Posts Tagged ‘sanford bishop’

My thoughts on the future of Black political centrists in the South have been two weeks and/or two decades in the making.   So, brace yourself for an unusual brainstorm.  The open U.S. Senate race in Georgia next year forces us to plot our best plan for representation.

Senator Saxby Chambliss is an establishment Republican and I have appreciated his service regarding the regional issues of agriculture, military and veterans.   Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. Jack Kingston, now Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and those who went to congress in the early 1990s worked together on issues of vital importance to the peach state.   In this Progressives vs. the Tea Party era, I miss that old school dialog.

For two weeks, I have been hearing that the Democrats won’t likely field a viable Senate candidate and the practical part of me says that moderate to conservative Georgia Dems could and should vote in the GOP primary next year to ensure that we don’t have a divider  representing our diverse state.

I was thinking about who is a “natural” Democrat or “natural” Republican last week and it made my head hurt.   While watching to the T.V. show TMZ, a story came on about Raspberry favoring of food.  It turns out that a food can be labeled as naturally Raspberry because it is natural and taste like Raspberry but it comes from the backside of a beaver. http://www.befoodsmart.com/blog/tag/raspberry-flavor/

That isn’t natural to me and it’s not natural to force everyone in a big state like Georgia into two political parties and expected them to naturally and neatly stay there.   A few years ago, the Georgia Dems lost two rising young stars to the GOP.   Ashley Bell of Gainesville and blogger Andre Walker of Atlanta were on CNN explaining their rationale and it seemed natural to me.   Before, they were my brothers and today they are still my brothers.   Walker once wished happy birthday on facebook to the naturalized American actress Charlize Theron, whom he considered an African-American because she is an American born in South Africa. Huh?

I personally like the No Labels political movement because we shouldn’t run away trying to put people neatly into boxes and categories. Like they say at church, we should look at a person’s “thoughts, words, and deeds.”

A Black conservative from the ATL told me yesterday that Rep. Tom Price looks good to him in the race for U.S. Senate.  I asked about his track record for explaining conservatism to non-conservatives and dude could say anything.   Remember, the wave created by the Tea Party doesn’t cotton well to conservatives talking with others without yelling.  Moderates and liberals are often viewed as the enemy.

Look, on Capitol Hill, I worked for Rep. Charles Hatcher, Rep. Don Johnson and Rep. Sanford Bishop and all three strongly insisted that we listened to and served everyone in the congressional district—not just the people who voted for them.   I was personal friends with a staffer in Rep. Kingston’s office and would hang after work with her at conservative functions because she was a natural hair wearing, smart Spelman College woman.   Yeah, Jack had a Spelman grad in a major position on his legislative team.   I talked with Kingston alone at a reception one night for 15 minutes and came away with an appreciation for his commitment to southern Georgia.   He mentioned that he promoted south Georgia colleges and universities during his time in the Georgia statehouse because students should get quality educations in our part of the state also.


We would trip about Kingston going to political forums at Savannah State University without staff.   The guy loves the lively debate. Actually, he was the first member of congress to brave Stephan Colbert’s “Better Know a District” segment.   Because Kingston briefly lived in Ethiopia as a child, Colbert decided that he is an African American—like Charlize Theron.   There you have it; Jack Kingston is an African American who might run for U.S. Senate next year.   Some wiseacre is going to Kingston knows as much about the southern African American experience as my man President Obama.   I will leave that alone but he like knows more than most GOP candidates for Senate.


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Moderates need to use the coming Georgia U.S. Senate race as an opportunity to flex our “king making, scale tipping” muscles. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is an old school pro-business Republican rather than a new school pro-crazy drama starter. The far Right wants him gone and they want him to take any member of congress who talks with the other side with him.  No.

The extreme radical element of the GOP shouldn’t run Georgia or America. They are small in numbers yet vocal and crafty. Well, the reasonable center is huge and somewhat homeless regarding political parties. Since Georgia is a red state because the Democratic Party is poorly organized, Saxby’s replacement will likely be decided in a July primary rather than a November general election. Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. John Barrow or Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed could beat a Tea Party candidate but that is too risky.

Moderate Democrats must consider the possibility of swaying the Republican primary to a Saxby-like conservative. This move keeps a zealot out Georgia’s Senate office. Personally, I would pick Rep. Austin Scott or Rep. Jack Kingston because I want one of the two Senators to come from south Georgia and have a history of serving agriculture and military areas.

Since rural Georgia Democrats are as conservative as California Republicans, we can dig the whole no labels approach to governing—voting for a less bitter conservative would be easy.  We need solutions; we need peaceful dialog.  We need someone who will join with the Blue Dogs, Jon Huntsman, Barrack Obama, Condi Rice, Jeb Bush and Colin Powell to get about the business of fixing what is broken with our government and our mindsets.

Furthermore, candidacies for this Senate seat will likely open up U.S. House seats and I want to see some variety in the Georgia congressional delegation. A minority or woman in the Georgia congressional delegation from the GOP side would be peachy keen because someone should be at the table to say “enough with the silliness…let’s do the people’s work and govern.”

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The buzz around Georgia politics is that Eric Erickson of CNN and Red State might challenge Sen. Saxby Chambliss.  Saxby (he told us to call him that) was nice to me once a long time ago during a congressional ag staffers visit to Taylor County, Georgia, and I will never forget that.  He leaves when he is ready to go and if the far Right wants to push him for rebuffing his 20 year old tax pledge, their primary numbers can be replace by crossover moderates. 

Perhaps, Erickson of Bibb County could get the House of Representatives seat when Austin Scott exits for the U.S. Senate.  The polarization of the electorate that we have experienced in the last few years could be seen coming from a mile away.  I have always thought of Austin as a trendsetter who might be a great national leader and we are at a pivotal time when such leaders should emerge. 

Actually, the conservative movement would look better in my community if the recent election results moved them to listen to Republicans like Jeb Bush and Jon Huntsman.

The Democrats should start developing future Senate candidates closer to the middle modeled after Rep. Sanford Bishop and the Republicans should do the same with Austin in mind.

 Isakson and Chambliss are more statesmen at this point than politicians and that is a good thing.  I was thinking about the past, present and future Georgia congressional delegation while watching the legislative maneuvering in the movie Lincoln.  Austin Scott has that House seat on lock but he should function like a person who wants to win statewide in the future based on relationships and connections cultivated now.   What would old Abe do?

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Who really represents you in congress could be a technicality?  On my street, a community activist has several “Sanford Bishop for Congress” signs in his yard.  I started to tell him that after the last redistricting, we can’t vote for Bishop and he doesn’t represent us anymore.  

But, the thought occurred to me: “your congressman” isn’t necessarily the one who has your geographic district.  For example, ultra-conservatives that live in Rep. Bishop’s 2nd congressional district of Georgia ignore his service because they want a far-right winger in office.  For southwest and middle Georgia, Rep. Bishop and conservative Rep. Austin Scott actually listen to more of the opposition than most members of congress.  While moderates appreciate Bishop’s listening to everyone, I think the far-right section of the conservative movement only wants GOP representatives and senators to hear from them—because they are the only people who are right.

Since junior high school, I have known that once elected an official was obligated to serve everyone but that is some theoretical middle school stuff.  In actuality, neither Bishop nor Scott will have a real competitive race before the next redistricting after the next census.  So, conservatives will fuss at Bishop then call one of the two GOP U.S. Senators’ offices.  As a moderate in conservative Austin Scott’s district, I can still dialog with him because the guy is about explaining his views in a healthy manner (rather than being as ugly as the far-Right.) 

Rep. Bishop still represents my community and that is fine because more people who sleep in my town work in Bishop’s district than work in our technical congressional district.  We work, shop, worship, study, eat and chill across that invisible congressional line.  Bishop and Scott have parts of Macon, Georgia and Columbus, Georgia, and you can believe that people constantly smudge- out that line in their minds. 

You might not be able to vote for the congressman or woman from the neighboring district but you can still make that campaign donation.  Also, our votes are becoming less impactful anyway.  As a moderate Democrat, my voting in the GOP primary was more important to selecting the next president than my coming vote for President Obama in this non-swing state.  Yes, I voted in the GOP primary because I wanted to ensure that even if my guy didn’t win, the winner would be the best from the other side.  In other words, Romney wasn’t crazy like some in the GOP primary field—just aloof.  

For the record, I would be undecided at this point if the GOP presidential candidate was Jon Huntsman, Condi Rice or Mitch Daniels.  I don’t vote for Bishop and Obama because they look like me.  I vote for them because they try to incorporate everyone’s opinions in the decision-making process. 

To my conservative friends, I say look to Austin Scott when you discover that you can’t be a national party without having a functional relationship with the political center.

I should call it like it “t.i.s. tis.”  I live in the mega-congressional district Georgia 2nd/8th which is represented by Rep. Bishop and Rep. Scott.

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In my opinion, our community’s voter education effort involves:

A:  Getting new voters registered before the deadline.

B.  Encouraging early voting with new media and facebook.

C.  Taking family and friends to the polls.

C.  Whole ballot voting. 

I just coined the term “Whole Ballot Voting” because too many people voted for Obama/Biden in 2008 and nothing else on the ballot.  After Obama and Romney exit the national stage for sweet mansions, we will still be living with the other federal, state and local officials.  If I had my druthers, most local elections would be non-partisan but the old school “ticket” or “slate” is still important.

In the old days, the top of a party’s ballot lead, pushed or carried down-ballot contests—by top I mean president, governor, U.S. senator, congressmen and state-wide officials.  Of course, the GOP took or the Democrats gave up too much power in the South.  So, who leads the Democrats’ efforts in most of Georgia outside Atlanta?  Sanford Bishop and John Barrow would be the natural leaders and Barrow has his hands full these days with relection.

When giving credit where credit is due, the GOP is one well-oiled political machine.  Like the Confederacy, they do a lot with a little.  Democrats, like the Union, have the numbers but keep getting out maneuvered and out foxed.  So, President Obama is a combination of General Grant’s field marshal skills and President Lincoln’s intellect.   During the RNC Convention this week, we should watch Red Team’s operation for pointers.

In the future, we should cultivating the next generation of leaders or better let everyone lead a little bit.  For now, we must encourage and education our community about the importance of other contests.   For example, the state Public Service Commission doesn’t seem exciting but they regulate telecommunication, natural gas and utilities–they impact everyone’s wallet.

The GOP is slick and savvy and they selected nice guy Mitt Romney to serve as a Trojan Horse.  Once they get back into those White House gates, he will be pushed aside and policy will be driven by some nameless diabolical minds.  Oh, Romney isn’t a bad fellow but there is 10 to 15% of the conservative movement that is as ugly as they come.  Remember, that ugly element ran the moderate Republicans out of the party.  

We must vote the whole ballot so leaders won’t make decisions without hearing all sides.

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Duct taping my 2008 Obama sign over an old Sanford Bishop for Congress sign was a green move to me and old political signs are like old Levis jeans and even older boxy Volvos.  Rep. Bishop doesn’t technically serve my hometown anymore but interests don’t stop neatly at political lines.  The southwest Georgia economic engines that Rep. Bishop, Rep. Austin Scott and the two U.S. Senators protect are often located in one congressional district while employees live in another district.   For example, Bishop should know ABAC and Scott should know ag school Fort Valley State—good people on both campuses. 

On the subject of GOP congressional candidates, the GOP amazed me again in the runoff elections yesterday.  When Austin Scott played the cool role and beat a long-term Dem. congressman, his election should have served as the template for 2012 candidates—nice, smart and someone who doesn’t frighten moderates.  Of course, these candidates (like a Trojan Horse) can do anything once in office.  In the GOP congressional primary runoffs to face Rep. Bishop and Rep. John Barrow, the primary voters selected the most conservative candidates rather than someone who could attract a percentage of the political middle or moderates. 

With the large turnout from Obama supporters coming in November, Bishop is on cruise control but there is still important work for him this year.  Senior statesman Sanford should be unofficially in-large in rural Dem turnout from Savannah to Columbus and all points south until Florida.  He should lead Dems in areas without major Democratic leadership in the form of a sitting congressman or serious congressional candidate.  I have heard Rep. Bishop quote Luke 12:48 “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” 

Team Obama needs to put Bishop to work in South Georgia and maybe North Florida since North FLA is really south Georgia and south Alabama.  Remember, Congressman Bishop has been running campaigns and on the local news in North Florida for years since the coverage radius crosses state line.  Oh yeah, Bishop’s hometown is in south Alabama so he knows the panhandle of FLA.

I think it is important of make Team Romney campaign in safe Red states.  Romney, Ryan, Austin Scott, Johnny Isakson and other non-crazy Republicans should say something when the crazy section of their team open their crazy mouths and the crazies are requiring crazy talk.  Come on and keep scaring Dems to the polls.  Look, there are many legitimate issues on the table; so, why say wild things you’ll know aren’t true. Obama should be looking at Bishop’s style and Romney should be looking at Austin’s.

Hey, Bishop could help President Obama surprisingly win Georgia and the White House might upgrade him into the cabinet.  Then, the GOP can find a cool brother or sista to run in the 2nd rather than a Tea  Party type.  But, that situation would be too much like right.

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Georgia is a possibility for Team Obama if we get young people registered and prepared to vote.  Chuck Todd with MSNBC keeps pointing to a map with Florida, North Carolina and Virginia as the only swing states opportunities in the South.  The president won these states in 2008 and Florida is the big prize because it had 27 electors (electors are the people voting in the electoral college and equals the number of members of congress.)

In 2008, Senator McCain won Georgia by 52 to 47 (a margin of 5.2%.)  That’s peanuts or should I say there are enough guys in rural Georgia named Peanut, Dirty Red and Man to sway the 2012 election.  Actually, the 204,607 votes need to change that election and maybe the 2012 election could be found easily in Atlanta, our five next largest cities and dozens of rural towns.  The congressional races of Rep. Sanford Bishop (Macon, Columbus, Albany) and Rep. John Barrow (Augusta) cover the non Atlanta population centers except Savannah so turnout in these areas is important.  Look at it like this: on the first full night of high school football, stadiums around the state will have thousands of unregistered young Black adults. 

If you can sit in a ball park for three hours, you can take 10 minutes to register and 10 more minutes to vote.  Many of the young men on that field, the cheerleaders and the band members  will decide to serve our nation in the armed forces and we should elect leaders who view them as people—someone son or daughter.   

October 9, 2012, is the last day to register to vote for those wanting to vote in the presidential election.  How would Obama supporters feel if the election turned even nastier after that date but thousands of then-concerned Georgians couldn’t vote because they missed the deadline?  Before someone trips out about race, I wanted to remind people that our community was seriously loving on southern White guy Bill Clinton;  that’s my dude.  Actually, I voted for Romney in the primary because he was the best in a jacked-up field after Jon Huntsman left the GOP primary contest.  If Huntsman won the GOP nomination, I might be 50-50 between the president and him at this point.  So, supporting Obama isn’t about race as much as it is about keeping the crazy part of the consevative movement out of the White House and the fact that the president has done a good job.

We know that the Democratic Party of Georgia and the national DNC isn’t as crafty as the GOP.  The boys in Chicago and D.C. don’t know the kudzu covered rural South like we know it.  Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and even Georgia can be won by President Obama if we mounted a serious GOTV and registration efforts before and/or after high school football games.  

Social media and smart phones are the tools and wouldn’t it be nice to use these devices for something positive.   Hey, we need to fire up the grills and get the best old school D.J.s to pump Maze, pfunk and Tina Marie. It’s time to talk with the young folks about history and it’s way of repeating itself. 

My friends in the GOP have a way of ignoring those who vote for someone else (Dems listen to everyone.)  While Obama and Romney will be rich and happy no matter what, we need to show some political muscle so the federal, state and local elected leaders will remember our side of town when making policy and laws.   

http://sos.georgia.gov/elections/Voting_information.htm#Registering to Vote

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Hall County, Georgia, County Commissioner Ashley Bell loss his election Tuesday night– who saw that coming.  Bell is a bright Black attorney who was a college star in the Democrat Party but recently switched to the GOP.  I thought he was a shoe-in to win Tuesday night but the election should have been for a newly created congressional district.

 We can really mess some stuff up down here in the South and one of the biggest messes is politics. Governor Nathan Deal saw Bell as the future of the conservative movement but to me, there is little place for African-Americans in the current southern GOP.  Of course, the few Blacks who spew that mean-spirited talk radio crap will do well speaking to ultra-conservative groups but they will not do much to expand the conservative tent by explaining their policy positions on my side of the tracks.

Michael Steele and Ashley Bell could have changed the course of American politics because they are level-headed but the party that booted Steele and ignored Jon Huntsman isn’t about healing or serving the whole nation.  It’s about getting folks pissed off and inciting a revolution.  Those of us in the political middle needed guys like Bell to speak with his fellow conservatives about reasonable methods of approaching the rest of the country.  If they did that, a third of Blacks who vote in the South  could get their views.  But, they let anger take over and the rest is history.

I think Bell was once a Rep. Sanford Bishop intern and he would be the perfect young conservative to seek that congressional seat once Bishop retires to private life and corporate board wealth.  Ashley is still rooted in our community and could win enough of the Black vote because he is a good brother.  But, I got the call yesterday saying Ashley didn’t win in the GOP primary.  Why the hell didn’t he have a GOP opponent when he was being groomed to be the next great thing? 

Under our primary system, Blacks would not take the GOP primary ballot for Herman Cain, Ashley Bell or anyone because that ballot is associated with the ugliness of the far-right.  What kind of southerners do we have today?  The southern way is to smile and say syrupy-sweet things to get elected then do whatever once in office.   Well, the “powers that be” in the GOP will take care of Ashley but at some point they need to know that a political party in which everyone is the same isn’t good for a diverse nation.  The same principle applies to a southern all Black Democrat party. 

Someone is getting wise to the game on the GOP side because the new anti-Obama ad is too smooth.  The ad basically concedes the fact that Obama is one of the greatest people ever but questions if he is the right person for this good right now—hats off to the smooth slickness of this method.  Someone at the RNC is begging his teammates to keep it policy vs. policy rather than Obama vs. Romney—smart.  If they wanted some more similar smart ideas, I would suggest listening too and respecting Steele and Bell.   


After this ad, what’s next.  “It’s not President Obama fault that Americans suck.”  “America doesn’t deserve a great guy like Obama.   Paid for by people who are good at messing with your mind.”

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At church today, the guest pastor told a story about two guys in a day long woodcutting contest and how one guy kept taking breaks all day.  At the end of the day, the guy who chopped continuously didn’t win because the other fellow wasn’t just taking breaks—he was sharpening his axe.  I love it.

When I web-searched the tale, several versions came up and the follow quote from Abraham Lincoln:   Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.


The pastor’s point was that we need to rest our minds sometimes and we need to work smart as well as work hard.  In my community, single mothers are often the hardest working people because they are making up for early life decisions.  When I worked in a job training program with these women, they would often say that life would have been much better if they listened to their parents and the folks at school and church. 

My politically moderate friends and I think that who the president is secondary to who you are.  In other words, most of our problems boil down to CDC—choices, decisions and consequences.  Sharpening the axe involves preparing with education in the classroom and preparing for life by respectfully listening to those who have travelled the road you are about to take. 

Today, young people in my community would rather listen to those who glamorize the thug life in song.  As the White House and Congress cuts federal spending, I think that a good balance would be telling the American people honestly that many of their wounds are self-inflicted.  I need Rep. Sanford Bishop, Rep. Austin Scott, the Obamas and even rich Mitt Romney to speak more about their successes that resulted from listening to their parents, studying hard in school and slowly growing their careers.  Yes, Romney was born into money but there are great life lessons in the missionary work of his church.  Sharpen the axe.

Working smart for families on my block also includes helping their children understand that the conspicuous consumption of designer gear isn’t need for back to school.  These kids should sit down in class, learn the information and do their homework.  Period.  But, we (the people who look like me) get caught up with keeping up the Joneses—that’s why Johnny can’t read.  So, parents are working overtime to purchase $200 sneakers for kids who most play sports on video games that also cost upward of $200.  Really?

Finally, we can’t say enough about sharpening the axe by hanging with positive, reasonable people.  I will get in trouble for saying it but I am amazed by the girls from good homes who have kids too early with unprepared guys.  Kids should graduate from high school then go to technical college, four year college, the military or start climbing the work ladder.  But, these young people should wait until the 23 to 26 years old range to get married and start families because before that they don’t know who they are nor do they know what they need in a mate.    

I want to hear Obama, Romney or some candidate go off on America about Lincoln’s principle of sharpening the axe.

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Team Obama and Team Romney need to understand that we simply refuse to have this election decided without more input and involvement from the South.  Yes, North Carolina and Florida are swing states but most of the South is being bypassed because Dixie is supposedly solid red. It seems that our donations to fund swing state campaign ads are more important that our votes—hell “haw.”

Let’s do this: keep our campaign money here in the rural areas and use that money to get out the vote (GOTV).  These two campaigns might spend two billion dollars on TV ad wars and the real winners will be the professional campaign industry.  President Obama once sat weekly in Congressional Black Caucus meetings with Georgia Congressman Sanford Bishop and I think that seeing SDB’s approach to moderate service benefited candidate Obama in 2008.  In 2010, Bishop had a formable GOP opponent and they went toe to toe in a media war; I watched cable TV the last few weeks because I was sick of slick campaign ads.  In the end, Bishop won because national conservatives and the Tea Party hit so hard that we got defensive and resorted old school GOTV methods to help the incumbent. If the Tea Party and the bitter national groups had stayed out of that election, the GOP would have taken that seat so thanks. 

Looking at that 2008 congressional race would help Obama and Romney prep for rural battles.  Clearly, the current plan is to have both official presidential campaigns be nice and above the fray while outside groups do any dirty work.  The positive dirty work would be a door to door, house to house, hood to hood effort to get everyone properly prepared to vote.  It is a low down dirty shame that some on the Right want to limited voter participation—you’ll are better than that.  We should counter by making sure that everyone knows the deadlines, rules and regulations for registration and voting.

To be honest, the GOP can never reach a point where 100% of the Black vote in the South is assumed Democrats.  If they do, their attitude and policies would be even more punitive.  Peace and blessing to brothers and sistas on the conservative side because 25% or more of Black southerners are actually conservatives but won’t join a party with a section that is dam near confederate.  The black conservative blog Booker Rising has a nice questionnaire in it’s margins and if my family members took it they would discover that they are more moderate than liberal.  Of course, the rural south GOP allows talk radio to work them into a mean frenzy so their gatherings are more salt than pepper.

We should start now and maximize our voter participation.  If we put 10% of the time and interest we put into football into getting everyone voting, we will ensure that our voice are heard.  Hey, we could combine the two; GOTV rallies in the form of old school parties after high school and college football games.   Yeah, we need to say among ourselves what the national campaigns can’t or won’t say and young  Dem conservative Keith McCants from Peanut Politics should be leading the effort.



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When I lived in D.C., the pastor of my neighborhood Methodist church was the coolest sister who ever stepped into a pulpit.  On one Sunday morning, she said that she saw a rainbow flag on a bumper sticker and on the other side of the bumper was another sticker that read “Father, protect us from your followers.”

Look, we live in a nation that is a tapestry woven from many different fibers.  While I might have personal opinions on certain matters, I think that law-abiding citizens have the right to be wrong and that reasonable people should stand to protect said rights.  If earthly actions would send people to blazes after this life is over, it is fine because there is “plenty room in hell.”  However, I have recently read a new Bible that was given to me 28 years ago (I know, I know) and I better understand that people with faith knowledge are required to share with others. 

Politics and faith blend when you consider 1 Peter 2:13-14 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, as for the praise of them that do well.   Also, Romans 13:1 reads Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

To me, the part regarding “Bishop” is funny because our congressman’s name is Bishop, which means overseer.  Rep. Bishop knows the Bible as does his last opponent, a pastor and elected official.  Actually, the opponent displayed considerable restraint from twisting biblical bishop from say Titus 1:7-9 into his campaign.  I assume that it took serious energy to keep his supporters from heading down that path.  To me, Rep. Bishop seems to fit the qualifications of Bishops found in 1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop then, he desireth a good work.  When Rep. Bishop decides to exit public service and really get paid in the private sector, the speeches praising him will no doubt include references to 2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  

In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul wrote “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men.  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

So, I will be praying for Obama, Romney, Bishop, Saxby, Isakson and the rest. Finally, for my homies in D.C., I am listing the 20 or so parts of the Bible that I find most useful so far.  Peace. 

Devotional List:

1. Psalm 23

23 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord


2. Matthew 5: 1-14

The Beatitudes

5 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.


3. Matthew 6: 9-13 Lord’s Prayer

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.[c]


4. Psalms 37: 1-4

37 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.


5. Psalm 27: 1-4, 14

 An Exuberant Declaration of Faith

A Psalm of David.

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!


6. Psalms 51:10 Clean Spirit

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.


7. Mark 8:36-37  Soul

36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?


8. Proverbs 17:22  Broken Spirit

22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,[a]
But a broken spirit dries the bones.


9. Proverbs 3:5-8 Guidance for the Young

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct[a] your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,[b]
And strength[c] to your bones.

10. Exodus 20:12 Ten Commandment of Parents

 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.


11. Proverbs 6:16-19  Wicked Man

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.


12. Proverbs 13:20  Wise Men

20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.


13. Proverbs 16:7-8  Peace and Little

When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues without justice.


14. Proverbs 21:23 Tongue

23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue
Keeps his soul from troubles.


15. Proverbs 23:9 Fool

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.


16. Proverbs 24:17-20  Enemy

17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the wicked;
20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.


17. Proverbs 29:18 Vision

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.


18. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Everything Has Its Time

3 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.


19. John 14:1-6 The Way, the Truth, and the Life

14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


20. Romans 8:28, 31

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?


21. Philippians 4:13

 13 I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.


22. John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


23. Ecclesiastes 12: 1, 13-14

12 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”:

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

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I just finished reading Clarence Thomas: My Grandfather’s Son and now feel that Justice Thomas could be the most misunderstood brother in America.  Grandfather Myers Anderson’s story could have been the story of any southern striving Black man before 1970 and reading the parts of this book about him was like reading about my father’s stern daddy.  Those men didn’t play because they couldn’t play.  Playing meant your family didn’t eat and/or you might get dead.  My daddy called everyone “good brother” and he would have enjoyed talking about the bad old days with Justice Thomas.

Clarence Thomas was one angry Black man.  The strict ways of his grandfather were Machiavellian and prepared Thomas for years of hard academic and professional work.  I was surprised to learn that Thomas was basically broke for most of his adult life—including his years as head of the EEOC.  So, the guy was a Holy Cross and Yale Law grad who drove old Volvos and lived paycheck to paycheck.  Of course, he could have jumped into corporate law fully and gotten paid but he was driven by the desire to help our people.  Really.

Helping his people for Thomas centers on Mr. Anderson’s belief that Blacks must work hard, stay upright and avoid government involvement.  There it is: Thomas isn’t a sellout, he is the opposite.  Clarence Thomas was a radical in college who spent time listening to the self-help teachings of Black Muslims and others in the Black nationalism movement.  To them, the road to Black empowerment led away from government assistance and dependency. 

Faye Wattleton

As a Hill staffer, I stood in the back of the Thomas confirmation hearing for about 30 minutes.  To be honest, I went there to see if Anita Hill’s lips were as nice in person as on CNN….they were.  Actually, I stood next to Faye Wattleton of Planned Parenthood who was a fashion model back in the day.  She towered over me and rolled her eyes as if to say, “stop looking at me and pay attention to history.”  Was I harassing sisters Hill and Wattleton?  Not really.  Nor was Thomas harassing Hill in the office in my opinion.  Look, we all say things at work with a general understanding that technically there might be an issue if we didn’t have said understanding about the temperament of the workplace.  In my opinion, activists groups on both sides used Thomas and Hill as pawns in the Roe vs. Wade abortion fight.  If Thomas said anything wrong to Hill, she wouldn’t have asked to move with him from the Department of Education to EEOC.

This book for me wasn’t about the Supreme Court confirmation hearings.  It was about a form of Black conservatism that still needs to be nurtured and developed.  Maybe, Thomas getting on the Supreme Court pulled one of our greatest Black thinkers away from the next movement.  Clarence Thomas and Rev. Jeremiah Wright are two victims of media witch hunts and this nation is worst as a result.  Both gentlemen could have a lot to say to all youth about evading governmental involvement in their personal lives.  Who would have thought that Thomas was down with Louis Farrakhan’s self-help principles but had to admonish him because of his anti-Semitism.   

On Public Enemy’s “Don’t Believe the Hype,”  Chuck D said, “the follower of Farrakhan….don’t tell me that you understand until you hear the man.” Chuck was right and don’t tell me that you understand brother Thomas until you hear him and know that he might hold one of the keys to improving Black America through a returning to our southern roots and ethics.  What do you call that? It’s called Black conservatism or moderation. 

Before it’s all over, Clarence Thomas, Jeremiah Wright, President Obama, Sanford Bishop, Harold Ford, Jr. and that Thomas Sowell guy should sit down at table of brotherhood to outline a plan for success based on the teachings of their fathers and grandfathers.  May I please come?        

My notes from Clarence Thomas: My Grandfather’s Son

p. 25 From time to time we slaughtered one of the forty or so hogs we kept.  Daddy (grandfather Myers Anderson) would shoot in the head with his .22 rifle, then cut the jugular vein to bleed out the carcass. We then placed it in a fifty-five gallon barrel half full of water, set into the ground at an angle and surrounded by fire.  We slid the hog in and out of the barrel, scraping its skin to remove the coarse hair.  Daddy cut the hog open from tail to head, and its guts fell into a tub placed underneath the carcass.  We saved nearly every part of the animal, making fresh crackling from the skin and using the intestines for chitterlings.  Portions were given to friends and relatives, while the rest went into the freezer to be saved for a rainy day.  Daddy always seemed to be preparing for rainy days.  Maybe that’s why they never came.   

p. 25 Our small, soft hands blistered quickly at the start of each summer, but Daddy never let us wear gloves, which he considered a sign of weakness.  After a few weeks of constant work, the bloody blisters gave way to hard-earned calluses that protected us from pain.  Long after the fact, it occurred to me that this was a metaphor for life – blisters come from calluses, vulnerability before maturity – but not even the thickest of skins could have spared us the lash of Daddy’s tongue.  He never praised us, just as he never hugged us.  Whenever my grandmother urged him to tell us we had done a good job, he replied, “That’s their responsibility.  Any job worth doing is worth doing right.”

p. 73 (John Bolton) “Clarence, as member of a group that has been treated shabbily by the majority in this country, why would you want to give the government more power over your personal life?”  That stopped me cold.  I thought of what Daddy had said when I asked him why he’d never gone on public assistance.  “Because it takes away your manhood,” he said.  “You do that and they can ask you questions about your life that are none of their business.  They can come into your house when they want to, and they can tell you who can come and go in your house.”  Daddy and John, I saw, were making the same point: real freedom meant independence from government intrusion, which in turn meant that you had to take responsibility for your own decisions.  When the government assumes that responsibility, it takes away your freedom – and wasn’t freedom the very thing for which Blacks in American were fighting?

p. 93 One thing I’d learned at Yale was how to study for a tough exam: John Bolton had taught me the secret of distilling all the material in a course into a secession of shorter and shorter outlines, ending up with a concentrated super-outline that fit on a single index card.

p. 97 One of the older attorneys in the office had told me that while it was sometimes excusable not to know all of the law, there was never any excuse for not knowing the facts.  

p. 101 I learned two lessons that morning.  The first one was that honesty is what you do when no one is looking.  The second one was more important, so much so that I came to think of it as a defining moment in my ethical development: my needs, however great they might be, didn’t convert wrong to right or bad to good.  That man’s (found) wallet wasn’t mine, no matter how much I needed the money or how rude he happened to be.  I often had occasion to remind myself in years to come that self-interest isn’t a principle – it’s just self-interest.

p. 106 Never before had I seen my views stated with such crisp, unapologetic clarity: the problems faced by Blacks in America would take quite some time to solve, and the responsibility for solving them would fall largely on Black people themselves.  It was far more common in the seventies to argue that Whites, having caused our problems, should be responsible for solving them instantly, but while that approach was good for building political coalitions and soothing guilty White consciences, it hadn’t done much to improve the daily lives of Blacks.  Sowell’s perspective by contrast, seemed old-fashioned, outdated, even mundane – but realistic.  It reminded me of the mantra of the Black Muslims I had met in college: Do for self, brother.

p. 130 I saw no good coming from an ever-larger government that meddled, with incompetence if not mendacity, in the lives of its citizens, and I was particularly distressed by the Democratic Party’s ceaseless promises to legislate the problems of Blacks out of existence. Their misguided efforts had already done great harm to my people, and I felt sure that anything else they did would compound the damage.  Reagan, by contrast, was promising to get government off our backs and out of our lives, putting an end to the indiscriminate social engineering of the sixties and seventies. I thought the Blacks would be better off if they were left alone instead of being used as guinea pigs of the foolish schemes of dream-killing politicians and their ideological acolytes.

p. 180 Virginia had asked me how I coped with controversy , and I pulled out of my wallet a prayer to St. Francis of Assisi that I recited daily of sustenance and guidance:

Keep a clear eye toward life’s end.  Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God’s creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more.  Do not let worldly cares and anxieties or the pressure of office blot out the divine life within you or the voice of God’s spirit guiding you in your great task of leading humanity to wholeness.  If you open yourself to God and his plan printed deeply in your heart, God will open Himself to you.

p. 204 “What is my role in this case- as a judge?”  It was the best piece of advice I received, one that became central to my approach to judging.  In the legislative and executive branches, it’s acceptable (if not necessarily right) to make decisions based on your personal opinions or interests.  The role of a judge, by contrast, is to interpret and apply the choices made in those branches, not to make policy choices of his own. 

p. 219  I’d been attracted to the Black Muslim philosophy of self-reliance ever since my radical days in college, and I’d made my favorable comments about Minister Farrakhan in the early eighties, at a time when I was under the mistaken impression that he’d abandoned his anti-White, anti-Semitic rhetoric in favor of a positive self-help philosophy.

p. 237 Psalm 57 showed me the way:

I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed…

I am in the midst of lions;

I lie among ravenous beasts-  men whose tongues are sharp swords.

They spread a net for my feet- I was bowed down in distress.

They dug a pit in my path – but they have fallen into it themselves.  

p. 247 But I’d promised President Bush that I could make it through another confirmation, and I couldn’t go back on my word.  I’d done that only twice in my life, once with Daddy (becoming a priest) and once with (first wife) Kathy, and I wasn’t about to do it again.  As always, it was the memory of Daddy that strengthened me.  “Son, you have to stand up for what you believe in,” he had said.  “Give out, but don’t give up.”

p. 254 Perhaps I would have to renounce my pride to endure this trail, even as Cardinal Merry del Val had prayed for deliverance in his Litany of Humility: Deliver me, O Jesus, form the fear of being humiliated…from the fear of being despised…from the fear of suffering rebukes…from the fear of being calumniated.  

p. 259 I spent the hour tossing, turning, and thinking, and the more I thought, the angrier I got.  As a child I’d labored in the South Georgia heat because, Daddy said, it was our lot to work from sun to sun.  I’d lived by the rules of a society that had treated Blacks shabbily and held them back at every turn.  I’d plugged away, deferred gratification, eschewed leisure.  Now, in one climatic swipe of calumny, America’s elites were arrogantly wreaking havoc on everything my grandparents had worked for and all I’d accomplished in forty-three years of struggle.  Even as Daddy had been teaching me that hard work would always see me through, my friends in Savannah told me to let go of my foolish dreams.  “The man ain’t goin’ let you do nothing,” they had said over and over. “Why you even tryin’?” 

p. 276 A little later, the White House operator patched through a call from Jehan Sadat, Anwar Sadat’s widow.  We had never met, and I was touched that she took the trouble to call me, though what she said touched me even more: “Judge Thomas, they are just talking about words. They are laughing at the United States around the world.”  I reminded her that I hadn’t really said any of the things Anita had accused me of saying.  “It does not matter,” she repeated.  “They are just words.  Women around the world are suffering real oppression.  This in nothing in comparison.  The whole thing is silly.”

p. 279 When Joseph (in the Bible) returned from the enslavement into which his brothers had sold him, he told them, “You meant in for evil, but God meant it for good.”  Perhaps the fires through which I had passed would have a purifying effect on me, just as a blast furnace burns the impurities out of steel.  I already knew that they had brought me closer to God, and I asked Him, as I had so many times before, to help me resist the temptation to hate those who had harmed me.

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Kanye West saying ”That S__ Crazy” on that song with Jay Z is one cool rap lyric.  But, the line should apply to some political matters as well.

Jon Huntsman: The GOP had an opportunity to select this decent conservative as their nominee but he left the race while polling in the single digits.  Huntsman could have easily secured the large political center’s vote and walked into the White House if unemployment rates and gas prices remain high.  But, the red meat people on the far Right want a president who is mad, angry and pissed so they gave him their behinds to kiss.  “That S__ Crazy.”

Newt Gingrich: The homeboy Newt needs to stop tripping.  He is as smart as President Obama and would make improving America his historic legacy if he became president.  But, the food stamp stuff is too much.  In the debate last night, Newt said, “Obama PUT more people on food stamps than any American president. Put.  Put.  Put.  No political leader in this nation wants people on food stamps or in need.  The implication is that President Obama is a socialist and that’s not the case.  Speaker Gingrich knows better but it’s a dirt game.  Newt is crazy like a fox and he might steal South Carolina with this mess.  Democrats in S.C. should vote for Newt (since Huntsman is gone) so that Obama/Biden get a louder opponent.  “That S__ Crazy.”

Sanford Bishop: Why in the world does the far Right want Bishop’s seat so badly.  My friends in the conservative movement should know that agriculture is the backbone of rural Georgia and Bishop gets urban members of Congress to support Farm Bill programs that benefit every American who eats food and the producers who grow food.  Fiscal conservatives have crop support programs as one of their main targets.  So, removing Bishop is directly shooting yourself in your southern foot because my region would be a wasteland without USDA .  “That S__ Crazy.”  

Mitt Romney: While I am an Obama supporter, I must say that people should get off Romney’s case about his work at Bain.  Capitalism involves improving companies if you can and closing them if you must.  Mitt should say that he and Jay Z “ball so hard..these (blanks) want to fined me…but first they got to find me.”  “That S__ Crazy.”

Bottomline: As the song says, you got to crawl before you ball.  Young rap listeners should understand that fact and avoid the bling.  We need to hear that from moderate leaders. (Are they still saying bling?)

 N-ggas in Paris (language warning)

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I am sick and tired of national folks taking political jabs at my south Georgia congressional delegation.  The fellows need to jab back.  My rural south agenda focuses on agriculture, education/jobs, military/veterans and transportation.  If they take care of those areas, other stuff is secondary because all politics is local.

My Georgia is the area south of a line from Columbus to Macon to Savannah.  “JABS” could be Jack, Austin, Bishop and Saxby as in Rep. Jack Kingston, Rep. Austin Scott, Rep. Sanford Bishop and Sen. Saxby Chambliss.  Of course, Senator Johnny Isakson is the coolest of the cool and we appreciate his ATL-based service as well.  Party politics requires these guys to publicly act combative with each other but we know that JABS circle the wagon when Georgia issues are on the table.   

Sen. Chambliss catches heat from the far Right when he negotiates with Democratic senators but kuckleheads should know that negotiating is what leaders do.  Jack Kingston can throw policy jabs with the best of them but coastal Democrats will admit that Jack will go anywhere to explain his rationale and many African American conservatives have worked in his D.C. and district offices; the same can’t be said about most GOP congressmen.  

The Austin Scott and Sanford Bishop areas of south Georgia are interesting because the recent changes to the congressional map made Bishop’s district more Dem-friendly and Austin’s area more GOP friendly.  Does this mean Bishop is going to become more liberal?  No.  Actually, Bishop, as an appropriator, has become more of a fiscal educator during his Georgia visits.  Of course, he isn’t as fiscally conservative as Austin Scott but considering SDB’s district he does more than expected and hears it from real liberals. 

The new map will move my hometown from Bishop’s district to Austin’s district but that is fine with me because interests don’t stop on political lines.  Kingston has always protected Naval Air Station Jacksonville because many employees from that base live in southeast Georgia and a similar situation exist between the 8th district and the 2nd district.  People live in rural towns but work, dine and shop in Albany, Columbus and Macon.  So, the conditions in both areas are contingent or mutual.  

I am keeping my eyes on JABS and would love to see them use the basketball fundamental technique called the jab step to get the national haters off them.  In basketball, this moved is used to create space from the opposition before executing one’s next scoring move.  Jack, Austin, Bishop and Saxby deliver or score for south Georgia but I need them to be more vocal about their achievements.  And if an occasional misstep occurs, Georgians can weigh the good vs. the nots-so-good and decide.  For example, we heard a lot of drama about candidate Nathan Deal but he has been a decent governor who is about to overhaul the expensive criminal justice system in this state.  We spend too much money on criminals and change starts with education. 

Look, people have agendas and you can detest folks for working their hustle. But, national groups can’t tell me that JABS are wrong; those guys are fellow Georgians and we will make that determination on our own.  As a matter of fact, regular Georgians should use the web and public events like our unlikelyalliesproject.com meetups to discuss our elected officials.

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If I could wave a magic wand on New Year’s Eve, the notations I would place in southern voters’ minds as we enter the election year would involve understanding.  Kandi from the Real Housewives of Atlanta was in a hip hop group with T.I.’s lady Tiny back in the day and they had a hit called “Understanding.”     

Xcape’s “Understanding” had a line that said, “You don’t really know me… you just want’a do what you want’a do… that’s not the way it is baby…you gotta listen to me.”  That line applies to elections, politics and policy because the South has a history of leaders and parties who arrogantly want to make desicisions for everyone without input from or understanding of everyone else.  

I am an American who is concerned that the so-called developing world could blow past our nation in this century because those hungry people are driven liked we once were.  Simply put, we might get out hustled by Latin America, South America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia because their young people aren’t playing when it comes to education and training while too many of our youth are soft whiners.  We must understand that the entire nation must be striving collectively.

Anyway, the following points are the ideas I would put in voters’ heads:

1.President Obama can’t improve your life alone.  He can only foster an environment conducive for your personal development.  That’s what he said from the moment he stepped onto the national stage but folks don’t know how to listen.

2. Newt Gingrich as president could actually be good for my community.  While we never know which version of Newt will show up, Speaker Gingrich from the Clinton era was a great ideas person who sincerely wanted to change the cultural mindset of Americans in a positive way.  Look: the government doesn’t now nor has it ever cared about the average person.  With Newt as president we would know that fact without a doubt and get about the business of personal responsibility.

3.  Jon Huntsman is the most Obama-like Republican and moderate Democrats should vote for him to encourage the GOP nominee to make him their VP candidate.  As quiet as it is kept, Obama respects Huntsman more than he does most of the Congressional Black Caucus.  If the GOP takes the White House, moderates will wish level-headed Huntsman was at the table.

4. A small percentage of Democrats could sway the GOP presidential primary.  “Ted, is right..we should vote for Huntsman just in case Obama doesn’t win or Newt to help Obama win.”  Of course, no one understands my points until after the fact.

5.  In South Georgia, running someone against Sanford Bishop will crank up Bishop’s campaign apparatus and organize Democrat GOTV efforts in Albany, Columbus and Macon.  If President Obama wins reelection by a slim margin and by surprisingly winning Georgia, Bishop’s opponents can be thanked.  By the same logic, Democrats can’t beat Austin Scott so we shouldn’t run anyone against him.  That energy would be better spent developing a functional relationship with the young lawmaker. 

Bottomline: Using the “Understanding” song in a blog post is recycling a past post.  Another past post is my notes from “The Art of War.”  That Chinese warfare manual is like a blueprint for politics and modern business.  A central theme in the book is respect for and understanding of the other side. If the GOP understood Democrats, they would select Huntsman as their nom but the hardheaded never learn.  If the Dems understood the Tea Party, they would vote for Huntsman in the GOP primaries in droves to keep them out of the White House.  But, we are more concerned about the NFL playoffs. 


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Georgia’s proposed congressional map is out and I feel just fine.  President Obama once said don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.  I would have liked my hometown to remain in Rep. Sanford Bishop’s district but we took one for the team. 

Since my county is GOP-dominated, it’s better for Bishop that we bounce into the 8th congressional district and Rep. Austin Scott is much more open to debate and discussion than the average southern Republican.  The guy can go toe to toe while keeping the punches above the belt.

Being comfortable in a conservative congressional district was prepped by having two conservative U.S. senators and surprisingly by the moderate service of Blue Dogs like Sanford Bishop and former Rep. Jim Marshall.

We must ask ourselves if GOP congressmen are more influenced by the energetic Tea Party Movement or the sizeable moderate sections of their areas.  To be honest, Democrats and Black folks need to build a functional relationship with whoever serves them because elected officials sometimes look at election results and get punitive. 

If this map stands, it would be a waste of time and energy running candidates against Bishop and Scott.  The battleground is the new 12th district and my good friend Helen Blocker Adams might be kingmaker over there because she knows Augusta like the back of her hand and real people trust her.   

Man, I wish Bishop and Scott could take the time they would spend (waste) fundraising and campaign and use that energy to find a common ground.


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

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

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

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

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

Georgia New District: Hall County based…safely conservative.

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

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

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Okay, I finally get the House Tea Party Caucus.  From jump street, these members stated that they were there to address the spending and that they didn’t care about being long-term members of congress.  The Progressive Caucus on the far left and the T.P. Caucus on the far right aren’t team players and love that fact—rebels, renegades, revolutionaries.

It took me awhile to realize that many members of the state legislators were balling so hard in private life that being a U.S. Congress member would be a pay cut or take them from their families too much.  The state house and senate isn’t the minor leagues to congress.  With that in mind, some ballers feel that it might be cool being a congressman for a quick minute so they run, win and roll into D.C. with a creep-type attitude.  They think they know everything but the job is complex and complicated.

Speaking of jobs, I think hard hitters on both sides have realized that congress and/or a presidential bid is a quick ticket to a lucrative gigs on T.V., radio or the speaking circuit.  My friends from the Hill joke that the average Congressional Black Caucus member makes more money as a MOC than they did before congress and than they will after congress.  Oh, other southern members and their staffs know how to “parlay” a few years at the congress into big money as K Street lobbyists or governmental affairs consultants in industries they monitored as committee members.  “Do I know the Farm Bill…hell, I wrote the darn thing.”

Senator John McCain is a guy about order.  As a POW, he had an opportunity to bounce out of captivity but didn’t out of respect for his fellow prisoners.  Recently, he gave the Tea Party Caucus his behind to kiss because protest and governing is two different things.  Speaker Tom Foley use to say that a jackass could kick down a barn but it took a carpenter to build one.  Tea Party have provided some useful protest but legislating requires compromise and negotiations.   

We should hand-out cool points to young members of congress like Rep. Tom Graves and Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia who (while really conservative) didn’t let the tide push them into the Tea Party Caucus.  Sen. Saxby Chambliss gets cool points for his work with the Gang of Six and yes, that will get him a Tea Party primary opponent.   As conservatives go, some are “less worst” than others  and this moderate still can’t understand why the Tea Party movement hates centrists like Rep. Sanford Bishop who is with conservatives a surprising percentage of the time.  McCain did what Bishop should have.

It’s one thing to be a congressional creep but relishing the status just isn’t cool.  (Okay, this post was simply an excuse to rock Radiohead on my blog beause I thought about the Tea Party Caucus when dude sang, “I don’t belong here.”)


Update: I just saw “the social network” and found a cover of “Creep” that use in the movie’s trailer.


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Political district lines on a map don’t reflect the reality of how people live.  Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston supports the naval mission in Jacksonville, Florida, because some employees at the base live in southeast Georgia.  The same statement can be made about Augusta, Savannah and Columbus.  suburbanites often work, eat, shop, heal, pray and play in other congressional districts. 

Georgia’s cities serve as regional hubs and elected officials know they should work together.  Because I grew up Black in the South, the scariest thing to me are groups who want decisions made with little or no input from all involved segments of the community.  It’s not rocket science: officials should maintain a line of communication and/or grow a network with everyone.  From Rep. Sanford Bishop meeting with sons of the confederacy to Rep. Jack Kingston explaining fiscal conservatism at Savannah State University, decent people respect listeners and reasonable folks understand that others live in the area.

During the last election season, naïve activists constantly complained that swing district congressmen didn’t do what the activists commanded.  Hello.  What about the majority (albeit thin) that support what the members of congress are doing.  We are in the redistricting process in Georgia and there is a strong possibility that my county will move in a GOP district.  Will my head explode? No. The Blue Dog Democrats of today are similar, in my opinion, to the traditional GOP establishment of old.  Their moderation prepped us for certain conservative elements. 

Rep. Austin Scott defeated Blue Dog Jim Marshall but Marshall was so conservative that some Dems can’t tell the difference.  If a congressman stays away from the craziest parts of his side and takes care of regional interests, I am fine.  Black moderates should be breaking bread with Black conservatives as we team up to explain to the community that it isn’t about elected officials.  It’s mostly about personal choices, decisions and consequences.  

The worst case scenario would be my community being 100% blue and the next election being a red landside.  In big cities, we have real liberals but rural Blacks are moderate to conservative.  If a Republican wins an election, you better hope he or she isn’t far, far right.  Someone should light a fire under groups Democrats help.  Al Gore knows that Democrats help people who don’t bother voting.  

To diversify our political portfolio, we should grow a new hybrid southern Black conservative. We need a bro with a goatee who was radical in college and knows all the Public Enemy lyrics or a sista with a natural who knows that we are going cuturally backwards.  Oh snap, the new southern Black conservatism could simply be based on people who remember how we once “carried ourselves” and that community once meant something.  It’s a shame that smart –sses on the right demonized Black nationalism because those cats’ primary thoughts was self-reliance and don’t depend on the government.    

Gladys and the Pips said we got to use our imagination to “keep on keeping on.”  Dominique Wilkins played well with the Georgia Bulldogs but the year after his departure for the N.B.A., the Dawgs went to the Final Four.  They had spent all of their effort trying to get Wilkins the ball.  UGA made the “best of a bad situation” and rural moderates should do the same.  Hell, rural Blacks might have more status in districts without big cities and those GOP congressmen should know that a third of the Black electorate could mean they never face opposition and won’t need to dial for dollars–think about it.  If they need a model, they can look at Rep. Bishop and Rep. Kingston.

The Pips said, “You’re too strong not to keep on keeping on.”

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Congressional redistricting should embrace split counties in some situations as the logical reflection of the divisions between people.  We know the cigar-chomping leaders will make the decisions behind closed doors and spin their maps as “the best interest of all Americans.”  But, a case can be made for putting like-minded people in the same districts because some of us are weary after a lifetime of constant fighting. 

Democrats and Republicans don’t understand each other and rarely communicate peacefully.  Heaven only knows how many people in south Georgia only have friends away from work who are just like them and that’s cool in a free society.  The problem is leaders of one party might make decisions that involved the entire area with limited input or knowledge of others.  From home schooling/private school to church, the only Blacks some people know are on Tyler Perry T.V. shows.  Have mercy.

During Georgia’s redistricting hearings, the usual suspects bounced up to the microphones to declare that this county or that county shouldn’t be divided because of the tremendous amounts of love and happiness inside those county or city lines.  Child, please.  Railroad tracks and highways divide most rural southern areas—east is east and west is west and never say they meet.  Oh, the Chamber of Commerce types will have you think that all is well and bless their hearts, all is well insider their worlds. 

In southwest Georgia, I wouldn’t mind seeing all strong Democrat population pockets placed in the 2nd Congressional district.  Yes, the neighboring 3rd, 8th and 1st districts would be even more GOP and that’s fine because they are “balling” down here or as the kids say, they are like “butter” because you know they are on a roll.

In Worth and Tift counties, U.S. Highway 82 neatly divides the GOP northern section from Blue areas in the south.  Some would also argue that the Red areas of Lee County deserve placement in the conservative 8th.  While I am a cosmopolitan guy with a wide variety of friends and associates across God’s green earth, it sincerely hurt my heart to hear that so many conservatives felt the centrist Democrat congressman in the 2nd didn’t listen to them at all…zero…zilch.  Really?  I know for a fact that said congressman breaks his neck to hear from everyone and while his final votes reflect the majority of his district, he tries to hear from the other side more that 99% of the southern GOP members of Congress try to hear from the Dem side.  When Georgia’s GOP senators dialog with Democrats, instant talk of primary challengers starts.

The fact that Georgia has two GOP senators is a game-changer for me anyway.  Here is the logic: everyone has two senators and one House member representing them in Washington.  Georgia’s senators are legislatively similar and also similar to most GOP House members.  If you are a non-conservative Georgian, you should hope like crazy that you have a Democrat House member to hear your concerns.  For me, that’s representation is more important that being connected with the other half of my county. 

At the redistricting hearing in Albany, Georgia, Brad Hughes, a promising young public servant from Early County, Georgia, stated that having two members of the state house serving his area was like the best of both worlds.  Well, the same logic could apply to congress for the next ten years.  Keith MacCants at Peanut Politics asked recently on his blog who should run against Rep. Bishop in 2012 since Mike Keown has decided to seek other office. Hughes, who ran against Bishop in the past, would be better than most conservatives at bridging the political divide.  Can he win?  No.  But he can position himself to be  appointed congressman by the governor if Bishop is selected by a president to be a cabinet secretary or maybe the historic next ambassador to ag nation Cuba.  You heard it here first and remember that a GOP president also would like a cool Dem or two on his team and despite the noise from last year, Bishop is one of the best peacemakers.   

I am uniquely qualified to write about peace between parties because I am a Democrat who supports Georgia’s GOP U.S. senators but please don’t tell anyone or the guys will get primary opposition.  If conservatives want out of my 2nd congressional district, I say good riddance and I hope you have the time of your life chilling with like-minded people somewhere else.  You should “get” while the getting is good because if Keown couldn’t turn the 2nd red in 2010, it can’t be done anytime soon. Green Day had it right with Good Riddance and Bill Joe was a big Obama support in 2008.

If you ask asked the people south of Hwy. 82 down here if they want to be in a Dem congressional district for the next ten years, they would look at you like you were crazy.  Heck yes, they want into the second congressional district and heck yes, the GOP people north of the Hwy. 82 would like to have a safer conservative in the 8th district for the same period of time.

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