Posts Tagged ‘saxby’

David Perdue, Jack Kingston

Georgia primary voters should think long and hard before next month’s runoff election.  I give myself credit for being a moderate Democrat who voted in the Republican primary because that’s where the action was in this generally red state.  So, I get to vote in the runoff and important questions must be addressed.  For the record, my interests focus on improving our state more that supporting either major political party because parties are mostly interested in power and control.

  1. Will Jack Kingston explain his comments about school kids working for free lunch?  Readers of this blog know I like Jack but that was some dirty dirty design to secure the nut vote.  Shall we humiliates children who were born into families of modest means?   Does the same apply to summer lunch programs?  Is that for high school and middle school only are will 7 year olds be mopping also?  I will say that Democrat leaders on the national level want Kingston in November because that one comment could tip the election by driving young voters to the polls.  “He wants my little sister to clean food trays!?”


  1. Are Michelle Nunn and David Perdue Obama-like in their newness?  I am about to hit you with a new angle on the Senate race: because Nunn and Perdue are new to the political arena they don’t have a record of statements and actions like Jack Kingston now and the Clintons in 2008.  Hillary Clinton might have made a better president (to some) in 2008 but we would have never known because the conservatives would have rallied behind Romney to keep the Clintons out of the White House.  Smart Republicans know that Perdue would be safer.


  1. How do we want the world to see our state?  I have a problem with President Obama.  While he is still my guy, he speaks of the USA that should be rather than the USA that is.  He see a fair, positive colorfree nation and that simply isn’t reality.  Ole Jack Kingston is similar to the average Georgian and me but doesn’t attract new industry.  David Perdue is a corporate baller who can represent an international city like Atlanta.  Chambliss and Isakson are balanced gentleman and Perdue seems senatorial like them.  Kingston has done a fine job representing southeast Georgia but we should remember that Port of Savannah funding might have been delayed because Jack couldn’t or wouldn’t get the crazies on the far Right to dial down the anti-Obama vitriol.  Perdue’s handlers are messing up because they should be spinning his time at Dollar General as a job creator in my community.  Oh, we love those baby Wal-marts on every corner in forgotten neigborhoods.


  1. Is Hillary Clinton reading Nunn’s putt?  In golf, players watch their playing partner’s putts to judge the greens and the line.  I think Team Hillary is watching the 2014 performance of moderate Democrat women candidates to craft their 2016 approach to the South and to gauge which states are winnable.  A Michelle Nunn win puts Georgia on the table for Hillary because some GOP women put gender over party—that’s why they should have selected Karen Handel.


  1.  Would the Democrats prefer Kingston or Perdue in November?  I think Dems want Kingston for the school lunch thing and the southern drawl.  Yes, I am country my dam self but Jack pours that southern twang on like Karo syrup to the delight of rural voters.  But, when Dem voters in Georgia six biggest cities pay attention in the fall,  it will be on and popping because he sounds like an overseer on Roots.

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During primary season, the poll workers shouldn’t ask if I am a Republican or a Democrat in Georgia.  I am a realist who knows that there are very few contested elections in our divided state.  I am going to say “I will take the Republican ballot” but have that “I’m no Republican” look on my face.  Wise guys like me simply want to be where the action is or shall I say want our votes to have some meaning.


Democrat voters could save that little gas money by staying home in my area because Michelle Nunn will be the U.S. Senate nominee and Jason Carter will get the governor nod.  In Albany Georgia on the other hand, voters should take the Dem ballot to put professor Aaron Johnson on the school board—he is good people and smart as a whip.


Dems voting in the GOP primary could a) select a Republican who the Dem would have an easier time defeating in November or b) select a Republican who would respectfully debate issues across the aisle like the current two Georgia Senators.  In other words, pick the less crazy Republican because there is a strong chance the GOP will keep that seat in Congress.


