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Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’

Cynthia Tucker’s recent column on race and redistricting is so correct.  She wrote:

If black covers think they have made substantial gains simply by having more black representatives in Congress, they’re wrong.  They’d have more influence if they were spread through several legislative districts, forcing more candidates to court them.

My county is divided between Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott and both are likable and intelligent men fully prepare to serve a cross-section of Georgians.  But, as Ms. Tucker wrote, corralling most Blacks into a few districts make the contiguous districts areas ultra White.  Voters in ultra White districts equate congressional time spent with Blacks to time spent with liberals because they don’t understand that most rural southern Blacks are actually moderate to conservative in their mindsets on issues.  If not for the vitriol created by ultra conservative media, Michael Steele could have drawn 25% of the Black vote into a moderate section of the Right–even Bishop would have likely switched. 

Thoughts of brother Steele brings me to another Tucker point: hyper Black districts and therefore hyper White districts discourage moderation. For more on the importance of moderate, one can read almost every previous post on this blog.  

 I started work at the U.S. Congress when Rep. John Lewis was the only Black member of the Georgia delegation and most southern congress members spent a third of their time in the Black community.  Oh, Bishop and the Blue Dogs will serve conservatives on a fair level but will conservatives give an equal ear to the center and the left.  An interesting but forgotten fact is that Newt Gingrich had a Black female chief of staff in his personal office back in the day.  Ms. Tucker should have an intern count the number of Black staffers in White southern congressional offices and the number of White staffers in Black members’ offices.  As they say in sports, we can’t win for losing.

http://www.albanyherald.com/opinion/headlines/Black_house_districts_work_for_GOP_123141908.html?storySection=comments

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I am a good American who wants the best people governing.  While I support candidates I find competent of any party, a quagmire results from deciding if I should hope for an opponent who is easier for my guy to beat or hope for a quality person who would serve well if elected.

Obama is my guy in 2012 but I have issues with friends who gleefully want the worst GOP candidate in November.  What if that zany person actually wins?  Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels and Jon Huntsman are presidential material and if the economy doesn’t improve Obama himself might see the logic in letting someone else have at it.   Newt, Newt, my homeboy Newt is clearly an ideas guy whose intelligence and vision would be helpful to the nation but he likes to toss fire and that’s not cool.

In Georgia congressional politics, moderates must face the reality that Democrats help people who don’t bother voting—oh, they can go to every freaking high school football and basketball game but can’t find 10 minutes to vote.  If elections are to be decided in the primaries, we should support reasonable GOP candidates running against out of touch candidates or help out of touch candidates better understand all of the electorate.  If not, we might have elected officials who developed their points of view in a bubble…a strange angry bubble where everyone is like everyone else.   Cain vs. Obama would be cool with me because Cain would say what needs to be said to regular folks. 

I think Democrats and Black folks should spend some time listening to Herman Cain and the rest of the GOP field.  Their concerns are valid and solutions are often sensible—their methods and disposition need some work.  In a strange twist, listening to the conservative side helps President Obama because moderates better understand why he is seeking common ground with them.  I am a positive guy and if any conservative wants to talk about why their temperament is often off-putting, I am right here and eager to teach and learn.  Bottomline: constantly angry is no way to go through life. 

Columnist Cynthia Tucker wrote a nice one this week about Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss catching heat for negotiating in the Gang of Six group.  Why in the world would someone dislike an elected official for doing his job?  Tucker is correct: the ultra conservatives and the ultra liberals need to stop tripping.  We should remember that these two groups are a fraction of the American people but they are vocally involved and we all know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  

http://www.albanyherald.com/opinioncolumns/headlines/GOP_hostage_to_cranks_on_fringe_122363899.html

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The HistoryMakers oral history videos on Rep. Sanford Bishop and Howard University Medical School professor Dr. LaSalle Leffall reminded me of the road Black America has travelled.  This history series, which chronicles the “struggle,” provides useful insight on those shoulders we are standing.  A young person watching these stories should feel guilt-ridden if they aren’t striving for great things.

http://www.idvl.org/thehistorymakers/iCoreClient.html#/&s=6&args=2218

The leaders of the past often came from Black elite families that stress education and achievement.  Dr. LaSalle’s librarian mother in Quincy, Florida, encouraged a kid to become a doctor and that kid is currently Dr. Willie Adams, the mayor of Albany, Georgia. 

Where do we go next in Black leadership?  I personally want to see more leaders with less than perfect upbrings like Barrack Obama because the traditional Black elite might actually be detached from the average American working families.  While former congressman Harold Ford, Jr. is a glaring exception, we need an emergence of Black and White leaders with hardscrabble pasts like Senator Scott Brown or Speaker John Boehner or entrepreneurial skills like Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed.  Reed is confronting the city’s budget situation in a manner rarely seen in Democrat politicians during the past few decades.  President Obama met with Reed and other mayors to tell them that federal money for cities would be less and Reed went to work on budgetary hard choices. 

Some people can’t understand that the Black community in America turned to the federal government when state and local governments treated us anyway they wanted…badly.  We must now realize that the next step in the struggle starts with simply remembering the drive, purpose, determination and achievement of the history makers.  It always seemed that Dr. King wanted each individual to stride individually rather than waiting for a leader who could be cut down—one way or another.

I was always taught to respect my elders and those who have done so much in the past; I put their many good deeds on the scale.   With that in mind, we transitioning from Zell Miller and Sanford Bishop to the next phase of southern leadership.  In his oral statements for HistoryMakers, Bishop said that Miller often talked about a turtle being on a fence post and that one thing was certain—he didn’t get there on his own.  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a history professor, pushed for an America where every child has an opportunity to achieve.  If that child squandered that opportunity, that’s life and the government can’t ensure a certain quality of life for everyone.  We are in a democratic and not a socialist state.  Dr. Bill Cosby says the same thing.

Every American community would be better if leaders talked plain and told regular folks what the real deal is.  The next generation of history makers will contain polished children of the Black elite but also regular folks who are sick and tired of being sick and tired; folks who have always known that your success or failure ultimately being and ends with you.   At the same time, we must have compassion for suffering children.  The 60 Minutes segment on homeless kids broke my heart.

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If you watch CBS’s Sunday Morning this week, you might have caught Ben Stein tripping about Barrack Obama running for president in 2012…as a Republican.  Barrack Obama, Ernest Hemingway and Arthur Ashe are the coolest cats ever in my opinion but watching the president catch all this heat is rough. 

Stein was joking but readers of this blog know that I have always thought that Obama raised moderate to conservative as was the First Lady.  He didn’t get really liberal until college or maybe Chi-town.  If he ran as a Republican, I would have voted for him and the same can be said about presidential candidates Condi Rice and Colin Powell.  I want an Obama second term but if a GOPer became the next president it would be cool to have Georgian Newt Gingrich so he could make me head of the National Endowment for the Arts for the two months before he cut their funding. 

Bill Clinton has been such a great former president with his global initiative and I hope that President Obama does the same with domestic issues and social understanding for his presidency.  I don’t want to hear from my conservative friends who would say that sounds great and could start in two years rather than six years.  I can wait.    

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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 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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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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I am such a homeboy and I get defensive when I think my Georgia homies are getting a raw deal.  Of the other hand, when homies don’t have other homies watching their backs anything can happen.  When Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House, the situation was good for Georgia in my opinion (pork) like Illinois and Obama now.

I am not a Republican so I don’t know what happened but I have always wondered if Tom Delay and Dick Armey weren’t watching Newt’s back as “our” speakership slipped away.  Tom Delay will be on the next season of Dancing With the Stars but I will be supporting former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin, the lovely singer Mya and the actress Debi Mazar from HBO’s Entourage and two Spike Lee films.  (See how I indirectly support Lee who attended a Georgia Black college.)

Michael Irvin could have used a better entourage during his playing days when he stayed in drama and Newt should have had me up in the speaker’s office watching his back.  Like Elvis and the Memphis mafia and those fools around Michael Jackson, Michael Tyson and Michael Vick, you need someone who can look you in the eye and say, “I have a bad feeling about this” or “you might need to reconsider this one.”

So Dick Armey was on Meet the Press yesterday and he made some interesting points about Freedomworks and the healthcare debate but I was still thinking that they hung the homie Newt out to dry.

When the heat got hot, I wished Tupac and Biggie Smalls would have moved to rural Oregon, Colorado or something to let the situation cool down.  Debi Mazar was in the film Malcolm X and when I watch that movie I was thinking “stay in Africa for a few years Malcolm because Harlem and America are red hot.”  Emiliano Zapata said, “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”

Sometimes a self-imposed exile is the thing to do.  You don’t see Ice Cube or Dr. Dre living in south central L.A. these days because they matured to a point that Michael Vick is just approaching.  It’s a balancing act because some homies you keep and some you let go—you and I can be on both sides of that theory.

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Former Newt Gingrich staffer Matt Towery, who heads the political firm Insider Advantage, has the “right” idea about what’s next for the Republicans.  Notice I did not say “conservatives” because some mild conservatives might find a comfortable home inside the Democrat Party if the Blue Dogs continue to growth.  If the White House initiatives actually start to kick-in, the Blue Dog conservative Democrats numbers could counterbalance some of the liberal weight and produce a near center party.  That nightmare scenario could be real trouble for the GOP.

Why Fox or CNN hasn’t put a pile of money in front of Towery is a mystery because the guy makes good old common sense.  In a recent column, Towery wrote of the need for new blood in the GOP.  I personally don’t think the Republican party is on life support quite yet, but they could use some new style points to get their swagger back. 

(Here comes a classic ramble)

So I am watching ABC Private Practice last night because that show is almost as thought-provoking as Grey’s Anatomy (recorded CSI and NBC’s Southland—I need a life).  The guy who saved the lady president on Fox’s 24 is starting a cutting edge medical facility and trying to woo the attractive sister over to his operation.  The lady with the cool southern accent who runs the regular hospital wants the job but the guy from 24 said no and by the way, you are fired because you don’t have a heart.  Ouch.

My point is that you must have a heart to go with your mind or the people will notice and react.  Love him or hate him, Obama has a heart and cares about moving America forward.  The same statement can be said about Newt Gingrich, Obama’s obvious opponent in 2012. 

On the subject of heart, contributor to this blog Helen Blocker Adams of Augusta is celebrating her birthday today so I assume the local schools are closed for the holiday or for flu prevention.  Helen is an asset to the region because she has a kind heart and the area elected officials must be hearing the footsteps of her approaching stylish pumps—watch out. 

Republican Ray McKinney of Savannah brought new blood to the 12th District congressional race last year but the blue bloods wanted a D.C. insider.    The return of the GOP starts with new blood from existing sources. 

http://townhall.com/Columnists/MattTowery/2009/04/30/arlen_specter_and_other_magic_bullets_aimed_at_the_gop

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When Newt Gingrich and company produced the Contract with America in 1994, they had a plan for the direction and function of government.  I had to take a picture with this Georgian because he was our speaker and a serious policy thinker.  Democrats should know that Newt is currently mixing and brewing in the lab and the potion he produces next will be a substantive knockout. 

newt2 

 

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan made a lot of common sense on MSNBC this morning.  Ryan is the Ranking Minority member of the House Budget Committee and he has an actual plan.  He should be one of the new leaders of their party.  Ryan is a former senior congressional staffer so he knows the system and knows the game. 

 

I think Paul Ryan should serve as a reasonable counterbalance to Democrat well-intented, fiscally questionable spending.  President Obama might have too much to the table at one time because the congressional leaders want to address all of the issues that the previous president put on the back burner while dealing with the War on Terror.  Actually, Obama needs Ryan to keep the checkbook balanced.  I say Ryan and Obama should develop a working relationship to circumvent the party jostling.

 

Ryan, who was born in 1970, could make himself a future president by constructively analyzing Obama plans.  Black voters could remember that this young fellow stepped up in a positive way to adjust and criticize the first Black President’s plans.  The Blue Dog Democrats should work with Ryan as much as possible.

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While joining the national honor society in college, the most studious member of the organization made us memorize what seemed like an ancient Asian proverb.  R.D.’s service to Albany State University as an administrator, a member of my honor society and a member of Omega did more to help young African Americans climbing the socioeconomic ladder than anyone will ever know. 

 

The proverb from Confucius, goes:

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool – shun him.

He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child – teach him.

He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep – wake him.

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is a wise man – follow him.

 

I think about that adage frequently when considering politics and governing and it came up this weekend.  

 

Former Tennessee GOP leader Chip Saltsman (who is a candidate for the RNC chairmanship) sent out a cd this Christmas featuting a song call “Barack the Magic Negro.”  First of all, parodies take place in politics all the time and at times lines are crossed.  I am still deciding if Saturday Night Live’s skit on New York Governor Paterson’s sight was over the line. Sarah Palin took some rough shots this year and President-elect Obama has displayed some cool toughness. 

 

“He who knows not and knows that he knows not” is becoming the motto for a branch of the right that seems to be saying “I am limited, know it and relish my ignorance.” This division of the right (they love Joe the Plumber) really wants to say “we are rural and our worldview is based on what we can see while sitting on the sofa on our front porch.”

 

We live in a free country and people have a right to be as smart or as something else as they like.  I live in a rural area that should not be equaled to unsophisticated since everyone in the cities yearns for weekends and retirement next to our idyllic lakes and rivers.

 

Message to the RNC: He who knows, and knows that he knows is a wise man – follow him….Newt Gingrich.  Since we are on Asian knowledge today, the Art of War recommended that you respect the strength and knowledge of all actors in the theater of war.  Obama, both Clintons and Gingrich are intelligential giants on policy and governing; notice that I wrote “policy and governing” rather than just “campaigning and politics” because winning elections is half the battle; actual governing is the hard part.   

 

Past RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman made every effort to make his party more inclusive but those attempts failed because many rank and file members want a party that only looks like them and they want a return to days past.  In my Black community, we also think about the days when family meant this, church and school did that, and young people were driving for excellency—pushing to be Kings, Huxtables and today Obamas.

 

I am reading a 1200 page book (okay, glancing parts) called “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” by Patricia Schultz.  The book lists on and off the beaten track sites and towns in the U.S. and Canada and reading it is part of my life-long endeavor to find to coolest town with like-minded people so I can put down roots and enjoy the rest of my life. 

 

As a Georgian, I naturally think that place is in Georgia or some part of South.  But when you find a great looking area, you might also finding that Joe the Plumber’s southern cousin is there with strong feelings about putting uppity folks in their place, or Pookie and Ray-Ray that eagerly waiting to make you a crime statistic. 

 

Americans who want a better America and world are wise but those who think it will come easily are naive.   My concern is that the loud ignorant divisions in our South will cost us economic opportunities and other regions will capitalize on this negative image.

 

Let’s hope that Newt will be an important part of the new leadership of the right because he is about solutions and his place in history rather that pushing drama for party or personal gain. 

 

African Americans could consider supporting GOP centrists who are dragging their party into the future—kicking and screaming.  Those on both extreme ends of the political spectrum who laughing about naughty political antics while the nation suffers are fools—shun them. 

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I can’t believe the GOP is taking about the redistribution of wealth and socialism—are you kidding me?  I went to college in the early 80s after doing my best K through 12.  While I am no Condi Rice, Barrack Obama or Hemingway, I did well at country county high and was disappointed to learn that I would be paying for college with student loans.  What?

 

You know the students from families in the middle-income range—to much money for grants but not enough money to write a tuition, room and board check.  If President Reagan thought my parents had the money to fund my education, he should have required them to do so.  To add insult to injury, the guys who played and “cut the fool” for 12 years were in college also—taking remedial classes for a year and a half—wait for it—free!  Because of family income (or lack there of), these students graduated debt free and I ended up graduating with honors and a student loan—the redistribution of wealth. 

 

Don’t get me wrong, it warms the heart to see friends who grew up facing constant adversity as current homeowners, great parents and pillars of the community.  In retrospect, the route I should have taken was to declare myself an emancipated minor with a mall job and qualified for grants also.

 

Like the Obamas, my student loan was/is around into my forties and like Senator Obama, I worked as a community service person.  Check this out: if your student loan was based on lack of family income, the federal government will forgive it for doing that type work, i.e. teaching in a rough school.  But, my loan can’t be forgiven because of my family’s income decades ago.  Really?

 

Republican President Ford signed the Earned Income Tax Credit into law in 1976.  The EITC was designed to offset the burden of payroll taxes for low-income working families and to provide incentives to work.  Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush have expanded the program and I must say helping the working poor get above the poverty level is much better than welfare.  The program taxes one group to give money to another group—Ford, Reagan, Bush and Bush.  What’s the definition of socialism again.

 

Some people feel that the federal government should think Darwinism or the “Survival of the fittest” went making policy.  While these concepts are controversial, socialism v. Darwinism in the congress in the 90s was Cynthia McKinney v. Newt Gingrich.  Congresswoman McKinney and the well-intended liberals argued that the government should ensure a minimum quality of life for everyone while Speaker Gingrich crafted policies that worked toward giving people the opportunity to achieve if they stayed focused and worked hard.  But, if you did not make it; hey, that’s life, law of the jungle.

