Posts Tagged ‘politics’

GOP Purity Test

I recently wrote about actress Dorothy Dandridge starring in the film Carmen Jones.  Hallie Berry played Dandridge in a cable T.V. biopic and we all shook our heads during the infamous Las Vegas pool scene.  Dandridge was performing at a Vegas hotel and decided to good for a swim.  After putting only her toe in the water, she was informed that she could not swim there.  It gets worst; the hotel management promptly drained the pool. 

On a related issue, some members of GOP are pushing a purity test to determine which candidates deserve their party’s support; talk about your playing with fire. If they don’t wanted candidates who can pass their test, they obliviously don’t want moderate Democrats voters who vote for GOP candidates since any Democrats would be left of the GOP moderates they are targeting. 

Okay, how many Democrats voted for Georgia’s current GOP governor, two GOP U.S. senators, GOP congressmen and countless members of the state legislature.  “Watch out how” with your purity test or a bunch of voters will be saying, “I failed the GOP purity test and all I got was this Blue Dog T-shirt.”

In my circle of friends, we talk about the “Deal-Breaker” list on dating and marriage.  It always starts at a party or cookout with some woman listing the items that will take a man off her list with a quickness: former drug use, baby mommas drama, Down Low, bad teeth, bad credit, no car, no house, did serious jail time, bad grammar, short, heavy drinker, didn’t vote for Obama or McCain, no library card, doesn’t know where the library is, wears baseball hat pointed to the side, has no class and doesn’t listen to jazz, doesn’t know the channel for HGTV or CNN, and dated her friend in junior high. 

Come to think about it, we all have test and list on some level.  Here’s my list: she knows about Kanye West and Taylor Swift but never heard of Dorothy Dandridge and Lizz Wright; she has bootleg copies of every Madea movies but rarely watches Spike Lee films; and she didn’t know there are different types of lettuce.  “That looks like grass to me…don’t get me salad dressing, pass me some Roundup.”  Sweetheart is fine but she’s got to go…purity test and all.    


Introducing Dororthy Danridge: 0:40 mark: pool  scene

Purity Test 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee identifies ten (10) key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle, which the Republican National Committee expects its public officials and candidates to support: (1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;

 (2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;

 (3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;

 (4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;

 (5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;

 (6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;

 (7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;

 (8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;

 (9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and

 (10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership; and be further

 RESOLVED, that a candidate who disagrees with three or more of the above stated public policy position of the Republican National Committee, as identified by the voting record, public statements and/or signed questionnaire of the candidate, shall not be eligible for financial support and endorsement by the Republican National Committee; and be further


RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, as they become known, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.


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Georgia Rep. Jim Marshall held a town hall meeting yesterday and solidified his place as as a front-runner for governor next year.  Oh yeah, Marshall is not running for governor but his ability to please moderates and conservatives was exceptional.  The only folks who might not like Marshall’s message are liberals, national Democrats and Obama supporters.  

I have been questioning about Marshall in the past year because he never supported Obama or Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign but after listening to him field questions for hours over the radio, I finally get him.  He is either an anachronism of the pre-1990s Democratic Party (Dixiecrats) or a bright star in the non-party American political future.  The good thing about Marshall is the fact that he represents non-Atlanta, Georgian views as well as anyone.  The bad thing about him is that he rarely works to quail the political vitriol aimed at our party and President Obama. 

Rep. Marshall did well in his fair opposition to health care reform and mentioned the bipartisan Healthy American Act that he could support.  When questioned about his vote for of the 2008 bailout, Marshall repeated his opinion that those actions were need to rescue the economy and if he could be defeat for doing what he thinks is right, defeat him and send him home.  I guess he has the same outlook about supporting Democrat initiatives in 2009 that expand the size of government or balloon the national debt.

The congressman waxed nostalgic about the good old days when most congressional districts could elect either a Democrat or Republican.  He then told the crowd that the current congressional maps create districts safe for Ds or Rs without going into details about the Voting Rights Act being the reason for redistricting.  Marshall is better suited for statewide office because the liberals’ section in the Democrat Party will want him gone over his major votes this congress; that district really is a conservative seat. 

