Denise Majette: A Remembrance

March 18, 2013 11:21 am

by Stefan · 16 comments

A couple weeks ago I saw this AJC headline “Former Congresswoman Faces Possible Disbarment”. I knew before clicking that it would be my old boss, Denise Majette. I worked for her on her run for Senate in Communications, but once the campaign began in earnest, I was also her driver.

If you ever get the chance to work as the driver or body person for a state-wide candidate, do it. The Big Pig Jig, Barnesville Buggy Days, there is no end to the Georgia delights beyond the big cities.

Georgia is a big state and the schedule was often tight with events separated by large swaths of highway. I would drive while she slept. And once she fell asleep, I would drive as fast as I could (which wasn’t that fast, really, Crown Victorias being what they are) secure in the belief the Congressional license plates would keep us out of serious trouble. When we arrived at some event (Farm Day in Lumber City?) at which we were guaranteed to be late but I had delivered us to early, she figured it out and the next day removed the Congressional plates and replaced them with Georgia ones herself. She wasn’t one to take unfair advantage.

The entire campaign was like that. 2004 was Kerry-Bush, but for us it was Isakson-Majette. By believing she should run, she pissed off everyone. She angered her original supporters, who had delivered her Congressional win, who had worked so hard to help her defeat Cynthia McKinney who ended up winning the seat back. She pissed off state wide Democrats, who saw Cliff Oxford, who she defeated in the primary, as their best chance, and she took on Johnny Isakson, who was beloved. The only people excited about her decision to run for Senate were Cynthia McKinney’s crew, who despised Denise no matter what. Even her own staff were shocked by her decision.

Wherever we went we felt that anger. At a Halloween themed parade in Gwinnett County, we handed out candy, only for the parents to tell their kids not to take candy from us or instruct them to throw it back at us. Note: Sweettarts in the hands of a 14 year old with a good arm leave bruises.

But Denise believed she was right, she cared about issues. She believed she was the best person for the job. Few Georgians agreed. We knew we had to run a strong comparative campaign. We couldn’t raise much money, people laughed at our paper plates ad (contrasting our paper plates with Isakson’s 1k/plate fundraisers), but we gained few adherents. And in the end we got trounced.

But she believed in herself, and believed it was the right thing to do. It cost her not just her seat in Congress, but any friends who could help her afterward. So this woman who went from Workers Compensation Judge Majette, to Dekalb County Judge Majette, to Congresswoman Majette, was suddenly just Denise. And that lonely name ushered in a lonely existence. The last time I talked to her she called me for help. She wasn’t running for anything, just needed assistance. I offered what little I could, but what she needed was a time machine.

Several Georgia Congressmen are about to make the same decision that Denise made. Broun, Gingrey, Kingston, Price, almost all of them think they will be Georgia’s next Senator. Almost all of them are wrong. And when they lose the election, they will lose “Congressman” from in front of their names, and they will find out how many friends they really have. It might be fewer than they’d thought.

griftdrift March 18, 2013 at 11:43 am

“She angered her original supporters, who had delivered her Congressional win, who had worked so hard to help her defeat Cynthia McKinney who ended up winning the seat back”

Write on the chalkboard 100 times.

What she did to the citizens of Dekalb was unforgivable.

Self_Made March 18, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I know. I was one of those supporters. And I’m still angry.

chamblee54 March 18, 2013 at 11:48 am

When we were about to invade Iraq, I wanted to go on the record as being opposed to the conflict. I wrote Ms. Majette, as well as Senators Saxby Chambliss and Zell Miller.
Ms. Majette sent a long, thoughtful reply. She said that certain votes, in the congress and the United Nations, made the war inevitable. She said that once the fighting starts, we should support the troops, and hold off on arguments about the war.
chamblee54

SOWEGA March 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm

“She said that certain votes, in the congress and the United Nations, made the war inevitable.”

- 2002: European Union condemns Saddam’s government for its “systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law”
- 1998 Iraq Liberation Act: Signed by President Clinton calls for overthrow of Saddam regime
- 1991-2003: Saddam repeatedly ignores No Fly Zone and fires weekly at U.S. and U.N. Aircraft
- 1990: Saddam invades Kuwait, claims it as the 19th Iraqi province
- 1986-1988: Saddam uses chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds
- 1980 (Iran/Iraq War): Saddam employs poison gas against Iranians and Kurds on Iraqi border

bowersville March 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm

The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
8 December 1941 – The United States of America…declare[s] war on Japan.
11 December 1941 – Germany and Italy declared war on the United States of America. Then,
11 December 1941 – The United States of America declared war on Germany and Italy.

Reads a little different. GA has GA National Guard troops being activated for Afghanistan. One family in our area is sending a father and son this spring. With sequestration their deployment may be extended as funds for training replacements decrease. Why is it inevitable that the President will keep ground troops in Afghanistan until the end of 2014?

War shouldn’t be inevitable. Majette and many others were wrong. Me included.

gcp March 18, 2013 at 11:55 am

But God told her to run for senate so how could she lose?

Andre March 18, 2013 at 12:27 pm

The same God told Ralph Reed to run for Lt. Governor, so I think God should stay out of politics because He doesn’t exactly have a good record of picking winners.

John Vestal March 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

+∞

Napoleon March 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm

God may have told her to run, but He didn’t say she would win.

David C March 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Clearly, God needs to get out of the business of picking winners and losers. Those 40 years in the desert were the original Solyndra.

saltycracker March 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Ego is a terrible thing.

drjay March 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

i’ve heard a lot of things about majette through the years, not sure what if any is true–stuff like she really didn’t like congress, that the black caucus didn’t exactly embrace her because they felt like she was something of an uncle tom for how she ousted “one of their own”, that she really liked being a judge and would have preferred going back to it given the chance, that the folks of dekalb felt bamboozled by her one term and out, which allowed mckinney back in, and even before that that mckinney had her crowd frothing to primary her right back anyway…just seems like she was “star-crossed” from the get go…but again all of that may be a bunch of hooey–all y’all from up there would have to set me straight on what’s fact and what’s fiction…

drjay March 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

also i don’t think most gop congressmen would suffer her fate if they don’t achieve the senate, people still like mac collins, and max burns, and even bob barr…

Dave Bearse March 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

And if the GOP Congressmen are cronies in good standing, there’s six figure Department Head, Commissioner or GPTV jobs available.

tdk790 March 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

“Several Georgia Congressmen are about to make the same decision that Denise made. Broun, Gingrey, Kingston, Price, almost all of them think they will be Georgia’s next Senator. Almost all of them are wrong.”

Funny. I’m a Price fan and I think it is fairly obvious he isn’t running. But if he was planning on it, I can see a simple sentence on a blog like this scaring him.

Scarlett March 20, 2013 at 12:03 am

You would be surprised. A single sentence on a political blog can wreak all sorts of havoc in this stupid state.

Comments on this entry are closed.