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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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