Why Democrats need a Barack Obama campaign in Georgia

Like a troop of doomed, out-numbered cavalry, 20 Democrats in the state Senate had gathered in a tight circle — a last-ditch attempt to stop a measure that could boost the standing of charter schools in Georgia.

President Barack Obama is greeted by during his arrival Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport this month in Atlanta. Greeters on the tarmac are from left to right, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama is greeted by during his arrival Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport this month in Atlanta. Greeters on the tarmac are from left to right, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

A two-thirds vote by the 56-member Senate was required for the proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the November ballot. House Democrats had already folded.

Gov. Nathan Deal, playing the role of Sitting Bull, picked off four Democrats. Perhaps with a promise of a future appointment, or maybe a banking bill – or even an appeal on the merits of the issue. Stranger things have happened. But it will be a while before we know the exact caliber of the ammunition used.

In any case, the massacre was complete. The charter school legislation passed. “That’s been the toughest pill to swallow this session. That’s one that got away from us,” said state Rep. Calvin Smyre, a 38-year veteran and a former chairman of the state Democratic party – during its heyday.

The incident offered Democrats in the state Capitol a glimpse of the numeric irrelevancy that may await them on the other side of November, when they’ll run in new districts drawn last summer in by the Republican majority.

There is a distinct possibility that, in each chamber, Democratic numbers could fall below the one-third mark. This would allow Republicans to pass at will proposed constitutional amendments — the most difficult legislative victory to achieve, and the most powerful.

Some Democrats think the only force that might prevent Democrats from falling into that chasm is the near-mythic intervention of President Barack Obama, a.k.a. Deuce X. Machina.

Possibly, you were surprised by words uttered by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in an interview just before Obama dropped in for a bit of fundraising this month. The topic was whether Obama would mount a serious campaign effort in Georgia, where he earned 47 percent of the vote in 2008.

“I don’t know if the commitment is there to play big,” Reed said. “And that’s the only way for Georgia to be in play. You cannot pursue this in a small, modest way.”

From City Hall, that is simply a cold, hard calculation. One block away, in the state Capitol, it is a matter bordering on desperation.

An Obama that equals his 2008 performance in Georgia could draw enough voters to also preserve Democratic numbers in the Capitol at their current level, said Smyre, the former party chairman. “With Obama out of play, and a lackluster turnout, it could be a tsunami of sorts, politically,” he said.

The effort would cost money — and would be aimed primarily at the large number of unregistered African-American voters in the state. Smyre said he has talked about the prospect with Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

“There’s no way to turn this state politically, and to execute — to register, and flush the vote, and have an effective get-out-the-vote campaign — without several million dollars. You’ve got to have the tools and the resources to do it,” Smyre said. “I think the national party has to put a stake in several Southern states rather than concede. It’s not good policy to concede a whole region of the country.”

Other Democrats in the Capitol put a similar value on a robust Obama campaign in Georgia. But they might disagree on the consequences, should it not happen.

The charter school measure passed by the Legislature would allow the state — if voters approve in November — to override local school boards and create public charter schools in those districts. A large majority of House Democrats opposed the measure, until House Republican leaders agreed to a guarantee that a local school system wouldn’t be forced — by itself — to bear the cost of a state-mandated school.

“The tea party has added a dynamic to the House that means the bright line test of 60 votes is really not the line anymore,” said House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta. “It’s a question of what the issue is.”

Some Democrats endorsed the charter school legislation. Some Republicans opposed it. “Our capacity to have influence is not simply a numbers game. The dynamic under the Gold Dome is not simply dictated by two parties, but by the factions within those parties,” Abrams said.

Senate Democrats are more inclined toward increased confrontation. What’s needed, said state Sen. Jason Carter, D-Decatur, are a few more massacres.

“The charter school vote is a perfect example of the way Democrats get back. You now have 180 elected school boards that feel like they were abandoned by Republicans,” Carter said. “The only people returning calls, the only people standing with them were Democrats.”

If Democrats are to climb back into influence, it will be on the back of bad GOP policy, he said. Like last year’s illegal immigration bill, which deprived Georgia farmers of crucial labor, or Monday’s vote on a bill that would prevent all abortions after the 20th week — even if the fetus is declared non-viable, the lawmaker said.

“The Democrats are not that far away,” Carter said. “Nobody thinks this state is two-thirds Republican.”

Besides, Carter added, Democratic lawmakers have one other hope besides Obama. The man now likely to be the Republican nominee for president finished a distant second in Georgia. “There’s not a Republican candidate less in touch with Georgia than Mitt Romney,” the state senator said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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106 comments Add your comment

Harry Stern

March 24th, 2012
9:24 am

My Goodness! It is Deus ex Machina…Do you even know what that means and where it originates from?

Chris

March 24th, 2012
9:30 am

lol @ Deuce X. Machina sounds like a porn star name… agreed with Harry, it’s Deus ex

td

March 24th, 2012
9:33 am

There is not one moderate Democrat left in Georgia. They are all radicals so besides some of the radicals on this blog where are they going to turn to for support? The vast majority of the citizens in this state are pro gun, pro life, pro getting rid of illegal immigrants, anti union and pro accountability in education. Can anyone name one Democrat that supports more then one of the above topics?

liberalefty

March 24th, 2012
9:44 am

he won without georgia will win again without georgia…lol

Burroughston Broch

March 24th, 2012
9:46 am

This article illustrates how irrelevant Democrats have become in Georgia, except in certain enclaves in and around the City of Atlanta.
It also illustrates how clueless they are about how they can revive themselves to become more relevant. They don’t have a legislative plan except to be against whatever the Republicans propose. They don’t depend on Georgia people to lead their revival – no – they depend on whether President Obama decides to campaign in Georgia. They have let their own State Democratic Party and its finances descend into chaos.
I am not a Democrat, but I hope that they find the inner strength to revive themselves. Georgia must not become a 1-party state again, as it was for 140 years under the Democrats.

Miller

March 24th, 2012
9:47 am

The Republican Party in this State continues down crazy lane with the garbage on abortion ultrasounds etc. I believe that the Democrats should compete with more zeal and flat out slam the Republicans on some of the silly legislation being introduced. Same goes for the national Democratic Party. Quit whining and start going after some of this silly stuff. Better yet, introduce competitive legislation as a substitute and articulate it with reasoning.

liberalefty

March 24th, 2012
9:53 am

the only black man the insecure gop white males like is HERSCHEL WALKER

Michael #1

March 24th, 2012
9:57 am

Rebublicans are quckily making themselves look like unethical sociopaths. Talking more about abortion and developer bailouts than ethics reform, each going along with the crowd and not one of them having the courage to address the issues of today. Ugly!!

Michael

March 24th, 2012
9:58 am

Georgia can’t even take care of its water and transit issues, why waste time campaining here, when those basics issues have not been work out yet.

liberalefty

March 24th, 2012
10:05 am

the gop and ethics? look at their candidate NEWT and you’ll see how little ethics they have

Road Scholar

March 24th, 2012
10:06 am

So the repubs are for local control?

jgalloway

March 24th, 2012
10:06 am

It’s a pun, Harry. Shake it off.

Tell the Truth

March 24th, 2012
10:15 am

@Rep Carter. So Democrats care more about what 180 school boards think in Georgia than the 300,000 children that were in failing schools in 2011. Why all the effort to please local school boards? Are they the nexus of power in our state. What we are observing in Georgia is not Republican vs Democrat but parents sick and tired of not having options for their children. As Democrat Rep Alisha Morgan likes to say: parents don’t say I am either a Democrat or a Republican. They say I am a parent and I demand charter schools for my children. Democrats like Rep Carter have become irrelevant because they hold on to the status quo out of loyalty to school boards that have lost their effectiveness in our modern society. Parents know best what their children need. Parents are the most basic form of local control. And, if you don’t think parents noticed who opposed their children having the choice of charter schools, let’s just see how the parents vote in November. I think we will see many Democrats in the state legislature going home and both Republican and Democrat school board members sent home because they have lost touch with their greatest constituency. And it won’t be because of redistricting.

Thomas

March 24th, 2012
10:31 am

Of course Deuce X. Machina was a pun. That was the way I read it first, and I got a hearty chuckle out of it. Thanks, Jim, for being too subtle for some of your readers; the rest of us are laughing along with you.

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Ellijay dawgcatcher

March 24th, 2012
10:46 am

isn’t the tarmac an unusual place for a clown conference?

Really?!?!

March 24th, 2012
10:55 am

Sorry td but you are just plain delusional if you think the democrats in this state are all “radical”. Despite the right wing’s attempt to frame the debate further and further right, most people do not in fact believe in forcing a woman to carry a non-viable fetus to term, do not believe that women should be denied access to birth control, do not believe that people who have paid into unemployment should be denied access to those fund, do not believe that local control means forcing local school boards to fund charter schools that they don’t want, and do not believe that every single person here without documents is a leech on society that needs to be shipped off as soon as possible. The truth will come out, eventually. Yes people (elected and not) on both sides of the aisle make really dumb decisions sometimes but to pretend that everyone believes as you do is just wrong and sad.

td

March 24th, 2012
11:15 am

Really?!?!

March 24th, 2012
10:55 am

I have yet to read a bill or hear one republican lawmaker say that a woman should carry a dead baby to term. Can you please show me the quote? I am sure this paper would have it as a front page headline.