Most Republicans in Georgia smiled and laughed when the nutty segment of their party talked about candidate Obama, President Obama, his wife, his kids, his momma, his daddy and his birthplace.  But, the same folks are surprised that the White House isn’t quickly putting funds into the deepening of the Port of Savannah, a project that means over 200,000 jobs indirectly in the South.  I am not saying the White House is in payback mode but I appreciate Senator Chambliss, Senator Isakson, and Rep. Austin Scott for keeping the debates fiscal and having some degree of respect for the office of the presidency.  Georgia’s congressional Dems generally respected the Bushes.


So, I am a moderate who will be voting for the coolest cat in the U.S. Senate Republican primary and the coolest cat in the Georgia state Senate primary.  Of course, there is no Democrat running for Senate District 13 so the primary winner gets the position.


(The following is intended for Black voters only)  When the Republicans win a position with few votes from our community, they usually ignore said community on that To the Victor The Soils style.  (Non Black voters please rejoin the post now.)


All kidding aside, there is a young man from my county running for state senate and people from my community have been friendly with him since high school or before.  But, I shouldn’t public say that I am voting for him because the purists in the GOP will get ticked that their selection process is tainted whose who haven’t taken the Red Team blood oath.


Of the other hand, Mrs. Vivian Childs is running for congress against my old boss Rep. Sanford Bishop and I wish I lived in that district because I would welcome the opportunity to vote for a GOP primary candidate who would have a robust and healthy debate on the issues with SDB.  While SDB will likely win against either GOP candidate, Childs campaign serves as a testing ground for improving the conservative approach to new demographics (People of color).  She might lose the battle but help nation win the war against partisan ignorance.

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The race to replace Georgia U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss is going to be better than good.  Numbers say that it should be a cakewalk for the G.O.P. but numbers can be wrong.  To me, the recent entry of Dem. Candidate Michelle Nunn is a test for a moderate woman in a changing South.  Nunn approach could open the door to a sizable section of suburban GOP women for her and for Hillary Clinton.

Let’s be honest: Obama got great numbers among Black GOPers and I think Hillary will get as much as a third of the GOP women vote.  The Georgia congressional delegation is currently all-male and heaven knows that’s too much macho.  The Good Old Boys Club in the Georgia state legislature is the farm system or minor leagues for congressional candidates.  But, I could name half-dozen Black Georgia GOP women who could have won seats from Blue Dogs if there was an ounce of flex in the conservative movement (KB, HBA, VC, DH).  There isn’t a gram of flex with him and the Jon Huntsman types were ceremonially shown the door.  Who’s waiting for them outside the door?  Sam Nunn’s daughter.

I am about to miss use the literary device pun while looking at the Georgia Senate candidates but this should be fun.

Michelle Nunn– This lady has “none” of the traditional baggage of the struggling southern Dem Team and neither did her father.  When I worked in the Georgia congressional delegation, Senate Nunn marched to his own drummer.  He simply did what he thought was best for Georgia and the Dems are hopeful that the peach doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  While the Far Right is prepping to blast her with Obama-pinko liberal, we will have “none” of that because she is actually friends with the Bushes—not the Obamas.  Oh, the Tea Party will come hard but I don’t think this lady is a “nun.”  She is kin to former Rep. Carl Vinson so she must be tough if a relative has a freaking aircraft carrier named for him.

Jack Kingston– As a kid, we said “You don’t Jack Sh–.” Well, I can unfortunately report that Georgia might not have the pleasure of knowing Jack Kingston—the Jack I briefly knew.  When I worked on the Hill, I spend time hanging in Jack’s office because he had a staffer who was a personal friend of mine.  Okay, she was so easy on the eyes that I would go to events with them at the RNC Club or whatever their lair was called.  At the time, Senator Nunn ran the Georgia delegation and half of the GA Dems were more conservative than California Republicans.  As the Bard wrote, what’s in a name?

