The State of State Politics:


Finley Peter Dunne coined the phrase “Politics Ain’t Bean Bag” around the turn of the last century, pointing out the obvious:  Politics isn’t a children’s game.  Frankly, I have no idea what “bean bag” consists of, though I did have a Toss Across when I was a kid, and have to assume it was similar. 

I’m thinking that the bean bag reference is lost on the up and coming generation of current politicians, who seem to all actually believe what their parents have been telling them for as long as they can remember.  But here’s a horrifying news flash to you if you are considering running for office.  You are not as smart, sophisticated, good looking, or charming as you think you are.  The voters are not your parents, and are not here to excuse all of your personal insecurities and shortcomings.  In fact, they will pick at them and magnify them.  You better be prepared, have thick skin, and be ready to defend any thought, action, or statement you have ever made if you are going to step into this arena. 

To update Mr. Dunne’s quote for contemporary comprehension, I offer you the following:

Despite the obvious similarities among the contestants, Politics ain’t the Special Olympics.  There are not people waiting around to give you a hug just because you reached the finish line. 

Now sure, that was a bit harsh.  Yet 100% honest and on the mark.  Why do I bring this up?  I give you three recent examples from right here at Peach Pundit. 

1)      Michael Rothenberg’s supporters claimed that pointing out a different (though the most direct and logical) interpretation of judicial qualifications other than the one that suited his interest was somehow a personal attack on him.  I honestly got the feeling from reading the replies of his surrogates that they really thought he should get an extra gold star and put at the head of today’s lunch line for his brilliant and unique interpretation of how five and one half equals seven.

2)      Keith Gross appears utterly shocked that people have checked out the outrageous claims he has made on his bio.  He now doesn’t even want to release his address because someone might knock on his door?  He drives a Porsche, he has 6% body fat, how dare we question his claims of success? 

     3)   The Coup de Gras, however, comes from my own party.  The admitted fringe of my party, but Republicans nonetheless.  How many posts, and how many days, did we endure the absolute whining that came out of the State Republican Convention?  And Why?  Because the supporters of Ron Paul were upset that they weren’t allowed to attend a convention for free, then weren’t given unlimited time to preach to those who had paid, and though they had significantly less than 50% of the folks in attendance, weren’t allowed to dictate the agenda, delegate selection, or any other matters they felt strongly about. 

Politics is rough.  Elections have consequences.  And those who have power, regardless at what level or type of organization, aren’t going to roll out a red carpet when you come to take it away from them. 

Regarding the state political convention, I can tell you, it wasn’t pretty, and the party establishment wasn’t kind, when the Pat Robertson/Ralph Reed So-Cons rolled into town in the early 90s and took control of the state party.  They didn’t sit around and whine about how the old guard wasn’t nice to them, and didn’t let them make fancy yet patronizing speeches about how wrong the establishment was doing things.  

They merely did one thing right.  They assembled a majority of delegates, and rolled in and took over.  Did the establishment types fight it?  Oh yes.  Was it pretty?  Heck no. 

But at the end of the day, one thing mattered.  The vote count. 

So, my point is this.  Don’t show up at a county meeting, state convention, or god forbid an election ballot, and expect everyone around you to be like your grandmother.  You will not be validated just for showing up with your hair properly combed. If you are fighting the group in power, either as an opposing party candidate or from within, your presence will not be welcomed with open arms for a finish line hug. 

If you want to make a change, you better come well prepared and ready to fight for it.  And at the end of the day, you better be prepared to have the most votes.  Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed the experience.



  1. Bill Simon says:

    Wow! Since your whining and lobbying for “Front-Page Posting Rights” has apparently succeeded, Icarus, have you registered with the State Ethics Commission for your lobbying work?

  2. Icarus says:

    Despite the fact that we all recognize the TMC’s powers are even greater than that of the State, no such requirement for registration exists in order to lobby here.

  3. GabrielSterling says:

    Could not agree more. People running should always assume everything they’ve ever said or done is on the table. “Personal Attack” is what every person who is being hit for their votes or statements always says.

  4. bowersville says:

    “Politics is rough…and those who have power… aren’t going to roll out the red carpet…” I can’t think of a truer statement.

    It think old Bruce Schaefer, the husband of Senator Nancy Schaefer, has got the message. I heard Bruce poked Jim Butterworth in the chest and shoved Butterworth around after the forum hosted by the Toccoa Chamber of Commerce for the 50th Senate race.

    “You won’t be validated by having your hair properly combed.” I don’t think that’s quite true, I heard Doug Everette, a candidate for the PSC and a witness to this incident said, “I didn’t see a thing, Bruce Schaefer is a friend of mine.”

    Everette’s statement must be attributed to Nancy Schaefer’s perfect big hair do. I can’t think of any other reason for Everett to be such a spineless weasel.

    Anybody ever heard of Rick Collum for PSC?

    Welcome to the front Ic.

  5. voice of reason says:

    Front page posting rights??? When you got the call did you say “I’m going to Disney Land!”

    “I heard Bruce poked Jim Butterworth in the chest and shoved Butterworth around after the forum hosted by the Toccoa Chamber of Commerce for the 50th Senate race.”

    Was a restraining order taken out???

  6. Chris says:

    *rolls eyes*

    There goes the neighborhood.

    Back in my day, being a Front Page poster was an exclusive club, now they’ll just let anyone in.

  7. Icarus says:

    Thanks to all for the positive words, and of course, to my campaign manager, John Konop.

    There wasn’t so much a call inviting me to Disney Land, but a series of long protracted negotiations and/or terrorsitic acts. Once Dr. Henry Kissenger was brought in to moderate, things went fairly smoothly, though a few things already set in motion before detente was established may cause oil to cross $155 per barrel before the end of the week.

    In the end, the final sticking point was that I must no longer refer to one of the front page posters by his accepted nickname, but am still free to call him “the rat of questionable lineage”.

    I decided I could live with that. It is, after all, for the children.

  8. Tea Party says:

    Great post, Icarus and congrats. I look forward to hearing more from you. did you ever find Loyalty IMH?

    Politics is indeed a rough sport, and believe me, one doesn’t need to even be running for office to experience the wonderful spectrum dirty tricks used by the opposition.

    The Chinese saying, “The nail that stands up, gets hammered down comes to mind.”

    My views on how local press shills (The Crier/DunNorth) for the Dunwoody issue earned me their silly-ass attention.

    Is that fair, right, just? Let’s just say I am not whining, nor complaining. My people have a long history of remembering ‘who done us wrong.’

    How far is the reality of justifying ‘whatever means are necessary’ from “whatever means are LEGALLY necessary”? In my mind, way TOO close.

    Is revealing a candidates social security number on a mass mailing ‘too far”?

    Are the candidates husbands, wives, children still off-limits?

    Through electronic trails virtually ANY of us may have our personal ‘pursuits its of happiness’ revealed/reviled. Is that OK or just ‘business as usual’?

    Forums like PP provide us, like Herman Melville’s ‘everyman’, unfiltered clarity and insight to political processes. To some that may qualify as ‘too much information’, others are fascinated and ‘hooked’.

    At no other time in history could ‘everyman’ see the brutish and unforgiving nature of the polical process, as it occurs. Thus, I suggest this audience, the days of free-range political ‘dirty pool’ may have a limiting factor.

    Cynicism should never replace pragmatism.

    “To those who fight for it, Life has a flavor the protected never know.”

  9. Icarus says:

    Tea Party,

    My post isn’t about encouraging dirty tricks, but more about being prepared to be a grown up in a grown up world.

    Negativity and cynicism turn people away from politics. The old-guard power structures know this. New people are welcome if they play within existing frameworks, kiss the rings of those in charge, and wait their turn.

    Show up demanding change, be prepared to fight for it.

  10. kendrial says:

    Love it!!! I hope that you don’t mind that I have already copied and sent this to many of my friends. Congratulations on front pg posting rights.
    And as I have always said, “there is no crying in politics”

  11. Icarus says:


    Given the rare occasion that we’re in agreement on an issue, I say “copy away”. Thanks for the kind words as well.


  12. Bill Simon says:


    So now that you’ve been promoted, I guess that means I will have to take over your role as making deadpan comments on blog threads.

  13. bowersville says:

    “Was a restraining order taken out???”

    I don’t know but I’d be a little leary if I was Doug Everette facing a subpeona to testify under oath.

    Darn, those cell phones with cameras are everywhere.

  14. Taft Republican says:

    I liked you better before you got FP privileges. You made sense then.

    I was there when the So-Cons took power too. It wasn’t pretty, but it also wasn’t exactly the way you described it. They DID sit around and whine about how the old guard wasn’t nice to them, and they DID let them make fancy yet patronizing speeches about how wrong the establishment was doing things… at first. It was very cathartic, I can assure you.

    Then, within 2-4 years, these political neophytes learned the rules, learned the ropes, and learned how to turn out their people. They learned that, despite the fact that rules DO exist, the establishment will quite willingly disregard them in order to keep power. So the So-Cons DID get their majorities to the conventions, and took over the party.

    What the Georgia GOP can now look forward to is the same thing happening with the RP-Cons. They have learned their lessons well, at the hands of the establishment. They have learned that, despite the fact that there are rules, the establishment will ignore, bend and/or break them to keep power and to keep these new conservative activists out of their “big tent”. And they have learned that 25-40% at conventions doesn’t mean squat, and it certainly doesn’t mean that their voices will be heard 25-40% of the time, or that their views will be considered 25-40% of the time.

    Yes, they learned it all this year, a real “trial by fire” for a whole bunch of people who had never actually gotten involved in politics before. And you can bet your bum that they will be back next year, and the year after that, and will keep coming back until THEY have the majority and THEY know the how to use those rules, and can return the party to its actual conservative roots.

    So, despite the best efforts of the So-Con/Neo-Con GOP establishment, the RP-Con new kids on the block aren’t going to go away. They’re here to stay, and there’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

    And I have to say, it’s been fun to watch this happening all over again. I love Georgia politics. 🙂

    Now please, Icarus, go back to the dude we all came to know and love. Who are you, and what have you done with Icarus?

  15. Icarus says:

    Well, you know. A little bit of power goes straight to the head.

    My point is not to tell the RP-cons, or Fis-cons, or whatever the preferred term is, to go away. I actually want my party to get back to understanding fiscal priorities.

    My observation with this group to date, however, is that at no point have they focused on getting a majority of votes on anything. The general theme seems to be “we just want to be heard”.

    If you want to change the world, you’re going to need the votes to do it. Build coalitions, make compromises that don’t sacrifice your core beliefs, and try listening as much as you try lecturing. You might just find that some of the people that are fighting against you will actually fight for you if you ask.

  16. Taft Republican says:

    I think you’ll be surprised, Icarus. That’s exactly what they’re doing, facilitated by the Internet (and advantage that the So-cons didn’t have so much).

    And yes, they did indeed focus on getting a majority of votes. They achieved it in lots of precincts, some counties, and no districts (though they came close in a few). By the time of the state convention, the establishment had gotten very worried and worked hard to make sure the RP-cons got nothing, period.

    Which, of course, has galvanized them to stay and take back the party.

    These guys make politics fun again. 🙂

  17. Game Fan says:

    Us RP folks like to rail against “groups” and “coalitions”. Of course once people ditch the talking points and quit defending the BS they won’t get bludgeoned so often. Of course there’s a wide variety of conservatives in the ranks.

  18. Icarus says:

    Game Fan, you illustrate my point perfectly.

    Until you guys understand that to attain 51% you will have to be part of a “group” or “coalition”, you will merely be part of a “faction”, and factions don’t get to decide crap.

  19. Chris says:

    Taft – The SoCons probably wouldn’t use the Internet anyway. They might accidentally see a weenier or boobie.

    As for the RP-Con factions joining a coalition, I think that is likely. Based on my observations of the Gwinnett Delegation’s vote on the American Solutions Resolution, it wasn’t just the RP-Cons that loudly voted NO!

    The question becomes, are they willing to compromise? Will the compromise on a Senate Candidate who, because half this state is into agriculture, voted for/supported a bloated farm bill? Will they compromise on a candidate that supports tax & spending cuts, yet also supports NAFTA/CAFTA and WIPO? Will the compromise on a candidate that wants an orderly but quick withdrawal from Iraq, but thinks we need to give our intelligence agencies the ability to monitor terrorists inside and outside our country?

    That is the big question facing the so-called RP-Cons. I think they understand that academically. Can they embrace that emotionally?

  20. Game Fan says:

    re: “factions don’t get to decide crap.”

    You miss the point entirely. “Groups” can be co-opted and “controlled” from the “top-down” whearas “individuals” (who think for themselves) can accomplish more with the same numbers. Of course the more informed/educated will gravitate toward the “individualist” camp and away from the sock puppet politicians. In fact it’s impossible to determine how the Paul “faction” has already altered the landscape because there is no “faction” and no “group”. Each opinion stands on it’s own.

  21. Taft Republican says:

    GF is correct about them being more individualistic. But there’s something bigger going on there: the “RP-cons” (for lack of a better term — how about “r3VOLutionaries”?) ARE the greatest “coalition” of Republicans I’ve ever seen, including the “Reagan coalition” which took power in the 80s and mid-90s. These people want to go back to the Constitution, and today that IS revolutionary.

    It warms the cackles of my soul to see a staunch pro-lifer who marched against the feminazis, becoming obvious friends with a lady who’s a charter member of Code Pink. They probably stood on opposite sides of police lines not too long ago; but they have recognized that the true enemy of freedom is statism, from either the so-called “left” or “right”.

    So what brought this “coalition” together? “It just might be that freedom is popular!”

    The RP’ers are reminding the GOP that it has a strong history of non-interventionism; that it used to call for limiting government, not expanding government; that it used to call for low taxes, not high “flat” or “fair” taxes; that it used to call for less domestic spending, not greater domestic spending; and that it promoted the federalism of a republic, not the tyranny of democracy.

    Chris, I think you’ll see the RP’ers enter into multiple “coalitions” on issue after issue and bill after bill, but it appears to me that they’ll do it without “compromising” what brought them here in the first place. (All one need do is look at the variety of “Ron Paul Republicans” running for office around the country this cycle.) No one — including Ron Paul himself — can tell these people what to do; all he has to do is stay consistent, fulfill his oath of office, and defend the Constitution, and people see it and gravitate to him.

    No, not all people. There are many who just want the power. And maybe it’s idealistic to think that the GOP could be returned to its conservative roots.

    But in all my years, I’m kinda enjoying what I see finally happening. And it couldn’t happen to nicer people. 🙂

  22. Game Fan says:

    P.S. any so-called “expert” who entrusts even more power and control to the folks in DC is completely clueless and not even worthy of a direct response. On the other hand informed patriotic Americans recognize that perhaps our best defense against terrorism would involve “letting them do their job” without the STALINISTIC BULLSHIT and CENTRLAZATION OF AUTHORITY engaged in by the NEOCONS!!! Liars and Devils!!!!

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