You know that the metro Atlanta effort to pass next year’s transit sales tax struck something of a sandbar earlier this month, when the campaign’s top political strategist, Glenn Totten, abandoned the project. Possibly with some encouragement.
A retooling is underway. Right now, Paul Bennecke, the former political director for the Republican Governors Association, is the only name of note attached to that campaign effort, which is being financed by the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
An overlapping $3 million statewide effort – remember that counties will be grouped into a dozen regional tax conclaves – is being underwritten by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, which on Wednesday announced one of the most carefully balanced political teams we’ve ever seen.
Talk about your lions and lambs bedding down together:
– Heath Garrett, principal political strategist with the Stephens and Schriefer Group, is a former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson;
– Chris Carpenter, the campaign manager for Roy Barnes’ 2010 gubernatorial campaign and founder of the Peachtree Battle Group;
– Chip Lake, a political consultant with Glendale Strategies, was only recently chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland;
– And Cabral Franklin, the son of the late political strategist David Franklin and former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. Cabral Franklin was involved in the state Democratic party’s 2010 turnout effort directed at African-Americans.
But wait – there’s more. The statewide operation, aimed at second-tier cities such as Savannah, Valdosta, Macon and Columbus, will have two pollsters.
One is John McLaughlin, CEO and partner of McLaughlin & Associates, who just happened to handle polling for Republican candidate Nathan Deal last year.
The other pollster is Cornell Belcher, president of Brilliant Corners Research and Strategies, who ran numbers for Kasim Reed during his 2009 race for mayor of Atlanta – and, in 2008, some guy named Obama.
Iowa may have its fried butter on a stick, but Georgia has something better: eggsicles. Here’s a snap of Robert Howell, president of the Georgia Egg Commission, hawking the latest trend in on-the-go dining at the state Capitol. Patent pending.
Researchers now understand why the center does not hold in American politics. Because extremism is cheaper.
In a just released paper, the Progressive Policy Institute took a liberal look at the situation. Among the findings:
Blue Dogs, New Democrats and their opponents spent an average of $3.3 million on their campaigns, compared to an average of $1.6 million spent by candidates and opponents in Progressive Caucus districts. Not only did moderate candidates spend more to defend their seats, they faced better-financed challengers.
This probably comes as no surprise to U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah, the last white Democrat from the Deep South in Congress. And no doubt we would see the same dynamic on the conservative side.
Over at Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Kyle Kondik has this interesting thought about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s suggestion that Federal Reserve head Ben Bernanke might deserve a necktie party:
Effectively threatening violence against the chairman of the Federal Reserve drew a rebuke from Bush political svengali Karl Rove and others. Even Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, newly minted as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association thanks to former Chairman Perry’s presidential bid, said that he “might have said it a little bit differently.”
Perry’s Federal Reserve comments are notable for another reason: They are the clearest signal that the campaign of this race’s forgotten man, Ron Paul, might be having its desired effect: bringing the longtime congressman’s ideas on monetary policy and maybe — maybe — his dovish stance on war and peace closer to the mainstream.
In Concord, N.H., on Wednesday, Paul himself was thinking the same thing. From Politico.com:
“Now they have this other governor, I can’t remember his name,” Paul joked. “He realizes that talking about the Fed is good, too. But I’ll tell you what, he makes me sound like a moderate. I have never once said Bernanke has committed treason. But I have suggested very strongly that the Federal Reserve system and all the members have been counterfeiters for a long time.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider