Sunday, March 30, 2014

Critical Issues Facing The Black Community

1. Lack of opportunity and safety. There has been a loss of  jobs and a failure to control crime in areas with a high density of black residents.

2. Breakdown of the family, Illegitimacy & welfare. Some still don’t see how welfare reduces the value of black men.

3. Black anti-intellectualism. Accusations of “acting white” while trying to get a decent education and advance to college undermine education as a vehicle for advancement. Instead, black leaders expend enormous resources to advance affirmative action (which has run its course in my opinion) at a small number of elite universities, unmindful of the effects it has had on talented young blacks.

4. Failure of K-12 schools in disadvantage urban and rural areas of the state. Teachers unions and the education establishment have been more interested in pay-raises and grants than student achievement, testing, and competition.

5. High incarceration rate of black men.

6. Reduced respect for human life (abortions). Beyond the tragic loss of life itself, this much death reduces the civility with which people treat each other.

7. Victimology. The speeches and ideologies of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and so called leaders in the black community undermine the initiative of many African Americans. Moreover, there is a lack of honest debate among black leaders because of the fear of being called an “Uncle Tom” for not supporting the grievance agenda.

8. Excessive race-consciousness. The Left is insincere in acknowledging the advancement in race relations since the early 1960’s, but there's still ways to go. Many black families have joined the middle class. If they lived in an independent country, they would be citizens of the 10th richest nation in the world. Race matters but not very much. Race-consciousness diminishes the importance of addressing the more important issues listed above.


I often hear about voters deciding who to vote for based on emotion rather than rational responses to the issues. However, this is not an all-or-nothing situation with some voters making decisions purely for rational reasons while others decide only for emotional reasons. The simple truth is that just about all voters, including the most well-informed amongst us, have emotional responses to issues. If we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t bother to vote. When State Senator Jason Carter, who's a candidate for governor voted for the sweeping gun bill that allows individuals to carry a weapon anywhere, anytime, he caught some grief from many gun control advocates in the state. That was a emotional issue that will drive those who opposed to the bill to get active in this 2014 election season. (Note: NRA gives Carter a A rating)

When you think about the issues that matter, you are likely to have intense emotional reactions to different stances on these topics. If you support gay marriage and care about gay marriage, you will be happy imagining a time where any gay couple has the same legal rights as any straight couple. If you are against gay marriage, you probably smile at the thought of a world where no gay couple can get married. However, emotions may be even stronger on the negative side. For example, if you are pro-life, the idea of legalized abortions being available to anyone with an unwanted pregnancy probably makes your blood boil. In contrast, if you are pro-choice, hearing politicians talking about abolishing Roe v. Wade is likely to make you very upset. You can take just about any issue you are care deeply about, and thinking about an outcome that goes against what you hope for will likely get you very upset. That is not so bad as emotions, and particularly negative emotions like fear and anger are what drive many people to volunteer, make donations and, of course, vote!

When we think about the issues that matter most to us, we are likely to have intense emotional reactions to different stances on these topics. It is important to note that many people get emotional about issues, even if they are not personally affected by them. There are also many heterosexual voters who are passionate about promoting equal rights for gays and white males who are committed to affirmative action. There are even very wealthy Americans making donations to political candidates who will increase their own taxes. This includes the two wealthiest people in the country, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Similarly, many voters have secure jobs with excellent health insurance benefits, but are still very emotionally committed to public options for healthcare

Emotion often gets a bad rap. The fact that emotion drives much of voting is not a bad thing. Emotion drives the passion that leads people to volunteer, make personal donations to causes they care about, and deal with the hassle of voting. So don’t feel bad about not being purely rational. Get emotional, get involved, and vote.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

To Rigid Opponents of the ACA, or 'Obamacare....It's not Socialism!

How did it happen that supporters of Obamacare are allowing the conservatives to label The Affordable Care Act (ACA) socialized medicine and/ or socialism? Are they trying to hide just how capitalistic the ACA really is? Now I haven't been the biggest supporter of the ACA and it has its flaws, but it has some good things in it and it is not Socialism.....PLAIN & SIMPLE!
The ACA is a gift to capitalists. It develops competition in each state between private insurance companies, a sort of textbook definition of capitalism. Granted, this isn’t free market capitalism based on the regulations, but any American knows the US is not run on free market capitalism, as it would never work in the real world.
The ACA is not socialized medicine since the customer is still buying insurance. Socialized medicine is not an insurance plan; it is a health plan. Under socialized medicine, you do not worry about bills and deductibles, you go to the doctors or hospital and get your care and walk away. Socialized medicine is also single payer; you simply have health coverage by virtue of being a citizen, and taxpayer money is used to cover everyone. The ACA, however,does not cover those who opt-out, or who do not qualify for coverage.
Calling the ACA socialism is harmful to anyone who wishes to properly criticize the faults of the ACA, regardless of whether you are for or against it, any critique must be made with an educated argument. The second someone makes the claim that it is nothing more than Obama’s attempt to push his “socialist agenda” on the American people, all credibility is lost because they have demonstrated they do not have a basic understanding of what socialism is.
The ACA is capitalism, and it is going to make a lot of people very rich. The ACA is an idea developed in the minds of The Heritage Foundation and the simple reason it is so opposed is not because it’s healthcare, it is because it has Obama’s name stuck to it. A guy told me yesterday if any GOP president had put this same plan forward, it would have been heralded as the greatest idea that will save the American taxpayer billions of dollars in health costs. It was not, and the democratic president of this country put a great plan into action, and at no matter what cost to the American citizen or the economy, the GOP will fight to destroy the very idea they created.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Georgia Democratic Candidates Strengths & Weaknesses Pt 1.

Governor: Jason Carter (D-Decatur)

Strengths: Youth, Name Recognition, ability to raise money, has credibility with the Democratic Establishment,  has a solid reputation on economic and educational issues, Pro-Gun (A Rating by NRA), a pro-business, fiscally discipline, has a populist streak and related to ex-governor & President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter.

Weakness: Having served as State Senator for only 4 years, some wonder whether or not he's ready for prime time, although he have contacts and name I.D. in some sections of Rural Georgia, he's not well-known below the gnat line and being related to President Carter, that may cause some not to vote for him (these are likely highly partisan republican voters)

U.S. Senate: Michelle Nunn (D-Atlanta)

Strengths: Name Recognition, daughter of popular former senator Sam Nunn, have the ability to attract crossover voters, pro-business, fiscally responsible democrat, fundraising, ran one of the largest volunteer organizations in the world, pragmatist, and can attract many of her father's supporters (who are disaffected Conservative Democrats, moderate Republicans) when he held served as Ga Senator for 24 years.

Weakness: Never held public office, mostly unknown by Georgia Voters, her positions on some issues does not sit well with the liberal wing of the Georgia Democratic Party as well as being viewed as too conservative by some diehard liberals across Georgia.

U.S. Senate Branko Radulovacki (D-Atlanta)

Strengths: A unabashed progressive with a centrist streak & physician who 100% supports Obamacare, appeals to the left wing of the Georgia Democratic Party, his followers are loyal and enthusiastic.

Weakness: His positioning to appeal to the liberal elements may help in the primary, but will hurt him in the General Election if he pulls off the upset in May, lacks crucial support from the democratic establishment. Never ran for office and a unknown to many Georgia Voters.

Lt. Governor: Connie Stokes (D-Dekalb)

Strengths: Served as State Senator for Dekalb County, well known inside the metro Atlanta Area

Weakness: She's largely unknown outside the democratic enclaves of metro Atlanta, she has little or no grassroots network outside of Atlanta, fundraising not up to par to take on sitting incumbent

Attorney General: Greg Hecht (D-Stockbridge)

Strengths: Ran for Lt. Governor (lost in Democratic Primary) so he may still have some remnants of his statewide run still in place, served as State Senator, has 2010 Attorney Gen. Ken Hodges as his Campaign Manager

Weakness: It's been 8 yrs since he ran for office, his name ID has suffered since then. Not that well known either inside or outside of the Atlanta Area.

Secretary of State: Gerald Beckum (D-Oglethorpe)

Strengths: Served as Mayor for 32 years, profile fits for a General Election Race, one of the last remaining old-school Rural Democrats, Businessman, can relate to the working class voters dems have had a difficult time trying to peel away from the GOP, appeals to seniors, has a workman like attitude

Weakness: Name ID inside Metro Atlanta, lack of connections inside the democratic enclaves such as Dekalb County, profile may hinder him among primary voters who are more liberal than those in a General Election

Secretary of State: Doreen Carter (D-Lithonia)

Strengths: Former Lithonia City Councilwoman, hails from the most democratic county in the state which serves to her advantage against Beckum

Weakness: Outside of Dekalb County, she's virtually unknown, her appeal maybe limited to only base democratic voters, electoral strength in a general election doesn't bode well for the party

Agriculture, Insurance, State School Superintendent, Labor Commissioner candidates next Sunday.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

With More Poverty and Less HealthCare, Rural Georgia Would Benefit Most From Medicaid Expansion

Jennings Medical Clinic, Calhoun County
Unfortunately republicans don't see it that way!

Despite a majority of the state population residing in or around Metro Atlanta, Georgia is still a largely rural state. Georgia is a beautiful state and its many rural and isolated communities offer a vital and meaningful lifestyle. But Georgia's rustic landscape also makes assuring quality, affordable healthcare for rural residents a formidable challenge. Rural Georgians are less healthy and face greater obstacles to healthcare compared with its urban and suburban counterparts.

According to the County Health Rankings, Over in Emanuel County, 27% of residents under the age of 65 are uninsured. Other rural counties also have the same problem:

Tattnall County: 28%
Irwin County: 26%
Colquitt County: 27%
Tift County: 25%
Even Hall County, home of governor Nathan Deal & Lt. Governor Casey Cagle has 26% that are uninsured.

Because a good percentage of working Rural Georgians earns too little to afford private coverage, the ACA provide federal dollars for states like Georgia to expand medicaid programs to cover low-income working people. Expanding medicaid offers a way to cover low-income Georgians.

Regrettably, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) has been against  Medicaid expansion and now the republican state legislature have removed the powers of the governor to expand, who would have to get approval of the legislature. Given the high uninsurance rate in rural areas, is the governor's refusal to expand medicaid in the best interest of his constituents? NO!!

ACA politics are worsening the health care inequality between urban and rural Georgians. Hundreds of thousands of rural Georgians will fall into the coverage gap due to the denial of expanding medicaid. The media here in Georgia has given scant attention to the rural Georgians who have been denied healthcare coverage by their state leader(s).

Population has declined steadily in rural Georgia for decades. Rural counties have higher rates of poverty and fewer people in their prime working years to fuel the economy. The politicization of Medicaid expansion further denies rural residents and ensure the well-known disparities in health and life expectancy will continue. Beyond this, refusing to expand medicaid also penalizes already-threatened rural hospitals in which a number have already closed, thus forcing residents to drive, 30,40 miles to the nearest hospital for treatment.

Some of these hospitals have fewer than 25 beds and are at least 30, 40 miles from the next hospital. Critical access hospitals serve a poorer population that is more likely to be uninsured or older and eligible for medicare. They also usually are not able to offer the more lucrative services that drive revenue at a larger city hospital. Critical access hospitals can't turn away the uninsured, but treating these folks strain already unstable budgets. Faced with cuts in medicare reimbursements and no expansion of medicaid to cover its uninsured population, these critical access hospitals are either laying off, or facing closure, or they have already closed.

Rural areas of Georgia stand to benefit the most from medicaid expansion and will be penalized if the state's leaders continue to refuse federal funds. Georgia's rural counties already have the lowest incomes and highest rates of the insured. In an ideological battle over funding, who is representing rural Georgia's interest? It's certainly not the ruling GOP, nor the rural republican legislators who just sit there and say or do nothing to advocate for the rural cashiers at the local dollar general store, workers from the kaolin factory all because of trying to be "Politically Correct:!

Georgia Democratic Candidates & The Elusive 8-10%

If you're a democratic candidate here in Georgia, you'll automatically start out with 42-43% of the vote statewide. That's the floor for the democrats here in Georgia. That's a given! But what's more of a concern for democratic candidates is the other 8-10% of the vote that's proving to be elusive.

If look at recent polls, it shows both Michelle Nunn, candidate for the U.S. Senate & Jason Carter, candidate for governor hovering between 40-43%........but neither have advance above the 43% threshold and that's the root of the problem for democratic candidates nowadays in Georgia.

Many of those voters tend to be independent who lean conservative or are just straight independent voters. In my opinion, Zell Miller's 2004 Speech at the Republican National Convention contributed to independents and moderates voters switching from voting for democrats to republican (that's another story for another time)

So how can they capture the other 8-10 percent needed to win statewide contest.

Those voters, but not all of them, I think are conflicted about the role of government, that we know. But they don't like the partisanship coming from both sides. And they're afraid that the product ti come out of such a process will be too partisan, too driven by special interest.

Michelle Nunn, Jason Carter and other ballot democrats can appeal to the moderate republicans, conservative democrats if all can project a positive message in contrast of the doom and gloom, scare the hell out of you message being employed by the republicans because you better believe than Deal and whoever emerges in the republican primary for the U.S. Senate will be waging a negative  campaign filled with scare tactics & conspiracies. Now at some point they (dems) will have to go on the attack if some baseless accusation is hurled at them.

If they can come out talking positively, talking about the future of Georgia, etc, then they can begin to pickoff those voters that are critical for electoral success in November.

The narrative now is that Carter, Nunn has given Georgia Democrats a chance to come out of the wilderness and compete in statewide elections for the first time in over a decade & their star power gives them the opportunity to raise money, mobilize future voters and energize veteran democratic stalwarts who have been beaten down by years of losing at the ballot box.  The key for each of them, along with others like Chris Irvin (Agriculture Commissioner) Greg Hecht (Attorney General) & others is can they appeal to the state's centrist voters who either vote reoublican or simply sit out elections because they don;t like the choices on the ballot and can they build on momentum the party have to build a formidable statewide network?

But in order for democrats to be competitive, they need more than Nunn and Carter at the top of the ticket. Outside of those two, who else on the ballot can help strengthened and appeal to centrist/independent voters tired of the partisan games. It's a tossup, with the exception of Greg Hecht (who ran for Lt. Governor in 2006) the other candidates are first time candidates for statewide office. That's why its essential that Secretary of State candidate Gerald Beckum, a rural white conservative democrat emerge from the democratic primary who knows how to connect to the very voters democrats have had a hard time winning over & Robin Shipp, candidate for Labor Commissioner who have made several trips to middle and south Georgia since announcing her entry for Labor Commissioner) to continue engaging small town voters over the next 7 months.

The hope I think for the party is that these candidates have the ability to reach out to moderate republicans who are disgruntled with the right wing of the republican party, which is the Tea Party, as well as conservative democrats and Independents. Many of these voters long for a common-sense alternative, but need to feel comfortable electing a moderate who's not liberal and who is likely to differ from the National Democratic Party Platform on social issues which will reassure voters who consider those issues important. Then, with voters comfortable, these candidates can share their values and then talk about issues such as education, economic growth and the need for cooperation, which Michelle Nunn is stressing to voters as she travels the state.

They can tell voters they deserve a education system that doesn't cram as many children as possible into a classroom and they shouldn't have a senator, governor or a state legislature that do not view those at the bottom of the barrel of the economic ladder as prone to become dependent on government help if they expand social programs to assist them temporarily through economic hard times. They should have someone in D.C. or Atlanta that don't consider "Bi-partisanship" a dirty word.

To sum it all up: There is no winning here without appealing to independent voters, moderate republicans and conservative democrats. And there;s no winning without the base, which means capitulation doesn't work  Democrats like Jason Carter have to persuade voters in the middle that they can do a better job that the other occupants. Democrats need to make the case for common-sense solutions to problems facing voters here in the state. All too often some dismiss the arguments of the other side as worthless, crazy, stupid, and walk away leaving folks to believe what they hear on talk radio or Fox News which is a right-wing network. Democrats have to engage, they have to persuade, they have to listen to the crazy, out of the mainstream arguments and calmly refute them. That's how you reach voters in the middle.

It's how you change the wind and it's what they will have to do, because I can picture what every GOP candidate running will be talking about: Obamacare (which they are banking on as their meal ticket).....Taxes......Obamacare.......Liberal this.......Obamacare........Harry Reid........Liberal that.........Obamacare, you know the drill.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What's Needed To Defeat A Entrenched Incumbent?

Courage, Committment, Determination, and Ego make first-time candidates or challengers to incumbents run. But what does it take to make them win? Candidates ranging from Jason Carter (Governor), Christopher Irvin (Agriculture Commissioner), Gerald Beckum (Secretary of State) to Brian Roslund, Harris County Democrat & Railroad executive taking on Incumbent (R) State Senator Josh McKoon to Joyce Denson of Toomsboro challenging Bubber Epps for HD 144 have stepped up to the plate to defeat entrenched incumbents. 


The challenges they faces are legion: Will major demographic changes in the state bode well for Carter, a Bluedog Georgia Democrat running in a Republican leaning state? Will Gerald Beckum's well-connected personal contacts across the state from his time of mayor of Oglethorpe bring the dollars so critical to his campaign? Will candidates such as Brian Roslund attract enough media attention? To whom can they turn for sound strategic advice and support? Balancing key issues in electoral politics with a fascinating David-and-Goliath storyline

How does anyone ever defeat a sitting incumbent? It's simple: Have a message that rings and resonates among open-like-minded voters. Because the rigid partisans, those types are unreachable.

The most likely conditions under which a incumbent is defeated would be where there is something extraordinary going on politically, such as the economy in dire condition, or voters who makeup the regular, working class, everyday Joes feel that their situation isn't getting any better.

In order for incumbents to lose elections, they must not only be perceived as having failed, but conditions ranging from economic to overall conditions throughout the state have to be going in a downward spiral or trending that way. Those discouraging conditions make a challenger's message resonate. If some of those conditions don't exist, the challenger might have a very bold, convincing message that ought to be appealing, but it will not be enough to persuade most voters to support the challenger. The main decision  that voters are making is not whether they want to endorse the challenger's vision and message, but whether they want to throw out the incumbent.

Eye On Georgia 1st Congressional District

Brian Reese
Amy Tavio
While everyone is focused on the Governor & Senate Races here in Georgia, down in the 1st Congressional District, there is a spirited race going on to see who will become the Democratic nominee to face the Republican Nominee in November.

Moderate Amy Tavio, a realtor from Richmond Hill & Progressive Brian Reese, Managing Partner, UPS our of Savannah are both running strong races in a bid to replace Jack Kingston who is running for the U.S. Senate.

The last democrat who held that seat was Robert Lindsay Thomas in 1990. Definitely a race worth keeping a eye on. Democrats in Atlanta & Washington haven't put this race on their radar, but with a very uninspiring & lackluster field of Republican candidates running in the 1st, which has a R+9 advantage (the same as GA-12), you never know.

More on this race later.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It Must Be A Election Year!

It's 2014, it's a election year and to no one's surprise, the wedge and cultural issues are back just in time for the Georgia GOP & the midterm elections.

Legislation from allowing guns in churches, stripping the governor from implementing medicaid, a Arizona-Style anti-gay bill, restrictions on early voting, etc, etc are bills designed to cater to their base and to drive voter participation in this year's elections. Clearly instead of trying to make the lives better for Georgians, the republican-led majority are making things worse and creating problems for the sake for gathering votes at the ballot box.

Wedge Issues are issues that appeal to people's emotions. Georgia Republicans are skilled at employing these tactics to get most Georgians to avoid reasoned discussion of public policy on issues like economic fairness, education for example. They do this by appealing to voters emotional instinct.  While they have the general public, political experts and the media distracted with these emotional issues, they go off and the make the already wealthy even more wealthier at the expense of the working class worker. Issues like the Arizona-Style Anti-Gay bill and the Gun Bill that would allow guns to be carried in churches and on college campuses are a powerful distraction and allow Georgia Republicans to accomplish their goals while the public is pre-occupied with some trumped up emotional issue in a election year that they could care less about.

These things are a great way for them to raise $$$ from diehard supporters for their members while liberals and democrats have fewer pre-sold appeals and that maybe because, well they tend to use their heads before acting.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Jason Carter to Speak at Jefferson-Jackson Dinner April 5 in Peach County.

State Senator Jason Carter (D), gubernatorial candidate for governor will be the featured speaker at the Peach County Democratic Party's First Annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on April 5 at 6:00 p.m. at Fort Valley State University.

Expect other Statewide Candidates to appear at this function as well.

Tickets are $50.00. For more Info, contact Kattie Kendrick, Chairwoman of the Peach Co. Democratic Party or Vice-Chairwoman Mary Ann-van Hartesveldt  478-825-7624 or 478-825-2985

This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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