Nathan Deal and Kasim Reed’s wonderful Washington adventure

Gov. Nathan Deal, left, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at this month’s announcement by Porsche Cars North America that the company would move its offices to the old Ford plant site in Hapeville. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Gov. Nathan Deal, left, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at this month’s announcement by Porsche Cars North America that the company would move its offices to the old Ford plant site in Hapeville. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

It shouldn’t be unusual, but it is. The Republican governor of Georgia has invited the Democratic mayor of Atlanta to join him Wednesday on a high-powered, one-day swing through Washington, D.C.

The agenda includes a strategy session with Georgia members of Congress, to update them on the state’s pursuit of $500 million in federal funds for the dredging of the Port of Savannah. There will be a meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has been critical of our state’s laissez-faire approach to road and rail infrastructure.

But Deal served nine terms in Congress. He knows where the bathrooms are in the U.S. Capitol, and needs no tour guide. Moreover, LaHood is an old Republican friend. No, the spokesman for the governor was very upfront on why Deal wanted Reed’s company.

“We’ve asked for a meeting with the president,” said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson. “The mayor has strong relations with President Obama. But obviously, that’s up to the White House at this point.”

Any face-to-face meeting with the Big Guy is still up in the air. But it is just as important — because of the serious money at stake — that other ruling Democrats in Washington see both of these men together. And smiling.

From the outset of his term of mayor, Reed has focused on building a close relationship with the GOP rulers of the state Capitol. He counts House Speaker David Ralston as a friend. A former state senator, Reed regularly sits down with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.

Deal and Reed have so far spent little time with each other, but Reed says the new governor knows him by reputation.

“Gov. Deal knows…that I’m a person you can work with, and I will not harm you,” Reed said. “I stay very much in my lane. Because I came out of the state [Capitol], I think I understand in a different way the power of a governor. I have no illusion about who’s Batman and who’s Robin.”

Short-term, the most important meeting for the governor and mayor is with LaHood, who has been critical of Georgia’s failure to “get its act together” when it comes to transportation. Federal seed money for rail has languished. Roads aren’t being built.

“If we leave with that notion changed, or shifted, I think we will have made real progress,” the mayor of Atlanta said.

But cash for the Port of Savannah — now, that’s a longer and far more brutal game, the mayor said.

South Carolina and its Charleston harbor is Georgia’s chief rival. Reed judges that the contest will be won on intangibles. Fortunately for Georgia, South Carolina has U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, who this February, in a speech to the Federalist Society in Washington D.C., said it would be a “mistake” to call Obama the national leader.

Another intangible: Atlanta’s reputation as a Southern beachhead for the Obama re-election campaign. Reed has held numerous fundraisers for the president’s campaign over the last few months — the latest an affair that coincided with first lady Michelle Obama’s visit.

It wouldn’t be too much of a leap to assume that Reed will spend much of 2012 serving as one of Obama’s several surrogates. At an Atlanta fundraiser several weeks ago featuring David Plouffe, Obama’s ’08 campaign manager, Reed showed off his stem-winding skills in front of a gaggle of younger voters – who will be very much needed next year..

That February appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press”? A screen test.

Such dues-paying, Reed said, should make Georgia worthy of a fair hearing when it comes to funding for the Savannah port.

“I believe we are going to beat South Carolina. I think it’s going to go 15 rounds. But it’s going to be driven by the fact that we’re a strong partner — unless I do something very dumb or bad,” Reed said. The mayor then rapped on his wooden desk.

Will there be a price for Georgia Republicans? “There’s going to have to be some compromise from our Republican friends on a matter that the president cares about,” the Atlanta mayor said. What that bargain may be is up for grabs. But it’s no secret that a confrontation on the federal debt ceiling is on the horizon. And there’s that bipartisan effort that U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is leading to eliminate the federal deficit.

But the game is worth the candle, the mayor said. “I believe that if we don’t accomplish a series of big things, that we’re going to enter a period of decline,” he said. “I say ‘we’ meaning all of us. If we don’t have a second act — second to the Olympics — then we’re all going to enter a period of decline.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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44 comments Add your comment

SouthWest Shawty

May 28th, 2011
6:18 pm

And so it goes when the Governor of a state has to ask a Mayor to help him get a meeting with the President of the United States. That’s where all the crazy birther rhetoric will get you.

Frederick Douglass

May 28th, 2011
6:20 pm

If you get a chance to see the president Nathan, tell him how HB 87 is working out for Georgia farmers.

double

May 28th, 2011
6:26 pm

Ralston appears upset Kasim sitting near Deal.If he would only think “in pockets may be safer”

Last Man Standing

May 28th, 2011
6:30 pm

Obama couldn’t carry Georgia in the election and defeated democrats overwhelmingly in the off-year elections. This meeting, in many ways, is just as important to the Mayor and Atlanta as it is to the Governor and the state. The fact that both the Mayor and the president are both black has a little something to do with it, too.

Question Man

May 28th, 2011
6:54 pm

Does Governor Deal plan to ask for an in-person viewing of President Obama’s birth certificate?

red herring

May 28th, 2011
6:56 pm

the best solution is to vote obama out in 2012— then we can forget begging for scraps from the liberal table— still Gov. Deal understands he must beg or stand up tall –so which will it be?? … the fact that let’s “make a deal” is trying to make a deal should not be a surprise at all. when it comes to voting for “king roy” or “let’s make a deal” the choice was pretty difficult even for a staunch libertarian….. so we get what wuz bought for us….. whoever has the cash usually wins…sad to say.

Linda

May 28th, 2011
7:00 pm

It’s refreshing to read that Deal won’t cave-in to the extremists and will work with Reed. Maybe cooler heads will get our port funded.

Ivory

May 28th, 2011
7:34 pm

I think that they should share a room together, and save the taxer payers a few bucks?

Last Man Standing

May 28th, 2011
7:47 pm

red herring:

You’re right!

missmollie

May 28th, 2011
8:17 pm

Interesting story…..

Red Wing

May 28th, 2011
8:19 pm

“It shouldn’t be unusual, but it is. The Republican governor of Georgia has invited the Democratic mayor of Atlanta to join him…”

It makes perfect sense that the governor and the mayor of the largest city should cooperate to promote the interests of the State, regardless of political party affiliation. What’s good for Georgia is good for Atlanta, and vice versa. I am rather proud of both of them for doing this.

Frederick Douglass

May 28th, 2011
8:28 pm

LMS said:

“The fact that both the mayor and the president are both black has a little something to do with it, too”.

Are you fu@#!ng kidding us? Whites innovated and perfected the art of the back room deal, and in a preponderence of the cases, to the detriment of minorities.

Ramguy

May 28th, 2011
8:30 pm

Shouldn’t Deal be worried that he might be picked on an old outstanding warrant?

DannyX

May 28th, 2011
8:41 pm

Reed will be the token Democrat in the meeting.

intowner

May 28th, 2011
8:47 pm

I must be the only City of Atlanta resident here… I look at this and just heave about Reed.
That he’s pandering along with Deal ought to tell you how he’s REALLY running the City~
Birds of a feather…
blech blech blech

hsgrad

May 28th, 2011
9:42 pm

President Obama: Don’t give the Georgia Mafia Boss or his “extremist” friends a dime.

Mrs. Norris

May 28th, 2011
9:59 pm

I’m with you intowner. It really is disgusting. I like what Ramguy said. That’s a good one. :)

redstem19

May 28th, 2011
10:56 pm

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, http://GoGetBids.com

double

May 29th, 2011
12:00 am

redstem who gives a ship what you paid,or who you paid to.

mike

May 29th, 2011
6:07 am

Who cares if it benefits the citizens of Georgia, we are going let our party and prejudices dictate what we think the mayor and governor should do. We must hold tight to the old ways. It is not right to move ahead and try to do something positive for the state of Georgia. Maybe it is not too late for this state to be on par with the thought of the senator from South Carolina. Georgia is already low on education and jobs so why try something beneficial.

Clinton "Skink" Tyree

May 29th, 2011
6:39 am

Given the way DeMint of South Carolina has verbally disrespected the Office of the President and the way the Georgia Republican/Tea Party has totally dissed the President — I’d say both of them have let their hatred for the President create some real issues for their states.

They all want to cut back and reduce the size of government — except if it’s something they want.

I hope the President stands his ground with these idiots — gives DeMint and Deal a load of shovels and buckets and tells them to go at it. And, may the best man win.

The Centrist

May 29th, 2011
6:56 am

So, what five-star meals did Georgia get during the first decade of the 21st century?

