Posts Tagged ‘palin’

In December of last year, President Obama quoted a variation of Voltaire’s “Don’t let prefect be the enemy of good” to Democratic Senators.   The late Senator Ted Kennedy was famous for saying it is better to get half a loaf than no loaf at all.  We need compromise, understanding and dialog in a large diverse nation but the political extremists on both ends seem to be more interesting in constantly fighting in a toxic manner.

Hell, I think I am correct but acknowledge that others feel differently on public policy. Is Voltaire’s “perfect” a drive to completely destroy or eliminate those who feel differently?  I personally avoid any members of a political party who thinks the other major party is 100% wrong.  Rural Georgia members of congress worked together on Farm Bills that aren’t prefect but are good for most involved interests. 

We have recently seen several Georgia Democrats switch the GOP.  Is the GOP more appealing or is the Democrat Party in the South no longer a place where they could be.  And what will become of those in the state of flux between the two major parties.  I agree with the new group Nolabels.org that these people (many still belonging to the D and R parties) are actually a quiet majority of Americans.  We have moderate Democrats who appall the far left and centrists Republicans who are being purged from the South GOP…take your hat and your coat and leave..as we say at southern high school sports events.

Governor Palin and Todd were on the Barbara Walters Special last night and the Governor is getting smoother.  But know this: the Tea Party Movement was fun and therapeutic but a more measure approach could have achieved better results in a healthier matter.  If Michael Steele executed his original plans, more members of the center could comfortably move into a moderate wing of the southern GOP.  Oh, my bad…there isn’t a moderate wing of the GOP.

The next step for the southern GOP shouldn’t be converting moderate Democrats into GOPers but teaching their current members that unlikely alliances with moderate Democrats are needed in some situations and on vital regional interests.  Democrats shouldn’t lump Senator Isakson in with all national Republicans nor should Republicans do the same to Representatives Barrow and Bishop.

I have all kinds of friends and associates and the ones deep into the southern GOP like their party just the way it is….thank you very much.  They want perfect or 100% of their agenda…no compromise, no 80% and no half loaves. If the Democrat Party in the south is to survive, it must get the center back while battling urban liberals who mean well but fail to grasp budgetary limitations.  

The American people must asked themselves who the political leaders are supporting—the people or interests that keep them in power. One good thing about the economic crisis is that average people are following legislative actions weekly and daily.  It’s not rocket science for Democrat members of congress to start speaking frankly about the mounting national debt and the need for every American to do their part to reduce the need for spending for public services that could have been avoided with better personal decision-making.

Voltaire had another quote that stated “It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.” In this last election season “established men” on both sides spent a lot of time, energy and money (money they raised from who knows where) putting each other down.  Otherwise good dudes slamming each other because someone told them that was the thing to do.  Come on now.  In the South, we came out of the womb fighting during our troubled past and some folks like fighting and fussing.  For me, I am siding from now on with the cooler cats who seek to debate and create policy in a civic manner.


Read Full Post »

At the end of this rough election cycle, we realize that the 2012 cycle starts before the freshmen members of congress can be sworn into office; it’s a never-ending process.  Some blogger friends are assessing the amount of “free time” spent online and hearing the advice of friends and grumbling family about doing for free what other get paid to do.  It’s like that free milk and the cow bride advice.  

I can’t understand while some in the political arena are eager to battle in the next election rather than positioning their guy in a manner that discourages future opponents.  In Georgia congressional politics, former Senator Sam Nunn is the gold standard because he created a situation in which his service was uniquely his; the man transcended political parties.  With the fluid nature of politics these days, tradition is a thing of the past and anything can happen.  

I will tell you what I want: a political cafeteria plan where citizens can pick and choose aspects of candidates, officeholders, parties and groups without buying the whole blue plate special.  For example, my favorite budget fast food lunch is Taco Bell’s seven layer burrito (.89 cents) on top of a Burger King side salad ($1.00).  If you toss in a bag of nacho chips from the grocery, you have a tasty balanced meal that is easy on the wallet.  To me, the best burgers are from Wendy’s and the best fries are McDonalds.  The ultimate fast food meal might involve stopping at several places but you get what you want.

