Friday, May 28, 2010

Avoid the Dangerous Liberal Waters: It Hazardous to your Political Health!

Its during the hot July Summer. The temperature in 98 degrees with a heat index of 113 degrees. And you see a lake or near a beach. And you want to get into those waters so bad to give you some much needed relief. BUT! There is a beware sign at that lake or a beach somewhere in Georgia that reads: Beware of Dangerous Waters. Take extreme caution! Enter at your own risk!!

Well that's our democratic candidates maybe facing as they enter the dog days of summer, right before the Liberal Waters of the Democratic Primary.

Any candidate that tacks to the left in the democratic parimary is very likely to win that nomination because its dominated by left-wing liberals who dominate the primary. But like I said before, races are won in the General Election, not in a closed or open primary.

That's where the problem lie as that candidate then has to make a run to the center to appeal to a more mainstream crop of voters who don't see eye-to-eye on many positons held by liberals. Luckily so far, none of our candidates have been tempted to get in the liberal waters, even dip their toe in it just to see how it feels.

Whoever wins the nomination better avoid that trap if he wants to be the next governor of Georgia. This goes to candidates who are running for Georgia House of Representatives or State Senator.

Here's what I mean by the "Dangerous Liberal Waters":

Its full of algae, like big government, increased spending, raising taxes, eliminating tax cuts to low income Georgians, (now that's a Liberal Position if you ask me) & other tried & true liberal positions that have gotten our democrtic candidates in trouble at every turn. NO,NO,not this year!


Anyway take our two democratic senatorial candidates RJ Hadley & Michael Thurmond, (who's been M.I.A. since his announcement for the senate: Neither man CANNOT be in lockstep with the National Democratic Party. NO WAY! NO HOW!

You already know Isakson & his cronies are going to make the entire elction about (1) Obamacare (2) Pelosi & reid (3) Runaway Government & Spending.

The Healthcare Reform is a dicey one for both men: More than 2/3 of Georgians support a repeal of the Bill according to Rasmussen Poll, (who is more of a GOP leaning polling firm), but take those numbers to heart.

I know Hadley supports the legislation, maybe not the entire bill, but I know he supports a public option. Thurmond's position is unknown. It has always been the Southern Democrats trademark going back to the 1930s in running against the National Democratic Party & as a result all have been very successful.

Things like supporting a Balanced Budget Amendment proposed by Bobby Bright (D-Alabama) & Jim Marshall (D-Georgia) is a starter. Support a Hardline immigration
policy that puts the heat on our borders, & heat on employers that hire illegal workers is another. Going against Union organizations like come out in opposition to Union Card Checks is also another one.

But when you dip your toes in those "Dangerous Liberal Waters" & come out in favor of the Card Check System for Unions, Immigration that grants amnesty to illegal immigrants, more taxes, more government growth, you are finished!

For either Thurmond or Hadley it should be this: (1) Fiscal Conservatism (2) Economy (3) A New Tax System (4) Strengthening our National Security (5) Dealing with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. Not Amnesty for illegals, More Govermment Growth, and Increased Taxes.

For Our other statewide candidates, look, the Ga GOP has put this state in a serious fiscal situation, but continue to eliminate Income Tax Cuts for Georgians making under $20,000 while giving Tax Cuts to Big Businesses & the rich, while continuing to furlough teachers, layoff state workers & abuse our educational system with massive cuts to education & increasing Fee's (wait, excuse me, increasing Taxes) Yes!!!! Increasing Taxes on Georgians in the worst economic crisis I have seen in my lifetime just to fill a budget gap.

But we have to get past the Democratic Primary & once again about abortion have come to the fore-front for two candidates Husband & wife duo DuBose & Carol Porter. DuBose Says he's pro-life: GREAT! While Mrs. Porter sayd she's Pro-Georgian! OKAY!!

I suspect Mrs. Porter is PRO-LIFE! She cleverly avoided that question in risk of alienating liberal democratic women who strongly supports a woman's right to chose.

See DuBose avoided the Liberal Waters, while Carol is still standing alongsine the lake wondering whether or not she should stick her toe just to see how it feels.

All of the candidates for governor are either moderate/conservative democrats.

Look at the Attorney General's race, Teilhet is a centrist, while Hodges is a conservative demcorat

Terry Coleman, J.B. Powell are both conervative democrats, I don't need to worry about these two grizzled veterans flirting with dipping that toe in those dangerous liberal waters.

All I have to say is so far the democratic candidates running for office this year have managed to avoid the temptation of diving or sticking their toes in the dangerous liberal waters of our left-wing counterparts

I Don't Buy this Poll as far as I can throw it!

The Insider Advantage Georgia came out yesterday with a new poll showing Roy Barnes with a whopping 64% in the democratic primary.

Here's the rest:


Barnes, 64 percent

Porter, 8 percent

Baker, 6 percent

Camon, 5 percent

Poythress, 1percent

Mangham, 1 percent

Bolton, 0 percent

No opinion, 15 percent


First of all, Barnes with 64% is very, very hard to believe. One logic to this if it is trure is because he is coming with new ads it seems just about every week.

And how in the hell is David Poythress only garnering 1% of the vote, tied with RANDAL MANGHAM????????? Trailing Carl Camon who's getting 5%??? (Don't get me wrong, I love Carl, but how is this possible)?

Thurbert Baker at 6% & DuBose Porter at 8%?

In regards to Porter, who I also like, he's was so giddy about this poll that he sent out this press release:

Have you heard the news?

The latest poll shows that I am now #2 in the Democratic Primary race for Governor, moving ahead of Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

Please contribute today to help us continue this momentum.

REALLY??? Come on DuBose, this is nothing to be bragging about!

Gen. Poythress is the only democrat besides Barnes that is running an ad & he's only getting 1%

I lobe the insider Advantage & I hold them in high regard, but I'll take this poll with a grain of salt. They ought to know better that to release a ridiculous poll like this.

Roy 2010 to announce major endorsements

WHEN: Tuesday, June 1, 2010


TIME: 10:00 a.m.


LOCATION: Georgia State Capitol, Washington Street entrance


WHO: Roy Barnes

David Gault (D-Haddock) running to win open HD 125 seat


Longtime Jones County Commissioner David Gault is to run for the Georgia House District seat 125, and apparently he was the only Democrat running and will likely lead to an eventual showdown with former Monticello mayor Susan Holmes or Mary Alice Carter--both Republican challengers.

Gault had been part of the Jones County Commission since 2001 and was the vice chairman during two successive four year terms .

Mr. Gault is married and the father of five children and has three granddaughters. He is a veteran of two terms in the U.S. Navy, one of which he served on an aircraft carrier that helped run the Cuban blockade.

I will have more on David Gault candidacy later.

Senate District 23: What Gives Democratic Party of "Georgia"?


Its been over a month since J.B Powell (D-Blythe)decided to forgo re-election to his state senate seat to run for State Agriculture Commissioner.

The guy who was going to replace him for Senate Seat 23 was L. Baxter Garvin (D) of Richmond Co, but there was one problem: HE DIDN'T LIVE IN THE DISTRICT, & as a result he decided against running for the senate seat.

All hope appeared to be lost for the democrats when it appeared at first that Jesse Stone (R) was going to just waltz his way to a senate seat without having to campaign for it.

Then entered Chuck Pardue (D-Blythe), an attorney who began to actively seek the signatures needed to run as an independent candidate for Georgia Senate District 23.

He needs approximately 3.958 or 5% of signatures on a petition to get himself on the Nov. 2 ballot as an independent candidate.

But he hasn't gotten the necessary signatures needed to get on the ballot to keep that seat from going into republicans hands.

So its time to ask the following questions:

(1) Is the Democratic Party of Georgia assisting Mr. Pardue gather the necessary signatures to get on the ballot?

(2) Are there any field canvassers up in SD 23, assisting Mr. Pardue in gathering the signatures needed?

(3) What about the Young Democrats of Georgia? Are the regions of Middle & Northeast Ga Chapters of the YDG involved in asisting Pardue get on the ballot?

Remember when Michelle Conlon was forced to run as an independent instead of as a Democrat because Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel refused to reopen campaign qualifying for Democrats after another Democratic candidate was disqualified for residency reasons. In that race, she got on the ballot with the assistance of the DPG & YDG as well.

This is a seat that democrats can ill-afford to just hand over to the GOP. All Pardue needs is 3,958, the 5% needed to get on the ballot. The number of registered voters in District 23 is 79,179. I don't know why he's seek at least 4,500 signatures to get on the ballot, maybe to guard against any potential disqualifications when the secretary of state's office reviews the petition. That maynot seem like alot to the average voter, but it takes hard work to get those signatures & Chuck Pardue can't do it all by himself.

So Democratic Party of Georgia, you have basically 1 month remaining to help Chuck Pardue in gathering the signatures needed to get on the November ballot. It time to show that you all care about the rural democratic candidates for once.

Its time to PUT OR SHUT UP!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tracy Bennett (D) for Senate District 31: My kind of Democrat


Up in Northwest Georgia, Tracy Bennett (D-Cartersville), a conservative democrat will run for SD 31 held by incumbent Bill Heath (R-Bremen) who faces a primary challenge from Pete Bridges (R-Tallapoosa).

Here's a little what Bennett says:

I was raised as a conservative Georgia democrat. As a conservative Georgia democrat, when it comes to national politics, I'm sure I stand with many on the right. I do not share all the views of Washington Politics, but this is not Washington, this is Georgia, this is Our backyard, where Georgia Democrats have done some great things for our communities and our state, i.e. The HOPE Scholarship, Peach Care for Kids, and the Georgia Lottery to Support Education, just to name a few.

He says he was asked to switch parties to improve his chances of winning this race but decided against it because (1) he would never sign a republican pledge card to sign my allegiance to the party. My allegiance is only to God, Family and the
People I serve! (2), if he had changed parties after expressing my belief that it should not be about parties, but the person, what does that make him?

Bennett is:

For Jobs & A Stronger Economy
For Working Families
For Main Street & Small Business
For Christian Values
For Teachers, Seniors & Public Safety
For Common Sense Government
NOT FOR RAISING TAXES
FOR THE FAIR TAX


Bennett affirms Christian and Family values! Tracy will support the working class families, and the small business owners (the main street and backbone of progress for our communities). Tracy will fight to protect homeowners from unscrupulous lenders and developers.




Tracy does not believe that government should compete with the private business sector. Tracy believes in logical laws that protect and serve the community. Tracy believes that the government is to support, serve, and protect the rights of the people, not slowly strip the American People of their rights, to work for
the people and not be a burden on the people. Tracy believes that less government is better government.



In addition: he supports
Bikers and Motorcycle Enthusiast
Families that live with Autism
Hunters and Gun Enthusiast

Second Amendment and the NRA. He is a member of the National Rifle Association. I Sometimes, its not the party that you vote for, but the person you vote for,
that will make a difference in YOUR life!

Are there some similarities betwen the Tea Party Movement & the (JBS) John Birch Society?

There are some similarities to the John Birch Society & some of the Tea Party Movements across the U.S.

The favorite lines used by Tea Partiers are: bring about less government, more responsibility, and —Preserving Individual Rights Restoring the Constitution.


Nothing wrong with that! I agree with those notions.




In its weekly webcast, John Birch Society CEO Arthur R. Thompson came to the defense of Rand Paul, (who won the Kentucky GOP primary running as thre Tea Party candidate, defeating establishment candidate Trey Grayson), and issued a rambling condemnation of government "forcing" integration (although to soften this position, he similarly condemned "forced segregation," apparently referring to Jim Crow laws). "When you have government involved in this process, it can really lead to serious problems," he said. Government, he continued, shouldn't be involved in forcing people on some things, it's always been the official position of the John Birch Society that forced segregation is wrong, but forced integration by government is equally wrong. And that's just the way it is. It's called freedom. Now there will always be inequities in freedom."


Barry Goldwater main plank in his platform of 1864 was opposition to Civil Rights, although he helped led integration as a City Councilman in 1949 in Arizona (Phoenix).

FYI: Goldwater broadly opposed strong action by the federal government. Although he had supported all previous federal civil rights legislation, Goldwater made the decision to oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His stance was based on his view that the act was an intrusion of the federal government into the affairs of states and, second, that the Act interfered with the rights of private persons to do business, or not, with whomever they chose.



OKAY!!!!!



Now let me say that the Tea Party movement is not influeced by the Ultra-Conservative Right-Wing Group John Birch Society in any way, but its hard not to say that it has adopted some of their principles.

The John Birch Society became active and many grassroots members attached themselves strongly to the national political figure they saw as an agent for change, Republican Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.

The Tea Party Movement have done the exact same thing. It is a movement madeup of strong grassroots members who have attached themselves to the likes of former Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, who is seen by some as the defacto leader of the movement.

Could Rand Paul be another bellwether figure slated for trouble for his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act? While he can argue, as did Goldwater, that his opposition stemmed from deeply grounded constitutional principles, and it is known that Paul's views reside within libertarianism, the ultimate question is how these positions play out in an aggressive activist front.


Like Civil Rights was the main culprit for the society, the "so-called" government takeover of our Healthcare System, you can say is the main culprit that elevated the Tea Party movement to where it is today.

Like the 60s in which a strong ideological battle emerged between Goldwater & his far-right allies,against major senatorial figures from his own party at the time, there is one now between Tea Party Grassroots & the establishment GOP, ( Marco Rubio, Tea Party candidate) & (Charlie Christ, etsablishment GOP pick) down in Florida & of course Kentucky's Rand Paul against Trey Grayson serves as examples.


But are there similarities to the Tea Party & John Birch Society? Me personally I don't think so, but according to some there are,for example:

Terms used against President Obama like Communist, Socialist, claims of wealth redistribution, fascism.

It is becoming fashionable to argue that the Tea Partiers are the heirs of the John Birch Society. The tea party leaders disavow any racist appeals from their ranks. But historically, whether it was the JBS or Goldwater, the radical right has often had a soft spot for bigots."

The Tea Party movement entered the nation's consciousness during the past year with sizable and at times very angry public demonstrations. The Tea Party is a movement with no clear leadership and no centralized structure. Not everyone flocking to the Tea Party movement is worried about dictatorship. Some have a basic aversion to big government, or Mr. Obama, or progressives in general. What's more, some Tea Party groups are essentially appendages of the local Republican Party. But most are not."

Leaders are often people with no political experience, but they "tell strikingly similar stories of having been awakened by the recession. Their families upended by lost jobs, foreclosed homes and depleted retirement funds, they said they wanted to know why it happened and whom to blame.

The motto of the Tea Party Patriots, a large coalition of groups, is fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.


Here's my Opinion:



The focus is also strategic: leaders think they can attract independent voters if they stay away from divisive issues. Raising social issues, risks fracturing the strength it has built. Some people at Tea Party gatherings say they want to eliminate the federal income tax, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, government programs that keep millions of people out of poverty and enable them to get needed healthcare. On these issues, Tea Partiers are on the far right.



Why do some in the Tea Party oppose the federal income tax? Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid? If you don't know, how might you find out?

What specific government actions fuel anger and resentment among Tea Party members?

What leads them to conclude that the US government has become tyrannical?



Hmmmm...........



The JBS main for was communism, the Tea Party's is Socialism.

The JBS main foe was Civil Rights, the Tea Partymain foe was Healthcare Reform

They all are in line when it comes to welfare, abolishing the Federal Reserve, limiting the powers of government, etc.

So you be the judge, are they similar or what?

Appalachian Democrat Joseph Mann (D-Mineral Bluff) will try to win open State Senate Seat 51


There is another open State Senate seat that is being vacated & its up in the Georgia Mountains. Senate Seat 51, which was held by Chip pearson who resigned under a cloud of suspicion has a democrats running for that seat.

His name is Joseph Mann (D-Mineral Bluff), who lives on a small farm in Fannin County with his wife Jennifer.




For those who doesn't know where Mineral Bluff is located, its located right on the Ga-Tennessee border in Fannin County.

Mann, 32 who is owner of JM Southern Development, in which he is a a developer & builder is looking to become the first democrat to hold that seat since the 1990s.

Mann platform includes Restoring the Homeoners Tax Relief Grant, Lowering Taxes for Working Families, Increase funding for Ga State Patrol, creating jobs for North Ga, & invest in education, etc.



Mann says: We face serious issues in these changing times. While the tough issues of the economy, tax reform, public safety and education affect us all, I look forward to the future. I believe now is the time for a progressive vision that will lead us to the prosperity we can achieve together. Currently, we are at a crucial crossroads. I hope to bring a renewed energy and vision to the State Senate - a new voice for all our families, and prosperity for north Georgia's future.

Mann, a moderate, is a everyday working family man who wants to be a new voice for all of North Georgia Families & to bring prosperity to the North Ga Region.

His website is www.mannforstatesenate.com

Ray McBerry Grudge with Jeff Sexton of SWGA Politics.com Continues

He's gone so far to actually retain a lawyer to fight claims made my Jeff on his website. Read the letter that was sent to Jeff by McBerry's Lawyer:



.

This is something I haven't really paid much attention to, but I am now. There is a thing called the First Admendment in which it states:

Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law "respecting an establishment of religion", impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.


This is a portion of what the young lady told Jeff Sexton:


This the third paragraph of Sexton's follow up story titled "McBerry Victim Speaks":

Somehow between all this, something went astray. The first real memory I can recall by detail is when I was in I believe the 11th grade because I was driving home from school, and I passed him when he was stopped at a stop sign. He was like second in line at the stop sign, and he cut threw the grass and got behind me. I saw this and ignored him, because it kinda freaked me out. Well after a while, I couldn’t ignore him anymore, I pulled over at a gas station. He got out, and really don’t remember what he wanted, but I the reason had to be a decent one because I didn’t think it was weird. After a while, we would meet after school in the big graveyard in McDonough, because his wife was at home. At first it was non physical, I guess is the word to say. Slowly it became more of a male female relationship instead of Adult child relationship. Yes I did think he was cute and had a crush on him, but I was 16, It was like a high schooler having a crush on their teacher, pretty normal. What wasn’t normal was him acting on it back. Slowly it became more physical, kissing, making out and such, rather not get into detail here. Him and his wife invited me to go to a Civil War ball I think at Jekyll Island or Tybee Island. Nothing really happened, except he would tell me such things like, I wish we could come out about our relationship, hold hands and such.

While McBerry says nothing happened, the young lady says otherwise & that not only kissing took place, but touching as well. A question I have is why did McBerry Resigned from teaching in the first place since he claims nothing happened between the two of them? McBerry needs to do away!!!

Stay Tuned folks!

Teilhet Supports Continued Enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, Says Hodges isn't quite so sure

Press Relase from Teilhet Campaign:

Greensboro, GA—Sharp differences emerged yesterday afternoon between the two Democratic Attorney General Candidates, State Representative Rob Teilhet and Ken Hodges, over the need to protect voting rights in Georgia. Teilhet supports the continued enforcement of the Voting Rights Act to protect minority voters, while Hodges surprised many observers by publicly questioning the ongoing need for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 .

At a question and answer forum hosted by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Hodges stated, as recorded by Andy Peters with the Fulton County Daily Report, "Certainly there was a need for [the law] originally. If there is evidence of discrimination [it should still be enforced], but I have not looked at that [law] to give an opinion on that now."

Rob Teilhet, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, provided a much different answer. In his closing remarks, Teilhet stated there was no “if” about it—discrimination still occurs every day in Georgia. The people of Georgia deserve an Attorney General who stands up against discrimination and who is willing to protect voting rights.

“This is not some obscure law. The Voting Rights Act was landmark legislation designed to protect every American’s right to fully participate in the electoral process,” said Teilhet. “Georgia needs an Attorney General that understands that we still need this law, and will fight to see it enforced. We’ve come a long way since 1965 but the work is not done. The Voting Rights Act ensures that our progress is maintained and it protects the right to vote for all Georgians.”

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was landmark legislation that outlawed discriminatory practices meant to disenfranchise African American voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was renewed by Congress several times, the last time being 2006 when it was signed into law by President Georgia W. Bush, and it remains effective for 25 years. Several congressional representatives from southern states, including Georgia, have challenged the need of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 stating that discrimination no longer exists.

Currently, there are two cases challenging the Voting Rights Act of 1965 pending in federal court. One or both of these cases may end up at the United States Supreme Court. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled narrowly on a challenge, allowing a Texas town to be exempted from the Section 5 requirements of the Act that require preclearance from the U.S. Justice Department without addressing the constitutionality of Section 5. Georgia’s own Legislative Black Caucus—the largest in the nation—submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the protection and preservation of the Voting Rights Act.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why Central & South Georgia is fertile territory for Democrats

Suppose you're a Democratic candidate for governor, running as a Moderate/Conservative Democrat, locked in a pretty tight election. With a few months to go in the campaign you are either trailing or tied in every South Georgia County. Shouldn't you at that point cut your losses and invest time and resources elsewhere, in key swing counties you might actually win?

Roy Barnes, who in 2002 basically ignored Rural Georgia essentially stopped campaigning on the countryside, only the presence of TV Ads flooded the airwaves in Rural Georgia, In 2006 Mark Taylor had limited resources due to a bloodied primary battle between then Secretary of State Cathy Cox, had minimal presence in South Georgia. In 2008, Jim Martin went to a few South Georgia Counties & campaigned, but that was it. In much of Rural Georgia, there was no evidence in each circumstance that the Democrats were even contesting for the U.S. Senate, or Governor.


Efforts to compete in Rural Georgia, at the statewide level are not only likely to succeed, but likely to help & strengthened the Democratic Party as a whole. Attempting to win over conservative-to-moderate white voters in Rural Georgia requires backing away from some strong principled progressive positions that may not be in line with majority of Georgians who are center/right voters.

Democrats should concentrate on building a solid brand image based on moderate conservative principles: a smart educational strategy that addresses actual vulnerabilities instead of relying on the same 'ole adage of putting more money into the schools; economic policies based on the notions of statewide investment and providing a better quality of life to all; and strong support of our judicial system & public safety officials (Law Enforcement for example). In addition, Democrats should focus on particular issues on which they can actually deliver the goods, and should try to identify emerging issues that might benefit the party over the long term.

Democrats can compete in Rural Georgia, not in the distant future, but here and now—by embracing a populist approach on economics and addressing the concrete issues of jobs, wages and economic stability.

Democrats need to stressed his or her personal faith and cultural conservatism, following the traditional strategy of trying to prove to voters that one can be a Democrat and a culturally in the mainstream at the same time. Now this may work sometime, while at other times, it might not. But a candidate's campaign can take off if he or she began emphasizing concrete, lunch-bucket economic issues on the stump.

Look at Gen David Poythress for example, if were to win the democratic nomination he can couple his pro-military cultural conservatism with a strong position against massive cuts to education and an even stronger populist economic pitch. Aided by an very unhappy electorate of teachers, unemployed workers & small business owners he can win definitely win in November.

Voters in Rural Georgia, especially white working-class voters, are now ripe for an appeal from a populist center/right democrat candidate on economic concerns, from education to job creation to to employment. Republican economic policies and the economic pain they have brought on this state have created a growing constituency for a revival of the class-based populism.

The Georgia Democratic Party itself might get reinvigorated in Rural Georgia at the grassroots level—not as a brand, but as a concrete organization that mobilizes constituents and turns out voters. Throughout the short period of Republican ascendancy in the Rural Georgia, the State Democratic Party has largely been an empty shell at the county level, with often only minimal resources available to state parties as well.

IT IS SIMPLY IMMORAL FOR THE GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO STOP COMPETING IN RURAL GEORGIA.



Rural Georgia Counties, after all, comprise the state with the highest levels of poverty, the most inadequate provision of health care and education, the most severe legacy of racism, and the worst-paid, least unionized worked force. To abandon Rural Georgia to the right wing, to refuse to challenge the echo chamber of conservative rhetoric, amounts to refusing to challenge the most severe examples of politics in Rural Georgia. Yet while money and volunteer time may be inherently scarce resources, a candidate's time is. Do we really expect Roy Barnes, David Poythress, Du Bose Porter, Thubert Baker to spend precious time in September & October courting voters in Vidalia, Rochelle, Adel, Crawfordville and Nahunta? I do!

Congressional hearing held on farm on May 14

Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall and GFB Peanut Advisory Committee member Andy Bell were among the Georgia farmers who testified at the farm bill hearing held by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee in Morrow, Ga., May 14.

“In Georgia, agriculture creates one out of every seven jobs so, a sound U.S. farm policy is essential for an economically viable agriculture system to feed and clothe our country,” Duvall said. “Georgia Farm Bureau believes effective farm policy should be market oriented and promote the production of quality products to meet market demand. Effective farm policy must also provide a safety net for farmers when markets or weather cause harm.”

Duvall testified that, overall, the 2008 Farm Bill is working well for Georgia farmers, saying, “Georgia's cotton and peanut farmers fundamentally support the current program of direct and counter-cyclical payments provided by the current farm bill. Farmers and lenders understand these programs.”

Bell expounded on this in his testimony saying, “Farmers need downside price protection against extreme low prices. The marketing loan program is a must for all program crops. All crop production on a farm should remain eligible for the marketing loan.”

Duvall asked that Congress consider revising the permanent disaster program included in the current farm bill, explaining that the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) doesn't work well for most Georgia farmers because of the diversity of crops they grow.

“If a farmer grows only one crop and has a total loss he qualifies for the program, but a farmer with multiple crops who has a total loss on only one crop doesn't qualify. For Georgia another type of permanent disaster program would be better.”

Bell testified that improvements need to be made to the federal crop insurance program in the next farm bill saying, “Insurance coverage above the 70 to 75 percent level is simply not affordable. Crop insurance must remain affordable for it to be a useful tool in today's agriculture.”

Duvall encouraged Congress to take measures to ensure proposed agribusiness mergers and vertical integration arrangements don't hamper farmers' access to inputs and markets.

“Producers impacted by unfair marketing practices should be compensated when harmed by monopolistic practices,” Duvall said. “We aren't opposed to the continued use of production contracts so long as producers have meaningful input in the process of negotiating contracts.”

Duvall testified to the success of conservation programs included in the current farm bill such as the Conservation Reserve Program and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program. He encouraged Congress to allocate more funds to these programs so that more farmers can participate and asked the committee to support federal funding of producer incentives for water conservation, including the construction, repair and maintenance of farm ponds to water livestock and crops in times of drought.

Duvall also encouraged Congress to include provisions in the next farm bill that motivate young people to enter production agriculture.

“There is one thing we need to do—encourage young people graduating from our agriculture schools to return to the land. If we don't succeed in getting them to return to the farm and engage in production agriculture we will lose agriculture.”



Less money
Congressmen from both sides of the aisle speaking at the farm bill hearing repeatedly warned there will be less federal funds available for the 2012 Farm Bill than there were for the 2008 bill.

“We're not going to have any more money for the next farm bill. We're going to have less money. It's not going to be easy because someone is going to have to give up something,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson D-Minn. “Maybe it's time we're going to have different programs for different crops. We've got to think outside the box. Are we spending our money the best way? That's why I'm starting these hearings so early.”

Peterson also called for simplifying the farm program, saying, “I think we're making this [the farm program] way too complicated. We keep adding new programs to what we're doing. My goal is to simplify them.”

Peterson was joined by fellow Democratic committee members from Georgia, Reps. David Scott (13th District) and Jim Marshall (8th District); Bobby Bright (D-Ala.) and Ranking Minority Member Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and his fellow Republicans Mike Rogers of Alabama; Adrian Smith of Nebraska and Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2nd District of Georgia) participated as a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Other Georgia farmers testifying at the hearing included Southern Cotton Growers Inc. Director Ronnie Lee, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association First Vice President Dick Minor, Georgia Peanut Commission Chairman Armond Morris, Georgia Pecan Producers Association Past President Hilton Segler and Ricky Williams, member of the USDA Dairy Advisory Committee.

When Rep. Bishop asked the farmers to explain how further restricting farm program payment limits would impact their operations, Bell explained that southern agriculture has higher production costs than other regions of the country due to the diversity of southern farms.

“I think the payment limit is about right for us. It doesn't need to be any tighter. We have to have a separate harvester for each crop. Peanuts and cotton have their own set of tillage and harvest equipment. Grain farmers are required to have even another set of equipment. This specialized equipment is very expensive to own and maintain. Our costs quickly escalate as we produce these various crops.”

Representatives of Georgia universities and the Georgia Forestry Commission also testified during the hearing regarding the need for funding for crop research and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program included in the 2008 Farm Bill.

UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean and Director Scott Angle, Interim Dean of the Fort Valley State College of Agriculture Mark Latimore Jr., Georgia Tech Institute Food Processing Technology Division Chief Greg McMurray and Georgia Forestry Commission Director Robert Farris made up the second panel.

Angle told the panel that land-grant institutions like UGA depend on funding through three sources—competitive funding through the USDA, congressional earmarks and the distribution of federal dollars through formula funds.

“Federal earmarks remain the only process for supporting vital agricultural research that falls between the cracks of the high-minded studies supported by the National Science Foundation, USDA research and profit-driven research that private companies might support,” Angle said. “Changes are needed to make the process more transparent, but I remain adamant that earmark-supported research is vital to the success of our farming community. More transparency, limited high level peer review and greater accountability may allow a skeptical public greater comfort with the process.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Georgia Democrats need to lose the Kumbaya Image & start to develop a "Tough as Nails" Mentality.

If you asked any Republican why he or she is a Republican, it would take about 10 seconds to say lower taxes, smaller government and a strong defense. Yes, these are simplistic statements that leave out a host of important issues, but it does strike at the core of the Republican Party.

When asking the Democrats the same, many have to think for a second before answering. That's a sign that all isn't well.

The failure to have a clear and concise agenda from which to speak makes it difficult for anyone to embrace your party. When precious time is spent explaining where you stand, most people have tuned you out and turned you off.

If the Democratic Party want any chance of becoming a force in this state once again, then they must do several critical things:

Make clear what a 2010 Georgia Democrat is. The strength of the party is its diversity, and that is also its weakness. The GOPers are pretty much in agreement, save for a few moderates, (wait a minute, there are no moderates in the Georgia GOP) But when you have so many interest groups vying for attention, ethnic groups, labor, environmentalists, gays and lesbians, that makes it hard to establish a coherent message. Democrats can't please every segment of the population & that in my opinion is one of their biggest problems. Maybe its time to cut some of these folks out of the party.

Find some pit bulls, rottweilers, and let them loose. The Democrats ALWAYS play nice politics. DAMN THAT! They keep bringing a knife to a gunfight and wonder why more of them are sent to the morgue. These guys need a cadre of men and women who are going to spit out a more mainstream party message with fire, venom & with spunk. Honey ain't getting them that many votes right now.


Get rid of these far-left democrats. When voters have to choose between a far-left liberal democrat and a more moderate/conservative democrat, they'll go for the former. When Democrats explain exactly what a Democrat is, they will have a better shot at getting folks to buy into their program. Too many wings in the democratic party. The party of Nunn (Sam), Miller (Zell) need to come back & take hold of the party again like it had prior to 2002.

Develop some stars. Who can carry the Democratic banner? The State Democratic bench is very weak. Some say Roy Barnes had his shot, and someone else needs to step up & take hold of the democratic torch like Gen. Poythress, DuBose Porter, Thurbert Baker, Carl Camon. Its possible that every statewide office may go republican this year, & there's a chance it all could go democratic, or it could be a bi-partisan.

If the Georgia Democratic Party continues down its present path, we might as well look at splitting the party into two, especially if democrats perform poorly at the polls this year 'cause this state is fast becoming a one-horse town, and that is never good for anyone.

Get rid some of these Black Atlanta Democrats who just got a title of State Rep. or State Senator on the front of their desk & replace then with more moderate/conservative democrats with a "Im a go-getta attitude" like Shawn James, who is running for HD 75. Let's face it, the GOP have NO RESPECT for the Black Metro Atlanta Democrats save for a few like Roger Bruce, Emaunel Jones, Mike Glanton, just to name a few. The amswer is for democrats need to weed out the ineffective black legislators & replace them with moderate/conservative black democrats, even court some black republicans & convince them to switch parties & run as conservative democrats.


While the GOP have been absolutely atrocious when it comes to governing this state, there are none better when it comes to keeping their troops in line. While most Democrats are wedded to independent thought, they tend not to want to adopt the Republican tactic of forcing members to toe the party line. But the GOP is using the Democratic party's idealism against them, so if the Democratic Party wants to survive in this cut-throat political environment, they're going to have to get use to adding practical political tactics to their ideals.

Time to get tough democrats! Stop being the nice guy!!

Like on Crime for instance: I like to see a democrat who believes that every person inherently knows right from wrong, whether they were raised by harlot on the mean streets of Southside Atlanta, or by a wealthy Episcopal minister in the ritzy 'burbs of Alpharetts. They know that the solution to violent crime is to beat the hell out of the perpetrators, not someone know that when someone commits a crime, it is society that has failed and should have to pay in the form of higher taxes and reduced freedom. NO!


When you are perceived as too nice, the voters may take that as saw as a weakness.

TIME TO GET TOUGH DEMOCRATS!!!

Why are "Wedge Issues" Key for Republicans?

First of all, wedge issues are emotional in appeal. Name any Republican wedge issue from immigration, to abortion, to gay marriage, to flag burning, not to mention the granddaddy of them all: "the war on terrorism" and FEAR, and you run head into an emotional, not a reasoned, hook.

In short, the Republicans are TREMENDOUSLY SKILLED AT EMPLOYING THE ART OF THE DEMAGOGUE TO GET AMERICANS, AROUND HALF AT ANY GIVEN TIME, TO AVOID,REASONED DISCUSSION OF PUBLIC POLICY,(WHICH IS SO TRUE!). They do this by appealing to emotional, instinctual reactions that are not processed through a thoughtful process. It's called pressing a hot button.

Second of all, the Republicans use wedge issues to, essentially, pickpocket the American public.

While they have the public and the media distracted with red hot emotional topics, they go off and make the wealthy wealthier, increase our national debt, and take away government social services. Wedge issues are a powerful distraction and allow the right wing to accomplish their goals while the public is preoccupied with some trumped up emotional issue that the Busheviks could care less about.

Finally, wedge issues are a tremendous fundraising tool for the right wing. In fact, the campaigns of right wing candidates were financed by the money generated by right wing wedge issue direct mail. Richard Viguerie was the guru who started the direct mail juggernaut for GOP candidates and organizations and he's still going strong. It was said to me that Rove came to the fore in Texas politics as a direct mail consultant.

In short, wedge issues that press the hot buttons of right wing donors sell big time. In essence, these are topics like "gay marriage," "abortion," and "war on terror" that you include in the first sentence of a GOP direct mail piece and you are guaranteed a good response because they have such visceral impact on Stepford GOP followers.

Progressives and Democrats have far fewer "pre-sold" appeals, except for the mention of Bush and Cheney (or even now Sarah Palin), because progressives and Democrats think more before acting. That may sound snobbish at times, but it's true from a direct mail perspective.

Basically, the Republican "rule by emotional appeal" boils down to a big brother elitism whose message to Americans is simply this: "Don't think. We'll do the thinking for you. Just follow."

Hey, if it didn't work, the GOP would have left that Boat behind years ago. But it works! And as long as the American Public gets all caught up in that rhetoric, it will always be part of the American Political Arena.

Will the Third Time be the Charm for Rural Democrat John Tibbetts for House District 153?



John Tibbetts (D-Tifton), a conservative democrat & Army Veteran will try for a third time in winning a seat to the Georgia Legislature representing HD 153, being vacated by Austin Scott who first was running for governor, now running against another conservative democrat Jim Marshall (D-Macon), a Vietnam War Veteran.

Tibbetts came close to knocking off Scott in his first two tries, last in 2008 where he got 47% of the vote. This time, the seat is a open seat, which should be a advantage for Tibbetts has built in support in the district from his previous two runs for the seat. He faces Tony McBrayer (R-Tifton) who is a active member of the Tiftarea Tea Party Patriots & a small business owner for the open House Seat in November.

Tibbetts wants to Protect the Agribusiness industry and ensure South Georgia's water stays in South Georgia, and he wants to see a fiscally conservative, ethical, and open fair government. But the two biggies are education & the economy.

One reason the third time maybe the charm for Tibbetts: Andy Smith. Smith is the campaign manager for John Tibbetts. Smith, who I know personally is a party activist for the Georgia Democratic Party & member of the Young Democrats of Georgia. Smith is from Folkston County & his rural background will pay dividends for Tibbetts as he tries to win the seat this his third try. Smith as a sharp political mind & has knowledge of the critical issues facing Georgia.


Tibbetts is a native of Tift County & a graduate of Tift County High School. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, & Served our country for 21 years in the Army, retiring as Lieutenant Colonel.

His website is www.john4house153.com

SWGA Politics.com Candidate Forum on June 12

SWGAPolitics.com candidate forum will be held in Leesburg, which is about 35-40 miles south of my hometown of Oglethorpe on June 12 & here are the following who will attend the forum:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, Democrat Thurbert Baker and Libertarian John Monds are among the statewide office seekers who plan to participate in the SWGAPolitics.com candidate forum at the Opal Cannon Auditorium of the the T. Page Tharp Governmental Building.

Rick Allen, a Republican challenging Sanford Bishop for his congressional seat, and Chuck Donovan, a Libertarian running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Johnny Isakson, also are confirmed for the event.


Other statewide candidates who have committed to taking part in the event include Republicans Tom Knox and Denis Cain and Libertarian Shane Bruce, who are running for insurance commissioner;

Secretary of State candidates David Chastain, a Libertarian, and Democrat Angela Moore; and Libertarian Kira Willis, Republican Richard Woods and Democrat Brian Westlake, all of whom are running for state school superintendent.

Also confirmed for the event are Agriculture Commisisoner candidates Kevin Cherry and Darwin Carter, a Libertarian and Republican, respectively; Labor Commissioner hopeful Will Costa, a Libertarian; and Republican John Douglas, a candidate for the Public Service Commission.

SWGAPolitics.com was founded by Jeff Sexton, Tim Nelson, the event organizer is a contrubutor to SWGA Politics, as well as Tom Knighton, who is editor & siite administrator at SWGA Politics.

Election 2010: Georgia Governor

New Poll from Rasmussen:

John Oxendine (R)
43%

Roy Barnes (D)
39%

Some other candidate
11%

Not sure
7%


Nathan Deal (R)
47%

Roy Barnes (D)
40%

Some other candidate
6%

Not sure
7%





Karen Handel (R)
42%

Roy Barnes (D)
39%

Some other candidate
9%

Not sure
10%




Eric Johnson (R)
38%

Roy Barnes (D)
42%

Some other candidate
9%

Not sure

11%


John Oxendine (R)
50%

Thurbert Baker (D)
29%

Some other candidate
9%

Not sure
12%



Nathan Deal (R)
47%

Thurbert Baker (D)
30%

Some other candidate
10%

Not sure
12%



Karen Handel (R)
43%

Thurbert Baker (D)
32%

Some other candidate
10%

Not sure
14%



Eric Johnson (R)
42%

Thurbert Baker (D)
30%

Some other candidate
11%

Not sure
17%


Democrat Roy Barnes trails three of his top four Republican opponents for the governorship of Georgia again this month. Barnes’ rival for the Democratic nomination, Thurbert Baker, runs a distant second to all the GOP hopefuls.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Georgia finds Congressman Nathan Deal still running slightly stronger than the other Republicans. Deal earns 47% support to Barnes’ 40%, virtually identical to his 46% to 39% lead a month ago. Against Baker, Deal posts a 47% to 30% lead.

State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine and Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel edge Barnes by nearly identical margins – 43% to 39% and 42% to 39% respectively.

In April, both contests were virtual ties – Oxendine leading Barnes 45% to 43%, Handel besting the former Democratic governor 42% to 41%.



Against Baker, Georgia’s attorney general, Oxendine holds a 50% to 29% lead. Handel runs ahead of Baker by 11 points – 43% to 32%.

Barnes continues to lead just one of the top GOP hopefuls. He picks up 42% to State Senate President Eric Johnson’s 38%, marking virtually no change from a month ago. Johnson leads Baker 42% to 30%.

Barnes ran strongest against all the Republicans in March but has been unable to rise above the low 40s in any of the match-ups. Both parties pick their nominees in July 20 primaries.


What happened for Barnes to all of a sudden drop being in a tie with most of the GOP candidates to now be trailing by 4% to Oxendine to as much as 7% to Nathan Deal? Hmmmmmm.........

And its hard for me to believe that Nathan Deal is getting 47% of the vote with all of his ethical problems, while if you look at IA Poll, it shows him trailing Oxendine & barely inching ahead of Karen Handel. Its still early!

And why isn't Rasmussen polling Gen. Poythress against the GOP candidates? Or DuBose Porter?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thurbert, Thurbert, Thurbert, this isn't going to cut it!

Thurbert Baker, that is! I've seen alot of Gen. David Poythress in small town Georgia, I've seen Roy Barnes in small town Georgia, I've seen DuBose Porter in small town Georgia, I've seen Carl Camon in small town Georgia, but.........where on earth is Thurbert Baker?

As I can recall, he made appearances in Bainbridge, Statesboro. That's it! Unless I've been asleep, I haven't heard or seen Baker in any part of rural Georgia. Let me say this: Thurbert, you got to show your face in these neck of the woods. If your campaign strategy is only appealing to black voters & urban liberals, that's not a recipe for success. Say you end up as the democratic nominee, you'll be waaaaay behind as far as a strong grassroots organization here in rural Georgia.

You have made interesting & very attractive proposals for getting Ga's economy back going again. But that won't be enough. Polls showing you trailing all of the GOP candidates in double digits. Not good sir! Unlike Poythress, Barnes, Porter, Camon who have made a committment to rural georgia, you haven't. This election is too important for the democratic party & right now you have a "WEAK" presence in rural georgia. The same 'ol strategy thr dems have used for years isn't going to work.

Right now, you are looking like the "BLACK" candidate & that's a non-starter in appealing to a more conservative leaning electorate if you advance to the general election.

DuBose Porter Pro-Life? Yes! Dems Better hope Carol Porter is the same.

Up yonder in Clarke County, Blake Aued, who runs the blog OnlineAthens.com conducted a interview with DuBose Porter. In the interview he asked Porter where does he stand on the issue of Abortion:

Aued asked him a question concerning biotech research, in which he prefaced a question about embryonic stem cells by asking him whether he was pro-life or pro-choice.

Porter said: He said he believes abortion ought to be legal in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life. So, otherwise, you’re pro-life, then, right? Right, he said, but with the caveat that state governments don’t have much control over the issue.

So what's the big deal? Well in the democratic primary where the voters are more to the left on issues, this could be a killer for his campaign especially among liberal democratic women in the metro Atlanta area. Porter is a rural, christian democrat, so this revelation comes as no surprise to me. I'd say porter, stick to your beliefs & core principles. Bend an inch & if you do go on to win the primary, it will come back to haunt you in a big way.

So over at the AJC, Jim Galloway ask the question: where is Carol Porter on this? Well for her sake & her campaign, I hope she is pro-life as well. Despite the bad economy, high job losses & massive cuts to education, if she were to declare she's pro-choice, she can kiss her campaign good bye, despite the weak status of incumbent Casey Cagle, who would welcome the chance of talking about a wedge issue instead of education, teacher furloughs, the economy ethics corruption, etc.

Was Late Congressman Lawrence "Larry" McDonald (D-GA) was the closest thing to a Jeffersonian Democrat?



Was he? Could it have been one of the Talmadges (Herman, Eugene), Alabama Governor George Wallace? But just what is Jeffersonian Democrat?


A Jeffersonian Democrat believes in the core ideas & principles of Thomas Jefferson:

The core political value of America is representative democracy; citizens have a civic duty to aid the state and resist corruption, especially monarchism and aristocracy.

The national government is a dangerous necessity to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation or community; it should be watched closely and circumscribed in its powers. Most Anti-Federalists from 1787-88 joined the Jeffersonians.

The wall of separation between church and state is the best method to keep religion free from intervention by the federal government, government free of religious disputes, and religion free from corruption by government.

The federal government must not violate the rights of individuals. The Bill of Rights is a central theme.

The federal government must not violate the rights of the states.
Freedom of speech and the press is the best method to prevent the tyranny of the people by their own government.

The United States Constitution was written in order to ensure the freedom of the people. A strict view of how the constitution was written is kept. However, "no society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation."

In other words, run as a Jeffersonian Democrat. A Jeffersonian Democrat believes in small government; he believes that the government that governs least governs best. Like Thomas Jefferson, he or she believe that government power must be limited and that those entrusted with exercising that power must be held in check. As Jefferson put it, we must not put confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

The closest democrat to match those Jeffersonian principles was former Georgia Congressman Larry McDonald (D-GA), who served from 1975 to 1983 (he died in office) who was a ultra-conservative democrat who considered himself a traditional Democrat "cut from the cloth of Jefferson and Jackson—was known for his conservative views, even by Southern standards. He maintained a conservative voting record in Congress. He was known for his staunch opposition to communism and believed in long standing covert efforts by powerful U.S. groups to bring about a socialist world government.




McDonald was killed in 1983 when his flight has shot down by Soviet Fighters when his flight entered Soviet Airspace


During his political career, he also scored "perfect or near perfect ratings" on the congressional scorecards of the National Right to Life Committee, Gun Owners of America, and the American Security Council. He took the communist threat seriously and considered it an international conspiracy. An admirer of Austrian economics and a member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he was an advocate of tight monetary policy in the late 1970s to get the economy out of stagflation, and advocated returning to the gold standard. McDonald called the welfare state a "disaster" and favored phasing control of the Great Society programs over to the states to operate and run. He also favored cuts to foreign aid, saying "To me, foreign aid is an area that you not only can cut but you could take a chainsaw to in terms of reductions."


McDonald sponsored amendments to stop government aid to homosexuals. He also advocated the use of a non-approved drug laetrile to treat patients in advanced stages of cancer. McDonald also opposed the establishment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, saying the FBI had evidence that King "was associated with and being manipulated by communists and secret communist agents. It was reported that McDonald had "about 200" guns stockpiled in his official district residence.


He was so conservative that in 1978, Seventh District Democratic Committee voted, 10–8–1, to pass a resolution to "censure" McDonald "for the dishonorable and despicable act of calling himself a Democrat. The main reason for the censure was McDonald's membership in the John Birch Society. Other reasons included: McDonald's alleged belief in the discredited idea that there were no implied powers in the U.S. Constitution, the claim that McDonald did not favor anti-monopoly laws, McDonald's lack of support for Jimmy Carter, and the claim that McDonald ran misleading advertisements. McDonald's reply stated the censure was "illegal" under party rules. Said McDonald: "It proves beyond any doubt to all my constituents in the Seventh District that I represent them and that I am not the puppet of a clique of liberal, disgruntled party bosses. Now you could call him a extremist politician by judging some of his positions on some of the issues mentioned above.

Here is one of his famous quotes: I personally believe that we don't need a lot more laws, I think we've got far too many laws on the books now, that's part of the problem. ... we don't need more government, more laws; we need a lot less. I'm up there in Washington, D.C. trying to dismantle a lot of this giant government. When you 'pass a law' with the current attitude in the Congress what do you get in a law today? You get either more spending, or more taxes, or more controls, which do you want? Do you want more spending? I think we've got too much. Do you want more taxes? I think we're taxed too heavily now. Do you want more controls over your life? Does anybody say 'Hey look, I really believe the federal government needs to control me. I want to be a slave. Please tell me how to run every facet of my life. I don't hear many people saying that. I think most people say I think it's time we get the government off our backs, and out of our pockets.

Many believed his presence may have made Flight 007 a target of the Soviets. Larry McDonald became the most dangerous enemy the Communists had. But this man was no doubt was the closest thing to a Jeffersonian Democrat. It wasn't all talk, he backed it up with action.

There is a group called "New Liberty Democrats": A conservative constitutional caucus started up by Michael Frisbee, who is running for congress in Ga-13 as a Constitutional Conservative. Poeple feel that our constitution is being ignored & walked on by those in D.C. (Liberals) & are calling for a return to those constitutional principles back to the democratic party. I atotally agree with that.

Check out the website. Itis www.NewLibertyDemocrats.com

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Georgia Democrats Recent Struggles on the Countryside & How they can change that.

The economic problems faced by rural Georgia are very real, and growing worse by the day. Many of them can be attributed to policies of the Perdue Administration & the GOP. But the Georgia Democratic party totally failed to make that connection, and to make it apparent to rural Georgians.

Take small towns in rural Georgia for example. For decades, they've been dying slowly disappearing from the Georgia landscape as their young people move to the cities where they can find a good job (like I did at one time). They're not always in love with the lifestyle -- especially for their kids. But it beats starving.

That decline begins and ends with agribusiness. Perhaps the Democrats are too much in love with their corporate contributions to make the case they need to make. But if they ever again want to win a single rural county, they'll have to make the connection clear.

So jobs decline and wages decrease -- partly from competition, and partly because the only available jobs are minimum wage jobs. The impacts on the small towns here in Georgia that grew up to support those farming and ranching communities are severe:

People have fewer jobs and less to spend, Young people move away and raise their families in cities & The rural population dwindles over time.

Basically, there is a huge disconnect between the Democratic party and the people who make up rural Georgia. Democrats will have to identify policies that would appeal to both rural Georgia and to their socially progressive constituents. With a strong party platform that resonates with the more centrist/conservative democrats , the result would result in a strong connection with rural Georgia that will give them a better chance to win.

Democrats are in a position to make big strides on the Georgia Countryside, if they define the 2010 statewidw elections principally in terms of showing their commitment to family and a new direction for the state as a whole. Coupling an economic and education narrative with reassurances on moral values and spending paves a pathway to success for Democrats back in this former democratic stronghold. Rural voters’ biggest fear about a Democratically-controlled legislature is that Democrats will increase spending and raise taxes (SOMETHING THE GEORGIA GOP HAS ALREADY DONE & HAVE MANAGED TO GET AWAY WITH), and they are more concerned about this possibility than their urban and suburban counterparts.

Democrats can win the moral values debate both by expanding the values debate to encompass a broader narrative about family life, economic pressures, and family values. This means more than just mentioning church and faith: Democrats need to expand the debate to talk about the Democrats as the party on the side of the average family. Can they do it? Yes they can! But will they?

The perception these days is that while rural communities have been able to solidify power along with Republican Stronghold counties of North Georgia for the Republican Party , that support is waning. The massive cute in education, corruption and power abuse scandals, Tax Increases and the generally poor perception of the GOP led legislature have brought the Republican stock down a couple of notches in rural Georgia. But, oddly, some in the Democratic Party appears to have no interest in taking back Rural Georgia. Rural activists are struggling for resources. What the Democratic Party is doing is working to build the party up from the precinct level with computerized lists of names, finding whom to contact for the get-out-the-vote push on election day. Works great in cities. And, frankly it will work great in some parts of rural Georgia as well. About half of the people around here live in small towns, so precinct work will have some effect. SOME

In rural Georgia, however, you have problems with distance and time that you don't have in urban areas. While a state house district in Decatur might take in a couple square miles, my house district covers all of my county, as well as Taylor, NW Dooly Couhty, southern Peach county & North-Central Talbot County. It's hard to get to the doors to knock on them.

just collecting lists of Democrats will never win an election. Plowing the same field over and over, but planting no seed, will never grow a crop. ASK ANY FARMER, & HE OR SHE WILL TELL YOU. To win, you have to get out and engage both Independent voters and Republicans. You have to convince them to make that last jump, to leave the Republicans behind and vote for Democrats.

A wiser strategy, in my opinion might as well be to ignore the Democrats (because they are mostly going to vote for you) and engage the Independent and Republican voters with direct mail, targeted media advertising and door-to-door work where it's feasible. But what Democrats really need to do is to get to know people. They need to do everything from having a marching band to holding a fish fry to get to know people who aren't Democrats.

One problem with the Georgia Democratic Party, at least around here, is that it is centrally operated in a one-size-fits-all manner. There isn't even a second flavor for rural. What ought to be happening is that the state party folks should be talking to each county to find out what might work locally, and be ready to experiment, play around, try new things, and have some fun in finding ways to win. Many of our rural districts will take several election cycles to get to the point where Democrats are trusted. We are well on our way, but we need minimal resources. It's not really about money -- what rural Democrats really need is freedom. To be effective, our volunteers need the freedom to experiment with their rural communities and find out what will actually work. When the state party mandates the use of a centralized data input programs, it looks just like a frontal assault on the Maginot Line to me.

Growing up it was always said to me that Rich people are Republicans and poor people are Democrats. But the reality is Republicans attract two types of lower income voters. The first are fiscal conservatives who don’t want to pay too much in taxes and most definitely do not want to accept anything that resembles a “handout” from the government. The second type are the much maligned social conservatives.

All rural folks don't "cling" to their gun out of fear of everything (like the president Obama mentioned at one time at a SF Gathering). They wonder what the big deal is all of a sudden and why they have to suffer just because inner cities have gang problems. They don’t “cling to religion” out of fear of anything neither! The vast majority of rural Georgians are not particularly over-the-top religious, but Christianity is still part of their tradition, part of their family history, part of their understanding of their place and responsibility on this planet.

The rural vote is critical in mid-term elections because large Republican majorities among rural voters have helped overcome Democratic advantages in urban areas. With the rural advantage eroding for the GOP, both parties may look more carefully at the rural vote in the coming elections.

DEMOCRATS DON’T WIN UNLESS THEY MAKE RURAL GEORGIA COMPETITIVE, and Republicans don’t win without a large rural victory. So you’d think that would mean the candidates would have a spirited debate on the things that matter to rural Georgians, but we haven’t heard that as of yet.

The bottom line is if democrats running for office this year continue to plow the same field over & over again without any result (in other words, the same strategy of campaigning to traditionally democratic areas) they will not make any gains this year. They have got to stake out new ground in the state & get back into rural Georgia. If they do that, they'll be singing "happy days are hear again"! If not, well it'll be another long sorry night on Nov 3.

Rural Democrat Terry Coleman wants to be your next Labor Commissioner

Ahhhh!!!........ It's nice to see some Red Clay on the ballot this year as longtime Conservative Democrat (& I mean a real conservative democrat) Terry Coleman is back, this time gunning for his first statewide seat, the office of Labor Commissioner. Many thought he was going to run for State Agriculture Commissioner to succeed longtime Commissioner Tommy Irvin, who is retiring after 41 years, making him the longest tenured statewide official in the United States.

Coleman entry into the race for Labor Commissioner cam as a surprise to many here in the peach state. Coleman faces Darryl Hicks, a native of Taylor County, (now resides in Fayetteville) for the democratic nomination, who was going to run for Secretary of State again after failing in 2006 decided to get into the race after current commissioner Michael Thurmond entered the U.S. Senate race to take on Johnny Isakson.

Coleman was first elected to the Georgia House of Representatives back in 1972, where he served until 2004, where he retired after 32 years representing the conservative middle georgia district. He served as Speaker of the House from 2002-2004 before the GOP took control of the house mainly because of democratic party switching & retirements.

And when everyone thought he was going to enjoy retirement, then came commissioner Tommy Irvin who appointed coleman to Deputy Agriculture Commissioner in 2007, in a move may saw as Irvin was preparing coleman to replace him as Agriculture Commissioner.

But that didn't pan out as Coleman was approached by Party Members to consider runninf for Labor Commissioner after Michael Thurmond announced his bid for the U.S. Senate. And at the end of qualifying, that's what Coleman did, he decided to run for Labor Commissioner & State Senator J.B. Powell (D-Blythe), a farmer & project manager qualified to run for Agriculture Commissioner.

So why Coleman decided to run for Labor? This what he says:

With unemployment at 10%, too many of our friends and neighbors are losing their homes, their health care, and so many other things they've worked their entire lives to secure.

We can't go on like this. We must put Georgia back to work. That's why I'm running for Labor Commissioner.

There it is right there. That's good enough for me!

Words from supporters of Coleman range from: He's a man of integrity & character, he's the right man for the job, Georgia need more gentlemen like him in influential positions of goverment. I'm sure it doesn't stop there.



he has a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Brenau University and a J.D. from Woodrow Wilson College of Law. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Mercer University and the John Marshall School of Law, as well as a lifetime member of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, the Georgia Chiefs of Police Association and the Georgia Firefighters’ Association & serves on the Board of Directors for the Bank of Dodge County and the Colony Bank Corporation.

A man who has worn many hats throughout his public & private life, Coleman maybe the person Georgia needs to get people back to work. (Not taking anything away from Michael Thurmond who has done a terrific job as Labor Commissioner), but since he is moving up the ladder for a shot at the senate, this is a time for someone with strong Georgia Values, strong leadership qualities, who wants to work for the people of Georgia & who is not interested in partisan games & show-boating.

GEORGIA NEEDS A WORKHORSE, NOT A PONY & RIDE SHOW!

Brian Westlake continues to rack up the endorsements

Demetria Williams, the incoming president of the Georgia School Counselors Association, offered her support and endorsement to Brian Westlake and his candidacy for state school superintendent.

"We need a state school superintendent who understands the issues facing Georgia's teachers and counselors. Brian Westlake gets it. He understands the need for counselors in our schools and the vital role we play in shaping our children's future. I wholeheartedly support his candidacy, and I look forward to working with Brian as our next state school superintendent," stated Williams.
"I am grateful for the endorsement of such a dedicated professional as Demetria Williams," Westlake said. "Throughout our state, school counselors are not receiving the support they need to serve our children. Many counselors are being taken away from their critical role with students and reassigned to administrative or testing-related duties. As your state school superintendent, I will work hard to ensure that these trained professionals get the respect and support they deserve."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The GOP Southern Strategy of 1968 & beyond: What was it & how did it reshaped the Political Landscape?

I had to do a little research on this one. Let's go back in time.

In 1948, a group of Democratic congressmen, led by Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, split from the Democrats in reaction to an anti-segregation speech given by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, founding the States Rights Democratic or Dixiecrat Party, which ran Thurmond as its presidential candidate. The Dixiecrats, failing to deny the Democrats the presidency in 1948, soon dissolved, but the split lingered. The party's principles were revived by Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the 1964 Republican presidential candidate.

Goldwater was notably more conservative than previous Republican nominees like Dwight Eisenhower; Goldwater's opponent in the primary election, Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, was widely seen as representing the more moderate, Northern wing of the party. Rockefeller's defeat in the primary is seen as the beginning of the end for moderates and liberals in the Republican party.

Okay, now at this point, the debate begins. The facts are this: in the 1964 presidential race, Goldwater adopted an extremely conservative stance. In particular, he emphasized the issue of what he called "states' rights". As a conservative, Goldwater did not favor strong action by the federal government--for instance, though not a segregationist personally, he strongly opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the grounds that, first, it was an intrusion of the federal government into the affairs of states and second, it was an interference with the rights of private persons to do business, or not, with whomever they chose. This was a popular stand in the Southern states; whether or not this was specifically a tactic designed to appeal to (at that time) racist Southern white voters is a matter of debate. Regardless, the only states that Goldwater won in 1964 besides Arizona, were five Deep Southern states, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.


The Southern Strategy was deployed even more effectively by Richard Nixon in the 1968 presidential election. Nixon, with the aid of the late Senator Strom Thurmond, who had switched to the Republican party in 1964, ran on a campaign of states' rights and "law and order." As a result every state that had been in the Confederacy, except Texas, voted for either Nixon or Southern Democrat George Wallace, despite a strong tradition of supporting Democrats. Meanwhile, Nixon parlayed a wide perception as a moderate into wins in other states, taking a solid majority in the electoral college. That is why the election of 1968 is sometimes cited as a realigning election.


In turn, the Republican Party became more and more overtly anti-intellectual, anti-minority, anti-immigrant, anti-labor, and anti-poor much more generally, while remaining the party of big business.

The Voting Rights Act is what made it possible for Republicans to compete in the South. Once blacks could no longer be kept from voting in primaries there was no longer and reason for any whites to remain Democrats. Many found the Republican Party more attractive. Of course, the national party reached out to them, but the idea that they used racial code words like “law and order” is nonsense. Crime was a legitimate problem. Moreover, Nixon did more to desegregate the schools than any other president. Republicans certainly tried to make political inroads in the South for a long time prior to the southern strategy. Voters there tended to be sympathetic to Republicans on national defense, taxes, government spending and other issues.

Nixon’s pledge to preserve “law and order” looks very different in the context of urban race riots. In the short-years preceding the 1968 election, scenes from the riots in Detroit, Chicago and Washington D.C. (among others) emanated from the nation’s television screens. White Americans were more than familiar with the image of the black rioter, and when Nixon’s campaign used the “law and order” rhetoric to attack liberals, they knew exactly what he meant. Moreover, once president, Nixon continued to make inroads to the legions southern whites that supported him in the election (as well as the 1972 one). He nominated three southern conservatives to the Supreme Court — Clement Haynsworth, G. Harrold Carswell (known for his pro-segregationist views), and Herschel H. Friday — and opposed extension of the Voting Rights Act in its original form.



As civil rights grew more accepted throughout the nation, basing a general election strategy on appeals to "states' rights" as a play against civil rights laws grew less effective; there was a greater danger of a national backlash. Nevertheless, in 1980, when Ronald Reagan initiated his general election campaign after accepting the Republican Party nomination, he did so with a speech in which he stated his support of states' rights. He did so at a county fair in Neshoba County, Mississippi, which was also known as the place where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. Reagan went on to make a speech praising Jefferson Davis, the strongly pro-slavery president of the Confederacy and states' rights advocate, at Stone Mountain, Georgia, site of the founding of the modern Klan. A prominent Klan leader endorsed Reagan, but he disavowed the endorsement and moved to neutralize any negative publicity by securing the support of noted Southern civil rights activists Hosea Williams and Ralph David Abernathy, which I didn't know he secured.



The Turning Point was in 1968
Racial liberalism (Civil Rights Act)
Cultural liberalism (especially limits on school prayer and restrictions on gun ownership)
Economic liberalism: (Keynes, social welfare)
Each component of liberal progress repelled Southern voters

The Republican response: A Southern Strategy by 1980
Low taxes
Small government
No social welfare (except social security)
Defense
Capital punishment
Each a persistent element of successful Republican campaigns
Replaced direct racial appeal (Basically the same things that are still being used in today's politifal climate)

It also included these other facets:

So-called fiscal conservatism, in the form of support for balanced budgets whenever it was a question of social spending, but not for the military or for tax cuts for the rich.

Immigrant-bashing

Ideological tests for judges

Demonizing and scapegoating of opponents

Opposition to Big Government, meaning social programs for the poor, for minorities, and for women, and Federal enforcement of Civil Rights laws on the states.

States' Rights, meaning the right to oppress citizens and other residents of a state without interference from the Federal government



In southern politics, race and ethnicity overshadow economic class, and both Nixon and Reagan knew this better than most politicians as the once "solid" South moved from the Democratic column to the Republican column. The Nixon "Southern Strategy" was also effectively used by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush.


On his deathbed, Lee Atwater, the famed republican strategist had a conversion and expressed remorse for the ugly tactics he used to win. He also became more candid about the role of racism in his campaigns. As he remarked in an interview:


Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry Dent and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964 and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.


Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps


Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”


There were alot of unflattering things that came with the GOP Southern Strategy. Although that strategy has gone by the wayside somewhat, there are still elements that are still being used by the GOP. You can say some of these tactics are being used right now by the opposition like immigrant bashing, demonizing & scapegoating opponents, opposition to Big Government (Like the Healthcare Reform Bill that was passed recently). I am one one of those who were to opposed to the bill. So in a way, you can say some of these things are still being employed by the GOP.

Christian Conservative Democrats Pro-Abortion?: No Way!


Many people who consider themselves Pro-Life automatically assume that their natural political alignment is with the Republicans. Many Republicans candidates apply the Pro-Life tag to themselves, and hope voters don't look too close. Conservative Pro-Lifers also automatically assume that Democrats are the pro-abortion party. But as recent history tells us, it's all part of The Big Lie.

Christian Democrats ARE NOT PRO-ABORTION!


First of all, it would be rare indeed to find anyone who is actually pro-abortion. Virtually everyone in American society has been sensitized to the moral trauma that is abortion. As a birth control solution, it cannot be morally supported.

But Americans, by and large, also oppose allowing the government the power to decide such personal issues as how many children they should have. It is safe to say that Roe v. Wade decided absolutely nothing, and instead provoked a outcry among many Christians that continues to this day. This is the quandary that many Christian Democrats find themselves in. Christian Democrats want to see a solution to the abortion issue.

The Republican Party encourages Pro-Life voters to blame the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on Democrats. The Republican Party never points out that five of the seven justices in the majority in Roe v. Wade were Republicans; of the two justices who dissented, one was a Republican, one a Democrat.

Why do Pro-Life voters continue to vote for the Republicans? Because Democrats have been put on the defensive. A person who supports a Democrat with a sign, a bumper sticker, or a letter to the editor will be vilified by Republican attack dogs.


One could add a welfare system that doesn't force a woman to choose between having a baby and keeping a job. Republican politicians are fond of talking about the "tough love" represented by their cuts to the welfare system. They forget that "tough love" often results in an abortion.

What Does it mean to be pro-life? No exceptions for the life and health of the mother? Does it include an exception for rape or incest? How about use of birth control that may work by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg—a zygote, not a fetus? How about non-surgical abortions?

Christian Conservative Democrats support all the things that will result in reducing the number of abortions by reducing the demand for abortions: family planning, teen pregnancy prevention and adoption law reform. Some just support an all out ban on abortion procedures

Democratic Leadership Council 2001 Article: Why We Need To Build Biracial Coalitions

One of the unmistakable big trends in American politics is the emergence of a multi-ethnic society. White European-Americans will soon cease to represent a commanding majority of the population. Meanwhile, the numerical prominence of African-Americans among minority citizens is being eclipsed by a rapid increase in the Hispanic population, with Asian-Americans on the rise as well. But for the moment, there are still key parts of the country where politics -- especially Democratic Party politics -- remain a matter of black and white. This is true for most of the urban centers in the industrial heartland of the country, from Philadelphia to Kansas City, and for one entire region: the Deep South. In the wake of Al Gore's loss of every single Southern state in 2000 (with the arguable exception of the distinctly un-Southern state of Florida), it's important to look closely at the present and future condition of biracial Democratic politics in Dixie.

In a Southern crescent that sweeps from Virginia through Louisiana, African-Americans currently represent between one-sixth and nearly one-third of the electorate, depending on the state. More important to Democrats, the black vote in these states ranges from one-third to well over half of the Democratic vote in competitive races. This means that in some congressional districts, blacks effectively control the Democratic primary.

African-Americans have been remarkably faithful Democratic voters, in the Deep South and elsewhere, since the civil rights era. Even unsuccessful Democratic candidates in Southern statewide races have been able to count on black percentages near or over 90 percent. The key to Democratic victories has been to combine the black vote with a minority of the white vote necessary to get to 50 percent in each state. It hasn't been easy.

There have been three waves of Republican ascendancy in the Deep South since the Civil Rights Act of 1964: in the late 1960s, in the early 1980s, and in 1994. In every case, Republicans aimed at (and on occasion, temporarily succeeded in) generating a racial polarization of the parties in which very large majorities of white voters left the Democratic Party. Democrats have managed to recreate a successful biracial coalition in each era: in the 1970s by rebuilding rural white support once the shock of desegregation had passed; in the 1980s by exploiting GOP divisions and mistakes; and most recently, in 1998, by championing educational opportunity in a way that united African-Americans with school-focused white suburbanites.

But throughout these back-and-forth partisan struggles, the almost exclusive political focus on white swing voters naturally began to stimulate resentment among African-American voters and leaders, who were grossly under-represented in the ranks of Democratic elected officials, especially in Congress and among statewide offices.

This problem manifested itself most clearly in the decennial redistricting process, where the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 provided specific safeguards for minority representation in Southern states. During the 1990s redistricting process, the first Bush Administration's Justice Department worked aggressively with civil rights groups to create as many black-majority congressional and state legislative districts as possible. The GOP's political motive, of course, was to consolidate reliably Democratic black voters in their "own" districts, making the remaining districts "whiter" and more likely to go Republican.

Exhibit A in the claim that "racial gerrymandering" was designed to disrupt the South's Democratic biracial coalition was Georgia, whose U.S. House delegation changed from 9-1 Democratic (eight whites, one black) in 1991 to 8-3 Republican (all three Democrats black) four years later. Two Supreme Court decisions (Shaw v. Reno and Miller v. Johnson) in the 1990s placed constitutional limitations on redistricting schemes aimed at controlling the racial composition of legislative delegations, but this year's Hunt v. Cromartie ruling seems to reopen the door to racial gerrymandering so long as legislatures disguise it as old-fashioned political gerrymandering (since African-Americans vote so heavily Democratic, it's easy to use political criteria to achieve specific racial percentages in a district). But there are early, encouraging signs that both black and white Southern Democrats have learned from the experience of the 1990s and are working together to achieve better black representation while furthering the party's interests as a whole.

In the long run, it's obvious that the alternative to racial gerrymandering for Democrats is to show that white Democrats and independents will vote for black Democratic candidates under the right circumstances. During the 1990s, a number of Southern black members of Congress -- often younger and more moderate than their predecessors -- began building significant and durable levels of white support. These include Sheila Jackson-Lee and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas; Harold Ford of Tennessee; Sanford Bishop of Georgia; and Corrine Brown and Carrie Meek of Florida.

But the most promising sign of a new, two-way biracial coalition occurred in Georgia in 1998, where two centrist, New Democrat African-Americans, Michael Thurmond (elected as labor commissioner) and Thurbert Baker (elected as attorney general) won statewide office, carrying as high a percentage of the white vote as their white ticketmates, Gov. Roy Barnes and Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor. If this precedent is repeated elsewhere, it's not too much to expect that a black governor or U.S. senator can be elected in the South quite soon -- so long as the candidate is a centrist who can achieve biracial support.

The Democratic resurgence in the Deep South continued at the state level in 2000, with Mike Easley's election as governor of North Carolina and Zell Miller's easy U.S. Senate win in Georgia. But at the presidential level, Al Gore lost everywhere, for the simple reason that he failed to win anything like the percentage of the white vote recently won by successful Southern Democrats. The numbers are stunning. In 1998, Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman won 48 percent of the white vote; Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes won 37 percent; and South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges won 40 percent. Gore won 26 percent of the white vote in each of these states. In North Carolina in 1998, U.S. Sen. John Edwards won 41 percent of the white vote; Gore won 31 percent. Adding these white votes to the reliably 9-to-1 Democratic margins among blacks put all these candidates into office.

Democratic strategists should take a long look at why Siegelman, Barnes, Hodges, and Edwards were able to put together a successful biracial coalition and Al Gore couldn't. The simple answer is: In the South, it's no longer about race, it's about message.

Moreover, this formula has implications for Democrats in other parts of the country, such as California and Florida, where multi-ethnic rather than biracial coalitions are required. A diverse, centrist Democratic Party with an inclusive message of balanced growth, education, equal opportunity, and personal responsibility will be more successful and unified than a party patched together in tense negotiations between ethnic-group leaders with different agendas. A common message can build unity from diversity.

Ed Kilgore is policy director of the Democratic Leadership Council.
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