GOP needs diversity, core values

At the age of 12, the young Wilcox County farmer Melvin Everson made his first big-league speech at a Future Farmers of America gathering at Atlanta’s Sheraton Biltmore hotel.

By the time he settled in at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) in Tifton, the young Everson had been cured of the desire to take up his father’s occupation of farming the family’s 176 acres between Rochelle and Abbeville. At one time, he was the most likely of the 10 children of Northern and Willa Everson to stay on the farm, though he jokes now that “that second row of cotton I picked made me decide that farming was not the life for me.”

The speeches that he might have made over the hood of a John Deere now have a larger audience — and next year will have a larger audience still.

State Rep. Melvin Everson, now of Snellville, hopes to be the first black Republican to win statewide office in Georgia. He’s running for state labor commissioner, an office Democrat Michael Thurman is rumored to be leaving to run for lieutenant governor.
When Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, Everson was living in Snellville. Shortly thereafter, he and other parents chaperoned a school trip to Jekyll Island. Talk turned to politics. Several urged him to run for City Council in Snellville, which was then 96 percent white.

He lost the first time in 1995, but five years later became the first African-American to serve on Snellville City Council.

In 2004, he ran for the General Assembly. He lost, but won a special election the next year by 27 votes. Then his margins widened. He won with 65 percent in 2006 and 58 percent in 2008 in a district that has become increasingly Democratic, though it’s still about 60 percent Republican.

Everson, one of two black Republicans in the House — the other is Willie Talton of Warner Robins — is a solid conservative. Until it dissolved, he was a member of the 216 Policy Group, a gathering of mostly younger and newer members of the House who assembled to read proposed bills.

They attempted to examine them with a four-way test: Does it promote smaller government, lower taxes, increase personal responsibility and advance “liberty and justice for all”? It was a worthwhile effort to try to develop a common philosophical basis for considering bills.

Everson’s statewide race is important to Republicans, and to two-party politics, because of a debate raging nationally. Does the party recast itself as something closer to the views of Arlen Specter and Colin Powell, or does it project core conservative values?
If the latter, Republicans need to sell that message to blacks, Hispanics and newer immigrants as well as the young. It needs in 2010 a conservative ticket that reflects diversity.

Don’t change core values. Recruit candidates who reflect those values and are as diverse as the state Republicans govern.

He’s retired military, having served in the Army and Army Reserve, is one of five assistant ministers in the 5,000-member Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Lilburn, and is an officer in a real estate investment firm.

Everson is mainstream Georgia and the face of a party that Georgians will allow to govern for a long, long time.

211 comments Add your comment

Diogenes

May 12th, 2009
8:43 am

Good morning, Jim,

I agree that the Republicans need “values.” It has become increasingly apparent that they lack anything one could identify as “values.” The test you claim Everson and the 216 Policy group used to determine the merit of a bill clearly reflects the inability of the Republicans to establish a valid value system.

“They attempted to examine them with a four-way test: Does it promote smaller government, lower taxes, increase personal responsibility and advance “liberty and justice for all”? It was a worthwhile effort to try to develop a common philosophical basis for considering bills.

The only one of those “tests” which would benefit the people and improve government is the last one, although, as always, the Republicans put it in last place far behind things which will benefit their own pocketbooks. Not one of their tests has to do with improving people’s lives or making government more effective — the “values” test which Republicans always fail.

Churchill's MOM

May 12th, 2009
8:44 am

I got a new shotgun for Mothers day and have been trying it out on sporting clays for the last few days. Jim, I’m glad you had a mother and have finally figured out if you do a Rush Vs anybody column every week you’ll get lots of comments. Keep up the good work. Here’s my new favorite Next President web site,

http://www.conservatives4palin.com/2009/05/governor-palin-in-eagle-to-survey-flood.html

Just wondering?

May 12th, 2009
9:02 am

Seems like if you are anti-abortion, pro-Christianity then those are values.

Billy Bob

May 12th, 2009
9:06 am

Definitely threw the “change-up” pitch today, Mr. Wooten. Got the libtards all bamboozled. I agree emphatically with your thesis that the party needs to appeal to all while emphasizing core values of the party.

Billy Bob

May 12th, 2009
9:08 am

Just Wondering

…kind of like the Democrats being pro-murder, pro-paganis?

Peter

May 12th, 2009
9:11 am

Is Letting Bin Laden go FREE……… a “Core Value” ?

Joshua from Tucker

May 12th, 2009
9:12 am

I don’t think so Billy Bob, paganism isn’t espoused by Democrats we just don’t think any religion is useful. It would be more accurate to say we are pro-Agnostic or pro-Atheistic than pro-Paganism.

As to the pro-murder accusation, we’ll that an area that’s always going to pose problems for Democrats.

RetLTC

May 12th, 2009
9:24 am

Based on the stench emitted from the Georgia State House as of late, maybe it would be prudent to ask if a longing for the return to the days of Jim Crow is a core value of the Republican party in Georgia. It sure seems that way. Damned hard to be diverse with that cross to bear.

The Snark

May 12th, 2009
9:31 am

What core values? The Republican Party gave up its values in the 1980s, when it discovered that it could get people elected on talking points and wedge issues. Instead of a governing philosophy, all it has now is a marketing campaign.

Will

May 12th, 2009
9:34 am

If the republican party cannot attract minority voters, it is doomed to be a regional party.

The percentage of minority voters in the US is growing about one percent of the total number of voters each year.

It is likely the 2012 republican nominee will suffer a decrease in minority votes over Senator McCain’s vote percentage last year. This is particularly true with Hispanic voters, the fastest growing percentage of voters. Senator McCain was relatively popular with Hispanic voters, especially in Arizone, because of his pragmatic offerings relating to illegal immigration. It is unlikely the next republican nominee will be so pragmatic.

In the next year or so, President Obama will offer a pragmatic solution (read amnesty to most republicans). The debate will likely be framed by President Obama and republican radio entertainers (more moderating voices within the republican party will be pushed aside, many most likely having to eventually apologize for crossing the radio entertainers). These radio entertainers will most likely offer up a shrill defense of “send them all back” pablum that will further drive the Hispanic community away from republicans into the democrat vote totals.

President Obama will probably prevail in the illegal immigration debate and this will result in the voter registration of former illegal immigrants who will appreciate the efforts of President Obama and democrats in Congress.

By 2011 the economy will have improved and both sides will agrue the reasons for this. Most voters will not care about the reason if their economic life has improved and they feel relatively secure in their physical safety (contrary to those who read this board and watch the “talking heads” each night, “political purity” and philosophical direction doesn’t really mean too much to most voters – if their “lot” has improved and they feel relatively safe, they will be more likely to support the incumbent and punish those who did not support measures they feel improved their life).

So….I would say it is a safe bet to move Arizona to the democrat nominee’s side, probably move Indiana back to the republican nominee’s side and add the Dakotas, Montana and possibly a couple more of the “non-Goldwater South” states to “battle ground states.

If this is anywhere near correct, it would be best for the republicans to get someone like Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee out of their systems by offering them up in 2012 and then get serious about 2016.

professional skeptic

May 12th, 2009
9:34 am

Just a heads up: “Smaller government” would mean letting local communities decide what transportation solutions best meet their own needs, and allowing them the ability to raise their own funds to finance the improvements.

But our Republicans don’t allows this. Instead, Georgia Republicans insist on Big-Brother style Big Government and Inflexible Central Control over transportation issues, stripping local communities and counties of their freedoms to decide what solutions are right for themselves.

Thanks, Rethuglicons. Way to support “smaller government” and “individual freedom.”

[...] Click here for more… [...]

neo-Carlinist

May 12th, 2009
9:45 am

call me a cynic, but core values are core values, and it really should no matter what color or party name is affixed to said values. unfortunately, the GOP wants to win elections (as do the Dems), so they will refer to the “base” or the “core values” (anyone want to guess what the loose translation of the arabic words al qeda is?), but the core values are quickly diluted or re-worded in order to court votes (a/k/a diversity). and herein lies the rub. you cannot have diversity AND core values. “diversity” exists when the core values of the left and the core values of the right (and the values of us silly libertarians) are considered, debated and employed to steer policy. that is to say, the only “core values” that matter should be those as defined by the Constitution. the problem with the current, sad dog an pony show is; diversity is not a core value – not possible. I have to go. Happy Birthday to George Carlin. i just know he’s NOT up in heaven smiling down on all of us.

