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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Marshall’

The Democrat Party can’t be mostly Black nor should the GOP be all White.  This blog has been saying that for years.  First, I really don’t care too much for political parties because they are about power and control over good governing.  If we must have parties, the best ones look like America—they are comprised of a cross-section of peoples and groups or the leaders communicate with everyone.

The “All In With Chris Hayes” show on MSNBC is starting a new segment on race.  The promo for the segment features Georgian Julian Bond telling Hayes that Black elected officials need to give up some Black areas to neighboring districts to get White Democrats elected.  I love it because you don’t necessarily need Black politicians to serve Black folks (and a few Black Republicans might not be bad for understanding and informative purposes.)

If you take race off the table, congressional districts should be draw in a way where candidates from either major party can win—that keeps them on their toes.  The scary fact is that the GOP turned in the early 1990s into a party that often demands that its elected officials not listen to those with other points of view.  Look here, officials are paid by all taxpayers—not just the people that voted for them.  If you listen to a constant diet of vitriol from left or right zealots, you too would swear that the other side is the devil.

Let’s look that two congressional districts that makeup southwest Georgia.  For most of his time in the Georgia state house and the U.S. Congress, Sanford Bishop didn’t have a majority Black district.  He won by serving a cross section of people well.  Former Rep. Jim Marshall was one of the last southern White Democrats and his seat was important until he started slamming Obama and Speaker Pelosi to keep rural voters.  He had to go and he was replaced with a reasonable GOP candidate, Austin Scott.  Who knew that Scott would be one of the most conservative members of the House?

In theory during redistricting, members of congress don’t own districts but the General Assembly had no problem lumping more and more Blacks into Bishop’s district because that action made the three contiguous districts more and more GOP.  Bishop is a fighter and a true representative; he could represent anyone.  But, the Tea Party, Fox News and the far right talk radio has rural Georgia White twisted and negatively brainwashed so can you blame him for accepting more safety.  In southeast Georgia, Rep. Jack Kingston took all of Black Savannah to increase the GOP chances of taking Rep. John Barrow’s seat—Barrow is the last White Democrat in the U.S. House from the deep South.

Hey, Democrats would be fine if the people they helped legislatively would simply vote.  A surprisingly large number of GOP members of the state legislature have 25% or more Blacks in their districts but folks don’t vote.  The deciding factor for the elections in November might be the effectiveness of the Get Out the Voter efforts and that requires money—more cash should be put on the streets than on the airwaves.

http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/all-in-america-behind-the-color-line-285576771633

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

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

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

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

And I approved that message.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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President Obama said, “They talk about me like a dog.”  But, who are they?  I am tired of hearing rough talk about this White House from Democrats eager to toss whomever under the bus to win reelection.  Of course, some political observers think this plan was cooked up in the House Speaker’s office, the DNC or maybe the White House itself. 

In Georgia, Rep. Jim Marshall and Governor candidate Roy Barnes aren’t mincing words about their disdain for the healthcare reform law.  No Bush or Clinton would take this from inside their party; Hillary would be on their blanks.  If the Democrats continue offending the base, they are toast.  Recent polls indicate that losing one or both Houses of Congress is a forgone conclusion so let’s have the losing ones be those who don’t understand loyalty. And if some Republicans must be elected, we should hope they aren’t the crazy ones who are hell-bent on fear and division. 

I thought a dog was man’s best friend but some of these Blue Dogs are biting the hands that feed them.  In my community, we might need to take a better look at that Que dog, Morehouse Man  and Libertarian running for governor, John Monds.  A dog can’t stop an attacking elephant or donkey but one can make them think twice and you must admire Monds’ dedication to what he believes.  

The people Democrats are trying to help are the same people who took three hours to see the movie Takers this week but they can’t take 10 minutes to early vote.  Al Gore learned this the hard way and President Obama doesn’t deserve this from his party. In my corner of Georgia, the congressional Blue Dog has earned our support.  Can you say the same about yours?

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2010/sep/06/barnes-says-health-law-could-be-devastating-georgi/

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You should take one for the team.  That’s what a baseball player (like on the Bad News Bears) does when letting a pitch hit him.  In the 90s, Chelsea Clinton’s new mother-in-law did just that to help pass Bill Clinton’s budget plan by one vote.  As a congressional freshman, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky knew the plan was good for America and that it was political suicide in her district—always try to do the right thing.

