I vote we kick Ralph Reed off the island…

(…and Casey Cagle, too)

“I think we’d all be better off if Jerry Keen was in, and RR/CC were out.”

Erick, God bless his soul, made me promise, before I became a contributor, that I’d never talk about Ralph Reed, Casey Cagle, Bill Stephens, or Karen Handle. Initially, I had no desire to, or intention of doing so. However, this morning, I twisted his arm into releasing me from that promise, so my purpose in this post is to offer some insight on the SofS and LG races. However, I think it might be from a different perspective than what we’re used to.

First of all, it seems, at this point, that everything to date between RR and CC has been a contest to see has the fewest weaknesses, rather than who has the most strengths. Essentially, then, the voters of Georgia (in the Republican primary, at least), are being pushed to decide an election based on weaknesses, rather than strengths. It would appear each candidate is gingerly tiptoeing around talking about real issues (see Erick’s post and Jim Galloway’s article on the AJC). My thoughts? Finally. It’s about time. My bone to pick with the Cagle Camp is that they apparently haven’t been talking about issues, and that even as they introduce issues now, their concepts are potentially divisive, as Erick’s analysis correctly shows. My beef with the Reed camp is that while they seem to have been some quiet work behind the scenes, they’re not talking about it. They’ve got the same problem as Sonny. Done some good things, yup, but they’re doing you NO good when the voters don’t know about them, talk about them, and compliment you on them. Contrary to the Biblical principle, in politics, good deeds are only good if the voters know about them.

My thoughts? I think we’d all be better off if Jerry Keen was in, and RR/CC were out. Yup. You heard me. I remember the suspense that lasted a couple of days. Ralph had begun making his rounds at the Capitol, as quietly as possible, and Casey was talking it up in the chamber, and word was still out as to whether House Majority Leader Jerry Keen would be running for Lt. Governor. I finally got the phone call as I was watching the monitor outside the chamber. “I just talked to Jerry. He’s out.� I have to admit, I was quite chagrined.

I agree both candidates have excellent qualifications. Casey has policy experience, government background, and he knows the system. Ralph has policy experience, he knows how to manage money, he’s an excellent entreprenuer with proven ability to build organizations and turn a profit…At any rate, both candidates have served as a leader in the GOP when our party was still in the minority in Georgia, and I believe would both appreciate the value of preserving our corporate majority. Casey has an uphill battle: raising money, being a Senator, fighting RR’s money…Ralph has a campaign outline largely labeled “damage control.â€? The world, it seems, is out to get him. Not necessarily that it’s right, it’s just reality. Ralph is going to have trouble getting on the offensive while he stays on the defense as a matter of necessity. While both candidates have much to offer the people of Georgia, both come with large amounts of “baggageâ€? pulling them down (I use that term loosely).

I’d rather have a candidate who’s not bogged down in D.C. politics, not bogged down in a group that is largely separated from the leadership of the current Republican establishment, someone who would be willing to resign his legislative position in order to run full time, someone who can propose a vision for the people of Georgia instead of constantly having to defend his record.

I think we call that wishful thinking. That’s my utopia. Here’s my reality. I’m not endorsing any candidate, or stating for whom I’ll vote. I’m simply saying what I believe to be the writing on the wall: Casey is going to have a very tough time beating Ralph. He can. Ralph’s weaknesses have been revealed, although the greatest ones are not the most obvious. If Cagle can recognize, prioritize, and capitalize on those, he can win. However, I don’t foresee that happening. His plate is full. From what I understand, his consultant is also handling several other prominent races. Theoretically, they’re both going to be stretched pretty thin. Mayhap it will be too thin to be able to fully take Reed to the “mat.â€? If the election were held tomorrow, I’d call it for Reed. However, given that we’re still just under a year out from the decision, there is definitely an ability to change that outcome.

In other words, more power to both of them. I’ll work for whomever comes out of the primary alive.

Just my two cents…

16 comments

  1. Silence says:

    That’s why it’s my utopia, Bill 😉 I think you are correct…as far as I know, a state Rep has never run directly for Lt. Gov and won. However, I don’t know if that statistic might change given the fact that Jerry is currently serving as majority leader?

  2. Tommy_a2b says:

    I wonder who has the higher name ID right now. Keen or Cagle, no offence to Casey, just curious.

  3. Bull Moose says:

    Okay — Silence, I was thinking you were pretty good on target with your observations up until now.

    I’ve never heard Casey Cagle ever utter a word about his opponent at any campaign event – PERIOD. He’s been talking about his experience and what he wants to do as Lt. Governor of Georgia. Just because we chew the fat about it here doesn’t mean that it defines the race.

    As for Ralph Reed, that’s a campaign fighting to stay alive. The FEDS are working Abramoff over big time. Ralph Reed has some serious liabilities as it relates to his business dealings with Abramoff. His involvement and consulting relationship with Enron is a whole different story.

    You think a good solution is to put up Jerry Keen? I respected Jerry Keen up until recently. He was one of the original sponsors of legislation in the house to eliminate life saving cancer screenings from insurance. If he can’t understand how mamograms and prostate tests save lives, we have a long way to go to get him ready for prime time. He’s also not a man of his word, and I’m sorry, but for me, that matters still.

    So, enough of this utopia non-sense. Support Ralph if you want, but don’t be crying when he goes down in flames and takes you with him.

    For me, I’m with Casey Cagle — a real leader and someone who has a positive agenda to move Georgia forward. YEAH — I’M DRINKING THE KOOL-AID ON THIS ONE!

  4. Melb says:

    Jerry Keen was also the number 2 sponsor of an on-line gambling bill. Then he got word that the christian coalition was going to put this on their score card and even though was in the chamber and #2 sponsor refused to vote on the bill along with some other key republicans — whom I guessing he shared the info with. That doesn’t seem very ethical to me either.

  5. albert says:

    While I have friends on staff in both camps, I really liked the fellow who ran the last time. My age is getting to me. He was a State Senator who fought video gambling. He is a decent fellow and worked hard running all over the state. It seems that once running a statewide race most politicians don’t have the stomach to do it again. This is one big state.

  6. jackson says:

    I liked him too. Mike Beatty was his name…oh, that’s right. Casey Cagle was his Campaign Chairman. 🙂

  7. Silence says:

    Now fellas (and ladies, such as the case may be). Please allow me to address some of your concerns, but first allow me to repeat my contention that I have nothing against Casey, and have no desire to tear down either him or Ralph. The situation I mentioned above is a utopia, a preference, an imaginary, theoretical setting that probably will never grace us with its presence.

    Our reality is that we’ve got a contest between Ralph Reed and Casey Cagle. I must confess a small amount of surprise as I’ve looked at the archives of this website, and seen the statements of the gentlemen who are very obviously voting for, and in favor of, Casey’s campaign. It seems that if anyone suggests anything OTHER than “Casey’s a hero with no faults and should be elected LG by default,” you get all up in arms, and have to go on the attack. That’s not talking about issues! I could be seeing it wrong, but that seems to be the general spirit amongst Casey’s supporters.

    So, to first answer Tommy’s question: Casey definitely has higher name ID than Keen. Although I have to say, to be truthful, Ralph has higher name ID than the two of them put together.

    Bull, in response to your argument, I must agree that I’ve never heard, or hear of, Casey speaking ill of Ralph. However, that makes no difference, because his voice is being overshadowed by the voice of the media and his staff, who are rabidly attacking Ralph any chance they get. This is not talking about issues! Ralph’s good deeds aren’t good unless the voters see them. Casey’s tact, and ability to articulate without attacking Ralph is only good and articulate if the voters hear it over the media! And just like we’ve all agreed that Sonny will suffer because the face of his campaign is his staff, Casey will earn a reputation based on his staff, and if they’re constantly using a message of attack, it will bode ill for him, nice guy or not (which he is).

    To flip the coin, this would be the same as though Ralph were allowing the media to attack Casey for not having a college degree, or some such bull rot. It would be the same as though, in that situation, Ralph chose not to focus on issues, and just let the message in the public eye be centered around Casey’s negatives. That would be equally wrong.

    In reference to Jerry’s dealings on the health insurance issue: as originally introduced, House Bill 83 (actually sponsord by John Lunsford; Keen was 5th signer on the legislation : http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2005_06/fulltext/hb83.htm) was not based on a model of preventative healthcare. However, after discussion and education on the issues surrounding the healthcare crisis, the mandates that are based on preventative care were added BACK into the bill, including mammograms, pap smears, colorectal cancer screening, prostate cancer screening, and pediatric clinical trials. Ultimately, House Bill 83 was lost, and gave way to the Senate’s version of the bill, SB 174, which was a comprehensive package of reform based on a strict model of preventative care. Representative Keen was largely responsible for the passage of SB 174 in the house, as Rep. Lunsford had lost many relationships with the lobbyists with whom he had to work to get a bill of this genre passed.

    Melb, I can only assume the gambling bill of which you speak is H.B. 346 ( http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2005_06/fulltext/hb346.htm ), the bill which would allow players of the lottery to purchase tickets over the internet. Did you have plans of attacking the Governor for his similar proposal to install lottery kiosks in the airport ( http://www.lotterypost.com/news-109149.htm ), or was it only a problem for someone who was suggested to be better than Casey Cagle?

    Approach it like this: don’t ask: “What weaknesses do Ralph/Jerry/whomever have that Casey doesn’t?” Wrong question, wrong class, wrong mindset. The question should, instead be, “What qualifications does Casey have that Ralph doesn’t. How would that make him a better LG?” Not some discombobulated sugar coated rhetoric: hard, fast, concrete examples.

    I repeat the same question to you folks with the Reed campaign: what’s going to make Ralph a better LG than Casey; few people are going to care what’s going to make a Casey a WORSE LG than Ralph. Ya’ll have to get out of the defensive rut you’ve been living in, get ahead of the media, and start defining the issues of this campaign.

  8. Bull Moose says:

    Silence… much better in explaining your position.

    Let me say that I’m not attacking Jerry or Ralph because they aren’t Casey, I’m just saying that they all have flaws, and you know, so does Casey. But of the candidates running NOW, he’s the best qualified.

    For example, my first choice for Lt. Governor would be Eric Johnson, but he’s not running. I used to like Jerry Keen, but as mentioned earlier, have huge issues with his leadership style and positions as it relates to cancer issues.

    Thanks Silence for further explaining your position.

  9. Melb says:

    Kiosks in the airport where people use cash and on-line gambling which allows you to use credit cards are two different situations. I didn’t like Keen before your comments, but since you suggested him for LG I was just expressing my thoughts.

  10. Silence says:

    Melb, it seems to me that you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. Tell me why you’re opposed to one kind of gambling, and seemingly quite comfortable with another. If you’re in Sadie’s camp, you’d be opposed to gambling in PRINCIPLE. Are you? Or are you just using this as an excuse to attack someone who was offered as a good alternative to Casey…and Ralph. Did you even notice that part?

  11. Melb says:

    I don’t mind gambling. It can be fun, but it can also be addictive. If you are allowed to use credit cards then you can amass a huge amount of debt and get yourself into a lot more trouble. If you go to gas stations in GA as of today you can not buy lotter tickets with credit cards. That is what I am opposed too and so far the state of Georgia has agreed. On-line gambling changes that. I don’t feel I was attacking, but I do think that what he did in regards to co-sponoring the bill then not signing the bill was unethical. Whether I support certain types of gambling isn’t all that important.

    Who was the alternative?…..Notice what?

    J/K

  12. Silence says:

    So, if you’re not against gambling, at principle, how can you attack Jerry for sponsoring that legislation?

  13. Melb says:

    It wasn’t the fact that he sponsored it, it was the entire action of sponsoring the bill then right before the bill goes to the floor finding out it is going to be on a score card and not voting along with the other people he told to vote for it. He got the bill to the floor, he got others to support it, and then when he found out people were watching he let others take the fall while he slipped out the back door (so to speak). That’s my beef.

  14. Doc says:

    Jerry Keen is a good man and would have made a strong candidate, but neither he nor John Oxendine had the courage to run once Ralph Reed entered the race.

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