Lee

May 12th, 2009
9:47 am

“GOP needs diversity.”

Yes, it is time for Jim to retire. He’s been drinking the water at the AJC again and he’s starting to spout the politically correct crap that we have come to expect from Jay Bookman and whats-her-face Tucker.

Retire Jim. Save yourself before it’s too late.

Jefferson

May 12th, 2009
9:51 am

Better liars, is all they need.

EVIL REPUBLICANS TIME IS UP

May 12th, 2009
9:56 am

CORE VALUES TO THE GOP MEANS GET RID OF THE POOR BLACK OR WHITE,GET RID OF HEALTHCARE FOR THE ELDERLY,SAVE THE BABIES IN THE STOMACH,BUT STARVE THEM TO DEATH ONCE THEY GET HERE.
BOMB THE IRAQIS FOR 9-11,WHEN IT WAS BIN LADEN AND AFGHANISTAN. BROKE AMERICA BECAUSE OF REPUBLICANS CORE VALUE IS GREED.

Northern Sympathizer

May 12th, 2009
9:59 am

Shrewd column, Jim. So shrewd that I’m not sure that anyone got the point. What he’s saying is that the GOP should keep selling the same losing dog food of ideas to the public, but just make sure they choose a minority-group member to do the selling. A winning strategy? You judge.

Black or Hispanic voter

May 12th, 2009
10:09 am

Vote to restrict my efforts to register to vote. Check. Demonize all immigrants and call for mass deportations. Check. Load me up with payroll taxes while cutting the taxes of the wealthy. Check. Fight against help for the poor needing medical services. Check. Yep, that settles it. I’m definitely voting Republican.

Confused

May 12th, 2009
10:12 am

Did you not write that we did not need diversity and today we need diversity. I am as always confused.

Peter

May 12th, 2009
10:18 am

Why would the GOP continue to need to “Redefine” it core values Jim ?

Is that a Marketing scheme you are speaking about ? Really all about Votes and not a true idea ?

Seems if you actually had a clear message……all would understand what it actually is !

Is Rush NOT the speaker for your party today…..I know that may be crazy, but Cheney seems to think so ?

Jim

May 12th, 2009
10:19 am

The problem for the republicans is that their “core values” are a series of litmus tests to be a republican. When the former vice president can honestly say that he would step up for rush limbaugh because a decorated warrior and former secretary of state, Colin Powell, because Powell “left the party”, there is a problem. Not to worry Mr. Wooten – demographics will handle this problem shortly. The republicans are incapable of attracting large numbers of minorities that they need to win. Those doggone litmus things just keep getting in the way. So the republicans can be a nice regional (southern) party who gets its collective butt kicked in national elections. Do have a nice day.

Bo Chambliss LOBBYIST

May 12th, 2009
10:22 am

“He’s retired military, having served in the Army and Army Reserve,” I thought to be a Real Republican, you had to be a real draft dodger like Rush, Dick & Saxby. Got to run, the phone is ringing another person wanting his $10,000,000.00 Saxby Special Earmark.

AmVet

May 12th, 2009
10:29 am

Core conservative values???

Mr. Wooten, it would appear that both the “leadership” and you in the “base” have little if any idea what those actually and specifically are.

I have asked repeatedly from our so-called conservatives here to enumerate them specifically.

NOT just mindless and worthless sound bites such as a strong military or smaller government. Which say nothing. Which mean nothing. And which certainly DO NOT square with the reality they have created. Just feel good tripe that the neo-conned have swallowed hook, line and sinker.

Saying what has been practiced in the past thirty years or so, by the Republican Party, is conservative in nature is akin to saying that the Texas Rangers rule Major League Baseball…

Shar

May 12th, 2009
10:42 am

Republicans will not advance their effort to attract minorities by denigrating Colin Powell, the second-most respected minority leader nationally.

Republicans will not be able to “sell” their “core values” until they are able to demonstrate their benefits through implementation. The Bush years offered an unparalleled opportunity to do so. The Republicans instead enlarged government, weakened the military, ignored domestic crises, concentrated power and money in the well-connected, ran up unfathomable debt, undermined the country’s international credibility, used traditional moralism to divide and berate while tolerating the likes of Senators Craig and Vitter, and assaulted the Constitutional foundations of the nation.

