Friday, May 27, 2011

Alabama Republican Switches to Democratic Party

WTVM Columbus reported yesterday that a Republican lawmaker has switched to the Democratic Party expressing concern that the GOP is pushing an agenda that hurts teachers.

Rep. Daniel Boman (R- Sulligent) announced he was changing parties at a hastily called news conference in a committee room as the House continued to meet in the House Chamber.

House Minority Leader Craig Ford of Gadsden and Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Mark Kennedy stood beside the 36-year-old Boman. He is a lawyer serving his first term in the House.
Boman said he felt Republicans had taken actions this session that he felt hurt school teachers.

Boman represents Lamar, Fayette and parts of Tuscaloosa counties.

Boman was 1 of 10 House Republicans who voted Wednesday against a GOP-backed bill to streamline the process for firing experienced teachers.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

(GA-11): What's next for Rob Teilhet? A showdown with Gingrey in '12?

Former State Rep Rob Teilhet, now a Executive Director at Georgia Conservation Voters is like DuBose Porter, a bright, intelligent mind that's needed in the Georgia Democratic Party & congress as well.

Like Porter, Teilhet ran statewide last year; against Ken Hodges for Attorney General in the democratic primary. And like Porter, Teilhet is waiting on the sidelines for another possible run for office in 2014, possibly for a statewide office.

But what about congress?

A resident of Smyrna, he is located in the 13th District currently held by David Scott. But there is the possibilty that he could end up in the 11th District, currently held by Rep Phil Gingrey of Marietta. Remember you don't have to live in a particular district here in Georgia to mount a run for congress.

So why shouldn't Teilhet consider a run fir congress in 2012?

Phil Gingrey has won re-election with litttle of no opposition in the NW Georgia district since he won thay seat back in 2002. He has well over $1 million dollars in his bank account just in case a serious challenge were to emerge for his congressional seat.

Like Keown did with Bishop here in the second last year, it is time for democrats to get serious & mount a serious challenge on Georgia Republican Congressmen like Phil Gingrey.

Teilhet was named one of Georgia’s Most Influential People by James Magazine and a “Star to Watch” by the National Journal’s Hotline. In 2007 he joined the leadership of the House Democrats by being elected Chief Deputy Whip. Teilhet fought for and passed legislation giving important legal protections to crime victims, seniors and children, and preventing identity theft. He has also sought to keep vital dollars invested in improving public transportation and reducing traffic congestion. Representative Teilhet sponsored and passed an increase in the homestead exemption for disabled residents of the City of Smyrna. He is a committed champion for Georgia families, and has received awards for his legislative work from, among others, the Cobb County Associations of Educators, Georgia Family Council, Georgia Psychological Association, and the Georgia Water Coalition.

Now folks will say that Teilhet, a graduate of UGA, despite his qualifications can't win in a conservative district like the 11th. That's th kind of mentality that has kept democrats here in the state from advancing in terms of strength in the state of Georgia.

Gingrey, a doctor who played a major role in the Healthcare battle of 2009 really hasn't shown any bi-partisan leanings since being elected to congress 8 years ago.

Teilhet is someone who would give Gingrey a run for his money. Can Teilhet win over Gingrey is a tossup, but it sure would be interesting to see if he could.

The Neuroticism of Fox News

My thoughs on the powerhouse, FOX NEWS:

Lets face it. Fox News isn’t a news source, per se. It’s a network that is, by design, set up to propagate a specific political view point, that of the political right wing. Fox is neither fair nor balanced, and oftentimes “facts” conveyed on the network are demonstrably false. Yet there are many out there who think they are the ony source for news that they trust. Now I watch Fox News (Studio B with Shepard Smith, Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier & Bill O'Reilly), but Im not a Fox News addict. I tend to spread it around & watch other news outlets.

As a viewer, I noticed a few things:

Fox like to use the “us vs. them” mentality. Although Fox News is very much a part of the mainstream media, being owned and operated by News Corp. and having the largest market share of cable news, Fox positions itself as an outsider and paints the rest of the mainstream media is evil and biased.

This position insulates Fox from criticism. If, for example, CNN runs a story that refutes all or part of a Fox News report, it’s irrelevant because that’s the “Communist News Network.” If NPR, The New York Times, Washington Post, or any other reputable news agency contradicts a story run by Fox, it’s incredulous because they’re liberal and socialist. The “other” news outlets have a supposed agenda which instantly makes them illegitimate.

In some cases, as with MSNBC or The Nation there is a clear, and often acknowledged, liberal slant. However the vast majority of reporting by mainstream news outlets is not biased im my opinion.

Another example of such rhetoric is, “Why isn’t the mainstream media covering 'such and such' story? Clearly they’re biased.” In fact, when Fox News makes these claims it’s really an exemplification of their own bias. The story that they’re highlighting has usually been covered in the rest of the media, but just not given the prominence that Fox as elevated it to. As a recent example, Fox devoted days of coverage to criticizing President Obama for appearing on the daytime talk show, The View. NBC, ABC, CNN, and print media all gave the event appropriate coverage. Fox News, however, exposes their own bias against the President by using the issue to attack him personally and tie it into a grand theory of a vast socialist conspiracy, which it’s not. Really, it’s just the President going on a TV show.

FOX likes to call itself Fair & Balanced. At times they are Fair, but short on balance. It is true that on several FOX shows, guests are invited to speak on behalf of both sides of an argument, but that is irrelevant. When the host spends the lead-in advocating one position, spends the discussion criticizing one party, and then follows it with mockery, there is nothing fair or balanced about the media presentation. The audience is being led to the conclusion that the network has preordained.

Fox appeals to conservatives to look down upon people who’ve graduated from “the liberal elite Ivy League,” while at the same time appealing to conservatives who do place value in higher education. The trick is to just say that’s not what they really meant. Those who want to believe the original sentiment see this as a wink (after all, even Fox has to appeal to the liberals or else face their wrath), and those who don’t take it at face value.

From Glenn Beck (who I used to watch before he went off the Grand Canyon) comparing the current administration to Nazis. Painting the President and democrats in the color of hated leads viewers to looking at them all, Nazis and democrats alike, in the same light, to have the same feelings about Obama as they have about Hitler. Comparing democrat to communist to socialist, socialism ( a term that was first used by southern democrats in the 1930s to describe FDR & his Government Policies) have become even more toxic to the conservative American than the word "liberal".

In all, Fox News like to play on the fears of many Americans, as well play up cultural issues such as the whole flap about Hip-Hop artist Common appearance at a White House Function.

Two weeks ago, Fox News’ Sean Hannity tried to create a controversy over the rapper Common’s invitation to a White House poetry event. Citing a lyric in which Common criticized President Bush for lying to the American people and leading the nation into an unjust war, Hannity tried to paint the rapper as dangerous and "controversial,” the kind of person the Secret Service needed to vet. The lyric in question: "Burn a Bush ‘cause for peace he no push no button/ Killing over oil and grease/no weapons of destruction."

I had never heard of the lyric until two weeks ago, but there is no way that this man was advocating "Burn" Bush. Karl Rove called Common a "thug" before using the opportunity to call Obama a flip-flopper. Sarah Palin, for her part, furthered her strange, attacks on Michelle Obama, saying, "the judgment is just so lacking of class and decency and all that’s good about America with an invite like this."

But it’s clear to me that these guys know exactly what they’re doing: trying to re-ignite the hip-hop culture wars of the ‘90s to enrage and engage their largely super-conservative base.

Common, for one, is about the least controversial rapper the First Lady could have invited to the White House. He’s considered one of hip-hop’s penultimate positive rappers. Now I'm not that familiar with Common's music (Im more of a Outkast, Drake kind of a guy), but he is seen within hip-hop as a largely gentle rapper.

Lok, let's be honest here: This wasn't about CommonThis is about Fox News preying on conservative fears of the scary black thug trope, trying to paint anyone and everyone of color as racist against whites. By attempting to associate the Obamas with people they deem "contrary to American values," they can reaffirm their own prejudices.

Then there's the whole Jill Scott saga. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Drudge had found acolumn Scott wrote for Essence in 2010. In it, she wrote, "When my friend told me his wife was indeed Caucasian, I felt my spirit...wince," which Drudge then Tweeted.

This quote was supposed to be an example of Scott's racism toward whites, but even out of context, you could guess what she meant––the saddening idea that a black man might buy into an historically ingrained racist perception in America that white women are more attractive and more desirable than black women. And, reading the article in context, that is precisely what she meant. This is what she said:

We reflect on this awful past and recall that if a black man even looked at a white woman, he would have been lynched, beaten, jailed or shot to death. In the midst of this, black women and black men struggled together, mourned together, starved together, braved the hoses and vicious police dogs and died untimely deaths on southern back roads together. These harsh truths lead to what we really feel when we see a seemingly together brother with a Caucasian woman and their children. That feeling is betrayed. While we exert efforts to raise our sons and daughters to appreciate themselves and respect others, most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It's frustrating and it hurts! Our minds do understand that people of all races find genuine love in many places. We dig that the world is full of amazing options. But underneath, there is a bite, no matter the ointment, that has yet to stop burning. Some may find these thoughts to be hurtful. That is not my intent. I'm just sayin'.

Again, this is not about Jill Scott – it’s about Fox trying to scare its audience into believing that President Obama is racist against whites. But just to clear her name: Jill Scott is one of the most respected and talented R&B artists working right now. She writes songs about self-esteem and love and empowering yourself, and she’s never once exploited her sexuality for gain.

Hannity and Rove and Palin and Drudge were tearing a script from that playbook, sticking it to Common and Scott, and hoping it would rub off on Obama, even though all of their assertions about the White House poetry invitees were mostly fantasy.

Closing: Like I said, I watch Fox News & will continue to do so, but its things like this that just cause me to shake my head, playing off the fears & prejudice of others just to make a point.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Will Marshall follow in Footsteps of Nunn, Russell, Talmadge in 2014?

Georgia have produced some of the finest politicians this country has ever seen. From Hoke Smith to Walter F George to Sam Nunn. All these men, as well were very influential in their time.

There's another person who could do the same: Jim Marshall

Jim Marshall can be found nowadays teaching at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at his alma mater of Princeton University, where he is a visiting professor after his defeat to Austin Scott in the 2010 midterm elections.

After his defeat questions arose as to whether or not Marshall will run again for elected office. He didn't close the door to a return to politics after his hometown gave him a reception thanking him for his service representing the 8th District.

Some of his ardent supporters have always said that Marshall's talents would best served in another capacity besides the U.S. House of Representatives. Marshall will have his pick of office to run for in 2014. There the governor's seat, where he has been mentioned as a potential candidate, then there's the US Senate.

If there's any place Marshall would fit in, it would be the US Senate. He will be 66 years old when Saxby Chambliss's seat is up for re-election. Marshall, a moderately conservative democrat is tailored made for the deliberate body that is the US Senate, with his Bi-Partisan tendencies to work across the isle. Marshall, a veteran of the Vietnam War his deep knowledge of the Military & Foreign Relations which will rival that of John McCain.

Georgia's two current senators Saxby Chambliss & Johhny Isakson are good men, but they don't have "IT" like Richard (R.B.) Russell, Jr who had "IT", or Walter F. George or Sam Nunn.

If you look at the possible 2014 field of democratic candidates, Jim Marshall is the top-tier candidate for the democrats. Other than Marshall, there's John Barrow potentially, as well as Rob Teilhet.

Democrats biggest problem in Georgia is their inability to win in rural Georgia, which not too long ago was dominated by Conservative democrats. As the party became more "Urban" based & more closely aligned with the National Democrats (which doesn't help in Georgia) the rural vote steadily moved towards the GOP. Marshall's ability to attract votes in small town rural Georgia would be a huge asset, as well as his appeal to like-minded republicans. But will the liberal base go all & support a Marshall candidacy if he were to make a run is the $64,000 question.

I for one would like to see Jim Marshall make one more run for office, that is for the US Senate

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Attention Georgia Farmers: Ryan's Plan Calls for Steep Cuts to Agriculture

A letter sent to President Obama by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and eight other Democratic senators is intended to counter Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal and discourage the administration from supporting large cuts in farm programs. Ryan has proposed $30 billion in cuts over 10 years to the direct payments and crop insurance programs and $18 billion in additional cuts that would most likely come from conservation programs.

In their letter, the senators pointed to droughts, floods and severe rains that have impacted planting in both the North and the South as proof that “farming is an extraordinarily high-risk undertaking,” showing that “farmers need tools to manage their risk in case of natural disasters and increasingly volatile prices.”The senators noted not only the importance of farm subsidies, but also the need for conservation programs, support for local and regional agriculture, incentives for rural job creation and research to increase productivity.

Read Letter obtained by the Hagstrom Report: Letter to President Obama

(GA-2) Sanford Bishop: Past, Present & Future

Sanford Bishop has never been short of smarts. After graduating from Morehouse College in 1968 and from Emory University Law School in 1971, he served in the U.S. Army, completed basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, entered Advanced Reserve Officers Training, and received an Honorable Discharge in 1971. He resided in Columbus, Georgia, from 1972 to 1996, where he was the primary partner in the law firm of Bishop and Buckner, P.C. He is an Eagle Scout, a 33rd Degree Mason, a Shriner, and a life time member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Bishop has surprised and disappointed me and many of my rural Democratic friends who lean More conservative than your typical democrat, with his votes supporting the flawed health-care reform, cap-and-trade legislation and President Obama’s stimulus bills. But we shouldn’t have been surprised. He has never pledged complete allegiance to either the Republican or Democratic Party. Besides he is a Bluedog Democrat & that suits me just fine.

Fellow Yellow Dog Democrats are also conflicted about the endorsements Bishop has received. He was endorsed by the NRA, the US Chamber of Commerce, groups that traditionally supports republicans.

Last election saw Bishop hanging on by a thread for his seat over Mike Keown, a State Rep out of Thomas County. Allegations from Bishop improperly steering three scholarships to family members between 2003 and 2005 to the Jr. Marshall Program Scandal where his step daughter and son-in-law were being paid out of a Sanford Bishop earmark. It was later found that the Jr. Marshall Earmarked Funds were directly deposited into his wife's Vivian Creighton Bishop’s bank account.

Bishop was labeled a liberal for those votes for healthcare, cap & trade, the bailouts & TARP despite his long middle of the road record of supporting Gun rights, (A+” grade from NRA), hawkish positions on defense matters, outlawing same-sex marriage & support of prayer in our schools, & support of tax cuts. Last year was the perfect year for the GOP to defeat Bishop.

I suspect some of those longtime Bishop supporters who voted against Bishop voted against him out of protest of the way things were being handled by the President & the Pelosi led House of Representatives, as well as Bishop's toe dipping into the liberal waters that almost cost him last time. Im eager to see how many of them will come back into Bishop's column. I suspect Bishop will retire as congressman rather that be defeated. Lasr year results will no doubt encourage republicans to pour money into the second, but I believe that was a one time thing. With rumors of Bibb County moving in the second district, it will make republicans chances of defeating of Bishop damn near impossible.

Bishop has served the second district going on now for 20 years. (elected 1992). The only way I see him leaving that seat other than retirement is getting appointed to a federal position in a Obama Administration (Ag Secretary, Secretary of State, Energy) if Obama gets re-elected in 2012.

Blue Dogs like Bishop are good for the Democratic Party and the country. They’re a constant, necessary reminder to Democrats that if they want to be a majority party, they have to earn it, not just preach to the choir. We’d be a lot better off as a country if we had more people like the Blue Dogs on both sides of the aisle, who are independent-minded, willing to work across party lines, and more interested in getting things done than in partisan gain.”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sanford Bishop Receives Legislative Impact Award from Military Spouse Magazine

Presser from the Bishop Campaign:

Military Spouse Magazine recognized Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) for his work on behalf of military families during their annual Military Spouse of the Year Luncheon. Rep. Bishop received the Legislative Impact Award for his work in Congress on behalf of military families and his commitment to improving the lives of those serving in the Armed Forces.

"It is an honor to receive this award from Military Spouse Magazine, a great publication which advocates for and highlights the needs of our military spouses," said Rep. Bishop. "This award will give me even more determination to continue fighting for our service members, their spouses, and their families."

Rep. Bishop co-chairs the Congressional Military Family Caucus with Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) who also received a Legislative Impact award. During the ceremony, Military Spouse Magazine presented Mrs. Bianca Strzalkowski of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina with the Military Spouse of the Year Award. The award ceremony recognizes the sacrifice of the 1.1 million military spouses who provide unwavering support to the armed services.

Rep. Bishop has been a tireless supporter of military families throughout his career. Along with co-chairing the Congressional Military Family Caucus, he also serves as the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, which has held several hearings on quality of life issues facing military families.

Congrats to Rep Bishop on this honor

(GA-8) DuBose in 2012: Should or will he challenge Austin Scott?

With the 2012 elections on the horizon, its time to address the elephant in the room, the $100,000 question: Should DuBose Porter challenge Austin Scott for the 8th Congressional District?

There's no doubt in my mind that Porter will run for governor again in 2014. I'll be surprised if he doesn't, but what about congress?

I remember Porter stating awhile back that he had no interest in going to Washington.

You wonder what his answer would be if asked that question again?

Porter would be the ideal candidate to run for that Middle Georgia based seat formerly occupied by then Rep Jim Marshall. I think he'd run one of the best congressional campaigns in the country if he were to challenge Scott.

Porter has some experience dealing with Washington Politics, having interned for Iconic Georgia Senator, democrat Sam Nunn in the late 70s. He served as one of Zell Miller's floor lieutenants when Miller was governor of the state, & has the leading advocates for education here in the state.

He is a small business owner, operating the Courier Herald,as well as the Soperton News, the Montgomery Monitor, and the Wheeler County Eagle, the Johnson Journal, the Twiggs Times New Era and the Cochran Journal, the Wilkinson County Post and in 2006 they purchased The Baldwin Bulletin.

Although some will say he didn't perform that well in the primary for governor, Porter ran a very aggressive grassroots campaign for governor, visiting more that 100 counties in the state. If he were to implement that same strategy in a race for the 8th, he'll have a good chance against Scott, (that is if he were to run). Porter's crossover appeal would be a added bonus in his arsenal. Something Marshall had when he controlled that seat for 9 years. Farmers love him, educators adore him, lower class status blacks & whites are drawn to his populistic approach & veterans appreciate him.

With the future of Macon-Bibb County up in the air, that should discourage Porter from running. I mean, let's face it, Laurens County is no liberal bastion with its mix of social & christian conservatism, so Porter wouldn't have any problem running in a much more rural district.

Porter's populism would go over well & let's not forget about Scott's vote for Paul Ryan's Medicare Reform that would cut $4.4 trillion from the federal budget over 10 years, eliminate the health care law passed last year, slash domestic spending and completely overhaul some of the nation’s entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid by issuing vouchers among other things. Under Ryan’s Medicare plan, the federal government would issue vouchers to seniors to purchase their own health care insurance in a private market. It would only apply to those ages 55 and younger & it even has many democrats saying that it would end medicare. That vote may or may not come back to haunt Scott, but that remains to be seen. If seniors start to become worried about their medicare, medicaid & social security, that voting bloc will up for grabs for Porter or any potential democratic challenger.

On the other hand, Porter may still be eyeing another run for governor in 2014 (without the shadow of Roy Barnes to fight thru). A run & loss for congress would put his political career on the ropes so he may not want to take that chance. A 2012 win would open the door for his wife Carol Porter to run for governor (which she would be the odds on favorite to win the democratic nomination).

I'm sure many democrats would love to see Porter take a swing at the 8th District seat. Its just a question of does Porter wants to?

SD 26: Will Wilkinson County Stand Up?

With the entries of State Rep. David Lucas & Macon City Council President Miriam Paris to replace Robert Brown, will another candidate come forward for Senate District 26?

You would think so? This is a prime opportunity for a candidate to emerge from Twiggs & Wilkinson County for a run at a rare open seat for the state legislature. If another candidate does emerge from one of these two counties, it'll likely be from Wilkinson County.

Wilkinson County (Wilco) has a very attractive group of officeholders who would make great candidates for the State Senate. As well as those who serve in other capacities. A county with so much promise, having a candidate (or future state senator) from that area will only help that county grow to its full potential

Roger L. Smith, Mayor of Toomsboro is one of those officeholders.

Mr. Smith is a lifelong resident of Toomsboro. He received his early education in the Wilkinson County School system and graduated from Calhoun Consolidated High School in 1961. He graduated from Georgia College in 1976, and is a Vietnam veteran, having served in the Army from 1963 to 1965. Mr. Smith is a retiree of Central State Hospital where he worked for 34 years in the Social Service Department. He served 12 years as a city councilman, and in 1999 he was elected Mayor of Toomsboro.

Smith serves on the Wilkinson/Baldwin Fall Line Development Authority and is Chairman of the Board of the Wilkinson County Service Center. He is a member of the St. Phillips African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he serves as chairman of the Board of Stewards. He has served on the Development Authority Board since 1999.

Lee Boone

Ms. Boone has been a resident of Wilkinson County since 1972. She has an AB degree in English from the University of Georgia, and she also took additional courses at Oglethorpe University and Georgia State College and University. She is a former high school English and Advanced Placement teacher, real estate agent, and small business owner. Lee is married to longtime Wilkinson Co attorney Joe Boone. She has served as a Development Authority Board member since 1997.

These are not candidates, but they could be? Im just throwing out names here.

So what its going to be Wilkinson County? Will you put up or shut up?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Part II: Georgia Democratic Up and Comers

Christopher Pike (D-Albany)

Pike is the founder of Urban Pulse Media, an advertising sales and marketing company located in Albany, Georgia. He also serves on the Emerge Albany Board for the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce (Emerge Albany is the young professionals group of the Chamber) and is currently working on the Compass Project for the Albany Area Chamber. Compass is a project to help the Chamber be more representative of the entire community. His most recent success includes being selected to serve a four year term as Ward 3 City Commissioner, and elected to serve a one year term as Mayor Pro Tem.

The 33 year old Pike understands the importance of working together and accomplishing goals. He has a very unique perspective of life and how to deal with difficult issues – and that is to approach them honestly, consider them rationally, and resolve them in a manner that will bring the most good, to the most people.

Melissa Chevers (D-Tifton)

Tift County Commissioner, elected in 2008. Graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) & currently a Branch Manager for Labor Ready Inc in Valdosta, Ga

Daniel Fullerton (D-Atlanta)

Fullerton is a member of the YDG, Director of the Young Democrats at the Unoversity of Georgia. In addition he is a graduate of Emory University. A unabashed liberal, Fullerton is one of the most passionate democrats I've ever encountered. The 28 year old is a up & coming YD.

Joe McGovern (D-Glennville)

No relation to George McGovern. McGovern is the chairman of the Tattnall County Democratic Party. He is partner with the law firm, Dubberly & McGovern over in Glennville.

Dr. Drew Ferguson IV (D-West Point)

Ferguson is the mayor of West Point where it has seen a rebound in the city's fortunes with the new Kia Plant.

Louis Elrod (D-Atlanta)

Elrod is president of the Young Democrats of Georgia. Elrod was a Legislative Aide at Georgia General Assembly ,National Committee Man at Young Democrats of Georgia & Campaign Manager at Jim Nichols for State Senate. He was also Northeast Georgia Regional Director for the Young Democrats of Georgia, President UGA/ACC Young Democrats.

Christopher Sloan (D-Lagrange)

Sloan is chairman of the Troup County Democratic Party & Middle Georgia Regional Director for the Young Democrats of Georgia. Inder sloan's leadership, the Troup Co Dems are now a force to be reckoned with in a county that is now beginning to trend purple.

Debbie Fountain (D-Alamo)

Fountain is the mayor of Alamo, located in Wheeler County

Michael Dinkins (D-Fort Valley)

Dinkins is county commissioner for Peach County. He was District Representative for then US Senator Max Cleland & a Veteran of Operation Desert Shield.

Joel Mendenson (D-Roswell)

Mendelson is the political director of the Young Democrats of Georgia. He is the Legislative Aide for Representative David Wilkerson, & Campaign Coordinator at Take Back Cobb EMC. He is a Talk Show Host KSU Owl Radio & a Columnist at KSU Sentinel

Honorable mention:

Richie Braun (D-Gum Branch)
Sheri Howard (D-Dawson)
Michael Edwards (D-Boston)
Bill Mills (D-Bluffton)
Jeffery Dean (D-Uvalda)
Lisa Johnson (D-Fargo)
Barbie Crockett (D-Centralhatchee)
Deborah Kornegay (D-Hazelhurst)
Troy Jones, Jr (D-Eastman)
Pamelia Dwight (D-Millen)
Adam Moore (D-Vidalia)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why Poor Whites Vote Republican???

The same question can be asked about why poor blacks vote democratic? I think we all know why.

I was reading through some of Peanut Politics email and I saw a question raised someone raised who asked, "Why do poor white people vote for republicans?' I have seen this question asked many times, and it shows the thoughts from the left that poor people must only vote for democrats. While I can't speak for "poor, white Americans", because I'm a African-American, I will do my best to list a couple of reasons why I think these people would vote for republicans over democrats:

1.Not having an entitlement attitude.

I would guess another reason is that people, even poor Americans, don't have an entitlement attitude that is common among democrats. Not everyone feels or wants the government to take care of their every need, and people still think that it's the individuals responsibiltiy to take care of their life, not the federal government.

2. What have democrats done to make someone not "poor"?

One of the biggest propaganda lines from democrats is that they are somehow the party of the "common man", and that they will magically make someone who is poor, have a better life as long as they are in control. Democrats have had a hold on poor Americans because they keep feeding them this line of crap, and they keep buying it. Fortunately, there are still Americans who see through this nonsense.

Now these are just my guesses, I'd like to hear what you think!

This is one of the great mysteries of political life for progressives is why poor white people will year after year vote for republicans. I really can't explain why they vote republican. I don't see anything wrong with a poor person, white or black voting republican

You know for some, Life is about work, something my parents instilled in me & my brother. my father would always tell tells us: Life is tough....Suck it in. Don’t take chances. Be conservative and stick with what you know or he would say: damned government giveaways....Luxuries we really don’t need because we used to get along fine without them. If them people really want it, they will get up off their lazy asses and work for it like I do. He would say lazy is the worst thing a person can be—worse than dumb, drunk, or mean, worse than being a liar. My father is old school, never accepted a handout in his entire life! Started work on the railroad (CSX) when he was 17 (1971) & to this day he still have that way of thinking.


A Dime's Worth of Difference, Huh?

There is not a dime's worth of difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties!": Alabama Governor George Wallace, candidate for President, 1968.

Ralph Nader, holding far different political views, said about the same thing in 2000 and 2004, when he also ran for President on a minor-party ticket.

There is only one independent member of each house of Congress (both from Vermont, which is known to produce quirky officials). The last time a President was elected by any party but the Democrats and Republicans was 1848, when the last Whig (Zachary Taylor) won. Only once since then has a nominee of another party even come in second; former President Theodore Roosevelt, running on the Progressive (aka Bull Moose) ticket in 1912. Are the two major parties too similar, and could we use one or more major parties? Here is where things stand:

1. What is the difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties?

The Democratic Party champions the interests of the working class, the unemployed, immigrants, racial and other minorities, and the feminists. The Republicans, on the other hand, represent the interests of the wealthy, suburbanites, employers, and devout Christians. The differences should be measured in billions of dollars, not in dimes.

2. Do people vote primarily on the basis of their economic interests?
Although the main difference between the parties is economic, many voters consider social issues and foreign policy more important than their own financial situation. For example, I've heard that rich Jews are even more liberal and more Democratic than middle-class Jews, unlike any other demographic group. They also tend to put friendship toward Israel above other issues. On the other hand, devout white Christians tend to vote Republican nowadays, regardless of their social-economic status, which is fairly accurate.

3. What has been the role of race in America's political alignment?
The Republican Party was organized primarily to oppose slavery, and the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, emancipated the slaves by executive order in 1863. Most Southern Democrats supported the Confederacy during the Civil War, and northerners sympathetic to secession were Democrats too. Blacks who could vote in the decades following the Civil War were solidly Republican, for good reason. However, after federal troops were withdrawn from the South by Republican President Rutherford Hayes in 1877, white supremacists took over and blacks were denied the right to vote in that region. Until major black migration to the Northern cities during World War I, the black vote was too small to have national signficance.

4. When and why did blacks become Democrats?
The Great Depression (1929-1939) hit blacks even harder than whites, given their lack of financial assets and marginal place in the labor market. President Franklin Roosevelt, who took office in early 1933, initiated a number of steps by the federal government to alleviate poverty, such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC or welfare), Social Security, and so forth. Although none of these programs were specifically aimed at blacks, all poor people benefited from them, and blacks were (and still are) the poorest of all. Wherever blacks were permitted to vote,(that is, outside the Deep South) they flocked to Roosevelt and the Democratic Party.

5. When and why did the Deep South become solidly Republican in Presidential elections?
For nearly a hundred years after the Civil War, southern whites identified the Republican Party with the Union Army and Lincoln, and so continued to vote Democratic. Until 1948, the Democratic Party managed to keep the allegiance of both northern blacks and southern whites by ignoring the issue of racial equality. When the 1948 Democratic platform supported a federal civil rights bill, the southern delegations walked out and formed a splinter party, nominating South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond who ran as a Dixiecrat for President. Thurmond carried the Deep South, but Truman won. In 1964, after Republican Senator voted against President Johnson's Civil Rights Bill, he won the Republican nomination and carried the same states as Thurmond. Alabama Governor George Wallace, who had resisted court-ordered school integration, ran as an independent for President in 1968, carrying about the same group of states. Most white southerners have voted Republican in the Presidential elections since then.

We currently have the Green, Reform & Libertarian Party as minor parties (alternates) to the current two party system. The first national party convention was held by the Anti-Masonic Party in 1840. Although the little Prohibition Party never won any elections, Prohibition became law around 1919. A number of leftist parties (Populist, Socialist, Progressive, etc) won some local and congressional elections, and some of their ideas were enacted into law by the major parties.

The Libertarian Party has contested every Presidential election since 1976, with little to show for its efforts. The Party opposes most taxes, most laws, foreign aid and government in general. Like a stopped clock that is right twice a day, the Libertarian Party would let you do any kind of drug you want, opposes any kind of censorship, supports the legalization of prostitution. How good does it get?

The Reform Party, created by Ross Perot, elected former wrestler Jesse Ventura Governor of Minnesota in 1998 and nominated Patrick Buchanan for President in 2000. The party, without Perot's money and Ventura's fame, seems to have collapsed

And there's the Green Party (which nominated Nader in 2000) takes a position distinctly to the left of the Democratic Party, which most people think is left enough already. It is also the only party with an anti-Israel foreign policy plank.

It maybe 20 years before a real third party rises from the ashes & challenge both the democratic & republican parties.

In the Game of Redistricting, Georgia Republicans Hold all the Cards

Redistricting Gumbo, Georgia Style: I like mine with a 1/2 cup of fact, a 1 whole cup of rumor, and I would add a 2/3 cup full of “what ifs, but I'll leave that out for now.

The partisan struggle over the use of statistically adjusted data from the U.S. Census to avoid "undercounts" was just a warmup for the real game: the redistricting of hundreds of congressional & thousands of legislative districts across the country. Once the census data was provided to the state of Georgia, legislative districts must be redrawn to ensure they are equal in population. With few public interest checks on their near-Godlike power in drawing state legislative and congressional districts, incumbents use increasingly sophisticated computer software and demographic data to literally choose the voters before the voters have a chance to choose them.

Let me take that back, there have been plenty of public interest in this process. The first three held by the joint house & senate reapportionment committees in Athens, Augusta & Savannah were very passionate & lively. So there have been interest in this shady game called redistricting by Georgians.

Moreover, the political party with full control of the process in the state: Georgia Republicans can seek to cement their power. By using techniques like "packing," whereby lines are drawn to concentrate many supporters of political opponents into a few districts, and "cracking," where opponents' supporters are split among several districts, they can dramatically heighten their chances for the next decade.

With so much at stake, Ga Democrats and Ga Republicans, (especially democrats) are preparing to claw like cats and dogs, possibly in the courts. There maybe hearings, more lawsuits, more investigations. Sound familiar? In redistricting, anything can happen.

But who gets ripped off by this process? The voters, of course. As a result of the redistricting process, most voters become locked down into noncompetitive one-party districts where their only real choice at election time is to ratify the incumbent or heir apparent of the party controlling that district.

Redistricting, or shall we say the "incumbent protection process" is the leading cause of uninspiring, choice-less elections. If you are a Democrat in a solidly Republican district, or a Republican in a solidly Democratic district, or a supporter of a minor party, you don't have a chance of electing your candidate. Demography is destiny, it turns out.

In a vastly conservative state like Georgia and given the rise of the Republican Party during the Perdue years, having a possible redistricting plan so liberally drawn so as to protect incumbent republican & democratic legislators is an affront to every citizen in Georgia, whether Democrat or Republican, since the primary goal of redistricting is to ensure the ideal of one man, one vote. Party aside, redistricting is about giving citizens a voice and ensuring access to government; it’s about the people in these districts who expect and deserve a like minded representative in the legislature or congress

The recipe for redistricting under a true two party system can be like making gumbo (of course, politics in Georgia has often been likened to the same Southern concoction). The public only gets so much of the facts, a whole lot of rumors, sprinkled with alot of what ifs, but you have to admit that would make one heck of a redistricting pot of gumbo.

I've heard rumors of the possible elimination of either Richmond or Chatham County from John Barrow's 12th Congressional District, to the removal of Bibb County from Austin Scott's 8th Congressional District to improve his chances of re-election in 2012, to the new 14th Congressional District being located around the north Atlanta area to NW Georgia, with Hall County being the population center

The removal of Bibb from the 8th to the 2nd doesn't make any sense. The second is already around 50% African-American, so why pack the 2nd with all these democratic.....Black voters?

This is called Gerrymandering!

Bibb is a central Georgia county & should be located in a central Georgia district, not a SW Georgia or even a east central Georgia district like the 12th.

Gerrymandering is a conspicuous, irregular manipulating of electoral district boundaries to advantage one political party or candidate which is a distasteful, if not downright corrupt, practice.

Through gerrymandering, incumbent politicians seek to choose their voters rather than vice versa, packing their legislative or congressional districts with enough like-minded constituents to make re-election almost effortless. So do you get the picture, if Bibb is moved into the Sanford Bishop's 2nd District, away from Austin Scott's 8th District, that helps Scott & solidify Bishop's district as a Majority-Minority District. Its more of a help to Scott that it is to Bishop

The same goes for Barrow over in the 12th. Decrease the democratic strength in the 12th to make it more favorable for a GOP candidate to win, if not in '12, then in '14. Chatham & Richmond are two democratic strongholds & if you add in the Black Belt Counties located in the northern end of the district, that makes it a democratic lean seat. Eliminate one of the big counties, then it goes from lean democratic to tossup.

Redistricting is a dirty game & someone is going to get left out & someone is going to get screwed in the process. Oh and let's not forget about the special interest groups who may have their hands in the process. Boy, this is going to be interesting!

Get Well Rep. Bob Hanner (R-Parrott)

I wanna wish State Rep. Bob Hanner (R-Parrott) a speedy recovery from open heart surgery recently. He is comfortably resting at home.

Hanner, a longtime conservative democrat, who switched to the republican party in 2010 has served over 35 years as a state representative (elected back in 1975). He served in the U.S. Coast Guard in Vietnam from 1967-1968 & has held numerous positions throughout his time as state representative.

Keepp Rep Hanner in your prayers as he recovers from surgery.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Paris announces run for SD 26

Will GA Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) be a target in 2012?

10th District congressman Paul Broun (R-Athens) practice a art that was so skillfully mastered by the likes of Gene Talmadge, Theodore Bilbo & other old time southern politicians:


This is one of the main reasons why democrats, Georgia & Washington Democrats ought to have a bullseye on the disgrace that is Paul Broun. Yes, I know the 10th is one of the reddest districts in the state, if not the country, but that doesn't mean majority of voters up there tolerate or support the demagogue tactics of that of Dr Paul Broun

Broun is skilled in that type of oratory, flattery, and invective, evasive in discussing vital issues, promising everything to everybody, appealing to the passions of those who are outside the mainstream rather than the reason of the public, and arousing racial, religious, and class prejudices. History tells us that personal liberty is most often the demagogue's first victim, particularly when popular sentiment is whipped up against some internal or foreign enemy. In other words, liberty and demagogues cannot coexist.

He gained his seat in congress by appealing to people's emotions, instincts, and prejudices in a way that is considered manipulative and dangerous. This is a man that thinks Social Security is unconstitutional. This is a man who back in 2009 wrote a letter for a mailing by the American Conservative Union warning that if health care reform passes, “your doctor may be banned from giving you or your loved ones the life-saving care they need! He also said that President Obama "likely will move to ban gun ownership if he were to build a national police force, which is a classic case of a paranoid loon.

Y'all get the picture! The man has no business representing the great state of Georgia & the proud, independent nature of the 10th Congressional District.

Its time to find a credible challenger to put against Paul Broun next year. I'm going to say it again, but former State Labor Commissioner Mike Thurmond is the "ONE" I'd be courting if I were Heath Shuler, one of the leaders of the Bluedog Coalition & the DCCC, as well as the Georgia Democratic Party. If not Thurmond, then I'd venture north to Union County & court young 32 year old Conservative Democrat Jack Lance who ran for HD 8 last year.

Will Black Voters in Montezuma Vote for a White Candidate for Mayor?

I have a friend who thinks he’s figured out Black folks voting behavior in Montezuma (Macon County) predilection for voting for black candidates. He believes that black folks will vote for incumbent Willie J Larry regardless if a white candidate rises t challenge him in the democratic primary this summer because he is black black. That’s it! No mystery, or political theory behind it. Sure he cites several polls detailing the overwhelming support President Obama received from black voters during the 2008 election. That's 2008!

Black voters makeup close to 70% of the population in Montezuma, so many out there will say Hell No! But I think they could.

My friend's theory is false, based upon an old-time, monolithic group thinking mentality. All he’s done is herd black people in Montezuma into stringent race camps which reinforces the idea that blacks are preoccupied with race and skin color–thereby perpetuating the victimization stigma. (For the record– I don’t know for a fact that this is his exact thinking, but I know it can’t be far off.) Let’s take a look at a recent example of how this line of thinking is myth more than fact.

Back in 2007, Robert Reichert, a white democrat bested 6, 7 other candidates who happened to be African-American in the race for mayor of Macon despite the city being 65% African-American. Reichert won by running as a centrist & appealing to the black community & running against the establishment. He was basically running a general election campaign before the general election.

Yes Willie Larry is a incumbent who haven't had a challenger since being elected, but that doesn't mean since he is black, black people will automatically vote for him. There are serious problems with the city of Montezuma, which is deteriorating day after day, month after month, year after year. Yes a majority of black voters support progressives liberals, whichever, but they identify with issues and ideology that best reflects what they believe, not what they look like. Black people aren’t sheep, and they don’t practice identity group politics anymore than any other group does. Does that mean they are immune to race politics? Of course not. You’ll find that blacks are more driven by issues they care about, more than the skin color of the candidate speaking about them.

So what I'm saying here is the issues, not race will drive the 2011 City of Montezuma Elections. If you are a conservative, run as a moderate. If you are a left winger, you are a lock, but given the makeup of the city, a centrist approach is what's needed. Look at Macon Mayor Robert Reichert as a example

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

From "Nigger" to "States Rights": The Use of Racially Coded Words in Politics

I've been holding back from talking about this isssue for sometime, but now is the time to talk about it. I compile a list of code words I've heard politicians utilize to speak about race issues without coming off as bigoted:


Average Joe
Joe six-pack
Moral voters
Independent voter
Evangelical voter
Hockey Mom
Soccer Mom
The southern vote
blue collar workers


Welfare recipient
Poor people
Affirmative action supporter

These are just a handful of examples of how our media and politicians (not to mention everyday people) use racialized language to refer to groups of Americans without sounding like they are mentioning anything overtly bigoted. They can use these words and say "the southern vote looks high for.......John Doe" without saying that most southern whites will vote for John Doe. They can say "I don't support just handing out welfare to recipients while hard working Americans bust their asses" without saying "I think blacks are lazy and whites are industrious".

Going all the way back to the 1920s, racially coded language have been used by politicians to describe certain groups of people in hoping to appeal to a much greater audience in winning a race for Governor, President of the United States, Senator, even Mayor & County Commission. Sadly this kind of tactic has worked & it shows no sign of going away.

I hear so much talk about how much better we are in terms of racism in our country. Yes, we've gotten rid of terms such as 'nigger', 'spic', 'gook' from our daily vocabulary, but have we done much in the way of conditioned messages? I don't think so, and many seem intent on keeping things this way by claiming "racism's over", "that stuff ended long ago", "get past it", etcetera.

It's funny how ready most liberal whites were to vote for Obama in the name of change and hope, and not to mention the fact that he's black and how this would "end racism" or something like that. However, three years later, when the country is back to debating issues and race becomes an inevitable facet of the discussion.

Other racial code words include terms like "states' rights," "crime in the streets," and "welfare queens, quotas, reverse racism are uninitiated, racial code words are words politicians (usually Republicans) are accused of using to supposedly help them win votes by raising whites' fears of minorities.

At his now infamous presidential kick-off campaign rally at Neshoba County (Philadelphia), Mississippi in 1980, held virtually a stone throw from where the three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964, Ronald Reagan shouted to a lily white crowd that “I believe in states’ rights.” He laced his campaign speech with stock racial code words and phrases, blasting welfare, big government, federal intrusion in state affairs, and rampant federal spending. He used the term Welfare Queens to justify cutting back social programs. Only being removed from the civil rights era 10 years earlier, that kind of "wink, wink" approach was gobbled up by those who was duped & conned by the Southern Strategy of 1968, which was, above all else, about winning the rural, white Southern vote into the Republican sphere because the Democratic Party falling apart because of its inability to contain the contradictions of being both the formal party of civil rights in the North and the party of Jim Crow in the South.

Other words like "Uppity" which Congressman Lynn Westmoreland called president Obama one time late in the 2008 campaign & GOP congressional candidate Rick Goddard criticized an MSNBC reporter’s sharp questioning of former House speaker Newt Gingrich at the Republican National Convention. Goddard called the African-American reporter, Ron Allen, “uppity“

When the current President is called a criminal, a welfare cheat, they're using new terms to get the point across: he's Black, he's urban, and he's out of step with the rest of us. Plain & simple.

When Newt Gingrich said at the Ga GOP State Convention over the weekend that Obama was a Food Stamp president, now lets be real hear, anytime the words food stamps are mentioned, black people comes to mind, as well as hispanics. That is racially coded my friend.

Sometimes they don't have to be racially coded. Here are a few code words the Democrats think Republicans use, along with the “real” meanings Democrats believe.

State’s rights.” That really means legalized racial discrimination.

Family values.” That really stands for legalized gender discrimination.

Junk lawsuits.” That is any lawsuit by an individual that demands a corporation be held accountable for their misdeeds.

Tort reform.” That is taking away a victim’s right to sue criminal corporations and putting rich people above the law.

Socialist: communist, liberal, progressive, community organizer.”

All these words actually are Republican code for “black.”“We share your values.” That means we are bigots like you.

The Republicans have some code words they attach to the Democrats as well.

In their heads, if a republican hear a Democrat utter the following words, you have to understand the real meaning behind them.

Invest.” That means spend.“

Stimulus. That is spending devoted to liberal causes.

Racism.”Well, I can’t win this argument with you, so this is all I’ve got!

Fiscal responsibility: You don’t pay enough taxes.

Comprehensive immigration reform.” Amnesty.

Republicans are the party of fear” They want to take your Medicare, your Social Security and free school lunches for poor kids.“

Freedom of religion. For everybody but traditional Christians

I can on on & on in talking about this subject, but one thing's for sure, the use of racially coded words to appeal to certain demographics & voting blocs are harmful to the political process. But sadly politicians (most of the time republicans) use this to their advantage & it works.

Monday, May 16, 2011

GA-SD 12: Shivers v Sims in 2012?

Down in the isolated corner of Georgia, you will find Clay County, a small, sleepy farming community located along the banks of the Chattahoochee River & Lake Walter F George.

There you will find Clay County Commissioner David Shiver (D-Fort Gaines), a farmer & owner of Clay Farm Products (Riverside Peanut Co). Shiver, a conservative democrat was elected to the Clay County Board of Commissioners in 2000, having won re-election twice. He is up for re-election in 2012. That's also when Freddie Powell Sims is up for re-election to the State Senate. With the expected widening of SD 12, you can expect democratic challengers to Sims seat & Shivers is one of those possibilities.

Shivers is a life long resident of Clay County. He has been married to his wife Sandy for thirty years and has one daughter, Heather. Commissioner Shivers and his wife also have one granddaughter. The Shivers also operate Joe and David Shivers Farm, LLC & a member of Clay County Economic Development Council since 2004

Shivers holds the distinction of being the first commissioner to complete the ACCG Commissioners Certification training. He is also a certified volunteer firefighter, became an ordained Deacon in 2000 and is presently Chairman of Deacons at Bethel Baptist Church.

One of his main goals is to continue improving services while creating jobs to keep the young people at home in Clay Co & this is a problem for just about every rural county in Georgia.

If Shivers were to officially run for the State Senate, he'll have to do it on his own due to the Georgia Democratic Party rule of not getting involved in primary elections, which is questionable.

I have long called for the elimination of democratic legislators who are "ineffective" & Sims fits that bill as a ineffective legislator.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sanford Bishop, John Barrow & Racial Gerrymandering

Racial Gerrymandering will hit Georgia at its worst if everything I'm hearing bears fruit.

Macon-Bibb County, a majority-minority city & county possibly going into the second, therefore making it easier for Austin Scott to maintain a hold on the 8th District. Potential Richmond Co moving into the 10th & Chatham in the 1st, therefore making it much, much more easier for a republican to take the 12th away from John Barrow

The biggest supporters of racial gerrymandering are Republicans. The answer is simple:

To the extent that the black Democrats are concentrated in congressional ( even legislative) districts, it is easier for Republican candidates to win more seats overall. The creation of a newly majority black district is likely to drain black voters from other districts (like the 8th, 12), one of them represented by a white Democrat , John Barrow. The more "lily-white" the districts become, the easier it is for Republicans to win them. In short, buy adopting such a redistricting strategy, Republicans give African Americans the opportunity to increase their descriptive representation but, quite possibly, at the expense of their substantive representation.

Racial gerrymandering has once again become a political tool. In this case, racial gerrymandering is being used to ensure political victory for Georgia Republicans. This is not to say that the problems in the electoral system today are on par with those of the past. Yet, these are problems that need to be address all the same.

Sanford Bishop by all means is not your typical "Liberal" democrat. He has always been a moderately conservative democrat since his election back in 1992. Yes he lost a substantial number of white voters due to his support of the Healthcare Legislation that rocked town halls all across the county during the summer of '09-10, but that doesn't mean that he can't win in a district where the black vote is in the minority. Let's not forget he won the 2nd when it was a majority white district, but this whole idea of moving Macon-Bibb County into the second to so-call "Strengthened" Bishop is absurd!

The district is already around 48-50% African American. He only needs 60,000 more voters to meet the 692,000+ needed for a congressional district. The answer is simple: Include all of Muscogee County, as well as Lowndes County into the district. And with Westmoreland (Lynn) district being over populated, the district will have to move northward to take away some of his votes, so include Meriwhether, Upson & Harris in the second.

But instead they want to make the district a solid "Black" District by throwing Macon to Bishop in order to protect Austin Scott, who by not opening a office in Macon sent a signal that he wanted no part of Macon in his 8th district.

Despite the fact that blacks are in general more liberal on economic issues, majority-minority districts are not necessary for blacks to win elections & Bishop have already proven that he can with or without a Majority African-American Constituency.

Gerrymandering is becoming an ineffective method of ensuring minority representation. When majority-minority districts are created first a pocket of blacks must be target.

Majority-Minority districts are harmful to blacks and democrats in general & should be done away with if for no other reason that the fact that majority-minority redistricting will no longer work.

Then there's the saga of John Barrow, one of the few remaining white conservative democrats left in the south that survived the massacre of 2010. The goal of the Georgia GOP is to make his district either more of a swing district or even republican-leaning. And to do that, something will have to be done about Richmond & Chatham Counties, which one or both maybe included in new districts north & south respectively.

Going back to what I mentioned earlier, the more black voters that can be drained from a district, the more it increases the republican's chances of competing or winning a congressional district & in this case that's what they are going to do with Barrow, who does well among white independents & conservatives in the 12th. The logic here is that the more whiter the 12th becomes, the more vulnerable John Barrow becomes. Other than Jack Kingston who's district they can move into the 12th, one thinks Barrow will be alright regardless how they redraw the lines to make it more favorable for a republican.

Majority-minority districts also capture black voters from surrounding congressional districts, leaving white congressmen with no incentive to craft messages appealing to African-American voters. This explains why Republicans receive so few votes from African-Americans

State Senator Robert Brown (D-Macon) expressed two weeks ago that he would like to see Bibb County go back into the second, as well include Warner Robins (including RAFB) which has a 40% Black Population. A study was done not too long ago that show safe black districts dampen electoral turnout so why bother to vote when the outcome will surely be the election of one black candidate or another?

The axiom behind this gerrymandering is that a "safe," predominantly black district could guarantee the election of Bishop, as well other potential black candidates to Congress whenever Bishop retires, because of protracted racism among whites that left Bishop in droves during the 2010 election. I'm going to say this right now, the next representative from the district will be a white democrat. You heard it here first!

Let me close this out: When African Americans are elected to the House from majority-black, heavily gerrymandered congressional districts in big cities in their districts they're unlikely to have the wide appeal necessary to win statewide office. Just look at Georganna Sinkfield who ran for Secretary of State in 2010. She represented a overwhelmingly black district & could not appeal to a more mainstream electorate.

So if I were Bishop' Ill say leave Bibb County in the 8th & if I were Barrow, don't sweat it. Your record speaks for itself!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Could it be Deja Vu all over again for John Barrow?

Roll Call is reporting that Ultra-Conservative Lynn Westmoreland (R-Grantville) will be the point man in handling redistricting for the House GOP.

House Republicans have tasked Westmoreland with overseeing redistricting for their entire caucus for good reason. Westmoreland has extensive experience with mapmaking in his home state, which redrew the Congressional boundaries twice in the past decade. At least three seats are at stake for Republicans, who will likely attempt to draw a safe GOP seat in the new 14th district, shore up GOP margins in the district of freshman Rep. Austin Scott (R) and move more Republicans into Democratic Rep. John Barrow’s competitive district. No one in the Georgia delegation has relationships with the in-state redistricting players like Westmoreland. He is a former state House Minority Leader and is close with Gov. Nathan Deal (R), his former House colleague whom he endorsed early in a crowded GOP primary last year. As governor, Deal will have veto power over the final map submitted to the Justice Department for approval. What’s more, former Westmoreland aide Bryan Tyson has been hired by the state Legislature and will be heavily involved in drawing the new maps. Tyson was also very involved in the 2005 GOP-led redrawing of Congressional boundaries.

Then the folks over at politco has this piece of news:

Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who heads up national redistricting efforts for House Republicans, has been meeting one on one with members of his state's delegation to discuss the redrawing of their districts. Westmoreland and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) huddled outside the House chamber with a Peach State map on Wednesday. Georgia's picking up a seat, which surely will be drawn to the GOP's advantage. In addition, Republicans really hope they can eliminate a Democratic-held seat from the southern part of the state, where several districts need to add population. In an ideal world, Republicans would shore up the districts of freshman Rep. Austin Scott, who beat longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall in 2008, and veteran Rep. Jack Kingston, as well as the southwestern turf represented by Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), for whom legal challenges could be raised if minority voting strength is diluted by a new map. In turn, that would leave Democratic Rep. John Barrow without a seat. As one Republican put it to Huddle, "When the music stops, Barrow isn't going to have a chair." Of course, it's the state legislature that draws the districts, but a unified Georgia delegation could influence that process. And, as a kicker, there's little love lost between barrow and senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus. After he voted against the president's health care law, then-Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking African American in Congress, traveled to Barrow's district to sing the praises of the overhaul to Barrow's constituents. The Georgia Democrat, whose district runs roughly from Athens to Savannah, also thumbed his nose at Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi by voting for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) for Speaker, rather than Pelosi, at the opening of the 112th Congress.

Im willing to bet that the districts of Bishop, Scott & Barrow will look kinda like this (1992 map), especially with the GOP hell bent on taking out one of the last two rural democrats in the delegation.

If the state GOP stretch the 1st into the 12th, forcing Barrow to either take on Jack Kingston or forcing him to move again (like he did in 2002 when the GOP drew him out the the Athens-Clarke Co area, therefore forcing Barrow to relocate to Savannah rather that face the late Charlie Norwood in 2005). Its maybe deja vu all over again for Barrow.

If this were to occur, then who would dems turn to run in a re-configured 12th district that may look similar like the 1992 or even the 1996 maps?

The Dems bench is rather thin in some of those rural counties in the northern half of the 12th. Let me throw some names out there: Although he is a independent, Augusta Mayor Deke Coperhaver could be persuaded in running in a new 12th district that includes Columbia County as a conservative democrat, then there's ex-State Senator & 2010 candidate for Ag Commissioner J.B. Powell who's background fits in perfectly in a potential new swing district, then there's always Michael Thurmond who rumor has was considering a run against Barrow in the primary last year. I don't how true was that, but remember here in Georgia, you are not required to live in a district to run for congress: (Remember Saxby Chambliss in 1994 when he ran in the 8th, although Moultrie was in the 2nd) Its something that needs to be thought about if you are the Georgia Democratic Party because the possibility is real that Barrow will be the odd man when the lines are redrawn. Remember because Georgia is still under the VRA OF 1965, any maps will have to be approves by the DOJ, despite talk that the GOP could bypass the DOJ & instead let the courts decide if the new maps are fair to all parties.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

James Beverly to run for HD 139

With the departure of David Lucas to the SD 26 race, a newcomer is vying to replace Lucas as representative for HD 139.

James Beverly (D-Macon) is the first candidate to announce that he will seek Lucas's seat in the state legislature in this year's special election.

Beverly owns a medical practice (Goggles Eyecare 4 Kids) , & is heavily involved with the community of central Macon.

Beverly is a graduate of Wesleyan College as well as Harvard University (MPA, Budgeting, Finance) & Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also a Fellow at Ash Institute Democratic Governance at Harvard University (MPA, Democratic Governance and Innovation) 2009 – 2010 & Field organizer at Obama for America.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Montezuma, Georgia: A City on the Decline

Rarely I don't dwell on local politics here in my home county (Macon), but this time, I am. Montezuma, Ga once a thriving city is now only a shell of itself. It doesn't help that its also located in the second poorest county in the State, with Hancock (1) & Randolph (3). Macon is ranked 89th out of the 100 poorest counties in the United States 100 counties with the lowest per capita income.

Macon County is one of the poorest counties in Georgia. According to data collected in 2000 by the U.S. Census bureau, 22% of families and 25.8% of individuals in Macon County live below poverty levels

As you ride downtown Montezuma, you see buildings that was once booming with business are now sitting vacant & deteriorating & there seems to be no progress on the horizon anytime soon.

Job losses due to closing of the former Integrated Composites Technology (ICT), Riley's Manufacturing & the uncertain future of Allen's Inc ought to have many citizens of Montezuma worried.

But the biggest problem is within the city government where strife between the mayor & city council at times look like a episode of Jerry Springer, with the name calling, shouting, drowning out the opinion of others. There have been protest concerning the direction of the city to charges of nepotism & cronyism, which is in someways true!

Current Mayor Willie James Larry (D) is up for re-election this year, along with councilmen Norman Carter (D) (who was appointed to fill the term of late councilman Cordel Jackson), Charles Ivey (D) & James R. Trask (D).

Larry who was elected back in 2000 became the first African-American Mayor of the City has been subject to controversy concerning his tenure as mayor of the troubled city. No word on whether he will run for re-election, but one thinks that it time for mayor to step aside. When there is friction between the council & mayor, you know its time for a change.

Now I admit, I know a few of the councilmen who are currently serving over there, but hey you know me, I call it like I see it & time for the people of Montezuma, MTZ to make their voices heard & elect new leadership to get Montezuma back on its perch once again.

New councilmen Bobby Lewis & Carl Peaster have tried to shake things up since being elected in a almost sweep back in 2009 when the ticket of Lewis, Peaster & Riley (Tarschea Fudge-Riley) almost made it 3 for 3, with Riley losing by a razor thin margin. Some citizens like the things they are doing, while others say they are going too far & going over the edge when criticizing the mayor.

Now the question is will another anti-incumbent wave hit the city of Montezuma? Time will tell, depending who's running against who.

You can go to meetings & say this & that, but if you want change, its going to have to happen at the ballot box this November.

But in order to do that, someone will have to rise to the occasion to do what's necessary. You can't let fear rule the day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Georgia Democrats Need New Stars: a Farm Team.

Georgia Dems needs more Will Rogers & less Michael Moore's in its ranks

They say Georgia Democrats are an endangered breed at a time when Republicans control the governor's office, legislature and Cabinet. They say the Georgia Democratic Party has no "bench" of next-generation candidates for statewide races.

Who's left to push the Georgia party, and who are its leaders? Looks to me like slim pickins.

The Old-Guard is virtually extinct. What's left is a party with no stars in its ranks. (Only State Senator Jason Carter qualifies as a star currently in the legislature)

What the Georgia Democratic Party needs more than anything is to develop its farm system of statewide & local candidates, the way the Republican Party did in the late 1980s and early 1990s with David Schafer, Brian Kemp, Allen Peake and others.

And they have some potential. There is Teresa Tomlinson, the first woman mayor of Columbus, who some see as a gubernatorial candidate four years hence. There is Andrew Ginther, a city councilman for Columbus who those who know him well is primed for a run for State Senator.

Then there's Christopher Pike, City Commisisoner of Albany, fellow Commisisoner Bob Langstaff, Irwinton Mayor Darrell Burns, Sumter County Tax Commissioner Bill McGowan, Montgomery County County Commissioner Brandon Braddy, Hazelhurst Mayor Bayne Stone, Millen Mayor King Rocker just to name a few

Major league/professional sports teams have 'farm team' systems where they can identify and train prospects. The NBA only recently saw the usefulness of having a minor league system with the NBDL ... developing the Democratic Minor League will be just as important, if not more important, than keeping the Democratic Major League in line."

If Democrats want to come back, they should look to the past for a path to a better future.

Concentrated on two areas: getting full slates of candidates in every county and getting full slates of party offices in every county. Just by doing that, democrats will started getting a reasonable share of state legislators, sheriffs and state’s attorneys and so on.” But on the local level, democrats are strong... but anyway tyhat’s a textbook method for rebuilding a party,

Where the rejuvenation can come in is with organizations. What you’re really trying to build are local candidates. Winning legislative seats is more important than competing for the high-profile races like governor.

Democrats, they really do need to start at the ground level, bringing people into the state Legislature races and building up some statewide names. “It’s not that hard to win some of these state legislative districts, if you can find well-known, popular local candidates.

Successful local candidates also help build up a “farm team” of politicians to run for bigger statewide offices, another important piece of party-building. Democrats must “find a first-class candidate to put on the top of the ticket. That’s one of the anchors that’s going to go out and build a party.”

When Georgia Democrats in their heyday have had success in recent history, it has been at the federal level where politicians, like Sam Nunn, built strong organizations over decades in office.

The downside of relying heavily on organizations of individual candidates is that eventually politicians leave office and their organizations can go with them.

To some degree, that’s true of party organizations But Democrats have suffered more than usual from a flight from the state after a candidate retires. While Republicans have had strong candidate organizations, they have also had a more robust state party.

The Georgia Republican Party has organized better within the party organization itself. The state (Democratic) Party was able to step up and replace the level of financing and the level of organization that the Democratic campaign organization was able to muster, something they are trying to change now

The attempt to resurrect the Georgia Democratic Party is largely in the hands of a new generation of leaders, who plan to revive the party by re-establishing a grassroots organization.

Part of it is a back-to-basics approach, reaching out to folks who haven’t been involved,” said
In order to be successful, the to-do list is lengthy. Aggressive fundraising and messaging, making sure Democrats stay in the public conversation and always having resources to compete, focus on candidate recruitment and building local county parties.

The dominance of younger politicians is frequently seen in rebuilding parties. On the one hand, it reflects a party without many successful, experienced leaders. But it is also presents opportunities.

“If you’ve got a hungry young person, it’s easier to get a nomination for a statewide office in the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. “In one sense, the Democrats are devastated and have nowhere to go; but in the other, it’s an opportunity for young people to become leaders in the party very quickly and that is exactly what Democrats need: new leaders who aren’t “yesterday’s news.”

“Find somebody new, a fresh face, articulate,” he said. “Help build the party around that person.”

Now can Democrats can recreate their 1970s, 80, 90s glory days? Who knows!

The prospects are tough, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a possibility. Among Democrats, no one expects to take over the state in two or four years. But there is hope for the future.

I think the Democrats can come back again, maybe not right away, but I think it’ll happen.

Georgia Democrats Needs a Makeover

Republicans: they dominate the statewide offices and the state legislature, But the Democrats have let the right have the right of way. Instead of presenting an image that appeals to the Average Joe, the party is pandering to itself. A certain intellectual arrogance sets the Democratic base on fire, but the heat puts off average voters. The Democrats have never been this in touch with their loyal base or as out of touch with their traditional blue-collar supporters and swing voters.

There are those who say the average working class voter clearly benefits more economically from Democratic economic policies than from Republican tax cuts for the rich and irresponsible deficit spending. (The way I look at it there are some democratic & republican economic policies that benefit the working class voter.) The majority of these voters has decided that social and personal issues are more important. And when it comes to these issues, the Democrats do not present the image that mainstream Georgians wants to see.

First, the Democrats need to get religious. We need a candidate who won't just claim to be religious when asked about it. The party needs a leader who voluntarily and naturally discusses his or her faith, someone who will remind Georgia that Jesus is not a Republican.

Along with religion, "values" is a key issue for Georgia voters, most of whom voted Republican. And that's the Democrats' problem: They took the "whatever" stance. They don't appear weak on values because of what their values are; they appear weak on values because no one knows what those values are. If Democrats want to be pro-choice and pro-gay rights, that's fine, as long as they are assertive. (It wouldn't hurt to take a more representative stance either.) The hardcore religious right won't vote Democratic anyway, but by strongly arguing the other side of the coin, a debate is generated. After all, when Democrats are vague about their values they are essentially conceding moral superiority to the right.

Republicans have also managed to convince voters that Democrats hate America, and the left has provided plenty of fodder. As a result that has trickled down here on the local level when republicans nationalize local elections, all the way to a lonely seat on a city council. Liberals have a tendency to complain about conservatives and government in general, regardless of the political climate. Although it goes directly against our notion of democracy, there is...or WAS a view in this country that it is unpatriotic to criticize the government. Democrats even got tagged with the position, although it is certainly a minority view, that the phrase "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, an unpatriotic sacrilege. Democrats need to pick their battles and stop being bogged down in semantic wrangling.

But elitism isn't just a personal repellent; it also stops the message from getting out. Democrats have an unquenchable urge to show that they know more than the person next to them. But as intellects grow, comprehension withers and dies. If liberals can learn anything from Republicans, it should be that simplicity is the name of the game. There is a place for weighing all the pros and cons, and that place is in the quiet of your hotel room, your office or your own head, not a presidential debate. All the public wants to hear is one or two good-sounding reasons for an opinion, not a dissertation. Redundant argumentation quickly appears uncertain, while brevity and clarity appear resolute.

I can go on & on, but let me make this short:

There are 5 democratic congressmen on Georgia's Delegation. There are only 63........let me repeat 63 democrats in the House of Representatives. There are 20 democrats in the State Senate.

Which lends an air of necessity to create a Farm Team, with the idea of finding, recruiting and grooming moderate & conservative democratic men & women for political leadership. These candidates must be ready when opportunity knocks like a chance to run for an open seat.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lucas to Run for State Senate. Will Someone Challenge Him?

State Representative David Lucas (D-Macon) announced Monday that he will seek the State Senate seat held by Robert Brown, who will seek the Macon mayoral seat in this fall elections.

Lucas a 37 year veteran of the State Legislature is a formidable candidate for the Central Georgia Senate seat.

So the question is: will Lucas cakewalk his way into that Senate Seat? Or will someone else from Macon, or Twiggs or Wilkinson County make a run at the open seat.

To give my two cents on this, I think that one other person may qualify to run in the open seat. Fear may keep others from qualifying for this race due to Lucas's connections in Macon, plus he'll probably have the endorsement of Robert Brown to boot. But this is a prime opportunity for some other aspiring, ambitious candidate from that area to test the waters. You never know.
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