Posts Tagged ‘Macon’

If crystal balls were real, I would look into one and tell Georgia what will happen with congress reapportionment and the 2012 elections (no need to state the obvious in safe seats.)

Georgia 2nd District: Macon, Columbus and Albany will again be in this district and it will be Dem for the next ten years.  If Rep. Bishop decides to move into a position with the next administration (Obama or some GOP POTUS), the GOP should start grooming a likable African American candidate who is less bitter (a Black Scott Brown.)  If Bishop is unbeatable in 2012, wise guys in the GOP should discourage anyone from running just to be running because Bishop’s campaign apparatus serves as the S.W. Georgia foundation of Obama 2012. 

Georgia 8th District: This district becomes unwinnable for a Democrat with the exit of the Dem. sections of Macon.  As in the 2nd, energy and resources spent running a candidate could be better spent in truly contested congressional districts or charitable contributions.  If we free up members from raising money, they would have more time to seek solutions and would be less beholden big money donors.

Georgia 1st District: While members don’t own districts, Rep. Jack Kingston is one conservative who doesn’t deserve token Dem. opposition.  Kingston has built a strong relationship in the Black community with his work on regional interests, frequent visits to “Democratic” events and his long history of hiring minority staffers.  He covers southeast Georgia like the dew or that funny smell from the paper mills.

Georgia 12th District: With the exit of Savannah to the 1st, this congressional race will be hotter than fish grease.  A few GOP members of the state legislature will run because it’s their turn but they should dust off Michael Steele’s old diversity plans and find a woman, a minority or a minority woman.  From the political center, I will say that the GOP doesn’t understand how easy it would be for women and minorities to support a less bitter conservative who adds range to the old boys club.  Rep. Barrow could switch to the GOP now and be safer; but he will likely stay Dem and count on the GOP producing a primary winner with little appeal to the center.  

Georgia New District: Hall County based…safely conservative.

Summary: Georgia is the biggest state east of the Mississippi River and President Obama needs to win it to have a second term.  Half of Georgia lives in metro Atlanta and there are a dozen different types of Black folks and a dozen different types of White folks in the peach state.  While urban Blacks are real liberals, rural Blacks could support certain conservatives in certain situations.  In this crystal ball, I see President Obama leaving office in 2013 or 2017 (hard to make out) but the aftermath is rough on the Black community.  We put all of our political eggs in one basket and an elephant is kicking that basket across the South. 

With secondary concern with presidential politics, our community should build a functional relationship with conservatives—at least the Black ones.  My dear brother Obama thought he would find a few conservatives interested in dialog and compromise but hell no.  If I could see into the conservative strategy meetings, it seems that the plan is to beat up on the president so much that we would say, “come home, man, before the stress beats you down.”  He said he was tough (which means the ablilty to take punishment like the only Black kid in a whole school.)  But to lead in this times, he needs to be rough also (like elbows on the basketball court.)

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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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Election season can be awkward because the process doesn’t always allow the flexibility for voters to express themselves.  We have primaries, party slates and candidates who make assumptions from their election results.  I voted in the Republican primary six years ago because I wanted to support innovative Senate candidate Herman Cain but I skipped most of the other candidates because I basically wasn’t feeling them. 

In 2008, my political friends could have called me a rare S.O.B. because I voted for Saxby, Obama and Bishop (B.O.S. would have had less flair.)  Centrists are constantly weighing regional interests, party loyalty and personal views when selecting candidates.  While we are months away, I have no idea what I am going to do in the Senate race between two exceptional Georgians who have both served our state well.  I do know that my party doesn’t control all of my votes and that people should follow their guts.

The other day I was thinking that I was “ghost” on the other contests in that Republican primary since I was there to “primarily” support Cain.  Since people fought some hard for the right to vote, would skipping a contest on the ballot be wrong or a gesture of “none of the above.”

In a related situation, many incumbents have no primary opposition.  In a light bulb moment, I thought not voting for an unopposed incumbent in a primary could be away of letting that candidate know that we shouldn’t be taken for granted.  Of course, the candidate still advances to the general election but he or she knows that we are weighting our options.  Those options might include “ghost” voting in November if we choose—like none of the above.  After the primary, a candidate would discover that a significant number of people who voted in other races skipped his name. 

For example, the number of new Obama voters who only voted for president is alarming; that situation was flat silly since they didn’t know the importance of other offices.  The buzz term this election season is “low information voters” and it was created to label people who get their news from one very opinionated source.  To be fair, I think people in my community who vote a straight party slate and assume that a candidate with a “D” on his jersey is 100% “down for the cause” are also “low information voters.”