Any marketer will tell you that a message has to be related to product performance. Convincing people to buy – or vote – based on misrepresentation of what is delivered will always lead to disappointment, loss of credibility and alienation. Republicans sold the “core values” concept in 2000-2004, but failed utterly to deliver. It’s time for the Party to re-examine what it actually put into effect to isolate what benefits, if any, were derived. The message they “sell” needs to be based on those findings rather than what they wish they’d done, really intended to do or treid to make voters believe they did.

Mister Earl

May 12th, 2009
10:43 am

Core Values?
AmVet – everyone knows the Cincinnati Reds rule major league basebalI

There are no core values.

The prime directive of political leadership is to serve the needs and help protect the basic rights (see The Bill of Rights) of ALL American citizens

As opposed to the bitter, fear merchandising, resentful and “I hope he fails” mentality of the so-called leadership that includes Hannity, Coulter, Limbaugh, Savage, Cheney and Beck.

Mister Earl

May 12th, 2009
10:51 am

Leave It To Beaver

“Core values” is nothing more than a empty label for a sentimental return to 1956.

Those were the good old days.

Goldie

May 12th, 2009
10:52 am

The Grumpy Old Party needs more than “core values” — they need a new leader other than Oxycontin Limbaugh and Fixed News!

Billy Bob

May 12th, 2009
10:53 am

ScamVet

A list of some core Republican values:

1.Traditional family structure
2.Personal freedom AND Personal responsibility including strict interpretation of the Bill of Rights
3.Pragmatic but small government
4.Sovereignty and independence of three branches of government
5.Fiscal conservatism in government
6.Economic captalism
7.Favoring international diplomacy but militarily capable of deterring and, where necessary, meeting challenges to national sovereignty
8.Respect for human life

I, like many of my Republican brothers and sisters, understand that core values are a general statement of principals but must be pragmatically implemented.

Would you care to share with us a list of core values for the Democratic Party?

Joshua from Tucker

May 12th, 2009
10:56 am

Everyone knows that Democrat values all devolve into one statement:

Freedom to do what I want and you get to pay for it…

patricia from valdosta

May 12th, 2009
11:05 am

Jim @ 10:19, your post simply, and I do mean simply, attempts only to demonize your opposition but offers precious little in the way of any substantive principle except, maybe, some lame “we want to do what we wants” diatribe.

Running a stable, prosperous country requires a lot more individual sacrifice than you or your Democratic party are capable of.

GOP is gone

May 12th, 2009
11:08 am

Yes Jim please reach out to minorities. On second thought why don’t you let your heros Cheney and Rush extend to olive branch? After all they are known for their diplomacy and kindness.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:08 am

Bank of America sold about $7.3 billion worth of shares in China
Construction Bank to a group of investors, according to several media
reports.

The bank, which has been told to raise large amounts of capital as a
result of the government-administered stress tests, sold the stock to a
group including a unit of China Life Insurance, Singapore state
investment agency Temasek Holdings, and China’s Hopu Investment
Management, Reuters reported, citing a source directly involved in the
deal but not authorized to speak on the record about it.

The 6 percent chunk of BofA shares sold was the maximum stake it was
allowed to sell after a recent lock-up lapsed. The sale cuts Bank of
America’s stake in CCB to around 10.6 percent, Reuters said.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:10 am

embattled insurer American International Group said Monday that it
was selling its Japanese headquarters to the Nippon Life Insurance
Company for $1.2 billion in cash.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:12 am

Workers at Hartmarx, the clothier that made President Obama’s
inauguration tuxedo and topcoat, are pressuring its main creditor to
approve the sale of the company to a buyer that would keep it alive
instead of liquidating it.

GOP is gone

May 12th, 2009
11:12 am

Billy Bob,
You forgot shove your Jesus down everyone elses throat.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:14 am

As Wall Street banks rush to raise capital following the results of the
“stress tests,” financial institutions are looking at a $500 million
fee bonanza in just a few weeks for helping rivals raise equity, The
Financial Times reported.

Joshua from Tucker

May 12th, 2009
11:16 am

Billy Bob, it’s hard for the Democrats to vote for a Republican party that favors “traditional family values.” As Mr. Wooten has oft-teimes pointed out, 72% (that’s Seventy-two percent) of African-Americans and 51% (that’s Fifty-one percent of Hispanics are born into single parent households. I would, however, suggest that certain Hispanic groups are more in favor of traditional families like Cuban-Americans.

