Return of the King

In the 90s, Georgia had a King. This man ruled Georgia with an iron fist and a Democratic majority. Republicans united in 2002 and threw him into exile. Now, eight years later, the state is still faced with budget woes, education concerns, transportation and water problems, and a General Assembly that has been smacked with ethics problems. The King has returned from exile. He is sorry and wants our forgiveness. He is calling for a change from the status quo and claims that he is the one to solve Georgia’s problems once and for all.

Republicans in Georgia claim he cannot be trusted and have chosen Nathan Deal as their nominee. Make no mistake, this will be an uphill battle for Deal. And, currently, I don’t see it for Deal UNLESS he figures out how to solve Georgia’s issues and avoid the temptation of riding the wave of “anti-Obama”. I’m not an expert (have never claimed to be one), but I honestly think the Georgia GOP shot itself in the foot last night.

Will the King reclaim his throne in Georgia?

Call this the ramblings of a political greenhorn.


  1. AnyoneElse2010 says:

    And the polls showing Deal walloping Barnes mean nothing. Many of us political pundits allow ourselves to be surrounded by political thinkers who are on the “in”. Many of which have strong opinions toward one side or another. Because of this we forget that it is not the handful of pundits that make up the electorate, but it is the public as a whole. The public as a whole has not forgotten Barnes and has not forgotten that they booted him out one time. Whether it be for the flag, for his abuse of educators, or for his attempt to high jack the State of Georgia through his redistricting ploys the people have not forgotten. Mark that with a conservative State who will be coming out in large numbers to vote for Republican Congressmen in the 2nd, 8th, and 12th district, and I believe that Roy is the underdog. I’m calling it Deal with 53% and Roy with 47%.

    BTW if I listened to those that surrounded me Handel would have walked away with this election by a landslide.

    • fishtail says:

      Anyone Else 2010…in the 12 th District the GOP has selected an absolute idiot who will/can raise no $$$ to get his message out. Ray McKinney is a nincompoop. So factor out the 12th District in your precise calculations.

      • AnyoneElse2010 says:

        Precise my calculations are not, but thanks for thinking that I give it that much thought. I am just going by what my friends in East Georgia have been telling me. He may be a nincompoop (love the use of the word), but I hear people are really tired of Barrow. I don’t think he will win, but it will be closer then other years.

  2. Gary Cooper says:

    While I didn’t vote for Deal, I can hardly say he has an uphill battle. This is still a red state, although not deep red, and the GOP nominee is surely the early favorite.

    A lot has been made about Roy losing in 2002 and what caused it – teachers, flaggers, GOP wave, etc…. but in reality Barnes was a Democratic Governor in a state that was trending Republican and it was only a matter of time before the GOP knocked off a Democrat.

    Barnes has an uphill battle because he has to convince voters who threw him out in 2002 why he deserves another election win and at the same time, he has to convince voters who were not around during his term to vote for him instead of the GOP.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      Convince voters of what? The candidates records speak for themselves. Deal is an establishment Republican in the mold of do-nothing Perdue with a Congressional record to prove it.

      Roy cut property taxes (the recent $300 bump in your property taxes was due to repeal of the tax cut), reduced class sizes, increased teacher pay in conjunction with seeking teacher accountability (the latter a good concept though his manner seeking its implementation was lacking), and minimized the stars and bars on the state flag. He initiated a regional transportation agency (GRTA), promoted the outer perimeter, and left office with Macon Line commuter rail ready for implementation and Athens Line development underway. There was public talk of constructing new reservoirs during his term. (I do grant the redistricting Roy approved was an abomination.)

      Accomplishments / focus: Reduced taxes, education, business climate (flag), transportation initiatives, water — generally the same things at or near the top of most people’s agendas, and things that generally at best have been in a holding pattern during eight years of Deal-like Perdue.

  3. “I’m not an expert (have never claimed to be one), but I honestly think the Georgia GOP shot itself in the foot last night.

    Call this the ramblings of a political greenhorn.”

    Well, who in the hell gave you the keys to run this damn train then? Seriously, I know this is just a friendly blog to rap about politics, but Erick, what the heck?

  4. Buzzfan says:

    Deal and the GOP has one big thing on their side at the moment……Obama.

    The anti-lib fervor is still at a high-enough pitch that, if the general election were today, the sheer difference in respective turnouts would be enough to defeat Barnes. Many of the independents who were swayed by the combo of BO’s neatly-scripted tele-charisma and the GOP’s continued flounderings and extreme-right rhetoric now realize they were duped and are wanting to make amends….if they are made to feel welcomed!

    And the vast majority of the old-school conservatives are looking at November 2 like our kids look at December 25.

    The key?……keep the anti-socialist, anti-BO, anti-Reid, anti-Pelosi fervor stewing for the next 12 weeks. If it’s still strong, Deal can ride that wave into the big well-manicured yard on West Paces. If it wanes, however, it’ll be a battle.

    • USA1 says:

      It will take a lot of energy to keep up that much hate to make the anti-this anti-that train keep running until November. God-fearing Republicans might need to cut a deal with the devil if they want to harness that much negative energy.

  5. Velasco says:

    “I realize this happens in campaigns but my time is valuable to me”

    Yeah chief – I’d imagine most folks would feel this way. Stop feeling so self important.

    You only feel like the “Georgia GOP shot itself in the foot last night” because you were a diehard Karen fan. Roy Barnes will retire to Mableton once again come November.

    • Tyler says:

      “You only feel like the “Georgia GOP shot itself in the foot last night” because you were a diehard Karen fan.”

      I felt Karen would do the best job out of the two. I don’t like the way she handled the abortion and gay issues. I wrote the post knowing full well that someone would shout “Sore loser!” at some point.

      I, however, don’t underestimate “The Rat”.

          • Provocateur says:

            Tyler, same thing happened in 2002. Roy had bunches of money and no opposition until the July primary 2002, and he lost.

            In short, your statement holds no value of significance to what the outcome may be in November.

    • AnyoneElse2010 says:

      Again politics 101. He will move to the middle in the general. You would think that most of you have never watched an election cycle before.

      • ACCmoderate says:

        Barnes has the middle staked out. He had it staked out even during the Democratic primary.

        Keep in mind that he was the only Dem candidate to say that he supported the Arizona-style immigration law. It’s going to be hard for Deal to take the middle from a guy who’s been in the middle since day 1.

  6. Henry Waxman says:

    Republicans shot themselves in the foot by nominating the candidate who was polling five percentage points better against Roy Barnes???

    That’s an interesting take.

  7. Now, eight years later, the state is still faced with budget woes…

    You would have been around 14-years old when Roy was voted out (that’s not an insult… I’m just saying). For some context, the state budget at the time was $13 billion.

    Today it is at $17 billion.

    Almost a decade of singe-party GOP rule, and the budget grew by almost one-third. To say that we’re “still” faced with budget woes is kinda mischaracterizing it.

    • Steve, what numbers are you looking at? Looking at an old legislative newsletter I did for Fran Millar at the end of the 2001 session, the FY 2002 appropriations was set at $15.4 billion. FY 2003 would have been the last Barnes budget.

      • Oh, and as a historic reference, FY 2002 included (in billions):
        $1.3 for Dept. of Community Health
        $5.9 for Education
        $1.3 for Dept. of Human Resources
        $1.5 for the Board of Regents
        $.944 for the Dept. of Corrections
        $3.1 for all other agencies and depts.
        $.575 for debt service.

        • Dave Bearse says:

          Can you shed any light on the current figures on debt service, including separate transportation then and now figures.separately?

  8. Lollipop says:

    You referred to Roy Barnes as the King or affectionately King Roy…however, the problem with Karen is that she acts like the Queen…governs just as strongly and with the same retribution.

  9. Roy the Tyrant did ask forgiveness, but for what? Listen to his carefully worded statement in his “church” ad. He’s sorry he didn’t do a better job of listening and explaining why he did what he did. Roy never apologizes for his excesses and errors. He’s just sorry that we serfs didn’t understand what was going on in his giant brain – IF by brain you mean “ego”.

    If the question is “Roy or not Roy?” then the GOP nominee should win.

    Le roi est mort.

  10. Bucky Plyler says:

    May I add a little perspective? OK..thanks..I will.

    * Georgia is not a Dem. state. Obama’s election did not change Ga. into a Dem. state.
    * Gov. Barnes was fired the last time he ran. Generally the boss doesn’t rehire firees unless the boss has personality disorders.
    * Barnes will not be able to get conservative enough to win over Rep. voters. Remember that real elephants never forget. Of course, RINOs have a shorter attention span.
    * Public school teachers are smarter than most people give them credit for…..even if most of their students have a little trouble….
    * Peach Punditeers (posters & participants) have a questionable track record on election predictions.

    All this for free ! ( or in 5 easy payments of $19.95)

    • Tyler says:

      “* Peach Punditeers (posters & participants) have a questionable track record on election predictions.”

      How so? Several of my friends got a call from me after Primary night saying that I believed Deal was going to be the nominee.

      • Bucky Plyler says:

        Tyler, PP folks are generally all over the map on predictions. That point wasn’t directed at your support for Handel, although you have to admit that most of the Handel posters have been pretty thin skinned the past few months.

        However, I don’t think that we (PP) are an accurate reflection of the majority of Georgia voters. I think that the majority of Ga. voters are much to the right of most Punditeers.

        • Ron Daniels says:

          Socially yes. Fiscally perhaps in theory but not in practice.

          They are to the right of us in condemning spending, but then they want their hand outs. Rock gut farmers and all that. (My family included)

  11. Georgia Judge says:

    I dont know you but based on your age its safe to assume you have limited political experience (not a cut just an observation)so I’ll look past the fact that you have a limited memory of the first Barnes administration.It was a pay to play operation and they were not bashful about the rules,in fact Barnes and Kahn were as arrogant and brazen as one could be.It was a top down operation that was totally self serving and one can apologize and ask forgiveness forever but many people will not forget.

    Roy has a record, and a million meacupa’s will not hide that fact. Nathan will matchup well against him in a debate format,and also has the benefit of knowing Roy’s track record first hand,I have no allusions its going to be a fistfight but Deal will win.

    • B Balz says:

      EXACTLY!, Georgia Judge. Roy would have eviscerated Ms. Handle on her resume alone. (That is not meant as a late Handle jab, I honestly believe there is no comparison between the two, and that issue would have legitimately been front and center.)

      I have a concern that when GA elects Rep. Deal, we will have a GOP exec and legis branch, does that concern anyone else?

      I recall hearing that, at least on a Federal level, when branches of gov’t were the same, the Country did poorly. True?

      • Doug Grammer says:

        06 state government… legislators and Gov. from same party…we were doing OK in Georgia.

        The one of the main reasons the country was doing poorly and is still not great is the nature of the economy. No matter what you do, the economy will still expand and contract. What Government does can change how long those periods last.

        • bowersville says:

          Doug, you have indirectly addressed what concerns me about this upcoming election, the last 3-4 years.

          Sometimes it pays to read and find out what the opposition is saying. I read a liberal blog about the recent DPG meeting where the blogger began complaining and hoping that Barnes wouldn’t bring up for the umpteenth time Georgia electing Carl Sanders and Alabama electing George Wallace.

          I had to ask, what was that all about? I dug deeper as I remember the times. Georgia went on to develop economically and Alabama went on to burn during the race riots.

          How does that play in this time? I don’t know but Ghetto Grandmother comes to mind.

          • Doug Grammer says:

            Congressman Deal stuck his foot in his mouth on that one. I don’t know if GG is a term used in DC, but I had not heard it until he used it. In context, he was talking about who might complain if they have to prove who they were before they voted. I don’t think that there’s anything that can be done to unstick it.

   This doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who relates to the average voter.

            Historically speaking, over the last 30 years or more, black people tend to vote for Dems. I think that is because the Dems seem to segment society and say this is what we can do for unions, black people, gays, Bigfoot, and so on. They have pandering down to an art form. The GOP, in contrast, usually address what’s good for everyone? Different segmented groups don’t feel as special or pandered to. It doesn’t matter that the Dem’s were the ones in Georgia that were for segregation. See Lester Maddox.

            Under Gov. Sanders, Georgia became more desegregated. President Jimmy Carter called him “Cufflinks Carl.” Gov. Barnes isn’t a poor man.

            I think most of the last 3 to 4 years can be blamed on DC, which kind of hurts Congressman Deal, but it’s been ran by Dems for a while now.

  12. Gerald says:

    Folks, get real. Nathan Deal isn’t running against Barack Obama for president, he is running against Roy Barnes for governor. And while Georgia has leaned GOP recently, don’t try to pass off the entire state as Lynn Westmoreland’s congressional district. A good Democratic candidate can beat a weak GOP candidate. We know that Barnes is a good Democratic candidate. Whether Deal is a good GOP candidate remains to be seen.

    Yes, the national Democratic Party is very unpopular. But in case you haven’t noticed, Georgia is a mess too, being hurt far worse by the national recession than most other states, and having real problems in transportation, water, education and ethics that can’t be blamed on Obama and Pelosi. However, they CAN be blamed on Sonny Perdue and the Georgia GOP, and it will be a lot easier to tie Deal to the state GOP than to tie Barnes to the national Democratic Party.

    To make matters worse, it is Deal who is returning to the state from Washington, not Barnes. Barnes will use Deal’s votes for TARP, No Child Left Behind and prescription drugs to undercut Deal’s claims of being a Reaganesque fiscal conservative, and Barnes can also go after Deal’s votes for the financial deregulation bills that helped cause the economic crisis. In other words, there was a reason why the national GOP was rejected in 2006 and 2008, and Deal was part of that reason. Meanwhile, Barnes IS NOT part of the reason why everyone hates the Democrats right now.

    So don’t be mistaken. Barnes has a real shot. If he succeeds in labeling Deal as being cut from the same cloth as Sonny Perdue and the legislature (no ideas, leadership or governing ability plus ethically challenged) and Deal is unable to differentiate himself from Perdue by responding with concrete policy ideas on how to move this state forward and solve real problems (like how to address the transportation mess and how to get back to growing our own companies like we did from the 70s – 90s instead of cutting taxes in the hopes of getting existing companies to move here) then Barnes will win. If we hear a lot of good policy ideas from Deal, whether his own or things that have been done effectively in other states, then he will win. But if we hear “family values, smaller government, more freedom”, then get ready for King Roy Redux. Case in point: if Deal spends more time talking about FairTax than highways and – yes – light rail, your guy will be in huge trouble.

  13. flyonthewall says:

    Why is it so hard for so many on this board to do simple math? Nathan Deal received more than 290k votes last night. Karen Handel almost matched that amount. They collectively almost drew as many voters to the polls for the runoff than the 5 total candidates drew in the primary.

    The Democratic primary drew approximately 380k. Granted, there was little mystery regarding their ticket, but any way you look at it the Dems begin this general election season having to make up 300k votes.

    Let me ask you this, does anyone really believe that this year more than any that the Republican general turnout will actually be less than the pimary? Isn’t it reasonable to expect about 30% more Republican voters to turn out in Novembr than in July? Thus, in my humble opinion, a conservative estimate of approximately a million Republican voters (fyi 1.2 million Republian voters cast their vote in 2006 vs. 811k Democrats).

    I concede that Dems will have a significant bump in their turnout, but to match the estimated Republican turnout they will need more than a 200% increase in turnout and even if they accomplish that they likely lose in a close one. Does anyone really believe that the Democrats will do that? Possible, sure, in a way that something is theoreticall possible.

    An up hill battle? Really? After reviewing these stats would you please objectively tell me who has the uphill battle?

    I enjoy the banter on this page. I think that for the most part the front page posters to a very good job of keeping the topics and the discussions grounded (the Handel endorsement notwithstanding), but in this case I for one would like to see a little more common sense and less “shock jock” posting.

    • Mama_grizzly says:

      Your math assumes everyone that voted for Handel will also vote for Deal. That math is seriously flawed. Monds w ill receive some votes and so will Barnes . do you really think if Deal is indicted that GOP voters will still stand by him?

      It is also wrong to assume that Barnes will campaign as a Democrat. I think Barnes is a smart man and will start to publicly criticize Obama and the policies of Pelosi and Reid. He will campaign as a strong conservative without the birther views of Deal and more than likely state that the will support the re-districting map the legislature presents him. He will push strong ethics reform and point to Deal’s fiscal record while serving in congress.

      • Lady Thinker says:


        Deal has so many ethical issues that it is sadly plain to me now that Barnes may win again. I wish Karen had spent more time on what she could do for Georgia and ignored Deal.

    • B Balz says:

      By that math, the Atlanta runoff should have never happened. You cannot ‘pro forma’ voter turnout.

      Those 30K folks that ‘appeared’ in Eastpoint, albeit to get ‘free stuff’ are an example of the ability for the Dems to get folks to act.

      Mark it down.

  14. Doug Grammer says:

    The GOP has momentum in Georgia. I agree with Jason Shepherd that we shouldn’t underestimate the opposition. I don’t think that Gov. Barnes owns the middle ground.

    As far as an anti-immigration bill like Arizona goes, even though Gov. Barnes may be for it, he’s playing catch up. Congressman Deal’s bills to end birthright citizenship will play well with the voters, even if they didn’t pass.

    The fact that Congressman Deal didn’t spend all of the money he had allocated for staff and gave back $100,000 a year to the U.S. Treasury helps as well. I don’t think it will be easy, but Congressman Deal can win. I think he will do well in the debates.

    Don’t think of it as the GOP shooting itself in the foot. Think of it as just a step you didn’t plan for on the road to keeping the Governors Mansion.

  15. kolt473 says:

    King Roy playing the OBAMUNISM blame game but he turned back on him when he came to GA to lie. he didn’t do it right first term, he’s scamming brain dead’s with grandiose scams. Latest ad is testament to that effect. Running on the ”centrist” scam. King Roy allege liar, unions&blacks if you don’t fall into those categories, prepared to be screwed. I DON’T WISH HIM BACK IN GOVERNORS MANSION, NOR DO I WANT DEAL!!

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