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Posts Tagged ‘Isakson’

The buzz around Georgia politics is that Eric Erickson of CNN and Red State might challenge Sen. Saxby Chambliss.  Saxby (he told us to call him that) was nice to me once a long time ago during a congressional ag staffers visit to Taylor County, Georgia, and I will never forget that.  He leaves when he is ready to go and if the far Right wants to push him for rebuffing his 20 year old tax pledge, their primary numbers can be replace by crossover moderates. 

Perhaps, Erickson of Bibb County could get the House of Representatives seat when Austin Scott exits for the U.S. Senate.  The polarization of the electorate that we have experienced in the last few years could be seen coming from a mile away.  I have always thought of Austin as a trendsetter who might be a great national leader and we are at a pivotal time when such leaders should emerge. 

Actually, the conservative movement would look better in my community if the recent election results moved them to listen to Republicans like Jeb Bush and Jon Huntsman.

The Democrats should start developing future Senate candidates closer to the middle modeled after Rep. Sanford Bishop and the Republicans should do the same with Austin in mind.

 Isakson and Chambliss are more statesmen at this point than politicians and that is a good thing.  I was thinking about the past, present and future Georgia congressional delegation while watching the legislative maneuvering in the movie Lincoln.  Austin Scott has that House seat on lock but he should function like a person who wants to win statewide in the future based on relationships and connections cultivated now.   What would old Abe do?

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I am sick and tired of national folks taking political jabs at my south Georgia congressional delegation.  The fellows need to jab back.  My rural south agenda focuses on agriculture, education/jobs, military/veterans and transportation.  If they take care of those areas, other stuff is secondary because all politics is local.

My Georgia is the area south of a line from Columbus to Macon to Savannah.  “JABS” could be Jack, Austin, Bishop and Saxby as in Rep. Jack Kingston, Rep. Austin Scott, Rep. Sanford Bishop and Sen. Saxby Chambliss.  Of course, Senator Johnny Isakson is the coolest of the cool and we appreciate his ATL-based service as well.  Party politics requires these guys to publicly act combative with each other but we know that JABS circle the wagon when Georgia issues are on the table.   

Sen. Chambliss catches heat from the far Right when he negotiates with Democratic senators but kuckleheads should know that negotiating is what leaders do.  Jack Kingston can throw policy jabs with the best of them but coastal Democrats will admit that Jack will go anywhere to explain his rationale and many African American conservatives have worked in his D.C. and district offices; the same can’t be said about most GOP congressmen.  

The Austin Scott and Sanford Bishop areas of south Georgia are interesting because the recent changes to the congressional map made Bishop’s district more Dem-friendly and Austin’s area more GOP friendly.  Does this mean Bishop is going to become more liberal?  No.  Actually, Bishop, as an appropriator, has become more of a fiscal educator during his Georgia visits.  Of course, he isn’t as fiscally conservative as Austin Scott but considering SDB’s district he does more than expected and hears it from real liberals. 

The new map will move my hometown from Bishop’s district to Austin’s district but that is fine with me because interests don’t stop on political lines.  Kingston has always protected Naval Air Station Jacksonville because many employees from that base live in southeast Georgia and a similar situation exist between the 8th district and the 2nd district.  People live in rural towns but work, dine and shop in Albany, Columbus and Macon.  So, the conditions in both areas are contingent or mutual.  

I am keeping my eyes on JABS and would love to see them use the basketball fundamental technique called the jab step to get the national haters off them.  In basketball, this moved is used to create space from the opposition before executing one’s next scoring move.  Jack, Austin, Bishop and Saxby deliver or score for south Georgia but I need them to be more vocal about their achievements.  And if an occasional misstep occurs, Georgians can weigh the good vs. the nots-so-good and decide.  For example, we heard a lot of drama about candidate Nathan Deal but he has been a decent governor who is about to overhaul the expensive criminal justice system in this state.  We spend too much money on criminals and change starts with education. 

Look, people have agendas and you can detest folks for working their hustle. But, national groups can’t tell me that JABS are wrong; those guys are fellow Georgians and we will make that determination on our own.  As a matter of fact, regular Georgians should use the web and public events like our unlikelyalliesproject.com meetups to discuss our elected officials.

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Herman Cain’s presidential campaign has created a fascinating scenario for southern voters.  Since folks are digging his simple, straight-forward style, I will break it down straight, no chaser.

Romney vs. Obama:  The White House is prepping for Romney because he is the candidate, as a former moderate, who would be most attractive to centrist voters.  His downside to conservatives is that he is a traditional Chamber of Commerce establishment guy without dirt under his nails.  

Newt Gingrich vs. Obama: Newt is as smart as President Obama and fully prepared to govern but the GOP base sees him as a nerdy professor.  I like the idea of a Georgian in the W.H. to protect our regional interests.

Rick Perry vs. Obama: While the media is insinuating that Rick isn’t ready, we must remember that he governs the planet of Texas, a state that was once a republic and a state which has the world’s 14th largest GDP.  We should never sleep on a Texan with power and funding.   

Cain vs. Obama:  First, see the Georgian comment under Newt’s section.  Georgian Cain must have been raised on Coke, peaches and peanuts like me.  Cain is a real southern conservative.  In his senate race, he was to the political right of Senator Isakson.  Southern conservatives want leaders who are just like them– leaders who shoot from the hip and cast a big shadow like John Wayne.  Herman Cain and Rick Perry fit that image.  

Summary:  10,000 Maniacs isn’t a political convention but a cool band that wrote “Candy That Everyone Wants.”  The 10K maniacs who will be at the GOP National Convention will be manic for a red meat Republican like Herman Cain when Romaine lettuce Romney would be a select the Center would find more appetizing in November.  Oh yeah, the Far Right does not care what the GOP establishment or the Center wants because they think they have the numbers. 

It’s like a kid in the candy store and parents should let a kid have all the candy he wants once then watch him get sick.  As Natalie Merchant and the 10,000 Maniacs sang, “Give ‘em want they want.”  I want a Georgian to be president if not Obama; so, I am a Democrat who will be voting for Cain or Newt in the GOP primary since Jon Huntsman will be long gone by then.

Herman Cain is like candy to my Tea Party friends and they swear they have the numbers to win the general election with him.  As southern kids say, I “double dog dare” you all to put Cain up against Obama.

Centrists and moderates in the South (whose primary vote would be otherwise wasted) should vote in the GOP Primary and give them what they want.  If Cain became president, regular folks would know that they need to get their “blank” together because it will officially be survival of the fittest. Guess what, it’s survival of the fittest NOW but the Democrat leaders are too soft to admit it.  The Piss and Vinegar conservatives might actually be healthy for the nation….like a drill sergeant.   

Democrats voting for any Republican isn’t approved by the D.N.C. but my father is dead so nobody tells me what to do (except the police.)

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Politics and public policy are like Thai food.  For years, I wouldn’t consider eating Thai because spicy food is too much for my system (let’s not go there.)  In Tifton, Georgia, I got brave and decided to try Thai food at Coconuts Asian Bistro.  My neighbor, who is a food and fitness guy, told me that the people at Coconuts can make Thai dishes without the famous “heat.”  He was right and I am developing a tolerance for bolder dishes. 

Officials are elected to serve all of the people in their area; not just those who voted for them.  My conservative friends are as spicy as Thai food with their ideas about governing and the same can be said about the liberals I know.  Of course, moderates can see the wisdom in taking elements and concerns from everyone.

Follow me on this one: GOP congressional candidate Ray McKinney called me minutes after Obama won the presidency and I asked if he wanted me to help him grasp moderation so he could improve his chances of winning in a swing district.  Ray and real conservatives will discuss issues with others but see policy flexibility as weakness.  Anyone who flexes his positions is a professional politician.  Yes, there are professional politicians or public servants who gauge the views of the whole area and serve with secondary regard for their personal views.   

The mentality is “I know what’s best for me and also know what’s best for you.”  What happen to “all men are created equal.”  It’s an insult when some people consider themselves more American than others.  President Obama is in Ireland this week.  We know when  his father came here and his mother was a descendant of an Irishman who arrived in America 160 years ago–which would likely be 160 years after my folks were brought here against their will in the hulls of ships.  But, some people feel for whatever reasons that they have the right to make policy without input from those who pay fewer taxes or create fewer jobs.  At the same time, knuckleheads in my area have little regard for community and have developed an entitlement mentality but that is another subject for another day.

In my personal opinion, Georgia two senators and my congressman try to serve public policy that is mindful of most Georgians.  You would never know that Senator Isakson’s record is so conservative because he plates up his dishes in a cool manner.  We all know that Sanford Bishop ran for congress while his personal views were left of center but SDB has a good comfort level with most people and quickly developed the ability to serve those who voted for him and surprisingly the regional interests of those who didn’t.  A public servant in a swing district must have that ability. 

If conservatives would produce candidates who could dial down the spiciness initially, they could secure more of the center.  If you think about it, many current conservatives made the transition over time by developing a palate for the Right (former Georgia governor Sonny Purdue and current Georgian governor Nathan Deal were both Dems in the 90s.)  That hot, nasty style of politics runs people off.  I would have a better life if I was a vegan or raw foods guy but that is not happening overnight—let’s start with some carrots.  If redistricting changes the composition of a congressional district, the temperament of the congress person from that area should also change.  Some folks don’t get that and they might be the same people who spice all the food while cooking for others.  The recipe says “season to taste.”    

http://www.coconutasianbistro.com/index.htm

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The Albany Herald endorsed Mike Keown for congress in Georgia’s second district over Sanford Bishop.  I think that newspaper is wrong because Bishop is uniquely qualified and appropriate to represent the urban/rural; liberal/conservative and yes Black/White hodgepodge that is the 2nd District.

Keown is a conservative pastor from a very rural area and speaks with a command similar to a stern father chastising a wayward child.  That type sternness has been at the center of the far Right’s reaction to the election of President Barrack Obama.  In our system of government, most American adults have the right to elect officials and the actions of those public servants should reflect the will of the people.

That concept sounds clear in theory but we know that a more detailed explanation is that elected officials do the work of those Americans that vote, vote, vote.  President Obama and the Democrats did well in southwest Georgia in 2008 and those election results gave direction to Rep. Sanford Bishop.  For some reason, the Tea Party division of the conservative movement feels their votes count heavier that other Americans’ vote.  It must because they are smarter or something.

If Rep. Sanford Bishop did everything the Tea Party Movement wanted during the last two years, he would have been functioning in an unconstitutional manner because he would have ignored the desires of the majority that put him in office.  As a moderate, I could accept a Republican taking this swing seat if the guy was a policy wonk like Austin Scott or a conservative with a personal history of talking with various communities like Rep. Jack Kingston, Senator Johnny Iasakson or former Senator Sam Nunn.

Bishop came to congress 18 years ago after serving in a majority White state legislature seat; he prides himself on relating to and having a comfort level with everyone.  As a blogger, I watched the Keown campaign from day one and rarely saw them working to build relationships with my community.  The tone in Tea Partiers’ voice when then say “Barrack Obama,” “Sanford Bishop” and “Nancy Pelosi” is something different from regular Republicans.  You know the tone and if you have forgotten it shame on you.  Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.

Keown ran a strong race but some other congressional district or statewide position would be better for him and better for us.  Bishop won’t win this election if the people who gave him a mandate in 2008 don’t vote on November 2. 

An Albany city commissioner, who is also a Darton College professor, told the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call that Rep. Sanford Bishop was a $100 million dollar industry in south Georgia based on this position on the House Appropriations Committee.  In one of the poorest areas of the nation, the voters shouldn’t drop a congressman who secures funding for economic development, training and job creation. 

This hard campaign has served the purpose of making Rep. Bishop aware that he must be in the middle of helping President Obama shape more-moderate policy if he wants a second term.  And that’s it; the reason far right conservatives want Bishop gone from the Democrat Caucus is so the remaining Dems are so liberal that the presidency will go their way in 2012.  The Tea Party candidate for president will be Sarah Palin and keeping Palin out of the White House starts with voting for Bishop on Tuesday. 

Did the Albany Herald ever ask Mike Keown about his opinion of a possible Palin presidency?   Keown keeps bring up my old boss Rep. Charles Hatcher, who Bishop defeated in 1992.  As one of the last loyal Hatcherheads, I can say Hatcher always said you don’t get rid of committee chairs and appropriators because they deliver for home.   Hatcher knew the Farm Bill like the back of his hand and wouldn’t  jeopardize the provisions of interest to south Georgia by bouncing Bishop during tough times.

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Our shrewd plot has been foiled a week before the elections.  The moderators of Project Logic Ga have always supported candidates from our parties (Democrat for me and who knows for Helen) but we also prepped for the worst case scenario by sending best wishes to the best candidates from the other side.  The residual benefit of this idea centers on saying “if you had more candidates like this one, you could get a wider range of support.” 

Senator Johnny Isakson has been in the game since 1974 and has a comfort level with every segment of the Georgia electorate; who ever met Isakson and didn’t personally like him.  The GOP botched opportunities with Dr. Deborah Honeycutt, a conservative with a comfort level in our community. 

In South Georgia, wise people have noticed conservative Austin Scott’s career for years because he seems comfortable in many circles, knows the issues and votes his mind.  Scott was recently talking with T.J. Holmes of CNN like they were college chums at homecoming.   T.J. didn’t likely hear about a rough patch Austin had when he voted to change the Georgia flag a few years ago. 

http://georgiaheritagecouncil.org/site2/news/flaggings/FRtifton070904.phtml

I don’t want to see real Democrats lose to GOP candidates but if and when it happens, I hope the GOP candidate would be reasonable and comfortable in every community.  The shrewd plot was voting for the occasional conservative who supports our regional interests while thinking that fair-minded conservatives would do the same when the shoe was on the other foot…no, not shoe…boot.  That situation is not the case (I was wrong) because I can’t understand why regional interests would not compell south Georgia to continue supporting Rep. Bishop.

The Boot Sanford Bishop idea must be rooted in the old Boot Roy Barnes and Boot Austin Scott efforts after the flag vote—for the record, I wouldn’t have change the flag nor would I tear down a concentration camp—lest we forget. While some might seem naïve, the thought of politically “booting” someone in the South comes from a fantasy of actually doing it and the concept has ugly connotations.  I mentioned this to Bishop’s opponent at the Grits Festival this year and he sincerely had no idea about someone gleaming a corporal aspect.  I can’t say the same about some of those guys supporting him. 

I could trade a Blue Dog Democrat for Isakson or Scott but I don’t see Bishop’s opponent being comfortable in every community.  GOP Congressional candidate Ray McKinney from Savannah is a regular guy who can talk with anyone but I have rarely seen Bishop’s opponent in different circles.

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Could it be true: are some people too dim to vote.  I just noticed a comment on a post about John Monds, candidate for governor in Georgia from the Libertarian Party.  The comment said “he short as hell” and I did not know if the writer was referring to my picture with Monds or with Rep. Sanford Bishop.  Monds, Bishop, and MLK are all Morehouse Men and like Dr. Benjamin Mays of Morehouse they emphasize achievement and intellectual stature over physical stature.  

John Monds is taking the high road in a governor race that has seen negative ads after negative ads from candidates who aren’t generally considered negative people.  I think a cottage industry has developed in which people are more interested in making money from fundraising and media ads than actually winning the elections.

Monds has represented the LP movement well and introduced a southern style of the LP.  Nationally, the LP generally stands for freedom and liberty from government regulations and involvement.  Monds has pushed those principles without bringing up the marijuana card that could spicy up his numbers with some voters.  I am not for smoking cannabis or for gambling personally (gaming being another hot button issue) but many political observers would play that card with the current changes in California in mind.

Monds is a powerful man in Georgia politics because his governor bid could provide ballot access to the LP for future elections and his run will likely force a runoff.  Former congressman Nathan Deal is fighting to hold his base and former governor Roy Barnes is fighting to turnout the Dem base while attracting moderates.  Politicos I bumped into during the local HCBU’s homecoming all said the same thing: why are Democrats spending 30 million dollars on media buys and very little on the streets. 

“The streets” or Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operations have traditionally been a method of awarding those with great community networking skills and those with well-earned reputations as community problem-solvers.  Today, that money goes to run more and more TV ads and the real winners during election season are HBO and Showtime—no commercials.

Mark my word and file this post: the down ballot Democrat candidates are suffering from a lack of GOTV and if the governor race goes into a runoff, Democrats are not coming back out because getting them out now is unbelievable hard.  Some Democrats are rumored to be voting for Monds as a protest for Barnes taking them for granted while courting conservative voters.

Again, are some people too dim to vote?  You have Dems who cried when Obama was elected but won’t vote in the mid-term elections.  We also have conservative voters whose views are shaped by TV and radio talking heads and the Tea Party Movement rather than seasoned public servants or policy wonks.  When did experience become a bad thing?   Rep. Charles Hatcher told me that lobbyists like dumb candidates and heavy turnover because congress is complex and under those conditions the lobbyists have the knowledge and power.

Recently, former governor Roy Barnes bumped into 8th district GOP congressional candidate Austin Scott and Barnes joked that a picture together would ruin Scott’s reputation.  Barnes was so right because the GOP voters want candidates who detest Democrats and Scott must cloak the fact that Democrats and Republicans down here consider him a bright and likeable guy.  Of course, there can be zero mention of the fact that Scott voted to change Georgia’s flag when Barnes was govenor.  If Scott wins next month, his history of voting his mind will put him at the top of the list of freshmen Republicans that President Obama wants to know.

That last line means that the conservative Austin Scott would be better for this White House than the current Democrat congressman Jim Marshall who is slamming Obama and Pelosi every chance he gets.

Come to think about it, I am taller in pictures than Austin Scott, Sanford Bishop, John Monds, Rep. John Lewis, Senator Johnny Isakson and Rep. Jack Kingston but that doesn’t mean a thing when we remember MLK’s line about contend of character.  (The same could be said about U.S. Senate candidate Michael Thurmond, who I never met.  He would be a great asset in the U.S. Department of Labor.)

In America, no one is too dim to vote.  However, we clearly have those who are too dim to realize the importance of voting but I am not worried because they didn’t read this long blog post.   If weed was legal or decriminalized, those dim cats would be even dimmer.  Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders is off on the marijuana issue.

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I watched the movie The Blindside on cable on-demand with my mother yesterday and she enjoyed the first football film of her eighty years on earth.  Watching a movie was a welcomed departure from the political campaign ads but that movie still had me thinking about election season 2010 which is more like the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Moms understands football blocking and protecting the quarterback now.  Big Mike’s Crusaders football team seems like the Democrats and that would make either President Obama or Rep. Sanford Bishop the quarterback. 

The massive, quiet and undeveloped talent of Big Mike brings to mind Obama supporters.  While we are in the proverbial fourth quarter and the clock is ticking, the gentle-natured giant that is the Democrat base needs to get aggressive and start blocking.  In sports, few things are more gruesome than watching an unsuspecting quarterback get hit on his blindside.  Rather than staying in the pocket, his first inclination is to start running up field alone.  As the rapper rhymed in “Walk it Out,” even Jesus had twelve disciples and don’t start that Obama Messiah talk again.  But, it does seem like that gospel song that say “must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free…there is a cross for everyone…there is a cross for me.”  Mr. Luke could raise that hymn at St. Johns in Poulan, Georgia, during my childhood.   My point is everyone needs help.

The coach and the quarterback can only do so much; they need blocking and play execution or the game is over.  While continuing the football parallel, we must acknowledge the tenacity and determination of the other team.  As we say in the South, it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of fight in the dog.  The GOP and their injection of adrenaline/steroids known as the Tea Party is undersized but hard-working and crafty. 

About size, it burns my britches to hear Tea Party folks (some of whom are my friends) say,  “All I hear is this,” “everyone I know thinks this” or “Obama and the Democrats never listen to people because I told them what to do and they didn’t do it.”  Do you hear yourself?  Like Sandra Bullock’s character in that movie ,they seem to be living in a bubble on one side of town with zero knowledge about the existence of other parts of town.  But for God’s grace and mercy, Big Mike could have been any of us. 

Big Mike’s tutor (Kathy Bates) was the only Democrat the Tuohy family knew.  When Michael saw that famous Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving painting, he wanted to have a family holiday dinner for the first time.  I couldn’t help but think that some people realize the painting isn’t realistic because an old woman couldn’t hold a turkey that size at that angle without falling over. We should leave a tender moment alone because the same type ugly people who point out that turkey fact are the type people who spent November 2008 saying “it won’t work….America can never come together…I hope the young president fails with this hope and change crap.”  Norman Rockwell would have enjoyed the Blindside and likely voted for President Obama because the social progressiveness in his art is legendary.   From that old lady to Obama supporters, we should never underestimate our strength.

As President Obama repeatedly says, the Tea Party Movement Republicans have valid concerns about the size and role of government but I share the president’s concern with the TPM’s” my way or the highway” mentality.   They seem to ignore the people who voted for the other guys and want officeholders to do the same.  Okay, the ugliness of the TPM seems like the loudmouth football player that Big Mike eventually blocked off the field and into the stands. 

We have two weeks to start blocking for the Democrat quarterbacks or it’s game over.  I have always favored political teams and groups that look like a microcosm of America or my southern state.  Ask yourself if the TPM protest looked like Georgia.   While they are acting sweet and nice now, they showed they natural -sses during that healthcare debate and it seemed like 1968 all over again.  Oh regular Republicans like Senator Isakson and Austin Scott have a variety of supporters across the state but most of these TPM candidates listen and learn from people in their circle of friends and associates only. 

In The Blindside, that family and Michael learned about different ways of life and everyone grew.  That situation is similar to the positive energy that catapulted President Obama into the White House.  We were hopeful after lifetimes of ugliness, division and bitterness.  What kinds of people thrive on bitterness and smirk at every little misstep someone makes.  Is that really how someone wants to live life?  Who wants to carry rage and anger constantly in their hearts?  I know the national debt is too large and owing China keeps me up at night but did Democrats go crazy when Bush 43 made costly decisions about Iraq.  I, for one, respected the president and I would appreciate the same courtesy from my friends on the Right now. (And people in hell want ice water but they are not going to get it.)

That family in The Blindside must have been thinking about the benefits of developing that gentle giant; we shouldn’t be naïve.  President Obama, Roy Barnes, Sanford Bishop and other high-profile Democrats will be okay personally but I am more concerned with regular people like me who want to see our South move forward with positive energy rather than falling back into that classic “us reverse them” mindset.  President Obama sought counsel from the conservatives in congress when he took office but few would break ranks and enter a dialogue. 

I know for a fact that Rep. Bishop has always cultivated relationships with every type southerner.  While some aren’t watching the congressman’s blindside, many still have his back because he has had their backs during decades of public service.  You might get knocked down but just don’t stay down.

At this point in the game, we can’t blame the other team or the referees.  It’s time to collect ourselves, focus and start blocking for our team—play your position and the rest will take care of itself.  In football and in life, size and raw talent can be defeated by a determined and focus smaller opponent.  Winning at football and at this political game also requires good coaching, a little cheerleading and some motivational pep rallies.   Hell, Obama must quarterback, block, cheer and drive the team bus.  If we lose, we deserve it because we didn’t do our parts.

Some old friends recently started the facebook page Georgia TruthSquad and we will be having a few pep rallies—better later than never.  Sandra Bullock’s character has nothing on the lady who create GTS because she simply refuses to have her hometown represented by a TPM congressman.  I know too well that the coach of the GTS has no problem “motivating” the team.

Sidenote: I wrote the blog post below during the healthcare debate protest in the summer of 2009.  I turns out that I was wrong about the GOP creating a moderate section to balance the Blue Dogs.  That protest movement know as the Tea Party actually took over the GOP and they might win next month (if unchecked) by using time proven techniques.  It’s called winning ugly.  My daddy took a train from Macon, Georgia, to study agriculture and play football at North Carolina A&T in the 1930s when one of the best ag schools in the nation was just up the road in Athens.  He had to attend grad school years later at Tuskegee when one of the best ag schools was just up the road in Athens.  Oh, we have been down this road before and we are heading back to the future.  He was proud of Sanford Bishop but he never would have imagine Barrack Obama in 2008 or our complacency in 2010. 

http://projectlogicga.com/2009/08/07/congress-town-hall-protests-and-norman-rockwell/

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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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Political blogging has been interesting over the last few years, but now it’s time to get out and talk with real people about matters that are often missed.  Since there is no need to discuss the same old same old, we have put together 10 questions than should be considered in 2010.  We hope to discuss these questions as often as possible and in various settings across the state in an effort to give our community logical political information and options. While we don’t have all the answers, these questions serve as conversation starters. 

1. Would reform of the ballot access laws improve the election process?

The process of getting on the ballot in Georgia is a monster.  Was it designed to keep new political groups from participating?  Of course, California and some other states have a process that allows almost anyone to get on the ballot.  Would ballot access reform also change the primary process since improvements are needed there too? 

The 2004 Georgia U.S. Senate race is a classic example.  Johnny Isakson, Mac Collins, and Herman Cain were in the Republican primary while Denise Majette and Cliff Oxford were on the Democrat side and Allen Buckley was the Libertarian candidate. African American voters who generally take the Democratic ballot didn’t have the opportunity to vote for newcomer Cain or old friend Isakson.  To be honest, the Democrat side was thin that year.  Under some states’ systems, all candidates would have been on the ballot in the primary together and the top two would be in the general election (maybe, a runoff occurs if a certain percentage of the vote is not reached.)  In 2004, Isakson and Cain would have likely been in the general election. 

During this election year, businessman Ray Boyd ended his bid for governor of Georgia after he refused to take a GOP loyalty oath and he learned that getting on the ballot as an independent was a headache

Another problem with our current primary system is that party voters produce candidates they favor with secondary consideration for the public in general.  In other words, this candidate is like me (the Party) rather than a candidate best positioned to represent everyone.

In the 2010 Florida U.S. Senate campaign, sitting Governor Charlie Crist faced the wrath of the GOP because he worked on some level with the Obama White House on economic recovery matters and dude-hugged the president.  With a primary defeat looming, Crist decide to run as an independent.  The general election field will be Rep. Kendrick Meek, Governor Crist and the bright GOPer Mario Rubio.  Florida should be under a new system in which all candidates were in the primary and the top two vote getters faced off in the general election. 

2. With 1994 in mind, can we leverage political strength to diversify our political portfolio?   

In 1994, Newt Gingrich and the GOP took over the congress and the Black community wasn’t really involved.  Rep. J.C. Watts is a great guy but some southern “us” would have been better.  Since you don’t have to be Black or Democrat to serve our community, we should have fostered a functional relationship with every political party.  Old school Blacks are often weary of the government anyway but there is no way that a major political party should ever run a branch of the federal government without our input.  During this election season, we should meet all the candidates, if you can, and listen to them at the rallies.  The Black middle class is about achievement and could be waiting for like-minded Black candidates, rather than the same old “how much can we get” crowd.

Elements of other political groups could improve or tweak policies.  We must remember that Newt and the Contract With America pulled Bill Clinton toward the political center and improved his presidency.

Similar to failed romances, political parties take us for granted when they feel we have no other options.  But, we do have options if we noticed that voters support candidacy for different reasons.  As a pro-agriculture and pro-military person, I often support Republicans and Democrats from my region with the same interests. It is no secret that I put President Obama over the Democrat Party and Democrats that run from him are flirting with disaster.  Actually, Rep. Jim Marshall use d the term “disastrous” to describe the health care law that he wants to repeal.  Is he appealing to conservative voters while hemorrhaging progressives and minorities?

John Monds is the Libertarian candidate for Governor of Georgia.  While I am not Libertarian or Vegetarian, both groups have certain elements that are healthier for my body and the body pf politics.  Interestingly, Monds lives in Southwest Georgia and is active in the NAACP and a prominent Black fraternity.  His wife works as a professor at my Black college so the Libertarian Party might be the recipient of Gubernatorial votes for various reasons—take the votes where you can get the votes.  Monds might be the leverage needed to compel the Democrats to respect our community.

