Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:
● Nathan Deal draws criticism with his first decision as governor-elect. His transition team, announced Wednesday, needs more diversity, critics say. Indeed it does. This and every appointment to come should include conservative women, conservative blacks, and conservatives of Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Hispanic and other national origins. Koreans, by their example of hard work in difficult settings, Vietnamese by virtue of their sacrifices for us and their commitment to the American Dream, and Indians, in the hope that Georgia can find another Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, or Nikki Haley, daughter of Sikh immigrant parents and the just-elected first woman governor in South Carolina.
● It’s no surprise that North Georgia dominates at the Gold Dome in the new year. Governor, lieutenant governor, speaker, attorney general , secretary of state, agriculture, labor and insurance commissioners and School Superintendent, all North Georgia. The region, to include the metro counties outside I-285 has long been the party’s base. It’s just in the past decade that whites in South Georgia started voting Republican in state races. Lots of counties south of the gnat line still elect Democrats — though that, too, is changing in counties that aren’t heavily black.
● Congress and this president so nationalized this year’s elections and so damaged their party’s brand, in this cycle at least, that no Georgia Democrat running statewide had a chance. Barring unchecked arrogance or corruption among Republicans, I don’t know how Democrats recover. I can think of fewer than 10 Democrats whose politics could get them elected in a center-right state. Others are smart and able, but can’t sell their politics in Cornelia and Tifton.
● Really, you don’t have to vote in a race when clueless. State Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias, who is as qualified as anybody I’ve seen appointed or elected to the Georgia bench in my lifetime, is in a runoff with a non-campaigning candidate whose primary statewide appeal was that she’s female and her last name starts with the letter “A.” We have no civic duty to vote in ignorance.
● One of the most persistent ballot problems plaguing this state is the presentation of proposed constitutional amendments. The brief description that appears on the ballot is coded emotionally to solicit a “yes” vote from the uninformed. Amendment 1, for example, was coded to ask whether we wanted to “make Georgia more economically competitive.” Amendment 2 prompted debate, and failed, but it was coded to ask whether we wanted to add an annual $10 “trauma charge,” i.e., tax, to certain passenger vehicles. Ballot language should be plain, simple and honest with no intent to influence outcome.
● Jim Trucks of Canton properly takes me to task for last week’s assertion that Deal spent most of his Congressional time in a Democratically controlled House. As Trucks notes, he went to Congress as a Democrat in 1992, but the GOP held sway for a dozen of the 17 years he was there. I regret the error and appreciate Trucks’ gentlemanly rebuke that “we conservatives have a hard enough time even when we get our facts straight; it is, therefore, unfortunate when we don’t.” Agreed.
● National results Tuesday buoy optimism about America’s future and, in that spirit, no ill will be spoken of the soon-to-be departing speaker of the U.S. House, or of the president who visited this election-day disaster on his party. But the words and the vibes that came from the president’s post-election news conference suggest a long and difficult two years ahead. Said he right off the bat: “If the Republicans have ideas … I’m happy to consider some of those ideas.” If.