The last paragraph’s the important part…

I want to open this “venting� post by first of all stating that, in all honesty, Zell Miller is my hero. Having read that letter, knowing his history, lifestyle, convictions, and from limited personal contact, I truly believe that the former Senator and Governor is the last of a dying breed, namely, that of statesmen, not politicians, and I applaud his character, his conviction, and his politics. We can talk all day about the merits of our personal political favorites, and debate the ins and outs of their respective campaigns, but I’ll be the first to stand up and say that none of the candidates (with a very few exceptions) for whom I’ll work or vote this cycle can hold a candle to the hardened ex Marine from Young Harris, Georgia.

That being said, I’m going to talk a little bit about everything in this post, without a great deal of discombobulated speculation, personal attacks, or posturing. Hopefully, it’ll be with satisfactory grammar and spelling.

I’ll open with reference to one of RR’s most impressive endorsements, by the gentleman whom I just lauded as one of the greatest leaders to walk this soil. I daresay few hard – core conservatives in Georgia would argue with what I just said, or refuse to share the respect we corporately hold for Senator Miller. However, somehow, that doesn’t translate when you consider his endorsement of Ralph Reed. Mayhap you doubt his competence in selecting good leaders, but I’ll wager it’s more accurately attributed to an unwillingness to admit that he just might have bestowed his endorsement upon the best man for the job. Senator Miller would not, and I say this most emphatically, waste his breath, finances, energy, or opinion on someone who was not the best man.

While we’re on the subject, I still have not received any response from anyone as to the guarantee from the White House for a pre-defined number of visits to raise money for Ralph and help build his grassroots structure. Sonny needs that. Ralph needs that. In fact, I’ll agree with Buzz in some of his comments when he said the candidate for LG will not have any effect on Sonny. I’ll take one exception to that: it WILL affect Sonny in a positive way to have the President coming down to Georgia to raise money for Ralph.

The fundraising scene will turn very interesting now, because both the low hanging fruit and the “metro – Atlanta� fruit has been largely harvested. As someone recently pointed out, among all the candidates for LG, nearly 2.5 million has been raised, and the gubernatorial, nearly 11 million. That’s a lot to be raised at 12 months from the primary. At this point, the fundraising will be limited to those who are able to raise money in rural, outlying areas (Brian Kemp apparently did well at this, as most of his money came from Athens/Clarke County). Apparently, too, the “casino� issue had little effect on Ralph’s ability, or consistency, in raising money. The time during which the press and media coverage was the most stringent, the money flowed just as smoothly and consistently. There’s something to be said for that. I’d additionally point out that, regardless of all the speculation that most, if not all, of Ralph’s money would come from outside the state. Incidentally, only 20% of it came from outside Georgia. That’s a pretty good number. I admit, I was expecting about 45%. Nay not so. Apparently, there’s more support in Georgia for Ralph that originally was postured.

While we’re on the subject of raising money and the interrelation between candidates and campaigns, I want to go back to something someone discussed a few days ago about the other statewide campaigns. I’m going to break it down, Georgia style, ‘cause, folks, we’re offered, I believe, an unprecedented number of valid, strong, statewide candidates this election. Within the Republicans, I’ll divide those into two groups: Reed haters and Reed lovers. Whether his supporters like to admit it or not, much of the rational behind Casey’s campaign stems from animosity generated when Ralph won the party chairmanship a few years back. Another portion of the animosity (the part that takes the form of an anti – Bill Stephens monster) comes from Casey’s defeat as a majority leader. Seems interesting, doesn’t it? Why would a Senate caucus, just a little while back, vote Casey down as majority leader, then endorse him for Lt. Governor? Seems odd. At any rate, those are the two camps. The anti – Ralph camp is driven largely by Casey Cagle, Joel McElhannon, and those who opposed Ralph for GAGOP chairman. Consequently, those who endorse Casey will glibly call Brian Kemp a winner. Funny that Cagle and Kemp have the same consultant. Brian doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Gary Black. Those same Kemp/McElhannon/Cagle supporters will then turn, of course, and support anyone BUT Bill Stephens.

The major question in all of this is: who is Sonny going to support? He dis-serviced Brian Kemp. He desperately needs Ralph’s organization. Karen Handle, the candidate he muscled into the Commission Chair’s spot, might be running against his former floor leader and majority leader. His consultant is running Gary Black’s race. Where will he come down?

Finally, I think we’re making a mistake of taking for granted several “Ross Perots� that could show their faces in this election. I’ll give Bull credit, because in one of his posts, he appeared to take into account the Libertarian vote, something the rest of us have failed to do. In the LG’s race, Greg Hecht, former state Senator from metro Atlanta, has almost a half million bucks. That’s enough to be more than annoying bee to a major Republican contender. Tommy Irvin, entrenched Democrat, has almost the same amount. Whoever comes out of the Republican primary for Ag commissioner, is going to have to deal with an extremely well funded candidate.

In short, I’m saying that we, as a group of bloggers and activists, myself included, have voluntarily assumed a very tunnel visioned stance in this election cycle, and if we’re not careful, we’ll miss the big picture in a knock down drag out over Ralph Reed.

I issued a challenge a little while back for both candidates to come out with their stance on the issues, and their position on the problems that face the people of Georgia. As of yesterday, it would seem Ralph has begun to walk that path. I spoke briefly with one of Ralph’s volunteers in Savannah as they were in the midst of a listening tour with the people in Savannah. And not just in Chestnut Mountain or Gainesville, but in the outlying areas of the state, visiting folks with a very unique set of interests: coastal and waterways. It’s in those same areas, interestingly enough, that the Cagle name ID is virtually nil: by admission of the very people on this site who seem to support him. I must respectfully restate my former conclusion that it will be VERY important to both the Governor and Lt. Governor the way they seek to serve and hear the unique needs of the different demographic groups in the state.

Finally, I have a proposition to all of us who seem to be so violently divided over the Lt. Governor’s race. Screw that. Let’s help Sonny, cross over during the primary, and go vote for Mark Taylor.

7 comments

  1. landman says:

    Mav,I will not debate you on the Zell endorsement and the reasons behind it,and commend you on pointing out that we all need to be on the same team and get Sonny to the finish line.However there is some misinformation that must be corrected in some of your statements.Let,s talk about the listening tour first,I can understand you trusting what your man’s team tells you ,but I highly reccomend you verify them before you start espousing them as the truth.The truth is this ,Reed made three appearances in the Savannah area,they were in Effingham County,Savannah,and Richmond Hill.At Effingham there were three people that showed (2 of these were Cagle supporters) Savannah ‘s meeting was held at the Republican Headquarters there was 31 present including the Savannah republican staff,of the 31 there were 8 people present that have signed on to a major fundraiser for Cagle as host,Richmond Hill’s meeting drew a total of 8 including the owner of the establishment and a employee,and 5 Cagle supporters.To give you some comparison Cagle has been to these same counties and has drawn more at his smallest function than these numbers combined.You mentioned Kemp as an example ,he happened to be in Savannah on Monday ,he drew more people out than Reed did, this isnt political propaganda but facts.When a guy running for Ag Commissioner out draws a guy running for LT Gov it means good things for one and trouble for the other.I will tell you right now Reed will not win the coastal empire counties the Cagle team has put together a proven set of County machines that are committed and more importantly that can get their primary vote out.So your point about walking down the path of talking about issues is being done every day by Cagle,and you can chose to believe this or not,but the Cagle team is not talking about Reeds problems but rather true issues and the people are buying into his vision for a better Georgia.The problem with you diehard Reed supporters is you think everything ties back to Ralph somehow. the truth of the matter is alot of people just dont like Ralph,they think he is very arrogant and for those that meet him think he comes off as being this way,and its totally understandable he is the candidate now and its a lot harder being the man, than saying you were the one that got the man elected.I wont get into Kemp with you, but I will wager great sums of money that Kemp soundly defeats Black,Kemp will beat Black by 50% in the Coastal empire

    vision for a better

  2. Bill Simon says:

    Cynthia McKinney was reviled due to her statements on 9-11 which is why encouraging the crossover worked in that case.

    Cathy Cox is not reviled, but appears to be “feared” by the likes of you and others.

    Ralph Reed is both reviled and feared by the Democrats as well as a good chunk of the Republicans. It is the “revil-ness” that will cause Republicans to stay in the Republican primary to vote against Ralph and cause democrats to crossover that line to vote against Ralph.

    You start promoting Republicans to crossover and vote for Mark Taylor, and that will drive more Democrats to stay and vote for Cathy Cox. It will be akin to Roy Barnes promoting Sonny Perdue in 2002 via the prison-influence promotions. Barnes promoted Sonny’s name by attacking him in the primary and Sonny won without a runoff.

    Hatred of someone will drive crossover. Fear won’t, in my opinion.

  3. Bull Moose says:

    If Kemp was in Savannah it must have been a well kept secret — I don’t know many people that knew of that…

    These candidates are going to have to get out of the box — we have to shake politics as usual.

  4. polysci1 says:

    The truth of the matter with Zell Miller is that he is and always has been a democrat. In the last election cycle he helped a lot of democratic candidates. He is doing that now by going through the back door and endorsing Ralph Reed. He knows that with Ralph on the ticket, Reed’s name will draw out the democrat voter base. Having Reed on the ticket also has the potential to push the swing vote over to the democrat ticket if they just appear moderate on the issues that are so dear to the voters of Georgia. Anyway you look at it Reed just does not sit well with typical moderate swing voters. And swing voters make all the difference in General elections. Welcome to true two party politics. And always question the motives of old “statesmen”.

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