Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Oglethorpe Mayor Seeks Democratic Nomination for U.S. Senate Seat

Oglethorpe Mayor Gerald Beckum, elected in 1983 has announced his decision to seek the U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss. He sees himself as a conservative Democrat who can bring “common sense” to government. Beckum, 68, said he realizes that it will be a tough fight because of the money usually spent on these type of campaigns and because it is difficult to get elected in Georgia if you live south of Atlanta. People from South Georgia are entitled to representation, and he believes it is important to make the effort to show that it is possible to run and be elected without megabucks.

“Someone familiar with this kind of race told me, ‘If you don’t have a million dollars of your own money or backers with millions of dollars, you might as well forget it’. I don’t have either, and this will be a real ‘grass roots’movement. I plan to visit every city and county in Georgia during this campaign,” he said. Saxby Chambliss from the Moultrie area “probably could have been reelected, but it is harder and harder for someone south of Macon to get elected. There is such a preponderance of population in the 10 counties around Atlanta and Fulton County that we find it impossible for someone south of Macon to be elected statewide, Beckum said.

People in this country are frustrated, he said. And he lists the frustrations. “One of the greatest frustrations at the moment is the inability of our government to function. We have too many politicians –Democrat and Republican – trying to make themselves look good and make the other side look bad, to care about what’s good for the country.

“A second frustration is that due to the inability to govern, most people feel that their tax dollars are wasted. They are living from paycheck to paycheck, if they have a job, while our government officials act like school children on the playground instead of responsible adults.

“A third area of frustration in the country is that for the last 12 years we have been a nation building and democratizing the world all the while we have wasted young lives, maimed many more, and failed to take proper care of the very young people who put their lives on the line for the United States. While we were doing all of that, we have let the infrastructure of this country start to crumble and deteriorate and have wasted billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars, on countries who hate our guts. This policy makes no sense and we need to take a fresh look at our foreign policy.

“Health care is another issue of extreme frustration for most of us. No matter what side of the current debate you are on, we can all agree that we cannot continue down the path we have been on for the past 10 to 20 years. There is no doubt that our health care will soon be unaffordable for all of us. Premiums continue to climb at 20 percent or more rates, the deductibles higher and higher, the benefits get lower and lower. We are all beginning to wonder if we should drop our insurance and take our chances. I fully believe if the insurance of Congress, the president and government hierarchy were suspended and we insisted that they must come up with a plan for us as well as for them, it would surprise us how quickly they might act.”

Other issues that should be resolved are real tax reform, immigration, abortion, defense spending, the economy and schools and education are on his list. Beckum has been mayor of Oglethorpe, a small town of 1,274 population, and he says that position “has been an honor and a privilege.” “Some days I was in Atlanta with the governor and legislators and back home the next day in the trenches and ditches
with my workers.

I think being mayor of a small town may be the toughest and most rewarding job on earth. One of the most important lessons I have learned has been that most politicians spend way too much time talking and not enough time listening to the needs of people,” he said. He was always a full time mayor and a full time business man. He describes himself as “a conservative Democrat with a heart for the needs of people. I grew up with Herman Talmadge, Richard Russell, Sam Nunn and Richard Ray, among others as my role models. Of the governors that I have known, I think that I am closer to Governor George Busbee’s definition of himself: ‘I am a work horse, not a show horse.’ I have worked closely with Jim Marshall, Larry Walker, and George Hooks during the last 32 years and consider them role models as well as friends.”

He spent 42 years as a small businessman in agribusiness. “I have been in the nursery business, the irrigation business, and lawn maintenance business. I have farmed pecans and timber. I know what it is like to make payroll week after week, to handle finance and personnel problems, but mostly I know how to work with people,” he said. Beckum worked in the Macon County High School System for six years, teaching math, science and coaching football, basketball and baseball at the high school.

He completed high school at Louisville Academy, a public school, in Louisville, Georgia. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in science education from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro in 1962 and took advanced courses at Auburn University and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A family man, he was married to his wife, Linda, for 44 years. She died of cancer in early 2012. The Beckums have two daughters.

So far the democratic field includes Michelle Nunn, Todd Robinson, Branko Radulovacki and Steen Miles

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Black Voters Are More Forgiving Of Scandalized Politicians?

African American support for tainted politicians comes from the same ethic that has allowed Democrats to maintain black support despite poll after poll showing black attitudes on abortion, religion and, until recently, gay marriage line up more closely with the GOP’s positions.  In a perfect world, one might prefer a governor who addresses your interests and doesn’t sleep with prostitutes. In the imperfect, racially and economically stratified world we actually live in, the former takes precedence over the latter—especially in communities where political attention can be a life and death issue.

So why does it seem that many black voters rally behind corrupt or disgraced political figures and in many cases still cast votes in their favor? Well for starters, many other black elected officials, represents districts that suffer from relentlessly poor economic prospects. Once elected, these professional politicians seem to abandon all sense of judgment as they seek to enrich themselves and expand their influence, all while doing little to improve lives for their voters.  Look at former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Washington D.C. former Mayor Marion Barry as examples of corrupt politicos who still won despite mounting proof of their corruption.

The above cases illustrate a profoundly misguided tendency of Black Voters rallying to the side of an embattled politician because he or she is “one of their own.” Even before President Obama was elected, black voting patterns were, or are nearly monolithic -virtually any Democrat could win black votes; and indeed, most have. Black voters have developed a dismaying habit of remaining fiercely loyal to their public servants. This is built largely on the idea,  perpetuated by many Democrats, black and white, that the political system is stacked against black interests.

So long as entrenched black politicians continue to cultivate myths of victimhood within their electorates, corrupt politicians will forever win elections whether they deserve to or not. Many of these public servants exist in cosseted worlds where the needs of their voters don’t affect them, and they stopped attending those concerns long ago.

The Left Exaggerate Republican Gerrymandering of 2011 in Shutdown Role

Gerrymandering is among the weak spots in our constitutional system of government. Although it wasn’t intended or foreseen by the Framers of the Constitution, it popped up pretty early.

Anyway, skipping ahead two centuries, Democrats are understandably annoyed that despite the fact that Dem House candidates nationally received more aggregate votes than Repub candidates, the Republicans maintained a solid 234-201 majority.

Successful Republican gerrymandering had something to do with it, but gerrymandering  alone is not only or primarily in producing that result is often overstated.

During the current shutdown mess, some liberals have embraced a second, related theory suggesting that not only did the Republican gerrymandering manage to cobble together a majority of House seats out of a minority of House votes, but they also managed to create a large number of safe red districts packed with voters who are so far right that they produce congressmen who are either right-wing hardliners or have to act like they are to fend off a Tea Party primary challenge.

The goal of gerrymandering is to maximize the number of districts that are barely safe enough by packing as many of your opponents' voters as you can into a small number of extremely partisan districts while safely distributing the rest throughout your own districts. In this way, gerrymandering may actually increase the number of moderate Republicans.

So there's a problem in believing that gerrymandering inflated the number of House Republicans, while also thinking that gerrymandering increased the number of ultraconservative, Tea Party Republicans. That may seem surprising, but it shouldn’t be. In many respects, the GOP’s divide between relative moderates and ultraconservatives also cuts across geographic and partisan lines. In the fiscal cliff, for instance, northern, blue state Republicans were far more likely to vote for the Senate compromise than their red state, Southern counterparts. And the number of northern Republicans has been meaningfully inflated by GOP-led redistricting efforts in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Ohio. Without GOP-led redistricting in those blue or purple states, the inevitably conservative Republicans in red states, locked into ultraconservative districts by (let's call it like it is) racial polarization and the Voting Rights Act, would constitute an even larger share of a somewhat smaller GOP caucus, making it even more difficult to reach compromises like the fiscal cliff deal for instance. It would be more difficult to resolve the government shutdown or debt ceiling debacle.
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