If you read the signs, the GOP lack of opposition to Rep. Marshall could be indication that they don’t want him push into a bid for governor because he is one Democrat who might actually win (he couldn’t beat Isakson for Senate.)

Is Marshall a Dem, cloaked GOP or an undeclared Independent?  Old school R&B music fans can think of Marshall like Teena Marie—a hybrid.  Lady T didn’t look like us but everyone in the community loved the ways she “put it down” in her music.  Rep. Marshall has a D on his jersey but he evidently feels conservatism as much as anyone and too much for some Ds.  I hope Jim Marshall has Teena Marie in his Ipod or on his Blackberry because he should listened to “Out on a Limb” and “Square Biz” over and over during the coming months.  To be honest, Marshall brought that “square biz” on health care reform yesterday but some Dems wonder why he is not “out on a limb” with Rep. Barrow and Rep. Bishop in support of the White House…a Dem White House. 

We true Obama supporters are listening to Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire.”


Healthy American Act: Summary


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Quiet the Critics

Theodore Roosevelt was one real guy and I find myself turning to one of his quotes when I need a firm kick in the backside.  People forget that TR was the father of the American conservation movement.

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

 The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.


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On the tennis court this morning, I faced the old “go left, go right” decision several times.  If I chose the wrong direction, my opponent could hit the ball in the opposite area and I would be burnt like toast.   A deeper consideration of that situation states that a player can accelerate in the current direction but changing direction is almost impossible.  In the 70s, we called that “the wrong foot” or “caught you leaning.” 

Politics mirrors sports at times and a person’s temperament on the field, court, or even playing chess tells you about his nature in business and elsewhere.  My opinion on “what’s next” in American politics was incorrect.  If I thought center, the South when right and I “got caught” leaning. 

When the conservative movement swept the nation, the Blue Dogs emerged as a moderate division of the Democrat Party, a home for those who felt the Right was too far right.  I naturally assumed that a similar moderate subdivision of the Republican Party would materialize after the election results of the last few years.  At this point, the situation is the opposite.  If you listen to conservative friends, you will learn that the commitment the Right has to their core principles is unwavering and inflexible.  If the general public wants to vote differently, those voters must be collectively mistaken about the best interests of our nation.

As I have written in the past, the GOP has a short bench of rising stars who could challenge the Democrats on issues, budget and logic; Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin comes to mind.  Unfortunately, others are more appealing to their base. We likely will not see a fresh crop of positive GOP candidates against the Blue Dogs in the South next year.  As General Colin Powell recently pointed out on Larry King, there are legitimate concerns with the speed and spending of the Democrats.  However, the GOP is opting for red meat candidates from the far right rather than those who could appeal to the center—great idea for the primary season but the general election is a different matter.  Of course, it is their party and they will live with the results of their strategies.    

The alarming part to me is that the leader of “what’s next” from the Right will not be Gingrich with his intellect or Romney with his command of the business world and financial markets.  You and I both know who is the next leader of the Right and what she will need to do and say to win; put on your seatbelt and prepare for a bumpy ride. 

I personally like Michael Steele and hope that our community will have an opportunity to better connect politically with our obvious conservative nature in the South.  However, going from a Blue Dog moderate to the far right is seriously wrong foot.  We will see how this situation plays itself out but don’t asked me because I often lean wrong. 

Bottomline: Will we see smoother GOP candidates or will others prevail?  If the GOP wants to push all moderates and centrists out, I am sure the Blue Dogs will take them. To finish the tennis parallel relative to politics, I tend to hang in the middle and go short distances left or right.  If you drift far left or far right, the other guy can pass you with ease.

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The Art of War

In politics and business, the high points of The Art of War can be useful if not essential.

The Art of War

By Sun Tzu

18. All warfare is based on deception.

19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.

23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.

24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

11. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.

12. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage.

13. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.

14. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.

15. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

29. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards.

30. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

31. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.

32. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.

33. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.

21. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.

28. Now a soldier’s spirit is keenest in the morning; by noonday it has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on returning to camp.

29. A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is the art of studying moods.

32. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners are in perfect order, to refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm and confident array:–this is the art of studying circumstances.

33. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.

34. Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen.

35. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home.

36. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.

11. The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

41. He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them.

31. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete.

15. Those who were called skillful leaders of old knew how to drive a wedge between the enemy’s front and rear; to prevent co-operation between his large and small divisions; to hinder the good troops from rescuing the bad, the officers from rallying their men.

60. Success in warfare is gained by carefully accommodating ourselves to the enemy’s purpose.

4. Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.

5. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits; it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, nor by any deductive calculation.

6. Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men.

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Augusta Area Morning Show host Renee deMedicis posted an interesting article about political machines and I decided to reply.





Renee: Your article on political machines provided valuable insight into the “smoke filled rooms” of American politics—it’s a dirty game.  Is the tail wagging the dog because people who make a living from political election fights want heated races (no pun intended) just to “stay paid.” 


In Georgia, any Democrat in the know can name the famous machines around the state from the last 40 years.  Retired teachers, coaches, military veterans, funeral home directors and barbers have long turned their community status into “side money” by getting out the vote or endorsing candidates.  “If Mr. Blank says this candidate is good, let’s put the guy in there because Mr. Blank would not back any junk.”


My GOP friends who get involved in campaigns around the state know GOP candidates hate the idea of “street money” or the famous stuffed envelopes.  The GOP in the South doesn’t need this practice because they have more energetic volunteers than they can use. 


But, I think your article would have been more complete if you fairly acknowledged the conservative machines that served as the catalyst for the Right: the faith community’s involvement in politics.  When the elite of the GOP realized that Pat Robertson had millions of supporters in his database, it was on like popcorn. 


Again, is the tail gagging the dog because a GOP candidate knows that answering the right (pun intended) questions on the right questionnaires brings the machine into the mix.  The “right” machine is a thing of beauty to see when it’s fully engaged and usually anything in its path will soon be in trouble.


Senate McCain knew that those groups would work hard to keep a Democrat out of the White House—millions of dollars for ads and volunteer hours but Obama still won because the people use the election as a referendum on President Bush.  My friends on the right say the people were mistaken, fell personally in love with charming Obama, McCain was not a real conservative or the message was mishandled.  My GOP friends who are real concluded that they got away from core conservative values, the people wanted the Dem way for awhile or Obama might be right (I mean correct). 


If we are going to have a “fair and balanced” discussion about American politics, let’s admit that the left and right have political machines and wizards behind those “grassroots” machines are often big corporations for the GOP and big unions for the DNC.  To be honest, the faith community works sincerely regarding abortions, illegal immigration, school vouchers, and morals but the party bosses in D.C. want their numbers to win elections then satisfy big campaign donors with regulatory reduction…hence, the origins of our current economic crisis.  It is all about welfare; on the side street for the Dems and on Wall Street for the GOP.


Finally, many Democrats are strong in their faiths but they are guided by the compassion of the Beatitudes rather than the commands of the Ten Commandments.  Of course, moderates like me think about both.  Ultra-liberal compassion is well intended but the government can rescue everyone and the natural selection of the jungle means people sometimes fail.  While almost no one wants to see hungry and homeless children, the role of government is limited by the practicality of economics.  The same concept should apply to financial system recovery.     


Yes, political machines on the right exist because they rode Newt and President Bush to death to get the investments they made in the GOP rise to power; the dividends were not stuffed envelops like the Dems but regulatory freedom.  If Newt had a chance to be Newt back in the 90s, American would be a much better place today.

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To me, a political spectrum exists that travels five degrees to the left and the same distance to the right.  The players at the extreme polar ends (the Fives) make the largest amount of enthusiastic noise but they might not have the largest numbers.  The Centrists (Zeros, Ones and Twos) are the quiet majority of Americans.


