Posts Tagged ‘blue dogs’

Are things uncomfortable at home for African Americans in the South who are moderate to conservative?  Booker Rising, the premiere conservative Black political blog, has a great quiz in their margin.  The quiz would indicate that a surprising number of Black voters down here are actually moderate if not conservative.  Then, what’s the problem?

The problem could be fitting these people neatly into the two existing major political parties.  On the Left, national Democrats go a little too far with spending and the role of government—well intended but not fiscally sound.  On the Right, the methods of the Far Right segment are too much for many in my community to stomach. 

In Georgia, I can respect the efforts of Melvin Everson, Cory Ruth and Dr. Deborah Honeycutt as Black candidates in the GOP.  If Honeycutt doesn’t win the runoff, a pattern seems to be appearing because she would be the candidate best positioned to attract members of our community from strong Rep. David Scott.  Everson would have won the general election because his time at my alma mater Albany State University gave him a ready-made statewide network.  I am even concerned that other GOP candidates downplay or don’t want our support because their base view most  Blacks as liberal.

Democrat Senate candidate R.J. Hadley stomped all over Georgia—even Tea Party type events.  He is a rising star in Georgia politics.  Here’s a good question: who has more juice in the southern GOP, the Tea Party Movement or the African American community.  On Booker Rising, I read the post from Black Tea Party people with an open-mind.  But, this is Georgia and Atlanta is the best Black city on earth.  I can’t call it but thanks to the conservatives who look like me for standing by your guns while moderates are purged.  If the Blue Dogs spend time with conservatives in swing district, conservative candidate should do the same on some level…in swing districts. 

I would strongly recommend that the Red team “show the flag” in every community. While votes might be few in certain circles, elected officials in our form of government represent everyone—not just the people who vote for them.  What’s interesting is that many of the GOP candidates worked with and around various types of people in their professional backgrounds.  They get to party meetings everyone is cookie cutter of each other and fearful of any others.  Do like the Blue Dogs and insist on being the candidate you want to be.  Like R.J. Hadley and Ray McKinney, candidates should talk talk talk with anyone who will listen.


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I don’t care what anyone says; President Obama is exactly the president “candidate Obama” said he would be.  The problem is people don’t know how to listen.  He isn’t big on party politics because he didn’t spend that much time in the national arena before ascending to the top.  That’s why he is constantly looking for Republicans with whom to work.  He thinks that is natural and logical in D.C. 

Of course, the GOP leadership dares their members to seriously dialog with the White House—let them fail so the Red Team can take the presidency in 2012.  Can any good American really say “let them fail”?  “I hope Hurricane Katrina kills thousands so the Democrats can win in ’08.”  “I hope BP’s oil reaches Key West, turns and goes up the East Coast so we can get the White House back.”  How sick can someone be to think those thoughts? 

I don’t know the plans of the Democrats or Republicans but we Obamacrats still believe in changing the way Washington works.  (Okay, this is just me thinking out loud.)   First, we must remember that Obama is not Superman or the second coming.  He is a very smart person and I think he is malleable.  The president would come toward the center if it produces results and keeps decent conservatives from drifting into radical ranks on the far Right  The center is mandatory to lead in America–belive that.

The situation with Mrs. Shirley Sherrod shows what I have always known: Obama is not familiar with the plight of southern Blacks because he thankfully has not been through our troubled past.  I am glad the brother grew up around sweet people and it reflects in his considerate nature but is he mean enough to scrap like Clinton—Bill and/or Hillary.  Mrs. Sherrod’s Baker County, Georgia, is similar to Hope, Arkansas so Bill knew how nasty things could get.  Speaking of nasty, we should discuss the fact that thuggish youth of all colors are more of a domestic terror threat than the Klan and the  Taliban put together.  In the public policy arena, one must have a certain amount of nasty in them. 

How can we help our community during this election season?  We should support our traditional candidates but develop a line of communication/dialog with a select group of reasonable conservatives (wrestle them from the Far Right.)  If a candidate is lock-step with the far Right’s approach of misinformation and hate-speak, they should be defeated for pitting Americans against each other and scaring folks for political gain (the same applies to the far-Left.)  

In the 90s, our community overwhelmingly supported the Democrats. When Newt Gingrich and company took the Congress, we were toast.  Conservatives vote when the only election on the ballot is a run-off for dogcatcher but our community is fickle about hitting the polls. 

Obamacrats (Republicans, Democrats, and Independents) should dialog on understanding, policy and logic. Personally, I could trade a few anti-Obama Blue Dogs for conservatives who are about dialog with the whole community.  Senator Johnny Isakson would be the best example of such a Member of Congress and moderates should have as much influence with him as the Far Right.  Those conservatives would be essential for this White House over the next two years and the people will decide in 2012. 

President Obama is one of the smartest people in American history but he can’t know everything.  We remember governing without our community’s input and must work to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.  The African American community is very diverse and our conservative brothers and sisters believe in a limited government than in many ways makes good common sense.  They should talk with their other family about the questionable methods and techniques of the recent past because maybe we can make progress or at least peacefully function. 

I still believe in the version or incarnation of Newt Gingrich that simply stated that the limited role of the federal government was to foster an opportunity for children to grow, learn and achieve if they focus, work hard patiently and keep it clean.  If not, the life they get will be the life they made.  I can live with that. 

I can’t live with people who benefit from the Obamacrats but ignore us or worst slam the White House.  Obama is a nice guy but the rest of us grew up with these scrappy Tea Party people.  Scrapping and calling someone out is nothing new to us.

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The 13th District congressional race in Georgia is interesting because Dr. Deborah Honeycutt is again facing Democrat Rep. David Scott.  Former Honeycutt campaign manager Michael Murphy is also in the race but as a Democrat.

When Murphy decided to move from the GOP to the Democrats, I was surprised and disappointed that a comfortable place did not exist for someone like him in that party.  As a Democrat with many conservative friends, I like options and choices for southern voters and don’t get me started about putting all of our eggs in one basket. 

Some observers think that the move farther Right signaled moderates and centrists toward the GOP exit door—let’s hope not.  But, my conversations with Murphy in the past have centered on a lack of an urban agenda in the GOP; which is sad because the party of Jack Kemp shouldn’t be that way.

Dr. Honeycutt has always seems like a positive person and should she enter congress I don’t see her standing idly as ugly rhetoric becomes the foundation of the GOP agenda.  In that regard, I think all voters should keep a hopeful eye on GOP candidates who are about constructive policy-making and yes, there are several out there. 

In a recent T.V. news story, Scott, Murphy and Honeycutt pounding the pavement as the primary election approaches.  Like Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton, a health competition keeps all involved sharp and keen.   


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When you grow up in the diverse South, you should learn to put yourself in the other guy’s shoes, walk in his moccasins or generally imagine life and government from his perspective.  No one wanted to be slaves, current senior citizens should be barricaded in their homes from fear of young thugs and American foreign policy should respect the cultural richness and history of others around the world.  If the Native Americans had a better immigration policy…..

To me, it’s all about political options and agendas.  Elections are for selecting the leaders who will govern in a reasonable manner but the cart is in front of the horse or the tail is wagging the dog.  Today, the campaign process and year-round activism are more lucrative than serving in office.  For example, Sarah Palin status in the game reaps millions more than being governor, vice-president or president and I can’t blame her for staying paid. 

My friends and I pragmatically thought our community should explore positive political options that reflect the sizable African-American demographic that is moderate to conservative.  Our agenda grows from concern that all of our political eggs are in one basket.  In reality, the aggressive agenda of those who love fear overshadows the few efforts toward governing with bridge building and understanding.  Their facts are sound but their methods are detrimental.

During this primary and general election season, southerners should ask themselves if candidates have a good comfort level with citizens across the political spectrum.  Do you see the candidates meeting and listening in areas where few votes can be found because the actions of people there create governmental spending for everyone?  In clearly liberal or conservative areas, the direction is obvious but swing areas or statewide is different. 

On election night in November, we shouldn’t learn that a new group of leaders will govern next year and we never talked with them.  A sad fact about southern living is that we have much in common with the other side of town but never had a conversation.  National groups that relish division and conflict between Americans should be ashamed because that energy and attention should be focused on supporting our troops in two major theaters of war and completing their missions safely—remember we have troops in the field.  

While the far-left and far-right are vocal, the sensible center is larger and sways elections.  I want to see Blue Dog Democrats continue listening to conservatives in their areas and Republican challengers who are comfortable explaining their positions to centrists, moderates and even liberals.  Centrists outnumber extremists from both sides overwhelmingly.

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Some voters are very informed this year and that is a good thing.  With the economy, foreign wars and the oil disaster, regular folks and the media are watching the White House and Congress.  The GOP has a well-earned reputation for keeping their members in line on key issues but the Democrats are starting to flex their big muscles also.  Well, alright now.

House leadership member South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn’s recent trip to Augusta, Georgia, is being analyzed. Members of congress often travel outside their districts.  For example, a member of the Ag Committee looks at farm production and research all over the nation.  Usually, they follow congressional courtesy by informing their “dear colleague” who generally joins them. 

Of course, ballers like Clyburn go everywhere as part of their duties and visiting a neighboring state is not rare.  If the spent nuclear fuel rods at the Savannah River Site go wrong, that radiation is not stopping at the GA-SC line.

One could speculate that Clyburn coming to the Augusta area without doing a fundraiser or supporting for Barrow is a sign (like a brush back pitch in baseball) that the congressman shouldn’t get too far away from his Dem roots—after that healthcare reform and several other votes.  Wild speculation could be that House leadership is openly dissing Barrow in a sly effort to help him by distancing themselves from him.   

The Augusta area real Democrats and Obama supporters have issues with Barrow’s no votes on some key national issues. Barrow might flirt with the Right but Rep. Jim Marshall is in love.  The Marshall camp must hope that voters who are more Obamacrats than Democrats don’t get “too much information.”  In the piney woods of Georgia, we say, “you got to dance with the one who brought you.”  

When I worked at the university in Albany, Georgia, I saw Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois eating at a downtown bistro.  He was in his hometown for his father’s funeral and said that the local congressman was gracious in offering his district office if needed during this difficult time.  That’s how you do it.  Rush was a member of the Black Panthers back in the day and spoke to the Black staff organization when I was on the Hill.  He told us that power is like the might elephant and that a baby elephant is trained to walk in circles at the circus by driving a metal rod into the ground and attaching a chain.

After the elephant grows to full size, circus workers push the rod into the ground by hand because the trained elephant doesn’t realize it’s power to break free…. sometimes no chain is needed.  Regular folks don’t have the information that we are free and that political leaders work for us.  Bobby Rush is a smart guy and he was the last person to defeat Barrack Obama in an election.  If the college students who supported Obama start using social networking to sweat certain AWOL Democrats, it would be on and popping like Rush in his revolutionary youth and the Tea Party now.

Sting: Too Much Information


This post continues my little series with the Police album “Ghost in the Machine” as background.  I know that the video is from Sting without the Police and that for some strange reason dude is wearing a dress but the sista sing background is nice.  Again, Ghost Vote candidates who don’t listen.  ” Too Much Information” was the jam with my college friends.

Clyburn news story:


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Do you know about the cuttlefish?  I woke up at 4 this morning and an ABC News report introduced me to the cuttlefish, an amazing sea creature that changes itself to it’s surroundings in a classic defense technique.  This fish has no shell and is strangely colorblind.  You can make all the political comparisons to Blue Dogs, Scott Brown or Arlen Specter but the cuttlefish’s technique has worked for him for millions of years.  So, there.

In nature and politics, survival is key.  I have had fun in the past comparing Tea Party people (my old friends) with Howler monkeys and Blue Dog Democrats with chameleons but everyone must find what works for them.  First, most creatures in the political arena have America’s best interest in mind.  The questions are over how to get there and what techniques are fair and healthy.  The Tea Party starts with sound ideas and real concerns as stated by President Obama but they wisely sound loud which gives the impression of a much larger beast.  We will learn their  real size in November.

Centrists shouldn’t be labeled as chameleons in a negative way.  They simply reflect their surroundings.  Some marketing focus groups have discovered  that advantage can be gain by painting long serving elected officials as “career politicians” or “professional politicians.”  I personally want a professional  correcting my teeth, fixing my old truck and making my public policy.  An old school congressman once told me that if we had term limits the only experts on Capitol Hill would be the K Street lobbyists—and that is what they want.  He also said we have term limits; it’s called elections. 

(The following is only for my half dozen Tea Party friends)

Enough with the flip flop stuff and enough with the “those congressmen don’t listen to me” stuff.  Check this out right here: there are other folks in the South with you and they have opinions also.  These so-called career politicians must gauge the consensus of the area and make decisions.  At times, those decisions are a bit contrary to that official’s personal views but they were elected to serve the people…all of the people.   Average voters prefer leaders without the “my way or the highway” mentality.

When those officials let the vocal minority outweigh the “too busy to be vocal” majority, it’s time to consider new leadership.  That cuttlefish is a cuttlefish inside.. no matter what.  The political comparison ends when the fish that mastered camouflage is discovered.    

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Did you see the recent picture of the Obama kids greeting the president?  After watching the “America: The Story of Us” marathon on the History Channel this weekend, seeing folks who look like me in the White House is a reminder that we came “from a mighty long way.”  However, Memorial Day is a reminder that freedom is not free and collectively we must do our part to move the nation forward. 

Cotton working slaves, Chinese railroad builders, and Whites in the manufacturing industry are more than historic footnotes; the Native Americans really got a raw deal.  To make omelets, some eggs must be broken and empires are often built on the backs of others.  William Mulholland supplied water to Los Angeles by draining the Owens Valley some 200 miles away.  It’s about cost benefit analysis; it’s about reluctant sacrifice.

To me, the Blue Dogs in the Georgia congressional delegation are decent public servants who listen to their unique constituencies.  In the year of anti-incumbency, the one who should go (if one must go) is the one whose departure would be least dramatic or traumatic.  Come on now, we know that Dem Rep. Marshall from Macon is from a district that Senator McCain won in the presidential race.  If not for middle Georgia’s personal affection for him, the GOP would have picked up that seat years ago.  His opponent, Austin Scott, seems to have a conservative temperament similar to Johnny Isakson; he is not nearly as bitter as some in the conservative movement.  Trading Scott for Marshall would be less traumatic to the body politics than losing any other Blue Dog seat and other Blue Dog opponents are more connected to the far Right. 

“America: The Story of Us” included the story of Prince Estabrook, a slave and Minuteman who was wounded by one of the first shots fired at Lexington.  He started a legacy that includes the former slaves who fought in the Civic War.  In some way, President Obama, the commander-in-chief, seems to function with the same regard for sacrifice and national pride.  Political safety (his second term) comes after what he considers right…and let the chips fall where they may.  As an Obama supporter, I appreciate the Blue Dogs who put their congressional careers at risk by backing Obama and/or Hillary.   On sacrifice,  Hillary Clinton took one for the Democrat Team when many believed it was her turn but unfair distain for Bill Clinton might have made her a better target for the GOP. 

  As a person who loves tennis, I enjoyed watching Venus Williams play at the French Open ten years ago; it’s too bad that Arthur Ashe missed the Williams sisters, Tiger Woods and President Obama.  When Venus was defeated in Paris this weekend, I knew that she would never have the career grand slam that Serena and Tiger have.  I also know that Serena would have let Venus win if they met in the finals in Paris; tennis history shows that Venus has done the same for little sister.  Again, it’s about sacrifice and the common good.  No one listens to my political speculations but I still think that the right GOPers in congress could actually benefit the second part of the Obama presidency by adding fiscal considerations to policy-making.

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The Ghost Vote Project received a nice response from readers of this blog.  If the Right and Left can seek clarification from congressional candidates, the Center should do the same. After all, candidates are looking for our votes and support. Obama supporters have no questions about most Georgia’s Blue Dogs and I appreciate their efforts to help this administration craft sound policy.

The position of Rep. Jim Marshall isn’t as clear because he really is an independent in a unique district.  Hey, give the gentleman from Macon an opportunity to answer a few questions.

1. Did Rep. Marshall vote for Obama or McCain in 2008?

2. Is Rep. Marshall a supporter of most of the major legislative initiatives from the Obama White House?

3. Is the Democrat agenda out of step with Marshall legislative views?

Of course, the people of the 8th congressional district ultimately will decide who best represents them.  But, center has a right to ask straight questions.  If people aren’t satisfied with Marshall’s answers, they should consider skipping the automatic vote for him in the primary election as a signal.

The Ghost Vote Project gets a tab at the top of this blog.

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The dictionary defines scope as the range of one’s perceptions, thoughts or actions.  A second definition is “the area covered by a given activity or subject.”  President Obama outlined his vision for a better America in his book the Audacity of Hope.  However, the hard part is implementing ideas into policy in a partisan nation where many of those who need improving don’t or won’t know it.

In the South, we need leaders with wider worldviews who can appreciate the salient points from the loyal opposition.  We need members of congress with scope.  The Republicans came to power in 1994 and the Democrats responded by accepting the moderate Blue Dogs subdivision in their party.  After the recent success of the Democrats, a similar subdivision on the Right seemed obvious.  Instead, we see a narrowing in the scope of southern Republicans and a national purification process in their ranks. 

The global economy is in flux and the South is competing with everyone for new job growth.  Companies might be reluctant to locate in what seems like a hostile environment.  Of course, people should stand firm in their believes but understand that in a democratic society other opinions should be respected. 

As a good southerner and proud American, I will discuss issues and solutions with a range of people and final actions could reflect a cross-section of views.  The “winner take all” mentality is sophomoric and reckless.  In military or political wars, you pray that you are strong and keen while also praying that diplomacy and common sense will avoid the need for conflict.  Some in the arena cherish conflict because division and fear are vital to their personal prosperity.  They should be ashamed of their ill-gotten gains. 

My friends on both sides want their political opposition to fail but will always discuss their rationale with others in hope that their views will improve.  We want other’s scope to widen.  In a more direct statement, the Right should seek counsel with the center in a manner similar to the Blue Dogs.  Most indications are that this won’t be happening.  We can call that the Audacity of Nope and it is unhealthy because leaders must dialog with a range of people to address problems and improve situations. 

My favorite politicians have always been those who constantly sought debate with everyone.  The better elements of the Right’s arguments rarely reach the correct ears—they are preaching to the choir.  When those elements are presented in wider circles, they come from the Blue Dogs who understand the diversity of our South.

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For some odd reason, I find myself eager to apply high school physics (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity) to congressional politics and policy.

In physics, the principle of relativity is the requirement that the equations have the same form in all admissible frames of reference.  Frame of reference may refer to a coordinate system or set of axes within which to measure the position, orientation and other properties of objects.   A postulate of Einstein’s Special Relativity states that the laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion relative to one another.  

This nerdy stuff comes to mind as I view the southern congressional arena and fail to understand what’s what.  It makes no sense but then again politics rarely does.  A pundit recently referred to the angry part of the electorate as “Super Americans’’ who seem to feel that they are twice or three times more American than others.  To me, they are good people whose minds have been polluted by skillful manipulators.  “How dare their votes count equally as mine.”  So, the opposite of Super Americans would be the people who elected the current president and Democrat Congress.  The funny thing about Super Americans is that their fiscal and policy views are actually sound but their methods unfair and divisive.    

With relativity in mind, I observe members of congress and congressional candidates with respectful complexity.  For example, Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston serves the conservative majority of his district yet debates liberals point by point. That is fair but what’s not fair are other conservatives living in moderate districts that seem to ignore the views and numbers of the majority.  A Blue Dog Democrat can win reelect by a sizeable margin yet the minority will protest that he doesn’t listen to them.  While conservatives are at time small in numbers, they always vote and generally are more financially successful than others. 

Anyone saying that moderate congressmen are not listening to rich voters must be nuts.  The better argument would be poor members of the majority who receive less political attention because they don’t vote.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease. 

The Atlanta Constitution newspaper recently reported that Rep. Kingston has soften his tone on repealing healthcare reform because he wants to be honest about the chances of repeal after the coming elections.  Kingston now speaks of keeping positive provisions and gutting the questionable parts. 

I personally like to view congressional actions relative to several factors.  For example, Texan Rep. J.J. Pickle vote for the Civil Rights Act was courageous relative to the mood of his southern district in the 1960s.  Today, Blue Dogs are targets of conservatives who want to take the congress but why not honesty admit that those same Blue Dogs have supported many conservative programs and policies over the objections of their national political party and local base. 

Super Americans and other rocket scientists should consider a member of congress’s voting record relative to the prevailing opinions of that congressional district.  During this holy period, thoughts turn to Jesus and the story of the Widow’s Mite.  While rich people gave much money, the small amount from the widow was great relative to her holdings.  Without cheapening this important story, elected officials’ past courage and relative position in the political spacetime continuum should be taken into consideration when analyzing their actions.     

As a centrist, I welcome the opportunity to help anyone understand moderation and the political center.  Moderates also include officials who must delicately balance service to diverse populations.  Some people see politics as an exciting battle or contest with clear winners and losers.  I have in the past and will continue engaging in reasonable debates and discussions with a range of actors on the political stage.  Sunlight, reason and logic will hopeful prevail over darkness, fear and manipulation.

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Watergate was an unnecessary mess because Nixon was winning anyway. In politics and policy, you have different layers and levels of involvement. The average American voters wants the nation to function better. Then, you have your issue activists and party enthusiasts who mean well but tend to get carried away and swear that the other side is never correct.

I am ticked-off with the Blue Dogs who supported Bush 41 and Bush 43 when these presidents were somewhat right yet those same conservative Democrats aren’t turning to the GOP members with whom they worked in the past and saying “come on fellows…not all of these ideas are bad.”

The most dramatic level of politics and policy would be the professionals who earn a living from the conflict—more mess, more money.  I am one southerner who has grown weary of fighting for fighting sake. 

To the people I know in the GOP, you can win in November on the issues but resorting to fear, hate and traditional ugliness is unbecoming and counterproductive.  Your team should notice how Rep. Paul Ryan, Mario Rubio and even Senator Isakson debate and voice opposition  constructively.  The worst-case scenario would be the continue use of techniques and methods similar to the hate-baiting from our past.  It is interesting that some of those “win at all cost” political leaders of the past had righteous transformation before going to glory and explain what they did for opportunistic purposes.  Of course, the same can be said about folks on our side.  To feed your family, a hater got to do what a hater got to do.

Earlier this year, President Obama told the both sides that they should be careful how they debate because the average Americans is going to start believing that they really hate each other.  Newsflash: they don’t; it’s political theater.  While they sincerely hate the issues and the growing debt, I don’t think there is a member of the Georgia congressional delegation who “hates” another member. 

The wildcard factor is the successful division of the media that “stays paid” from the conflict.  I want to say that I have recently learned that this division is not really journalists but some new form of political commentators for entertainment—Rush, Glenn, Michelle, Ed, Keith, Rachael.  (Thank you Glenn Beck for explaining it.)  Can the average American separate political entertainment from Cronkite-style journalism.  Cronkite and Brinkley would turn to another camera and the words “commentary” would appear across the bottom of the screen. 

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, they did a report about a coming RNC insider effort to drive donations with fear and boy won’t it work. But, playing this card from your sleeve is not needed when the cards in your hand are not that bad.  Can you see why centrists support the few sensible people on the Right?  The old Chinese proverb goes “it is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness.”


March 4: Msnbc’s Joe Scarborough offers his take on an RNC fundraising document, obtained by Politico, that encourages the use of “fear” and “negative feelings” to solicit donations.

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Newsweek’s Evan Thomas recently wrote that the political system is not the problem; the problem to him is the entitlement mentality and softness of the American people.  I have been saying for years that protesters shouldn’t confront elected officials while ignoring the voters who put them in office. The officeholders are doing what the majority told them to do.

At times, the majority can be flat wrong, i.e. slavery and Jim Crow.  Ralph Nader’s Green Party and the Libertarian Party both have good points but the majority prefers to hang with the two usual suspects parties.  If America followed the energy plans outlined my President Carter after the Arab Oil Embargo, we might have avoided our deep involvement in the Middle East.  If we followed our doctor’s directions on diet and exercise…if we listened to Suzy Orman the first time we read her advice…if we paid attention in school and church.  The list goes on and on.   

We have waited for a Blue Dog Democrat or a sensible Republican who speaks directly and plainly to the people about reducing governmental spending by reducing actions and activities that created the problems in the first place.  Oh, the Tea Partiers will do it in a second but it needs to come from someone stern yet considerate.  In Georgia, the GOP is sleeping on several Black women congressional candidates who would be brilliant at getting directly to the point.  In my community, tea is best served sweet and cool.  


Government is Not the Problem: Evan Thomas, Newsweek

The problem is not the system. It’s us—our “got mine” culture of entitlement. Politicians, never known for their bravery, precisely represent the people. Our leaders are paralyzed by the very thought of asking their constituents to make short-term sacrifices for long-term rewards

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I think the congressional Republican leadership team has been reading this old blog in the cloakroom because they recently did exactly what I have been recommending to my Black GOP friends for years.  At the health care summit, they tried like crazy to be nice and smile while seriously expressing their concerns.  “And the Best Actor Oscar goes to…..” 

On the other hand, my man President Obama was killing me with the whole using first names thing.  Members of Congress were saying “Mr. President” and while he was saying John and Mitch.  Joe Sixpack is at home in his Lazyboy talking about uppity this and arrogant that.  It is all part of a diabolical plan and the White House doesn’t see it coming.

Old school folks know what time it is and I would strongly recommend that the first couple retire to the executive quarters, dig in their stacks of vinyl and play the O’Jays hit “Back Stabbers.”  The lyrics apply to the Right, those on the far Left and some in the center.  On the other hand, the Blue Dogs in the South might be humming the same tune when thinking about the WH and their party’s leadership.  I can’t call it.  The other O’Jays song that applies to politics is of course “For the Love of Money.”



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In my community, we say, “If you don’t know, you better raise your hand and ask someone.”  With that sage wisdom (is that a redundant term) in mind, I ask these questions about Georgia politics.

1. Is the GOP counting on young voters and Black voters not returning to the polls this year?

2. Why won’t the political parties start with the desired result and work backwards to achieve it?

3. Is the ultimate goal a better functioning America or destruction of the other parties?

4. Why won’t Michael Steele and company consider the general election when producing primary candidates?

5. Why won’t the Democrats realize that Senator Isakson can’t be beaten, not run any candidate against him and leave his sizable war chest out of the equation?

6. Would a non-contested Isakson be free to dialog now?

7. Why didn’t the GOP help Rep. Sanford Bishop become Agriculture Secretary if they seriously wanted his congressional seat?  Did they forget that the Republican governor would have appointed his replacement?

8. When the ultra-conservatives say Bishop does not listen to people, are they saying that 158,000 voters are not really people?  

9. Would Rep. Jim Marshall have been an easier and more logical target for Bishop’s opponent or David Scott’s opponent?  Did anyone ask Newt? 

10. Would Macon, Tifton and Warner Robins see GOP candidate Dr. Deborah Honeycutt and family as southern Obamas or Huxtables?  Did I just go there?  Is there anything cooler than a successful family?

11. Does anyone in the GOP remember that Rep. Marshall dissed (on some level) the Obama and Hillary presidential campaigns?  Can’t you all see an opportunity there?

12. If any Blue Dogs gets bounced, who should it be? (Leading question…I’m just saying)

13. Would Ray McKinney or Karen Bogans do better against Rep. John Barrow than the current candidates? 

14. Will the GOP produce women candidates who can reach Democrat moderate women in the general election or will tea stains be too strong?  Did I just coin the term “tea stains” to describe those supported by the strong Tea Party movement who then try to secure enough “other” voters to win the general election?

15. Is Vernon Jones the Tiger Woods of Georgia politics?  Would Jones make a good congressman if Rep. Johnson did not feel well?  (Best Wishes to Rep. Johnson) 

16. Did I tell you that Austin Scott was a bright dude who should be running for congress?  Did anyone listen?

17. Is Florida senate candidate Mario Rubio the model for the smiling southern conservative candidate? Did he learn that watching Isakson?  Is Rubio the next Obama?


18. Did anyone read this whole list?

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While traveling in Israel last week, Fox News was the only English-language news at my rented apartment.  They had a field day on the Senate win by Scott Brown but the real winners are President Obama and the Blue Dogs because this wakeup call justifies them moving the Democrat agenda to the center.  The center is a good place.

When the Democrats took control of the both houses of congress and the White House, the checkbook came out for all the items ignored during the Bush years; reasonable catch-up appeared to the untrained eye as wild spending and a policy free for all.  We did the same thing as congressional staffers when Bill Clinton became president but the mid-term election loss of both the House and Senate was an eye-opener or black eye.

President Obama’s Team can how craft policy that better reflects the heartland of America rather than the true liberals on the two coasts and the logical leaders will be the Blue Dogs who general sit in party caucus meetings biting their lips or holding their noses. Of course, those centrist members are from districts that are most vulnerable.

If the true liberals have a problem with the move to the center, they better get over it with a quickness or the congress will fall to some really far-right Tea Party types and those guys are as far one way as the liberals are the other. 

Senator Scott Brown is more liberal than Georgia Blue Dog Representative Jim Marshall in my opinion; the GOP lucked-up and got a candidate who fits the formula to win the center: likeable, energetic and less bitter.  He is nothing like most GOP congressional candidates in the South who voluntarily watch Fox News and like it—give Brown that GOP purity test and watch him flunk big time.  Mike Huckabee knows what is happening but the Right is too busy listening to Alaska to hear.  Winning nationally requires the sensible center.

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“A vision without resources is a hallucination” is a good quote from Thomas L. Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded.  The quote could easily apply to the efforts of a small group to Black moderates in the South who seek to improve political and public policy relations through diversity and dialog with the conservatives.  It’s not going to happen Don Quixote. 

Better than Don Quixote and the windmills, the situation is similar to the dog movie Bolt (the kids in my family got Uncle Teddy to watch it yesterday.)  Bolt is running around thinking he has super powers and can get this and that done only to discover the whole drama is fake—everyone is an actor unbeknownst to him.  It’s all smoke and mirrors (Uncle Teddy saw Sherlock Holmes this week also.) 

After the GOP got spanked in still another election, the opportunity was there for them to foster better relations with the middle and a red version of the Blue Dogs seems imminent.  That did not happen because the vocal far-right decided to push out the remaining few GOP moderates and purify their ranks.  Expecting the true conservatives to dialog with the center or left is silly.  So, the Blue Dog section of the Democrat Party became the logical home for centrists.

Friedman’s book details his view of our energy future if we don’t act quickly and seriously.  In Georgia, political energy gets wasted in alarming amounts.  They try to defeat members of congress who can be beaten rather than working with the fellows to improve policies, laws and budgets.  After 20 years in game, I can say that Democrats will talk with dam near anyone while the power behind the GOP dares their members to listen to anyone else.  Zero.  Not a freaking syllable. 

In America, we need to produce more clean energy but also reduce our consumption with efficiency and better technology.  The same logic applies to politics and policy for me as a Black southern moderate.  I want to see the far-left and far-right limited because their extreme views are unhealthy but I also hope that they will envision a policy arena with various views working toward consensus. Let me make it plain: many southern conservatives function with the mentality that they know everything and should decide what is best for everyone—think plantation or apartheid. 

Rush and Glenn have them full of piss and vinegar and that is no way to go through life.  On the other side, the liberal part of the Democrats have people waiting for the government to fix all the problems in their lives—problems the people created.  My primary concern is pushing for a better Georgia and South, and the next step toward that goal is a few members of congress who can tell the truth in a positive way. There are current congressional members who went to D.C. to do that but the national parties talking points don’t included honesty on that level. 

Are you seriously telling me that a national party would pass on Newt, Huckabee and Romney for Palin and the same party can’t produce one Black member of congress?  Michael Steele promised improved diversity but I don’t think he had any idea who was on his team.  If he wanted historic congressional diversity, Georgia could serve it up on a platter with limited resources but you know what they say about vision without resources.

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I can’t believe the new “Pray for Obama Psalm 109:8” T-shirt.  While the shirt seems positive, that part of the Bible is basically hate-speak when applied to a president. 

Psalm 109:8-13 (King James Version)

 8Let his days be few; and let another take his office.

 9Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

 10Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.

 11Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.

 12Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.

 13Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Some people just like being ugly and don’t understand or respect the electoral process: a few people run for office, someone wins with a majority of the vote and that person governs with ideas he stated during the race.  There are vocal voters who feel that their congressmen and senators are not doing what they want.  Look here genius, the election results drive the policy and an elected official who would go against 60 or 70% of the voters is wrong.  In my opinion, serving in that manner would be un-American. 

Of course, the majority can be wrong at times and we are thinking about those times with the current discussion of slavery that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid injected into the healthcare debate.  During the civil rights movement, the Kennedy brothers were cautious with federal involvement because they did not want to offend southerners. Really?  They did not want to offend people who were ignoring federal law.  To conveniently ignore federal law and the U.S. Constitution epitomizes un-American activities. 

Protesters to Obama policies say this is not the best course for our nation and sometimes I agree but consider the will of the people.  For example, we know that diet, rest and exercise improve our bodies but most of us don’t do that.  If the people elect leaders to do certain things (tax, spend, occupy nations), you must first take that up with the voters—not the officeholders.          

I am sick and tired of conservatives saying that Blue Dog Democrats don’t represent the will of the people.  Did those congressmen win their last elections by sizable margins?  They must be doing what the people want and if you have a problem with that, take it up with the people.  The protesters then say that an elected official would change his or her vote if the political winds changed.  Hello, that’s called representative democracy.  I am from the school of thought that believes that elected officials are public servants.  Servants gauge the will of the people and act accordingly.  If you live in a congressional district that is 70% liberal or 70% conservative, the actions are clear.  If the district is equally split, the public servant often takes a compromise position that reflects the diversity of the area—not popular with anyone but fair.  Who can understand that?

I never bad-mouthed George W. Bush because the people had spoken and he executed policy based on their sentiment.  If Democrats had problems with those policies, they should have gotten more people into the polls…and they did.  President Obama is a decent person who will govern based on the will of the people who elected him.  I think he is fully prepared and might welcome being a one-termer who ran on reform and change, delivered and then bounced at the top of his game like Jim Brown.  I hope that no one wants his children to be fatherless because hating like that will land you a spot in West Hell—and you will be surprised that you are there.  Roasting.  See what you have done: hating on your hating is going to land me there also. Roasting with no ice water.


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Election night this and early analysis that is fine but my opinion of Tuesday’s results are deliberate, measured, and after deep contemplation. (Okay, my dinosaur of a computer was having hard drive issues.)

And the winner is: President Barrack Obama.  (Somebody up there really loves him.)

If the Democrats did well in the elections, the party base would push harder for more of the costly change “we can believe in” but can’t afford—financially or politically.   They would push for more traditional liberal candidates for the midterm elections next year and force actions matters that would embolden the far-right.  However, the governors races in New Jersey and Virginia confirmed that the alliance that put the president in office is big but frail, constructed of people who are new to the glacier pace of public policy and based in large part on Obama himself being one great guy (not the party but Obama—glacier-cool rock star.)  We are talking Rat Pack cool, Hemingway smooth, Sidney Poitier with a Havard Law degree.

The brain trust in Obama’s corner wants a reason to pull White House policies to the center but needed it done before the midterm election nightmare President Bill Clinton experienced—like a little nightmare during a cat nap. “We want to drive the good liberal agenda but we would lose the congress next year and the White House in 2012…to Palin.”

And the first runners-up are: Those Blue Dog Democrats. (Somebody up there really loves Obama and knows he needs them.)

As a result of the elections and the protest movement, the Blue Dogs get policies that makes better fiscal sense and they get to be the models for swing districts despite the far-left illusion that they are running America.  Democrats need to sit down and learn from Al Gore.  Clinton/Gore and the congressional Democrats broke their necks attempting to help regular folks but regular folks must turn into regular votes.  The key to the elections next year will be success from Obama White House policies and some long coattails.  They say young and minority voters don’t go to the polls for mid-term elections; those voters have never been asked by a young minority rock star.

Possible losers from Tuesday night: Michael Steele and the crew that fields GOP congressional candidates next year. 

If Steele followed the blueprint he outlined while running for chairman, he would be searching for cooler, less bitter conservatives (Red Dogs.)  But, Rush, Glenn and Fox News will pick some real firebrands who are perfect for the far-right but scary the daylights out of the moderates needed to win in certain areas.  If they listen to Newt and Steele, they would be much better off.

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At this point, we all know that the Dede Scozzafava v. Doug Hoffman race in New York’s 23rd congressional district is a battle that might clear the way for Democrat candidate Bill Owens to take that seat.  The Obama White House picked Republican Congressman John McHugh to be Secretary of the Army and open the opportunity to have a Democrat win the seat—another smooth move from WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel no doubt.

This move actually could have far reaching ramification because it sparked a civil war on the Right between the GOP establishment that wants to win elections and possibly take the House back, and the conservative movement that wants all candidates with them on most issues.  Here’s the thing about hanging with revolutionaries: they want action and they want it now. Tea Partiers are no joke on the right and the progressives that voted for change are no joke on the left. 

I saw Newt Gingrich on T.V. warning that far-right litmus test for candidates will lead the Right to becoming a very passionate 20% of the electorate and you can win nationally with those numbers.  Then I saw the video on Speaker Gingrich “breaking it down” that Scozzafava is “adequately conservative” in an upstate New York district and that she would vote for Minority Leader John Boeher to be speaker.  Period.  The End.  Jeb Bush tried to tell them; Colin Powell did the same. 

A political party that gets beatdown decides to seek candidates relative to the situation in their particular districts.  That the method Democrats employed when they came to understand that south Georgia is not south central L.A.; give the Blue Dogs some slack because Dems in the south are moderate if not somewhat conservative.  Scozzafava would be the GOP version of this formula and folks on right are flipping out. 

Centrists have called for less bitter GOP candidates in Blue Dog districts if the Red Team has any hope of taking the congress back soon (a Black GOP candidate would be the real answer but that would be to much like right.)  Speaker Tom Foley once said any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.  Building consensus is key to governing a diverse nation.   Without flexibility on who is “adequately conservative,” Obama will be president when the next Black Republican serves in congress from the South….President Sasha Obama.

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It sounds odd but I like the Kohler faucet ad where a couple asks an architect to design a house around a faucet.  The same logic should be employed—in my opinion- to select congressional candidates: start from the desired result and operation backwards, or start with the type candidate who can win in that particular situation and plug in the right person for that candidacy.  The faucet in that ad conveys a certain elegance and style which the couple feels reflects their lives and they want that continued in their home.  Can the same be said about “home” congressional districts? 

Georgia congressional politics in swing districts involves the left, the center and the right.  The candidate who gets two of those three segments can win.  Currently, the Blue Dogs get the left and the center in a skillful display of balance.  The right seems to have little interest in producing candidates with centrist appeal.  If the suburban dwellers that are center-right become more comfortable with the Blue Dogs (reacting to the anger of the protesters, the negative vibe of talk radio and T.V. and the pending presidential bid of Palin) the right won’t be able to win swing districts—and they know it.  

But, what those of us in the center don’t seem to understand is that conservatism leaves little room for flexibility.  Conservative friends have been saying that for years but people would not listen.  Everyone remembers the classic Oprah show when Dr. Maya Angelou said people tell you who they really are when you first meet them—believe them.   Conservatives are not looking to build a winning coalition with anyone else; they are waiting for the rest of the voters to “realize” the error of their ways and move right—far right.  I still can’t believe that some on the right view Georgia’s Republican senators as liberals.  Really—not centrists or moderates but liberals.  Senators who national sources rank as clearly conservatives.  The same people are beating up Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham this week for not being real conservatives also. 

Okay, let me see if I finally get this:

 -Not every Republican is a conservative. 

-Not every Democrat is a liberal.

From those two theories, the 2010 congressional elections in Georgia look bright for the Blue Dogs because the traditional Democrats (liberals) afford them leeway to be somewhat conservative or centrist, but the conservative purists are purging their ranks of any Republicans who are not pure-bred red.  Putting the castaways in the doghouse—the Blue doghouse.

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