Monday, October 23, 2006

Master Debaters

Like I was going to pass that joke up.

Here's the skinny, cupcakes.

Debates. Athens Press Club. Tomorrow and Wednesday. Melting Point (at the Foundry Park Inn). Start at 7 sharp both nights. Also on the radio - 1340 AM. Most local and state candidates will be there.

Be there, or Ben Emanuel will leave a flaming bag of poo on your doorstep.


hillary said...

Oh good! I was thinking 8. So I can manage to listen to at least an hour before Gilmore Girls comes on. (Not a joke.)

Chris Hassiotis said...

But America's Next Top Model will be right in the middle of tomorrow night's.

O, priorities!

Anonymous said...

okay so who's on first?

I thought Tim did a great job.

The things that stick out for me:

Mac Rawson on minimum wage, poverty, the living wage... very good. Mac Rawson on the photo id, way very good.

Ralph Hudgens, elitist pig and good with that. All the way down the line from immigrants, education,wages, health care, incentives for business/development, and on and on and on.

Becky Vaughn, the best performance of the evening, all round. Knows her stuff, makes her points, and I thought really wrapped it up against Rep. Smith very neatly in her closing statement.

EHCulpepper got a little testy w/Doug McKillip after the 37 year old nailed education in pure trial lawyer fashion. But other than that EH did mention his vast public service experience, he is very well intended guy. But don't kid yourself, he'll vote the way conservatives are voting if he gets past McKillip.

Regina Quick sounded very knowledgeable about everything. She's a lawyer too.

I'm a huge Jane Kidd fan, so I can't be objective about that. I say thank heavens Jane voted against the unfunded mandate, the 65 percent disaster. We need to send her down there to do that kind of thing some more.

Cowsert is basically just a Hudgens/Kemp type in training. He'll run on the issues the state party tells him to run on and you know he'll be voting that Republican agenda all the way down the list.

Can't wait until tomorrow night, I listened here at home, so can anyone guess at how many people showed up? Was the crowd really booing at a couple of points?
who do y'all think won?


hillary said...

I only caught the first half, but I was really impressed with Rawson despite the perhaps necessary wuss on partner benefits. He was esp good on minimum wage (even if I'm not sure I agree with him).

Anonymous said...

I was there - no surprise, I guess.

Heidi joined a little late due to a meeting with members of the School Board and Commissioners. (Shameless plug here - how many people realize that the School Board and Mayor and Commission had never had regularly scheduled meetings before Heidi took the lead on this? It seems impossible but, it's true.)

Anyway, there was a decent crowd - I can't really estimate very well but I'd say it was maybe 75. Just a guess but it seemed like that.

This forum was VERY different - Tim actually encouraged people to cheer, clap, boo, hiss, etc. during and after the comments. Weird but a little bit fun although a lot of it started to seem a great deal less than genuine as each candidate's supporters seemed to feel obligated to applaud their person. Some seemed more genuine than others but it became pretty clear that a "cheerleading squad" accompanied every candidate. I like the general idea but it was kinda fake after a while.

I would dearly love to give my honest opinion about how I thought each candidate handled the questions but I probably should not. I do have to give kudos to Mac, Becky, and Doug though because their performances were genuinely outstanding even taken with the grain of salt that I'm going to support every Democrat.

I will, in fairness, say that Bill Cowsert excels at this kind of thing and Regina wasn't bad at all in her delivery. Cowsert is in the shadow of Brian Kemp too much though because Brian used to say all the right things when he campaigned but didn't follow through when he got to Atlanta so that makes me, and a lot of other folks, suspicious. I can't say that Cowsert will be just like Kemp - nobody knows. It was just a little bit too much like deja vu all over again to make me at ease. Maybe that's not fair to Cowsert but, I can't help it if I'm seen this movie before...

Tomorrow night, when Heidi and the other guys take the stage, I expect more of the same - much more. Emotions are running high and I'm sure that the other campaigns will have their supporters there to give their forced/fake applause for the strings of platitudes that we expect. Short answers favor those who don't have much to say but, those are the rules we play by.

