Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdrawal

Just in case you hadn't heard yet, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination today. Feel free to opine away. In any event, this is the story today, unless of course, Patrick Fitzgerald decides to hand down indictments this afternoon.

Also in the news, Congressman John Barrow is officially confirming what we've all known for months; he'll be moving to Savannah and running against Max Burns in the new 12th, which doesn't include Athens. According to the ABH, it sounds like he's got his eye on some pretty choice real estate down yonder as well. Kegger at Johnny B's for New Year's!

Also, he's getting divorced, but we don't have any kind of snarky comment on that. Things happen.

Anyway, two points to remember in this particular imbroglio. First of all, the GOP is going to start throwing around the hackneyed "carpetbagger" rhetoric, which might actually stick, if it weren't for the fact that he's been representing the majority of the new district for the last year or so anyway.

The other point to keep in mind is this. To all of our Athens friends with a eye for changing government and deep pockets to make it happen, do us a favor. Don't donate to John for the 2006 cycle. Here's why. Jonh Barrow, if he's ever been good at anything in his life, is good at fundraising. Don't believe us? Just run a search in the ABH. Plus, as an incumbent, he's going to be well-funded by the national network of party faithful. And finally, Savannah is next to only Atlanta in terms of political donations. To sum up, John isn't going to have any trouble raising money to beat Max Burns (who tended to rely on the GOP money machine for his own bucks, unlike John)

But hey, you know who is going to have trouble raising money? Whoever runs in the new 10th District against Charlie Norwood. And that's who you should support. Now, the conventional wisdom says that no Democrat is going to win against Norwood, and we'll agree that the chances are pretty slim. But wouldn't it be nice to see a real race, rather than just conceding this seat right now?

Of course, first we're going to need a candidate...anyone know what Becky Vaughn is up to these days?

Speaking of candidates, you might recall our much earlier post on Doug McKillip's race for House District 115? Looks like he might have some company in that race. More on that soon.



Jmac said...

I'd love to see the Democratic Party actually recruit someone who could make that a competitive race against Norwood. Granted, he's going to win ... but I'd like to see the guy have to earn it.

I've already developed a good strategy for someone to run against Norwood ... and I'd like to see someone step to the plate. You'd need a moderate to conservative Democrat (naturally) with a committment to North Georgia interests (you're not getting anything close to Augusta).

Publius said...

And I've already floated the first name out there - Becky Vaughn. But, just to be very clear, I haven't spoken to Becky or anyone connected to her about this, and as far as I know she isn't running. I just sort of wish she would.

One interesting fact about the new 10th. The rural counties are more democratic than people might think.

This is not an easy win for the Democrats, by any means. But with a lot of hard work and the right candidate, we can make it a possible win, or at the very least, make it not so easy of a win for the GOP.

RandomThoughts said...

Is there any candidate at all you see winning for the Democratics?

Publius said...

Too soon to tell, but I think that the candidate will/should probably be from the Athens area. Our "bench" of potential strong Democrats, while also fairly shallow, is at least deeper than most of the rest of the 10th.

RandomThoughts said...

Why don't some of you who really know the possible candidates get your heads together and find someone who could actually win and then get in touch with that person and suggest they run? If you campaign for a candidate the way you did for LPDS, they have a strong system already in place.

Publius said...

Despite the comment last night that anyone who wants to run for office should be disqualified, I'm not a big fan of "Draft So-and-so" movements.

If someone wants to run, it should be the end result of a period of introspection, discussion with one's family and friends, and an hoest appraisal of one's strengths and weaknesses, as well as one's goals and values. It shouldn't be the result of a hard sell by the pissed-off activist wing of the party.

RandomThoughts said...

That's interesting. I've never thought of you as the "pissed off activist wing of the party".

I don't believe any viable candidate would get a phone call saying 'hey, just wanted you to know that your name has come up on the blog and seems to have lots of support' and think, oh, well, maybe I should run. But I do think that is information that would be helpful to them in making the decision.

I mean, I take you guys seriously. You and several of the others seem to know what this is all about and I respect your opinions. I'm just saying let's give the candidate the information.

Dawg Corleone said...

The 10th is unwinnable for Democrats.

Becky Vaughn? Very bright and nice lady, but get real: she lost a winnable legislative race. Who's going to take her seriously in a non-winnable Congressional contest?

The fact is, no Dem will win the 10th. The National Dems won't put a nickel into the district, and a local Dem won't be able to raise enough money to be viable. In nobody's universe is the 10th a competitive district. As Norwood himself has said, he could win this district even if he's dead.

Publius said...

Shockingly, I don't completely disagree. The 10th is not going to be an easy win, and it probably isn't a win at all. Of course that's also what they said about the Paul Hackett race.

Of course, this isn't an open seat (Hackett's was), the Georgia GOP doesn't have the same baggage the Ohio GOP has, and oh yeah, Hackett didn't win.