We should do the same with politics and policy; one party is good at several things and the other major party is better at other issues.  If you toss in the Tea Party, the Green Movement, Progressives and Libertarians, the process gets much-needed range. 

I support politicians who make every effort to have their decisions reflect the views of all area voters.  My concern with the far Right is that they often believe they are always right about everything and ignore those who disagree.  Mind you, the far right might actually be right but ignoring folks isn’t cool in a region with our troubled history.  The endangered southern Blue Dog Democrats has a well-earned reputation of serving their Democrat base yet also serving their conservative constituents as much as possible.  So, urban liberals in Blue Dog congressional districts allowed this flexibility because it is the fair sharing of elected officials. 

With half of the House Blue Dogs gone, we will see if the same courtesy is given by freshmen GOPers or will they follow tradition by ignore those who voted for the other guy.  To form “a more perfect union,” leaders should work together and reach for common ground. I, for one, want the House and Senate freshmen to study the word comity. 

Lastly, the surviving Blue Dogs need to be more vocal in the Democrat Casus or the real liberals will take over and move the party too far left for most rural Americans.

Read Full Post »

I have a new theory about campaigns and elections.  Of course, my new theory could be fact that everyone other than me already knows.  My theory is that for some people the business of campaigning is more important than actually governing ( i.e. Sarah Palin).  Could prepping for campaigns and campaigning be where the money is?

Roy Barnes raised and spent over $28 million dollars running for governor of Georgia but didn’t win.  Much of that money went to media buys like T.V. and radio ads.  Old school people like me just assumed a sizable old fashion Get Out the Vote effort was coming and that rallies with sweet smelling Georgia barbecue would be held from one end of the state to the other end.  It never really happened because the fancy Buckhead type consultants (who aren’t cheap themselves) pushed ads, ads and more ads.  I have never been so tired of political ads and many of the spots were negative against Nathan Deal which was nonsense because everyone knew that Barnes and Deal basically liked each other.

Few noticed that former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones was in Nathan Deal’s corner and was standing right there during the victory party.  Good for Jones because the same fancy Democrat Buckhead crowd didn’t want him running for U.S. Senate against Saxby Chambliss. Sure, Vernon has some history but hey cast the first stone and he would have done better than Jim Martin (I voted for Saxby for regional reasons.)  But, the real winners of that election were the fancy fundraisers and political operatives who got candidates who could raise money and pay them.

We remember when Austin Scott was running for governor with the idea of raising smaller amounts of money and keeping it a people’s campaign based on his ideas and policy facts.  On the other side of the fancy streets in Buckhead, the GOP types have even fancier offices that require much money to maintain.  I think they look past the bright young man with good ideas and toward the four or five candidates who could put big money on the barrel head.  Nathan Deal is the new governor and Scott is heading to congress. 

Fairness requires that I acknowledge the effort put forward by Rep. Sanford Bishop’s opponent’s team.  They hustled hard and made that thing too close—they were a well-oiled machine.  I was ticked with the Barnes campaign and the state Democrat party because they were spending money on those freaking ads when people weren’t rallying in person, face to face like the other side was.  When we did get together, it was so cool.

The first rule of politics is save yourself and Bishop got old school with his last Get Out The Vote push.  He won that election with little help from the top of the ticket and because the people woke up at the eleventh hour. 

Looming on the horizon is the 2012 presidential election year.  While the presidential race outcome is unclear, you can bet that my community will be there for President Obama in huge numbers.  An old theory of mine is that conservative candidates could fair well during that Obama wave if they could swim.  My old friend Karen Bogans in Savannah is the only hope the GOP has in winning the 12th District race; she is smart, direct and has the political and professional credentials.  Could an African American conservative get out of the GOP primary is the question but her campaign would be hard on the Obama White House yet surprisingly usefully to the Obama presidency at the same time.  Hey, she criticizes me all the time and I would be upset if her comments weren’t true and didn’t need to be said.

