Part I: C. Cox to throw her hat, I mean bonnet, into the ring for Gov. after 11-2. Part II: Where is it written that Perdue will be '06 GOP nominee?
"Conventional thinking has the Big Guy and Cathy with a 'C' Cox going for the top of the ticket."
On a different topic, this post noted:
"As an aside, just because I did not mention the top of the ticket for the GOP does not mean Sonny Perdue is a slam dunk. Talk about his replacement began some time back, and it may gain momentum or fizzle out as time goes on.
"If it gains momentum, a strong possibility for his replacement -- Rep. Jack Kingston."
One comment to the post concerning the first topic indicated that she didn't think that Cathy Cox would run for Gov. or Lt.. Gov., but rather would seek re-election as Secretary of State because she got upped by the Big Guy.
Because of my respect for the involvement and knowledge of the one posting the comment, I thought to myself, maybe this person knows something I don't with regard to what is and what is not conventional thinking.
But I caveat the foregoing caveat (Can you do this? You know what I mean.) by saying is she didn't appear to be running for re-election this summer. She was everywhere. Sometimes Mark, sometimes Cathy, sometimes both, but she didn't strike this boy as someone intent on content with the status quo.
Another comment to the post concered the second topic, asking "What are some gripes the GOP has with Sonny?"
This post should be two posts. But having started it as one, I will continue, but will divide it into two parts.
Part I: Conventional thinking, that is, Taylor or Cox vs. Sonny or just Taylor vs. Sonny:
In a 10-06-04 post entitled "Since we've been talking about voting/not voting for Perdue in 2006, let's go ahead and talk seriously about 2006 politics -- The Dean weighs in," I quoted from a Bill Shipp column as follows:
"Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor has become the great bright hope of rural Georgia. He appears the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006. But don't count out Secretary of State Cathy Cox, another star from south of the Gnat Line. She could be on her way to becoming the Peach State's first woman chief executive.
"I wish I could write that you first read these guarded forecasts here. But that would be wrong.
"[T]he preseason odds favor Taylor as the first Democrat in modern times to try to bring down an incumbent Republican Georgia governor.
"Taylor is expected to have abundant funds for a statewide campaign, not to mention formidable South Georgia support transcending party lines.
"A report already is making the rounds at the Capitol that Sen. Zell Miller, the national Democrats' harshest in-house critic, may support Taylor in his bid for governor.
"Miller owes much of his success as governor to Taylor's help in the Legislature and the Taylor family's generous financial assistance in Miller's election campaigns.
"A possible expensive primary contest between Taylor and Cox for the nomination for governor could cloud the Democrats' hopes for a comeback in a state trending heavily Republican."
This week Mr. Shipp brings us up to date on Ms. Cox.
"Secretary of State Cathy Cox tells friends she plans to announce for governor before the end of this year.
"Conventional wisdom and Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor’s supporters have held for months that Cox would stay put as secretary of state or perhaps run for lieutenant governor in 2006.
"The word around the Capitol: Cox and Taylor had struck a deal to avoid a costly primary between the state’s two most promising Democrats. Guess what? No deal. “A deal? That’s preposterous. Cathy and Mark don’t even talk,” says a Cox adviser.
"For months, Taylor has served as the Democrats’ point man against Perdue, assailing the governor for unwarranted and heavy-handed budget cuts in education and health care as well as abuse of the governor’s office.
"Cox has remained mostly mum on the Perdue front since the governor tried and failed to evict her from office space under the Gold Dome. But she has been active in building her own résumé for higher office. Most recently, she starred in an almost spectacular series of public-service TV spots warning old people against securities fraud.
“Cathy belongs on TV. She’s as talented as an Oprah,” says one fan.
"More important, Cox has presided over a series of elections and primaries featuring electronic voting machines. Though doubts have been raised about computerized voting, Cox is credited with managing Georgia’s touch-screen elections with few glitches.
"If the upcoming Georgia general election occurs without major scandal, Cox can add another gold star by her name.
"Her radiant TV personality and good record in office notwithstanding, Cox’s biggest asset may be her gender.
"Georgians have elected only three women to constitutional offices — Linda Schrenko (R) as state school superintendent in 1996, Kathy Cox (R) as state school superintendent in 2002 and Cathy Cox as secretary of state in 1998. Schrenko became the first serious woman candidate to seek the governorship. She ran for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2002 and came in second to Perdue.
"Times are changing. Females are on the march. More women than men cast ballots. In Georgia, 54.34 percent of the voters in the 1998 election were female. In the 2002 election, that percentage grew to 55.4 percent.
"In Cox’s 2002 re-election contest, she captured 61 percent of the total vote and 146 of 159 counties even as Democrats Barnes and Sen. Max Cleland went down to defeat. She romped in several key Republican areas.
"The increase in the women’s vote and her strength in both rural and heavily Republican suburban areas form the basis of Cox’s belief that she can be elected governor.
"Some Perdue stalwarts may argue that a destructive primary will injure the Democrats irreparably in an attempt to unseat their man. These folks may be whistling past the graveyard. Perdue is not safe from an intra-party challenge." [But this gets into Part II of this post, and must wait.]
Thus as Mr. Shipp notes in his column, "the headline news today is this: Cathy Cox will go for governor."
And of course, we recall the Zogby poll discussed in the 10-19-04 post entitled "Read 'em and weep. And we're not talking about a poker hand here, but a new ajc poll. -- Perdue vulnerable, very vulnerable to Democratic challengers," and alson in the 10-21-04 post entitled ""Read 'em and weep" (was the weeping to be by Perdue or Taylor?), Part II -- The Big Guy says I wish you hadn't done that Bobby."
The latter post discussses the a 9-02-04 PI saying that despite people being "worried about Cathy Cox and the Democratic race for governor in 2006," they shouldn't because Cox is "the star of a $3 million, prime-time TV advertising campaign that warns Georgia's elderly against scamsters after their retirement money."
The latter post also discusses Tom Crawford's comments in Capitol Impact about Cox possibly being able to better attract moderate Republicans and the her superior 2002 election.
(Sorry, we're not through. Part II of this post follows.)
Part II: What are some gripes the GOP has with Perdue?
I will refrain from saying what I think, namely, what has he done right.
The readers of this blog know I have my opinion on matters, and do not mind sharing them. And while I enjoy reading and appreciate the insight and inside knowledge that many of you have shared with me by e-mail since I started this blog in August, there is one voice I respect above all others. You got it, the Dean.
If he says it, I take it to the bank. With all due respect to all of the great commentators and writers about Georgia politics, this individual is in a class all by himself. He has forgotten more than the rest know.
I have said it once and will say it many more times. They don't call him the Dean for nothing.
All of the foregoing to say that my saying in my 09-07-04 post that Sonny Perdue is not a slam dunk as his Party's nominee for Gov. in 2006 originated with the Dean.
(The bit about a strong possibility for his replacement being Rep. Jack Kingston was mine own thought. Kingston wanted to run for the U.S. Senate this time so badly he could hardly stand it. He was wise in not running. This is my basis for saying he might want to try Atlanta for awhile.)
In case you missed it, as early as mid-April of this year the Dean wrote about this in a column entitled "Both parties need to begin grooming candidates to replace Sonny Perdue."
Excerpts from that column follow:
"Sonny Perdue has done OK so far. The wheels have not fallen completely off state government during his first 16 months as governor.
"Gov. Perdue has thrown a temper fit or two, and he obsesses on fleeing the capitol in other people's aircraft to attend ballgames or to go hunting at awkward times, like in the middle of negotiations on the state's $16 billion budget.
"Still, let's be generous. All things considered, Perdue is not doing a bad job. After all, Gov. Sonny is a transition figure who will be off the stage shortly, and he knows it.
"Those flag demonstrators, once Sonny's best buds, keep showing up everywhere.
"Who can forget the row over the move to drop ''evolution'' from our school curriculum? . . . . Or the endless speeches about posting the Ten Commandments in all courthouses? Or the attempt to repeal the helmet-wearing requirement for motorcycle riders? Where were you, Forrest Gump, when we needed you?
"[H]ere are several rules for political engagement that should be pounded into the heads of executive applicants:
* Articulate a set of magnificent, even seemingly impossible goals for the state - challenges that will stimulate, help and delight everybody. Recent history is loaded with examples: Zell Miller's lottery and HOPE scholarship, Joe Frank Harris' guaranteed basic education, Carl Sanders' locating major sports teams here and upgrading higher education, George Busbee's universal kindergarten program and Jimmy Carter's reorganization of state government.
* Skip the little stuff. Don't tell the legislature that you're ''tired of changing their diapers.''
* Don't threaten judges. You never know when you might be standing before one.
* Don't summon an aging and revered DOT board chairman to your office, bang your fist on the desk and shout at the top of your voice: ''Give me your resignation right now!'' as Gov. Perdue did recently. Such behavior is not only bad manners; it suggests gaps in one's upbringing. What's worse, Perdue sought to fire the DOT chairman even though he did not even work for the governor.
* Tell the truth. You can't always tell the entire truth about political issues, but avoid outright lying. For instance, don't tell legislators a major mortgage lender has written a letter threatening to pull out of Georgia when you know no such letter exists. Don't inform lawmakers the federal government has warned it will pull the plug on certain Medicaid services when even the feds say it's a lie. Don't try to hide money or revenue reports. Such schoolboy tricks do nothing but build a reputation for being a snake. Remember everybody around you understands state government and owns Internet-ready laptop computers, which some can use. No secrets are safe, and few lies can be concealed.
* Don't burn bridges. Such practices may be permissible for transient figures. Yet every smart politician seeking a permanent place at the table knows today's adversaries may be tomorrow's allies. Psychologists tell us publicly carrying grudges and acting surly toward one's opponents are often defense measures aimed at covering up greater and more complex deficiencies, like being stupid.
* Don't worry about calling yourself a Republican or a Democrat these days. Such labels don't mean much. Republicans may be in this year and out next year. Just make sure everybody knows that you're a Conservative. Got that? Conservative, Conservative - say that over and over. If someone calls you a liberal or a moderate or a centrist or tries to say you're tolerant, invite him to step outside. In the political game, you must protect your reputation above all.
"The above is simply a brief overview. Georgia's next governor needs to know much more. We'll be making suggestions occasionally. There's no hurry. Perdue has nearly three years left, and serious talk about his replacement is only just beginning.
And then after my 09-07-04 post, the Dean wrote around October 6:
"[W]here is it written, except in the minds of Taylor's brain trust, that the lieutenant governor's for-sure opponent will be Gov. Perdue?
"As Republicans gain strength in the state, the GOP's primary elections become more competitive. A Republican challenger for the Republican governor is not out of the question."
And the foregoing directly addressing the issue of a GOP replacement for Perdue disregard other columns the Dean has written about the Gov.'s performance in office, or more accurately, lack thereof. For example, in a mid-August column the Dean wrote:
"One can only speculate why Perdue is wearing out the runways at Reagan. He may be seeking refuge from the political wars in his home state.
"The current election season has not been very kind to Sonny. His unprecedented attempt to meddle in a state Supreme Court contest (incumbent Leah Sears vs. Grant Brantley) made him a laughingstock. His candidate, Brantley, lost to Sears in a landslide.
"In Tuesday's primary runoff, Perdue allied himself with former-Speaker-now-gadfly Newt Gingrich in trying to defeat a loyal fellow Republican, state Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, for the U.S. 8th District House seat.
Gingrich, with Perdue tagging along, decided the time had come to implant an African-American Republican into Georgia's congressional delegation to prove that the GOP is a big-tent party of racial diversity.
" Why they chose Georgia's 8th District to perform such surgery may remain one of the mysteries of the ages.
"Because of Gingrich and Perdue's misguided maneuvers, the Republican Party of Georgia may have begun to split in two - just as the Democratic Party did. On one side are voters who identify themselves as "Georgia Republicans" (Westmoreland, Congressman Charlie Norwood, state Sen. Bill Stephens) as opposed to "National Republicans" (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gingrich and ex-Congressman Jack Kemp)."
And last, and (did I hear a "thank goodness" sigh) most definitely not least, the Shipp classic published in early October that got both of us in trouble with some of the Party faithful entitled "Don't take a chance on a stranger in elections."
I posted his column in my 10-06-04 post entitled "I'm with the Dean on this one -- The V.P. Debate last night convinced me. I am going with Bush in 2004 (and Perdue in 2006)." Excerpts from his column:
"The validity of the 'strangers' rule lays in the vote tallies for Georgia governor on Election Day 2002.
"[In 1002] we elected the man whom we did not know.
"Only then did we come to know Sonny Perdue, the 'I am not Roy' candidate.
"In his opening days as governor, Perdue attempted to raise $600 million in new taxes. He forced 73 school districts to increase local taxes by whacking the state's commitment to funding public school grades K-12.
"He wrung his hands in despair at the financial plight of Medicaid until a legislative numbers cruncher found that the governor had made a $180 million error in his Medicaid arithmetic.
"As the state's economy shows signs of improving this year, Perdue has changed the state's revenue estimate at least four times, giving the legislature an all but impossible task of writing a reasonable budget.Perdue called a special session of the legislature to deal with a relatively obscure budgetary item, and then told some reporters he could have avoided the session, but he wanted to teach the General Assembly a lesson. That lesson cost taxpayers a bushel.
"Perdue included in his state budget a $179 million bookkeeping gimmick (he signed a bill switching a $179 million state payday from one fiscal year into the next). Thus the legislature worked with an annual budget that appeared to include an extra $179 million - but it was an apparition. Gov. Perdue told reporters he never intended to use the gimmick; he just wanted to mess with the legislature. In truth, Wall Street's bond traders warned Perdue that Georgia's credit rating would wilt if the governor insisted on cooking the state's books.
"Without any specific rationale, he has taken a meat axe to higher education. He has proposed cuts of more than $410 million to our colleges and universities and another $44 million to technical and adult education.This governor, whom we did not know, acts like a barbarian within the gates, determined to destroy everything in sight. Layoffs and tuition increases are becoming the order of the day.
"Education, once the holy grail of every modern Georgia governor, is suddenly little more than just another state organization awaiting the blade and the wrecking ball."
And the Dean concluded this column with:
"Sonny Perdue is the main reason I plan to vote for George W. Bush. I don't want to take a chance on electing someone I do not know. I do not know John Kerry. He could turn out to be another Sonny Perdue, but on a much greater scale. That would be a disaster."
After a couple of comments and several emails who missed the irony of Mr. Shipp's tongue-in-cheek, I relented, and on the same day did a post entitled "Okay, okay, I'll do it. Today's 'I am going with Bush in 2004 (and Perdue in 2006)' post was tongue-in-cheek. You can still speak to me."
In that post I stated that:
"The most I have in common with President Bush is that we are both Methodists. . . .Today, after an early a.m. post , I was treated as if I was a Baptist in a liquor store.
"You know what I mean. As in how do you tell the difference between a Methodist and a Baptist? A Methodist will speak to you in the liquor store.
"You can still speak to me, and while you are at it, keep reading my blog.
"Today there was one "official" comment to the post. It was short and to the point -- 'Say it ain't so Sid!'
"Others sent comments . . .directly to my email . . . wanting to know what in the heck I had seen in last night's Vice Presidential debate that could have caused me to jump ship.
"Still others wanted confirmation, even after I had posted my own 'Comment' noted below. I assume this was confirmation that I knew about what I was speaking to be able to say that the Dean had not taken leave of his senses."
I concluded the post by saying that, and borrowing some of the Dean's humor, "If Bill Shipp and Sid Cottingham vote for George W. Bush for President of the United States on Nov. 2, it means one of the following things. Either the voting machines failed in Alpharetta and Douglas.
"And if not this, that the Martians have invaded, and Bill and I panicked and headed for some place that our President assures us daily is safe -- Iraq or Afghanistan come to mind -- and that Martians have voted in our stead."
Part II continued:
I assume the above sort of gives you a feel about how the Dean feels.
But other than my Rep. Kingston speculation, it is only that, pure speculation, right?
Not exactly. Now we are back to close to where we started -- the Dean's column for this week. Not only did he disclose the Cox news, but he also had some news for topic II, that is, Sonny remaining as the GOP standard-bearer in 2006.
"One well-known Republican is thinking about a primary bid for the state’s highest office.
"And somewhere someone is writing a song, “The Sonny Perdue Blues.” This has not been a very good year for Georgia’s first Republican governor.
"A Zogby poll published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week confirmed what many observers already believe. With the election for governor still two years away, Gov. Sonny Perdue is on shaky ground.
"Only 43 percent of the state’s likely voters say Perdue is doing an 'excellent or good' job. Fifty-three percent rate him 'fair or poor.' His performance rating has slipped by 3 percent since October 2003.
"By contrast, Gov. Zell Miller’s 'excellent-good' rating was in the mid-70s in the second year (1992) of his first term. Gov. Roy Barnes rated 'good or excellent' among more than 60 percent of the likely voters in his second year (2000), and Barnes was defeated in the ensuing election.
"So it’s little wonder the political pot started bubbling as soon as Perdue’s poor poll numbers hit the streets.
"Some Perdue stalwarts may argue that a destructive primary will injure the Democrats irreparably in an attempt to unseat their man. These folks may be whistling past the graveyard. Perdue is not safe from an intra-party challenge.
"[T]he mailman [just delivered] a note from former Cobb Commission Chairman Bill Byrne, who polled 21.2 percent of the vote and ran third in the three-candidate GOP governor’s primary in 2002. The card contained two questions:
• What do Republicans think of their governor and do they want a choice in the Republican primary in 2006?
• Do the arguments of the Democrats against the track record of Gov. Perdue go away with a new Republican nominee in 2006?
"Byrne lets his readers answer for themselves, but he obviously has his own ideas."
I know after such a long post those out there singing my praises are slim to none. But can't you appreciate, to change the words from Bye Bye Birdie a bit, why I can't help but feel:
We love you Dean
Oh yes we do
We love Dean
If you say it, we know its true
When you're not writing
Oh, Dean, we love you.