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Posts Tagged ‘blue dogs’

At the end of this rough election cycle, we realize that the 2012 cycle starts before the freshmen members of congress can be sworn into office; it’s a never-ending process.  Some blogger friends are assessing the amount of “free time” spent online and hearing the advice of friends and grumbling family about doing for free what other get paid to do.  It’s like that free milk and the cow bride advice.  

I can’t understand while some in the political arena are eager to battle in the next election rather than positioning their guy in a manner that discourages future opponents.  In Georgia congressional politics, former Senator Sam Nunn is the gold standard because he created a situation in which his service was uniquely his; the man transcended political parties.  With the fluid nature of politics these days, tradition is a thing of the past and anything can happen.  

I will tell you what I want: a political cafeteria plan where citizens can pick and choose aspects of candidates, officeholders, parties and groups without buying the whole blue plate special.  For example, my favorite budget fast food lunch is Taco Bell’s seven layer burrito (.89 cents) on top of a Burger King side salad ($1.00).  If you toss in a bag of nacho chips from the grocery, you have a tasty balanced meal that is easy on the wallet.  To me, the best burgers are from Wendy’s and the best fries are McDonalds.  The ultimate fast food meal might involve stopping at several places but you get what you want.

We should do the same with politics and policy; one party is good at several things and the other major party is better at other issues.  If you toss in the Tea Party, the Green Movement, Progressives and Libertarians, the process gets much-needed range. 

I support politicians who make every effort to have their decisions reflect the views of all area voters.  My concern with the far Right is that they often believe they are always right about everything and ignore those who disagree.  Mind you, the far right might actually be right but ignoring folks isn’t cool in a region with our troubled history.  The endangered southern Blue Dog Democrats has a well-earned reputation of serving their Democrat base yet also serving their conservative constituents as much as possible.  So, urban liberals in Blue Dog congressional districts allowed this flexibility because it is the fair sharing of elected officials. 

With half of the House Blue Dogs gone, we will see if the same courtesy is given by freshmen GOPers or will they follow tradition by ignore those who voted for the other guy.  To form “a more perfect union,” leaders should work together and reach for common ground. I, for one, want the House and Senate freshmen to study the word comity. 

Lastly, the surviving Blue Dogs need to be more vocal in the Democrat Casus or the real liberals will take over and move the party too far left for most rural Americans.

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I am moderate Democrat and understand that Blue Dogs are moderate to conservative on some level. However, the latest campaign ad from Rep. Jim Marshall might have crossed the line.  The ad slams Speaker Pelosi more than she could possible deserve. 

The same Mrs. Pelosi who engineer the Democrat takeover of the House and helped the Obama/Biden ticket.  She is from San Francisco but her leadership isn’t ultra liberal, as some would have you think.  If she is so bad, why did Rep. Marshall vote for her for speaker?  Can he ask for Democrat votes while never admitting if he voted for Obama or McCain? 

If the ad say Marshall is supported by groups that wouldn’t have anything to do with a Pelosi supporter, what will become of those who wouldn’t have anything to do with a Nancy Pelosi slammer.  How does he feel about Rep. Steny Hoyer and Rep. Jim Clyburn of Pelosi’s leadership team.

While we are fighting to support real Democrats, several Dem freshmen members of Congress recently learned that funding support for their reelection might be pulled and redirected. They must be smart with cash for the final push but those brave freshmen that supported President Obama deserve help before a veteran like Marshall who brags about “voting the same as Republican leaders 65% of the time.”   Hear that sound, it the erosion of your base.

And I approved that message.

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As quiet as it is kept, I have some close friends who are Black conservatives.  Those people have had some sleepless nights over the direction of the Republican Party.  One would think Black conservatives would be hot commodities with President Obama in the White House but that isn’t necessarily the case.

The Tea Party Movement (TPM) Republicans have pushed pass most Black conservatives and told the GOP moderates to sit in the corner.  While most conservatives agree on policy, the techniques and methods of the TPM resembles protested from our troubled past too much for some people.  Disagree, yes but don’t do it in a toxic combative manner.