One last note - as much as I applaud the efforts of all the fine folks involved in all the forums (like all 20 of them!) - there's almost never an undecided voter in the house and probably none listening on the radio either. Too bad. That's the fault of the voters rather than the organizers or candidates. In fact, I think the way it gets written up and reported on in the various media after the event has a much greater impact. That's second-hand info taking on a greater role than eye-witness stuff but, it is ever thus...

You can't argue that it's not a show and there were more people there to see the show tonight than were at the Melting Point when I played there about 10 days ago. Of course, my band didn't have yardsigns. ;-)


Anonymous said...

one more thing - several candidates pointed out something that I've been trying to convince people of for a long time but I don't have ths skills:

Every time the federal government cuts taxes, the state governments have to raise them to make up the shortfall.

Every time the state government cuts taxes, the local governments have to raise them to pick up the slack. I think it was Doug McKillip that pointed out how many County Commission Chairs had lost their re-election bids after the last round of "tax cuts" at the state level.

Anybody fooled by these so-called "tax cuts" at any level higher than local government is too easily fooled to be allowed to vote. Actually, the ACC government has been pretty lucky though most of this but the School Board has been taking a beating because the Clarke County School District has been taxing at the highest rate allowed under state law for several years and they're still underfunded.

But, how many state legislators have ever been voted out of office for cutting state taxes? or, for underfunding schools? I think the answer to that is like zero - the same number as the number of Republican legislators that favor a tax increase. They really know how to push the buttons of the uninformed electorate but, I'm not sure if they know anything else...smoke and no attention to that man behind the curtain!

A free country ain't free of charge.


Fishplate said...

"Every time the federal government cuts taxes, the state governments have to raise them to make up the shortfall. Every time the state government cuts taxes, the local governments have to raise them to pick up the slack."

You left out an important phrase, Al: "...or cut spending."

Maybe it's implied, but I have yet to see a Congress, a state Legislature, or a local government get ~serious~ about whether all the spending being done was really needed.

I realize that it's harder sometimes to trim government at the local level, and it's always been my policy to oppose national taxes in favor of local taxes. At least I can go and personally yell at ten Comissioners and a Mayor if I feel my money's being wasted. I don't have time to do some shouting at 535 Congresspeople. (N.B.: Taxes being "local" doesn't make them better, just easier to swallow.) If the Federal government could cut taxes ~and~ spending, I would feel better about the local Governments picking up the slack, since it would not change the overall sum. And if our local Government could find a way to trim waste, then that would be even better. (Hint: Finding a way for the University to pay a Stormwater "Fee" was a step in the right direction...)

Anonymous said...

Good points! I was only addressing one side of the issue because I figured I'd probably already written too much but, I agree with what you've said on the spending side.

The spending side gets trickier on every level because what some people see as wasteful are what others see as essential. The money comes in from almost a single source - our pockets. The money flows out to hundreds, maybe thousands of channels depending upon how you want to count it.

If I knew the answers, I'd run for office but I am one of probably fewer than 50 people in Athens to have read every line of every draft of every ACC budget for the last few years and there ain't much there that I could see as wasteful or excessive and I was certainly looking for anything I could question. One of the things that I really was most irritated by was the way rising fuel costs are hitting us because we all have to pay to put gas/deisel into all the vehicles. Replacing that fuel with "something" would save a bunch but replacing the fleet and/or retrofitting them is also pretty outrageously expensive.

Athens is like most places - we have a huge appetite for services and a great disdain for paying for them. And so many people can't see the connection. Few people understand how residential development costs so much more than the tax revenues that come in but if we even considered higher taxes on people's homes, we'd be run out of town, tarred and feathered. Commercial development is the only way to pay for the services people demand and keep personal property taxes in check.

But, like I said, I don't do policy stuff - it's too complicated for my feeble brain and it's vastly more complicated than just about anybody - especially voters - will ever realize. You can't "sound bite" sound policy but you can win more elections with sound bites than sound policies. That's why Georgia is a Red state. ;-)

Anonymous said...

you go andy, that was one hell of a closing statement, thank you thank you thank you.


Anonymous said...

Andy showed a ton of class and did Athens a great service tonight!

OK, Andy has the 'nads to show that he understands that sometimes, in politics, you gotta go with the one that you agree with the most rather than agree with on everything.