Anyway, I spend about 15 minutes talking with Jack Kingston alone one night at the RNC and he was (is) good people.  Politically, he can blast with both barrels but that is part of the game.  In Savannah, Blacks and Whites know and like Jack personally and my first assume is that Black Savannah and the radiating influence of Savannah State University could compel nice switch numbers for Jack in the primary.  Indications are that the whole GOP field is trying “out-Obama blast” each others and you know the bros can’t get with that.

Karen Handel– “You can’t handle the truth.” The truth about this candidate dumfounded me.  She grew up hard outside D.C. and attended Frederick Douglas High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  Say what? Upper Marlboro is Black middle class heaven and she went to Doug.  During the governor’s race, I couldn’t believe that she didn’t play this race card because that would have been good for some nice numbers.  She was chairwoman of the Fulton County Commission but her “handlers” didn’t cultivate that potential crossover support.  During the governor’s race, Helen Block Adams really enjoyed her meeting with Handel but it seems that the Tea Party will burn anyone seen listening to moderates. So, she lost win leaving support on the ground.  That’s hard to handle.

Derrick Grayson– I have so much fun listening to Black GOP candidate Grayson because he is “Gray, Son.” The brother is in a grey area from which he blasts the ignorance of both sides.  But, we shouldn’t sleep on his style because he sounds like the oldheads in the barber shop who bring a conservative knowledge that the GOP doesn’t we have.

Paul Broun– Physician, heal thyself.  I am “appalled” by the craziness coming out of this doctor’s mouth.  This Tea Party darling is the key to this senate race.

The Key: Democrats should clear the field for Michelle Nunn; she gets zero primary opponents.  Then, Dems should vote in the GOP primary for Paul Broun because Nunn would beat the brakes off him in the general election.

The Second Key: Some really liberal Dem. candidate will run against Nunn in the primary and she will hone her skills and tune her campaign apparatus while showing contrast.  ala, Obama vs. Hillary.

Third Key: Michelle Nunn’s candidate helps Jack Kingston and Karen Handel because it drives folks away from flirting with Paul Broun.  With a push from the Senator Nunn, the Obamas and the Clintons, Nunn should beat any of these candidates if the GOP primary gets bloody.  There will be blood because Handel has already secured the campaign services of those behind the Kerry Swift boat thing.

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An old southern adage states “be careful what you say out loud.”  Everything you think isn’t supposed to be said when and where you think it—maybe it shouldn’t be spoken at all but it’s clearly understood.   I wanted to touch on a few of those “out loud” matters.

A leader in the Democratic Party of Georgia recently got in hot water for saying that the party must “clear the field” in next year’s primaries. Everyone knows that the Dems here are poorly organized.  I want to say out loud that Dems create policies that support people who don’t vote—oh, they can go to every local high school football game but they can vote on the regular.  Non-voting working folks have no right to complaint governmental actions and laws.  Hush.

The only hope Dems have in southern red states is to go into those legendary, smoke-filled backrooms and decide who their candidates should be without primary contests.  I forgot that people can’t smoke inside anymore but you get the point.

For U.S. Senate, Rep. John Barrow and Michelle Nunn are the best options but they have zero hope if they battle in the summer.  Actually, their only hope is that the GOP primary voters will select controversial Rep. Paul Broun.   I am not supposed to say this out loud but the Dems should switch over and vote for Broun in the primary because he would be the easier target in the general election.   The Obama machine would be in full force in November against Broun.  Money would pour into Georgia from sea to shining sea.

I am not supposed to say that I voted for GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss in the past because south Georgia regional interests (ag, military, transportation) are more important than party politics to me.  I can’t believe that GOP voters won’t admit that Rep. Sanford Bishop has their backs on these issues—dam it, say it out loud.  Oh, Bishop is the enemy and Broun is a conservative super hero.  Yeah, “Senator” Broun would likely ended most farm programs.

I am not supposed to say out loud that non-GOPers better consider voting for the best available candidate in the GOP primary because that is where the senator might be chosen.  Personally, I like candidates like Jack Kingston who- while being full-blooded conservative- have a history of explaining their views to those who vote against them.  That is called the democratic process.

Finally, I shouldn’t say out loud that we should cultivate the next crop of leaders now because waiting until they decide to retire is too late.  Who is next when Rep. John Lewis gracefully concludes that he has fought the good fight.  In southwest Georgia, the replacement for Rep. Bishop should be the next generation Black leader—someone who teaches about the limited role of government.  We have some folks in mind but we aren’t saying…out loud.


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

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

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

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

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


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There is a controversial painting of all American presidents that includes President Obama standing on the U.S. Constitution.  The guy was president of the Harvard Law Review and a University of Chicago constitutional law professor but he doesn’t respect the Constitution.  Really?

I saw the painting hanging in the district office of U.S. Rep. Austin Scott.  Readers of this blog know I appreciated GOPer Scott removing Rep. Jim Marshall because Marshall, a law scholar himself, decided that Speaker Pelosi and the White House wasn’t his cup of tea.  The two Georgia U.S. Senators, Scott and Rep. Jack Kingston are the most bearable Republicans in Georgia because they are good guys in person.  But, the ultra conservatives are busy and seemingly require that the GOP leaders limit input from Democrats.  Kingston has a well-earned reputation for going to policy-hostile events and breaking down his voting record.  That’s how you do it and Bishop, Barrow and even Marshall did the same.

If the picture is in Scott’s office, it is there because Scott feels that the White House’s policy contradict the framers intend; Scott is on a fiscal correction mission.  When Rep. Sanford Bishop was a freshman, his Washington office initially didn’t have Georgia flag outside the front door.  In an interesting twist, Bishop got the old flag (stars and bars included) but state legislator Austin Scott was (I think) the only GOPer who support changing that flag and he caught hell for it.

The artist who created “The Forgotten Man” said he knew the work was a little strong and I personally think it is too strong.  I always respect President George W. Bush and argued with those who thought he wasn’t bright—dumb people rarely graduate from Yale.  The birther junk and whatever comes next are insults and thank you to those of the other side who want to stick to the issues.  I saw the facebook video statement of Rep. Scott regarding the killing of Bin Laden and yes, he was of the few conservatives who gave President Obama credit. 

Democrats have always allowed Bishop, Barrow, Marshall and other Blue Dogs flexibility to included conservative elements in their actions because conservatives are Georgians too.  I am concerned that the far Right will not allow the same leeway to any GOP members of congress.  Of course, the views of real liberals fall on death’s ear but even moderates and centrists should keep an eye on redistricting and hope that they end up in moderate districts.   

When Jon Stewart said that Bill O’Reilly was the “thinnest kid at fat camp,” he meant that O’Reilly was the best person at Fox News and one might say the same about Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Gang of Six) and Austin Scott.    

Jon McNaughton’s The Forgotten Man is art and art is designed (like Spike Lee’s and Tyler Perry’s work) to provoke thought.  You be the judge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Pyrrhic Victory is a victory offset by staggering losses.  King Pyrrhus’ of Epirus Army suffered tremendous casualties in the defeating the Romans in 280 BC—winning at all cost.  As a student, studying the massive loss of human life during the American Civil War was rough. 

Some observers have liken the current political battles to Pyrrhus’ situation since there are those who want to win with little regard for functioning after the election.  The GOP has been tossing out quality conservative incumbents because the likeable lawmakers have histories of attempting to serve all the people.  While it might be selfish, I have supported a Georgia senator from my area because his knowledge and leadership on agriculture and military issues helps key economic engines in rural Georgia. 

The Blue Dog Democrat who represents southwest Georgia is in a serious mid-term battle and the far Right is giddy about their chances. They should remember Pyrrhus or better, Pickett and Lee at Gettysburg.

While I am busy be selfish, I can’t understand why more voters in swing congressional districts are standing idly by as a relative small group of very involved activists, Tea Party, shape elections and policy. From President Obama down to my city block, Democrats are too freaking nice…to each other.  I have seen the enemy and it’s the complacent face in the mirror.  We should find solace in the fact that our lack of voting produced the coming results.  

A bust of Pyrrhus in a Copenhagen museum is missing it’s nose. I couldn’t help but think about wild voters in 2010 who seem eager to cut off their noses to spite their faces.  That Georgia Senator has a staffer who evidently wrote something ugly on a blog when he or she should have been protecting the farm bill provisions on crops, nutrition programs and renewable energy so our southwest Georgia troops can return home soon rather than being entangled in hostile oil-rich regions of the world.  Pyrrhus and I wouldn’t have been cool because I am selfish and hella practical.  

I am pleased to see the White House finally pushing their supporters to the polls with references to their legislative record–talk about your Pyrrhic Victories.

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I just received an email about a tab on the side of aluminum foil that allows you to hold the roll during tearing.  Who knew that reading the box and thinking outside the box could be so helpful.


Foil is also device in literature that allows one character to make another look better or smarter. ie. Doctor Watson to Sherlock Holmes.  On a political blog, I better leave that alone before I mention that President Obama was born in the United States and I really appreciate conservatives who are about the business of improving policy rather than pushing wild theories.  At the same time, foil is also employed when the Democrats who want to tax rich people to fund health care reform present their proposals only to have the Blue Dogs rein them into reality.

So Senator Saxby Chambliss went to the White House to meet with President Obama on healthcare recently.  I like our Georgia senators and the Blue Dogs talking about the issues before voting yes or no.  It’s thinking outside the box and we elected them to listen to all sides of the debate.

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Have a Punitive Holiday

To the victor go the spoils…

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


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


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


The word is punitive.


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


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


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

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The news of Cooper Tire Plant closing in Albany has made for a solemn holiday season in southwest Georgia. I can’t go to the post office without having a gloomy conversation or two about the families involved—cousins, classmates, friends. If you read the past post on this blog, my writing implored south Georgia voters to declare Saxby Chambliss and Sanford Bishop our guys so they could focus on getting Cooper off the cropping block like Georgia members of Congress have kept our military bases safe. It turns out the fix could have been in from the start.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board wrote today (article found below) that Cooper Tires might have been “playing” south Georgia. They speculated that Cooper knew the Albany plant would close and they used the study period to entice sweeter deals from the other three plant cities—good business or dirty pool?


I am reading The Last Lecture by the late Randy Pausch—positive man who departed this life to soon. In his chapter “Don’t Complain, Just Work Harder,” Dr. Pausch wrote,” Too many people go though life complaining about their problems. I’ve always believed that if you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.”

The Cooper employees are being dignified about their situation at this point but if they get to feeling down they can remember that Randy Pausch and many others would love to be in their shoes—this too shall pass.

Was closing inevitable?
Based on the information that has come out, it may have been the right decision for Cooper, though it is a devastating blow to a region that is already the ninth-poorest congressional district in the United States. Metro Albany’s unemployment is above the state average, and it’s guaranteed to trend upward as the layoffs progress in the shutdown process that will be completed by the end of December 2009. Southwest Georgia and its retail core of metro Albany are already struggling with the stagnant economy that is gripping the nation. Losing the half-billion dollars a year that Cooper meant to the regional economy will make the hole deeper and harder to climb out of.
What makes the already bad situation even worse for many is the suspicion that the decision was made long before the study was conducted.
In mid-November, The Albany Herald received anonymous correspondence from a source that purported to be Cooper employees at Findlay, Ohio. The letter bore a Findlay postmark. Verifying the contents of the letter was problematic, but in retrospect the contents proved to be remarkably prescient. “It is with a great degree of certainty that we know Cooper plans to close the Albany plant,” the letter stated. “Unfortunately, the facility study is a ploy to fleece the other states out of any financial assistance they can offer.”
If that was the strategy, it worked ideally for Cooper. In Findlay, Ohio, union workers at the Cooper plant voted to accept a pay cut. In Texarkana, the union voted to kill its contract and pass another one in which workers’ salaries were frozen and other concessions were made. Mississippi is giving Cooper $30 million in incentives to keep its non-unionized plant in Tupelo open. As soon as the last piece — the Texarkana plant vote last week — fell into place, Cooper’s board met and the decision to put Southwest Georgians out of work was made.
If the decision to close the plant was made completely on the merits, then, painful as it is, you have to accept it for what it is — a reasoned business decision. But if Albany’s workers never had a chance and were merely held out as human bargaining chips so Cooper officials could wrestle better deals at their other plants, that is contemptible.
And given the timing, the letter and the chain of events, there unfortunately is some reason to be suspicious.
— The Albany Herald Editorial Board

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Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack gets the nod as Obama’s Agriculture Secretary while Colorado Senator Ken Salazar gets Interior Secretary.

Congressman Sanford Bishop of Georgia at Ag would have been good for our state and region because the Obama picks have skipped the South completely. With all of the good appointments selected, should the South and the Congressional Black Caucus feel slighted…snubbed…dissed.

Selecting Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as the head of Homeland Security is the only nod to a person from a state that McCain won. What happen to that “we are not the red states of America or the blue states of America, we are the United States of America” stuff because this cabinet seems like the opening volley in a new Civil War. Is the President-elect planning to replace Defense Secrtary Gates with former Senator Sam Nunn after a year? The South is being treated like a red-headed stepchild.


What a messed-up day: Bishop won’t be ag sec and 1300 jobs are gone as the Copper Tire Plant closes in Albany, Georgia.  Readers of this blog know that I was begging south Georgia Blacks to acknowledge that Saxby would be and should be the senator and that time and energy spent supporting Jim Martin for senate should have been used campaigning to keep our tire plant.


It just occurred to me that the hardcore Democrats on the Obama Transition Team shot down Bishop for Ag Sec because Georgia went for McCain/Palin in the general election and the Chambliss-Martin runoff results are a black eye.  During the nomination press conference, an Iowa reporter asked Obama why Vilsack was cabinet material all of a sudden.  I am having a hard time remember the last Georgian in a White House cabinet…Attorney General Griffin Bell, 1979 in think….Colin Powell when to Ranger School in Fort Benning……this is messed-up.


Vilsack Joins Obama Team as Secretary of Agriculture


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(A wise co-worker once said, “Be careful what you say out loud.”)


I almost wrote, “Let’s have a Statewide Blacks for Saxby Victory Party tonight at the Waffle House in Tifton.  Yes, the place has a seating capacity of 30 people but the truckers still need eight chairs.  We could “go green” by carpooling in two Ford Excursions.


A younger, unwise me would have written, “You know those drinking games that are triggered by what you see on T.V.  When I was a congressional staffer during the First Gulf War, gamers would watch CNN to hear “Wolf” as in Blitzer and wolf down a beer as others chanted “wolf, wolf, wolf.”  If you heard,  “Scud” you took a shot…”


Anyway, there should have been a Georgia Senate runoff drinking game called “Hooker in Church/Coattails” that went like this: every time you spot (no pun intended) a Black person at a Saxby Chambliss rally looking as uncomfortable as a Hooker in Church, you pour out a splash for the “dearly departed brother or sista” then drink. 


When Jim Martin mentions “Obama” –the candidate he did not vote for in the primary, choosing to vote for John Edwards, who had left the race by that time, drinkers chant “coattails for cocktails…coattails for cocktails.”


I am pleased I have developed into a cautious person who would never publicly write what I just wrote. 


During the presidential election, we recalled the Tom Bradley Effect.  The concept is that Whites said they would vote for Bradley for Governor of California but once in the polling place switched.  Some experts think that “the Obama Effect” is saying you would not vote for a candidate but actually vote for him or her.


I am coining the new term “the Saxby Effect” where Blacks voted for Saxby out of regional interests but would not come to his rallies because the GOP base makes you feel like “a Hooker in Church.”  (Sidenote: hookers need to be in church and we are hookers at work in some way and on some level…these politicians, hookers.  Congressional and campaign staff, junior hookers.  Wall Street, K Street, Lobbyists, Union Bosses are classic pimps.)    


While most members of the Georgia congressional delegation are good people, the GOP members should be concern about the exclusive, elitist attitude of the GOP base.  I go to everyone’s rallies as a political and policy junkie and GOP folks look at me as if I am a spy for the Dem Team. 


Karen Bogans, absent contributor to this blog, has been a Republican her whole life and her family’s commitment to that party goes back to Reconstruction.  But, it is common for some perky junior league type to test her conservative mettle.  When Karen and I were debating issues weekly in the Rayburn House Office Building Cafeteria, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was still a moderate Democrat like me.   


Most Americans are eager to have leaders who seek civic debate and discourse rather than those who would divide us for personal and political gain.  Let’s hope that the future of the Georgia GOP centers on Johnny Isakson’s genteel southern approach.  The Waffle House in Tifton won’t hold the “Blacks for Isakson” Victory Party—maybe the Morehouse College gym because they like him there as much as Morehouse alumni Herman Cain. 


Politics and public service are all about connecting with people on a personal level.   

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I saw this on the AJC–I have always said that Vernon Jones could sway this senate runoff.

Of Vernon Jones and his opinion of former opponent Jim Martin

You know that the transition of CEOs in DeKalb County has become a rather noisy thing.

But Vernon Jones, the outgoing head of DeKalb government, is also pulling a Dylan Thomas when it comes to the U.S. Senate race.

Jones, defeated by Jim Martin in the Democratic runoff in August, has declined to endorse his former opponent in a close contest against Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss.

Quite the opposite, in fact. Jones has labeled Martin a hypocrite for inviting President-elect Barack Obama to come to Georgia to boost his Senate campaign — because Martin didn’t vote for Obama in the presidential primary. Martin opted instead for Democrat John Edwards, who had already dropped out of the race.

“Jim Martin did not want Obama to be president, but now wants he wants Obama to come down and help him get into the U.S. Senate,” Jones told my AJC colleague Jim Tharpe in an interview on Monday. “He wouldn’t vote for the man, and now he wants the man to come down and get him out of trouble.

“He [Martin] could not come to grips with voting for an African-American for president,” Jones said. “And he couldn’t come to grips with voting for a woman [Hillary Clinton]. So he voted for a man who was not even running for president.

“He voted for a man who had an affair and not an African-American who is married with two beautiful children,” Jones said.

The DeKalb County CEO himself got into hot water with the Obama campaign during the Democratic primary, with a campaign mailer bearing an altered image of himself standing next to Obama in front of a campaign crowd. Jones said no deception was intended.

But Obama called Jones out on the flyer during a visit to Atlanta, and declared that he only knew the DeKalb CEO as someone who voted twice for George W. Bush.

The Martin campaign refused to be drawn into any post-primary debate with Jones — not 14 days before a general election runoff.

“We wish Mr. Jones well,” Martin spokesman Matt Canter said Monday. “If he wants six more years of Georgia jobs getting shipped overseas, higher health care costs, and higher taxes for working families, that’s his prerogative. Jim Martin will work with President Obama to fix the economy for middle-class Georgia families, Saxby Chambliss has pledged to obstruct Obama’s economic recovery efforts.”

Jones said he has not endorsed anyone in the race and was evasive when asked who would get his vote.

“My vote will be cast when I get to the ballot box,” Jones said.

Martin’s other Democratic primary opponents have endorsed Martin’s candidacy with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Josh Lanier of Statesboro has hosted two campaign events for Martin. Rand Knight and Dale Cardwell have endorsed Martin, but have not been actively involved in his campaign

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