In Georgia, we went from centrist Senator Sam Nunn to regular Republicans as senators without trauma or drama.  But, going from moderate Sanford Bishop to a Tea Party-type Republican would be too much.  That Tea Party candidate might fit well in a conservative district but Georgia’s 2nd is a mixture of rural and urban and includes two HBCUs.  Quick question: who around the TPM knows what a HBCU is and no it’s not an intercontinental ballistic missle..that would be ICBM.  I attended events at Albany State University’s homecoming and never saw a thing in support of Bishop’s opponent and would imagine the same was true at Fort Valley State’s homecoming last week.  With 20,000 people on “the Yard,” a second district congressional candidate should have been there gladly.  

The only time I saw TPM members at ASU was during the healthcare town hall meeting.  To be fair, we have two senators who have no problem visiting Black colleges; Isakson has a long relationship with Morehouse College and Chambliss leadership on the Senate Agriculture Committee connects him to FVSU Ag department’s research programs.  Rep. Jack Kingston maintains a friendly and functional relationship with Savannah State University.  I worked for Bishop predecessor and his post-homecoming game reception was the place to be—a tradition that Bishop continued.

Why in the world would a poor region bounce a member of the House Appropriations Committee for a TPM Republican who would be a one-termer.  The TPM wave this year is strong but the reelection Obama wave in southwest Georgia in 2012 will be even stronger.

The GOP candidate in the 2nd District might have a future in a conservative congressional district but this isn’t it—not now and not here.  In preparation for 2012, the masterminds of conservative movement really want Blue Dog congressional seats.  Let me hip you to the game: if most moderate to conservative Democrats are bounced from office in 2010, the remaining Democrat Caucus would be more liberal and easier to demonize in 2012.  Those Blue Dogs are often the voices of budgetary restraint in party meetings and the Democrats who work better with conservatives.    

My conservative friends said glowing things about the GOP moderate movement of Christie Todd Whitman and Michael Steele in the past.  Oh, they were going to create a less bitter, “stick to the fact” division of the Right that would appeal to moderates, centrists and independents.  That (blank) fell apart and most moderates were tossed out of the GOP…don’t let the doorknob hit you….

I went to hear Steele, chairman of RNC, speak recently and couldn’t help but think what could have been if they followed his blueprint for inclusion and diversity.  Steele and I talked briefly and I told him that he should have won that U.S. Senate because that was a more natural fit for him than chair of his party.  I then told him that I wouldn’t hear him speak in Albany, Georgia, because the Blue Dog Democrat in my district was a better fit.  Little did I know but the 2nd District TPM candidate rejected having Steele’s bus tour come to southwest Georgia.  They chose to have a prominent RNC member arrive on the bus the following Tuesday.  To me, that move was cold.  If you running against one of the most conservative Black members of congress, how do you turn down the Black GOP chairman who is in your area.  I am not making that racial but it is surely a sign that Steele’s moderate history rubs the TPM the wrong way.  

In south Georgia, we have grown accustom to moderate Democrats and even some Republicans but a TPM congressman representing Georgia’s 2nd District will not fly.

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I feel like Chicken Little but would perfect a little chicken—smoked with some John Boy and Billy barbeque sauce.  It’s hard for a brother to publicly admit a love for yardbird but it is time to tell the truth.  After watching a zillion campaign ads a month before the election, I wish those fellows would spend 5% of that money on some good old fashion barbeque chicken rallies so real folks can talk about the real mess we are facing.  The folks on the Right are out hustling moderates with those events this years.  

The Chicken Little thing comes from running around say that we should diversify our political portfolio by understanding moderation and some elements of conservatism.  Well, the Blue Dogs became the closest thing to Democrat conservatives and that put big Election Day targets on them.  Because political portfolios are like my nonexistent stock portfolios, we thought we should also hedge our bets my investing in some reasonable Republicans, those slightly over the political centerline.  That stock would have dropped like BP stock because the GOP got rid most of the few moderates in their ranks as they drove farther Right…scary far Right.  

Barrack Obama is Jimmy Carter and Sarah Palin is Ronald Reagan.  Like my homie Carter, Obama is the smartest guy on the planet but not smart enough to realize that our party doesn’t deserve him.  From Georgia Tech and the Naval Academy, Carter was a brainy president who campaigned telling the truth and wanted to govern the same way.  If we listened to Carter and changed our energy consumption in the 70s, our involvement in the wild Middle East could be limited to wanting peace rather than needing their oil. 