Plot Some Players


President Obama          Left Two

Senator McCain           Right Two

Senator Chambliss       Right Four

Senator Isakson            Right Four

Rep. Kingston              Right Three

Rep. Bishop                  Left One

Rep. Marshall               Right One

Rep. Barrow                 Zero or Center

Rep. Lewis                   Left Four

Rep. Scott                    Left Two

Rep. Westmoreland     Right Five

Rep. Deal                     Right Four

Rep. Broun                   Right Five


If a House District contains voters who are collectively Zeros, Ones and Twos, why run candidates who are Fours and Fives?  Obviously, bringing more new voters into the base is the desire.  However, an incumbent or new candidate could seek support from voters who are slightly over and near the center.  For example, Georgia’s 8th and 12th congressional districts elected Blue Dog Democrats who are comfortable with many conservative elements.  In recent election cycles, the GOP candidates in these two districts were Right Fours who sought to characterize the incumbents as liberal Democrats. 


While Reps. Marshall and Barrow voted for Left Four Nancy Pelosi for House speaker and indirectly endorsed other Left Fours as powerful committee chairs, the GOP produced opponents who could not win in centrist districts.  Why not admit that Right Twos and Threes should be cultivated and accepted by the GOP for certain districts? 


Before 1992, moderates dominated the Georgia congressional delegation.  These members had to balance the political desires of the entire spectrum—delicately. The post-1990 census redistricting maps created federally mandated Black-friendly districts but therefore made the neighboring districts so conservative that Republicans could be elected who sometimes ignored their Democrat constituents under directions from the conservative movement leaders. 


Of course, all politics is local and Rep. Kingston and Rep. Bishop perfected the art of using regional interests, field staff and personal contact to garner support across the spectrum.  These two representatives relish walking into meetings with voters who disagree with them to listen and debate policy decisions.


The liberals in the Democrat party learned to peacefully exist with the Blue Dogs Democrats and together they produced the numbers to take the Congress and the White House.  Because the GOP is less flexible, southern moderates and centrists are rare in their party.  Young and energetic Sarah Palin-types had better be Right Fours and Right Fives.

 The core principles of conservatism appeals to Black moderate and centrist Georgia voters because Reps. Marshall, Barrow, Bishop and Scott win regularly.  Michael Steele’s blueprint for GOP party change outlines a new openness to diversity. I am not confident this plan will work because Steele is talking acceptance of Right Ones and Right Twos while the grassroots of the GOP is thinking repent from your centrist sins and move far enough right to be suitable for their party.

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


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


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


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


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


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

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The Chambliss-Martin runoff results won’t be a indictment of the Obama administration because our community is not crazy about Martin and does not have deep distain for Senator Chambliss.  My political friends and I remain puzzled by the GOP’s lack of connections with moderate Black Georgia.


The situation will be different when Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson runs for reelect because he has cultivated strong personal connections with the African American community for decades.  Team Isakson should be studying the current senate race and taking copious notes to keep viable Democrats from entering the 2010 race. He should follow the examples of Obama and the Blue Dog Democrats by building personal relationships with the opposite party members and leaders because people who met Isakson really find him a likeable guy. 

Isakson should add a moderate Dem or two to his field staff to quell the “Us v. Them” mentality of the past—which is easy because casework and field staffing is largely non-partisan.  

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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.

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Rants, raves, predictions, contradictions, finger pointing, circular firing squad, kudos. 


Remember the Music Tab at the top of the page…for your little celebration at your desk at lunch and while watching the numbers roll in tonight…of course, the Blues is there if needed.   

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Prince had a song called “Style” in which he said, “Style is the face you make on a Michael Jordan dunk.”  Well, I just made that face when I realized that Obama/Biden have the support of Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Andy Griffith—Opie, the Fonz and Sheriff Taylor. 


What optimizes Americana in the 50s and 60s more than Happy Days, and the Andy Griffith Show is synonymous with small town charm (okay, where were the Black folks.)  Do you remember the Fonz supporting Dwight Eisenhower with “I like Ike, my bike likes Ike.”  Of course, these guys are characters from T.V. shows but it says something good about “change” anyway.


Georgia Democrat Congressman Jim Marshall still does not support Obama/Biden.  I have been patiently waiting for him to come around—no October Surprise from Marshall. Obama has Senator Sam Nunn, Secretary Colin Powell and Ike’s granddaughter Republican Susan Eisenhower but no Jim Marshall. 


