Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On the Young Democrats' Own Benedict Arnold: Mike Jacobs

Fellow Young Democrats-

This morning, the Young Democrats of Georgia were betrayed by one of its own. State Representative Mike Jacobs of House District 80 announced on his blog ( that he is becoming a Republican. He now claims that his fiscal conservatism and desire to eliminate property taxes in their entirety make him a better fit as a "moderate Republican" in the mold of Jill Chambers, Fran Millar, and Ed Lindsey.

Indulge me while I examine the types of people Mike Jacobs has now embraced and remind everyone why this is a betrayal that the Young Democrats of Georgia will not take lightly and have every intention of seeking vengeance at the ballot box.

Jill Chambers - what a lovely woman. She may have been the sole Republican to vote against the gay marriage amendment, but her record is hardly moderate.
  1. She has engaged in dirty and deceitful campaign tactics every time she has run for elected office.
  2. Jill Chambers has taken thousands of dollars from Big Oil and Big Drug companies to spend on her negative campaigns. (see
  3. Jill Chambers has voted against the separation of church and state. This bill allows the Attorney General of the State of Georgia to defend counties who display the 10 commandments, meaning you, the taxpayer, are footing the legal fees. (
  4. Jill Chambers has voted with the majority to cut funding for state schools, a total loss of $89 million to Dekalb County Schools.
  5. Jill Chambers voted to increase your natural gas bills by allowing the gas companies to pass on infrastructure improvements to you, the consumer. (
  6. Jill Chambers voted to protect predatory lenders and payday loan-sharks that prey upon our military families and soldiers. (
  7. Jill Chambers voted against legislation that would have stopped the out-sourcing of our jobs to overseas corporations. (
  8. Jill Chambers voted with right-wing extremists in denying voters the right to chose their representatives (
  9. Jill Chambers voted with the GOP (AND Mike Jacobs) in cutting funds for Children's Healthcare. (

Ed Lindsey and Fran Millar are more of the same.

To say that Mike Jacobs’ actions are a disappointment is a gross understatement. He has proven himself to be a selfish opportunist concerned only with his personal power. He first came on the scene as a law student at UGA where he was a driving force behind the website Burns Watch. After he graduated, he moved to
DeKalbCounty with his wife, Evan. He immediately joined the DeKalb Democratic Party as a post seat holder. When the courts invalidated the 2002 redistricting maps, the seat that Mike lived in opened up.

With our encouragement, he decided to make a run at this seat, now House District 80. The seat had long been held by a Republican who had recently died, and Mike's opponent in the general election was the namesake son of that representative. Mike's campaign was COMPLETELY staffed and run by Young Democrats. All of us who worked on that campaign spent countless hours making phone calls, helping with town hall meetings, flyering the district, and going door to door. The district had a Democratic performance of 52%, which made it a swing district. We faced an uphill fight, and the state party gave us no chance of winning. We were truly on our own.

But we had a good candidate (or so we thought). Someone whose progressive ideas were genuine but who was charismatic enough to win crossover votes. He personally said to me that there were principles he could never compromise on, and gay rights was one of them. He said he would rather be defeated than to vote against the gay community. Somehow, I now wonder when it comes time to vote on things like gay adoption, Mike will heed the demands of his beloved Speaker Richardson and vote to legally destroy gay families all over this state. Mike Jacobs has no morals and no core values other than his personal aggrandizement and self-interest. I have no reason to believe that his support of the gay community will continue.

Mike won that election by a very close margin in 2004, just as we lost control of the House to complete the GOP takeover of
Georgia. It was that shift in power, and Mike's response to it that told of troubles ahead.

Mike has continually supported cuts to
Georgia's Peachcare for Kids program, which helps provide health insurance coverage to children of working families. His 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. Hopefully Mike's newborn child will never need the Peachcare that he wishes to gut.

Mike also supported this year's ghoulish and predatory payday lending legislation. He 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.

Mike has also supported several measures in the Judiciary Committee that would limit the applicability of the Open Records Act and make public documents more difficult to obtain. Even more disturbing was his support for requiring open records requests to be made in writing. He 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. Mike's hilarious statement of support "open government" while he seeks to undermine it through his 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 he claims as an advocate for open government and individual liberty has been his fawning and unabashed support for Glenn Richardson as Speaker.
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. Richardson has also sought to limit the Open Records Act to allow secret government negotiations affecting millions in taxpayer dollars with private business.

The Speaker has also used his power, won with the aid and support of legislators like Mike Jacobs, 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. All this in exchange for committee appointments that serve nothing but to protect his seat.

Mike's rapturous support for Mr. Richardson as Speaker has also enabled the blockage of any meaningful legislation dealing with transportation and traffic congestion. His 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. Although it wouldn't surprise me if Mike isn't "rewarded" for his disloyalty to friends and ideals with a seat on the Transportation Committee.

Mike's blog post also suggests support for
Richardson’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. His statement of a belief in fiscal restraint, when combined with his willingness to support a plan to tax everything that moves, raises additional questions about Mike's basic credibility and honesty as a human being.

It reminds me (and many others) of a time last summer in the days before the primary election when Mike sought to switch his support from Cathy Cox to Mark Taylor only because it was obvious that Mark was going to win. That incident was very telling, and espouses Mike Jacobs as a person whose ONLY core value is expediency and whose thoughts are only of the very next political calculation that may advance his self-interest.

Mike's ultimate reason for abandoning the Democratic Party and stabbing all of his friends in the back lies in self-interest and a selfish pettiness. It is no secret that Mike never got along with House Democratic leadership. Whatever personality conflicts may have been behind that (and, to be fair, not all Reps who voted for Richardson as Speaker qualified for the vilification Mike received), the point remains that Mike has betrayed every principle he allegedly held dear when he ran in 2004. Every principle except protecting his own personal "power" as a State Representative. He never attempted to reach out to friends or intermediaries to work out problems with caucus leadership. Mike petulantly declared he must do his "thing" for his district, and that was the end of the discussion. The fact remains that the GOP has NO credibility when it comes to fiscal responsibility. Mike's move today is of a man who cares only for himself and his personal aggrandizement. This is exactly the kind of person who destroys faith in government. It makes me sad to think how far he has fallen from the man we helped elect in 2004.

For all the Young Democrats who gave of their blood, sweat, and tears to elect Mike Jacobs, there is nothing that can return those hours to us for use in a REAL Democrat's campaign. If you gave Mike money, I urge you to ask it back. And understand that when a credible challenger is found to Mike Jacobs, the Young Democrats of Georgia will be there to work day and night to be certain that the lying snake is returned to his hole in North DeKalb. We will not forgive, and we will not forget. When Mike Jacobs' political come-uppance happens (and it will), the Young Democrats of Georgia will have its collective fingerprints all over it.

In Democratic Solidarity,

Jason Cecil, YDG President

P.S. I would be remiss if I did not thank Rep. Rob Teilhet (D-Smyrna and a Young Democrat for whom we can be VERY proud) for much of the language about Mike’s behavior in recent sessions.

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