Keeping track of language is essential to political observation. So many times, people actually mean what they say.
Over the last few days, the extreme use of words among Republicans had made it abundantly clear that the party, without a large dose of Xanax, is headed toward a frightful 2010 that will pit its right primary flank against its centrist, general-election appeal.
The most obvious national example: Dick Cheney on Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” who said he preferred Rush Limbaugh as the symbol of the Republican party over Colin Powell.
But local cases indicate the virus has reached near-pandemic proportions.
As Cheney questioned Powell’s Republican credentials, John Oxendine was sending out a blistering, intemperate response to an AJC story questioning the source of $120,000 in donations to his campaign for governor.
Much of the long, long message was directed at this newspaper. Not a problem.
But the paragraphs below singled out Secretary of State Karen Handel, only one of five Oxendine rivals for the nomination. The words are, in fact, a blueprint of Oxendine’s view of the next 13 months of the primary contest:
“We concede today that Georgia Republicans should anticipate the AJC will endorse Karen Handel in this primary. They will swoon about her “mainstream” approach and her “center of the road consensus building” approach to government. The AJC will praise her as a John McCain, go-along-to-get-along, centrist Republican….
We accept that John Oxendine is a target of the liberal, leftist, big government AJC and that Karen Handel is their type of centrist, anti-conservative Republican.
Poor McCain. No one loves a loser, even if he won the state six months ago.
A day earlier, Oxendine — who is expecting a joyous event this summer — had cut loose with an equally honest twitter noted by Creative Loafing:
“Ivy, JW and I had a great afternoon. We finished the nursery for baby Jake. The room is Confederate Gray. Reminds me of why I am running…”
Then there was the Monday tweet from Erick Erickson, the editor-in-chief of Redstate.com, who does not have a reputation for hiding his thoughts.
“Must work hard to destroy Charlie Crist’s Senate campaign. #TCOT The battle for the GOP comes down to Crist v. Rubio.”
Politico explains the above with this morning post:
The expected announcement Tuesday by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist that he’s running for the Senate would seem to be a rare bit of good news for beleaguered Republicans.
But while Crist is a brand-name recruit with sky-high approval ratings and bipartisan appeal, his path to keeping the seat of retiring Sen. Mel Martinez in GOP hands has at least one significant roadblock: Sunshine State conservatives.
Despite Crist’s widespread popularity, he faces a primary in which he will have to make his case to a restless GOP base dissatisfied with his high-profile advocacy for President Barack Obama’s stimulus and his handling of the state’s budget woes.
And he will be facing a vigorous fight from former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a young, outspoken Hispanic conservative who is capturing the attention of activists in Florida and across the country.
So strap yourselves in, people. And listen to what’s being said. In the meantime, consider these articles found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Spotlight at Democrats’ Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner will be on Roy Barnes. Federal judge warns that his ruling on metro Atlanta’s right to Lake Lanier’s water will make some people “sad.” The economy’s comeback may take five years, Johnny Isakson says. A busy Perdue gives 16 bills the veto boot. April revenue figures dip by 20 percent. Atlanta school board okays an “austere” $652.5 million budget. Oxendine orders $120,000 returned.
Jim Wooten says the GOP needs diversity, core values. Randall Kessler on the effect that other states’ embrace of gay divorce can have on us. J.P. Cunningham thinks our outdated electrical grid needs to be “smarter.”
And from elsewhere:
WSJ: A look at the new commander in Afghanistan. WP: Despite federal stimulus funds, budget shortfalls prompt mass layoffs in state governments. NYT: Journalist’s release shows divide among Iran’s leaders. Space.com: Hubble is the telescope that almost never flew.
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