The Republicans, no doubt with the help of my friend Robert Highsmith, have created a novel creature in the Georgia House. Meet the hawk.
In both the House and Senate, Republicans on Monday devoted their inaugural sessions to adopting a series of operating rules that ensure the new Democratic minority will be kept firmly under thumb. Most colorful was the creation of “hawks” by House Republicans.
If any House committee gets out of line, if Democrats come close to winning a point, House Speaker Glenn Richardson will be able to appoint a hawk — or two or three or more — to fly into the meeting and tip the vote to the Republican side.
This alone makes Richardson the most powerful House speaker ever to tread on red clay, declared Democrats who once withered under Tom Murphy’s fish-like gaze. “If they ever lose a vote, they ought to be ashamed of themselves,” said state Rep. Tom Bordeaux (D-Savannah).
The Republicans are already proving they’re fairly smart. The Democrats in Georgia have been whispering about how they will make life difficult for the new majority. One of the ways Republicans created mischief for the Dems was to stir up trouble in Committees.
I don’t think the Dems will be doing too much of that. The GOP must be careful, though. Like with the nation, the local media is sympathetic to the Dems and is more than willing to draft horror stories about the little GOP Hitlers in charge of state government.