Opinion: Unterman fires back at Samantha Bee, House members

Sen. Renee Unterman makes an argument on the Senate floor, February 2017. (AJC Photo / Bob Andres)

This morning, my colleagues at the Political Insider blog shared with you the latest dust-up between state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, and TBS’ alleged humorist, Samantha Bee. The star of “Full Frontal” slammed Unterman last year for blocking a bill to speed up the processing of rape kits (and then slammed her again months later for promoting a good bill that helped fund crisis pregnancy centers). The latest video, which aired Wednesday night, tells the story of how the rape-kit bill wound its way through the legislative process to become law anyway.

Suffice it to say, I’m not one of Bee’s fans. But since it’s relevant to this story, here’s the clip that restarted her feud with Unterman:

Well, shortly before the Senate broke for lunch on this 40th and final day of the session, Unterman fired back. The audio I recorded is too bad to post here, but I was able to transcribe a good bit of it:

“If you don’t know her, I don’t suggest that you look her up, because she’s vile, and the language she uses is so awful. But I appreciate her, because you know what? I have a red-meat Republican district, and the more she criticizes me with the Hollywood/Hillary Clinton/(Nancy) Pelosi mantra that she spews, I can tell you that it does me more good than it hurts me.”

But Unterman didn’t stop with Bee. She took note of the fact Bee’s latest shot at her included interviews with state Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, who sponsored the bill that led to last year’s brouhaha between her and Bee, as well as the speaker of the House, David Ralston:

“One thing I don’t appreciate, and you hear a lot about fake news and fake comedy, is the fact that she put on there House members. And I tell you, I served in the House for four years. But some of the language that is on this video, including the F-word, I just don’t approve. (Note: In the above video, Holcomb briefly recalls a conversation he had with Ralston last year: “He asked me directly, ‘What the f— is wrong with Renee?'” He also recalls worrying time would run out before he could make a motion to pass a final version of his bill, and telling the member speaking in the well to “Shut the f— up!”)

“And I don’t care who you are or what you are, I think you deserve respect, I think you deserve courtesy. You may not agree with me, and the fact that I come from that red-meat Republican district, but everyone in this room and across the hall, and especially our constituents, we deserve respect. And there is no respect. … But I’m surprised that the House and the speaker allowed this to take place, and that there is not condemnation about it, because I know this man standing behind me (Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle) … if something happened to any of the 56 senators in here, this man right here would be Johnny-on-the-spot. And he would be standing up for you, no matter what kind of district you represented, and no matter where you came from, because he has that integrity.”

But that wasn’t all. Unterman returned to the theme of the day in the Senate, which is the House’s blocking some of the Senate’s highest-priority legislation even as the final hours of the session tick away:

“Most of y’all know my son died a few years ago now, and if it weren’t for the Senate and the man standing behind me (Cagle), I’d have never gotten through it. So a lot of you ask me, Renee, why are you so aggressive? Renee, why are you so persistent? (She then described her persistent efforts this year to push for legislation boosting mental health, saying it’s just as important as physical health.)

“And you want to know why I feel that way? Because I had to walk down the steps of my pool house, go downstairs and literally scrape up my son, because he had killed himself. And when you do something like that … you either survive, or you go the way my son did. And it’s a terrible, terrible thing. And it’s our mission in this body to talk about child sex trafficking, human sex trafficking, slavery, and methal health issues, and we have that passion that I have in my heart and my soul. And just because of an opaque political process, on the 40th day of the session, we cannot take care of children and adults who have issues like my son had. I appeal to you, I appeal to the speaker … if we save one life, with our (work) here in the Senate about mental-health issues, we can literally save the world. …

 

“Why would we put the political process before a person’s well-being? … It’s nothing but petty politics, just like Samantha Bee in Hollywood, trying to tell us what to do in Georgia, that we cannot move our bills. Our bills are important. I’m pleading to you, and I’m pleading to the Speaker of the House, please, please, please, let these mental-health bills get through.”

A spokesman for Ralston declined comment. Here’s Holcomb’s response:

“The clip was to highlight a positive result in the face of unfounded opposition to an important piece of legislation. Her opposition was widely chronicled — in the AJC and elsewhere.”

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

 because she’s vile, and the language she uses is so awful

Thanks for the laugh, Kyle.

jhgm63
jhgm63

Senator Unterman should probably brush up on her Shakespeare: never pick a fight with the fool (in this case, comedian), you will lose.

BillSeng
BillSeng

seriously? She's offended by the F bomb? But she was totally okay with doing NOTHING to deal with the rape kit backlog? She is worthless, and an embarrassment to the state. Unterman needs to go.