Texan J.J. Pickle voted for civil rights legislation after famously saying, “Lyndon, I can’t vote for that…that’s political suicide in Texas.”  LBJ then listed all the appropriations projects he was going to pull from Pickle’s district.  Pickle survived had a sweet suite in the Cannon House Office Building for years—his constituents could stand behind him while he sat at his desk and get a photo with the Capitol dome in the background in the window.  All politics is local at the end of the day.

On a trip back to D.C. a few years ago, I met Georgia Rep. David Scott on the corner outside Pickle’s old office.  He was nice to my friends and me.  I hate that Dr. Deborah Honeycutt and Scott are in the same congressional district because I think she could add a Black woman’s calmness to the House Republican conference and heaven knows they need it.  If given the opportunity to support less enraged Republicans, our community should take a good look. 

I had to get around to Chairman Charlie Rangel.  He was the epitome smoothness when I was a staffer.  We said he sounds like a Black Ralph Karmden from the Honeymooners.  “Norton….Norton…pal of mine.”  Today, we wonder if Rangel has any pals on Hill.  People who read his book “And I Haven’t Had A Bad Day Since” or who saw him promoting it on Cspan know he survived some of the bloodiest fighting in Korea and was hero for leading other troops out of a Chinese encirclement in freezing weather.  He should cut a deal with the House to make this situation go away and then he should gracefully retire to the Dominican Republic.  (I kicked it in Sosua, D.R. and had a fine time…muy bueno.)

Rep. Rangel should take one for the team because his minor infractions could tip the balance in November.  He was a mentor to my southwest Georgia congressman and other members of the CBC.  Let me say this in no uncertain terms: if Sanford Bishop doesn’t win in November, the CBC and the White House will gut farm programs like a fish.  Rep. Mike Espy of Mississippi and later Bishop championed these programs inside the CBC and over time members learned that farms and agricultural operations are vital to rural America’s local tax base—farms fund schools.  While the Tea Party Movement would love that seat, south Georgians should think hard before bouncing a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. 

I think Bishop’s opponent knows that redistricting is around the corner and a strong showing in 2010 might convince his former colleagues in the statehouse to put his county in a more consevative district.  Of course, he wants to win now but the power and knowledge of SDB is important in this struggling region.  When or if the Democrats hold the House, SDB could be an appropriations subcommittee chairman—we called them cardinals.

At church yesterday, I was thinking about Abraham, Isaac and sacrifice—you know, the Ram in the brush story.  Like in a lifeboat at sea, the collective must decide who should be sacrificed so most can survive.  I am a moderate who will admit that Isakson is the Republican in the Georgia delegation with the best relationship in the Black community and Bishop is similar in our party.  Bishop has caught heat from city liberals and CBC members for supporting issues of importance to rural America.  If someone must take one for the team, lean into the pitch or be the Ram in the brush, it should be the Democrat who is the least Democrat.  That would be Rep. Jim Marshall of Macon.  This White House and the DNC should protect loyal members like David Scott, Sanford Bishop and John Barrow first. 

In 1993, a snowstorm caused the House of Representatives to have a half day and I went to the Union Station to see Schindler’s List.  My goodness, I could tell by the support from family members that a few people in the crowd were actual Holocaust survivors.  While that was one of the roughest movies of my life, one somewhat comic scene relates to this blog post.  A ruthless German officer had prisoners lined up and he shoots a man while trying to discover who stole a chicken.  A teenager step forward and reveals that he knows who the food taker is.  The teen points down at the dead man and the German believes him. 

The boy was wise enough to think that this poor fellow is already gone; let him be a sacrifice so that no one else dies over a chicken.  The Democrats aren’t crafty enough to think that if a member of the Georgia delegation must be sacrificed, it should be the one who is political gone already. 

Let me tell you what might happen: the GOP could be within a few seats of controlling the House and offer Marshall a chairmanship to switch parties.  Of course, he will take it and Democrats will come across as schmucks.  By the way: the second coolest Republican in Georgia behind Isakson is Jim Marshall’s opponent.  Is Michael Steele reading this?  Bro, this is the seat to get.  Say you want them all.  Right, and people in hell want ice water.

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In the Fall, Georgia should have a campaign visit from one or more of the Democrat Big Three: President Obama, President Bill Clinton or First Lady Michelle Obama.  Where is my ticket or can I get the hook-up.  The logical facility for this historic event would be the Macon Coliseum because Georgia is the biggest state this side of the Mississippi River and logistics can be a bear. My county, Worth County, is half the size of Rhode Island.   

Macon would mean that Georgians could drive equal distances to the venue and the congressional districts that need a little Dem star power converge in that region (the 2nd, 8th and 12th districts.)  The problem that the congressmen from the 2nd and 12th have nice relationships with the White House while Rep. Jim Marshall from Macon has chosen to go it alone. 

