Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Georgia On the Brink?: Facing a Tide of Voter Anger, Ga Democrats Looks to Channel It, while Ga Republicans looks to Dodge it

Georgia is in a sour mood. The unemployment rate is rising, cuts to education continue, lack of jobs are being created and everyone SEEMS to be thoroughly disgusted with the powers that be, including congress & the GOP-led State Government. The anger toward D.C. is toxic, but here in Georgia, its not so much toxic as is is frustration with the lack of leadership on big items such as Fixing our schools, attracting jobs to the state, crowded classrooms, property taxes increases as well as other taxes (or fees) being levied on the backs of working Georgians.

It should be a dream scenario for Democrats, who have been shut out of the state legislature for about 8 years. Instead, the anger toward D.C. Democrats may hamper Georgia Democrats from making gains here in the state.


There is a sort of low-grade policy frustration, anger, or maybe even panic setting in as candidates like Roy Barnes, Carol Porter travel the backroads of Georgia to gauge the depth of the public's anger and formulate a palatable and convincing set of solutions. But the discontent is more complex than the polls can convey. Across the state, the sense that Georgia is on the edge of bad times colors daily life right now.

In Central & South Georgia, farmers who have saved and worked hard for years remain uneasy that everything they have gained could slip away at any moment. Such are the scenes of frustration among Georgia voters, further fueled by a nagging feeling that the last people who can be trusted to fix their problems are the very politicians they have elected to office. But no. The state's unemployment rate is higher than the National Average, weak revenue gains leads to more cuts to services that Georgians need like Public Safety for example.

Being outraged does help, but only as long as you channel that anger. "People don't want someone up there just shaking their fist. Barnes has chosen to be the outsider, while Carol Porter is the outsider, battering away at the State Legislature or the "other team" and blaming it for the worst of the state's ills. Some members of the legislature have helped to make it an easy target for the former governor's barbs and for general resentment as a privileged group. By abusing special checking privileges and practically institutionalizing the free lunch for themselves, legislators have called attention to the rarified level of special treatment that they enjoy.

But some in the state understand that blaming the legislature & the GOP is only the political half of what must ultimately be an economic solution. Some people have an image of voters as a group of mad dogs foaming at the mouth. That's not what this is about. People are frustrated. They want people to pay attention to them, and they want a lot of help & during the last 6 yrs of the Perdue Administration Georgians, especially Rural Georgians have felt their voices have been ignored & they maybe ready to change teams in order to have their voices heard once for all.

Look for the State GOP to bring what's going in D.C. into the governor's race as much as possible. Emotionally charged issues like the Role of Government, Health care, a deteriorating national economy to distract Georgia voters from problems that have occurred here at home under control of the GOP.

One way for democrats here running for office to channel voter anger for their own benefit is to do what national republicans are doing to national democrats & that is to exploit anger at the inept leadership of the legislature, beginning with the elimination of the Homestead Tax Exemption. Taxes are always a hot button issue that gets the attention of voters at election time, then the slow decline of our public school systems. Yes Ga won the $400 million "Race to the Top" award yesterday for education reform, but do you think voters would want the very people that have declared war on Ga's public schools handling that money? I don't think so!

Then there's the issue of ethics. We send our elected officials to Atlanta to solve & address problems the state is having, not to send them up there to party & have flings on the down-low with young female lobbyist, while at the same time having a wife & family at home waiting for you. Not bilking huge sums of cash from special interest groups to line their pockets or to help themselves get over by using the office he or she is holding for personal gain. There should be a level of integrity & trustworthiness when it comes to our elected officals. Glen Richardson's life has gone down hill after it was revealed by his ex-wife that he had a affair with a lobbyist while speaker of the Georgia House, then their is the cloud that is hanging over Casey Cagle's head concerning corruption. (When there's smoke' there's fire!)

Then you have the nominee Nathan Deal who is facing numerous ethical violations for using his office for his own personal benefit. Who knows what in the world will happen here. (Can you say October Surprise when it comes to deal & these ethics charges?)

Now democrats haven't had a great track record when it comes to ethics neither, but more of the focus is always on the party in power, just like the democrats in D.C., the focus is squarely on the GOP here in Georgia.

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