HarmlessOldLady
HarmlessOldLady

aww. did Renee get her fee-fees hurt? She tried to block that rape kit bill for no sane reason, and doesn't even try to defend herself in her remarks. haha the "f" word? I just bet that's what upsets her. And, oh yeah, Kyle, those "pregnancy centers" are filthy lies that prevent health care and they don't deserve a penny! Real health care from certified professionals is offered by Planned Parenthood. Pregnancy centers are horrible confidence tricks foisted on women to prevent them from receiving help. So, boo! Renee. You are still wrong wrong wrong. And yay for Sam Bee who tells the truth about you!!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Vice President Mike Pence cast a tiebreaking vote in the Senate today that rescinded an Obama-era regulation that prevented states from denying federal funding for family planning to health care providers that provide abortions, per the WSJ.


Commit murder on your own nickel, heathens.


Leave the rest of us out of it.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@AndyManUSA#45 


You a filthy liar. Taxpayer funds have NEVER been used for abortions.

Real fiscal conservatives support the funding of Planned Parenthood.  And those that claim to be fiscal conservatives but don't want to see PP federally funded? Hypocritical garbage.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Planned Parenthood, the women’s health organization, dodged a bullet last week when a House bill repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act and blocking Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding was pulled amid a rebellion of conservative and moderate Republicans. But it remains a key target for conservatives.

Any piece of crap loser completely worthless human being that is in favor of the defunding of Planned Parenthood is not a fiscal conservative.  And it's just a damn shame that the disease that is social conservatism is not fatal. 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

However, if Anthem decided to leave the Obamacare exchanges, many state marketplaces would be thrown into chaos. Roughly 255,000 Anthem customers in four states would have no Obamacare insurers for 2018 if Anthem exited, we reported with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation this month. 


Here's looking at you, House democrats.


Smile for the campaign ad.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

I wouldn't call that a defense. A defense is showing facts or explaining what you did. "fired back" is right. The piece must be true, and she knows deep down she is a bad person...

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 A group of House Republicans on Thursday introduced the first major bill to fund President Trump’s border wall, saying the government could collect billions of dollars by imposing a 2 percent fee on all the money Mexicans and other immigrants send back home.

Estimates vary, but remittances from those in the U.S. to their relatives back home could top $130 billion a year. 


Another promise kept.

DeepStateDawg
DeepStateDawg

How about telling us what the merit of Sen. Unterman's position is / was Kyle? 


What was her reason for blocking or stalling the bill? 


Surely there was a reason. 

Robert Karma
Robert Karma

Sen. Unterman delivered the proof that she is as out of touch and unresponsive to women's issues as the Full Frontal piece stated with her tone-deaf response. Samantha Bee, a "Hollywood liberal?" Jesus Senator, a quick Google would have told you that Full Frontal is based in New York City, the same place your President hails from. You might have also checked to see what a thorough job the Full Frontal staff does in fact-checking their work, a concept alien to the Senator and far too many Republicans. 


I understand why Sen. Unterman responded in this fashion. She is counting on her constituents not knowing who the heck Sam Bee is and that they can dismiss the facts presented in the video as "typical "Hollywood liberal bias." When the good Senator can actually address the factual points made in the Full Frontal story, then we can see how serious she is about this important issue. Until then, Unterman is just spinning BS that she hopes sounds good while signifying absolutely nothing of substance. 

Classof98
Classof98

@Robert Karma "Hollywood" is not meant to be taken literally as a geographic description in this context.  It's meant as a synonym of "Coastal Liberal Elite".  Pointing out that Bee's show is filmed in New York, and not Hollywood, is less than irrelevant.  

RamonMendoza
RamonMendoza

@Classof98 It may have been easier to point out that the show isn't filmed in Hollywood than to do a thorough takedown of the foolish NYC-DC-LA vs Real America mentality.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

 But not many people understand that number, what it means. A chunk of those kits are “anonymous,” belonging to people who don’t want police involved, at least not yet. There are cases where complainants drifted from police contact. An even bigger portion are closed — found to be either unfounded or not prosecutable.

In fact, only a tiny portion — 92 — were actually under active investigation.


Just from a strictly legal standpoint, who as-sumes the role of the accuser if there actually isn't one? Would the state now be considered the victim? How does this square with the reasonable search and seizure clause, you haven't been accused, never mind convicted of a crime, but yet there is free floating evidence being compiled against you just waiting to be connected to what ever. Are we now keeping a "rapist" database?


The presumption of innocence?


Just asking.



