Yesterday newly elected representative to Georgia House District 22 Sam Moore was publicly excoriated, humiliated, and denigrated for introducing House Bill 1033 before the Georgia Legislature. It was a move that revealed a lack of political savvy on Moore’s part. More on that in a minute.
I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment yesterday morning with my son when I read the news on facebook. A long-time Georgia Republican friend now working in Washington D.C. was irate that a freshman rep would be so foolish as to introduce such awful legislation that stupidly gave cover to sex offenders. He lamented the setback it would be to Georgia’s stellar political reputation, probably on a nationwide scale.
Without even knowing what bill this friend was referring to, I knew he was talking about Sam Moore. How did I know? I’m accustomed to Republican ‘outrage’ when anyone ‘new’ introduces anything, especially anything that doesn’t go through the normal vetting process, e.g. doesn’t adhere to the elbow rubbing, back patting, pay your dues-ing, lunch eating, waste-of-time protocol HB 1033 so clearly must have avoided. The arguments from these Republicans are always over how such actions discredit the party, or Georgia, or them individually as they tirelessly work for the good of Georgia’s great citizenry.
I already knew instinctively that whatever bill Moore introduced wasn’t what the press and pundits wanted to claim it to be. I knew it had to be part of some greater effort toward smaller government and more liberty. I also knew from experience that the mischaracterization of these efforts to limit government gives great joy and glee to many who make their living reporting on the expansion of power and those in power themselves.
What I wasn’t prepared for, however, were Moore’s natural allies in the legislature, most of whom I know personally, taking the road my insider Republican friend did and going along with the ‘for the children’ scare tactics by making loud public pronouncements against Moore and the bill. Particularly when I’m certain these legislator friends knew the true objectives behind Moore’s legislation: the intent to return many of our 4th and 5th Amendment constitutional protections back to Georgians.
Let me repeat, I’m very doubtful that those legislators didn’t know where Moore was headed with this bill, a bill which basically attempts to make right the burdensome requirements to identify oneself to law enforcement even if one is not suspected of a crime.
Instead of using the controversy over Moore’s legislation as an opportunity to educate their constituents on the broader purpose of Moore’s legislation and where Moore was probably wrong or right, these legislators let their confused constituents pat them on back for a job well done in ‘protecting the children.’ That’s something I’m accustomed to seeing Democrats do. Republicans don’t usually brag about letting the emotional argument get in the way of being rational.
Furthermore, any of these legislators could have said to Moore privately, “Let’s work on this. You’re going to get a knife in your back if you go ahead with this.” And for all I know they might have talked privately with Moore. But they certainly didn't hesitate to step on Moore’s back publicly in an easy effort to further their own reputations in the eyes of their colleagues and constituents.
There are already people out there making the connection between Sam Moore’s first failures as a new legislator and a rehash of the election he just won. His old opponent vowed yesterday to fight him again in May. Some surmise that Sam’s legislation was handled in a unusual way procedurally to exact vengeance against him for winning without GOP insider support. I will let others make those arguments.
For me I’m content to shame those who would impugn Sam Moore’s motives and character just because it suits their preferred narrative. This fight is not about giving sex offenders access to school children. That’s a stupid, simple-minded argument, since there are literally dozens of laws written to protect children against child predators. The fight is about power at the Gold Dome and what happens when someone refuses to play the game. That so many used the ‘for the children’ argument to try to bring down this bill proves once again that ‘the children’ are easy pawns for too many in this fight. I refuse to be swayed anymore by those invoking ‘children’ as a political tactic.
I would remind those legislators who spoke out against Sam yesterday that in the near future they will be asked to distance themselves from legitimate legislation simply because leadership doesn’t like who introduced it. At that point those legislators will be irrelevant and will know it and all their short term gains will be at the expense of the long term.
Lastly, so what if Sam Moore didn’t handle the introduction of his bill right this time? He is fighting to uphold a populist conservative philosophy that rests on smaller and less-intrusive government at all levels. Something I support passionately. We will send you reinforcements, Sam, and together you all will get it right eventually. I personally don’t think you did too much wrong for your first piece of legislation, anyway.