Your morning jolt: The Republican words that matter

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, 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

  • 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.
  • Some opinion:

  • 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.
  • Hubble is the telescope that almost never flew.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    6 comments Add your comment


    May 12th, 2009
    10:11 am

    Ah, but Jim, Mike Huckabee carried Georgia in the GOP Presidential Primary. Yes, McCain carried GA in November but it was a poor showing only magnified by the anti-Obama vote.

    Jim Hill

    May 12th, 2009
    10:23 am

    Though now a Floridian and a backer of Rubio, I worked in the Georgia GOP vineyards for Barry Goldwater and in my now home state as a Conservative GOP member of the State House of Representatives. Liberals who seem to write newspaper columns always say conservatives cannot appeal to general election voters,but somehow we win our share of elections. Courage, my fellow conservatives, and keep up the good fight.

    a former republican

    May 12th, 2009
    10:28 am

    i have grey in one of my bedrooms, but I wouldn’t expect a gubernatoral candidate to mention that his “confederate grey” reminds him why he’s running for governor.

    Jim Callihan

    May 12th, 2009
    2:35 pm

    The only reason a phrase like “Confederate Grey” is viewed disdainfully is a misinformed public. I find it very condemning of a public education system that continues to avoid the FACTS of the Civil War and wraps it up in a nice little bit of “spin” contained in the word “slavery”.

    I know that it is way too much to ask of anyone, that they read current newspaper articles leading up to the war – even Lincolns own hometown of Springfield; the two rival papers had very different views (and no mention of “slavery”).

    There are numerous scholars on the Civil War, none of which are quoted in text books. If they were, you may learn that “slavery” was first considered by Lincoln as a reason, well over two years into the war (one that the “Union” troops were loosing badly). Walter D. Kennedy has written prolifically on the subject, as well as “Black Historian”, Lerone Bennett (who rips Lincoln as the manipulating racist he truly was).

    Lincoln was a “big-money, railroad attorney, in the tank for the private banking cartel”. When he printed “greenbacks” instead of allowing these war profiteers to deepen the national debt on loans to the “union” – they put a bullet in his head.

    Never threaten the power the private banks have over this nation via the federal mechanism known as the Federal Reserve Banking System. There’s at least half-a-dozen assassinations upon those that dared do so.

    Thomas Jefferson was right when he & Madison warned about Hamilton’s dirty deeds and his loyalty to banks over liberty. Jackson actually put an end to it. Lincoln was resurrecting it. Teddy couldn’t deliver…Woodrow did. Robert E. Lee knew his history. He knew that if the federal government could control state commerce and currency, America would eventually loose all sovereignty…and the liberty that goes with it. Guess what? We’re 95% there.

    Who was made more free by the Civil War? Wake up slaves…end the fed.

    Cynthia Tucker McKinney

    May 12th, 2009
    4:40 pm

    Being that Powell, in the 1990’s riding high on his post Gulf War popularity in the polls, refused for months to declare which party he belonged to and that he recently endorsed and voted for Democrat Barack Obama over his own “brand” of republican, John McCain, I must say that I was shocked to learn that Powell was, in fact, still a Republican. This is silly. Powell is a great man but he is not a conservative. If he is a Republican, it is in name only. There is no arguing that.

    Why do the media libs, like Big Jim (By the way, Jim, congrats on beatnig the anorexia !!!), want the Republican party to moderate? Why? Is it that they truly want the Republicans to do well in the future? Did the media libs not drop their favorite “Maverick Republican,” John McCain, like B.J. Clinton drops his drawers in the presence of interns? The media hates Cheney, Rush, and the rest of nationally known conservatives because they see them as a threat to Obama and his radical change. The Obama White House is so concerned about the Cheney/Rush message that they feel the need to attack Rush and Cheney. If they were so certain that Rush and Cheney are ineffective and harmful to the Republican party, then why not let them talk? Why have their wh*res in the media constantly call for them to shut up and go away? Cheney and Rush voice the concerns of over fifty million Americans (the number that voted against Obama, not for McCain which is a whole other topic). The bottom line is that this is Obama’s deal now. AlGore, BJ, Jimmy Al-Carter, all bashed Bush from from Jump Street and now the oppostition is voicing its displeasure with the current administration. Grow up libs. Put on your big girl panties and act like adults. If your ideas are so solid and informed, then you should have no problem running on your record in the next cycle. Rush isn’t running for office. The next election will not be a referendem on the Bush/Cheney years, but on Obama and his “CHANGE.” The media libs and other democrat hacks fear that Cheney and Rush are right and that Powell is an useful idiot for the left. That is why they want a democrat like Powell to be the face and future of the Republican party.

    Jim Callihan

    May 13th, 2009
    7:59 am

    And speaking of “Republican words that matter” here’s one that’s “apropos”:

    Carpetbagger – 1. post-Civil War opportunist; a Northerner who moved to the southern United States after the Civil War especially one seeking political or commercial advantage. 2. outsider seeking local vote; an outsider whose only interest in coming to a place is to win it as a political seat.

    Hmmmm. Who could that be?