 

Funny thing: those guys from my community who went to college on Pell Grants are with Newt in their mindsets—and Newt is one of the only conservatives who realizes the political potential.  The money they received for college has been paid back many times over in middle class taxes.  

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Just because you can do it, does not mean you should.  Why are the young men in my neighborhood riding around with stereo speakers in the grill of their cars and why do they play crude music at 11:49 on Sunday morning while passing my A.M.E. church in Sylvester, Georgia.  Like Eddie Murphy said about the guy who shot the Pope, “Make sure he goes to Hell.”

 

Sometimes we all do things that we will regret in the future.  Last week, the nation was buzzing about former Alabama Governor George Wallace.  We know now that Governor Wallace’s incendiary rhetoric was driven by a lust for power and fame; that his statements and actions did not reflect what was truly in his heart.  Toward the end of his life, Wallace had the support of the many Alabama African Americans—take the time to read the following Time Magazine article from 1982. 

 

George Wallace Overcomes — Printout — TIME

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,922988,00.html

 

It is spiritually disorienting to see a black driving a car with Alabama plates and a Wallace bumper sticker. It is surreal to walk into Wallace’s state campaign headquarters, a neobellum low-rise former furniture store on the edge of Montgomery. There, amid the deep shag carpeting and the clickity-click of computer printers churning out voter lists, sits Mrs. Ollie Carter, a black Wallace worker. All day she phones around the state with a gentle, churchgoing courtesy, asking blacks for their support, reminding them to vote.

Mrs. Carter claims that 98% of the blacks she calls say they are supporting Wallace. She taught elementary school for 19 years in rural Shelby County, and remembers that none of her pupils had their own textbooks until George Wallace became Governor. Wallace people almost always mention his record in improving Alabama education (though the state still ranks among the lowest in literacy), especially those free textbooks for the children, and the system of 26 junior colleges he started around the state. And the fact is that, leaving aside the low growls of race, Wallace was generally quite a good Governor. As for all of that racial viciousness, Mrs. Carter squares her frank and open countenance, earnest and astonishing: “He has made some mistakes. But haven’t we all? You have to understand. The races are more bold and honest with each other in the South.” That is true. So is the opposite; the exchange between the races in the South has also been a drama of long silences, of the unstated.

One theory has it that Alabama blacks have always been cynically knowing about George Wallace, that they have figured all along that his segregationist behavior and rhetoric were matters of political expediency.

 

We are at a crossroads in southern politics.  I am concerned with the temperament of the next generation of the GOP.  Sarah Palin and I finished high school in 1982 (same year as the above article) and I don’t want to see this charismatic leader turned into the early George Wallace for “political expediency.” If she makes the right moves and avoids the nutty elements, she could be the positive head of the new conservative movement. 

 

There was a great article on the AJC Political Insider recently about who would be the next leader of the Republican National Committee—Georgians Newt Gingrich and Bainbridge’s Alec Poitevint were mentioned. I worked in the House when Gingrich was speaker and we Dems must respect his intellect.  Newt always wanted the best results for America; the question becomes how do we get there.  Newt is a Republican who knows those rural Black voters are conservative—Rep. Sanford Bishop’s long service proves this fact.  

 

Obama success to date is not necessarily Democrat success.  It could be a statement by the American people that bickering and bitterness is unbecoming.  In the AJC article, State GOP Georgia chairwoman Sue Everhart emerges as a sensible leader for the future of her party.  Does she know that African Americans could sway several Georgia congressional races and the senatorial race next month?  (Obama keeps saying “and some Republicans”.)

 

Newt knows and Everhart is learning that the African American community in the South is moderate and the opportunity for cooperation with conservative is there; but the far right sounds like the George Wallace of old rather than the last George Wallace.   Colin Powell always said that the party that gets the “sensible center” runs America.  We will learn next year if the far right or the far left repels the center into the other major party.  

 

 

In the coming race for chairmanship of the RNC, the name of Newt Gingrich comes to mind | Political Insider

“But on the other side of the GOP gulf are those who worry who worry that the GOP has limited itself by catering too forcefully to the Christian right and other interests. This is the “narrowing” that former secretary of state Colin Powell spoke of on Sunday, just before endorsing Obama.

Everhart counts herself among those who want to broaden the GOP reach, not purify it. “[Gov.] Sonny Perdue wasn’t elected by Republicans. He was elected by Democrats and independents, too,” she said.”

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