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I am the first to dub the coming Senate race in Georgia the “Mike and Ike” election.  State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond  and U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson come from an era in Georgia politics where the first inclination was dialog and cooperation.  That period is history and these two nice guys are generals in a rough political battle.  Hot Tamales, Red Hots, Atomic Fire Balls, Jaw Busters, and Lemonheads are candies that better describe the current political climate. 

“Now or Laters” seem to be Thurmond’s favorite candy because he has a reputation of make wise, calculated political decisions.  At times, a leader must take one for the team and Georgia Democrats couldn’t let a newcomer face Isakson.  I told the Senator he should get a pass for being one of the best Republicans in congress—Jon Stewart would say that is like being the skinniest kid at fat camp.  As a moderate Democrat, I wanted to leave Isakson’s reasonable temperament and sizeable warchest out of the mix.  One can speculate that an economic turnaround would be need for the Dems to do well this year and the Labor Commissioner taking about job creation and training helps the Dem ticket overall.   

To me, the biggest problem with Isakson is his inability to convince other members of his party to embrace his logical, less bitter brand conservatism.  We remember the Georgia GOP giving Isakson and Chambliss flack for simply negotiating with Democrat colleagues.  Will the angry fringe of the southern GOP pull Isakson into their bitterness or will he introduce them to coolness.  They better bring the coolness because Thurmond, Thurbert Baker and Sanford Bishop wrote the book on staying cool under fire—never let them see you sweat.  I think both Isakson and Thurmond put Georgia’s best interest above party bickering.    

My conservative African-American friends (all both of them) think Democrats should be afraid of Palin in 2012. Rep. Paul Ryan, Senator Johnny Isakson and Mario Rubio are the policy-based conservatives who if cloned would be the real concern.  Could we please turn our attention back to Palin.  For Dems, it is fortunate that the GOP  often emulates the wrong folks.

For reading this long babble, you should treat yourself to some old school “candy” music. Is Cameo’s Candy better than LL Cool J’s?  Real candy, like political campaigns, isn’t good for you, has little nutritional value and lacks the substance of policymaking –stick with Georgia-grown fruits and vegetables.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWuMtutu8rQ

Cameo- It’s Like Candy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqgeAvhoraQ

LL Cool J- Candy at 5:10 from live show

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMICD3aMZpw

Bow Wow Wow – I want Candy

Update:

How could I leave out 10,000 Maniacs’ “Candy Everyonebody Wants.”   Some of these races will be decided by 10K Maniacs. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5_bfBFHkOo

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I received the following Media Alert today about an important initiative that deals with one of the fastest-growing and addicting drugs ever to hit the state of Georgia and beyond. I took special notice to the two high profile Elected officials who have teamed up to unveil this statewide prevention campaign next week. They are: Republican U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and Democratic U.S. Attorney General Thurbert Baker. If you think about it, most if not all, issues that our elected officials must address impact a variety of people. Even those that are considered Republican,  Democrat, Independent, Green, Liberterian or other. And no matter if one person voted for another. The prevalence of and the impact of Meth in Georgia is staggering and doesn’t target a particular political party of people. And such is the case with virtually every other social or  economic challenge facing us today. It sure would be nice, and would be much more effective, if all of our elected officials, from Washington, DC to our local municipalities can work together, on causes that address people (constituents), no matter what one’s political affiliation. This initiative is an indicator that it can happen. And I do realize that is not an isolated event. But it needs to happen much, much more.

Georgia Meth Project – Media Alert sent by Jackson Spaulding

The Georgia Meth Project will launch its statewide prevention campaign—and unveil its innovative television, print, and outdoor advertising—at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, March 8, 2010.  The news conference will begin at 11 a.m.

The Honorable Johnny Isakson, United States Senator, and Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker will be joined by members of the Georgia Meth Project Advisory Council, substance abuse experts, and Georgia families whose lives have been impacted by Meth use.

The goal of the Georgia Meth Project is to significantly reduce first-time methamphetamine use in the state, and address the social and economic burden caused by Meth use in Georgia.

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My friends and I talk about political candidates who can “flow.” We have adopted the term from the early days of hip hop…”Can the M.C. flow on the mic.” Many a well-intended candidate can’t flow in the sense that the they can’t present issues and solutions in a manner that compels the electorate to action. “Can the person move the crowd.”? MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and YoYo didn’t play on the mic back in the day and YoYo (Yolanda Whittaker) is currently a community activist eyeing a congressional run.

Keith on Peanut Politics blog posted a video of Senate candidate RJ Hadley speaking in middle Georgia and I must say he can flow and is clearly an intelligent guy.  During his speech he mentioned the people that think he should run for something else first.  I am included among those numbers because I could see this guy really connecting with people in the right contest. 

(Video: U.S. Senate Candidate R.J. Hadley) 

http://peanutpolitics-keith.blogspot.com/2009/10/rj-hadley-ga-democratic-candidate-for.html

Hadley is Ivy Leaguer like former Congresswoman Denise Majette.  The congresswoman gave up her seat to run for Senate against Hadley’s opponent Johnny Isakson.  Hadley can flow as well as Majette, who while intellectually brilliant had a thing about speaking on the mic.  Let’s see, Isakson beat the engaging businessman Herman Cain and self-made millionaire and former congressman Mac Collins before winning over Majette, but this newcomer wants to beat the senator in this red state.  

Relatively speaking, Isakson is much better than the average conservative in congress and Georgia could do much worst.  The Senator’s years in Atlanta when the Democrats ran Georgia government prepared him to better deal with the two party system that most GOPers.  To my centrists friends, the best argument for Isakson is the fact that the ultra-conservatives fuss at him for negotiating with all senators.  That’s what senators do. 

This senate race will serve as nice showcase for Hadley’s political and policy skills and the beginning of a bright political future.  I just wish he were running to remove one of the bitter members of the loyal opposition.

If you are a candidate who can’t flow on the issues and the details of government, why run when a Sarah Palin, Katie Couric situation awaits you.  Also, do your homework first because there are some smooth talkers who have zero substance on the mic. If you want “to be down,” step to the mic with something to say.

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The Blue Dogs are sitting pretty these days despite the heat from the summer protests because certain elements are pulling the Right too far right.  The success of the Tea Parties could produce a third party movement rather than new numbers for the GOP. We in the center would be more inclined to stick with the Blue Dog Democrats because a movement head by the right-wing talk machine would not be a comfortable place for us.

Senator Graham’s recent comments on the political climate and Senator McCain’s moderate candidates support is “right” on time.  That’s how genteel senators carry themselves when properly opposing a former colleague in the White House. To be honest, the same can be said about Georgia Senator Isakson but don’t let that get out—he is up for reelection and must secure the “pea-nutty” part of his Georgia base.   

The political plot thickens because there are a few African American women in Georgia who would make excellent GOP members of Congress in the right situation and political climate.  Will Graham and McCain commandeering the climate controls?  Time will tell but most on the Right like it hot.     

McCain article

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20091002/pl_politico/27832_2

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I tried to catch the Isakson Town Hall at ABAC/UGA Tifton but arrived at the end.  Clearly, the event went smoothly and was informative.

When I flipped on MSNBC a few hours later, Tamron Hall reported that Senator Isakson considered it “nuts” to misconstrue the “end of life” counseling provisions in the health care debate as “death panels” and I agree.   

This situation is now misunderstandings take place and in South Georgia, nuts better be Georgia peanuts. I think the senator was saying it would be nuts to read the information on Palin’s webpage to be euthanasia—not calling Palin nuts.  On the other hand, Palin wisely reframed her position to dial down the rhetoric after a rough weekend. 

Read the Washington Post article for yourself:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2009/08/is_the_government_going_to_eut.html

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It is all about spin, knowledge and facts.  The notion that the federal government will decide when Americans “plan” on dying is nonsense at the center of the healthcare debate.  Sarah Palin chimed in yesterday that she did not want her parents or children standing in front of “Obama’s death panel.” 

Stop right there and let me give my take on the difference between misinformation and lying.  Sarah Palin, who I want to defend because we are the same age, is not lying in my opinion nor did she lie during the campaign last year.  She actually believes what she is saying so she is at best misinformed or at worst dim and does not know it. Please understand the difference: one is to knowingly lie and the other is simply being wrong.  When I saw those protesters on T.V. this week, I knew they weren’t lying and were sincere.  The liars are the guys in D.C. on K Street and in New York on Wall Street and Madison Avenue who designed the campaign to mislead regular folks and stop health care reform for your corporate bosses.  I must say that those guys are good at what they do.

At the center of this drama was Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia…reluctantly.  MSNBC claims that the heath care provision which would fund “end of life” counseling is similar to a provision originally introduced in committee by Isakson.  I tried to find information about this claim on the web and on Isakson’s website.  What I did find after spending a good part of my Saturday morning is that Isakson’s concerns with the Democrats proposals sound reasonable to me and that Isakson and others do have alternative plans.  As a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, Isakson is up on his game and we can count on him negotiating rather than just stonewalling like other conservatives. 

Isakson and no other members of congress want death panels.  From what I see, the optional counseling is an option about final options.  Much of the cost of patient care occurs during the last month of life and some people decide to have DNR orders (that’s Do Not Resuscitate, not Department of Natural Resources for us outdoors types).  If people want to talk with someone about those plans, their insurance would pay for the meeting.  If you have buried a loved one, you know that people should consider deciding that stuff themselves years earlier so they can go how they want to go and remove family from making the decisions at the worst times.  

In summary, spin-doctors knowingly distorted a provision in the health care reform proposal to scare old people and incite conflict.  I must say that both sides play this game.  When I was a congressional staffer, the Clinton administration bragged about reducing or cutting spending for a program in their budget.  When I looked at the numbers, funding went up for that program over the previous years.  So, program XYZ received $70 million one year and more the next year but they told me they reduced the rate of growth from the Bush years.  Before, that program grew by 10% every year but under Clinton it is only growing by 5%–that’s a reduction.  Do I look stupid? (Don’t answer that.)  I told that guy that a reduction from $70 million would be less than $70 million and being cute with numbers and spin was not cool.

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Keith at Peanut Politics blog emailed me that R.J. Hadley is running for Senate against Senator Isakson.  I personally like Isakson and wonder why candidates bypass the House and target the Senate on the first run.  We will see but watch the Democrat power establishment produce their candidate despite Hadley credentials.

 Does anyone read my blog because I tried to tell the Dem Team to blow off the Isakson race and therefore leave his war chest and machine on the sidelines—the way Ralph Reed as head of the Georgia GOP did not run anyone against Rep. Sanford Bishop when Saxby Chambliss won his Senate seat the first time.   

 Peanut Politics: RJ Hadley to challenge Johnny Isakson for U.S. Senate.

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Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, a member of the Senate subcommittee on Africa, is visiting the troubled Dafur region of Sudan.  I am still surprised that Isakson is one of the most conservative members of the Senate yet serves with a cool listening ear and compassion mindset rather than the vibe of some of his colleagues.  And people wonder which leader the GOP should model the next generation of policy makers after.

I hope he comes back with the idea of getting more peanut-based food paste from Georgia and dry pasta to help than staving region in the short-term while get a market opportunity for our farmers and producers.  In the long-term, exporting farming techniques and equipment developed at Fort Valley State and U.G.A. to that suffering part of the world could assist in our antiterrorism efforts—bread rather than bullets.  But, we still have the bullets—don’t sleep on the eagle with the olive branch in one talon and the arrows in the other.

Isakson should be briefing Agriculture Secretary Sanford Bishop about the opportunities for southern agriculture to help heal the world while creating jobs here but the Obama White House passed on Georgia.  (For those who thing the current president won’t be criticized by moderates or African American would not condemn African genocide and support of terrorism.)   

http://www.ajc.com/services/content/printedition/2009/05/27/isakson0527.html

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When it comes to political agendas, east is east and west is west and never shall they me.  Different groups support candidates and incumbents for different reasons.  To avoid awkwardness and drama, the various supporters might need separate rallies and meetings.  For example, the Blue Dog Democrats in the Georgia congressional delegate enjoy traditional Democrat support and a certain amount of Republican support from individuals with particular agendas-farmers, gun owners, military families, etc.

 

In Georgia’s 12th District congressional district, Blue Dog John Barrow received the support of the NRA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over a GOP opponent.  Conservative Democrat Jim Marshall continues to get most of Black votes in the 8th District without endorsing Obama or Clinton and he does well with some Republicans.  On the other hand, Republican Rep. Jack Kingston has built a strong network in the Black community.

 

The mini-drama with Rep. Sanford Bishop’s family is evidently driven by envy in the Columbus Black community but notice that the agriculture industry and the Georgia GOP is not saying a word; they are more concerned with Bishop’s ability to keep the Obama White House from gutting the farm-support programs we need.  Remember, did you see Bishop, Scott, Barrow and Marshall actively campaigning against Senate Ag giant Saxby Chambliss last fall and Chambliss would talk about the “liberal Democrats” in Washington—differentiating them from his moderate southern colleagues and supporters.

 

 Recently, I decide to do a little political network by attending a grassroots town hall event for Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson.  While Isakson and Obama are polar opposites politically, the senator was a state official when the Democrats ran state government so he is reasonable enough to say “no” then say “why.” I appreciate that fairness for Obama because moderate Democrats did the same for Bush.  

Meeting Senator Isakson

Meeting Senator Isakson

 

 

When Isakson starts campaign for relection,  our community should think about the fact that congressional Republicans or centrist Blue Dog Democrats represent every major city in Georgia outside metro Atlanta.   In Macon, Columbus, Albany, Savannah, Augusta and Athens, our community votes for conservatives or moderates in the interest of our regional agendas.

 

 

To adapt Kipling’s ballard to Georgia congressional politics: East is East and West is West and never the two shall meet, but if my interests are a risk, them save me a seat.

 

The thought of rural Georgia without military bases and agribusiness should make any reasonable person put party bickering on the back burner.  Because the center controls American politics, Michael Steele needs to steal a play from the Blue Dog playbook and target the center.  Georgia GOP Senators and rural DNC House members might be on to something.  

 

 

 

 

The Ballard of East and West             Rudyard Kipling

 

Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the two shall meet,

 

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;

 

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

 

When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth.

 

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obama-bush

 

Repeatedly, I have written that Barrack Obama as president would be something completely new. GOP candidates have an opportunity to be different, better conservatives than the combative elephants of recent campaigns. John Heilemann wrote an article in the New York Times titled “The New Politics: Barack Obama, Party of One.”  I swear this guy must be bugging my phone because I have been saying that Obama is beholden to the average person who gave him money (like my $10) rather than the traditional Democrat funding sources alone.

 

The President-Elect had the Blue Dogs, the Congressional Black Caucus and other groups uncertain about supporting him because they did not control him and he wasn’t in Washington long enough to earn his Dem “bones” Soprano style.  John Edwards and Hillary Clinton were fellow veterans from earlier battles. 

 

The definition of pragmatic is “concerned with causes and effects or with needs and results rather than ideas or theories.”  Obama the Pragmatic is about the business of fixing America rather fighting party battles and I was begging Black southerners to support reasonable Republicans who wanted to help in the same way reasonable members of our party became the “Reagan Democrats.”

 

Change stinks for those who might be on the outs.  But listen to this: the agents of change are turning their noses up to a range of Washington insiders who did not resist our nation’s slow slide into our current situation—Red and Blue rubberstampers are equally nervous. 

 

Governor Palin might be right about bloggers getting off on creating confusion and mess. So, I want to help the change effort in my own little way by continuing to push  the Black community toward helping better Republicans.

 

If you live in an area where your two senators, congressman and governor are Republicans, you should know that the real action might be in the primary election.  The logical act for you would be supporting a more reasonable GOP candidate; someone who will work to add conservative elements to the Obama agenda rather than hoping the new president fails. 

 

In Georgia, I think Senator Isakson’s reelection is a given and I personally like the guy.  If someone wants to be a GOP congressional candidate in 2010 in a district with a sizable African American population, he can do himself a favor by getting to know the Black community now—two years of connecting and networking is better than a zillion 30 seconds ads. 

 

The Obama White House won’t be perfect but those GOP incumbents who regularly criticize in a ugly and vile manner should find themselves facing a primary opponent with the support of  Obama backers from both parties.

 

Finally, we should not forget the Democrats like some Blue Dogs who rode Obama’s coattails when it was convenient but might be AWOL when it is convenient.  We are watching you like a hawk.

 

Five months ago I knew that I would be writing “help the new president help the nation” five days before the inauguration.  I did know whom the voters would select as the new president but I knew I am such a good American that I would respect and support the direction that was chosen.    

 

Presidents are public servants—not monarchs or rulers- and this young leader will need us to me the best us we can be.  It is the right thing to do.  During the next two years, keep an eye on the demeanor and conduct of the loyal opposition.  For southerners, the GOP core principles are sound but techniques of the far right can get questionable at times.  Be genteel and good people will remember your approach in 2010—you might just get a cool pass. 

 

 

 

Why Barack Obama Is a Political Party of One – The All New Issue — New York Magazine

 

http://nymag.com/news/features/all-new/53380/

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