PantherWin
PantherWin

How cute Kyle. So this clown is offended by her potty mouth but she has no problems with a President who admitted to sexual assault and whose brain dead supporters have physically attacked and made bigoted statements towards anyone who doesn't agree with them? And what exactly is your problem with Samantha? I mean your party's base is made up of people who thrive on extreme vitriol and hate. But hey, Unterman  threw out enough buzz words (Hilary, Pelosi) that had NOTHING to do with the story to appease you so why bother explaining yourself right?  

Classof98
Classof98

@PantherWin So liberals don't physically attack people who don't agree with them?  Try to make a speech in favor of conservatism on a college campus sometime.  

Classof98
Classof98

@PantherWin You call Trump supporters "braindead" in one sentence and them accuse them of thriving on "vitriol and hate" in the next sentence.


You are like a fish that does not realize it is wet.

Cobbian
Cobbian

The Senate sabotaged important legislation that was initiated in the House and the House sabotaged important legislation that was initiated in the Senate.  They did it to each other.  And pretty much, it was Republicans in one of the legislative branches who did it to a bill that was highly supported by Republicans in the other legislative branch.  


Take, for example, the Adoption Bill that started in the House, an important effort that updates Georgia's more than 20 years old  adoption laws and makes adoptions faster, covers more situations.  The Pubs in the Senate attached a rider, muddying the waters with the "religious freedom" rider that would virtually assure a Veto from the governor and badly reduce its acceptability in the House.  


What we need to have is the names of the senators who risked that bill to update adoption laws after so long.  The House and Senate need to deal cleanly with issues, not try to smuggle in an issue by making it a piggy back on another issue.  And we need to make known how despicable these saboteurs are for putting their pettiness above the good of this state.


The Georgia House and Senate are prime examples of the kind of swamp that Trump says is in Washington.  Here, just like there, the ones sabotaging legislation are factions of the same party - Republicans.  


Can I suggest we stop voting for these idiots and vote for people who actually care about accomplishing improvements in our laws and governance.  It can still be Republicans we vote for but not this type.  We don't need more hard line idiots who love power more than the good that power can accomplish.  We need people who will work WITH others, of the same party and across party lines.  


And Ms. Unterman might consider that last year she blocked an important bi-partisan bill for processing the huge backlog of rape kits.  This year something she cares about gets blocked.  She closed a door last year; this year someone closes a door on her.  Seems fair.  Or, she might start recognizing the need for cooperation rather than one-upmanship.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

I do not see where Sen. Unterman responds to the content of what Ms. Bee was saying, only that it was disrespectful. Any comments on what the content of the message was and response to it?  I only see comments that there was adult language.  I'm not sure if I've read an article bereft of the content of what is being argued about.  (i.e. why are these people arguing in the first place.)  This includes Holcomb's response.  

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude I posted the video Unterman was objecting to. She didn't get into specifics beyond the language. And the fact two House members, including the Speaker, participated.

But I did add this sentence as a summary of the video: "The latest video, which aired Wednesday night, tells the story of how the rape-kit bill wound its way through the legislative process to become law anyway."

HarmlessOldLady
HarmlessOldLady

@Kyle_Wingfield @LogicalDude so, no, State Senator Unterman in NOT able to defend her actions to block the bill or explain her vote for the final bill. She deserves scorn for her actions.

Aquagirl
Aquagirl

Okay, let's see, according to Ms. Unterman----Blocking processing of rape kits: Good. Dropping the f-bomb when it's well deserved: OMG pearl clutching armageddon. 

Ms. Unterman has her priorities mixed up, to say the very least. 

And maybe if she didn't act like an embarrassment worthy of national coverage her virgin ears might be safe from oh-so dreaded bad language.

Clarkslawga
Clarkslawga

The criticism of her in all of the segments has nothing whatsoever to do with "Hollywood/Hillary Clinton/(Nancy) Pelosi." It had to do with her unfounded opposition to a needed (and obviously bi-partisan) piece of legislation that she blocked for her own vainglorious reasons. 


And if her "red-meat" district votes for her because some "librul" drew attention to her reprehensible political behavior and the blocking of this necessary legislation, DESPITE the fact that she acted reprehensibly in the face of common sense legislation then that speaks volume about her "red-meat" district. 


We get the government we deserve. 



sarfdawg
sarfdawg

@Clarkslawga


" It had to do with her unfounded opposition to a needed (and obviously bi-partisan) piece of legislation that she blocked for her own vainglorious reasons. "


Perfectly stated.  In this case, I could care less about Bee, Hollywood, Liberals, any of it.  The problem in this story is Unterman.  This reminds me of her brain-dead blocking of the medicinal marijuana bill for two or three years because she had some other axe to grind.  Unterman is a worthless piece of trash, and party affiliation has no relevance with her.