Posts Tagged ‘Isakson’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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As quiet as it is kept, I have some close friends who are Black conservatives.  Those people have had some sleepless nights over the direction of the Republican Party.  One would think Black conservatives would be hot commodities with President Obama in the White House but that isn’t necessarily the case.

The Tea Party Movement (TPM) Republicans have pushed pass most Black conservatives and told the GOP moderates to sit in the corner.  While most conservatives agree on policy, the techniques and methods of the TPM resembles protested from our troubled past too much for some people.  Disagree, yes but don’t do it in a toxic combative manner.

In Georgia, we went from centrist Senator Sam Nunn to regular Republicans as senators without trauma or drama.  But, going from moderate Sanford Bishop to a Tea Party-type Republican would be too much.  That Tea Party candidate might fit well in a conservative district but Georgia’s 2nd is a mixture of rural and urban and includes two HBCUs.  Quick question: who around the TPM knows what a HBCU is and no it’s not an intercontinental ballistic missle..that would be ICBM.  I attended events at Albany State University’s homecoming and never saw a thing in support of Bishop’s opponent and would imagine the same was true at Fort Valley State’s homecoming last week.  With 20,000 people on “the Yard,” a second district congressional candidate should have been there gladly.  

The only time I saw TPM members at ASU was during the healthcare town hall meeting.  To be fair, we have two senators who have no problem visiting Black colleges; Isakson has a long relationship with Morehouse College and Chambliss leadership on the Senate Agriculture Committee connects him to FVSU Ag department’s research programs.  Rep. Jack Kingston maintains a friendly and functional relationship with Savannah State University.  I worked for Bishop predecessor and his post-homecoming game reception was the place to be—a tradition that Bishop continued.

Why in the world would a poor region bounce a member of the House Appropriations Committee for a TPM Republican who would be a one-termer.  The TPM wave this year is strong but the reelection Obama wave in southwest Georgia in 2012 will be even stronger.

The GOP candidate in the 2nd District might have a future in a conservative congressional district but this isn’t it—not now and not here.  In preparation for 2012, the masterminds of conservative movement really want Blue Dog congressional seats.  Let me hip you to the game: if most moderate to conservative Democrats are bounced from office in 2010, the remaining Democrat Caucus would be more liberal and easier to demonize in 2012.  Those Blue Dogs are often the voices of budgetary restraint in party meetings and the Democrats who work better with conservatives.    

My conservative friends said glowing things about the GOP moderate movement of Christie Todd Whitman and Michael Steele in the past.  Oh, they were going to create a less bitter, “stick to the fact” division of the Right that would appeal to moderates, centrists and independents.  That (blank) fell apart and most moderates were tossed out of the GOP…don’t let the doorknob hit you….

I went to hear Steele, chairman of RNC, speak recently and couldn’t help but think what could have been if they followed his blueprint for inclusion and diversity.  Steele and I talked briefly and I told him that he should have won that U.S. Senate because that was a more natural fit for him than chair of his party.  I then told him that I wouldn’t hear him speak in Albany, Georgia, because the Blue Dog Democrat in my district was a better fit.  Little did I know but the 2nd District TPM candidate rejected having Steele’s bus tour come to southwest Georgia.  They chose to have a prominent RNC member arrive on the bus the following Tuesday.  To me, that move was cold.  If you running against one of the most conservative Black members of congress, how do you turn down the Black GOP chairman who is in your area.  I am not making that racial but it is surely a sign that Steele’s moderate history rubs the TPM the wrong way.  

In south Georgia, we have grown accustom to moderate Democrats and even some Republicans but a TPM congressman representing Georgia’s 2nd District will not fly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Cameo- It’s Like Candy


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


Bow Wow Wow – I want Candy


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


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

Georgia Meth Project – Media Alert sent by Jackson Spaulding

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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