Ralph Reed has the best friends money can buy, and we’re not just talking about lobbyist (and indicted felon) Jack Abramoff. According to an article in Saturday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC: “Times are tough, Reed has to pay for a crowd,” 01/21/06), Reed’s campaign offered to pay supporters’ entry fees to Saturday’s Christian Coalition event, to make sure that he had plenty of beaming faces in the crowd. Out-of-towners got an even sweeter deal – hotel rooms paid for by Reed’s campaign. What’s the matter, guys? Couldn’t get tickets to the Georgia Aquarium too?
Reed’s camp wants you to think that this is all routine, and to be fair, it is in some respects. Campaigns routinely hand out incentives to get folks to their events, usually free food, maybe some t-shirts or other campaign swag. Of course, $20 and a night at the local Super 8 ain’t exactly a handful of buttons and a bumper sticker.
One thing we know for sure, though. Bill Shipp must be sleeping well these days, as the mighty Reed juggernaut has thrown another rod on the highway to public office.
Even folks who in the past were strong Reed supporters are starting to smell something fishy about the whole Reed/Abramoff/Indian gambling thing, and Reed’s polling and fundraising numbers are starting to show it.
Reed should’ve just called up Larry McKinney at the Chamber of Commerce. Heaven knows the COC-squad would have been more than happy to drum up a crowd for Ralph. Chamber friend Ralph Hudgens, who is a firm believer in helping your fellow Ralph, could have introduced him. It would have been fantastic, and all it would have cost Reed would have been a few more State Senate seats.
Cheap at twice the price, we say.