Karen Handel fumed over the politicization of the federal government in a weekend address to conservative bloggers, assailing the Justice Department for stifling ballot integrity laws and abandoning in court legislation denying federal recognition of gay marriage.
The former Georgia secretary of state, in a crowd-pleasing speech at blogger confab Saturday in Florida, accused President Barack Obama of refashioning the Justice Department into a venomous partisan operation trafficking in fear to boost Democratic election returns.
“The Obama administration has employed one of the most cynical, overtly transparent political agendas that we have seen in decades in this country,” Handel said at the weekend-long RedState Gathering in Jacksonville. “And they’ve done it for one thing: to distract Americans from their failed presidency.”
The one-time Peach State pol said the administration and a “complicit” media were primarily leaning on two mechanisms to divide the nation: feigning wars on minorities through Republican-championed voter identification requirements, legislation with which Handel became very closely associated in Georgia, and on women.
“Nowhere has the Justice Department shown its political agenda more blatantly than in the area of elections law,” she said. “At every turn, they have challenged common sense voter integrity policies, particularly photo ID.”
Handel, who fielded successive rounds of legal challenges to Georgia’s photo ID law when she implemented the measure upon taking office, admitted she “spent a lot of time in court that first year.”
Handel later resigned as secretary of state to focus exclusively on a gubernatorial bid. When she fell short in a partisan runoff, she accepted an executive post at Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Not long into her tenure atop the cancer foundation, the organization touched off controversy by spiking grants to Planned Parenthood. The decision, though Handel disputes it was one she unilaterally made, was closely linked with the former secretary of state.
“First of all, you know, I recently found myself in a little skirmish in the middle of this little fictional war–the whole Komen-Planned Parenthood thing, you might have heard about it–but once again the media showed not only its bias but its allegiances,” she said. “And they quickly turned what was a well thought out decision that was made in the best interest of how to best use Komen’s donor dollars and how to best advance the fight against breast cancer into just another salvo in their fictional war on women.”
She also reflected on her gubernatorial campaign.
Reflecting on the personal and political capital others had exhausted on her behalf in her ill-fated primary contest, Handel said the loss to Nathan Deal, now two-years-settled into in the governor’s mansion, had “extraordinarily enriched” her life.
“Sometimes a loss is just a loss,” she said. “But the great win out of it was … Steve and I got to meet so many people that, were it not for that governor’s race and how things went, we have friends in our lives that we would have never known.”
The organizing outlet’s editor, Erick Erickson, is a prominent Peach State conservative commentator, boasting concurrent contracts with CNN and WSB Radio in Atlanta. It was at the RedState conference in 2009 that he and his group endorsed Handel’s gubernatorial bid.
“From that,” she said, “we know our lives were extraordinarily enriched by the experience.”
Other prominent speakers included Ted Cruz, newly-minted Texas GOP Senate nominee, RNC chief Reince Preibus, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinielli, Governors Rick Scott of Florida and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Wisconsin Senator Ron Jon Johnson.
- James Richardson