Georgia GOP Rebrand Report: More Embarrassment, Same Old Party

March 25, 2014



Georgia GOP Rebrand Report

A year ago, RNC Chair Reince Priebus spoke at the National Press Club and laid out a plan to “rebrand” the Republican Party and reach out to constituencies who rejected the GOP during the 2012 elections. But a year later, all the Republican Party has gotten is a year older. No amount of “outreach staff” and trainings to teach candidates on how to speak to constituencies can change the fact that the GOP’s policy and rhetoric are offensive—and often dangerous—to women, people of color, the LGBT community and young people.


Unfortunately, too many examples of this failed rebrand originated from right here in Georgia. The Georgia Republican Party’s biggest problem has never been a lack of trainings or how they package their message. Their biggest problem is who they are, what they believe, what they say, and how they govern.


The following are examples of the Republican Party’s failed rebranding in Georgia over the twelve months since the GOP “Autopsy Report.”


Georgia Congressman and US Senate candidate Jack Kingston suggested poor children who rely on school lunch programs should sweep the floors saying, “But one of the things I’ve talked to the secretary of agriculture about: Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria… think what we would gain as a society in getting people –getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”


“[W]e need to go back into the schools at a very early age, maybe at the grade school level and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young boys and say: This is what’s important. This is what a father does that’s maybe a little different, maybe a little bit better than the talents a mom has in a certain area. And same thing for the young girls, that this is what a mom does and this is what’s important from the standpoint of that union, which we call marriage.” – Georgia Congressman and US Senate candidate Phil Gingrey


Georgia Congressmen and US Senate candidates Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston voted to block the Paycheck Fairness Act.


Georgia US Senate candidate Karen Handel – “We must, must get the fed out of the way when it comes to educating our children.”


Georgia Congressman and US Senate candidate Paul Broun introduced a personhood bill – cosponsored by Congressmen and US Senate candidates Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston – that specifies that a “one-celled human embryo,” even before it implants in the uterus to create a pregnancy, should be granted “all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood” though similar legislation has been rejected by voters in multiple states because legal experts have pointed out that it could outlaw some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization as well as criminalize abortion at all stages.


Georgia Congressmen and US Senate candidates Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston voted to restrict women’s right to choose.


Georgia Congressman and US Senate candidate Paul Broun pulled his support of a bill that would restrict a women’s right to choose because exceptions for rape and incest were added to the bill.


Georgia US Senate candidate David Perdue – “I don’t see education in the Constitution.”


Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said that pre-existing conditions were the same as having a car accident that’s “your fault.”


“Lord, I’m going to get in trouble over this, but it is not natural for two women or two men to be married… If it was natural, they would have the equipment to have a sexual relationship.” – Former Georgia Republican Chairwoman Sue Everhart


Former Georgia Republican Chairwoman Sue Everhart asserted that same-sex marriage was about scamming the system saying, “You may be as straight as an arrow, and you may have a friend that is as straight as an arrow… Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you’re gay, and y’all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal. I believe a husband and a wife should be a man and a woman, the benefits should be for a man and a woman. There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride.”


“You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he’s right. Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It’s just true… In fact, the bottom 30% of American citizens profit from the tax code because they’re getting refundable tax credits back… I don’t care if you’re paying a dollar. You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game.” – Georgia Congressman Rob Woodall


“I don’t believe we should cater to illegal aliens… Providing them with a Georgia driver’s license is a privilege that shouldn’t be granted to illegal aliens, but afforded only to lawful residents of this state.” – Georgia State Senator Bill Heath


When called upon to support the integration of a segregated high school prom, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said “I think that people understand that some of these are just local issues and private issues, and not something that the state government needs to have its finger involved in.”


State Representative Jason Spencer speaking on Medicaid expansion – “By the way, many hospitals are addicted to the current reimbursement structure in Medicine (the main problem with the healthcare). They are like addicts on crack. They don’t want to give up the money or move to a different solution. They benefit off the current system.”


State Senator Josh McKoon, after several Georgia businesses spoke out against his legislation that would allow employers to discriminate against potential employees based on current protected legal statuses—like race, sex, age, pregnancy, sexual orientation, nationality and even religion under the guise of protecting the employer’s religious freedom. – “The only discrimination going on in this state is against people of faith.”


State Representative Sam Moore introduced HB 1033 that would allow convicted child molesters to loiter on school grounds and HB 1046, a bill that would legalize the use of deadly force against law enforcement officers who use force entering someone’s home.


This year, Republicans in the state legislature passed SB 98—legislation that would bar the state employee health insurance plan from covering abortions with no exceptions made for rape or incest.


Also this year, Georgia Republicans introduced anti-Common Core legislation that would allow Georgia to “retain absolute control” over what its students were learning.


Republicans in the state legislature attempted to pass legislation to disenfranchise elderly and minority voters by severely reducing early voting under the guise of saving money.


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