Archive for November, 2010

Your morning jolt: Sanford ‘Lazarus’ Bishop says no to Nancy Pelosi

Sanford “Lazarus” Bishop, having just finished a close fight to keep his seat, isn’t in the mood to gamble again.

The southwest Georgia congressman on Wednesday declared that he won’t support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to remain the Democratic leader when Republicans take control of Congress in January. From the Albany Herald:

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany. Associated Press

“I have nothing against Speaker Pelosi; she has worked tirelessly to bring Democrats together,” Bishop said. “But given the fact that we suffered substantial losses in the election, I think a new face is needed for leadership of the Democratic Caucus. I am part of a group looking for an alternative.

“I’ve had a number of my constituents and supporters ask me to help change the face of the party, and I am listening to my constituents.”
Bishop, who was re-elected Nov. 2 to a 10th term in Congress, had to survive a grueling battle against Republican Mike Keown for the District 2 seat, winning …

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Going home

Dad, who will turn 87 this month, left high school early for the U.S. Army, five months before Pearl Harbor.

Though none of them were born in this country, four of the seven Galloway brothers would scatter themselves across the globe during World War II. Dad was the youngest, and the only one to carry a sketch book.

He’s the only one left.

As an Air Corps mechanic, he started in north Africa, then moved on to India for flights across the Hump into China.

The cartoonist Bill Mauldin was something of a hero. Lined notebook paper would do in a pinch. Above is a rescued drawing from Dad’s return trip in ‘45. That lump in the background is the Rock of Gibraltar.

In the upper right hand corner are traces of a laundry list written on the other side — a brief catalog of one young warrior’s requirements for conquering the world: Four undershirts, four shorts, two handkerchiefs, two dress shirts, four pairs of socks, and two coveralls.

Dad seldom talked about his adventure. But he once …

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On whether gender can trump race in Georgia politics

In Georgia, politics and race have become nearly identical.

Segregation was the stark subtext of the Nov. 2 election — not just in Georgia, but throughout the South.

White voters overwhelmingly cast votes for Republicans. Black voters gave their ballots to Democrats in huge numbers. For Georgia Democrats, whose power is based on a biracial coalition, it is the formula for long-term frustration.

And so they will try to change the subject. Rather than the inflammatory topic of race, they will want to talk about sex. As in gender. You are about to witness the feminization of the Democratic party.

On Wednesday, a historically tiny crowd of House Democrats chose Stacey Abrams of Atlanta, a 36-year-old, African-American tax attorney, as their leader for the next two years. Of seven caucus officers elected, four were women.

In a state Capitol long dominated by men, Abrams is the first female head of a House or Senate caucus. She replaces DuBose Porter of Dublin, who left the House to …

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What a Democratic wilderness looks like

wilderness

Sixty Democrats (eight with excused absences) are now voting for their House officers. We’re betting that Stacey Abrams of Atlanta will be the new minority leader.

But this nearly empty chamber is the challenge that Democrats now face – their numbers are barely enough to block a constitutional amendment.

Above, Virgil Fludd of Tyrone makes his case for minority leader.

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A U.S. Supreme Court bid for a Georgia ballot access case

Lawyers for a case that challenges Georgia’s ballot access laws have filed for a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court. A response is expected by next month.

Here’s a link to the March decision at issue by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The case is styled Faye Coffield v. Brian Kemp. The gist:

Appellant-Plaintiff Coffield sought access to the 2008 general election ballot as an independent candidate to represent Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She was not on the ballot….

Coffield claims that Georgia’s 5% rule is too burdensome; she alleges no independent candidate for the House of Representations in Georgia has met the requirement since 1964 and that no minor party candidate has ever met it. But she does not allege how many candidates have tried. According to the Complaint, Coffield’s own petitioning effort resulted in about 2000 signatures, less than 1% of the eligible pool and about 13,000 signatures short of what …

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Your morning jolt: Can women stop Democratic bleeding?

Three white rural Democrats in the House have switched party loyalty in the last 48 hours. And we understand that three more are being courted by House Republicans.

So by the time the House Democratic caucus assembles at 1 p.m. today to elect new leadership, the group could be down to 65 members – barely more than the third of the chamber needed to block a constitutional amendment.

State Rep. Virgil Fludd, a Democrat from Tyrone. File

State Rep. Virgil Fludd, a Democrat from Tyrone. File

Two candidates have presented themselves for House minority leader, to replace the departing DuBose Porter of Dublin: Stacey Abrams of Atlanta and Virgil Fludd of Tyrone. Calvin Smyre of Columbus, former chairman of the state Democratic party, had been urged into the contest by some — but has decided to stay on the sidelines.

Abrams and I happened to be at the same Georgia State University event last night – which looked at the aftereffects of the Nov. 2 vote.

I asked her how Democrats intended to climb out of their hole. The 36-year-old tax …

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Senate GOP to require pledge of allegiance to state flag

In an apparent nod to state sovereignty, Senate Republicans will require members of their chamber to recite the pledge of allegiance to the state flag of Georgia every morning they gather – after a daily devotional and a pledge to the U.S. flag.

The addition to the chambers’ rituals was adopted Friday at a caucus meeting in Macon, as part of a wholesale change in state rules that included the stripping of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of most of his powers.

Both the House and Senate now include a daily sermon and a pledge to the U.S. flag as part of the beginning of each day’s business.

Afterwards, in the House, state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Cobb County) has led a small group of GOP lawmakers in a wildcat recitation of the Georgia pledge:

“I pledge allegiance to the Georgia flag and to the principles for which it stands: Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.”

This afternoon, Franklin said the Senate was highly appropriate, “given the usurpations of Washington.”

“It’s time for the House …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal opts out of Senate GOP coup

Gov.-elect Nathan Deal on Monday was invited to address House Republicans who gathered at the state Capitol to celebrate last week’s thumping of Democrats and to elect a few new officers.

Georgia Governor

“I’m looking not only to be brave and bold but to also be cautious, be careful,” Deal told them.

The intrepid-but-wary Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1 FM) collared the governor-elect afterwards to ask him to elaborate – first on the subject of taxes. Listen to Deal’s full remarks here.

Said Deal:

”I know there’s always a discussion of whether or not tax cuts translate into an immediate loss of revenue. And in some cases, they do. And obviously, the benefit of additional revenue that comes in from those tax cuts is sometimes a little delayed in the process.

“But that’s what we have to decide – how the formula works and how we can do it. Whether it has to be phased in or simply can take some of those bold steps early on.

“I do believe there are businesses all across this country that are looking …

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Eric Johnson joins the ranks of lobbyists

Former Republican candidate for governor Eric Johnson, now a member of Gov.-elect Nathan Deal’s transition team, has signed on as a senior advisor to McGuireWoods Consulting.

He will serve the firm as a contract lobbyist, a spokesman for the firm said – but will keep his position with a Savannah architectural company.

Johnson, who resigned his state Senate seat last year, finished a close third in the GOP primary for governor, behind Karen Handel and Deal.

“We are excited to have Senator Johnson joining us,” said Frank Atkinson, chairman of McGuireWoods Consulting, said in a press release. “Throughout the years, he has shown he understands how to effect change and deliver results, reaching across the aisle on key issues including tax and ethics reform, water policy, and school choice. He will bring that same level of commitment to our clients.”

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House Republicans choose practicality over ideology

Republican members of the House this morning celebrated another high-water mark of their rule.

Tuesday gave them a 108-vote majority in the 180-seat chamber. The defection of state Rep. Alan Powell of Hartwell to the GOP caucus made it 109.

Republicans are approaching the two-thirds majority that would allow them to run roughshod over virtually anything they contemplate.

But when faced with choosing the next House majority leader on Monday – to replace the exiting Jerry Keen of St. Simons Island – Republicans chose practicality over ideology.

Rather than pick James Mills of Gainesville, one of the most conservative men in a conservative chamber, they elected Larry O’Neal of Bonaire, a lawmaker with close connections to Gov. Sonny Perdue – and one who had been chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

The fact that the state’s tax system could be in for an overhaul come January clearly figured into the balloting.

Afterwards, O’Neal said he would follow House Speaker …

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