Former Georgia 12th congressional district candidate John Stone recently announced that he is taking a position back in Washington and will not be a candidate for that seat in 2010. His decision is a good idea because that district (and the 2nd and 8th) is for a moderate GOP candidate—those don’t exist…yet. The correct GOP candidate for these three districts would be a Republican version of the Democrat’s Blue Dogs—someone ideologically near center.
If Democrat voters have learn to live with Bishop, Marshall, Scott and Barrow being near center, then Republicans need to do the same with certain candidates in certain races. But, arrogance prevails and they want all GOP candidates to be far right 100% of the time—you can’t win like that. Secondly, arrogance is present when any party or group won’t honestly admit when their team could have done things better. I give John Stone credit for truthfully analysis policy problems from the right and left during his congressional campaign. Stone must have realized that winning that seat would have required him becoming a political chameleon and in his heart that was something he could not do.
During the Obama inauguration, my mind went to his battle with Senator Hilary Clinton. Basically, Clinton and Obama helped define yet other like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I don’t think voters would have consider him “tested” enough without that challenge from Clinton and later McCain.
Potential Georgia congressional candidates should spent 2010 listening to the people and finding their voice. Of course, hopefuls might learn that there are not right for the race in their area. A candidacy could be positioning for future races after redistricting. (It is hard to explain that to your spouse.)
In the 2nd congressional district, we were caught off guard by the possibility of Congressman Sanford Bishop leaving for the U.S.D.A. Who is the 2nd district heir apparent? Could we grow an Albany-Valdosta area person to replace Bishop when President Obama makes him a cabinet member in the future? Tifton, Albany and Valdosta should be in one congressional district and Bishop deserves to have a Columbus-based district. Yes, Congressman Westmoreland is right about modifying the Voting Rights Act because (to me) Moultrie and Covington have no business in the same district and the same is true for Columbus and Valdosta.
Competitive contests keep incumbents on their toes and groom the next generation of leaders. The Albany Herald newspaper reports that the GOP 2nd District Convention will be April 18 and the GOP State Convention will start on May 15. By mid-April, moderate GOP contenders for Scott, Bishop, Barrow and Marshall emerge should—think Obama, Palin types. These candidates might not win in 2010 but the redistricting committee will have something to consider.
Moderate GOP candidates in heavy African American districts should be reasonable conservatives who will sit at the table with the new administration and push conservative elements into the new agenda. (Like Newt improving the Clinton agenda on budget and welfare reform.)
This morning former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough (currently of MSNBC) told Congressman Artur Davis that many congressional Democrats also endorsed the Bush policies. This great point opens the door for critical analysis of the rubberstamping Democrats by new-style GOP and Dem candidates. “President Obama is rebuilding from Democrat miscues also.”
Oh boy, President Obama is about to open up with both barrels regarding personal responsibility and “ask not what this country can do for you..” Is that from JFK or Newt? So, the next logical question is why didn’t the Democrats start this discussion in the past. In fairness, Bishop and the Blue Dogs have tried on some level, but Havard Law grad Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama is one of the leaders of the new school with Obama. Where does that leave the old school?
Political diversity for our community is an objective of this blog and we believe a smiling, positive conservative with a rich civic resume could move the GOP forward and received new support from across the racial and political spectrum. Steal a play from the Dems playbook; stop living in the past. To me, getting positive southern Republicans is what’s next for the South.