Thursday, November 04, 2004

Feeble Attempt at Post-Election Round-up....
I try not to do a great amount of political commentary here because there are those that do it far better than I. The lists of winners (President Bush, Republicans) and losers (Senator Kerry, Terry McAuliffe, mainstream media) are everywhere. Here are my two cents:

When Senator Zell Miller came out with his book, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat he wrote:
Once upon a time, the most successful Democratic leader of them all, FDR, looked south and said, "I see one third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished." Today our national Democratic leaders look south and say, "I see one third of a nation and it can go to hell."
He was described as a traitor to his party. He was lambasted as "evil" for his speech at the Republican National Convention. Now, after the election, pundits are debating the steps the Democratic Party needs to take to expand their appeal. In an article today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Senator Miller takes a victory lap with I tried to tell you . . .
When will national Democrats sober up and admit that that dog won't hunt? Secular socialism, heavy taxes, big spending, weak defense, limitless lawsuits and heavy regulation — that pack of beagles hasn't caught a rabbit in the South or Midwest in years.

The most recent failed nominee for president stands as proof that the national Democratic Party will continue to dwindle. The South has gone from just one-fourth of the Electoral College in 1960 to almost a third today.

To put this in perspective, that gain is equal to all the electoral votes in Ohio. Yet there was not a single Southern state where John Kerry had any real chance. Would anyone like to place bets on the electoral strength of the South by 2012? Maybe they should tax stupidity.

When you write off centrist and conservative policies that reflect the will of people in the South and Midwest, you write off the South and Midwest. Democrats have never learned from the second or third or fifth kick of a mule. They continue to change only the makeup on, rather than makeup of, the Democrat Party.

Could have things been different? Look at this July 2003 post about the moderate Democratic governor who appointed Zell Miller to the Senate, Roy Barnes:
Silly question? Well what got me started was the continued growing buzz over Howard Dean and his campaign's fund raising prowess over the internet. The sum of money raised means that Dean cannot be ignored, poor Sunday morning performance notwithstanding. Dean has really mobilized the democratic faithful, which makes him the opponent that the Republicans hope secures the nomination. But what does the Georgia flag have to do with it? Well the flag above lies over the political body of someone who could have been a serious contender for the nomination, a centrist southern democratic governor that doesn't have the baggage of another centrist southern democratic governor. The political career that the flag killed was that of former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes.....

The political columnist Bill Shipp wrote about Governor Barnes' rising star as a Democratic nominee in March 2001. However things fell apart and Mr. Barnes was defeated in November 2002. While some other factors contributed as well (displeasure with education reform and the "Northern Arc") the flag issue mobilized a lot of emotion in rural areas of Georgia and a tremendous amount of those voters expressed their displeasure by electing Georgia's first Republican governor since reconstruction. For his efforts Governor Barnes won a Profiles in Courage award from the Kennedy library. Mr. Shipp provides an excellent analysis of his remarks here.
I think that Governor Barnes did the right thing in changing the flag. It was a divisive symbol and not representative of a state who's capital is the "City too Busy to Hate". I think the Kennedy library rightly rewarded him. But the unintended consequences are present today....

More locally, the Republicans have taken control of the Georgia General Assembly for the first time since reconstruction. The crew at the Medical Association of Georgia are counting coup today:
The members of the Medical Association of Georgia are to be congratulated on the incredible victories across the state for medicine friendly candidates.

Of the candidates endorsed on MAG's General Election Ballot, 86.2% were successful in the Georgia Senate and over 95% were triumphant in the Georgia House. These outstanding results could not have been achieved without the grassroots involvement of physicians and generous contributions to MAG's Tort Reform Fund and GAMPAC. Physician contributions to GAMPAC allowed the organization to make over $250,000 in hard dollar contributions to pro-medicine candidates over the course of the 2004 election cycle.

Using money collected for the Tort Reform Fund, MAG was able to protect incumbents and help elect candidates that are champions of medicine using polling and direct mail. Many of these candidates were directly targeted by the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and faced stiff opposition by trail lawyer candidates or their surrogates.
There are high hopes for meaningful tort reform next year.

Senator Kerry is to be commended for his concession. I have no doubt that there were members of his inner circle that were pressing him to contest the results, but he wisely took the high road and bowed out with class.
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