In the early 90s, I was worked for the Democrat congressman who represented Augusta and Athens, and a visit to the district from Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary was on the schedule.  A reporter asked my boss if he wanted Bill Clinton to campaign with him in Georgia and the congressman said basically he would do his own campaign.  O’Leary call our office and when on about “Bill is my friend and you don’t ask me to help you and disregard my friends.” 

Secretary O’Leary is currently the president of Fisk University and is saving that historically rich Black college from the brink of closure.  Fisk alumni include W.E.B. DuBois, Nikki Giovanni, Congressman Alcee Hastings, James Weldon Johnson, Congressman John Lewis, Mrs. Alma Powell and Secretary O’Leary.  In 2005, the financial situation at Fisk was so dire that they considered selling artwork given to the school by painter Georgia O’Keeffe.  If anyone can save Fisk for future generations, O’Leary is that person. 

When the White House and the DNC consider where to dispatch the big guns, Macon should be at the top of the list.  If not, Rep. Marshall must have said “no thanks”—a move that hurts the entire Dem ticket in Georgia.  Albany State University or Fort Valley State University would host a big three event but the Georgia Dome will likely get the nod and Rep. Marshall will not think about being on that stage.  They should send Hazel O’Leary to rap with him.  “Look here…let me holler at you for a second, partner….you don’t ignore Bill nor this outstanding young couple in the White House.  Keep this up and you will find yourself by yourself.” 

Secretary Hazel O'Leary

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When Michael Steele sought the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, he produced a glossy “Blueprint” outline for moving his party forward in a productive and positive manner.   As a Black moderate, I was hopeful that the brother would do for their team what Obama would be doing for our team.

Then, the anger started and that blueprint because a footnote.  Or did it?  In South Carolina, Republican Nikki Haley took the high ground and is on her way to joining Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal as Indian Americans in governorships.  State Rep. Tim Scott is an African-American who defeated Strom Thrumond’s son for the GOP nod for congress.  The Low County of South Carolina is evidentially Scottland. 

Georgia has two “Scottland” battles with Black Watch monitoring closely.  In military history, the Black Watch is the name of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland.  Of course, they worn the Black and Green tartan we came to love while rocking the preppy look in the early 80s and ordering from L.L. Bean.   In Georgia’s 13th congressional district, Rep. David Scott faces a primary challenge from grassroots candidate Michael Murphy and Michael Frisbee before facing likely GOP nominee Dr. Deborah Honeycutt.  Murphy speaks about our state’s future with wisdom and concern.  Honeycutt should give Democrat leaders nightmares because she manages to go from Tea Party event to Black suburbs to the inner city without missing a beat. 

The central concern for moderates this election is finding officials who support the middle class while working with everyone for real dialog and real results.  Honeycutt could be the model for selecting African-American women with positive dispositions who firmly speak about the limited role of government rather than more programs and Band-Aids.     

 The other “Scottland” battle in Georgia pits Rep. Jim Marshall against Austin Scott.  Readers of this blog know that I questioned Marshall’s commitment to the Democrat Party and felt he should have taken the highland by attending the Democrat National Convention event that nominated Barrack Obama.  Black “watched” that occur and wondered if Dem officials were asleep on their watch.  Austin Scott is a Republican who remains conservative while connecting with young people and occasionally working across party lines.  In Georgia, the Blue Dogs have gotten us familiar with such cooperation so considering Deborah Honeycutt, Austin Scott or the GOP challenger to Rep. John Barrow seems natural. 

The other “Scottland” battle in Georgia pits Rep. Jim Marshall against Austin Scott.  Readers of this blog know that I questioned Marshall’s commitment to the Democrat Party and felt he should have taken the highland by attending the Democrat National Convention event that nominated Barrack Obama.  Black “watched” that occur and wondered if Dem officials were asleep on their watch.  Austin Scott is a Republican who remains conservative while connecting with young people and occasionally working across party lines.  In Georgia, the Blue Dogs have gotten us familiar with such cooperation so considering Deborah Honeycutt, Austin Scott or the GOP challenger to Rep. John Barrow seems natural.

The media loves the drama of the Tea Party but Colin Powell spoke of the sensible center.  If the GOP spent some time, energy and resources, Michael Steele could have candidates with a better comfort level in all communities.  It’s time to gift a few congressional seats to our GOP friends who supported Obama and the gift to the president will be a congress more like the average American.   

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