The October Surprise has given way to the November Empathy: let Jim Marshall lose.  His conservative voice would have been helpful to Obama or Clinton but he did not lift a finger to help. To add insult to inquiry, he still gets the benefit of thousands of new voters than the Democrats registered in his district—without his help.  As Deputy Barney Fife use to say in Mayberry, for this type behavior “nip it in the bud, nip it, nip it, nip it.”  To have loyal opposition from the Republicans is understandable, but to have the Obama White House assailed by someone the Obama supporters put in office—no.


But, don’t put it on Congressman Marshall; new and old voters need to study the whole ticket.  Herman Cain tried to tell the community “They think you are stupid.” 


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As we enter the final phase of this political season, we calculate what decisions and strategies would best serve the African American community.  Six months from now, will we says “I wish we would have done this or that differently.”  I don’t play checkers; I play chess—always thinking three or four moves ahead. 


When a new president is sworn into office on the West Portico of the U.S. Capitol, he or she is the president.  Period.  Anyone who plays with the notion that the president is not the president is playing with un-American activities on some level.  On January 20, 2001, George W. Bush became my president.  Period.  On the day that White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer announced “the liberation of the Iraqi people has begun,” I walked out of a pub in Vilnius, Lithuania, and some college kids walked up to my buddy Brad and me saying, “Bush bla bla, invade bla bla, America wrong bla bla.”   Since the dollar was strong back then and so were we, I told them “Slow your roll, we can discuss it over a few pints on me but I can’t let you slam America and our president.”  (Of  course, their broke behinds jumped at free brew.)


A new president will be sworn in January and I hope Senator McCain or Senator Obama will face fair opposition from the losing side because ultimately we are all Americans.  Bitter extremists from the losing side will dial up conspiracy rumors and untruths design to undermined the efforts of the new leadership—disagree on policy, spending and direction but consider the negative consequences of being ugly just to be ugly.  As a moderate Democrat, I will give President McCain the same consideration I gave every president during my adult life.  If Obama wins, will my Republican friends do the same?


Obama supporters should help him by gaining a little leverage with congressional Republicans.  Congressional Republicans will vote with their party over 95% of the time—that is understood; but can we order up a few GOP members who will stand up in their conference meetings and say, “Let’s dial down the rhetoric and beat the Democrats on the issues—we should be above dirty tricks and innuendoes.” 


Forget about party politics for a second; the average American thinks our current problems could have been avoided or reduced by better Washington deliberations and communication.  At this late hour, African Americans voters could decide the fate of many GOP congressional candidates.  To me, a Republican who dials down the rhetoric while voting his core conservative beliefs is more important than some Obama coattail-riding Democrats are. (hint, hint Macon, Georgia)     

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We hear the term strategic voting these days.  As it relates to south Georgia, the possible closing of the Copper Tire Plant in Albany compels the African American community to consider keeping Saxby Chambliss for this important fight.  Yes, I live in Sylvester, Georgia, and I have many family and friends working at the plant—little league coaches and good church members.  Every plant or military job means two or three other jobs in the area. 


Senator Sam Nunn focused Georgia to protect our military bases from closure in the past and that senior congressional leadership for this coordinated Copper plant effort falls to Saxby Chambliss and Rep. Sanford Bishop.  I declare the contest between Bishop and his opponent over so he can use the campaign energy to protecting my neighbors’ jobs. 


Copper officials expect a decision by mid-January and getting a newly elected Senator “up to speed” is out of the question.  




Officials fight for plant


ALBANY — Officals with the Georgia Department of Economic Development flew into Albany Thursday to explore ways to help Cooper Tire in Albany remain open.

Citing excess U.S. production capacity, the Findlay, Ohio, company announced Tuesday that at the end of a 90-day capacity study, one of Cooper’s four U.S. tire manufacturing plants would likely be closed.

Cooper expects to make a decision within 90 days — by Jan. 19, 2009 — or less, spokesperson Curtis Schneekloth said.

While Cooper has invested “millions every year” in the Albany plant, “a likely outcome of the study is a plant closure, unfortunately,” Schneekloth said.

With the replacement tire market expected to decline 1-2 percent annually over the next three years, Cooper will examine many factors, including total cost savings, plant performance and quality, community impact and customer service, a statement from the comapny said.

Approximately 1,300 Cooper employees and some 800 temps are employed in Albany when the tire plant is at full production.

The other plants being considered for closure are in Findlay and Texarkana, Ark., where workers are represented by United Steelworkers, and a plant in Tupelo, Miss., which, like Albany, is not unionized.

Cooper will examine labor relations in the capacity study, Schneekloth said.

“It’s not a negative or a positive; we’re just going to consider labor relations overall,” he said.

United Steelworkers is now in contract talks with Cooper on behalf of workers in Findlay and Texarkana, spokesman Wayne Ranick said.

“I’m sure maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship is a top priority for both sides,” Ranick said.

In Albany, local, area and state officials returned to the plant Thursday to “further explore the scenario, the things that Cooper is looking at and looking for,” Dougherty Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said.

“We were trying to get a better feel for putting together a package of things they may or may not be utilizing in Georgia,” he said.

“We do see this as an opportunity for Albany, and we’re trying to progress this thing forward.”

Sinyard said the “tremendous,” highly diverse work force at Cooper in Albany was a strategic asset, and calls from neighboring communities — like Sylvester, Moultrie — with “skin in the game” were rolling in.

“Cooper competes in a global economy, and there are two American tire companies left, Cooper and Goodyear,” he said. “They have forward-thinking leadership that’s making sure that they can compete.”

Heidi Green, deputy commissioner of global commerce for GDEcD, Sinyard and officials with the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission were among those who met at Cooper Thursday.

GDEcD spokesperson Alison Tyrer said the mission was an exploratory one.

“We offer a lot of assets to make them globally competitive and successful. We will do our utmost to help them understand that we’re here to help,” Tyrer said.

In recent months, GDEcD has heralded Pirelli Tire’s Oct. 2 expansion announcement in Rome, Toyo Tire’s Aug. 26 announcement of a third expansion in Bartow County and a May 12 groundbreaking for Kumho Tire in Macon

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Sooner Drown


When Mr. Nelson Mandela came to America in 1990 after his long imprisonment, he had a Town Hall meeting with Ted Koppel.  Koppel asked him why his political organization dealt with certain other organizations during the “struggle;”—people like Castro and Gaddafi (Secretary Condi Rice met with that character this summer).  Mandela said that a drowning man does not ask which hands pulled him from the water.


Georgia and the South are experience an unusual political season where neighbors and families are at odds over the leadership, temperament and direction of the nation.  The term civil war is oxymoronic but it is starting to feel like a political civic war.  The central theme of this centrist blog is bridge building—that’s why there is a southern bridge made from stone on the front page.  When I picked that picture, I thought about Zell Miller’s industrious mother damming the stream on their land to get stones to build their house.  Now, we throw stones at each other– moving Georgia backwards.


This year of political flux creates an opportunity for moderates and centrists to assist good members of both parties and foster cooperation.  Right, sure, yeah, mmm mmm.


Both ends of the political spectrum jump on candidates who have functional relationships with the center and (dare I say) the other side.  It’s the silly season where Republicans supported by moderate Democrats say thanks but could you go out the backdoor (and you know what our daddies said about the backdoor.)

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The African American community has a long history of putting all of our eggs in one basket and waking up the day after the election to broken eggs.  This blog is the net extension of our desire to provide sage political strategies at pivotal times to maximize our clout and capital.  Senator Obama keeps saying that things need to be address with a scalpel not a hatchet; Senator McCain says that we should put “country first.”  Down there in Georgia, we should put “kountry first” by making a surgical analysis of our region’s best interest.   The following points need discussion and consideration.


Let’s diversify our political portfolios to cultivate opportunities in both major parties.  Like Wall Street, we must invest in a range of enterprises so a political downturn in one sector does not leave us powerless and seeking a bailout.  Also like Wall Street, buying political stock during low periods could prove beneficial in the long run—I will take a few shares of General Motors at $4 and a few political investments in better Republican candidates with the knowledge that their national woes have not reduced their Georgia power (pun intended).  Good Cross-party Buys: Saxby Chambliss, Sanford Bishop, Paul Broun, Jack Kingston, David Scott, Rick Goddard. 


Tip: Take a loss on Jim Marshall stock. The Macon Democrat had every opportunity to boldly endorse Obama or McCain.  For some inexplicable reason, he thought he could sit out this historic presidential election.  Open message to Rep. Marshall: your job as congressman is to study the policy proposals of both parties and report to the people what will and won’t work in your opinion; you should be commenting constantly.  This weekend was the last straw.  The incendiary rhetoric on the campaign trail reached a level that might have provoked the sickest minds to contemplating something tragic.  Senator McCain dialed the rhetoric down and Congressman Lewis attempted to do the same but conservative Jim Marshall said or did nothing.  His rural and urban status could have been used for the better good but no. 


McCain Democrats, Obama Republicans, interesting times.  Why are we saying vote vote vote like there is only one contest on the ballot?  I have an idea: If you are an Obama supporter in a Republican congressional district, consider the GOP candidate if he is a decent guy just to mess with the “assumptions” about our voting patterns. If Obama wins, your area has influence with the GOP congressman because you helped him during the rough election of 2008; ask him to be fair with the new administration.  If McCain wins, you have a rare GOP congressman swayed into office by a surprising percentage of the African American vote.


Let’s not find ourselves saying “shoulda, coulda, woulda” in December.  I personally think we could look for African American opportunities to support less offensive congressmen and congresswomen in both parties.  And GOP voters in districts like Sanford Bishop’s should acknowledge his efforts to seek bipartisan cooperation.  Who would Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue select to replace Bishop if Obama picks him for his cabinet?  Imagine the “Georgia power” of Agriculture Secretary Bishop, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Saxby Chambliss and Secretary of State Sam Nunn.  The renewable energy provisions in the Farm Bill were design to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  Come to think about it, McCain or Obama could make Rep. Jim Marshall Ag Secretary to show no hard feelings—what a year.

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Thanks Senator McCain

My mother is reluctant about voting for Senator Obama because she is concerned that if he is elected something will happen to him.  Mrs. Alma Powell talked General Colin Powell out of walking into the presidency from either party out of the same concern.


Thank you, Senator John McCain for honorably taking the high road today by telling the truth about Senator Obama.  I have always said that this contest was between good and really good—a win, win race for a moderate like me.  You proved me right.


I was also right in wishing that the African American community would support Republicans like Ray LaHood for what is now obvious reasons.  (see the article below)  As for as Georgia is concerned, I will support in this blog and publicly any congressional GOP candidate who wants to debate the issues rather than push fear.   Remember that Dr. Condoleezza Rice knows too well where this ugliness might be heading.  


I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father’s church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.[193]

Condoleezza Rice, Commencement 2004, Vanderbilt University, May 13, 2004


LaHood: Palin Should Stop It

Steve Miller, WBBM NewsRadio 780 Reporting

CHICAGO — A seven-term Republican Congressman from Illinois is taking issue with fellow Republican Sarah Palin, saying some of the vice presidential candidate’s rallies “don’t befit the office she’s running for.”

Republican Congressman Ray LaHood represents the 18th District: central and western Illinois, including Peoria.  He’s retiring in January.

LaHood supports the McCain ticket, but doesn’t like what he sees at some of the McCain-Palin rallies: When Barack Obama’s name has been mentioned by Sarah Palin, there are shouts of “terrorist,” and LaHood says Palin should put a stop to it.

“Look it.  This doesn’t befit the office that she’s running for.  And frankly, people don’t like it.”

Congressman LaHood says it could backfire on the Republican ticket.

He says the names that Obama is being called,  “Certainly don’t reflect the character of the man.”

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Georgia Debate Drama

There is a big debate in Perry tonight at the Georgia State Fairgrounds.  Senator Saxby Chambliss v. Democrat Jim Martin, and Congressman Jim Marshall v. General Rick Goddard.  I can’t make it because I will be watching Survivor Africa, Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, ER and CSI Las Vegas.


But then again, the event in Perry will produce the same drama.  Jim Marshall faces Survivor because he is trying to outwit and outlast his other opponent, Obama supporters. Can he get those polls closed on election day before they/we discover that his “Democrat” Immunity Idol is actually fake—“Jim, the tribe has spoken, time for you to go.”