Willis

May 29th, 2011
7:41 am

Now Deal has asked for a study on how 87 is hurting farmers/agriculture – he ignored their pleas before he got 87 passed, so isn’t it a little late to ask for a study? Of course since Deal lives and eats free in the Governor’s Mansion, he doesn’t to concern himself with the cost of anything.

hsgrad

May 29th, 2011
8:07 am

If farmers, whose crops are not subsidized, were paid a reasonable rate for their product, perhaps they could increase
the hourly rate to a point where natives would accept the work. One of the great American tragedies is that multi generational farmers have had to sell off their farms because they are so under valued by Americans.

Frederick Douglass

May 29th, 2011
8:44 am

The deal with HB 87 boils down to republicans being in lockstep with eachother on everything. Jan Brewer takes stern measures to combat illegals, Deal of Georgia adopts the same plan, but maybe Arizona doesn’t rely as heavily on agriculture as Georgia. Georgia’s farmers are taking the brunt of the rebublican tact of seeming unified against the current resident of the White House, your votes do have consequences.

The Economist

May 29th, 2011
9:40 am

HB 87 is the result of applying simplistic answers to very difficult questions.

But, of course, out there on the campaign trail, it’s very easy to get into the pandering mode and promise solutions that haven’t been thought through — and could cost millions in litigation.

Strangely enough, it’s the conservative base — Georgia’s dirt farmers and fruit growers — that are bearing the brunt of this shoot from the lip approach to politics.

If ol’ Broun and Woodall keep running their mouths they might just give Obama a crack at Georgia.

The Centrist

May 29th, 2011
1:01 pm

One. The goods that come through the Port of Savannah, the more jobs in the logistics hub of the Southeast, particularly Atlanta and South Fulton. Too bad many Georgians outside those two areas do not realize how much interdependence there is in the State.

yuzeyurbrane

May 29th, 2011
2:04 pm

Deal does have a pragmatic streak which is good.

Willis

May 29th, 2011
2:45 pm

Rob Woodall wants to do away with Medicare while he sops up the free health insurance he gets, and brags about it at his town hall meeting. What a disgrace he is to the state of Georgia.

ATF

May 29th, 2011
3:19 pm

I thought conservatives – like the Govenor – were all up in arms about federal government spending! And here they go holding their hands out for $500m for port of Savannah.

If it is so valuable to Georgia, we should pay for it ourselves. In order for the Georgia delegation to get the votes in the House for this money, there will be some serious trading on big sums for other politicians’ constituents. So, here we go again with billions spent.

It is a game, you see. If the Deal can get it from the feds, he doesn’t have to raise taxes here and he can still raise a ruckus about federal spending.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

MiltonMan

May 29th, 2011
4:22 pm

Mr. Deal make sure that you tell the moron Mayor that he has zero shot of being governor.

MiltonMan

May 29th, 2011
4:24 pm

Libtards on here crying like little babies. Your chump – Rat Roy was soundly defeated. How about actually nominating someone who actually has a shot at winning.

DannyX

May 29th, 2011
4:54 pm

LOL!!! So its the Democrats fault that dumb Georgia Republicans nominated and elected the crook Nathan Deal.

Great Guv. He’s out begging for federal dollars, even though Tea Party crazies that run wild in this state and supported him swore off deficit spending.

Great Guv. He racks in 1.7 million for his inauguration. 1.7 million! They must have had Tiffany do the catering. 1.7 million raised mostly from lobbyists. Wonder how much of that 1.7 million dollars made its way to Deal’s friends and family.

Great Guv. Bankrupt.

Great Guv. Friends and family jobs provider.

Great Guv. No bid government contracts. Protected by pressure. Quit his other job to avoid answering questions about his horrible ethics.

Great Guv. Hides a $90,000.00 payment to his daughter in law.

Great guv. Needs help from a Democratic mayor because he embarrassed himself with Birther nonsense.

Great Guv. Kicks out a news agency because he didn’t like their coverage of his thievery.

Its all your fault Roy.

Frederick Douglass

May 29th, 2011
4:59 pm

Mr. Mayor make sure you tell the thieving governor about the plush accomodations at the federal pen in Atlanta, he might have use of an extended stay suite one day soon.

double

May 29th, 2011
5:19 pm

Got to get savannah ready to take care of Sonny’s enterprises.Money like that could probably skim good part into your pocket.Employ lots of asso,

hsgrad

May 29th, 2011
7:17 pm

Looking at the accompanying photograph (and the article), I am reminded of a quote by Henry David Thoreau:

“Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of cloths”

eatmotacos

May 29th, 2011
8:56 pm

@ DannyX

You forgot one:

“How could one poultry processor inflict such mayhem upon organic labeling? It seems that Georgia-based poultry processor Fieldale Farms influenced Representative Nathan Deal, R-Ga., to include a provision in the massive ($397 billion) omnibus spending bill that was passed Feb. 13. This brief paragraph, buried in the spending bill as Section 771, was added late at night behind closed doors two days prior to the bill’s approval, and the provision allows for meat and poultry producers to label their products organic even if the livestock is fed conventional feed, as long as the cost of the organic feed is twice that of organic feed.”

“AllBusiness.com” 3/1/2003

Nathan Deal for Governor,Inc.
Fieldale Farms Poultry Inc.
PO Box 558
Baldwin, GA 30511-
05/21/2009
Monetary
Primary
2010 $6,100.00 $0.00

Nathan Deal for Governor,Inc.
Fieldale Farms Poultry Inc.
PO Box 558
Baldwin, GA 30511-
07/29/2010
Monetary
General
2010 $1,400.00 $0.00

Nathan Deal for Governor,Inc.
Nathan Deal
Fieldale Farms Poultry Inc.
PO Box 558
Baldwin, GA 30511-
07/29/2010
Monetary
Run-Off Primary
2010 $3,600.00 $0.00

“ethicsgeorgia.gov”

“Fieldale Farms President Speaks Out Against Georgia Immigration Bills”

“Tom Hensley, president of Fieldale Farms Corp., which has locations in north Georgia, told the Senate Special Committee on Immigration and Georgia’s Economy that existing legislation already had a detrimental effect on the poultry industry in Hall County that would only be worsened by statewide legislation.”

“provisioneronline.com” 2/24/2011

See how this works, girls and boys?

eatmotacos

May 29th, 2011
9:27 pm

If you read HB 87, it is obvious that it is not worth the paper it is written on. Otherwise, Deal would have never signed it. People who are complaining about it, either didn’t read it, or are part of the ruse to give the illusion that they actually passed meaningful legislation.

The business sector has total control of the state’s government. It has never been more obvious. Sonny was just the warm up act.

Bill

May 29th, 2011
9:30 pm

red herring the best solution is to vote Deal out, not Obama.

Ga Values

May 30th, 2011
6:35 am

We know Sonny is skimming of the Savannah mess so Deal wants to get rich off the same mess. Let’s just hope Deal steals ebough in his first term that he doesn’t need another.

ATF

May 30th, 2011
12:06 pm

Ga Values: ” Let’s just hope Deal steals ebough in his first term that he doesn’t need another.”

There is never “ebough”, or enough. Not for someone like Deal or our past great leader Purdue.

If Deal really did believe in cutting deficit spending, he would not be in Washington encouraging it. I was serious in my earlier comment about our paying for dredging Savannah Harbor ourselves. Yes, it is a lot of money. But, it is supposed to pay off in jobs and should bring more imports through Savannah. Of course, I think we should pay for it with a corporate tax and a tax on the wealthy, but that is just my liberal bias coming through.

We could try taxing everyone. But here is the problem. (These are national statistics)
As of 1982, the top 20% received 51.9% of all income; the bottom 80% received 48.1%.
As of 2006, the top 20% got 61.4% of all income; the bottom 80% got 38.6%.

We have not only had an economic crash which has unemployment still at something over 9% here in Georgia. We have, since the early 1980’s, been slowly loosing a share of income growth. Most of the gains in income growth since the early 1980’s have gone to those at the top. The bottom 80%, those of us who live off what “trickles down” from those on high, simply don’t have enough to pay more taxes to make more rich people even richer.

Douglas

May 31st, 2011
9:53 am

The port CAN be funded… by our Ports Authority. They also ought to be the ones paying for the truck highway from their facility to I-95 instead of us. But God forbid they should part with one red cent to actually make it easier for them to earn money… It’s criminal.

Douglas

May 31st, 2011
10:48 am

Hey, Eatmotacos: where are you going to get the chicken for your tacos? Who else has Fieldale given money to? Have you looked into that? Sure they supported Deal. I think they’ve supported a number of Dems too. They have every right to do that. And if they can get a change to law that helps them compete, why shouldn’t they do so?

This whole “organic” thing is a crock anyway. Have you ever tried to eat something that was inorganic? The “Organic” lable ought to read “Antique – Low Yeild – High Effort – Too Expensive for Poor People – Farming Product.”

See how THAT works, Mr. Smarmy-Pants?