I sincerely hope Andy runs again for something some day and I'd be proud to help him because he's got heart, guts, and brains!

Thanks, Andy!

Al Davison

Anonymous said...

Andy only showed he's a kid tonight, nothing more, so don't over indulge and take the election for granted. It was like a glass of cheap wine and unfortunately he gave Charlie the perfect segway to explain why he is the candidate for everybody. The uninformed electorate is responding to Charlie's message, or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

Listen, Charlie had a lot of passion, and has clearly been insulted by people assuming that he has been "bought and sold" by the chamber and the republicans.

Charlie Maddox is human too, and probably thinks that his work with both the labor dpt and the athens housing authority (enemies of all people poor) is GOOD.

Well, it might have been when he signed up to do it, and I know he meant well. But the times they are a changing, and we (the poor)
don't need self righteous, arrogant do-gooders doing things either to or for us. Especially not on behalf of agencies that do nothing but apologize for the rich by dusting their crumbs onto the floor for us to lick up if we can even get under the table to do it.

We are ready to hold our elected officials accountable to us.

I believe Charlie goes to church, that he's a sincere person, and that he has gotten a bum rap and has been horribly insulted along the way. That's why you won't be catching me running for office in this lifetime. He may have been born into poverty, but it was at the time that opportunities existed for the poor in ACC.

Times have changed. I bet that if I have two kids, and Charlie has two kids, that BOTH my kids will be part of the 50 percent that DON't graduate in Clarke County, and both his kids would make it.

He does a real disservice to the poor by acting as if poverty is a phase that anybody just "SNAPS" out of, or pulls themselves out of by the bootstraps. If he really had any loyalty to the class he came from he wouldn't condescend to us. Him and Red Petrov and all the other terminally niave do gooders out there... well, it's like they've been saved by you know who and just want us to drink the kool aid.

Sorry, I'm too busy trying to get my two bags of groceries across the bells parking lot and onto the bus to congratulate him on his chosen child status.

I'm happy for him that he's had a charmed life, but I'm voting for Heidi. I'm proud that Tom Chasteen has learned "our" issues, but he's had twenty years in public service to give a damn about us, and using us on the campaign trail in the fight of his life is too little too late.(I swear it sounded like he recorded my appearance on Tim's show and played it back last night in his closing statement!)

Heidi ain't perfect, hell, she ain't even close. Being Mayor is a thankless job. She's made enemies, and alienated alot of folks along the way... including me, at times. But Heidi seeks out new and interesting answers to old and awful issues, and is willing to be unpopular as she tries to figure out what the hell we think she's doing.

Charlie is a cheap suit by comparison and I'm glad it came out last night. If he didn't want to be challenged on his principles (principals?) he should have stayed his ass to home.

Politics is a contact sport, and it sucks but somebody loses every race... I ain't totin NO MORE water for anyone I don't think will carry mine when I am thirsty.

Vote for Heidi.


Anonymous said...

Class? Drinking during the forum. Give me a break? He's got heart, and that counts for something, but let's not go overboard.

Integrity ought to count for something. What the mayor did to Judge Simpson without apology is not, in my mind, what a democratic government is all about. It shows a gross lack of understanding of our judicial system.

Now we've got Jane Kidd out there accusing Bill Cowsert of being someone who delights in putting drunk drivers back on the street because he has apparently represented clients accused of DUI...I'm sick of this rhetoric...sick to death of it.

I was born a democrat, I love Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but no way in hell would I vote for Jane Kidd or Heidi because their actions have proven that they will throw integrity out the window to gain some sort of political advantage.

Anonymous said...

Democrat my ass.

Anonymous said...

Oh come think only a republican could feel that way? Ask around town..especially about the Kidd ads...I know of a number of strong democrats who gave money to Kidd who are withdrawing their support because of her recent ads. People shouldn't just blindly vote for the initial beside a candidate's or democrat...Hopefully, republicans have learned that courtesy of W. I'm no republican. I've always been a democrat because I believe in what that party stands for, however, I will not vote for a candidate who doesn't have the integrity and backbone to stand-up to special interests (whether it's code enforcement or otherwise). So "Democrat my ass"...whatever. Most democrats and republicans, I believe, are tired of the partisanship and the rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

preach it brother. Can I hear an amen?