You’ll notice that much success to attract African-Americans and Hispanics comes from those groups who are Christian and favor traditional marriage/family structure.

And what’s with African-Americans being so paranoid about gays in their communities?

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:17 am

The Ford Motor Company said Monday afternoon that it was planning a
public offering of 300 million shares to help finance its retiree
health care trust.

Billy Bob

May 12th, 2009
11:19 am

GOP is gone @11:12

I’ll repeat my question: what do Democrats stand for; what are their core values?

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:20 am

The prominent Manhattan lawyer Marc S. Dreier pleaded guilty on Monday
evening to criminal charges of running an investment fraud that cheated
investors out of hundreds out of millions of dollars by using fake
promissory notes.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:21 am

Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive officer of Enron, is
asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review convictions for his role in the
collapse of what was once the nation’s seventh-largest company.

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:21 am

Shareholders want HealthSouth’s founder, Richard Scrushy, to pay $2.6
billion for his alleged role in a huge fraud that nearly ruined the
rehabilitation company, attorneys told a judge Monday.

Billy Bob

May 12th, 2009
11:23 am

Joshua,

Agreed. African-Americans are hugely paranoid about African-American gays. I expect it’s because the issue hits too close to home for many of the ex-cons in that community. That’s just speculation, though.

Now that kind of paranoia is a REAL core Democratic value but what they talk about is completely different.

AmVet

May 12th, 2009
11:24 am

Mr. Thuggish Thornton,

That you infer I’m a Democrat because I regularly excoriate the hijacked and hemorrhaging farce of a GOP makes one think of the old adage, “Better to be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

But kudos to you sir for at least trying. Usually the crickets are deafening.

I ask for SPECIFICS and you proffer vacuous inanity such as pragmatic but smaller government, fiscal conservatism and economic capitalism?

It explains much as to the floundering status of you Republiconned.

As you clearly are having great difficulty following simple directions, let me give you a couple of examples of the opposing argument.

Starting a chosen, preemptive war based on deceit and misinformation is NOT conservative.

Coddling Wall Street crooks and swindlers by gutting the SEC’s Corporate Oversight and Policing arm is NOT conservative.

There are countless more, but you get the idea now, I trust Mr. Mission Accomplished.

And the beat goes on…

Big Bucks GOP doing the Lord's work

May 12th, 2009
11:26 am

Billy Bob 10:53 am

Better check your list don’t think that W, Rush, Dick, either of our Socialist Senators or Jim would agree. Our current Conservative Republicans were big spending, big government, take care of your friend guys when in power.

Billy Bob

May 12th, 2009
11:29 am

RE-POST

ScamVet

A list of some core Republican values:

1.Traditional family structure
2.Personal freedom AND Personal responsibility including strict interpretation of the Bill of Rights
3.Pragmatic but small government
4.Sovereignty and independence of three branches of government
5.Fiscal conservatism in government
6.Economic captalism
7.Favoring international diplomacy but militarily capable of deterring and, where necessary, meeting challenges to national sovereignty
8.Respect for human life

I, like many of my Republican brothers and sisters, understand that core values are a general statement of principles and should be pragmatically implemented.

Would you care to share with us a list of core values for the Democratic Party?

Billy Bob

May 12th, 2009
11:32 am

Big Bucks doing the Lord’s work,

Time to grow up and live in the real world. Perfection, whatever you think that is, doesn’t exist in religion, politics or academe.

Jefferson

May 12th, 2009
11:33 am

What was going on from 2001-2009 ?

Billy Bob

May 12th, 2009
11:36 am

ScamVet,

True to your moniker you’re best at throwing stones but don’t ask me to do any heavy intellectual/policy lifting. You’re a Democratic shill who’s built his house on the shifting sands of a party with no direction except all directions.

Keep beating that drum.

sane jane

May 12th, 2009
11:38 am

the party of “small government” wants to amend the Constitution (!) to keep teh gayz away from marriage. Yeah, that makes sense.

If you REALLY want to “save” “traditional marriage”… you should be directing your venom at DIVORCE. Not homos.

Quit disguising “bigotry” underneath your “core values.” That would be a start.