Archive for the ‘2010 elections’ Category

Ethics fight shows poor governance of those who govern Georgia

After Nathan Deal was elected governor last year, his team was understandably eager to change the conversation from the ethics allegations that dogged his campaign to how he would govern.

Months later, the talk surrounding Deal has come full circle. The state ethics agency’s director, Stacey Kalberman, claims her salary was slashed and her deputy’s job eliminated not because of budget constraints, but because they had just prepared subpoenas for their inquiry into Deal’s campaign spending.

Absent any new revelations, the story is a matter of he said, she said, with obvious motivations for each side. The benefit of the doubt for many Georgians will lie with Kalberman, given the curious timing of the budget concerns and the sheer number of complaints against Deal dating back to his tenure in Congress.

The best argument in Deal’s favor may be that going after Kalberman — and turning an under-the-radar investigation into a full-blown media frenzy — would be an awfully dumb …

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Allen West on growing up in Atlanta, and ladders versus hammocks

A first-term South Florida congressman may seem an odd headliner for one of the year’s biggest fund-raisers for Georgia Republicans. To understand, you have to know Allen West.

West grew up in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward and graduated from Grady High School before going on to college and a career in the Army. Last November, he was one of the first two black Republicans elected to Congress since 2000, and already he has become a crowd pleaser among conservatives and a lightning rod for the left.

His speech at Monday’s GOP dinner in downtown Atlanta upheld both reputations. West compared America’s journey to Homer’s “The Odyssey,” with the hero beset by the siren song of “hope and change,” twin monsters of debt and the deficit, and the Calypso-like complacency and dependency of the social-welfare state.

But earlier, West’s theme of “coming home” was personal as the 50-year-old played back-seat tour guide of his old stomping grounds.

He led a small party …

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Tea party made clash with public-sector unions inevitable

A showdown like the ones we’re seeing in state capitals across the Midwest has been building since the idea of a tea party movement was born on a Chicago trading floor.

It’s fitting that union members began amassing in, and Democratic lawmakers fleeing from, the Wisconsin state Capitol within days of the second anniversary of CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s now-famous, on-air tirade from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Santelli, you’ll recall, ranted about federal bailouts and then called for “a Chicago tea party” to protest them.

Two months later, tea parties were held nationwide, and American politics was transformed. Just ask any member of Congress who was involuntarily retired last year by the voters.

The tea party caught on as a popular movement in large part because, in the aftermath of the financial panic and the bailouts and the stimulus, the common American taxpayer looked around and realized he was the only “special interest” without a seat at the table. …

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Turnout figures not very promising for Georgia Democrats

The AJC’s Political Insider has posted an item about voter turnout in last November’s election by race, noting that African Americans made up 28 percent of the electorate. The post cites Democratic consultant Jim Coonan, who, looking at the turnout figures as well as some data from Gallup that also came out Monday, concludes that

the underlying partisanship of the electorate says that Democrats are very competitive in Georgia.

And yet, Georgia Democrats got clobbered. That our base is turning out and voters are evenly split in their underlying partisanship and yet we are still getting clobbered tells us just how bad a job our Party has been doing at persuading swing voters that our platform and our programs actually work for them.

With all due respect to Coonan, I think Democratic optimism about is unwarranted based on the numbers. A few thoughts why:

1. The fact that Gallup’s party-identification polling from 2010 shows Republicans with an edge of just 43 percent to 41.4 …

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House GOP must not go wobbly on spending cuts

The good news out of Washington is that conservative House members, including a number of newcomers, appear to be stiffening GOP leaders’ resolve to cut federal spending.

The bad news? That those leaders needed additional steel in the first place.

Many of the millions of Americans who voted for Republicans last year, shifting power in the House away from Democrats on a historic scale, did so despite harboring worries that the new GOP majority wouldn’t deliver on its lofty promises.

It was only four years earlier, these voters remembered, that they’d cast out Republicans who had proven not to be fiscal conservatives. Worries remained, particularly among independents, that Republicans might fall off the wagon again if given the chance.

It’s safe to say those who voted Republican anyway found the alternative — two more years of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — untenable. The balloting was less a celebration of Republicans than “a restraining order” on Democrats, as P.J. O’Rourke wrote in …

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Testing the idea that social cons are in retreat

I don’t disagree with what the AJC’s Political Insider wrote about the shift in influence among Georgia’s conservatives, from the religious right to more libertarian types. And the same dynamic was present in the tea-fueled Republican resurgence last year that saw the supposedly regionally limited GOP win big well beyond the Bible Belt.

The question, as the Insider recognized, is how long this dynamic lasts. Even as tea partyers were taking the initiative last year, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was roundly criticized on the right for broaching the idea of a “truce” on social issues while we sort out the nation’s fiscal mess.

Operating on the belief that social conservatives will still have a large say nationally in 2012 is former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the subject of an interview and column today by the Washington Post’s George Will:

In 1994, when Rick Santorum was a second-term Pennsylvania congressman seeking a U.S. Senate seat, a columnist asked him how he was going …

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Boehner: The cuts we promised are still on (video)

Republicans, in their Pledge to America during last year’s campaign, promised to cut federal spending to “pre-stimulus, prebailout levels saving at least $100 billion in the first year alone.” A New York Times story reported that House leaders were backpedaling as they prepared to take office this week, but new Speaker John Boehner refuted that claim in a press conference today:

(Video from The Right Scoop)

Here’s the operative line about spending from the video:

I will say this: We will meet our commitment to the pledge in this calendar year. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it.

I’ll consider that a doubling down on the pledge from the speaker.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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Getting some of the money out of (holding) elections

Tinkering with election laws can be tricky. Voters are understandably sensitive to changes that feel restrictive, and Georgia must get federal approval for any tweaks.

If Secretary of State Brian Kemp gets his way, any election reforms will be deliberate.

Last month, in a column asking if it makes sense to hold runoff elections that draw as few as 5 percent of the voters, I mentioned Kemp was forming a committee to weigh election changes. After naming its members, he sat down with me to discuss some of his ideas.

First, here’s Kemp’s charge for the group: “Keep the elections secure, make them more secure, but also look at cost savings.”

And remember: Be patient.

“I think it’ll be interesting to see what the Legislature is going to tackle this year. And things they don’t, I think they’ll have a good place [Kemp’s committee] to throw things for us to look at over the next year. …

“And I’ve cautioned a lot of the legislators: Don’t make a rash decision on …

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Top 2010 story: One most people have stopped following

At least it’s tops according to the Associated Press, which named the BP Gulf oil spill as the year’s No. 1 story. This, even though the predicted apocalypse for the coast’s ecology and economy has yet to materialize. (Well, except for the drilling moratorium the White House imposed through manipulation of scientific opinion — a “man-caused disaster” and “restoring science to its rightful place” two-fer!)

Here’s the AP’s explanation:

The April 20 explosion at a BP-leased rig killed 11 workers and unleashed a deep-sea spill that ultimately spewed at least 170 million gallons of crude into the Gulf. Consequences included devastation for fishing and tourism industries, a huge and costly cleanup effort, a management change at BP, and creation of a $20 billion fund to pay for damages.

The rest of the news wire’s top 10:

2. Health Care Overhaul

3. U.S. Elections

4. U.S. Economy

5. Haiti Earthquake

6. Tea Party Movement

7. Chile Mine Rescue

8. Iraq

9. WikiLeaks

10. Afghanistan

(The …

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Tea partiers should be boiling at $1.1 trillion bill

We’re in need of some fresh, hot tea, and not just because it’s been so cold outside.

Senate Democrats — and some Republican accomplices — want to defy the will of the voters and have one last big-government hurrah. If there was ever a moment for tea partiers to prove to everyone that they’re not going away, this is it.

The immediate threat is a $1.1 trillion spending bill, with some 6,500 earmarks in its nearly 2,000 pages, which Senate Democrats suddenly unveiled Tuesday and want to pass ASAP. The bill would essentially freeze the bloated federal budget through the end of this fiscal year.

In every respect, this is the kind of action voters rejected at the ballot box last month. It is a budget-busting, debt-inducing, written-in-the-dark and rammed-through-before-daylight bill.

Democrats didn’t have the courage to pass such a spending bonanza before the election. They knew the public would punish them for it, and they took the unusual step of refusing to pass an …

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