Your morning jolt: Ralph Reed’s return and ‘extreme’ words from Lynn Westmoreland

Without question, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition provided the biggest Republican presidential playground over the weekend.

No major gaffes appeared to have been committed, but there was some dispute over who gained the most from Reed’s fusion of Christian and tea party elements. The Los Angeles Times picked Michele Bachmann as its winner:

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, host of NBC's "The Apprentice, " speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, host of NBC's "The Apprentice, " speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

Bachmann, expected to announce her presidential intentions this month in Iowa, repeatedly brought the crowd out of its chairs with a blend of red-meat rhetoric and autobiographical detail. She attacked Planned Parenthood as a “corrupt organization,” swore a tireless commitment to repeal of “Obamacare,” deplored what she claimed was Obama’s “shocking” betrayal of Israel, and finished up, eyes closed, with a two-minute prayer.

The Washington Times preferred Herman Cain:

Only Mr. Cain, a former corporate executive and the sole black 2012 nomination contender, set afire the audience of several hundred political operatives, activists and consultants, most of them religious and social conservatives clearly dedicated both to defeating President Obama and to supporting Israel….

But the same newspaper noted that The Donald is still making trouble:

In a separate interview, however, Mr. Trump said he would run as an independent if the GOP nominates “someone I don’t agree with” – a threat not exactly in keeping with the “unity” theme sounded by Mr. Reed, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and virtually every other speaker.

At last year’s Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting, U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County, went off-message and told Reed’s crowd to be prepared for a shutdown of the federal government.

This year, the s-word was missing from Westmoreland’s speech. But the message was the same. From Politico.com:

Republican fiscal proposals can seem extreme, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) said Friday, but those so-called “extreme” measures are exactly what America needs right now.

“Sometimes the truth is ugly. Sometimes people don’t like to hear the truth,” said Westmoreland told a crowd at the Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington. “We said we’re going to tell the truth, and that’s what we’ve been doing to the American people: We’ve been trying to tell them the truth about our financial situation and what extremes or what — and I don’t know that ‘extremes’ is a good word — but what is going to have to be done to straighten that out.”

“It’s going to take some courage, and we now have that courage in Washington to do what we need to do,” he added.

The most obvious absence from the weekend gathering was former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich, who had scheduled some time off. Reed told ABC News that he wasn’t bothered:

“Newt was the only one of all these candidates who was here last year, so I don’t want to say anybody gets a pass,” Reed [said]. “Newt was at the first conference and he’s a dear friend. He would’ve been here if he could’ve been.”

The Nation – as well as many other publications – pointed to the weekend gathering as a sign that Reed’s exile from national politics has ended:

In short, almost every appendage of the Republican political body was present. It was an enormous coup for Reed, officially announcing his return to the political forefront—something many thought impossible. They were not sufficiently cynical about Washington’s short memory.

***
William Lind, director of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation based in Arlington, Va., says next year’s timing of a metro area vote on a transportation sales tax could be improved. From Maria Saporta and the Saporta Report:

Lind …advised metro Atlanta leaders the referendum would have the best chance to pass if it were held during the general election in November rather than as it’s currently scheduled — the July 31 primary election.

“Try to get that changed,” Lind said. “The urban base is not going to turn out for the primary. If you possibly can change the date, do it.”
It is expected that the most contested July primaries will be in the suburbs in Republican district. Those constituencies tend to be anti-tax and anti-transit.

***
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has asked farmers to complete a voluntary survey to figure out the depth of the labor shortage that agribusiness says has resulted from the state’s new illegal immigration law.

The Associated Press says Black will hand the information to Gov. Nathan Deal by the end of this week. An early word from Bryan Tolar, executive director of the Georgia Agribusiness Council:

Tolar said 97 companies from across the state — just more than a third of them representing urban agriculture, such as landscaping — had responded to the survey between Wednesday and Friday. Only about a quarter said they have been able to hire the number of workers they needed so far this year. Nearly half said they were having trouble finding labor.

Almost all of them, 92 percent, said they don’t use a federal guest worker program that allows the agriculture sector to bring in seasonal workers. The program has often been criticized by the industry as being cumbersome and expensive.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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22 comments Add your comment

the original and still the best John Galt

June 6th, 2011
9:28 am

Good for Congressman Westmoreland. The truth is that spending has to be cut across the board. Now let’s see if he’s willing to cut the Military-Industrial-Congressional complex. I doubt he will be.

Al Gray

June 6th, 2011
9:41 am

Reed is trying to slither from under the rock we Georgia Republicans squashed the miserable bum with? Perhaps the rest forget that he pimped out the Baptists for Jacki Abramoff. Some of us have not.

It is amazing that FOX and other media continue to give this sleazy liar a soapbox.

Last Man Standing

June 6th, 2011
9:45 am

There is no doubt that spending has to be drastically cut, and that injecting massive amounts of worthless money into the economy must cease. The cuts needed will have to be across the board and affect ALL government spending. There is no expenditure by the government that can be considered too small or too large for cuts.

Jai

June 6th, 2011
9:46 am

Blah! Blah! Blah! The Republicans have some of the absolute worse candidates in recent history. Can’t wait until that “American History Einstein Know It All” Palin jumps in the race. Should make for an interesting summer filled with laughs! She is the “poster child” for “Don’t Attend Public Schools in Alaska”.

RetiredSoldier

June 6th, 2011
9:49 am

Jai-
“The Republicans have some of the absolute worse candidates in recent history.”

The democrats have only one candidate and he is a proven faiure. Maybe it’s time for another democrat to get in the race.

RetiredSoldier

June 6th, 2011
9:54 am

Michael

June 6th, 2011
10:07 am

It will likely take a year before Georgia farmers adequately advertise and hire legal workers to work their fields. Just say goodbye to 2011. I’m sure ConAgra and Monsanto are salivating over their next land grab.

Concerned Voter

June 6th, 2011
10:24 am

The Tea Party has steeped enough. Its fifteen minutes of spotlight is over. They need a reality check and realize it’s time to go home.

Conservative

June 6th, 2011
10:30 am

Bachmann was amazing- she won the souls and hearts of the people in attendance.

Amazing

June 6th, 2011
10:31 am

Rep. Westmoreland is no leader and and has not accomplished much in his tenure. he is my congressional representative. The likely hood of him being replaced is slim since most of his district runs through South Georgia and they will never consider anyone else.

Since no expense is to small to be subject to cuts, let’s start with cutting congressional salaries and benefits! I bet you will not hear that come out of anyone’s mouth!

big hat

June 6th, 2011
10:42 am

You wouldn’t want anyone to think Westmoreland is being a bit “uppity” would you?

RetiredSoldier

June 6th, 2011
10:47 am

Amazing-

I agree with your suggestion to cut congressional salaries and benefits, but do you really think Nancy P. and Harry R. will go along? It would take both sides for that to pass.

One smaller note, Westmoreland’s district is in west-central Georgia, not south Georgia.

yuzeyurbrane

June 6th, 2011
11:22 am

Isn’t Westmoreland the one whose legislative accomplishments amount to a bill to legalize posting the 10 Commandments in public bldgs.? And then he could only name 4 of the Commandments during a TV interview? I usually say voters get what they deserve but I don’t know about this guy and these voters. He was at the right (no pun intended) mtg. though. Ralph Reed the Hypocrit Leader and his band of liars and/or lo IQ panderers (yes, that’s you Michelle Bachman). Obama will be easily re-elected while presiding over the highest unemployment rate an incumbent has survived because voters will correctly perceive that Westmoreland and his idiot pals have chosen to deep six the American economy in their lust for political power. The Tea Party will then disappear poof as fast as it arose (the Koch bros. won’t pump money in after the election) and hopefully rationality and civil discourse will return to our polity.

Dirty Dawg

June 6th, 2011
11:43 am

If Westmoreland thinks that anything coming from Reed even resembles the truth then maybe he needs to go back and study his Ten Commandments list some more…fact is Westy hasn’t been ‘in the news’ lately so it was time for him to chime in on something. As for the ‘truth’, if he means that the top contributors to the deficit can all be laid at the feet of Republicans, then go for it. Those, by the way, would be…the Bush tax cuts…two wars that were never accounted for in a Bush budget (think credit card) but are now always included…the Medicare Part D – you know, the drug thing that would not allow Medicare to ‘negotiate’ the price with ‘big pharma’ so as a result we have to pay whatever the drug companies say is the price…and a near depression-like economy brought about by an under-regulated financial structure that has gambled our future away…you mean those truths?

RetiredSoldier

June 6th, 2011
12:08 pm

DD-

The Bush tax cuts? You mean the Obama tax cuts, Bush is in Texas, Obama is the one that extended them. Medicare Part D? Oh you are correct there because most democrats voted against it, why? Because the democrats wanted a more generous (costly) drug benefit plan for seniors. Under regulated? What did Obama do the first two years to re-regulate? Very little because Obama received the majority of campaign contributions coming from Wall Street.

You for got to mention the really big expense, the wars. You know Iraq that Obama has followed the Bush plan for 2 1/2 years. Afgan where obama has doubled down and Libya that is his new war of choice.

You need to figure out your guy is the problem.

DJ Sniper

June 6th, 2011
12:09 pm

It’s a trip how some people think that this country will actually improve with any of these GOP clowns in the White House. Obama isn’t perfect and I don’t agree with some of his decisions, but make no mistake, the GOP will do everything they can to send this country back to the 19th century.

jd

June 6th, 2011
12:28 pm

The July primary turnout demographics were in the legislators’ minds when they picked the date. The paving companies writing those campaign checks are making sure that anything other than “Business as usual” fails

Ga Values

June 6th, 2011
6:53 pm

Newt & Reed, 2 of a kind.. That’s actually an insult to Newt, Reed is as low as they come.

Jon Lester

June 6th, 2011
9:18 pm

Lynn Westmoreland and the voters in and around Peachtree City definitively prove that net worth does not necessarily correlate to better intelligence or judgment.

Rob Woodall wants you to keep paying for his healthcare, while you pay for your own healthcare, and help your elderly parents pay their healthcare

June 7th, 2011
12:37 am

Ralph Reed is one slimy SOB. Rumor has it that he wears ascots around the house.

sho'nuff

June 7th, 2011
7:18 pm

Well it seems that ole Lynne Westmoreland doesn’t want to work for the Gov’t anymore. We will see if we can oblige him in 2012. He had a very good challenger last time. This time will be different. Its time for these wingnuts to go home. Their agenda is only about the Sleazy Fat Rich Guys. They don’t care anything for the Working Class–do they?

Dick Cheney

June 8th, 2011
8:58 am

Lynn Westmoreland is my kind of guy. A straight shooter who knows by heart at least three of the ten commandments. We need more Congressmen like him — he can’t think for himself and he will do whatever he is told to help the GOP.