I told Bogans that she could get a sizeable amount of the Black vote and win a congressional seat without raising and spending much money.  She said those fancy folks in Buckhead must get their business/coin or they will push someone else up.  I have concluded that the process of campaigning and prepping are likely more lucrative than actually serving in office.  Sarah Palin gets $800K for one speech while President Obama gets half that amount as an annual salary.  If you are going to be in the game, you must know the rules and the new golden rule is “he who has the gold..rules.”

Read Full Post »

When Senators Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton had that private meeting at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s house in 2008, everyone wondered about the details. My gut told me that Obama said he would be a reformer for his first term and if the country wasn’t feeling his leadership, Hillary could have it 2012.

My gut always said that Michelle Obama got the same promise from the now-president shortly before that meeting.  Like Alma Powell, she has obvious concerns about crazy people’s actions.  If not for Mrs. Powell’s concerns, Gen. Powell would have been president rather than Bush 43 and the nation would have avoid much drama.  And what would be the barometer of public opinion for the Obamas and the Clintons?  The 2010 mid-term elections would be the indicators. 

My gut didn’t see the Tea Party Movement coming nor did I see Sarah Palin’s meteoric rise to the leadership of conservative movement.  Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels or former Governor Mitt Romney are presidential material but if the mid-terms are successful for the Tea Party Republicans, Palin will get the nod from the GOP Primary.  Sarah Palin could be president of the United States of America.  I divide the T.P. Republicans from “regular” Republicans while others don’t.  

If Palin and the T.P. Movement are positioned to take the White House, the possible Hillary-Obama plan from Feinstein’s house might be employed.  He might be ready to go since the “yes we can” has become “yes he can.”  Dam, the cheering masses haven’t kept their end of the change movement but he still has me. 

Bottomline: If you want Obama to even run in 2012 get those who voted for him in 2008 to support congressional Democrats who are in his corner on Election Day 2010.  If not, he could seem like a lame duck as early as Thanksgiving and POTUS doesn’t deserve that.  Everyone except Democrat voters know the election next week is really a referendum on Obama.  The President had finally started saying that openly.


Feinstein Gives Details of Obama-Clinton Meeting

Read Full Post »

If Sarah Palin is Mamma Grizzly, I am naming Mrs. Shirley Sherrod the Brown Thrasher because since Palin and I were college students, Mrs. Sherrod has been fighting the good fight patiently. Notice how you can’t say “Shirley” or Sherrod anymore than you can say “Rosa Parks,” “Lena Horne” or “Nancy Wilson”—that’s how we do it in the real South.  “Mrs.” and “Mr.” are signs of respect.  The lady in the cafeteria is “Mrs.” and it is “yes madam”  –a lesson one Capitol Hill intern learn the hard way from yours truly.  It was a teachable moment. 

The Thrasher is the state bird of Georgia but most people did not know that until Atlanta’s hockey team took the name.  Mrs. Sherrod and Mr. Charles Sherrod have been encouraging Georgians to want more from themselves and aim higher for years–basically transition from the plantation mentality.  Their efforts to keep Black farmland in family hands were noble but as soon as granddaddy’s body was cold, that land was sold and the greedy grands were heading to the BMW dealership.   Land: they are not making any more of it.

Mrs. Sherrod taking that position with USDA was seen as the crowning event in a long career since she had been working for “rural development” her whole life.  Why do people sleep on the USDA?  Every person needs safe, affordable food; clean water and fresh air.  While urban improvement generally falls under the Department of Housing and Urban Development, USDA covers the farmland and rural communities.  If you want to slow the flight of rural people into the bulging cities like Atlanta, it starts with Mrs. Sherrod and others (like me) who haven’t given up on small town America.  We can’t forget about the suburbs are which are blurring the line between city and country.  If you travel north on I-75, Atlanta starts about 15 miles above Macon.  There isn’t a wildcat in your backyard; you are in the wildcat’s backyard.  Watching young professionals move to rural areas, tend their own gardens and telecommute with their laptops is too cool.

Mrs. Sherrod should think Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Dr. Howard Dean, and Mike Huckabee then passing on that USDA job.  These former candidates are doing bigger and better outside elected office or governmental employment.  Book deal, T.V. show, and the lecture circuit—it’s her turn to have a victory lap and thanks to the tape-cutting blogger who made this all possible. 

We shouldn’t forget that Mrs. Sherrod was speaking freely on the mic about race—a little too freely when you work for “the man” —even when “the man” looks like you.  You want to have a national discussion about race relations in America.  Let’s do it.  Let’s put the NACCP in the room with the Tea Party and toss in the moderates.  They will discover what wise people already know: we are all Americans with common interests who have plenty reasons to be mad.  But, blowing a gasket will not help anything…so simmer down, have some Sweet Tea and let’s get a better understanding of each other. 

Coming soon, The Sherrod Show on Fox News.  It’s fair and balanced.

Read Full Post »

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post »

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. 


Read Full Post »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post »

Loyalty is a word with many different dimensions.  On Capitol Hill, a former supervisor gave our staff the following poem during an uncertain period.

Pledge of Loyalty
By: Sir Elbert Kim Hubbard

If you work for a man,
in heaven’s name,
work for him,
speak well of him,
and stand by the institution
that he represents.

an ounce of loyalty
is worth a pound of cleverness.

If you must grawl,
condemn and eternally find fault,
resign your position!

And when you are in the outside,
damn to your heart’s contents!

But as long as you are a part of the institution,
do not condemn it.

For if you do,
the first high wind that comes along
will blow you away.

And probably,
you’ll never know why.

The essence of the poem hit home with me because I have always believed in being loyal to those who were beneficial to me—that includes staying basically “down with the team” long after working somewhere.  But, loyalty is a two-way street that requires commitment from bottom to top and top to bottom.  For example, Sarah Palin should remember that Senator John McCain “put her on” and Joe Lieberman should do the way with Al Gore.  

From the following list, how would you prioritize your loyalty?






Political Party

College Football Team


While the last one might seem humorous, some folks would have it very high up on their list.  I saw Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rev. Al Sharpton and Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the Meet the Press discussing their efforts to reform education in America.  While I wasn’t invited, my comments would have centered on loyalty in education.  It’s no secret that I feel Black students owe a debt of gratuity to those who broke down barriers and that they debt is paid by working hard, being focus, and capitalizing on educational opportunities.


At the same time, teachers who are loyal to the field should remove themselves if they realize they aren’t reaching the students; getting money for not doing the job could be considered stealing on some level.  Of course, weak teachers have bills and other financial obligations that sometimes keep them in the classroom—skating by.


Some teachers will tell you that half-raised kids with poor attention spans burnt them out with a quickness and that parents aren’t doing their parts.  The finger of blame can point some of everywhere but we must fix this broken system before we have a generation of Americans ill-prepared to function in the global economy.


If you let me tell it, I think the bells and whistles of video games, computers, and T.V. creates kids who only want to focus when things are flashy and visually stimulating.   Loyalty to local school system makes citizens reluctant to admit that “needs improvement” is an understatement.  If Secretary Duncan asked me to create a charter school as a model, you can best believe it would be the old school three Rs with a high-tech twist and little Johnny would understand that his loyalties must compelled performance and achievement.  Who am I fooling; the young cats in my community are unbelievably selfish.  If you asked them what they believe, they would likely say, “I believe you better get out of my face.”



Meet The Press


Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

I tried to catch the Isakson Town Hall at ABAC/UGA Tifton but arrived at the end.  Clearly, the event went smoothly and was informative.

When I flipped on MSNBC a few hours later, Tamron Hall reported that Senator Isakson considered it “nuts” to misconstrue the “end of life” counseling provisions in the health care debate as “death panels” and I agree.   

This situation is now misunderstandings take place and in South Georgia, nuts better be Georgia peanuts. I think the senator was saying it would be nuts to read the information on Palin’s webpage to be euthanasia—not calling Palin nuts.  On the other hand, Palin wisely reframed her position to dial down the rhetoric after a rough weekend. 

Read the Washington Post article for yourself:


Read Full Post »

It is all about spin, knowledge and facts.  The notion that the federal government will decide when Americans “plan” on dying is nonsense at the center of the healthcare debate.  Sarah Palin chimed in yesterday that she did not want her parents or children standing in front of “Obama’s death panel.” 