President Obama, like Carter, is too nice for the rough, sneaky world of politics.  Obama planned to help regular people and watch them show their appreciation my supporting Democrats at the polls.  Sugar, Honey, Iced Tea.  People didn’t appreciate Carter or Clinton and November 2 will be Obama’s unfortunate wake up call. 

You can’t help people who won’t help themselves.  President Obama and the congressional Democrats have done a good job during a terrible period and history will realize that fact.  Jimmy Carter has a vibe about him that seems to say, “If you would have listened to me.”

I can’t understand why the current GOP is loving on Ronald Reagan so much because everyone knows that the conservative movement has moved so far right that Reagan wouldn’t pass their purity test.  Reagan would be a Blue Dog.  But boy, ole boy, President Reagan had Hollywood style charisma; dude was a natural leader.   

Which brings me to natural leader Sarah Palin.  The GOP actual has quality presidential material sitting on the bench in Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.  But, No…that would be too much like right.  They want Palin and she is like butter because you know she is on a roll.

Sarah Palin, who has as much business being president as I have, is using this mid-term election to take control of congress and give President Obama hell.  But checking this out: she isn’t creating an army of regular Republicans—regular Republicans wouldn’t be too much different from Blue Dogs.  Palin is taking over with the Tea Party Movement and if she were successful next month she would be the GOP candidate for the White House.  If moderates don’t vote, we are greenlighting President Palin. 

I think Reagan would reject the whole witch hunt technique of the far Right and the birthers.  When big money and power are on the table, people will resort to anything.  As President Obama often states, the TPM is primarily regular Americans concerned with the size and scope of government.  But the brains behind the movement are nasty nerds who didn’t study political science in school; they studied marketing and got really good at it.  The same ad men who design marketing plans for soap, burgers and cars also design political plans that whip people into a frenzy of hate and divide this nation.  

Before his political career, Ronald Reagan was one of the few Americans who stood up to the witchhunting red scare of  Senator Joseph McCartney.  As Gil Scott Heron sang, “When other celluloid saviors were cringing in fear from McCartneyism, Ron stood tall.” Reagan went before the congressional committee and said that as a young actor he had various friends and some had usual political affiliations.  If Reagan were alive today, what would he think about the attacks Obama took during the 2008 campaign?

Gil Scott Heron broke it down in his classic “B Movie.”  The political song was about America’s desire to have a president who rode to the rescue like John Wayne in B Movies.  “..but since John Wayne was no longer available, we settled for Ronald Reagan.” 

The first line in “B Movie” (just before the righteous bass playing started) was “And the first thing I want to say is mandate my ass.”  He went on to say, “we have been convinced that 26% of the registered voters—not 26% of American people- forms a mandate or a landslide.”

Almost thirty years later, Heron’s grasp of political numbers is still important.  How big is the Tea Party Movement.  What the hell difference does it make because the most salient statistic is this: 100% of them vote.  Do we need chicken, fried fish, and one of those kid bouncy room things to entice regular folks to vote?  If we do, we deserve the Tea Party as mean-spirited leaders of this nation.  How is this for enticement—President Palin.  Beck and Limbaugh will tell you in a minute that their jobs aren’t running the nation but generating ratings. If a cultural civic war happens as a result, ratings will be off the chart—more money. 

We listened to Gil Scott Heron vinyl and tried to understand trickle-down economics.  A rich guy needs to be richer so he can get a bigger pool and I get my money as his pool cleaner.  They get the rest of the masses with church stuff; like Democrats are godless heathens. 

Democrats help people who don’t vote or follow politics but don’t let a football game come on the box.  I came up with a little test this morning:

Ask a southern guy to name as many SEC football head coaches as possible then ask him to name the same number Supreme Court justices.  Ask him to name as many NFL starting quarterbacks then name one U.S. Senator from that player’s teams’ state. 

My point is football is important but voting and good leadership directly affects your family and your wallet.  Conservatives generally aren’t bad people but their plans for leadership center on allowing people to suffer and struggle to encourage them to prove their condition—tough love style.  Vote for those you want to govern but by all means vote. 

