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.