Stop right there and let me give my take on the difference between misinformation and lying.  Sarah Palin, who I want to defend because we are the same age, is not lying in my opinion nor did she lie during the campaign last year.  She actually believes what she is saying so she is at best misinformed or at worst dim and does not know it. Please understand the difference: one is to knowingly lie and the other is simply being wrong.  When I saw those protesters on T.V. this week, I knew they weren’t lying and were sincere.  The liars are the guys in D.C. on K Street and in New York on Wall Street and Madison Avenue who designed the campaign to mislead regular folks and stop health care reform for your corporate bosses.  I must say that those guys are good at what they do.

At the center of this drama was Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia…reluctantly.  MSNBC claims that the heath care provision which would fund “end of life” counseling is similar to a provision originally introduced in committee by Isakson.  I tried to find information about this claim on the web and on Isakson’s website.  What I did find after spending a good part of my Saturday morning is that Isakson’s concerns with the Democrats proposals sound reasonable to me and that Isakson and others do have alternative plans.  As a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, Isakson is up on his game and we can count on him negotiating rather than just stonewalling like other conservatives. 

Isakson and no other members of congress want death panels.  From what I see, the optional counseling is an option about final options.  Much of the cost of patient care occurs during the last month of life and some people decide to have DNR orders (that’s Do Not Resuscitate, not Department of Natural Resources for us outdoors types).  If people want to talk with someone about those plans, their insurance would pay for the meeting.  If you have buried a loved one, you know that people should consider deciding that stuff themselves years earlier so they can go how they want to go and remove family from making the decisions at the worst times.  

In summary, spin-doctors knowingly distorted a provision in the health care reform proposal to scare old people and incite conflict.  I must say that both sides play this game.  When I was a congressional staffer, the Clinton administration bragged about reducing or cutting spending for a program in their budget.  When I looked at the numbers, funding went up for that program over the previous years.  So, program XYZ received $70 million one year and more the next year but they told me they reduced the rate of growth from the Bush years.  Before, that program grew by 10% every year but under Clinton it is only growing by 5%–that’s a reduction.  Do I look stupid? (Don’t answer that.)  I told that guy that a reduction from $70 million would be less than $70 million and being cute with numbers and spin was not cool.

Read Full Post »

Let me be fair and honest: when Tiger Woods failed to make the cut at the British Open, my first thought was that I would support Vijay Singh because he kind of looks like me. Then I remembered that Boo Weekley attended college at ABAC in nearby Tifton and Tom Watson is going it big for us old guys. Am I am racist in some way or just backing my own, which is odd because I likely have more in common with old Boo than Tiger.

You know what might be coming over the horizon: an American cultural war.  If given the opportunity, I was taught at home and college to put myself in someone’s shoes.  Inside the boots of the average White southerner, I would imagine a vision of the future that see the loss of power and control in this country—power and control being the fuel for wealth and family security.  No groups gives up power and gold without a struggle and from the Palin crew we are starting to hear what can be consider the veiled “something old becoming new”….I better leave that at that.  If you want to hear future Palin speeches before they happen dust off southern governors and senators pre-1970s.

I think about Malcolm X saying that he had more respect for a man who tells him how he feels—even if he is wrong- than a man who smiles and lies.  I personally like Governor Palin for that reason and I starting to better appreciate Patrick Buchanan for the same reason.  Like Rev. Wright, Buchanan is an old guy and is “done” with sugarcoating how he really feels.  I love sitting and listening to those old heads go-off with that realness. 

In the “exercise in futility” category, those of us who were waiting to see the emergence of a moderate, less bitter division of the conservative movement were wasting our time.  Not only will the southern Right not move toward center, but the gloves are coming off about the possible loss of control and power.  Our community needs to be very careful; we should not put all of our proverbial eggs in one basket because the Right still runs the south and the national winds will shift in the future. 

In college, we started every research project with a review of the literature to see if what was about to me studied had been done before.  If there is a movement of Black moderates and conservatives that was created “for us, by us,” I welcome to opportunity to learn more about it because what is next from some parts of the Right might have a tone that could be best described as ugly.