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5 min.Early vote

Grown folks knew what is happening was going to happen when we elected President Obama.  They said that the same people who cheered and jumped up and down would be the same people who did vote in the midterm elections. 

I can see it in the First Lady’s face; a face that looks like mine.  She is telling him, “remember when I said you can run only with the understanding that if it doesn’t work, if the nation doesn’t want or appreciate us….we walk away.”  She looks like she is thinking, “we don’t need this mess.” 

Oh, do we need them. We need her to cut loose and tough talk with regular Americans about what we can do to improve our situation with the moderation, planning, focus and deliberation that made the Robinson family successful. 

She could create a new moderation that opens the door for moderates being shown the door by the far right.  The emergence of these new moderates gives a voice to those who read Hill Harper, Bill Cosby and Joe Scarborough books. The Blue Dogs were correct all along and that’s why the crafty cats on the far Right want them gone; no moderate Democrats mean the Democrat Party is primary liberal and an easier target in 2012. 

But, first things first: vote in the midterm.  In Georgia, a 2010 vote is more important than your 2008 vote.  A very vocal and energetic segment of population has ginned up voters with a desire to take over the congress from the Democrats and even the Republicans.  Yes, the far Right section of conservative side is looking at the regular Republicans as if to say “this is how you do it” and you know what they do if you are over 40 years old.

Grown folks, we need to talk.  After we talk, we need to call, email, text, tweet or whatever whose under 30 and tell them (not ask them) to vote.  The Republicans have a few quality guys who might be president in the future—Rep. Paul Ryan and Governor Mitch Daniels come to mind.  But, this midterm election is the  next step in the Palin for president plan and her Tea Party congressional candidates will be spending the next two years graying the rest of Obama’s hair with subpoenas and impeachment efforts.

We shouldn’t hate on those who use “any means necessary” to stop an agenda they dislike because they couldn’t do it if regular folks would take 10 minutes to early vote.  By any means necessary (cookout, Sunday dinner, half-time talk at the high school football games), we should remind our community to vote.  Early vote or the Obama presidency effectively ends early–not four years but two years when he should have eight.

You might as well dust off your 70s vinyl because we are about to go back to the future next month if you we don’t vote.  I am listening to that haunting R&B flute with fond memories of the past but also clear recollections of our community being voiceless and the South being a powder keg.  By mid November, reasonable people will be saying “I want my country back”  when referring to last month.

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I caught RNC Chairman Michael Steele at two speaking events on Saturday and I couldn’t help but think what should have been.  Steele nodded in agreement when I said that his Blueprint document from his campaign for chair was the forgotten outline for their success.  In other words, they could be winning on facts, policy, and positive candidates rather than fear and loathing.

He got off the bus with the GOP candidate in Macon and smile as if to say “where did you’ll find this one.”  Austin Scott is a policy wonk and the type candidate (like Scott Brown) who centrists could take in swing districts.  Before the event started, I told someone that I was the most important person there.  The guy said wouldn’t that be the person with the news camera.  My humorous point was that I was from the center and the last month of the election is about getting our votes—not preaching to the choir by getting the same votes of the same people you had on day one. 

I came to see Michael Steele “shoot the gift” and did he delivered.  Old school rap fans know the term shoot the gift, which means using words to achieve an objective.  Like the Nas lyric “I move swift and uplift your mind, shoot the gift when I riff in rhyme..” 

Michael Steele brought the gift in Macon, Georgia, and reminded me why so many Blacks in Maryland supported him for U.S. Senate.  He represents a version of conservatism that is palatable in our community.  The guy spoke without being angry and some in the crowd seems to be hearing their views presented with sugar for the first time and grasp the concept. 

In Statesboro, Georgia, later that day, I was talking with Steele’s staff photographer in the lobby of a hotel as we watch a college football game.  Again, I said Steele really should be in the Senate and he agreed that his old friend was in his element when connecting with the people.  I have known Ray McKinney, the GOP candidate from the 12th congressional district, for years and he could win the center from a Blue Dog if he pulls blue-collar labor voters.  For example, the story was told at the event of a pallet of campaign materials arriving and the warehouse personnel looking for a forklift driver.  As a nuclear power plant worker, Ray knows equipment and jump on the forklift himself without second thought.  McKinney isn’t a country club Republican.  

We Democrats accept flexible candidates in swing districts because the other voters in the area need to have their voices heard also and policy might have elements of their concerns.  South conservatives traditionally have a “my way or the highway”  “winner take all” mentality.  I think that isn’t a healthy way to run a diverse nation and my friends and I will support GOPers like Steele, Scott and McKinney who add range to the game. 

Steele will be in my congressional district this coming week but I won’t be there.  My community likes our Blue Dog just fine–thank you very much.

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I was in a discussion this weekend about the worst-case scenarios for election night in November; the situations and outcomes that should have been debated and considered now. 

Lately, the GOP in Georgia has been taking heat in my community because African American (AA) candidates Dr. Deborah Honeycutt and Melvin Everson couldn’t make it out of their primaries; the GOP voters spoke and the message bounced from GA to DC. 

Former Governor Roy Barnes, who beat a field that included long-time Attorney General Thurbert Baker, heads the Democrat big ticket.  The Black community supported Barnes for governor over African American Baker because they thought he had the best chance of winning.  Frankly, a Black president and a Black governor at the same time just weren’t going to happen in the Deep South.

Barnes’ strategy seems to center on adding White moderates to the Dem base.  But courting the center requires running from President Obama and national Democrats.  Once again, the base gets taken for granted.  Barnes and conservative Democrat Jim  Marshall are slamming Obama’s health care reform with a risky passion but hey, what can the AA voters do since they won’t vote for the GOP candidate? The wild card in the race is Libertarian John Monds who is a Morehouse Man and Omega Psi Phi just might get enough votes to tip the election. 

The big Dem ticket includes AA candidates Michael Thurmond, U.S. Senate; Darryl Hicks, Secretary of Labor; and Georganna Sinkfield, Secretary of State.  While I think every candidate runs to win, my friends feel these candidates real value is to get out the Black vote and to help Roy Barnes secure the Governorship. 

We must read the signs…literally.  If you see a campaign yard sign for the GOP candidate for governor, you also see a cluster of other GOP signs.  The same situation is true on the Dem side in my community.  On the other side of town in areas of people who don’t look like me, you see Barnes signs and that’s it. 

In other words, the White support Barnes will receive could only be for Barnes, the White and Black congressional Blue Dogs and that’s it.  Is it every man for himself?  The Dem ticket is D.O.A. without new voters who love President Obama and we are noticing the slighting he is receiving from his team. 

That slighting seems to justify the vigorous campaign for Sanford Bishop’s seat.  Okay, let me get this right: one of the most conservative Black members of Congress gets the biggest target.  Mind you, Rep. Jim Marshall’s district was won by John McCain in 2008 and Austin Scott, the GOP candidate against Marshall, has a functional relationship with Blacks in his district and Blacks in the state legislature.  Bishop must be flattered because the GOP really wants to remove a moderate CBC member so that the CBC will be as liberal as possible as they prep for 2012.  The GOP is good at being bad. Dam good.  Marshall isn’t catching the heat that some Blue Dogs are experiencing because he remembers Polonius’ speech from Hamlet—To thy ownself be true- and he votes “no” on major Dem legislation before bragging about it back home.  They must think real Democrats won’t notice. 

The worst-case scenario would be that all of the big ticket Blacks will end up having a bad election night while Marshall and Barnes win.  If the governor’s race goes into a runoff, you can best believe my community would not come back out.  Barnes is a smart guy and has time to adjust his approach.  I am going to need President Obama himself to personal explain why we should care about Marshall. 

Another worst-case scenario would be far Right conservatives taking over the congress; people who have little involvement or past interaction with folks different than them.  On Meet the Press today, David Gregory played an old clip of Rudy Giuliani talking about the big tent that is the GOP and their numerous moderates.  When asked if that was still the case, Giuliani didn’t have much to say.  Rep. Jack Kingston under congress as a firebrand in the early 1990s but the tide as changed so much that GOP Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina, who lost to a Tea Party candidate, rightly points out that Kingston is now one of the only the voices of reason in South congressional politics. 

On the bright side, President Obama’s White House might be pulled toward the center after election night or maybe before.

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