Over the weekend, the liberal website Talking Points Memo caught up with former U.S. senator Max Cleland, who declared himself thrilled with prospect of two Vietnam veterans in charge of formulating and implementing American foreign policy.
President Barack Obama is expected to nominate former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense today. He’s already nominated Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as a replacement for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Said Cleland:
“Look at John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, two wounded combat veterans of the Vietnam War. They’ve got five purple hearts between them. That’s the kind of people we want withdrawing from Afghanistan and ending this insane war and occupation and focusing the country on using the American military to stay out war, but if we get in war to win war and win it quickly,” he said.
Cleland said the pair will bring harmony to the civilian and military sides of American foreign policy.
“I see them as the perfect dynamic duo — Batman and Robin, Salt and Pepper, Tom and Jerry. Whatever you want to call it, instead of State and DoD fighting each other all the time as is historically the case, I see them hand-in-glove together,” he said. The two “share a common background,” he added. “They have both been shot at and hit.”
At the Saturday morning meeting of the Cobb Republican party, a state Republican lawmaker floated an idea for ending the debate of the hospital “bed tax” before it begins – by shutting down Medicaid. From the Marietta Daily Journal:
State Sen. Barry Loudermilk of Cassville, who will represent some of the Highway 92 area in north Cobb in the upcoming legislative session, said he recently talked with a Georgia Department of Transportation board member who expressed interest in a proposal to have the state control all the fuel taxes it issues and spends.
“There are no federal taxes that go for it, that’s what we need to be looking at,” Loudermilk said to applause, while dropping in quotes from Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. “I’ll take it a step further: we need to start in the direction to where we don’t have a Medicaid system, but we turn it back to the way it was before Medicaid, where there were nonprofit hospitals that provided indigent care to the people, that were run by churches and religious organizations. As soon as Medicaid came into being, they went away. They saw a way of becoming a profitable institution by government funding.”
And yet, another Republican state senator is of a very different mind when it comes to government involvement. In a weekly newspaper column and message to constituents, Buddy Carter of Pooler endorsed the proposal to tear down the Georgia Dome and build a new one – with a retractable roof. In part:
A couple of things are lost in the shuffle here. First of all keep in mind that the original Dome was built with 100 percent public funds. The new stadium deal is a public-private partnership, with the private sector bearing more than two-thirds of the cost.
And just like the original Georgia Dome, the new stadium will be owned by the State. Only this time the state will not be responsible for capital expenditures, instead we will be guaranteed $2.5 million per year with an annual two percent increase for the next 30 years.
But what about the Falcons and their billionaire owner- won’t they be getting a good deal too? Yes, if everything goes as planned they will — in economic development that’s referred to as a win-win situation.
Tuesday will bring three special elections for legislative contests in north metro Atlanta and south Georgia – just in time for the Jan. 14 opening of the January session of the General Assembly.
Of the trio, the hottest is the contest to fill the Senate seat vacated by Chip Rogers of Woodstock, who left to take a job with Georgia Public Broadcasting after losing a fight to retain his position as majority leader. From the Woodstock Patch:
The race, hotly contested between Holly Springs resident Sean Jerguson and North Fulton Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Brandon Beach, is the source of nearly $50,000 in contributions made in its short life span of one month.
Over at Atlanta Unfiltered, Jim Walls has dinged both Senate candidates. First one:
When Brandon Beach ran for the Senate in 2010, he raised $13,600 to be spent on the general election once he became the Republican nominee. He didn’t make it that far, though, losing a primary runoff by a thin margin.
State law requires candidates to refund contributions raised for an election in which they’re not on the ballot. Beach’s campaign kept those donations in his campaign account, using some for expenses and rolling the rest over to his 2012 race. State law may allow some of that money to be reallocated after the fact to cover 2010 primary or runoff expenses, but at least $8,400 could not be redesignated since it came from donors who had reached contribution limits for those races.
Financial disclosures filed by Sean Jerguson during his six years as a state representative listed ownership interests in several businesses but omitted more than $1 million worth of real estate that they own. Those properties include the site of his Cherokee County shooting range, which it bought from another of his businesses with the help of a federally-guaranteed loan, and a Cedartown mobile home park owned with partners that is perpetually late paying its property taxes.
Meanwhile, a last word from Rogers comes in the form of his final column for Townlaker, a local community magazine that never says a bad word about anyone:
It has been an honor to be part of this publication. In today’s world, where journalism is a dead art and sensationalism laced with negativity has become the accepted form of “so-called”news reporting, it is nice to be associated with a magazine that focuses on positive stories with the purpose of being both informational and uplifting.
Amid three races and a total of 12 candidates on Tuesday, you’ll find only one Democrat. She’s Natalie Bergeron, a 41-year-old attorney in the House District 21 race – to replace Sean Jerguson, who’s attempting to make the leap to the state Senate.
Three Republicans are on the ballot. Over the weekend, Rashad Richey, political director for the state Democratic party, declared in an email to party members that the contest has the makings of an upset:
There is a state house race that will be decided this Tuesday in a ruby red area of the state. And with several Republicans and only one Democrat in the race, we can win if A) the Republicans split their votes between several candidates and B) we get every Democrat to vote for Natalie Bergeron.
That has led Scot Turner to urge his two Republican rivals – Brian Laurens and Kenneth Mimbs — to fold up their tents and go home early. The prospect of Democrats in Cherokee County is just too terrible to contemplate:
“Democrats are trying to steal a seat that they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to compete for going into the final weekend of this special election. The Georgia Democratic Party has sent out an email blast to its entire statewide network encouraging members to contribute financially and volunteer for the democrat opposition’s campaign. If this race goes to a runoff, the likelihood that the Democratic Political machine will come to Cherokee County en masse becomes a real possibility. Cherokee County doesn’t need this; the time to unite is now.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider