The re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has been cursed with a great deal of money and a tailwind of public disappointment with Democrats in Washington.
So when it comes to getting the help of big-name Republicans, Isakson has found himself rather far down on the priority list.
That said, at least one prominent GOP presidential possibility will make a fund-raising appearance with Isakson. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is expected here by the end of the month.
Former President Bill Clinton hosted a fund-raiser in Atlanta last week for Isakson’s Democratic rival, state Labor Commissioner Mike Thurmond.
Remarks by U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, anticipating a government shutdown should House Republicans take control of that chamber, attracted Washington attention through the weekend.
Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer made Westmoreland the topic of a post on the White House blog:
“But for any who thought that blocking even such common sense measures was the limit of how far Republicans in Congress could go in putting partisanship ahead of getting Americans back to work, the Vice Chairman of the House Republicans’ campaign committee (the NRCC) was across town making clear that they were prepared to go much further.
“While the President was laying out bipartisan solutions to continue creating jobs, this Republican Congressman was rallying his political base in favor of his preferred solution – simply shutting the government down altogether…”
The liberal group Think Progress was kind enough to post the audio of Westmoreland’s remarks, made Friday at a gathering of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition:
”If we hold the line, if we get those courageous men and women to be part of our majority. If we say look, the American people we’re listening to the American people, this is what we’re going to do.
“If government shuts down, we want you with us. We want you with us. We’ve got to have you because later on you all will call us and say, ‘Look, I didn’t get my check. Daddy can’t go to the VA. You know, the national parks are closed.’
“We need to be sure that you are with us because let me tell you this, all Americans need to understand. We need to understand this and I hope you can help share this analogy with people. Just as when you talk about what is going to possibly happen, you know I was unfortunate to cut myself with a chainsaw. I don’t know how many of you have cut yourself with a chainsaw. Chainsaw is not the cleanest instrument if you’re going to cut yourself….
“[The doctor] said this is going to sting a little bit and it hurt like crazy. But you know what, if he didn’t clean out that wound, it would have never healed. I would have got gangrene. I would have died from it. And what has happened with this country, we have put Band-aids on things that need to be cleaned out. It’s going to take some pain for us to do the things that we need to do to right the ship.”
Over the weekend, the Associated Press published a pair of articles looking at the contradictions in the long careers of Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican Nathan Deal, two candidates for governor.
The opening paragraphs on Deal:
Nathan Deal is running for governor as a tax-cutting fiscal conservative.
But as a state senator in 1989, he voted to boost the state’s sales tax by one penny, which experts say remains the largest tax increase in Georgia’s history.
Deal said the vote 21 years ago doesn’t undercut his credentials and points to a long tally of votes since that one — most in Congress — which prove he has been a champion of keeping taxes low.
“It was a vote that I felt was appropriate. I do believe in consumption-based taxes, and it was consistent with that,” Deal said of the sales tax vote, noting that the final bill exempted some food from taxation.
Deal has held office for almost 29 consecutive years, and that long experience serves as the foundation of his campaign. It also furnishes a telling look at how some of his views have shifted over the years.
The 1989 vote wasn’t the first time he backed the penny sales tax increase. Records show that in 1984, he voted for a Senate resolution that would have boosted the state sales tax from 3 percent to 4 percent, with the proceeds split between education and property tax relief. The measure fell just short of the needed supermajority. Deal also sponsored a measure that would have placed a tax on alcoholic beverages to help fund treatment for alcoholics.
For Deal, the most obvious change over the years is party affiliation. He was elected to the state Senate and later to Congress as a Democrat. But in 1995, he swapped parties and became a Republican, adding to the ranks of then-U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution on Capitol Hill.
And on one critical issue in particular, Deal acknowledges he has had a change of heart: abortion.
Deal — who says he is now firmly against abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk — cast a handful of votes favoring abortion rights early in his congressional career, according to congressional records. In one, he opposed an amendment that would have forced family planning clinics to notify parents two days before providing an abortion to a minor.
Deal said once supported the right to have an abortion in the first trimester but no longer does.
And the opening paragraphs on Barnes:
When he first ran for governor in 1990, Roy Barnes was a vocal opponent of the lottery. He was defeated in a Democratic primary by Zell Miller, who made creation of a lottery to fund education the centerpiece of his campaign.
Since then, Barnes has become a convert, saying the funding is vital to education in Georgia.
“Originally, I had problems with the lottery,” the former governor said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I thought that it was the state taking advantage of its own people. But it’s here.”
Barnes, who is seeking his old job back, has made experience central to his campaign. But a look at his 26 years in elected office shows that on some key issues, his views have changed along with the times.
Barnes opposed abortion but now says he favors abortion rights after his daughters persuaded him to rethink his views. He is pledging to remove some of the special interest tax breaks he once favored.
And 17 years before he put his political future on the line by leading the racially-charged push to shrink the Confederate battle emblem on the state flag, he voted against a bill to create a state holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
“There is not a day that goes by that I do not regret that vote,” Barnes told state lawmakers in 2001.
The former governor said it’s a perfectly normal “political evolution” for someone who has served as long as he has. Critics, however, accuse the former governor of tailoring his views to suit the prevailing political mood.
Finally, the Associated Press has pushed out what amounts to a warning on open records:
A prominent media attorneys warns that a new draft of rules that govern electronic filing of court documents would allow for the unprecedented sealing of court records by litigants.
Peter C. Canfield also warns that the draft rules give new powers to private technology vendors that could prove detrimental to the courts, the public and the media.
The State Bar of Georgia is considering the proposal to encourage a new statewide electronic filing system for court documents to replace the county-by-county patchwork.
Canfield warned in a letter to the Bar’s committee that the rules would give private vendors too much leverage. And he said that litigants would have too much leeway to seal electronic records without a judge’s approval.