More on this later, but the guessing in Georgia’s education community is that Gov. Sonny Perdue will appoint a caretaker to fill out the last six months of School Superintendent Kathy Cox’s term rather than either of two Republicans in the contest the advantage of the incumbency.
As if having an “(i)” next to your name is an actual advantage in this climate.
Here’s the situation: Cox gave notice of her June 30 resignation after the qualifying period that ended in April. So Perdue’s choices for a long-term superintendent are limited to three Democrats and two Republicans.
Perdue intends to pick a successor before Cox leaves, so that Georgia can continue to pursue a competition for federal dollars known as “Race to the Top.” This is important.
Assume that to choose a Democrat would prompt a GOP revolution. That leaves the two Republicans: John Barge, a Bartow County school administrator; and Richard Woods, an Irwin County administrator.
As of Wednesday, neither candidate had been contacted by the governor’s office.
Both Barge and Woods entered the contest with the aim of reversing several of Cox’s policy – which, one presumes, have had the approval of the governor. Both candidates point to a new math curriculum and a de-emphasis on technical training for students who aren’t headed for college.
But most importantly, both Republicans have been critical about the pursuit of “Race to the Top” money. Woods objects to increased federal funding of education, and the strings it brings. Barge said local school officials were kept in the dark about the goals of “Race to the Top” – which he said were then presented as a fait accompli.
But if “Race to the Top” is the governor’s reason for filling Cox’s position, then the two GOP candidates pose a contradiction.
Georgia has Jessica Colotl as the face of the debate over illegal immigration. In Washington, the poster child is much younger. This from today’s Washington Post:
On Wednesday, with TV cameras rolling during an event to promote healthy eating, a second-grader at a Silver Spring elementary school asked first lady Michelle Obama why the president was “taking everybody away that doesn’t have papers.”
Sitting in front of a dozen schoolchildren, with the first lady of Mexico by her side, Obama told the girl: “That’s something that we have to work on, right? To make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers.”
“But my mom doesn’t have any papers,” the student blurted as soon as the first lady had finished.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced that only a single Democrat, Scott Holcomb, had qualified for the House District 82 seat given up by Kevin Levitas.
Several of you quickly pointed to the Facebook page of Allan Williamson, a former leader of the Atlanta Young Republicans, who has begun to collect signatures for an independent run.
Former Republican candidate for governor Austin Scott on Wednesday explained to a hometown audience why he had decided to challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Macon). This from the Tifton Gazette:
Scott assured Rotary members that his decision to remove his name from the gubernatorial ballot was what he thought to be the best move for the country.
“The most important change that needs to be made is in Washington,” Scott said. “My family can survive whatever governor is elected to lead Georgia, whether Republican or Democrat, but I’m not sure my family or yours can survive another two years with the way things are in Washington. In the end it was a decision between proving a point and making a difference. I chose to make a difference.”
Marshall has proven a difficult target for Republicans. For instance, this very day the middle Georgia congressman is hosting a lecture by former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich on the necessity of a balanced federal budget.
A program begun by state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, called Georgia Works, is the focus of a National Public Radio report looking at alternative programs to address unemployment.
The program, now being duplicated in other states, permits workers to continue to collect unemployment benefits while they train at companies. Listen to the podcast here, but NPR reports:
So far, almost 8,400 employers have signed up, and about 7,800 workers have participated in training. Businesses are not required to hire workers, and those who don’t get jobs will continue to receive their unemployment checks. But nearly half of the trainees — more than 3,700 people — now have jobs.
The fact that Thurmond is now a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate goes unmentioned. But count on the labor commissioner to ultimately draw that connection.
You don’t usually find op-ed pieces in the New York Times arguing – quite seriously – that the results of Tuesday’s elections prove that Rush Limbaugh has become the savior of the Republican Party.
This from the radio talk show host’s biographer, Zev Chafets:
Mr. Limbaugh was not just the architect of this plan, he was (and continues to be) its enforcer. Dissenters like Arlen Specter, whom Mr. Limbaugh disparaged as a “Republican in Name Only,” found themselves unelectable in the party primaries. Moderates like Michael Steele, the party chairman, were slapped down for suggesting cooperation with the administration. When Representative Phil Gingrey of Georgia had the temerity to suggest that Mr. Limbaugh was too uncompromising, he was met with public outrage and forced into an humiliating apology.
When the Tea Party movement emerged, Mr. Limbaugh welcomed it. The movement’s causes — fighting against health care reform, reducing the size and cost of government, opposing the Democrats’ putative desire to remake America in the image of European social democracies — were straight Limbaughism. A very high proportion of the Tea Partiers listen to Mr. Limbaugh. Sarah Palin’s biggest current applause line — Republicans are not just the party of no, but the party of hell no — came courtesy of Mr. Limbaugh. (Ms. Palin gave the keynote address at the first national Tea Party convention.) Glenn Beck, who is especially popular among Tea Partiers, calls Mr. Limbaugh his hero.
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