Like Warwick on CSI, is Jim Martin’s senate bid likely dead because Georgia is to conservative for him; can Vernon Jones give him an ER trauma rescue or is Jones upset that the Democrat Party treated him like Ugly Betty for voting for President Bush. Why can Jim Martin vote for John Edwards and Jim Marshall support Bush policies that McCain admits were questionable and the Democrats run behind them like Dr. McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy but Vernon Jones got shamed for being bipartisan? 


The CSI team could use all available technology and still would not discover a nanometer of support that Jim Marshall gave the Obama/Biden ticket—exile island awaits you, Congressman Marshall, because you did not perform in the challenges and flirted the rival tribe, you don’t deserve the reward.

UPDATE: Here’s the video of the Goodard v. Marshall debate

Political Forums at The Fair | 13wmaz.com | 13WMAZ



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Sowing the Seeds

Two wars, Wall Street failing, gas as high as a kite, economy on life support and someone wants to talk about Charles Keating and William Ayers.  My birthday was the day after Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were killed in Mississippi by domestic terrorists in 1964.  For most of my southern childhood, the possibility of terrorists with hoods and/or badges loomed as we slept.  Folks would say after 911 that their children are not safe in their own beds in America and African Americans would think, “join the club.”  It is interesting that the new domestic terrorists in our community looks like us and desperately needed a belt on their backside from their parents growing up and need belts on their pants now.


As for Senator McCain’s history with Charles Keating, those claims don’t pass the smell test either.  Every congressman has helped someone who turned out to be shady.  Let’s measure the integrity of Georgia’s congressmen and candidates by monitoring who stays on substantive issues and who “totes” water for their team by pushing these distracting talking points.  We should reward character with our support.


Clearly, sowing the seeds of love improves our nation rather than the politics of fear.  We should export agricultural technology and practices that teaches developing nations to feed themselves and produce renewable energy—you get more people with honey.  Planting negative thoughts in voters should limited because you reap what you sow. 

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If the next White House and Congress will be better than the current, we must make every effort to quash bickering and party politics so common ground can found.  African Americans who are familiar with official Washington know that we should diversify our political portfolio by supporting sensible Republicans.  Obama and McCain have plans to finally bridge the partisan divide if elected.  


In the rural South, we don’t trust parties much because the Dixiecrat Democrats fought against African Americans’ basic rights for years and Republicans’ core conservative principles have taken a backseat to the “politics of fear.” 


The key to Republican candidates improving their numbers with African American voters centers on not turning us into Republicans but getting African Americans who generally vote for Democrats to occasionally vote for particular Republicans.  For example, Obama is constantly talking about “and a few Republicans” –read the code.  To me, he is appealing to his supporters to be clever and put a few Republicans in the House and Senate who will negotiate and debate with the best interest of the nation in mind. 


In Georgia, Senators Chambliss and Isakson have reached across the aisle to work with moderate Democrats on immigration, agriculture and energy issues.  Every far right supporter they lose should be replaced with four centrist African Americans.  Isakson’s smooth brand of conservatism should be the model for the next generation of southern Republicans.  Obama supporters should remember that Jim Martin—Chambliss’s opponent- beat African American Vernon Jones in the primary by highlighting Jones’ bipartisan record (I think Jones will vote for Saxby Chambliss.)  


Jones would have worked day and night to energize new voters and could have won Georgia for Obama/Biden.  The presidential election could have been swayed by Macon Congressman Jim Marshall supporting Obama/Biden on the zillion ads he is running from suburban Atlanta to the Florida panhandle.  Democrat Marshall might have been the difference in Florida because his ads radiate as far south as Gainesville but the national Democrats evidently gave him a pass.  Republicans across the nation should be calling attention to the race between Rick Goddard and Jim Marshall because a new Republican is better than a Democrat who ignores our historic efforts. 


Georgia Republican Congressman Paul Broun of Athens won a special election last year by personally seeking a percentage of the African American vote than Republican strategists considered unobtainable.   The first rule of American politics is that people like to be asked.  Because the Republicans control the Governor’s mansion and both state legislative houses, an occasional nod to their candidates would be wise.

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