For sake of full disclosure, the election of President Obama was one of the coolest events of my life; I really like the guy and hope he is successful in improving our great nation.  As quiet as it is kept, my appreciation goes out to Republicans who also voted for him and Democrat centrists will give their party’s better candidates a good and fair look this year.

In Georgia, Representative Jim Marshall has wisely balanced his membership in the Democrat Party with the conservative views of large segments of his district.  In a perfect world, Marshall would be an independent who is free to vote his mind every time but in this political world, congressmen must slide with their team more often than not.  On several key votes, Marshall was ghost for the Democrat team but low information voters don’t know it. 

Actually, we never learned if Marshall voted for Obama or McCain but his skipping the Democrat National Convention wasn’t cool with me.  In addition to formal nominating a presidential candidate, those conventions are where officials like Marshall fight to pull the control of the party platform nearer the center of America and away from the far left.  He is a smart guy and when Obama/Biden needed him, he was ghost.  I have never seen a picture of Marshall and Obama—what up with that.  But, I remember him stating in campaign ads years ago that he did this and that with President Bush. 

Voters in middle Georgia remember Marshall’s quality leadership as mayor of Macon, Georgia, but a little wake up call might be helpful to remind him that we like him but love this President.  The Democrat Party can’t control us like sleep.  Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. is considering supporting a Republican friend running for Obama’s old Senate seat. Can he do that?   

Voters in the Democrat primary should consider “ghost voting” by not automatically voting for unopposed Marshall in the primary this summer and if he skips more major votes that the White House needs November could be up in the air.  I appericate the kind statements Macon’s current mayor made about Obama during the presidential campaign; he has a bright future. (Wink) While most of our community doesn’t care for Republicans, we occasionally vote for conservatives who might add a voice of reason in their meetings; we vote for Blue Dogs we considering moderate to conservative.  Heck, President Obama put several Republicans in his cabinet but only one  Blue Dog and zero members of the Congressional Black Caucus.  If the GOP takes the Congress, the influence and views of a few reasonable Republicans could be more important to the WH than a Dem with a history of being ghost. 

In the old school, we played the Police album “Ghost In The Machine” to death and love the cut “Spirits in the Material World.”  That song had the lyric “They subjugate the meek…but it’s the rhetoric of failure.”  Today, we are subjugating ourselves by locking in with one group and not listening to valid alternatives.  I have always respected the Police because they constantly acknowledge that their music is rooted in the reggae from Jamaica.  The current base of the Georgia Democrat Party is rooted in my community and that fact should be remember when we say help the President from our party. 

Party politics often centers on political machines, those groups of people who get the vote out in large numbers.  Machines often recommend candidates but don’t monitor them once elected.  In Tifton, Georgia, two years ago, I would tell people with Obama/Biden stickers that the local Democrat congressman wasn’t really a supporter of the ticket and their mouths would drop—low information voters.  Our modern-day “Ghost In The Machine” should be ghost-voting candidates who take us for granted.  The political machines wouldn’t like that very much but everyone would be on their toes. 

To my GOP friends (all both of you), your whole party seems like a great big machine at times.  If a Democrat has listened to you on regional issues, you should ignore national groups who say he or she is not fair and attentive.  You guys have some real ghost busters in your camp.  Your machine shouldn’t tell candidates to avoid any dialog with those of different opinions. 

This ghost voting idea could really be something. 

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The race in Georgia’s 8th congressional district won’t be a race at all without a game-changer element; a Republican candidate who can benefit from Rep. Marshall’s icy attitude toward President Obama.  The same Jim Marshall who was wild about mentioning President Bush in his past campaign ads.

 State Senator Ross Tolleson would be next viable candidate because he has the bio and credentials of a member of congress—UGA, banker, farmer, KA, family guy.  When I was a staffer, a KA ring was the ticket for Georgia power or Georgia Power. The question becomes: Is Tolleson that much different from Rep. Marshall in the eyes of the average voter?  Notice I said “the average voter” rather than pundits, bloggers, or strong party members.  While this is a mid-term election, Marshall’s townhall meeting sounded like a two-hour lovefest from the center and right.  To win a traditional GOP candidate must secure new voters on the far right because Marshall is already center right. 

 To me, this situation for the GOP is similar to Obama and Hillary.  It was Hillary’s turn and she would have made an excellent president—old girl is tough as nails.  But, the conservatives detest Bill and Hillary enough to rally around McCain and they might have won the White House.  It was not fair but life is not fair.  Hillary took one for the team. 

 I don’t see a traditional GOP candidate beating Marshall so if anyone asked me (no one ask me) I would say think outside the box, take advantage of the icy Obama situation and get a quality African American candidate.  Since the heaviest Black GOPer in the district would be the gentleman who ran for mayor of Macon and came up short, they should look just outside the district—which would bring suburban Atlanta into play.

 The Right really doesn’t understand Black voters.  I would take Dr. Deborah Honeycutt or Michael Murphy from suburban Atlanta and split the Black vote like a Georgia peach.  What a fascinating dilemma: incumbent congressman who is a former mayor with strong ties in every community who ices down the young president and blows off healthcare reform.  On the other hand, a GOP African American candidate who is conservative but smooth with it; keeping the vibe constructive and positive—a tea partier with a little honey mixed in. (That’s clever—“honey cut” into the tea from the bitterness of the protest).  Michael Murphy remains me of sage Donald Sutherland; he would be well received in professional Black circles and among those concerned with personal responsibility.  

 You know certain conservative principles would be more effective coming from certain voices. That’s your game changer.  Would Blacks vote for someone we like but only recently met?   Yes we can.

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While watching Georgia Tech fall to Miami in college football last night, the current national climate had me wondering if I am a racist for supporting the Canes’ young Black coach over my sister’s college.  I wanted Tech to win but there’s something about see a door open for minorities—it’s like having a Black president.

College football and congressional politics go together.  After both teams opened the season with victories, the Canes were better prepared for this game; their scout team must have done a fine job of simulating the Yellow Jackets in practice.  The Blue Dog Democrats are playing the scout team role for their party in preparation for battles with the Republicans; they introduce a certain amount of conservatism.  The GOP’s craftiness dictates that they will rarely assist their opposition intentionally.  With the healthcare debate, the Blue Dogs and Tea Party protesters actually forced the Democrats to slow down and improve the proposals.  Thanks. 

As a life-long college football fan (remember USC’s Anthony Davis scoring at will against Notre Dame in ‘74), I know recruiting is half of the battle.  HBO is running a documentary called “The Rivalry” about the Michigan and Ohio State football.  Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard is one of the many Ohio natives who played for the Maize and Blue.  In my personal opinion, Georgia’s two political parties can’t recruit worth a flip. The Democrats keep coming up with senatorial candidates who can’t win statewide and their best possible senatorial recruits (the House Blue Dogs) would rather stay safe in their current division—like 12,000 students Valdosta State playing Division II football when they have twice the enrollment of the ACC’s Wake Forest University.  Blazers, it’s time to step up to the D1-AA. 

The GOP has their own method of recruitment for congressional candidates and that is their business since that is not my team.  But, dad-gum, why wouldn’t they create a sub-division of moderates like the Democrats did with the Blue Dogs (formerly the Dixiecrats.)  Their strategy clearly is to whip the nation into a paranoid frenzy to swell their traditional ranks and of course moderates and minorities are put-off by those techniques–good policies, questionable methods.

Georgia Bulldog Joe Cox patiently waited his turn behind NFL top draft pick Matthew Stanford.  While others would have transferred for more playing time, Cox stayed in Athens for one real year as QB1.  Other top passing quarterbacks joined teams only to learn that their role would be handing the ball to running backs.  If the GOP were wise they would recruit the middle Georgia Blue Dog who is uncomfortable with the liberal direction of the D party.  Peace…see you around….we’ll holler.  But, they are not wise with recruitment or with scouting.  The same Blue Dog will vote the will of his constituents over White House initiatives this congress.  But, not so fast because the core Democrat base in his district will likely say, “what about us” at some point. 

To finishing this football comparison, coaches often use players in the wrong positions.  When spending quality time with my nephews playing Playstation college football (okay, my friends would say “You Lie” because I do play alone more often than not), I take the fastest player on the team and put him at quarterback while running the Option formation from the shotgun—the Wildcat offense.  I don’t care if the guy is a receiver or even a defensive back—just run that option.  I tell my GOP friends that they should recruit the African American lady doctor who ran in one congressional district to run in middle Georgia (a few counties over) and they would make history.   Again, we like seeing new doors open.




USC v. ND  1974


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father day

This weekend we will hear everything that can be said fondly about America’s fathers.  I wanted to take this opportunity to salute an often forgotten group, intentional childless men.  Some men take parenthood so seriously that they wait for the optimal time and conditions to bring a child into this world. 

If those conditions never occur, some deliberate guys choose to enjoy their wives, extended family and/or the sweet single life.  My wise cousin who grew up in Philly tells me to go where you want and do what you want when you want because you have neither “chick nor child.”  That statement must be her way of saying thank heaven that your selfish behind realized your selfishness and skipped parenthood. 

Fatherhood in the Black community is the toughest job you will ever love.  But, it is a roll of the dice.  My deer hunting friends (code for White guys) put that little red and black Georgia Bulldog football in the crib with their sons and look forward to gameday at Sanford Stadium in twenty years.  Of course, their sons will likely be sitting in the stands next to them rather than on the field.  What about the brothers who think that their sons practicing basketball 6 hours a day will get them into the N.B.A.  If Junior would get his homework with that much determination he could be in the N.B.A., the National Bankers Association and own a basketball team.  Wait a second; non-parents have no rights to offer commentary on parenting.

If I had to work as hard as my daddy did—that man loved working- to provide for some kids who might turnout to be crappy people, I will pass and by the looks of things a considerable percentage of those who produced children should have passed also.  If the kids are here, it is time to step up because the human infant is likely more dependant than any other mammal.  “Did he just refer to my precious buddle of joy as a mammal?” 

In high school, I worked at a little radio station and next to the microphone the station owner placed a Winston Churchill quote.  Basically, the quote stated that it was not expected of you to do your best; it was expected of you to do what was expected of you. That statement has Father’s Day written all over it. 

In politics and policy, the officeholders from my community are reluctant in asking young people to refrain from starting families until they are prepared.  Of course, parenthood and marriage (not in that order) actually seasons and matures some fellows—who knows.  Successful guys my age can always get involved with Big Brothers, be good uncles or adopt a nice teenager. 

The public assistance and abortion debate should include targeting teens with real options and information so they will hopefully understand that parenthood is different from having a puppy and I have seen some folks with babies who I would not trust with a puppy. 

How in the world has the conservative movement failed to capitalize on the common sense mindset of reasonable African Americans?  I like President Obama as head of the executive branch of government and the residual benefit of a strong young family in the White House is priceless to Americans of any color.  If the Georgia GOP wants to pick up a congressional seat in say Macon, a genteel Black Republican with say a strong intellectual husband would appeal to our community like southern Obamas—giving Black fatherhood examples is better than still another grant.  

Girls with “daddy issues” might have messy relationships with men. Boys with absent fathers might ended being raised by the streets and fellow inmates.  The women who were mother and father to their children should enjoy their second holiday in two months.

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During Thanksgiving Dinner or around the football games (if you can call blowouts football games), some civic-minded Georgians announced to their families their intentions to run for congress in 2010—a long process that starts in about 10 days.  May I say that for many of these ambitious possible candidates that decision is as ill-advised as bourbon-soaked fried turkey—an expensive disaster waiting to happen.


In Georgia, most congressional seats are safe for incumbents until the district lines are changed after the 2010 census.  Representatives John Barrow and Jim Marshall are in the only tossup seats.  Representative Paul Broun is safe if State Labor Secretary Michael Thurmond decides to run for governor rather than congress in the Athens-heavy 10th District.


If the GOP has any hope against Barrow and Marshall, they must find and accept moderate Republicans candidates who can legitimately battle these Blue Dog Democrats for the political center.  I must give credit where credit is due: Macon loves Congressman Jim Marshall for his stellar service as mayor.  If the GOP wants to seriously challenge for that seat, they should hope that Marshall runs for governor or find a Obama, Palin type person who the people love—a T.V. anchorwoman for example. 


I have a model for a new style candidate that I am sure would work in the right situation.  John McCain has always been correct regarding the ugly affect that money has on candidates and officeholders.  I wanted to see a congressional candidate who runs based on a commitment to fundraise only $200K—$100K in Georgia and $100K outside the state.  Without the deep money obligations to lobbyist and special interests, this official would be free to serve the people first.  Of course, outside groups would still flood T.V. with ads.  Time normally spent seeking money would be better used getting to the people directly. 


President-elect Obama owes the actual people more than he owes corporate America, K-Street or what is left of Wall Street because he 90 percent of the $800 million he was given came from people giving less than $200 and half of it was from people giving $25 or less.


Can you imagine a freshman Member of Congress who does not need to constantly plead for money?  The freshness of this type candidate would draw media attention and respect.  The Internet, televised debates and new Media could replace the need for expensive T.V. ad buys.  “The times, they are a changin” and fresh ideas will be needed in 2010.

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