While his arguments regarding affirmative action makes interesting points, Pat Buchanan is basically saying that White men should circle the wagons before they found their power and influence gone.  Again, I appreciate his realness in the American dialog.  I better get back to the British Open; Tom Watson is 4 under Par with a one stoke lead.  Georgia had a populist congressman and senator named Tom Watson back in the day and if you never heard his point of view, don’t worry because history has away of repeating itself.  For our community, if the opportunity to help a smooth conservative of color appears, we should consider it because the post-Obama era could be the return to…..you know.  We need someone in the room.

Sidenote: MSNBC and Fox News makes me appreciate Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley,  John Chancellor and Bernard Shaw.

Read Full Post »

Palin–got me off the Grill

I said I was not going to blog during the holiday weekend and need to significantly reduce the time and energy I spend on the political junkie stuff but Governor Palin made me take a break from marinating chicken. 

Let this marinate: if Palin is leaving the governorship to fully focus on connecting with the people in the lower 48 and running for president, be concerned…be very concerned.  The soon-to-be former governor and I were born in the same (as was First Lady Obama) so I kind of support her achievements on some level.  But, I thought Palin was going to study policy and issues in preparation for a presidential bid—IN ADDITION to being governor.  The first thing out of the mouths of Palin supporters will be Obama…part of a senate term…president. 

(At this point, a wiser person would stop writing and go clean the grill.) 

President Obama, the community organizer, was president or editor of the Harvard Law Review and spent much time down state in Springfield in the legislature.  Before I walk away from regular blogging altogether let me say one thing I feel in my gut: Obama and Hillary ended the primary battle last year when he said he would make her Secretary of State, push for real change and if it doesn’t work, he would gracefully admitted failure and be a one termer—greenlighting Clinton 2012. 

I have always said that stacking the deck is important and I was cool after the presidential field got down to McCain, Romney, Obama, Clinton and Huckabee.  If the economic doesn’t recover, I don’t want to see Obama beat up for four more years but Romney would be the logical one at that point because he has a strong finance and business background and Newt would be a close second.  To seriously put Palin, in the same conversation with Clinton, Obama, Gingrich and Romney is tripping if she doesn’t step her game up. 

On the other hand, she could be the next Oprah…..okay Hasselbeck.

Read Full Post »

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. 

Read Full Post »

Have a Punitive Holiday

To the victor go the spoils…

No southerners in the new cabinet proves that President-Elect Obama is about putting the right people in the right position rather than filling quotas—which is what we want anyway, right. 


When you ask southern Republicans where they stand on “Black issues,” they loving saying that all issues are Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow issues.  The same logic might hold true for regions—but a son or daughter of the South would have been sweet as a Georgia peach.  With that in mind, I could accept Team Obama’s selections better if the West and Midwest weren’t so heavily represented. 


Obama is a man of his word and he always said, “I might be skinny but I am tough…I came up in Chicago politics.”  In tough politics, you don’t saying untrue and insulting things about someone for years and expect them to do for you before doing for those who had your back. 


The word is punitive.


I think that Sanford Bishop would have been Ag Sec if the Sarah Palin Tour in support of Saxby for Senate during the runoff did not end the honeymoon in record time (I told you to vote for Saxby in the general).  It makes you think about Robert E. Lee being torn between Lincoln offering him the command of the Army of Northern Virginia and his love for departing Virginia—the rest is history. 


Obama’s nature won’t let him be ugly toward our region; he could get all of the cabinet from western Idaho if that would help solve what is the matter.


Let me pull out my crystal ball and predict the future: most of the rural southern local courthouses and municipal buildings with nice framed pictures of President Bush won’t request new presidential pictures after January.  And we wonder what’s up with the cold shoulder for the sunny South. 

Read Full Post »


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.

Read Full Post »

The nation focuses on the senate runoff election in Georgia between Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin.  Of course, the big question is “Will the African American community come back out to vote with Obama not being on the ballot?”  Another question is “Does President-Elect Obama have the power to persuade the Democrats to return to the polls for the runoff?”