But, I would like to see a decent candidate run a decent race, instead of automatically ceding the district to Norwood. You know, like or hate him, Howard Dean is on to something with the 50 state strategy, and it's something that we should be doing. We may not win, but hell, let's at least make the GOP work for every vote they get.

As far as Becky goes, I think the main reason that she lost was that she sold her soul to the Democratic Party of Georgia, and as I've alluded to in the past, those guys sing a great song of potential support in order to woo a prospective candidate into running, but they usually fail to deliver on their promises. I would hope that in the future, if she runs again, Becky will take a cue from history and run without the "help" the DPG provides.

Granted though, the loss in 04 would be a hurdle, at least initially. And I'll agree that the DCCC (the group that shells out the dough to Congressional candidates) won't be ponying up in the 10th.

I still think though, that with a decent communications strategy, a very good fundraising pitch, and a LOT of hard work, she (or any decent Democrat) could turn this into a real race.

And, one final point, if a strong Democrat runs against Norwood and forces the GOP to play a little defense, that's going to suck some resources away from the 12th and the other competitive district (whose number eludes me right now).

Dawg Corleone said...

Probably you're thinking about the Third (Jim Marshall vs Mac Collins).

Any viable Dem in the 10th would have to come from the Augusta area. Look at this way: any Dem from any place is going to win the Athens vote. That's a given. You'd want a known commodity from the Augusta area to stir up that pot of votes.

Just IMO. I'm not in the business of telling Dems how to win races, and they wouldn't listen anyway.

RandomThoughts said...

I'm sorry but that agrument does not convince me to put my money in the 10th district Democrate's pocket. Hoping that it will cause the GOP to take valuable resources from another district is not a sure thing. My money going to another district Democratic candidate is.

Publius said...

Hey, if you want to help another community get the kind of representation you want in yours, be my guest. But to me, all politics is local, and if you're going to spread the donor love, you should start in your own backyard.

Yeah, I was talking about the third, Dawg. Gracias. I disagree though about Augusta. There's no serious money to be raised in Augusta, and Athens donors will pony up to an Athens candidate more than they would to an Augusta candidate. Plus, Augusta just doesn't give a fat Rove's ass about congressional politics anymore, now that there are no more Walkers in goverment or politics.

bulletdawg said...

Unless Norwood drops out, which I believe is unlikely, there will not be a credible Democratic candidate from Augusta. I highly doubt any Athens Democrat will risk their money and time for a guaranteed loss. While Publius states that the rural counties are more Democratic than most people think, they are not Democratic enough to defeat Norwood.

This district will remain Republican, with or without Norwood.

Dawg Corleone said...

10th doesn't include Augusta proper (I don't think). It's more of a Columbia county thing.

The wagon riders live in Richmond Co; the wagon pullers live in Columbia Co.

bulletdawg said...

Also, the fact that Barrow is buying a condo is a good sign he doesn't intend on living down there. His campaign will use the fact he owns property there to claim he is a Savannah resident, but I bet he spends most of his nights in Georgia at his Five Points abode.

bulletdawg said...

DawgC-you are right and wrong. The district does include part, but not much, of the city of Augusta (the very white, very high-income, very GOP part).

You are right in stating that the wagon-pullers live in one of Columbia County's gated golf course neighborhoods.

Jmac said...

Yeah, I don't agree with the Augusta strategy (as an Augusta native, that ain't really Augusta ... it's Columbia County folks ... good people, mighty conservative and they love their Charlie Norwood).

An Athenian or other North Georgian of the conservative straing would be the most viable. And they'd have to pour lots of money into North Georgia and identify with issues that those communities care about ... like Publius, I agree all politics are local.

Folks up there aren't keen on Norwood for a variety of reasons, particularly I-3. Rally up their support, lock down Athens and you could make it interesting.

Anonymous said...

I can report that there are several viable folks looking at the 10th. I'm hoping that someone from "up there" will run. I have run into a lot of leery democrats in the north country. They are leery of them thar liberals what live in the big city, and are creating their own grass roots progressive networks. They are not going to be interested in running their b***s off for an Athenian.
And I don't blame them. They have different issues, and are better at countering the right wing extremists one on one. One I'd love to recruit is a current State Rep, and I know he's been approached. Time will tell. If Rep. Norwood decides to retire, there will be plenty of vultures who stop circling and come down to eat at his carcass. Doc "I've got environment" Eldridge comes to mind especially. What he's got is ambition, and the ability to lie while looking you right in both eyes directly. He won't play well in North Georgia, they're smarter than that.
Whatever candidate we field, we have got to build their campaign with an eye to 2008. It simply is not realistic to think we're going to do more than build an org in 2006. Whoever runs for us now should have first dibs in 08, when if we've done our work well, we might push accross the line in some of the closer counties. In any case, the work we do for that candidate will help the other candidates accross the 10th. And vica versa. I have done a fair amount of networking with NGA Democrats, and am doing more every day. We're out there, and we're working hard already. Stay tuned!