Author: Icarus

Unconventional Wisdom

O.K., looks like I’m not the only contributor who’s been tied up all day. I’ll still be scarce through tomorrow, so you can connect the dots here in lieu of my usual elaborate commentary:

Jan Jones, of Milton Fulton County, is doing robo-calls for Nathan Deal.

This is House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones calling for Nathan Deal for governor. As Georgia’s highest-ranking female legislator….It’s not about gender. It’s about leadership.

The “highest ranking female legislator” wants you to know it’s not about gender. I see what you did right there…

But I digress. The real point here is that Jones is from metro-Atlanta, and more specifically, Handel’s own county.

Yet in more rural parts of the State, or at least the parts that aren’t Atlanta, we have these tidbits:

Senator-elect Josh McKoon and former Columbus Mayor Bob Poyadesheff have endorsed Handel.

Further south, The Albany Herald – who previously endorsed Eric Johnson – has endorsed Karen Handel.

We’ve seen and read many articles (some of them here) that this is a race between rural Georgia and Atlanta. That there’s a gender gap with women voters preferring Handel while men prefer Deal. There’s not.

This is just a good old fashioned battle within the Republican party.

If You Didn’t Like Nathan Deal’s Principled Stand Against Race To The Top Dollars, You’ll Be Delighted To Know It Only Took 8 Hours For Him To Take A Different One

The Gainesville Times is reporting that Nathan Deal has reversed his statements of this morning that Georgia should reject “Race to the Top” education funds, and now wants to use them.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal has changed his tune on federal “Race to the Top” money.

After initially telling business leaders at a candidate forum today that he would reject the federal money for schools, Deal’s campaign said Tuesday afternoon that the candidate spoke on bad information.

Georgia is one of 18 finalists in the second round of the federal school reform grant competition. The state could share in some $3.4 billion if selected.

Originally, Deal thought the grant program would force the state to adhere to national education standards and said he wouldn’t take it.
His GOP runoff rival, Karen Handel, also at the forum, said she wouldn’t turn up her nose at the money. Handel said as long as Georgians are paying taxes to the federal government she would have a responsibility as governor to make sure it’s seeing its fair share.

Deal’s campaign spokesman, Brian Robinson, likened participation in the program to taking free drugs from an illegal drug dealer.

“The thing with this federal money is it’s like a drug dealer: the first one’s free and then they’ve got you hooked and you play by their rules,” Robinson said.

All Deal Sock Puppets should report immediately to Mr. Robinson to get your new talking points entitled “some drug dealers serve local communities well.”

Hope Is A Train Wreck That Has Happened

No, that’s not the lyrics to a new Toby Keith song. That I’m aware of, anyway.

A House committee heard today that the Hope Scholarship fund will be short about a quarter of a billion dollars this year, and over three hundred million for the 2012 fiscal year. Thus summed up House Higher Education Committee Chair Len Walker (R-Loganville), “This is not a train wreck about to happen. The train wreck has happened.”

The AJC sums up a variety of reasons that Hope found itself in this trouble, including ever expanding eligibility and students showing up to college unprepared and thus unable to meet Hope’s standards (an amazing 54%).

The fact not directly mentioned in the AJC article, however, is the ever increasing budgets of Georgia’s public colleges. Most cuts passed along by the legislature proportional to other budget areas have been compensated for by ever increasing tuition rates. An attempt to rein in University system spending last year by the legislature met with a revolt of angry 4-H families.

My guess is, today’s committee meeting, little noticed within the home stretch of primary runoffs, will have large echos in both November and next January. This will not be just a general election issue, but potentially the start of a major battle over spending and tuition within the University System of Georgia.

Handel Leads In Landmark Poll, “Undecided” Leads In AG race With Olens Over Smith

Landmark Communications did a poll last evening of 800 Republican voters that they will release here at 4:30 (get your crosstabs, etc, there).

Here’s the summary:

Governor:

Handel: 45.8
Deal: 37.1
Undecided: 17.1

Attorney General:

Undecided: 56.7
Olens: 33.0
Smith: 10.3

I’m told that, bucking “conventional wisdom”, there is no gender gap among the Governor’s candidates. I’m also told that Sam Olens wins the 6th CD, whereas Smith isn’t winning anywhere. Thus, Sam’s clout in Republican rich Cobb is noteworthy.

Another Word Before You Leave Town, President Obama…

A federal judge today dismissed your Justice Department’s motion to dismiss Virginia’s case against Obamacare.

Georgia is part of a 20 state lawsuit using a similar defense, that the federal government does not have the constitutional power to enact many if not most of the parts of Obama’s heath care reform initiatives. The judge rules that it is an open constitutional question:

While this case raises a host of complex constitutional issues, all seem to distill to the single question of whether or not Congress has the power to regulate – and tax – a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce. Neither the U.S. Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals has squarely addressed the issue.

If I did this correctly, you can read the decision here. For now, consider the constitutionality of Obamacare officially under review.

The RNC Sends A Welcome Note To President Obama On His Arrival To Georgia

The following piece was forwarded to Peach Pundit on behalf of RNC Chairman Michael Steele. He seems to provide the case why Roy Barnes might want to make sure he doesn’t find that invitation he has to join Obama in Atlanta today:

President Obama Can’t Hide From The Facts As Rising Unemployment Welcomes Him To Atlanta

By RNC Chairman Michael Steele

President Obama is visiting Georgia just in time to address the new reports that show the Atlanta metro area’s unemployment numbers rising to 10.3 percent. Clearly the President’s big government policies aren’t working. Instead of putting Georgians back to work, his failed $862 billion stimulus, ObamaCare and proposed national energy tax have only led to more jobs lost, a national debt over $13 trillion, and a vast increase in the size and scope of the federal government.

It is time for the President to be honest with Georgians about his abysmal record since taking office. No more spin, no more lofty rhetoric, and no more passing the buck. Georgians want real answers. And as the “Campaigner In Chief” continues to criss-cross the country to raise money for the Democrat Party, his stop in Georgia seems like the perfect opportunity for him to talk about how his liberal, big-spending policies have been an utter failure for the Peach State.
Read more

Bank Failure Friday Stops In Acworth This Week

Another Friday, another Georgia Bank is closed:

Acworth-based NorthWest was acquired by State Bank & Trust under a loss-share agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. NorthWest’s branch in Acworth will reopen Saturday under the State Bank flag. A Marietta branch reopens Monday.

State Bank, based in Macon, will assume essentially all of NorthWest’s $167.7 million in assets and $159.4 million in deposits. The FDIC estimates the failure will cost its insurance fund $39.8 million

Chuck Pardue Out?

Peanut Politics is reporting on Facebook that Chuck Pardue is out of the race for Senate District 23, formerly held by Democrat J.B. Powell. Pardue had recently qualified to replace Powell offically as an Independent.

The remaining candidate in the race, Jesse Stone, is a Republican. Thus, assuming there is no mechanism to replace Pardue since he was an independent, the Republican caucus has likely picked up a member.

Meanwhile, Peanut Politics indicates that Pardue’s reasoning is “family issues”, and asks that you keep him and his family in your prayers. We extend the same request.

Paging John Konop

Nevermind, I’ll save him the trouble:

“I told you so.” – J. Konop.

Teens fared so poorly with Georgia’s newly accelerated sophomore math curriculum last school year that state officials want to put the lowest performers in an easier course in August that more can pass.

Only 52 percent of the students who took the End of Course Test for Math II in May passed, the state recently reported. Many students in metro Atlanta schools who took the tests squeaked by with barely passing grades, earning modest average scores of C’s and D’s for their districts.

The freshman class, meanwhile, fared somewhat better on the Math I End of Course Test, with 64 percent passing.

The benchmark scores reflect what several educators and parents have been saying all along: The new math curriculum, souped-up to get teens competitive for college, is leaving some students in the dust.

Discuss. Or not.

Happy Birthday Dr. Jay, Rep Hatfield

We take this opportunity to offer Dr. Jay his favorite YouTube as recognition of his birthday. If you have to ask, you just haven’t been around here long enough to know who’s won his last primary, either.

