Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Democrats Begin To Respond To The Jacobs Switch

The activists blogs are already chumming the waters.

Now, Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-40) jumps into the fray.

The following is an unedited copy of an email sent from Teihet to Jacobs.


Dear Mike,

It is with great interest that I read your blog postthis morning, announcing your decision to become amember of the Republican Party. It is of course, a disappointment.

I am reminded of the time last summer in the days before the primary election when you sought to switch your support from Cathy Cox to Mark Taylor. I remember thinking then, as I find myself thinking again today, of how awful it must be to be someone whose only core value is expediency and whose thoughts are only of the very next political calculation that may advance their self-interest.

I am afraid your statement omitted some important points, so I thought I might remind you so that you can make your constituents aware of them.

You've made no mention of your support for cuts to Georgia's Peachcare for Kids program, which helps provide health insurance coverage to children of working families. Your vote for HB 340 would have allowed thousands of children to be denied health insurance coverage arbitrarily by an unaccountable bureaucrat, and to have their dental and vision coverage removed altogether.

You've also not mentioned your support for this year's ghoulish and predatory payday lending legislation. You voted this year, by supporting HB 163, to allow payday lenders to charge up to 395 percent interest rates and to provide de facto amnesty for those loan sharks that broke the law for the better part of the last century by offering these loans despite the fact that they were clearly illegal under Georgia law.

You also omitted from your message to constituents your support in the Judiciary Committee for several measures that would limit the applicability of the Open Records Act and make public documents more difficult to obtain. Most heinous was your support for requiring open records requests to be made inwriting. You supported this despite uncontested testimony in committee that the bill would have allowed government to require a citizen to identify themselves and state the reason they wanted certain records in writing before having their request for public information processed. Public documents belong to the public, and should be made available without requiring a citizen to be subjected to aggravation or even political retribution for requesting them. Feigning a commitment to open government while you seek to undermine it through your work in the legislature, is one of the oldest and worst parlor tricks in politics. Such duplicity creates fertile ground for the cynicism that makes good public service more difficult.

Further eroding any credentials you may think you have as an advocate for open government and individual liberty has been your unabashed support for Glenn Richardson as Speaker. Mr. Richardson has, each and every year that he has been Speaker, sought to limit public debate in the House by gutting the ability of legislators to offer amendments to bills both on the floor and in committee. Mr. Richardson has also sought to limit the Open Records Act to allow secret government negotiations affecting millions in taxpayer dollars with private business.

Mr. Richardson has also used his power, won with the aid and support of legislators like yourself, to pursue new limits on women's reproductive freedom each year and repeatedly stifled ethics legislation that would eliminate or at least reduce the lavishing of expensive gifts on legislators by registered lobbyists.

Your support for Mr. Richardson as Speaker has also enabled the blockage of any meaningful legislation dealing with transportation and traffic congestion. Your constituents will have plenty of time to contemplate the many faces of Mike Jacobs as they continue to sit in ever worsening traffic without any meaningful plan for relief.

Your message also suggests support for Mr. Richarson's tax plan, which depending on which version you support would increase current sales taxes by more than 25% and levy billions in new sales taxes on needed everyday goods and services such as groceries and doctors visits. Your statement of a belief in fiscal restraint, when combined with your willingness to support a plan to tax everything that moves, raises additional questions about your basic credibility.

One of the things about public service that can be most disheartening is watching the effect that politics can have on individuals who are not anchored in principle. Such individuals become, over time, unmoored and willing to sell anything for the right price.

It is a sad but important reminder to all public officials that you must always remember why you ran for office in the first place, and stay connected to values larger than your own gratification and self-interest.

I am requesting a return of my past contributions to your campaign efforts, which were funded overwhelmingly by Democrats who hoped for the best from you. They got something less, and we all deserve a refund.

I look forward to your unvarnished answer and direct response to my refund request.

Good luck.


Strong words. But I would advise Rep. Teilhet to not expect answers any time soon. Mr. Jacobs has not returned my queries regarding the timing of his announcement. Despite an attempt to splash all over the potential good news for Democrats in the 10th race with his very public switch, Mr. Jacobs has suddenly gone very quiet.