/articles/leakgate-finds-its-joe-mccarthy-1490137325

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

We need to [.,,] hang comey

Kyle, are you ok with your regular here threatening the life of a public figure like that?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Visual_Cortex The act of treason against the United States is punishable by death under the laws of the US Constitution, a document you've probably never even read. You need to extend your beef to include the Founding Fathers, who were correct in their judgement.



https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRl9i8i-rSAhXERiYKHafEC7oQFggaMAA&url=http://constitutioncenter.org/media/files/constitution.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGjqqYTWvbi01efdpavk2Pk41pT8w&sig2=KmbrXyo1-XfWp7IX25Jneg&bvm=bv.150475504,d.eWE

dut39611
dut39611

 my roomate's ex wife makes 64 an hour at home. she has been out of work for 11 months but the previous month her pay was 16514 just working on the internet for three hours per day. check this page

www.cash.jobs34.com

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I was able to come up with one scenario in how Russia could have unduly influenced our election; got Trump to cut a hole in the southern border wall, snuck in a bunch of illegal Russian aliens, bused them into democrat strongholds and hooked them up with government benefits aplenty, in exchange for their votes.


Never mind, I forgot, that was the democrats who did that.


My bad.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

You have to be a mental midget to believe that the Russians influenced, in any way, the outcome of our presidential election. A mental midget. That is what our Federal Bureau of Investigation currently is, a mental midget. Anything short of Trump being a member of the Politburo are beliefs that are only found in the fever swamps, or on a moonshot. 


Just give me one scenario of how Russia could have accomplished getting Trump elected. Just one.


hillary won the popular vote, didn't she? By 3 million people. It must not have been a very focused effort on the Russian's part.


Where have the adults in our government gone?

breckenridge
breckenridge

This is an intentional attempt to do harm to the government of the United States, for political purposes. It is an abuse of power, it started with the obama administration and is now being carried on by obama holdovers. Someone needs to step in and squash it.

ROFLOL!!!

ROFLOL!!!!


ROFLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey have you ever tried your act at an open mic night at a comedy club? That's good stuff. 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

I will go on record as to make a bold prediction. The Ryan healthcare plan will not have enough votes when it comes to the house floor this Thursday.


I also had Michigan beating Louisville in my tournament bracket. No lie. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Can I say it now ?


What did the President know and when did he know it.


This investigation into Trumps Russian ties has just begun.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

We need to wait until there is a "dark cloud" in the skies over the National Mall and then hang comey from a scaffolding erected upon it. If this is what it takes to re-establish the rule of law in this nation, just tell me what I need to do to help. We can't sit here for years on end shrugging our shoulders and rolling our eyes at very real abuses of power conducted by the obama and clinton administrations and then turn right around and hound Trump over the imaginary.


It has to end now. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@McGarnagle @SGTGrit @Resist Trump @AndyManUSA#45  I would say that the Trump detractors or the far-left Democrat party is having a premature cerebral orgasm that Trump is being personally investigated. If there was evidence of Trump personally colluding with the Russians that would have been leaked to the public before the national election.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@AndyManUSA#45  By now this FBI investigation should have collected all the evidence it could possibly obtain. Comey, appears to be on a power trip and needs to be challenged to do business or get off the pot.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@SGTGrit @Resist Trump @AndyManUSA#45


The Benghazi investigation took years to finally conclude. This one got started in summer of last year. Unfortunately this is how the system operates. Comey has critics on both political partys but he is not some political tool or holds grudges. He will go where the evidence takes him. 


Sounds to me the Trump supporters are shaking in their boots as to what the FBI may or may not have on the president.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Resist Trump @SGTGrit @AndyManUSA#45  No in other words I don't believe in fuhrers or dictators by other names. I do, however, believe in the rule of law and if the FBI has hard evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians they need to come forward. If they do not have evidence as Clapper indicated they don't the FBI should say that they don't and close the investigation. By now any incriminating evidence should have been collected.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@AndyManUSA#45

Why Trump opted to keep Comey on is a mystery to me.

Unfortunately, there's no firing him now.


SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit @AndyManUSA#45  Actually Mark it has nothing to do with FBI investigative expertise in this case, it's about common sense. I know common sense may be a tad above your head but I'll help you out a bit. First of all the FBI can't call in the Russian ambassador for intense questioning. The only evidence would have to be gained through surveillance in this case and in some fashion. The opportunity for evidence gained through surveillance has come and gone sometime ago. See how easy that was Mark?

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @MarkVV @AndyManUSA#45 Criminal cases are often made by turning defendants into witnesses, especially white collar cases. The case in Atlanta, for example, has a ways to go. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit @MarkVV @AndyManUSA#45  The problem with that methodology as it applies to this case is rolling a witness requires hard evidence that would cause said witness to have less legal burden in return for their cooperation. If hypothetically Flynn or some other member of Trump's campaign could testify that Trump encouraged or was even aware of collusion they would have that evidence by now.