Dr. Jay shares a birthday with Rep. Mark Hatfield. Might as well wish him a good one while you’re at it. I don’t have a signature YouTube for him, so feel free to suggest one in your birthday greetings.

Otherwise, OPEN THREAD.

You Can’t Spell “Sorry” without ROY

Courtesy of the Georgia Republican Party:

From a press release:

Georgia Republican Party Releases New Video: “Roy is Sorry”

Atlanta—The Georgia Republican Party released a new video today
highlighting Roy Barnes’ numerous apologies to the many constituents he angered during his term. The video is part of the Georgia Republican Party’s noROYalty website (www.noroyalty.org), which encourages Georgia voters to deny Barnes’ quest for re-election.

“Roy can apologize all he wants but Georgians haven’t forgotten the failures during his tenure,” said Georgia Republican Party Chairman Sue Everhart. “We won’t hit rewind and return to a failing Barnes administration.”

Barnes was the first Governor to fail to achieve re-election since the 1970 law that allowed Georgia governors to succeed themselves.

Empty Podiums And Arrogance

The Atlanta Press Club will be hosting debates tomorrow including one for the Georgia 12th Congressional runoff candidates, Ray McKinney and Carl Smith. Except they won’t. Ray McKinney won’t be there. Thus, Carl Smith will debate himself, and Ray McKinney will be represented by “empty podium”.

Carl Smith has decided the drive to Atlanta is worth the TV exposure. Ray McKinney, according to the Savannah morning news, has elected to spend the 10 hours that would take in his district.

Much was made of the absence of Karen Handel at the Atlanta Press Club debate which was televised on GPTV. Handel had made her intentions known much earlier in the campaign, and did what she said she would do.

A general primary for Governor, and a runoff for a Congressional district on the other side of the state have different expectations for scheduling with a candidate. Any Candidate for Governor knows that there will be an APC/GPTV debate the weekend prior to the vote, and Handel in return gave plenty of time for the APC to alter their format if they chose to have her attend. Each side made their decisions accordingly.

A runoff election between two candidates for Congress in a district that does not touch metro Atlanta should have a different standard, however. At a minimum, the debate should be held in or near the district, so that the candidates can maximize time with those who can actually vote for them.

And why must the candidates drop what they’re doing this first critical weekend of a runoff – the first few critical days of a three week sprint where former challengers must be courted, funds must be secured, direct mail and other ads written, and a new GOTV effort launched?

From the APC:

GPB is entering its pledge drive next week, so we agreed to try to get in as many debates as possible before the drive begins.

The Atlanta Press Club and Georgia Public Broadcasting expect candidates to drop what they’re doing because GPB has a pledge drive. Awesome.

I find it extremely presumptious and arrogant that the Atlanta Press Club would think they should be able to dictate to a candidate from Southeast Georgia how a rare day during a runoff weekend should be spent, or be subjected to the “empty podium” embarassment.

Without A Runoff, Barnes Now Free To Ignore Democrats

And by “ignore Democrats”, I mean the Commander and Chief. And, those who support him.

Jim Galloway brings us word this morning that while President Barack Obama will be in Atlanta for a couple of events on August 2nd, Roy Barnes will be in South Georgia and has “no plans to change the schedule”.

Barnes upset some of the more “progressive” elements of his party when he read poll numbers showing 2/3 of Georgians support an Arizona type immigration law, and decided he did too. Now he fears being photographed with the President of his own party. Barnes didn’t support Obama in 2008 either, choosing instead the man with the better hair.

While it may appear to be a “smart” strategy to move to the center while the Republicans are trying to drive off a cliff to right, a word of caution; Those on the left most likely won’t ever vote for one of the Republicans, but they may stay home.

I’ve heard this from a few of the Democrats who post here, and I won’t try to steal too much of their case. I know there are some who are vocal who are tired of Georgia’s Democratic political establishment distancing itself from the President. I just don’t know how many of them there are. (but I have to admit I hope its a lot.)