The Georgia senate runoff election has various angles and factors that should be considered.  I was always an African American for Saxby—which puzzles his GOP base.  People vote for and against candidates for different reasons.  Saxby experience on agriculture, military bases and other issues of interest to Georgia is reason enough to keep growing his seniority. People vote their regional concerns and Saxby is the only member of the Georgia congressional delegation who lives in the southern part of our state.  On regional concerns, I never would have thought that Blue Dog Democrat Jim Marshall would receive 44,000 votes in Bibb County, Georgia, while not endorsing Barrack Obama or Hillary Clinton.  Basically, the people of Macon said they are with their former mayor Marshall despite his attitude about Obama.  That was big of Macon and the same can be said for Democrat Sanford Bishop pulling 69% of the vote and Republican Jack Kingston getting 66%.  Marshall, Bishop and Kingston clearly enjoy crossover appeal after years of service.


Jim Martin is a respectable guy but I am still troubled that the Democratic establishment convinced him to run because they did not think African American Vernon Jones was worthy.  They turned their hoses up at Jones because he voted for President Bush during the aftermath of 911. It just occurred to me that Vernon Jones would be a better runoff candidate against Saxby because Vernon has a knowledge of agriculture, is more conservative than Martin and could get the African American voters back out without riding Obama’s coattails.


Am I the only person in Georgia who remembers that Jim Martin voted for John Edwards and not Barrack Obama during the primary?  Speculation is high that the big guns (Obama, McCain, Palin, the Clintons) will be in our state for this runoff.  Let me say this in no uncertain terms: If you voted for Sanford Bishop or Jim Marshall, Saxby Chambliss is closer to them politically than Jim Martin.   Republicans don’t want to hear it but moderates appreciate Georgia Senators Chambliss and Isakson efforts to work across the aisle on the Farm Bill, the energy plan and other matters. 


Consider this: maybe the moderate and conservative African American community should gain some crossover clout by giving Saxby our support.  In return, all I want is fair debate on the issue for the new White House—the same consideration that the Blue Dogs Democrats gave President Bush.  November is going to be awkward in the peach state because Congressmen Bishop, Barrow, Marshall and maybe Scott don’t really want to campaign against their aggie friend Saxby.   Jim Marshall will be fine because President Obama will find a position for him in the administration.

Read Full Post »

You be the judge: is this email cute humor, useful information or somewhat offensive.

November 5th Etiquette


After watching the final debate, it dawned on me that Obama could actually win this thing.  If that happens, there will be a lot of people (some of our co-workers included) who will be afraid that an Obama presidency will usher in the end of days.  They’ll be watching us on November 5th (the day after the election) for signs of the end of times.


To keep the peace and keep a lot of folks from getting nervous, I think we should develop a list of acceptable celebrations and behaviors we should probably avoid- at least for the first few days.


  1. No crying, hugging or shouting “Thank you Lord” – at least not in public.
  2. No high-fives- at least not unless the area is clear and there are no witnesses.
  3. No laughing at the McCain/Palin supporters.
  4. No calling in sick on November 5th.  They’ll get nervous if too many of us don’t show up.
  5. We’re allowed to give each other knowing winks or nods in passing.  Just try to keep from grinning too hard.
  6. No singing loudly, “We’ve come this Far By Faith” (it will be acceptable to hum softly)
  7. No bringing of Bar-b-Que ribs or fried chicken for lunch in the company lunchroom for at least a week (no chitterlings at all) (this may make us seem to ethnic)
  8. No leaving kool-aid packages at the water fountain (this might be a sign that poor folks might be getting a break through)
  9. No Cupid Shuffle during breaks (this could indicate a little to much excitement)
  10. Please no “Moving on Up” music (we are going to try to remain humble)
  11. No doing the George Jefferson dance (unless you’re in your office with the door closed)
  12. Please try not to yell — BOOOO YAH!
  13. Just in case your’re wondering, Doing the Running Man, cabbage patch, or a backhand spring on the highway is 100% okay.


If I’ve missed anything feel free to add to the list.  I just want to make sure we’re all in the same page when Obama brings this thing home on November 5th.


Now go get your early vote on and let’s make this thing happen!!!     

Read Full Post »

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



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.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »