Alan Powell on Democrats’ chances and his future

State Rep. Alan Powell (D-Hartwell) recently gave a candid interview to Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald:

“If Roy Barnes doesn’t win it in November, you can probably stick a fork in the Democratic movement, because we will not be able to come back for a generation or more,” Powell said in a phone conversation today.

If Barnes loses, Powell said he would “seriously consider” switching parties because Democrats would not only have no influence, but no hope regaining power. He also said he thinks he could halt the Republicans’ drift to the right and bring it back toward the middle.
Barnes has a good shot at winning, Powell said, but he ought to be talking about the economy and the state budget more. The legislature has cut spending from more than $20 billion to less than $17 billion in the past two years, in addition to filling gaps with bond debt and federal stimulus money. Powell predicted an additional $2 billion to $3 billion hole next year.

Barnes is “going to have to branch out,” Powell said. “He can’t just talk about education.”

Barnes is going to have a fight on his hands, even though Georgia’s race for governor is listed as a toss-up. He should heed Powell’s warning.


  1. Dave says:

    He’s thinking of switching? Typical politician. It’s all about the power and influence. Always is. Why not stick to his guns and if he believes what the Dems stand for, make your case. Be honest and be the “loyal opposition.” It will carry him further in the long run.

    • bowersville says:

      No Dave, you are wrong. Alan Powell is the type of politician that neither the far right nor the far left admire. That’s putting it mildly. For Alan Powell to be the “loyal opposition,” Alan would need to stand his ground in the “middle” regardless of Party.

      Alan Powell has always been in the “middle.” My definition of “middle” is where I deem myself to be as an independent. The far right social agenda nor the far left progressive political agenda appeals to me. I live my private life as a social conservative, but that isn’t my politics. I believe as I’ve always believed that state wide races in Georgia are won in the middle. It hasn’t been but eight years since Perdue was elected as an R and I’ll remind you that party switchers including Deal in the ’80’s and Perdue in the ’90’s were both from the “middle” and both were elected initially as Democrats.

      IMHO both Deal and Barnes have to motivate the middle to vote in order to win and Barnes and Deal better get to focusing on the economy. I’m glad the Republican out “gaying” one another is over and Deal has some ground to distance himself on too.

      Look around, and as the relevant line goes “It’s the economy stupid.”

      • Dave says:

        There have been party switchers, you are right, Bowersville. Perdue, Deal, many others. But Powell just said he was going to switch because there was no power in staying put. If he’s going to switch just to be politically expedient, then it’s not as “pure” as staying put and fighting for your principles. He should make his case and sell it to the people. Stay a Democrat if you’re proud of being one. Politics is the ultimate sales job. If you cannot sell your position to the masses, you lose. And if you switch, it gives ammo to your potential opponents. People will always be suspicious of a defector.

        • bowersville says:

          It’s about representing the district and the desires of the district Dave and has nothing to do with being politically expedient. Been talking to him for years about switching. The Former speaker had the audacity to come up here and tell us “If you want to speak to me, you’ll send so and so down here.” Our answer was to overwhelmingly send Alan Powell to be a thorn in the former Speaker’s side. We got that one right and the proof is the Speaker is referred to as former and Powell is still there. Plus Powell sold his position to the masses(my district) and the former Speaker’s money spent in the district bought zilch, nothing, zero and we’re in the very heart of the 10th Congressional district that sends people like Paul Broun to Congress. Politics is local seems to fit this situation the best.

          As for the ammo given to the opposition, I think the district will worry about that for all of 2 seconds. Look at Powell’s numbers even when the GOP was taking over the State. Look at his numbers this cycle, no opposition in a Republican year. It’s going to be real interesting to see the stance of the local GOP party to which I don’t belong. But I don’t think it matters.

          If Powell qualifies as a Republican, the district will send him back as a Republican. My friends in the local GOP and Democratic party are throwing rocks at me now, but that’s the way it goes.

    • Dave says:

      You’re right. But how will that outreach manifest itself? What will that mean, John? More promises of giveaways? We have reached the point of no return, I’m afraid. Votes will come through vote buying schemes. Look at the prescription benefit scheme of Bush, the bailouts of Obama. The amnesty program of Reagan (1986) and the one currently under consideration. All attempts to buy votes with largess from the treasury.

      • John Konop says:


        I do think the GOP could win over a large enough portion of conservative minority vote if they would get the race baiting part of the party to stop. You do not need much more than 20% of the vote to be competitive overtime. Like the illegal immigration issue, the moment the debate becomes about culture instead of economics it kills the GOP in the long term. The moment Medicare, bank failure…. debate becomes about race instead of the structural problems than it kills the GOP in the long run.

  2. Jane says:

    More Hispanis and more Asians voted in the 2010 GOP primary than the 2010 Dem primary. The demographic advantage is to the GOP regardless of any Demographic shift.

          • BoogDoc7 says:

            Not as much. Obama’s ratios weren’t necessarily better when he won the Presidency – the black vote was not substantially changed over Kerry – he just had more gross numbers.

            Republicans have actually been gaining the last couple of decades – about 1% or so per election. It’s a slow change, but it’s there.

            • John Konop says:


              First 1% gain in black voters based on the growth in minority population does not work out for the GOP. And the Latino vote is going the wrong way and that is the fastest growing part of the population.

    • ACCmoderate says:

      Lets see how long that lasts when the Republican party continues to pass laws that follow an anti-Hispanic narrative. I wonder how Asians will feel about a certain former VP nominee who left the University of Hawaii because Asians made her feel “uncomfortable”?

      • BoogDoc7 says:

        What if we believe that controlling the border and preventing illegal immigration was a matter of law and national security?

        Are we racist then?

        • John Konop says:


          The problem becomes is when the debate from the GOP centers on culture and only blaming the illegal immigrants. Without the employers you would not have an illegal immigration debate. It seems that message gets drowned out and it appears to be anti-Latino argument.

          I spoke-out very early about the issues regarding illegal immigration. Yet now I say much less because of the voices that try to make this about race.

          • BoogDoc7 says:

            I agree about the employer issues – I really do – but they’re more in between a rock and a hard place at times. Either get cheap labor or go out of business.

            Frankly, the major problem is Mexico. It’s not the immigrants, and it’s not the employers. I sincerely believe that if the Mexicans are made to stay home they may be more likely to deal with those issues.

            Another issue is the cost of doing business in America and the expectations of the American employee. Were we to promote those issues that encourage personal responsibility and hard work over running to the government dole, Americans may be more competetive for those jobs.

            • John Konop says:

              I also agree that without fair enforcement this would not work for business.

              …..Either get cheap labor or go out of business…..

              Also the wage issue is a catch 22. If employees do not make enough money to buy the products they make you have a problem ie Henry Ford 101. And it is very difficult to compete with labor markets with no real labor laws and people making less than 2 bucks an hour, which is why we have outsourced out working class jobs to China……

              And this has a rippling effect to the rest of the economy ie housing, cars…..

  3. Andre says:

    As I wrote over at my site, this is the last hurrah for Georgia’s Democratic Party. The 2010 elections represents a huge gamble for the Democrats. Almost all of our Democratic eggs are in Barnes’ basket, and if he loses, it is over.

    Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the aisle, there is a growing movement to embrace a full view of conservatism.

    More and more conservatives are saying that opposition to gay marriage would not be a litmus test for membership in the GOP,” [former McCain campaign manager Steve]Schmidt added. “And more conservatives are making the case that no more do you want big government conservatives in the bedroom than big government liberals telling you how to live your life.

    From loosening gun control restrictions to keeping government out of the bedroom to keeping government’s hands off of women’s bodies to reigning in all this big government spending, there are more than a few Republicans who now believe that being a conservative means being a conservative in every sense of the word.

    One cannot call themselves conservative if they’re picking and choosing where government can and cannot be involved. Less government means less government across the board.

    I believe Alan Powell and others could move the Republican Party from the extreme right wing back to its roots of less government, a strong national defense and promoting businesses; big and small.

      • Andre says:

        If you believe life begins at conception, then that’s your personal belief. But why should government impose your personal beliefs over an entire society?

        Being pro-choice means accepting a woman’s right to choose life or to choose to have an abortion.

        It’s a personal decision. It’s a personal choice that government should not be involved in.

        • Chris says:

          I was gonna debate. Then I realized this is going to become a threadjack. Any future comments will be deleted.

  4. BoogDoc7 says:

    From where I stand, as long as Dems insist on promoting racism and classism over debating ideas, they will NEVER make headway with conservatives.

    • polisavvy says:

      I see it the same as you. There is way too much of that going on. For some reason they don’t want to debate ideas or issues — just whine and complain about how racist all us Republicans are and how we are just driven and motivated by class. It’s terribly annoying.

      • ZazaPachulia says:

        really? So it’s just the democrats throwing lightning rods out there? I didn’t know that. I feel so much better now… And yet I could have sworn I remembered a not-so-distant GOP gubernatorial primary campaign that focused almost entirely on personal attacks, ‘the gays,’ who is tougher on Mexicans and Georgia Right to Life… Well, regardless, it’s good to know that Republicans are now focused on ‘debating ideas’ that matter.

        “For some reason they don’t want to debate ideas or issues — just whine and complain about how racist all us Republicans are and how we are just driven and motivated by class. It’s terribly annoying.”
        Good talking point… Where’d you get that one, the Michael Savage show? I’m pretty sure you know how ridiculous that statement is.

        • polisavvy says:

          Absolutely not. They are both throwing “lightning rods.” I’m sick of both sides point fingers and laying fault. They both share equally. I was responding to the comment previously posted. It was directed at Democrats. If you go back and read what I’ve posted on here for weeks and weeks, both sides are responsible for the mess the economy is in and both sides are guilty of pointing fingers. I want them ALL to debate ideas and issues. I want them ALL to accept their fair share of responsibility for the mess the country is in presently. I want them ALL to just quit whining and complaining and start doing something CONSTRUCTIVE to straighten out this giant cluster**** THEY ALL have created. That’s what I want.

          • BoogDoc7 says:

            I agree here.

            We saw national Republicans do it in summer 2006, when they were trying to get votes with the flag issue and similar idiocies rather than deal with their spending and corporatist ways.

            My complaint with the Left in this country is that they believe they are SO right and SO proven that they cannot comprehend that a well-reasoned, well-established idea can come from a conservative – that there must be an underlying racism driving everything.

            Lower taxes? Racist.
            Personal responsibility? Racist.
            Less government spending? Racist.
            Fewer entitlements? Racist AND we hate old people.
            Social Security private accounts? ZOMG you want to make old people starve and take all their money!

              • ZazaPachulia says:

                I agree with your first comment under mine, Polisavvy.

                However, I also think the “racial backlash” mindset some (white) Republicans foster may help stir up the base, but such thinking is neither logical nor positive for the future of the party.

                By “racial backlash” I’m talking about those who claim that good, hard-working (white) Americans are being persecuted unfairly. “America’s Under Attack from (insert: Islam, illegals, homosexuals, abortionists, liberals, hollywood, the mainstream media, etc)!” This is Michael Savage’s typical broadcast theme. It is backlash that gives us Breitbart editing the Shirley Sharrod video, Deal using the term “Ghetto Grandmothers,” Tea Partiers insisting that the president is neither an American citizen nor a Christian… etc.
                That type of crap makes us look like a bunch of crazies.

                I’m all for lower taxes, less government spending, fewer entitlements and personal responsibility… but all of those are abstract constructs that require thought and discussion. This is complex stuff and there’s a right and wrong way to achieve these goals. Too often, I hear people in my party, the GOP, just shout this stuff and then stay on the surface.

                “We need to lower taxes because it creates more jobs” is a surface argument. Whose taxes are you going to lower? By how much? What about our state revenue shortfalls? Where can we cut from the budget and how? How is this going to create jobs?

                “We need less government spending” is a surface argument. Why aren’t we all over the Pentagon? If anyone in America gets a blank check, it’s the DoD. Why are we still maintaining an extremely expensive cold war era Navy? Why do we still have completely free service academies AND ROTC programs — a huge government entitlement program — when we have little to no problems recruiting officer candidates? Where else can we cut the federal government?

                “We need fewer entitlement programs” is a surface argument. Obviously, federal welfare and public schools are not sufficiently addressing institutional and generational poverty. How can we more efficiently spend that money and better address the problem? And how about ditching the least needed entitlements, like “HOPE for all” and the previously mentioned ROTC / service academy scholarships. Make the kids who can afford the tuition pay for their education — or offer partial scholarships to those whose parents make over a certain amount.

                Meandering back to the topic at hand — the two party system is supposed to open these types of discussions, which is why its a bad thing to have everyone under the gold dome on the same page. Just ask New York (or Arizona) how decades of one-party rule works out. And yes, I know Georgia has always been a one party state, but that party has always had clear divisions. Now, more and more, the party guys are political clones of each other.

                • polisavvy says:

                  I can’t argue with a single thing you have said (which, I know you are probably thinking is a first). Unfortunately, in order for any of the points you mentioned to come to fruition, there are some who are going to think that race is behind many of your points. Race shouldn’t be part of the discussion forty years beyond the 60’s. I, for one, am sick of race entering into every discuss had prior to any election.

                  As far as the one party state, I remember for many, many years when the State was a one party state which was controlled by the Democrats. All this control seems to run in cycles on both the federal and state level. One reins over the other, then it switches. The problem is that people become complacent and just accept the status quo. I am hoping that this particular election cycle makes people begin to open their eyes and actually pay attention, for a change, about what’s going on around them. They should be paying attention to the candidate which most fits their needs and the candidate which thinks most like them. Sorry for the diatribe; but, sometimes I just feel the need to vent. I apologize for my wordiness.

                  • ZazaPachulia says:

                    I agree with you, too, P.S. — except on the race part. Race is still an issue and definitely is still part of the discussion. Outside of the Appalachians of Kentucky and southern West Virginia, just about every community in America gripped by the devastating effects of institutional and generational poverty is a minority-only enclave (see: the West End, the Columbus housing projects, inner-city Chicago, the Indian reservations of South Dakota, the barios of El Paso). Just because we don’t see burning crosses and hate speech so much anymore does not mean racism has gone away. It is still here, only now it is institutionalized.

                    Our public schools are more segregated now than they’ve been since before forced busing. Our communities are more segregated. I grew up in Clayton and Fayette Counties. I now live in South Fulton. Take a look at what has happened in those three places over the past 15-20 years and tell me race and racism weren’t driving forces… Just because we’re personally not bigots, and we don’t like to focus on inequity, does not mean race should be dropped from the discussion.

                    • polisavvy says:

                      I see your point, I really do. To use one of your examples of racism, I’d like to expound a little. With regard to the segregation of public schools, a good bit of that segregation is because people have moved out of the higher crime areas to live in safer areas to raise their families. No one can fault someone for wanting a safe environment for their family. When this happens, those left behind end up in segregated schools. I’m not saying racism doesn’t exist. I’m just saying that for either party to throw out the word “racist” when describing the other is really kind of counterproductive and senseless. That’s just how I look at it.

                    • BoogDoc7 says:

                      Yes, it does.

                      Race is NOT THE ISSUE in these cases.

                      When you drop race as part of the discussion, the REAL issues become evident – education, family breakdown, etc.

                      Using race as an issue is a cover for providing real solutions.

            • Progressive Dem says:


              On this website I’m from the left. I don’t find racism in lower taxes, personal responsibility or anything else on your list. I share those values, but probably not to the extent that you and other conservatives do.

              I’m ok with higher taxes on millionaires to help balance the budget. I’m in favor of the reforms that reduce the cost of healthcare and improve its availability. And given the performance of the stock market in the past 3 years, I don’t favor privatizing social secuity. My views about those subjects have nothing to do with race, and I won’t assume your views are based on race – unless I see explicit evidence.

              It is very dangerous to ground to tread upon when a person offers reasons why another persons believes what they do. How does Rush Limbaigh know what liberals think? Is he a liberal? Of course not, but he and other radio ratings whores constantly explain why liberals act a particular way. Listen for it. What is their qualification to explain what I think? Usually they are setting up a straw-man argument that they will immediately burn down to prove the superiority of their opinion. When Rush, Boortz, Beck, Hannity or any of the conservative commentators start to tell you about liberals, they are going to give it to you with their bias. If you want to know what liberals think, read a liberal columnist.

              Humans rarely know what is in the heart of another human. When we guess what someone elses intent is, we are making a very, very big assumption. When we start labeling people and assigning values, we stop sharing ideas and communicating.

              • Dave Bearse says:

                “And given the performance of the stock market in the past 3 years, I don’t favor privatizing social secuity.”

                Now that’s an understatement. The market over overall over the past decade has been flat. The very safe 2-3% return commonly cited as the return for workers on their social security tax investment has definitely beaten the market.

              • BoogDoc7 says:

                I think that I’m more talking from what I see more in the popular media and similar instances, where there commonly appear to be the more left-of-center idealists and such who really do seem to believe that there cannot be any good conservative ideas. We DON’T hear sound arguments – particularly from politicians who deal in platitudes anyway.

                Democratic Underground – which I DO understand is the minority – is replete with such liberals. Here in Macon, GA – as Erick will tell you – they’re around all the time.

                I think that I also find this with President Obama, who declares himself “black” rather than “multiracial.” If he had REALLY wanted to change the tone of the conversation about race in America, he wouldn’t accept the colonial white European definitions of race.

    • bowersville says:

      So what’s your excuse for the gay bashing that went on in the Republican primary? Wasn’t it our fine debate in the R primary that focused on dividing people over “teh gayz?” You call that trash a debate?

      • BoogDoc7 says:

        They weren’t engaging in honest debate, either. Deal nor Handel got a vote from me. Voted Chapman in the primary, probably Monds in the general for lack of anyone decent to vote for.

              • polisavvy says:

                Nope. I voted for her twice. You know that. I told you so. I still wish I could have voted for Austin Scott (Barnes at least wouldn’t have an “ethics violation” platform, right?). BTW, where the heck have you been? I haven’t heard from you in a few weeks. Call, okay?

  5. Bucky Plyler says:

    Alan Powell is my Representative. We have always been friendly, and we have always had a good relationship. That has been true even when there were political circumstances that could have changed that relationship.

    However, the GOP leadership under the Dome certainly does not lean too much to the right and Alan knows that.

    I think the fork has been inserted whether Barnes wins or not.

  6. Jane says:

    The GOP is not as Geographically or ideologically balanced as I would have liked. No serious South Georgia Republican on the ballot. The Dem’s are using the old GOP “Coverdale” Plan of putting all their eggs in the top of the ticket. This failed for the GOP in the 90’s and will be just as bad for the Dem’s this time around. The Dem’s are losing their down ticket farm team and the GOP is becoming more elitist shifting its power to those country clubs above I-20. Neither is good.

  7. Reports of the Democratic Party’s death is greatly exaggerated. Just two years ago people were saying the GOP was finished. A few years before that some said the Dems wouldn’t regain control of Congress again in our lifetimes.

  8. CobbGOPer says:

    He should go for it and switch parties already. Why not? It worked for Sonny and Nathan “Raw” Deal. Why is it that our party here in Georgia is consistently being led by former Democrats we should not be trusting?

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