Yep. It’s True.

When Clayton and I started Peach Pundit, one of the cool things about it was the idea that we should put both Democrats and Republicans on the front page who were willing to write openly and frankly about their own sides. It was not intended to be a site that took a particular view, but rather took the view that we should cover what was happening within our respective parties as objectively as we, with known biases, could.

We timed it perfectly in that state blogging was really taking off and we cornered the market here in Georgia with independent blogging. If you look at Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, and several other places, what you find is that a lot of political consultants have started blogs and the opinions of the people they write about rise and fall corresponding to payments into the bloggers’ consulting businesses. People write nice things about people and positions hoping to curry favors, open doors, and shape agendas.

To be sure, that happens some in Georgia, but I like to think Peach Pundit forestalled the wider expansion of this phenomenon just given the level of readership and the insistence that we cover our own partisan side as objectively as we could — again knowing we had stated biases.

Part of that came with accountability. In that vein, Charlie’s title change yesterday was in every way accurate and, as I said in the email in which I endorsed Alex Johnson, I will not be at the State Convention.

I have been an elected Republican official, a volunteer lawyer for a former President, a pro bono lawyer for the local Republican Party in Bibb County, run a number of races in the state, been the repeated parliamentarian for the 8th District convention, the last chairman of the Georgia Federation of College Republicans, the first chairman of the Georgia Association of College Republicans, a precinct chair, an area chair, and a pretty regular participant in local party politics until four years ago.

I have not been to a local Republican meeting in Bibb County in four years. When I left City Council in Macon due to taking my job at WSB, I also withdrew from that local participation.

I did not, however, think that it required me to forego my opinion on who should be Chairman of the Party on whose behalf I still knock on doors, make phone calls for its candidates, and aid in other areas.

I do not agree with Alex Johnson on every issue. But I have noticed the disturbing trend in Georgia’s Republican circles that many of the very people who lament we are a shrinking party and need to expand have just as big a list of people they don’t want in the party as those who they accuse of being exclusionary. What has been happening in local parties in the metro area and the organized efforts to exclude the “other” and preclude discussion on issues dear to the base have been particularly troubling.

The power of the Chairman of the Party is limited in the ability to shape policy. The Chair has no actual power in moving legislation. But the choice of Chairman can serve as a wake up call to elected officials. I think the Georgia Republican Party needs such a wake up call.

Your mileage may vary and the brilliance of this site is that those who have a dog in the fight and no dog at all can hash out their varying opinions on the subject.

10 comments

  1. I’ll revise my remarks from the other thread:

    Let me start by saying I don’t agree with Erick on the GOP Chairman’s race. At the convention I’ll be voting for John Padgett. I think he’s done a good job and no offense to Alex Johnson, I don’t think he’s prepared to lead the Georgia GOP.

    However, the people who will gather in Athens in a few weeks for the GOP convention represent a tiny fraction of the number of Republicans in this State. Delegates would be wise to remember that. If the Georgia GOP gets too far away from the views of the larger Republican base, it will cease to be relevant.

    I’ll also say I complete agree with this:

    “I do not agree with Alex Johnson on every issue. But I have noticed the disturbing trend in Georgia’s Republican circles that many of the very people who lament we are a shrinking party and need to expand have just as big a list of people they don’t want in the party as those who they accuse of being exclusionary. What has been happening in local parties in the metro area and the organized efforts to exclude the “other” and preclude discussion on issues dear to the base have been particularly troubling.”

    We should all remember this quote from Russell Kirk:

    The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.

  2. David says:

    As I read this I envision you typing in a Fred Flinstone buffalo hat on. The grand poobah of the Peach Pundit. I hate that I will miss the State and District Convention this year.

  3. thomrey says:

    I have grave concerns about Alex Johnson being chairman. If he spent as much time actually working within the party to grow and improve it as he does running for office (State Senate, DeKalb GOP Chair, GAGOP Committeeman, GAGOP Chairman) he would have a leg to stand on. Instead, he stands by complaining about those who commit themselves to trying to make a difference. Those who know him best do not support him. That is why he fails to win elections even within his home county party.

    Alex has done a great job of being the ringleader of the “non-establishment” movement for the past few years. He has a few valid points. However, it’s the messenger who has a problem. If that movement found a credible candidate to lead their charge, they might have a chance. Alex won’t get them to the Promised Land.

    A weakened party, which is what we will have if Alex is elected, only benefits talk radio hosts like Erickson because people will be looking for a leader in the dark. Bottom line, neither Alex or Erick are those leaders.

  4. bruhsam says:

    You seem to be mistaking a view about yourself as a view about the Republican party in Georgia.

    You’ve constructed several strawmen in this post and claimed credit for at least one thing that was merely luck. My personal favorite is “We timed it perfectly in that state blogging was really taking off…” Do you truly want to claim you prognosticated the success of the blogging platform?

    You’re also doing our neighboring states’ political literati a disservice painting them with the brush of the Hired Gun Paid Consultant. Makes you sound good, but is it really true? No, it is not.

    You’ve had 6 posts here in the past 12 months (including this one), two of which were puff Easter pieces, and one other was a cut-paste to your radio show. Claiming relevance because you helped found this blog isn’t useful unless you are an active participant.

    If you want to defend yourself against the *opinion* of someone else on this blog, I suggest you dig out some better rhetoric than that shown here. Perhaps just stick to the, “I don’t need to be a constant attendee at Bibb County to know a person and have an opinion on their worth.” Otherwise it’s *my* opinion that your strawman arguments are better kept on your radio show.

  5. androidguybill says:

    Well what kind of Republican Party do you want to have? One that generally gives the corporate interests of this state what they want, enacts “safe”, center-right legislation like gun rights bills, charter schools, corporate income tax rate cuts and does little else? Or do you want a Republican Party that enacts a legitimate social and fiscal conservative agenda?

    Well, if the former is what you want, it is pretty much the same as this state got when Zell Miller and company ran this state. It is not a Republican or conservative agenda. It is a Democrat agenda from the 1950s or even the Jimmy Carter Georgia GOP of the 1970s. Fiscally moderate, either overtly liberal on social issues or covertly liberal (which means being silent and putting up no real resistance to the left’s social issue agenda). If that constitutes success for you, then why not try to take the Democrat Party – the party that the vast majority of Georgia Republicans voted for in state and local elections until 1994 – back from the Stacey Abrams crowd? (I do find it “interesting” that a lot of the Republicans on this blog attack their own right flank far more often – and more vehemently – than they do Abrams, the very liberal de facto leader of the opposition party.) You can still do that and vote GOP in national elections like Georgia GOPers did since 1972 while still supporting Dems locally.

    Otherwise, you are asking the huge swath of Georgia GOP voters that are more conservative than you – social and religious conservatives, people for whom fiscal conservatism means actually reducing government and spending rather than merely slowing its rate of increase – to keep voting for and electing Jimmy Carter (again, the Georgia version, not the national version) and Zell Miller in return for absolutely nothing at all. And amazingly, the GOPers who are asking this of their more conservative fellow travelers do not realize that this is a raw deal; an arrangement that does not provide them with any benefits whatsoever. It benefits the corporate interests, who gets a favorable tax/regulation/labor situation and almost as much in tax incentives for doing business here as they have to pay out in salaries. It benefits the moderate Republicans, who do not have to be publicly associated with “the crazies” on the right. It benefits the establishment Republicans, who keep getting elected with little real opposition and can easily retire from public office or party leadership positions to lobbyist or legal positions for the very companies or industries that they wrote legislation for or gave incentives to. But if you are to the right of, say, Susan Collins or Johnny Isakson (who was the Democrats’ favorite Republican during the Democratic hegemony) it is 6 of one versus half a dozen of the other. So why even bother?

    Now I will admit: I disagreed with Erickson on the transportation issue, largely because I believe that infrastructure is a core function of state and local government. But on other issues, the GOP has to show how life under them is different than it would have been had Roy Barnes beat Sonny Perdue in in 2002. (Especially seeing that had that happened, the recessions would not have hammered Georgia quite as badly as it did. Yes that is true … being a Republican doesn’t inherently make you a better governor from a leadership or policy standpoint, and Perdue spent 8 years providing almost nothing of either, and when combined with the similarly weak leadership of the mayor of Atlanta during that time, it was a total disaster.) And even on transportation, the GOP could have thrown a bone to the non-Rockefeller Republicans, and yes an RFRA (modeled on the one that Barack Obama supported when in the Illinois state legislature) would have been an excellent place to start.

  6. bsjy says:

    Not being active in party politics, I cannot speak to the content of Erick’s post. So I will focus on his mis-use of the word ‘forego.’ Spell-check won’t save Erick here, for forego is a word. It is not the right word, however. The right word is ‘forgo.’

    Let’s review the ‘for’ prefix: forgo, forbear, forgive. In all cases, the ‘for’ means ‘not’ as in not go, not bear/resist, not give.

    The challenge for writers is that the ‘fore’ prefix often is used with the same roots: forego, forebear, as in “go before” and “ancestor.”

    English is a lovely, complicated, persnickety language. Treasure it, and respect it.

  7. DanPhillips says:

    I agree with Erick on many things. I intend to support Johnson. I agree that the desire to purge people from the party does not serve either side well. I represent a faction that is likely to be on the losing end of such purges, but I have no desire to purge moderates either because I think it is counterproductive. Better to out manuever, out vote and out reason them, or better yet, convert them, than to just run them off.

    I say this because I have no desire to look like I’m piling on Erick, but I think Erick is being a bit hypocritical decrying attempts to exclude the other. IIRC, Red State banned new accounts for Ron Paul supporters in 2008 and banned discussion of the Fed and the gold standard. I do not recall if discussion of noninterventionism was outright banned, but I do believe at the least a heavy editorial hand was employed.

    Buzz’s Kirk quote is important, but it cuts two ways. It is true that conservatism is not an ideological dogma, but that is not, and Kirk did not intend it to be, an all purpose appologia for moderation. It also suggests that conservatives actually want to CONSERVE things. Phony “money” and “transforming” the Middle East into a Jeffersonian Democracy by force of arms are not conservative projects.

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