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Posts Tagged ‘Chambliss’

Who really represents you in congress could be a technicality?  On my street, a community activist has several “Sanford Bishop for Congress” signs in his yard.  I started to tell him that after the last redistricting, we can’t vote for Bishop and he doesn’t represent us anymore.  

But, the thought occurred to me: “your congressman” isn’t necessarily the one who has your geographic district.  For example, ultra-conservatives that live in Rep. Bishop’s 2nd congressional district of Georgia ignore his service because they want a far-right winger in office.  For southwest and middle Georgia, Rep. Bishop and conservative Rep. Austin Scott actually listen to more of the opposition than most members of congress.  While moderates appreciate Bishop’s listening to everyone, I think the far-right section of the conservative movement only wants GOP representatives and senators to hear from them—because they are the only people who are right.

Since junior high school, I have known that once elected an official was obligated to serve everyone but that is some theoretical middle school stuff.  In actuality, neither Bishop nor Scott will have a real competitive race before the next redistricting after the next census.  So, conservatives will fuss at Bishop then call one of the two GOP U.S. Senators’ offices.  As a moderate in conservative Austin Scott’s district, I can still dialog with him because the guy is about explaining his views in a healthy manner (rather than being as ugly as the far-Right.) 

Rep. Bishop still represents my community and that is fine because more people who sleep in my town work in Bishop’s district than work in our technical congressional district.  We work, shop, worship, study, eat and chill across that invisible congressional line.  Bishop and Scott have parts of Macon, Georgia and Columbus, Georgia, and you can believe that people constantly smudge- out that line in their minds. 

You might not be able to vote for the congressman or woman from the neighboring district but you can still make that campaign donation.  Also, our votes are becoming less impactful anyway.  As a moderate Democrat, my voting in the GOP primary was more important to selecting the next president than my coming vote for President Obama in this non-swing state.  Yes, I voted in the GOP primary because I wanted to ensure that even if my guy didn’t win, the winner would be the best from the other side.  In other words, Romney wasn’t crazy like some in the GOP primary field—just aloof.  

For the record, I would be undecided at this point if the GOP presidential candidate was Jon Huntsman, Condi Rice or Mitch Daniels.  I don’t vote for Bishop and Obama because they look like me.  I vote for them because they try to incorporate everyone’s opinions in the decision-making process. 

To my conservative friends, I say look to Austin Scott when you discover that you can’t be a national party without having a functional relationship with the political center.

I should call it like it “t.i.s. tis.”  I live in the mega-congressional district Georgia 2nd/8th which is represented by Rep. Bishop and Rep. Scott.

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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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The Chambliss-Martin runoff results won’t be a indictment of the Obama administration because our community is not crazy about Martin and does not have deep distain for Senator Chambliss.  My political friends and I remain puzzled by the GOP’s lack of connections with moderate Black Georgia.

 

The situation will be different when Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson runs for reelect because he has cultivated strong personal connections with the African American community for decades.  Team Isakson should be studying the current senate race and taking copious notes to keep viable Democrats from entering the 2010 race. He should follow the examples of Obama and the Blue Dog Democrats by building personal relationships with the opposite party members and leaders because people who met Isakson really find him a likeable guy. 

Isakson should add a moderate Dem or two to his field staff to quell the “Us v. Them” mentality of the past—which is easy because casework and field staffing is largely non-partisan.  

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This transition period is better than Fantasy Football because President-Elect Obama is sincerely committed to bridging the partisan divide.  What happens with Senator Clinton or Governor Richardson as Secretary of State makes me wonder if there will a position available in the cabinet for Richardson above his previous status?

 

Hopefully, a Georgian will be the Agriculture Secretary and the natural selection would be Congressman Sanford Bishop but what about Senator Chambliss if he comes up short in his senate runoff.  We must remember that ag policy is more regional than partisan and does Saxby want to be in the minority in the Senate.  The farmers, ranchers, producers and ag community respects him so Ag Sec might be a good fit.  

 

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue would appoint a Republican to replace Bishop in the House if he was the pick and I can’t think of a viable African American GOPer here in southwest Georgia who could hold that seat in two years…Dylan Glenn, Deborah Honeycutt or Herman Cain moves to Columbus?  One thing is certain: the GOP needs to get some moderate congressional candidates in districts that are over 20% African American or stop wasting time, resources and energy. 

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The runoff election between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin never should have come to this in my opinion.  As I have consistently stated, Chambliss is a good senator whose primary shortcoming is failing to develop a functional relationship with the African American community in Georgia.  Members of the House of Representatives can win elects with members of their parties only or people who look like them; but, all senators are statesmen and stateswomen literally who cover the entire state.

 

When the Republican Revolution occurred, their leadership discouraged relationship building with the other party or people who voted against them.  (The opposition of the Obama transition process today.)   While many African Americans would support Chambliss based on his regional achievements and actions, the dated GOP strategy assumes our community would never support a conservative or that their methods of energizing their base would turnoff Black voters.  The “Liberal Elite Media” is reporting that Chambliss said the rush of early African-American voters during the general election energized “our side.”  I had to find the actual quote and clearly Saxby said that Republicans were motivated to vote to balance the new Democrats voters, many of whom were Black. 

 

Saxby’s “our side” should include a coalition of African American farmers, military families, small business people, moderates and other conservative of color.  The young preppies that are the campaign staffers of the GOP know little about the diversity of Black Georgia and that is a shame.  Saxby is in a great position: the opportunity to end this rough year on a winning note.  The southern GOP had better do some soul searching to explain their base because the Blue Dog Democrats have created an attractive subsection of our party for reasonable people—Obama Republicans?   

 

 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/us/politics/30chambliss.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

The development is not lost on Mr. Chambliss. “There has always been a rush to the polls by African-Americans early,” he said at the square in Covington, a quick stop on a bus tour as the campaign entered its final week. He predicted the crowds of early voters would motivate Republicans to turn out. “It has also got our side energized, they see what is happening,” he said.

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The nation focuses on the senate runoff election in Georgia between Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.  Of course, the big question is “Will the African American community come back out to vote with Obama not being on the ballot?”  Another question is “Does President-Elect Obama have the power to persuade the Democrats to return to the polls for the runoff?”

 

The Georgia senate runoff election has various angles and factors that should be considered.  I was always an African American for Saxby—which puzzles his GOP base.  People vote for and against candidates for different reasons.  Saxby experience on agriculture, military bases and other issues of interest to Georgia is reason enough to keep growing his seniority. People vote their regional concerns and Saxby is the only member of the Georgia congressional delegation who lives in the southern part of our state.  On regional concerns, I never would have thought that Blue Dog Democrat Jim Marshall would receive 44,000 votes in Bibb County, Georgia, while not endorsing Barrack Obama or Hillary Clinton.  Basically, the people of Macon said they are with their former mayor Marshall despite his attitude about Obama.  That was big of Macon and the same can be said for Democrat Sanford Bishop pulling 69% of the vote and Republican Jack Kingston getting 66%.  Marshall, Bishop and Kingston clearly enjoy crossover appeal after years of service.

 

Jim Martin is a respectable guy but I am still troubled that the Democratic establishment convinced him to run because they did not think African American Vernon Jones was worthy.  They turned their hoses up at Jones because he voted for President Bush during the aftermath of 911. It just occurred to me that Vernon Jones would be a better runoff candidate against Saxby because Vernon has a knowledge of agriculture, is more conservative than Martin and could get the African American voters back out without riding Obama’s coattails.

 

Am I the only person in Georgia who remembers that Jim Martin voted for John Edwards and not Barrack Obama during the primary?  Speculation is high that the big guns (Obama, McCain, Palin, the Clintons) will be in our state for this runoff.  Let me say this in no uncertain terms: If you voted for Sanford Bishop or Jim Marshall, Saxby Chambliss is closer to them politically than Jim Martin.   Republicans don’t want to hear it but moderates appreciate Georgia Senators Chambliss and Isakson efforts to work across the aisle on the Farm Bill, the energy plan and other matters. 

 

Consider this: maybe the moderate and conservative African American community should gain some crossover clout by giving Saxby our support.  In return, all I want is fair debate on the issue for the new White House—the same consideration that the Blue Dogs Democrats gave President Bush.  November is going to be awkward in the peach state because Congressmen Bishop, Barrow, Marshall and maybe Scott don’t really want to campaign against their aggie friend Saxby.   Jim Marshall will be fine because President Obama will find a position for him in the administration.

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You know I hate when family fights in public but I had to write a letter to the Editor of the Albany Herald regarding a fellow member of the Albany State University Pol Sci family and one Governor Sarah Palin.  For background, my letter responded to Dr. Konde’s op-eds stating that who you are as a person or leader is measure by your level of education and the prestige of your colleges.

 

My letter:    

 

Konde’s comments counterproductive

I voted for Obama/Biden yesterday because I real want positive change for our nation. Then, Sanford and Saxby got votes because their work in agriculture is vital to Georgia’s economy. As an ASU double grad in political science, my thoughts turned to Hollis, Rhodes, Mobley, Joshi and the elegance of Tucker when reading the on-going battle between Professor Konde and Palin supporters. Dr. Konde, your well-intended jousting regarding academic degrees is driving Clinton-type voters to the polls for Palin. You are playing into their plans. Rep. Jim Marshall is Ivy League like the Obamas, but he would never put Princeton in his ads — only old pickup trucks. Dr. Konde should reread the Art of War or read the notes on our black moderate blog Project Logic GA. Sun Tzu wrote, “Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.”

Team Obama and reasonable people stopped attacking Gov. Palin and switched focus to actual issues. There is an old story about Congressman Bishop’s father, who was college president during the Iranian hostage crisis. When the Iranian students started to protest America on campus, President Bishop promptly sent them home. The late Dr. Lois Hollis and the late President Bishop would recommend caution during these delicate days — don’t fan the flames.

 T. S. Sylvester Georgia

 

Dr. Konde’s Op Ed

Palin’s supporters promote mediocrity

In “Is Palin ready for office?” (SundayViews, Sept. 7), I argued that Gov. Sarah Palin is ill-qualified for the office of vice president and explained why. I was unambiguous and lucid. Some people were taken aback by my contention and felt compelled to question my pedigree: “How dare him?” Given that my detractors could not answer my fundamental argument with equal zeal and clarity, they naturally found recourse to tangential issues not even remotely related to the argument.

One respondent accused me of plagiarism (Sept. 8), a second noted that I was writing from a position of hysteria (Sept. 8), a third thought I was unfair (Sept. 10), while another directed my attention to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (Sept. 10). And then there was The SquawkBox (Sept. 10) where some people berated me as the “pompous professor,” teaching hate, and more. These attempts at derogation notwithstanding, none of my detractors rose to present a cogent rebuttal. I am truly the disappointed man.

The litany of invective has been dragged on into week two, with David Morey’s “Elitism ‘inspires’ mediocrity” (Sept. 17). I wonder what was so elitist about my candid perspective, or so mediocre about my contention! I will not characterize Morey’s person as elitist; but mediocre, his ideas are. Note the distinction I make between the person and his ideas. It is not normal for one with a first degree to present himself as an intellectual counterweight to me. No, Mr. Morey, I will not cower to platitudes. You come across as one with the mentality of people of by-gone years, and operate on the assumption that it is your prerogative to tell me when to inhale, exhale and when not to.

I reject your stance because I stand on a pedestal constructed by valiant men and women who came before me. I will not relent in the face of your insult packaged as erudition. You are mistaken to think that your first degree in engineering is better than a graduate degree earned from Albany State University.

I do not subscribe to the outdated notions which seem to pervade the world you inhabit — a world that time has gleefully left behind. That an engineer with a four-year degree from Mercer University would muster the audacity to challenge a historian in the realm of ideas is quite astounding.

And, yes! I know because I think. I know the contours and trajectory of your histrionics; and, I adamantly refuse to surrender an iota of intellectual ground!

The facts: Gov. Palin’s language is sophomoric. She earned a bachelor’s degree in six years attending five different institutions. If the majority of Americans were prone to that kind of erratic schooling, I would be compelled to tender my apology. But such is not the case. Gov. Palin is unique in this regard. Read: Hawaii Pacific University (one semester), North Idaho College (two semesters), University of Idaho (two semesters), Matanuska-Susitna College (one semester), and back to the University of Idaho (three semesters, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism).

Palin appears not to have made her mark on the college newspaper or campus television station at the University of Idaho. Upon returning to Alaska, however, she worked briefly as a sportscaster for KTUU in Anchorage, and thereafter began her meteoric rise to power as could be possible only in Alaska. And now some ill-advised ideologues want to foist her on America as the best the Republican Party could find? My detractors should take a deep breath and think things over. Adieu!

Emmanuel Konde is an associate professor of history at Albany State University.

 

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