The Stupidest Georgia Politician


There are many who would point out the redundancy in that header, and they wouldn’t be wrong. This is most definitely a contest that will field a large group.

It would be easy to start with Zell, if he weren’t just one in a long line going back farther than I can remember – maybe even to Button Gwinnett (look it up). But what do you expect from a state that’s public education system is always in the bottom three?

Here are a few from just yesterday, in no particular order, when Georgia held its gubenatorial and congressional primaries.

1) Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) 4th District
Although her scuffle with the Capitol Police over the winter garnered a lot of attention, back here that was only another “Oh, that Cynthia” moment in the life of this outspoken suburban Atlanta Democrat. She is very popular in her district, probably the most liberal and ethnically diverse in Georgia. Most people admire her “straight talkin’ ” attitude, and believe she is one of the few people who actually speaks the truth in Congress.

Cindy Sheehan and other Gold Star Mothers were at her post-primary election party last night to lend their support, and if you consider yourself a good liberal, like I do, it is very hard not to stand with her. She’s been outspoken about the war in Iraq, and was the first in Congress to raise questions about the Administration’s prior knowledge regarding 9/11. She also brings a lot to her community. So while many in Washington consider her boisterous and ineffective, not to mention a loose cannon, most at home admire her.

Because she enjoys a certain popularity, she did little to campaign except a few yard signs. She skipped debates with her other Democratic challengers in the lead up to the primary. She said she had commitments in the community, and in one debate in particular, she was just a no-show.

Only she and the media were surprised by yesterday’s vote. After not getting the required majority (50% + 1 vote), she is now in a run-off for the Democratic nomination for her congressional seat against Hank Johnson, a county politician making his first bid for national office. They finished only a couple of points apart.

So why, in particular, was this stupid? Well, her speech to her supporters when it became apparent she was not going to win outright, was angry and venemous. She attacked her colleagues in Congress, in the Democratic Party, and, of course, the media for her failure. She didn’t acknowledge her own mistakes during the campaign itself. No one expects her to apologize for her actions in Washington. She doesn’t have to. She’s Cynthia. But maybe she should have admitted to having made mistakes during the campaign and take some responsibility. Stop blaming others for your bad judgement, Cynthia. Stupid thing to do in a close race.

2) Ralph Reed (R) yes, that one
Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition and state Republican Campaign Chairman, got endorsements from Rudy Giuliani and Sean Hannity in his bid for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia. With all his name recognition, he lost, early and significantly, in a race that was not nearly as close as people thought it would be, to Casey Cagle, a member of the state house from the Atlanta suburbs. Despite his huge war chest, he could not deliver votes for himself.

In a very negative campaign, he ignored accusations about endorsing child labor in the Third World, and responded to criticism of his connection to the Abramoff/DeLay scandal with “I was mislead” about the money and blamed the media of associating him with wrongdoing. Like many modern politicians, he believed what people were telling him about his chances and the mood of the electorate in trying to win in a statewide vote. Again, for not owning his own shortcomings, for wasting more than a million dollars on an unwinnable campaign, he is now yesterday’s news. Good riddance.

3) Rep. Phil Gingrey (R) 11th District
Finally, the oddest comment of them all. Even if you take into account any unspoken context, this is the dumbest thing I have heard that a politician said in a long time. After Republicans in Congress wasted time drafting and debating a constitutional ammendment against gay marriage, Gingrey deflected criticism from many quarters that pointed out that given the Senate already defeated a similar measure, and with all the problems in Iraq, skyrocketing gas prices, Iran, North Korea and the Israel-Hezbollah War in the Middle East, this was a pointless excercise.

He said that constitutionally defining marriage as between a man and a woman “is perhaps the best message we can give to the Middle East and all the trouble they’re having over there right now.”

Wow. Er…interesting perspective. And stupid.

-PBG

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