UGAdemocrat said...

So, wait a minute, you're such a big Democrat who likes Obama and CLINTON and yet you are voting for Cowshit and other Republicans?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

How does that make any sense? And where are your comments about Cowsert and how he STARTED the negative attacks in his second mail piece? He attacked Jane personally with false quotes from Eric johnson and lies (he changed the context and if you look up the AJC article they cite you find that 1. it's the wrong date of publication and 2. it's not even an exact quote from the paper because they lie and 3. they change the whole context by inserting the word [republicans] for eric johnson.)

So I ask you, how do you sway your supposed support to another who attacked first, went negative right after doing a phone poll and stands for the opposite of your "ideals" (if you even have any). You can't like Obama and vote for local republicans this year because they are COMPLETE opposites. Which means you're a liar who is using the blog to try to win votes in yet another desperate attempt with less than two weeks before a HUGE loss for Republicans.

Nice try.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I can like Obama; yes, I can vote for local republicans; and, no, I'm not a liar. But, if it makes you feel better to resort to name-calling, etc., then that's truly your problem. I'm fairly certain that most people who use this blog are fairly educated about the issues, the candidates and politics; so, no, I don't think I'd have much luck in "using this blog to try and win votes" if I were so inclined (and I'm not). It's a place for political discussion.

But, hey, nice try for trying to amp it up a bit.

Anonymous said...

Democrats lose because we don't stick together and vote for our candidates. We have a primary process for a reason. If you didn't like Jane, you should have put someone up against her. But now that we have our candidates, real democrats are not going to pick apart our ticket. Esp. not based on the lies of Bill Cowsert, who has the ethics of, well, a Kemp, frankly.

pleeeeze, people, it's a little late to be second guessing the ticket.

hillary said...

Also, dudes, it's not as though Obama and Clinton are raging leftists.

Fishplate said...

I think it's all one guy arguing with himself. Look, all the posts are signed with the same name...

Publius said...

I don't necessarily see anything objectionable about anon's ticket-splitting. It's interesting in that it's kind of the reverse of a very well-known southern political dynamic that started decades ago, but has more or less stopped now.

Used to be that a LOT of Southern "democrats" voted Democratic on the local level, but along about the time of Reagan, started shifting their voters to the Republican party on the national level. Some folks say that trend started with Nixon, others say later. Nonetheless, it was firmly established by the time of Reagan. It's pretty much over now, and the majority of Southern voters just go straight R. One interesting vestige of this trend is the large number of Georgia sheriffs who are democrats.

In any event, I think you should vote for Jane. Cowsert is kind of like Charlie Maddox - he says the right things, but nobody can be sure that he's not going to fall in line with the GOP kulturkampf if he gets elected. In fact, he'll probably have to to get anything done.

FWIW, I think Bill is a pretty moderate Republican, but if he gets elected, he's going to have to get along to go along.

Now, let me piss a few people off. The anonymous poster who started this whole thing raised a legitimate (and fairly widespread) concern. It's a nasty race. UGA Democrat, who is clearly a strong supporter of Jane's (and good on you), maybe should have taken a different tack. How about, instead of doing the typical democratic party thing where you heap scorn on anyone who doesn't agree with you, instead present a clear, well-reasoned argument about why people should vote for Jane? This is a good opportunity to do some convincing, or it's a good opportunity to get really angry and defend a philosophy (straight ticket voting) that really doesn't exist for most voters anymore.

Your move.

hillary said...

present a clear, well-reasoned argument about why people should vote for Jane

1. She's the only person who didn't answer like an ass on same-sex health benefits.

2. She really does get Athens about as well as can be expected for state-level government, and she'll go a good job representing the interests of this town.

3. She occasionally shops at Kmart, which is pretty dang cool.

ben emanuel said...

Thanks to all who made it out or listened on the radio earlier in the week. We were happy with the turnout, and hey, you got to mix beer with politics! Now, what'd I do with that flaming-bag-of-poo list?

Anonymous said...

Just heard E.H.'s radio ad. It's pretty good.

UGAdemocrat said...

I think you're right, I'm sorry if I offended, it just seemed absurd. And you know, Bill probably is a moderate/left leaning Republican (who rumor has it has voted in both Democrat and Republican primaries), but the truth is he is playing political games and will fall in line with the very conservative right wing of Georgia politics. He will "do as he's told" on the votes, because well, it's only in the Democratic party that (at least lately here in Georgia) legislators vote against their party wishes. When Republicans call (especially after dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into a race that should have been "safe") you will do as your told, at least until you're in there for a long time. He said openly at the "debate" this week that he would never vote for unfunded mandate, yet he attacks Jane Kidd for her vote against the 65% nightmare! What?!

The truth is Jane is working to win this election. She is a great person and anyone who meets her agrees. She has the most experience, coming from her political family, city council in Lavonia, serving on the Education, Higher Education, and Health and Human Resources committees in the House (which by the way, the only way she got to serve on those committees was by beating Bill the first time). Talk about the issues in this election, and Jane Kidd wins hands down. Her campaign is working harder than any other local campaign I can remember or remember hearing about, and that means they are taking the message to the voters. (though I haven't volunteered lately or in a while to be honest, I know they are still working hard, friends are in and I see their work)

Bill is trying to run as a Democrat, but then sends out the most racist piece of mail I've seen this election cycle today! It had Mexicans fleeing in the dirt across "the border" and then goes on to attack Jane for voting against the legislation that doesn't take effect until 2007 and does nothing to stop businesses from hiring illegals, and her vote on photo IDs at the polls! Talk about hateful, disrespectful, and totally off base on the issues.

The same way I think Democrats can't beat Republicans by trying to run as Republicans, Republicans can't beat Democrats on Democratic issues. Jane has the EXPERIENCE on education and health care. She served on the committees, she co-sponsored the original PeachKids legislation which she's been campaigning on, and she's genuine and honest. I challenge anyone to meet her, contact her, stop by their office, do something to get her in front of you or on the phones and you will never question who you should vote for in the Senate race.

Better ;-)

Publius said...

Mucho mejor, senor.

And I'll back up one of your points with a (possibly apocryphal) story.

In 2002, a big reason Kemp beat Haines was that he ran as a moderate. Heck, if you didn't know, his positive mail pieces made him look like a D.

For what it's worth, I think Brian is fairly moderate for a Republican, just like most folks think Bill is.

But when Brian got to Atlanta, he dared go against the GOP on something. There was a meeting with him and the GOP leadership (and Sonny). Long story short, Brian never broke ranks again.

So even if you are a moderate Republican, the leadership is probably going to shake you down and make sure none of that pesky moderation shows up in your votes on the floor.

And, I think that is a legitimate consideration for folks thinking about voting for Bill. He may have the best intentions in the world, and indeed, I think Bill is a thoughtful, well-intentioned guy who wants to do some good. But once he gets up there, if he wants any power in influence, he's going to have to march in lockstep with the GOP. Especially since they've pumped so much money into the race.

I say that story is possibly apocryphal, but I heard it from someone I trust implicitly, and we'll never be able to confirm it. So take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiousity and not douchebagedness, what's your political experience Publius?

Publius said...

Let's see...

I three years as Chief of Staff to Vice President Aaron Burr, followed by a stint as image consultant to Adam Clayton Powell. I worked as political director for Tom Dewey in '44, and was a speechwriter for the Coolidge campaign in the '24 elections.

I've also served as a organizer for the International Brotherhood of Thyme, Basil, and Oregano Growers and Allied Trades, organizing unions in the Central and South Pacific, working out of the union headquarters in Micronesia.

More recently, I headed up the "Vacant Lots for Charlie" fundraising and sign placement committee.

I'm a Pisces, and my turnons are long walks on the beach, negative ads, candlelit dinners, and Doc Eldridge. My turnoffs are fake people, robodials, people who don't like puppies, and the laughter of children.

I think the correct usage is "douchebaggery," btw.

Anonymous said...

As evidenced by your response, I guess there is no way to ask someone what their political experience is without them getting defensive. No big deal though, just curious.

Publius said...

No, please don't misinterpret me. I was being facetious, not defensive.

And, really, I've been waiting for an opportunity to make another Aaron Burr joke. Haven't done that on the blog since Cheney shot a rich white guy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification.