Going After Nunn

While Michelle Nunn makes plans to run for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has some things to say about her:

“While Sam Nunn would be considered a conservative extremist by Washington Democrats’ standards today, his daughter Michelle Nunn is to the left of Barack Obama and believes the Occupy Movement is the future of America,” said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. “Why has Nunn been silent over her stances? Because Nunn’s extreme record of praising radical liberal groups like the Occupy Movement illustrates just how dangerously out of touch she is with voters in Georgia.”

Full email here.

So, where does Michelle Nunn stand on the issues? Is she the candidate the Democrats need to lead them back to the promised land? Discuss.


  1. drjay says:

    if she runs, she is going to have a lot of goodwill right out of the gate by virtue of her lineage–it will be interesting to see how she is defined and to see if the gop can define her without looking like thuggish bullies…

  2. griftdrift says:

    “While Sam Nunn would be considered a conservative extremist by Washington Democrats’ ”

    And would be considered a weak, absent Richard Lugar like liberal by Georgia Republicans.

  3. George Chidi says:

    Well now. Occupy has been invoked. That merits a word from an Occupier.

    This is the text of Michelle Nunn’s editorial in the Washington Post from 2011 about the Occupy movement. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-12-20/national/35286903_1_millennials-volunteer-opportunities-social-responsibility

    It begins by name checking Occupy before launching into a broader discussion of how millenials are not reflexively anticapitalist and would prefer to reform business practices from the inside … which is rather my own position.

    This is the closing — and demonstrative — paragraph:

    “Despite the economic downturn and the headlines, the nation’s private sector is still lively. The values behind Occupy Wall Street are manifesting themselves in the marketplace and companies that are failing to take notice should start. These people-powered movements may not have stopped the markets in their tracks, but they are creating the demand for new forms of corporate behavior and ethical imperatives. The winning brands of the future will be ones that authentically respond.”

    Now, let’s just say that I didn’t see Michelle Nunn marching the streets with Occupy Atlanta a couple of years ago. Nunn is a one-percenter’s one percenter — a child of fabulous familial wealth and social position who as far as I can tell has achieved little that can’t be attributed to the powerful connections of Sam Nunn.

    Michelle Nunn’s candidacy is predicated almost completely on name recognition and the implied fundraising capabilities of her father, a fellow who sits on the board of directors of multinational corporations like Coca Cola, Dell Computer, General Electric and Chevron. She represents the antithesis of egalitarian governance and a complete breakdown of the bootstrapping model of success I prefer to think of when evaluating Democrats. I find the noblesse oblige of her candidacy a little off-putting.

    Perhaps I can be convinced otherwise, but right now I’m inclined to look for another candidate or to withhold my primary vote entirely from her.

    I don’t doubt her intelligence. But Senate seats should not be hereditary positions, and she ain’t paid her dues. They’re running her because she’s financially qualified and least likely to be embarrassing. Full stop.

    • Noway says:

      I swear I just saw a pig fly past my window. I just agreed with George! Oxygen…I need oxygen!

  4. George Chidi says:

    There’s nothing particularly mysterious about the political calculations in play here. Democrats are hoping for a Todd Akin candidate to emerge on the right. They’re looking for Broun, or for one of the other candidates to surprise people with a Richard Mourdock impersonation. Under those circumstances, Democrats are hoping that a female moderate Democrat can close the gap if the Republican is odious in a state Obama lost by all of eight points.

    Republicans are aware of this calculation. Their competitive reaction will be to paint Nunn as extremely liberal, if possible, to cut off losses among moderate Republican women. I would rather expect the opposition research folks to be digging into her church attendance, her relationship with Ron Martin, the activities of Hands on Atlanta, whatever they can to make her look liberal. They’re also going to be looking hard at whatever they can find about her advocacy for women’s issues to prepare a counter-attack, assuming their candidate self-immolates with something stupid.

    The fact that the National Republican Senatorial Committee has begun preparing now, putting this shot out across the bow, speaks both to their view of Nunn’s potential as a candidate in the worst-case-scenario … and their fear of the worst-case-scenario.

    My read on this is simple. The Republican folks in Washington think Broun is viable. And they don’t like that at all.

        • George Chidi says:

          That’s the other side of the coin. Nunn is going to go out of her way — comically so, I suspect — to avoid being defined at all until it’s clear who the general election opposition will be. We’ll see rosy biography tying her to her father and some broad strokes about her work leading volunteer organizations. Perhaps her Ivy League education credentials will be touted. Perhaps not — this is Georgia, after all.

          Her candidacy — beyond the fact that she’ll have corporate, family and Washington money backing her — will be an emotional appeal to keep idiot conservative Republicans from sticking a government ultrasound wand in womens’ hoo-hahs and calling rape something other than an obscenity. I suspect that her campaign will think that the less anyone looks at anything else about her, the better. But I’m prepared to be surprised on that count.

  5. Ed says:

    “Beloved former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn”


    “How far will Nunn’s famous name take her”


    I love when people who have no idea about a local political situation fly in with a post. I also feel politicos vastly overstate the influence/respect for pols.

    • James Fannin says:

      This Republican voting soldier would probably vote for Sam Nunn in an instant if he were the candidate and not his daughter. This Georgian was proud of Senator Sam Nunn’s tenure as Chairman of the Armes Services Committee. My favorite memory of his tenure was when Act Up pulled a “kiss in” in his Senate office to protest his position on gays in the military with a bunch of men making out. There is a big difference between homosexual activity in the abstract and the “in your face” public display of affection. Reportedly Sam was unimpressed and some suggested more than a little ill. That little display probably kept openly gay volunteers out of the military for almost 20 years.

      • Ken says:

        Jimmy Carter is why I became a conservative. Sam Nunn is why I became a partisan Republican.

        My memory of Sam Nunn is when he flew to California to prop up the re-election bid of ultra liberal California Senator Alan Cranston. Cranston’s lefetime ACU rating was (IF I remember correctly) was a 5 while Nunn’s was a 45. Cranston’s Republican opponent was much closer to Nunn philosophically than Cranston but Nunn put party ahead of beliefs. It was then that I realized party does matter in DC and while people may “vote for the man, not the party” they are being naive, at best.

        Thanks, Sam, you taught me an important lesson. I’ll remember it when I don’t vote for your daughter in November of 2014.

  6. James Fannin says:

    And now that I think about it, maybe Sam should run. After all, he’s just a few years older than Phil Gingrey who, if he were elected, would actually be older than Saxby when he retired.

  7. Trey A. says:

    Michelle is a big deal because of what she means to the Democratic Party in Georgia. More so than Roy Barnes or John Barrow (the Dems lone bright spot in this state in a long time), her candidacy will get people excited. And it will likely be well-funded and well-publicized enough to win over “hearts and minds” (if not the votes) of potential split ticket voters.

    Best case scenario for the Dems: Michelle Nunn runs a campaign that looks a lot like a much better funded, much more publicized Carol Porte LT. Governor campaign. AKA, a charming centrist with good talking points running against a somewhat troubling GOP opponent. Nunn’s candidacy has the potential to blaze the way for folks like Kasim Reed, Jason Carter and the generation that hopes to turn Georgia Purple over the next decade.

    I’m sort of surprised that George is not a fan. Who are you looking for instead? David Poythress? Jim Marshall? Shirley Franklin? The bench just isn’t there. Barrow’s not running. Reed and Carter aren’t ready to run yet. David Scott? What other better chances/choices do you have? To me, the other option is to simply forfeit.

    • George Chidi says:

      Reed and Carter are more ready to run than she is … because they’ve done it before.

      Sure, run Shirley Franklin. Or the U.S. Attorney for Atlanta, Sally Yates, who has the chops but not the cash. Poythress is a fine candidate. Give me someone who has earned it.

      I’m not a fan because I don’t like seeing people with inherited wealth acting as though that means they can inherit political power as well. Unless I have evidence someone has been in the trenches without drawing on their family name, I reflexively oppose all family politicians.

      I grew up in Massachusetts and never voted for a Kennedy. I felt the same way about Bush. Gore as well — I wrote in Jesse Ventura in 2000. Hillary Clinton bugs me along these lines, too, but she didn’t inherit her position: she earned it through merit. Big difference. I’m trying to squint and look sideways at Carter … two generations past is edging into acceptability, and he’s working in the trenches now. But it’s an issue for me.

      Democracy dies when we allow it to become an inherited aristocracy. I’m not sure it matters to me that Nunn might be the best candidate running. The egalitarian principle matters more.

      • Trey A. says:

        Fair enough. In my opinion, getting the name Nunn back on the ballot is a win for the Democratic Party in Georgia because of the attention, fundraising and clout it will engender. I imagine most in the Democratic Party would welcome that with open arms.

        Regardless, I’ll be voting in the GOP primary when the time comes so that I can do my best to ensure we don’t wind up with Paul Broun representing us in the U.S. Senate.

  8. rightofcenter says:

    I do know Michelle, and if she is the best chance for the Dems to win, they really are in trouble (at least until the demographic tide turns). She is a very nice, bright, and capable person, but she has zero qualifications to be a U. S. Senator. She’s great at running non-profits, but she’s much more of an introvert than an outgoing people person like Carol Porter. To say that she is not a natural politician is not an insult, but it’s the truth. And if she were to run and ran true to her beliefs, she would run as an urban liberal in the mold of any of the white, liberal women serving in the general assembly. Not a recipe for winning a statewide race, even against a joke like Paul Broun if it comes to that.

  9. Romegaguy says:

    18 months before the General and the DC Republicans are already attacking the perceived Democratic frontrunner. Sounds like someone is worried

    • Harry says:

      And the Atlanta Democrats and RINOs are already attacking the perceived Republican frontrunner.

          • TheEiger says:

            Thanks that helps a lot. I don’t know why I even asked, I should have just tried reading your mind. Who do you think is the frontrunner? Why? I don’t think there is a clear frontrunner. Look like a four way race right now.

                • Ken says:

                  I’m trying to read Harry’s mind, but all I’m getting is a color wheel.

                  Who’s going to go sacrifice a goat and read its entrails so we’ll know who Harry believes to be the GOP frontrunner?*

                  *I’m fresh out of goats, so don’t ask.

Comments are closed.