“do not believe that women should be denied access to birth control”

Again where is the quote from a lawmaker or where is the bill that says women should not have “Access” to birth control? Now if you believe “access” means FREE then you are correct but you are not portraying your statement correctly..

td

March 24th, 2012
11:17 am

Really?!?!

March 24th, 2012
10:55 am

Illegal immigrants do need to be “shipped” back to the country or origin because they broke the law to get here. We are either a nation of laws or we are not. If you and your open boarder people want anyone to come here then change the Federal law.

td

March 24th, 2012
11:21 am

Really?!?!

March 24th, 2012
10:55 am

You and the Dems do not believe in “local control” because if you did then you would believe in States rights and the 10th Amendment. I do not like the Charter school idea and will vote against it but that is because I want to see the hard work done to improve all education in the state. There will be a great deal of Dems in this state that will vote for charter schools. If it were not for Alicia Morgan in the house then this would have never been put to a vote.

candide

March 24th, 2012
11:27 am

The Democrat party here is for blacks only; it will never win unless we let the blacks out reproduce us. Defend democracy by defending our white race.

Hot Dog

March 24th, 2012
11:35 am

td …Please tell your family about what is really going on in your life. You need to be honest and tell the truth about that secret you’ve been hiding for so long. Please tell them before somebody discovers it and tells them.

Hot Dog

March 24th, 2012
11:43 am

TD, Go back and study the Jim Crow era. Once you’ve done that then lets talk about STATE RIGHTS! By the way, PLEASE …DON’T stop being a RED NECK TEAPUBLICAN. NEWT THE LIAR AND SERIAL ADULTERER WILL STILL NEED YOUR VOTE TO WIN THE TEAPUBLICAN NOMINATION. HAHAHAHAHAHAAA! LOSER! Remember, we are waiting to hear about your secret.

liberalefty

March 24th, 2012
11:43 am

OBAMA dont need this state, afterall how smart can GEORGIA be when they voted for DOOFUS BUSH the man that let OSAMA make a tee total fool out of him…lol

liberalefty

March 24th, 2012
11:45 am

@hot dog

what secret? is it the gay porn sites he visits that says OBAMA is gay? hes convinced that OBAMA slept with guys, maybe ANDREW BREITBART can break the story

GaBlue

March 24th, 2012
12:18 pm

td,

You seem to know an awful lot about what Democrats in this state think, feel, and do, don’t you!

Please tell us which county Democratic Party meetings you attend on a regular basis, won’t you? How about JJ dinners, fundraisers, or rallies? How about which nights you even hang out at Manual’s Tavern? How many of your close friends and family are active Democrats, td?

SURELY you are not spouting off Democratic positions without firsthand knowledge, right? Surely you are not presuming to know the minds, hearts, and actions of people you don’t even KNOW, right?

Or are you simply just blowing fetid gasses out of your hind quarters because you have no life and no friends whatsoever?

20/20

March 24th, 2012
12:51 pm

“Hot Dog”…if you want TD to tell his secret, then you must tell yours and that will shut you up! You’re secret (involves closets, I’ve been told), is not really one you wish to divulge is it?

howardn

March 24th, 2012
1:48 pm

First President Obama says he would like a son just like Trayvon Martin and now the breaking news, the new black panthers are putting out a bounty on George Zimmerman[$10,000] . Is there a new lawlessness pervading the country?

Independent voter

March 24th, 2012
1:48 pm

td you remind me of a old lady who always snooping around in people business.
td it time for you to get a life.

Independent voter

March 24th, 2012
1:50 pm

President Obama going to win Georgia because Santorum said he choose him over Romney.

Independent voter

March 24th, 2012
1:52 pm

Please join the rally for Trayvon Martin 3/26/2012 downtown Atlanta at 5:30pm at the Georgia Capital.Geraldo wear your hoodie and bring some skittles.

Repeal the Stand Ground Law.

Centrist

March 24th, 2012
2:08 pm

Sad commentary that Galloway and Democrats fear voters to be able to approve or vote down constitutional amendments. The blog explains why the AJC pretends Georgia is in play for Obama – it simply wants electioneering to save state legislature Democrats with some short coattails even though Georgia is obviously a red state.

liberalefty

March 24th, 2012
2:14 pm

@howardn

yeah and that fat cowardly ZIMMERMAN is going around butchering black kids…is that the lawlessness youre yakking about?

TruthBe

March 24th, 2012
2:22 pm

Look at all the Obama butt kissers. Notice all of them are Black.
President Barack Obama is greeted by during his arrival Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport this month in Atlanta. Greeters on the tarmac are from left to right, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

TruthBe

March 24th, 2012
2:37 pm

The Democrat Politicans here in Atlanta are all racist. Black, Black, Black, Bla,Bla, Bla…..

OSAMA

March 24th, 2012
2:39 pm

@truthbe

You tell it like it is man. All praise due to ALLAH.

Will

March 24th, 2012
3:51 pm

The democrats are actually in worse shape than being a one third minority party.

Independent voter

March 24th, 2012
3:55 pm

Black people are sick and tired and sick tired being treated like dogs in america. Trayvon Martin didnt deserve to die like he was a dog. Black people are going to make sure Trayvon get justice.
White people disrespect president Obama so bad and black people are sick and tire of the racist stereo type in america.

It sad when you come on this blog and see how the racist people are attacking president Obama and his supporter.

We are sick and tired.

Independent voter

March 24th, 2012
4:06 pm

Deomocrate are rally for our president to be elected for 4 more years. Newt, Santorum are turning more republican away from there party. Santorum just made a ccomment that president Obama will be a better president thin Romney. Democrate are more united for president Obama thin these republican for there candidates.

Another observer

March 24th, 2012
4:14 pm

@Independent voter

It seems evident that the party of an unopposed incumbent would be more united during the primary season than the opposition, who are trying to decide on a challenger. Let’s see about unity after the conventions.

And how is Mr. Obama’s fundraising going? Reports are that he will not get close to the promised $1 billion. I think a lot of people who believed Mr. Obama’s promises of bipartisanship and positive change in 2008 will stay at home this year.

Part of the enthusiasm problem on the Republican side is that many voters would support any nominee against Mr. Obama, so they don’t really care who wins the nomination. But they will vote in large numbers when November rolls around.

Independent voter

March 24th, 2012
4:28 pm

Democrate are more united in 2012 year thin 2010, the republican dont have a candidate can beat president Obama. I think president Obama will win in Georgia because republicans will not come out strong for Romney.

td

March 24th, 2012
4:51 pm

GaBlue

March 24th, 2012
12:18 pm

I was a Democrat at one time in my life. I have been to Manual’s on several occasions. I was in a union (which is the main reason I left the dark side of the force).

To beat your enemy one must know and understand the enemy. I beat you I watch more MSNBC then you do.

td

March 24th, 2012
4:54 pm

Independent voter

March 24th, 2012
3:55 pm

I see you are buying into the race pimps like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson again. They have you all stirred up with typical BS to keep you on the socialist plantation. You do understand that they are the field bosses that work for the socialist whites that are pulling their puppet strings?

One day you will take the blinders off and see the real world.

Jack

March 24th, 2012
5:41 pm

“…people who have paid into unemployment..”. This particular phrase is a very good example of how far out-of-touch liberals have become. Once more: employers pay the unemployment tax…all of it; employees do not pay into the fund. Please make a note.

Jack

March 24th, 2012
5:49 pm

Deonte Knowles

March 24th, 2012
6:28 pm

Let me start off by saying that thugs, rappers, and drug dealers now make up the democratic party of Georgia. I studied political science at the University of Georgia. My people took over what used to be a very conservative party. Why did we do this? Many people do not understand the immunity that can attained through the political process. Cocaine distributors and marijuana growers are getting their immunity from state level African-American dems. What should we do? Stop kissing ass to the republicans and rebuild the democratic party of Georgia. We can no longer be the “freebie” party but must restore it to its conservative ways.

20/20

March 24th, 2012
6:46 pm

Deonte Knowles: Amen to that Brother! The Democratic Party was at one time respected and was a force in American politics but, as you say, it has now been overtaken by the fringe elements that each has it’s own agenda. Not that the Republican Party is any better; they both have their own “things” to deliver and neither party is doing what is right for this great Republic. Between George Bush and Barack Hussein Obama they have have bitterly divided America where we are slowly getting to the point where we won’t even speak to one another. Won’t that make the Chinese, Ruskies and other American-haters happy!

BitterEXdemocrackkk

March 24th, 2012
6:53 pm

Democrat Party: a criminal organization disguised as a political party.

Centrist

March 24th, 2012
7:01 pm

From Galloway’s blog: “20 Democrats in the state Senate had gathered in a tight circle – House Democrats had already folded. Gov. Nathan Deal, playing the role of Sitting Bull, picked off four Democrats.”

The House Senate Democrats “folded” and 20% of Senate Democrats went along with the Republican majority to allow voters to decide the fate of charter schools. Sounds like democracy to me – obviously nothing of the sort that interests liberals. Who, other than the few GA ultra liberals mostly employed by the AJC, got massacred which calls for an Obama cavalry?

Hot Dog

March 24th, 2012
7:04 pm

Hey 20/20….

“Hot Dog”…if you want TD to tell his secret, then you must tell yours and that will shut you up! You’re secret (involves closets, I’ve been told), is not really one you wish to divulge is it?
***************************************************************************************************************
You need to shut up because if you tangle with me I will tell the world and your wife about what I know so you better watch it and stop meddling!

As for TD, he knows what what to do. He just need to tell his secret and move on!