(8/3/09) At some point during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign – maybe at a number of points - the question is going to be raised, “How was Georgia better off during the last few years for having Republicans at the wheel?”
The question, of course, lends itself to a rip-roaring debate covering topics like finance, education, transportation and water, to name just a few. Republicans will have their answers. Democrats will have their counter-points. And in the end, voters – especially those who once upon a time tended to vote for Democrats but decided to try something new in recent times - will have to make up their own minds. It won’t be an easy task, but it could have been a little easier if things had gone as Gov. Sonny Perdue optimistically forecast in the early days of his administration.
Those were the days before Republicans in general and the administration in particular had learned that it’s much more fun – for dogs or politicians – to chase a car than to catch one; the days when it seemed that whatever they touched would turn to gold, and the days when it seemed the problems that Democrats had brought upon themselves would be a thing of the past because Republicans were smart enough to avoid them.
And Perdue, still in the blush of his historic victory as first Republican governor of Georgia since Reconstruction, was boldly predicting that with Republicans in the chief executive posts of all three states in the ongoing water wars, things would get settled quickly. It seemed possible.
“We’ll come together face-to-face with no staff and hammer this thing out,” the then governor-elect told the AJC in a Jan. 6, 2003 article.
But here’s a case where blood (albeit only political “blood”) is definitely not thicker than water and, as everyone knows, Republicans so far haven’t been any more skilled at solving the dispute than their Democratic predecessors. The breakdown of negotiations, the legal wrangling and a devastating, recent court ruling have seen to that.
The 2010 election won’t turn on that single point alone. But elections often turn on a multiplicity of such little points. A settlement of the decades-old water battle would have given Republicans a solid point behind their argument that Georgia was left better for their stewardship. There’s still time. But given the ticking clock and the current state of relations between the three states and the ticking clock that’s looking increasingly unlikely.