Your morning jolt: Health care reform and the return of Ralph Reed

Ralph Reed, founder of Faith and Freedom Coalition speaks to those gathered at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday. Brant Sanderlin,

Ralph Reed, founder of Faith and Freedom Coalition speaks to those gathered at Centennial Olympic Park on Saturday. Brant Sanderlin,

Several Republican candidates showed up at Saturday’s rally against the Democratic health care reform plan.

Karen Handel, Eric Johnson, and John Oxendine, all rivals for governor, addressed the crowd and acquired prominent space for their banners.

But the most significant local political figure to be handed a microphone may have been Ralph Reed, making what I believe was his first speech to a large and public audience in metro Atlanta since his 2006 defeat in the primary for lieutenant governor.

Reed spoke in his capacity as founder and chairman of the new Faith and Freedom Coalition. His was a red-meat message.

“Our right to protest has been purchased with the blood of patriots who paid the ultimate price so that we could be free men and women and have the ability to petition our government. We will not be intimidated, we will not be silenced, and we will not go away,” the former state GOP chairman said.

One of the many sponsors of the Centennial Olympic Park event was Americans For Prosperity, a national anti-tax group headed by Tim Philips — who was once part of Reed’s Duluth firm, Century Strategies.

(Exactly who is footing the cost for the Saturday event remains unclear. A spokeswoman for the Georgia World Congress Center said the $11,500 bill for rental of the north half of Centennial Park will be sent to Allen Hardage, a conservative Christian political strategist in Dallas, Ga.)

You’ll recall that, only a year ago, Reed stirred a small August tempest when he sent out e-mail messages inviting locals to a fund-raiser for then Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

The incident sent many reporters to the clip file marked “Irony.” McCain, as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, was the one whose investigation documented the relationship between Reed and now-jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Reed didn’t attend the McCain event.

But the health care debate, the Sotomayor hearings, and a new organization seem to have given Reed a pathway back to prominence.

Reed’s Web site now advertises a “freedom rally” at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place, with Sean Hannity. The Fox News commentator has a “freedom concert” next door at the Gwinnett Arena that same night, featuring the Charlie Daniels band.

While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s

  • As many as one-third of Georgia’s 300 banks are under scrutiny.
  • Lake Allatoona may be next battle in water war.
  • Perdue to brief candidates for governor on water crisis.
  • Obama backs away from public health insurance plan.
  • Health care rallies attract lively crowds.
  • Report: City of Atlanta must cut pensions.
  • A profile of Atlanta mayoral candidate Lisa Borders.
  • Retired ATL judges may be asked to fill in on city courts.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Cynthia Tucker wonders why we can’t discuss dying with dignity.
  • Kyle Wingfield on a pared-down solution for Georgia.
  • Bob Barr on the consequences of opinion-oriented TV news.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • Augusta Chronicle: Water wars: Atlanta ’s loss might be felt across state.
  • States plug budget holes, for now.
  • Henry Daily Herald: State Rep. Celeste Johnson (D-Jonesboro) resigns.
  • And beyond:

  • WP: Behind the dumping of a four-star general in Afghanistan.
  • NYT: How military women are living and fighting alongside men, and fitting in.
  • WSJ: North Korea to let reunions resume.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    25 comments Add your comment

    Bill White

    August 17th, 2009
    10:12 am

    This was the best part of the webcast. Ralph is an incredible speaker-smooth, calm and of course, right on target. I cannot wait to see how he forms his new coalition. He will be instrumental in taking the US House back next year. Ralph is a decent Christ-centered fella who is fully commited to stopping the liberals and their far left agenda of an expanded welfare state. I’m very fired up from this speech.


    August 17th, 2009
    10:29 am

    “Ralph is a decent Christ-centered fella who is fully commited to stopping the liberals and their far left agenda of an expanded welfare state.”

    Isn’t that what was said about Sanford, Ensign, etc.

    Will Jones - Atlanta

    August 17th, 2009
    10:29 am

    Dollars to donuts says you aren’t much of a plumber, either: Ralph Reed is scum of the earth and those against Obama are the same sectarian faction Bush served when he committed 9/11.

    We must “sweep evil from the land.” Those who pretend not to see it are part of it.

    Death for Treason


    August 17th, 2009
    10:32 am

    Reed is a crook politician.

    chris broe

    August 17th, 2009
    10:42 am

    Ralph Reed has forgiven himself for his crude and embarrasingly greedy manipulation of rival gambling casinos in Texas. Perhaps there exists other minority-owned business rivals who are unfamiliar with Reed’s strategic vision for financing his own career. Lets hope there are, for Ralph Reed must go on to the glory that his creator has endowed upon his destiny, and we must do everything we can to promote his graceful re-ascension onto the theo-political realm from which his inspired edicts can restore the national grace we’ve squandered since his untimely departure.


    August 17th, 2009
    10:54 am

    Bill White August 17th, 2009 10:12 am
    “Ralph…is fully commited to stopping the liberals and their far left agenda of an expanded welfare state.”

    We will see. I have a letter out to him now asking for his public support to introduce legislation to immediately end the two big Socialist programs now ruining our country – Social Security & Medicare/Medicade.

    You can wait for a public announcement from his office. I am sure he will be happy to help lead the battle against Socialism.

    Kitty Boo

    August 17th, 2009
    11:18 am

    It’s tough to crawl back out from underneath that rock. Huh Ralph..?


    August 17th, 2009
    11:19 am

    My conservative friend ,Bob,raled against Social Secuity all his life.It’s now the only thing between him and starvation.A little old age pension is all he has to live on.He wants to know where he goes if you manage to shut him off.


    August 17th, 2009
    11:39 am

    Hey, jconservative, you’re an idiot. If we left things completely up to you and your Nazi friends, we’d all be slave-laborers for some corporate conglomerate.

    Reality Check

    August 17th, 2009
    11:43 am

    Ralph Reed please stay away! You are bad for republicans. You are dirty baggage and cannot be trusted. You can’t spell Greed without Reed!


    August 17th, 2009
    11:44 am

    “Ralph is a decent Christ-centered fella…” No, he is not. He wants you to think he is and apparently you want other people to think so, too. Using Christ and Christianity for personal gain is as sinful as it gets. And your use of the word “fella” is abhorent.

    Reality Check

    August 17th, 2009
    11:46 am

    Grumpy – Please explain how we would all be slave-laborers for a corporate conglomerate?


    August 17th, 2009
    11:59 am

    Retreads! Retreads with more baggage that Paris Hilton. If this is what the RNC is depending on to move from a marginalized party — well, this strategy will re-elect Dems for the foreseeable future.

    Ralph Reed screwed the Indians and was in cahoots with a man who’s in prison now! Newt Gingrich is morally bankrupt. Sarah Palin is a loon. Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter are just to the right of Atilla the Hun.

    Where are the ideas? Where are the strategies.

    Disrupting Town Hall Meetings is the stuff of hooligans, not a viable political party.

    Reality Check

    August 17th, 2009
    12:13 pm

    Boots – repubs have made some mistakes politically but at least they are not for socialized medicine and government take over. Now that is the stuff of hooligans.

    Born Again BS

    August 17th, 2009
    12:19 pm

    Reed should pray God doesn’t exist, especially the entity from the 1st testament, if so enjoy the fire down below….

    Bill White

    August 17th, 2009
    12:23 pm

    @jconservative I have total confidence that Ralph will lead the charge to reduce and/or eliminate the existing Socialistic programs that are draining the nat’l budget. We just have to stick to our principles to swing the country back in the right direction and that means standing up to the far left. We’re already seeing the cracks form with the failure of the public option in this so-called reform plan. This is just like bending a finger back. You just have to keep going until that person cries, “Uncle!”


    August 17th, 2009
    12:26 pm

    I have an issues with a Christian-based organization taking over Congress. That isn’t the values this country was founded on. I am Christian, but I don’t feel that direction is the direction we should be headed.

    Rule .303

    August 17th, 2009
    1:23 pm

    God Hates Fags!…oooops wrong talking points, I meant God Hates the Expansion of Health Care!

    Citizen of the World

    August 17th, 2009
    1:31 pm

    Ralph Reed may not curse, but he takes the Lord’s name in vain every time he exploits his Christianity in an effort to get votes and gain power. “Faith and Freedom” — good grief. How about “Policy and Public Good.” Isn’t that what our leaders are supposed to be running on?


    August 17th, 2009
    1:44 pm

    “Ralph is a decent Christ-centered fella who is fully commited to stopping the liberals and their far left agenda of an expanded welfare state.”

    Isn’t this the same thing they said about JIM JONES? Make you wonder!

    SirZiptonVonVlipton, the Lipton soup

    August 17th, 2009
    6:26 pm

    billyjoebob white sez:”This was the best part of the webcast. Ralph is an incredible speaker-smooth, calm and of course, right on target. I cannot wait to see how he forms his new coalition”

    Read mein kampf, then you have the RR chronicles. Ralph Reed is a lying, conniving, worthless, manipulative, power-hungry POS who loves to use the name of GOD and Jesus Christ to benefit his
    power base and more importantly, his wallet. If ralph were to commit suicide, we would all benefit. He is evil.

    SirZiptonVonVlipton, the Lipton soup

    August 17th, 2009
    6:29 pm

    The problem we have today is we have pure unadulterated morons like bill white, and leftists like will jones attempting to assemble an agenda. We need to kick the reeds, bushes, kennedy’s, obamas, clintons, reids, pelosi’s, among many others OUT of our nation and make way for a third party that upholds the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the documents that matter.

    Bill White

    August 17th, 2009
    9:13 pm

    As I sit here in my shed, I cannot believe the hatred directed at Mr. Reed. Let’s remember he did nothing wrong. He’s not behind bars. Go on and make your hateful comments, but do not forget that many people in your great state voted for him. Ralph would have been a great governor for your state by now which would have meant that God would be back in the schools and your taxes would be very low.
    Like it or not, but Ralph is back and ready fight the liberals to the very end. He’s a God-fearing man with the experience to solve Georgia’s problems through unique free market-based approaches. Do you want water? Ralph will be behind the fight to re-draw the GA line to get a piece of the Tennessee and pipe all that good stuff your way. Do you want the lights on? Ralph will be behind getting more patriotic, clean nuke reators online. Do you want oil for your truck? Ralph will be behind drilling for more oil off our coast and in the Gulf and ANWR. No, Ralph won’t be governor, but he will be behind the scenes making all of this happen. God willing, Eric Johnson will be governor and will let Ralph into his house. GA will be so good with this team.


    August 18th, 2009
    7:43 am

    It is clear what reed is after: power and influence, which he will use to line his wallet with cash. Rightwing nutjobs like bill white and leftist morons like will jones will advocate the use of any smarmy politician directly related to a set of specific causes as long as THEY benefit. Ralph Reed is an evil, manipulative person who is only after power and influence. He will do NOTHING for the state of Georgia. We’ll get no additional oil, water, or tax cuts. We WILL get more corruption in government. That, is a given.


    August 18th, 2009
    7:46 am

    Ralph Reed went from using christians for his own political and financial purposes to using politicians and gambling indians and now back to christians. He embarrassed himself and all christians in his fall from grace. Now he has returned to his base roots which is deceit and division and if you trust him again you must be brain dead.