An Observation

Let me make this observation and you can feel free to disagree with it, ridicule it, or agree with me. The people who are most likely to be very pro-Cagle also are looking forward to Karen Handel getting in the Sec. of State race. The Reed people are tending to go with Bill Stephens.

The people who are opposed to Reed bring up the “gambling scandal” and would no doubt bring up something else were that not there — but the GOP liked Reed enough to have him be Chairman of the Party.

The people who do not like Stephens bring up the campaign finance issue — but the Republicans in the State Senate were fine with him being Majority Leader.

My point is simple, though unstated — the people who like Reed and Stephens thus far appear to be more socially conservative and outside the Perimeter. The people who want Handel and Cagle are not as heavily social conservative (well, they may be, but they either (A) don’t wear it on their shirt sleeve or (B) do trend more libertarian socially) and tend to be more “metro Atlanta” — at least in appearance.

Whether it is accurate or not below skin deep, there is this — just as the Democrats had issues on handling metro-Dems vs. rural-Dems vs. conservative Dems vs. liberal Dems, the GOP in Georgia is now having that problem. How they will deal with that issue — particularly the suburban Atlanta vs. rest of the state GOP — is going to be interesting to watch. It potentially helps the GOP to have a governor from not in Atlanta who keep help keep the peace between competing factions.

25 comments

  1. Maverick says:

    I do agree with Erick. Traditionally, Republicans have always been divided among the social conservatives and the fiscal conservatives. Now, we’re seeing a deeper division between rural conservatives and metro conservatives. I’ll take your premise a step further: victories in the major races in this election cycle will go to those who recognize this division, and who most effectively communicate and speak to the individual needs of each of those demographic factions. For instance, Sonny (or Sonny’s people, as the case may be) seems to have ignored the voice of the rural conservatives (whether they were fiscally or socially conservative seems not to matter). He will post strongly if he’s able to mend that tie, and balance out his attentions between metro supporters and rural supporters.

  2. Bull Moose says:

    Erick you make good points, but the situation with Reed is a little different than just a matter about gambling.

    The issues that are turning people off on Ralph Reed are largely two-fold, and neither have to do with the fact that he is an arrogant jerk.

    1. It isn’t so much an issue of Reed supporting or being opposed to gambling or even working for Indian tribes, as much as it is about being honest and upfront about his involvement and how he was paid. Reed participated in a scheme to essentially defraud tribes of their money. Along with his buddies Jack Abramoff, Mike Scanlon, and Grover Norquist, Ralph Reed essentially worked to close one tribal casino to benefit another tribal casino, and did so paid for by tribal funds to sustain and expand the gambling opperations of tribal casinos. In addition, Reed took millions of dollars washed through a dummy organization set up on the Delaware shore put together by Abramoff and Scanlon. A lack of ethics and core values may fly in Washington for an inside the beltway player, but in Georgia, values, ethics, and character still count for something. Here is where Governor Perdue and his politicos should be paying careful attention: Governor Perdue will lose all credibility on ethics if the Republican Lt. Governor candidate is awash in a scandal surrounding tribal casinos.

    2. Ralph Reed is good at the political GAME. He is also good at rallying people to take up conservative political causes through democratic participation. However, and this is a huge however, he has no public policy or legislative experience. He’s a mile wide and less than an inch deep when it comes to experience in getting things done for Georgia. He doesn’t have the background or knowledge to build the coalitions in the State Senate to get anything done for Georgia. Georgians want more than empty rhetoric, they want someone who can hit the ground running on addressing the issues of taxes, transportation, education, and jobs.

    So it’s that simple on Ralph Reed. He has a lack of ethics, principles, core values, not to mention no experience. The job of leading and moving Georgia forward under the gold dome of Atlanta is too important to just turn over to a political hack.

    As for Bill Stephens versus Karen Handle. Yes, I’d say that there is a thirst for Karen in this race. Bill Stephens is another one with ethical baggage and we just don’t need that.

    Georgia is ready to turn the page and by electing the right combination of leaders we can do that successfuly and put the nail once and for all in the Georgia Democratic Party. This 2006 election cycle will be hard enough to win without giving the Democrats “gimme” candidates like Ralph Reed and Bill Stephens in which they can bring down the entire team.

    For those of you who worked so hard in building this party, please realize it. Will Paul Coverdell, John Linder, Newt Gingrich, Mack Mattingly and Bo Callaway have worked in vein to ensure we have this opportunity only to see us throw it away by supporting and electing candidates that are less than what we deserve?

  3. Bill Simon says:

    If the “campaign finance situation” had been resolved with the fine BEFORE he was elected Majority Leader, I think there would have been a significantly different outcome.

  4. buzzbrockway says:

    I think Erick makes a good point. However, I think the differences between rural and urban (or suburban) Republicans are minor and largely a matter of perception. There is the thought among some rural GOPers that the “doughnut” Republicans are liberal and constantly cave in to the leftists in Atlanta. ( I’ve been told that I am a liberal Republican simply because I live in Gwinnett) There is also the thought among some metro GOPers that our rural brothers and sisters are redneck hicks who are itching to bring back the Confederate flag. I’m exaggerating, but only a little. The Party is going to have to move past that kind of thinking if we are to solidify our majority.

    I’ll give you a personal example: I was Chairman of the Gwinnett GOP during the Barr v. Linder campaign (2002). I would quiz people who said they were for one candidate or the other as to why they supported the candidate they did. My anecdotal survey led me to believe that many people’s decision in that race came down to which candidate’s personality they preferred. Barr was more aggressive, while Linder was more reserved. I was publicly neutral, but I did vote for Linder. As a result of that vote I’ve been pigeon-holed by some and now these people assume they know who I’ll be voting for in any given race. During last year’s US Senate race (I was still Gwinnett Chairman), one of these people took the liberty of calling Mac Collins and telling him that I was in Isakson’s hip pocket and would stack the deck against Mac in Gwinnett (like a GOP chairman has that kind of power). Of course in some circles I can’t be trusted because of these assumptions about who I am and how I vote. What silliness! We’ve got to allow people the freedom to make up their own minds during primaries and trust the results. That’s not utopian thinking – it should be how a majority Party behaves. IMHO.

  5. jackson says:

    I think you make some good points, Erick, but I don’t see how these races and their supporters have anything to do with each other. Its kind of like saying that most people that drive SUV’s also like to eat at PF CHangs.

    They are completely different races and different candidates. I think in some races you could tell who is supporting who, I don’t think so in this one.

    That said, I see how the more moderate faction may be supporting Casey Cagle. However, they both have establishment types and hard-core conservatives supporting their campaigns.

    If it is true that there is a hard conservative /moderate conservative divsion, then Casey Cagle is the likely winner, as the last 2 LG nominee primary winners were both identified as the moderate-conservative candidate and it seems as though Georgians prefer these type of candidates(Isakson is another example).

  6. Bill Simon says:

    The “moderates” tend to be people who are more interested in TRUE Right-Wing, Republican values of fiscal responsibility and limited government, and wantto limit the encroachment of government on their personal lives.

    The “moderates” know that the FAKE Republicans, the ones who want to use government to impose all sorts of religious edicts on society (thus, they are truly people who believe in religious socialism and are, therefore, left-wing in their ideology) all back Ralph.

    For descriptive purposes, you can refer to the people, both moderate and conservative, who back Casey to be “Rational Republicans,” and the ones who back Ralph comprise a hardcore base of “Religious Socialists”, mixed with a bunch of people whose left-brain is somehow shorting-out when they hear Ralph speak.

  7. Rebel says:

    “For those of you who worked so hard in building this party, please realize it. Will Paul Coverdell, John Linder, Newt Gingrich, Mack Mattingly and Bo Callaway have worked in vein to ensure we have this opportunity only to see us throw it away by supporting and electing candidates that are less than what we deserve?”

    Mack Mattingly, Bo Callaway and Paul Coverdell’s widow are all behind Reed. Thus, 66% are behind Reed with the other 33% undecided or unknown!

  8. tatertate says:

    Bill’s assessment is far too simplistic and reveals his own bias more than it accurately describes the situation.

    A look at RR’s disclosure suggests a great deal of support from mainstream moderate Republicans who are far from “Religious Socialists.”

    I know several extremely religious conservatives who are supporting Cagle because they don’t think RR is conservative enough, or the real thing. Trouble is, they will leave Cagle behind just as soon as they find out he is not really one of them also.

    Bottom line, RR is a pragmatic conservative and a darn good entrepreneur and most people who like to win recognize that and find little fault with it. That is the real world of politics and business. There are no perfect candidates, only candidates with or without money, name id, and the ability to communicate. RR has all of those and is a winner. So get over it.

  9. Maverick says:

    Bill Simon,

    If spelling is so all fired important to you, why didn’t you say anything about Bull Moose’s spelling of the word “vain” (vein)?

  10. landman says:

    Hey Rebel , these are the same people who were behind Dylan Glynn and against Johnny Issackson.One of these is now a U.S. Senator and the other is on the missing persons list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are not going to help their batting average on this pick.

  11. Isakson Republican says:

    Sorry, Rebel, but 2 out of 5 is not 66%. It is 40%.

    I respect both Bo and Mack. Bo was a great leader for us 40 years ago in the 1960s before he moved to Colorado. Mack did a great job for us 30 years ago in the 1970s and 1980s. They are two fine gentlemen, and I am glad to know they are both still interested in politics.

    None of our current U.S. Senators or Congressmen are backing Ralph Reed. The only ones who have endorsed a candidate in this race are backing Casey Cagle.

  12. Bill Simon says:

    Okay, Maverick, I’ll be quite honest with you: The reason(s) I don’t spend time slamming Bull or other folks about their misspellings is that they don’t spend their time calling me names like “loser” like you do.

    Every time you write, you demonstrate your ignorance of a LOT of subjects, including basic spelling. Rather than me calling you an “idiot” or a “moron”, I choose to point out your deficiences as I see them.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    Umm..actually, Lynn Westmoreland is, I think, endorsing Ralph. But then again, one of Lynn’s best buddies in the whole wide world is DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones, so, who cares what Lynn thinks?

  14. Rebel says:

    OK…I’m a product of Georgia schools and can’t do simple math. 🙂

    I was using the list provided by BullMoose as the group “who built the party� we should look to and consider when deciding which LG candidate to support. I would have added numerous names.

    Bill is correct – Lynn has endorsed Ralph. But we’re losing sight of the big picture here. Endorsements don’t win elections. Money and organization do. Reed is far ahead of Cagle in that respect.

  15. landman says:

    Rebel,there is a guy named Roy Barnes who will beg to differ with your last paragraph.It’s substance,messege ,qualifications,and INTEGRETY that people look for in their leaders.This race will prove to be no different.

  16. Rebel says:

    Roy had money but he had no organization. He couldn’t even be seen in public because of the intense dislike for him (and the flaggers).

    And you’re telling me Clinton had substance and integrity???

    Ralph has all the qualities you mentioned AND money/organization. You may not believe it (or want to believe it), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t so.

  17. landman says:

    I dont remember the exact percentage of the General elections but I dont think Slick Willy ever crossed the 50% mark now did he.You know now that you mention Clinton,some of the explainations Reed has come up with sound very much like something Clinton would say,but that could just be because they share the same defense attorney,my bad! Actually Barnes lost the race because he underestimated the task in front of him and his enormous ego would not let him believe a less funded opponent despite having more vision and more connection with mainstream Georgians could possibly dethrone him.Sounds familiar………

  18. Bull Moose says:

    I was using the names of some of the people who helped build the party as an example — that’s all.

    There have been a lot of people who supported Reed fall off his campaign as a result of what’s come out in the last few months and it will be interesting to see what happens as more comes out in the fall.

    It would be sad to see us go back to a minority party just because of one person.

  19. Demonbeck says:

    You all forgot to mention that Ralph Reed worked for Mack. Of course he is going to endorse him.

    The outcome of this primary is going to come down to how well Ralph Reed is accepted in rural communities and how much of Atlanta and it suburban areas Casey Cagle can get.

  20. PeggyP says:

    With all this tedious opining over Casey Cagle and Ralph Reed, I almost forgot that I don’t care about the Georgia Lite Gov’s race. What really caught my attention was Erick’s mention of the name “Karen Handel� as a potential “frontrunner� in that race. Hysterical!

    Ms. Handel’s indecisiveness about when to announce her campaign for (fill in the blank as long as it’s something other than her current job) has been quite entertaining and, frankly, reminiscent of John Kerry’s notorious “Flip Flop.� A la Kerry’s employment of the Flip Flop maneuver in his policy positions, Handel has not been able to pick where she wants to sit in Georgia politics’ version of musical chairs: Lieutenant Governor or Secretary of State or Lieutenant Governor or Secretary of State. This is even more difficult than deciding whether to wear a pant suit or a skirt suit to the next Commission meeting!

    Handel’s schizophrenic approach to tackling a statewide campaign is most likely a function of her political inexperience. Why else would an inside-the-perimeter freshman county commissioner with a liberal record think she would have an even miniscule chance to win statewide?

    The most disturbing aspect of all of this, however, is that the capitol press corps and political bloggers are treating Handel’s self-made soap opera as real news. It reminds me of the frenzied build-up to the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez nuptials. All that ink wasted on another failed celebrity couple. Or perhaps Handel’s rumored campaign is more analogous to Geraldo Rivera’s opening of Al Capone’s vault on live national television. All that anticipation for two empty gin bottles. No substance, much like Karen Handel’s political career.

    The little substance that we can document is not encouraging. To put it nicely, Ms. Handel’s political philosophies are not quite in step with that of mainstream Georgia. I dare say that Georgians in Ware, Effingham, Coweta, or Rabun counties will not be satisfied by Handel’s record of fiscal irresponsibility and extreme social liberalness. For that matter, I don’t think the good folks of Fulton County – her “base� – are too pleased with her performance either. As we saw in the ’04 presidential elections, no one likes a Flip-Flopper.

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