(OPINION) — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel have a few things in common, most notably that they can’t seem to finish anything they start. Karen Handel is running in a crowded field of Republican loons — Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston and David Perdue (cousin of ex-governor Sonny Perdue — vying for the seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The last person who will get my vote is Karen Handel.
Last month, quitter Sarah Palin endorsed fellow-quitter Handel, singing her virtues: “You know her background, you know her record. The conservative who has walked the walk. Cutting budgets, not raising taxes, how often do you see that in government?” Yeah, we know her background for sure and a U.S. Senate position isn’t what that background warrants. Now Handel is out with a new ad promoting Palin’s endorsement.
She was a Secretary of State of Georgia before she quit to run for governor, so exactly when was she involved in not raising taxes or cutting budgets? The fact is Karen Handel wasn’t in charge of taxes and budgets, so that’s another dubious claim being thrown out there for the gullible to grasp.
It’s interesting that Sarah Palin would use that line to endorse Handel considering that she raised taxes on oil companies and left Alaska mired down with a 70% debt to GDP ratio. She also increased general government expenditures by over 33% as mayor of Wasilla and a whopping 43% increase in taxes. I guess it takes one achiever to know the other. Of course, I am being sarcastic. It’s one failed conservative praising another failed conservative.
As a resident of Georgia, I can tell you that Karen Handel’s tenure as Secretary of State was not without controversy. That’s including her disqualification of a Democratic candidate, Jim Powell, who was running for the Public Service Commission five days before the July primary, despite the advisory opinion of an administrative law judge. Her decision was overturned by a Fulton County Superior Court judge. She lost to Nathan Deal in 2010, after quitting as SOS to run in the gubernatorial race. After losing that election, she was appointed senior vice president of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 2011. She quit that job in February 2012 after a dust-up with Planned Parenthood. Her efforts to defund the organization resulted in a backlash of the worst kind for Susan G. Komen.
The fact is, Karen Handel isn’t right for black, Hispanic or LGBT Georgians. She calls herself a “nation builder,” but for whom? Here’s an excerpt from a previous Karen Handel blog post in which she pushed a voter suppression scheme:
Karen Handel prides herself as having saved Georgians $100 million, cutting budgets by 17% and passed the “toughest ethics laws in the country,” which I must add, led to the dismissal of Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett, the nation’s first black female sheriff, on corruption charges. If Handel wins the run-off and prevails at the polls, she would be the first woman governor in the state of Georgia. She was elected Secretary of State in 2006. She implemented the Georgia’s photo ID law, which requires Georgian voters to show state-issued photo identification before casting their vote in person. She created the agency’s first Chief Investigative Officer to go after perpetrators of elections and consumer fraud. The voter ID program sparked controversy and many in the black community said it worked against them and was a way to deter blacks from voting. The law was challenged as unconstitutional, but was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court.
An issue from her time as a candidate for the commission continues to dog her. The former head of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay and lesbian GOP voters, recently released emails from 2002 and 2003, all sent from Ms. Handel’s e-mail address, indicating she supported granting benefits to county employees in same-sex domestic partnerships. She has vehemently denied sending these e-mails. She said it was her campaign manager in her failed 2002 race. She also denies ever filling out a questionnaire for Georgia Equality, another gay rights group, that also showed her supporting domestic partner benefits, even though it was on her campaign’s letterhead. She said the only thing that should matter is the fact that she voted against a proposal to extend benefits to domestic partners. She also said she would back legislation to outlaw gay marriage. Not good.
Lastly, Karen Handel also took her self-righteousness to the highest level on gay adoption:
In a recent interview with 11 Alive’s Doug Richards, she said a child should be in a household with married heterosexual parents. A home without such a makeup is not a suitable environment to raise a child. She was then asked about single parents and sidestepped the issue, but it was abundantly clear that she doesn’t view such a home favorably. That speaks to the fact that Karen Handel won’t make significant inroads in the black community. I wonder how her background, which was fraught with problems at home, makes her an expert on parenting in the home? She said her mother was an abusive alcoholic and her father was a passive bystander, who did nothing to help his children by leaving the home with them in tow. Don’t get me wrong, there are many people who lived in such a household and pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and were successful in their lives. That doesn’t mean that Karen Handel is suddenly an expert on the family and family structures. She also said she is not in favor of gays adopting children. Again, that is very hypocritical, considering there is no hard evidence that states living in a home with same-sex parents is detrimental to the wellbeing of a child.
So, while the slate of Republican Senate candidates leaves little to be desired, it’s laughable that Sarah Palin is trying to paint Karen Handel as force to be reckoned with and one that is so fiscally conservative. Please. On the contrary. When I think nation builder, Karen Handel doesn’t come to mind.