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Cracker Squire


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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Friday, March 30, 2007

As of late our heritage and history have gotten knocked a bit too much for my liking.

As noted in a 3-18-07 post entitled "Some sage advice from the Dean: Georgia legislators moving toward deepening the racial divide," I was opposed to this year's proposed legislation that was would have designated April as Confederate Heritage and History Month.

That said, I also think our heritage and history have gotten knocked around a bit too much lately for my liking in much of the discussion and criticism of this ill-conceived legislation.

My feelings about our heritage and history are reflected in the following 8-29-04 post:

The Gwinnett Daily Post has an article entitled "Plan for mock lynching of a Confederate flag stirs controversy." And damn well it should.

It seems as though this guy from Florida -- a no-good Yankee carpetbagger no doubt -- has got it in his mind to hold a mock lynching of a Confederate flag as part of an art exhibition at a Gettysburg College art gallery early next month.

There is a minor movement afoot to cancel the show. Count me in.

Of all places, Gettysburg, a sacred place where both sides fought valiantly and lost thousands and thousands of lives. I took my three girls there, and hope to take my grandkids there one day.

I voted with the majority (the vote was 3-to-1) in the nonbinding referendum that approved our present flag, almost a replica of the Confederate national flag, the Stars and Bars. And I am proud of our present flag, not just because it is a part of our heritage and disguishes us from say Nevada, but because it is one good-looking flag.

I also liked the looks of the flag the legislature adopted in 1956 that contained the St. Andrew’s cross. I also like the looks of the flag the legislature replaced in 1956, but not as much as I did the looks of the 1956 flag.

(Andrews was the brother of Simon Peter, was supposedly the first-called disciple, and was reportedly crucified by the Romans on an X-shaped cross, claiming he did not feel worthy to be crucified on a regular cross as Jesus was.)

Am I glad we changed flags? You dern right I am. We had no choice. Congress could outlaw "white only" signs, but not what the Confederate battle flag based on the St. Andrews cross had come to be – a symbol of rascism and hatred. Unfortunately, to many Americans it conjured up memories of lynchings, the KKK and nightriders, Jim Crowism, etc.

It had to go and I am glad it is behind us. Changing it took courage. We won’t hear about it next week, but Sen. Miller almost lost re-election to a second term as governor for trying to change the flag during his first term.

And we all know it contributed to Roy Barnes’ defeat. Barnes has said: "Of course, I knew there was a chance [that changing the flag] would affect my re-election, but I also knew that the time had come to do it. We had watched what was happening in South Carolina and Mississippi. I didn't want the flag to divide Georgia more than it already had. It was the state government that changed the flag in 1956, and it was our responsibility to correct that mistake.''

I am happy the Stars and Bars has no such connotation. To try to give it such would be a mistake and injustice to the South’s history and heritage. As the Confederate national flag, Stars and Bars is part of our history as are our ancestors who fought with valor to the end, regardless for which side.

Just as the we now sing that great anthem The Battle Hymn of Republic which was the Union's marching song, we should not forget what the colors blue and grey represent, or let the song Dixie go the way of the Edsel and Oldsmobile, and not appreciate the book and movie Gone with the Wind.

And as far as I am concerned, neither should our Confederate Monuments in counties such as my own and so many others in Georgia and the South; the statutes that line the streets in Richmond, Virginia; and those on state capitols throughout the South, be regarded as other than part of our region's history.

The Civil War, the War Between the States, the War of Northern Aggression -- call it what suits you -- is part of our history. The Confederate flag is part of that history. The carpetbagger and not our history is who needs to be lynched.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah: In Iraq “blood flows between brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation & hateful sectarism."

From Newsweek:

When Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah opened the Arab Summit in Riyadh this week, speaking about Iraq as a land where “blood flows between brothers in the shadow of an illegitimate foreign occupation and hateful sectarianism,” he offended many policymakers in Washington. But the statement was only one signal among many that, in the face of explosive conflicts that the Bush administration has caused or failed to contain, the king is out to assert Saudi Arabia’s role as an independent leader in the region. The goals—to stabilize Iraq, build an Arab-Israeli peace and contain the growing influence of Iran—are the same as Washington’s. But the means to those ends are very different.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sen. McCain considered switching parties in 2001.

According to The Hill, Sen. John McCain was close to leaving the Republican Party in 2001, weeks before then-Sen. Jim Jeffords famously announced his decision to quit the GOP and become an Independent, according to former Democratic lawmakers who say they were involved in the discussions and that it was Mr. McCain's chief political strategist who approached them.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The 25% of grocery chain customers who do their shopping on Sunday will have to wait for Sunday alcohol sales.

The Georgia Senate won't be debating the Sunday sale of alcohol tomorrow, and thus this issue is dead for this legislative session, and being that next year is an election year, for the 2008 legislative session as well.

One nonpolitical factor that did not enter into the debate very much was recently pointed out in the AJC's Political Insider:

With both parents usually working, and Saturday devoted to softball, soccer or whatever with the kids, Sunday has become the day to fill the kitchen cupboard for many Georgians.

According to the Georgia Food Industry Association, 25 percent of grocery chain customers shop on Sunday. But more important, one in 10 customers shops only on Sunday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ga.'s primary date is important -- 2008 marks the first time since 1952 that neither an incumbent president nor vice president will be on a ballot.

Although the Georgia House has voted to change the date of Georgia's presidential primary next year to February 5 from March 5, joining with many other states in a mega-primary (the vote also changes the threshold necessary to avoid a runoff in primary and general elections from the current 50% to 45%), I agree with Bill Shipp that it will be better for Georgia if the date is left on March 5.

Bill Shipp writes:

If the cards fall right, Georgia could be the center of attention by providing somebody's campaign with momentum and a nice bundle of convention delegates. We could also receive priceless national exposure on who we are, why our votes count and how beautiful and hospitable our state is. Plus, there's a whole lot of spending going on in the important primary states. Notice I said "important." Georgia could also get lost in the shuffle and wind up ignored.

Let's look at the calendar and some possible scenarios:

January: Iowa and Nevada will conduct caucuses. New Hampshire and South Carolina will hold primaries, and the race is on. Republican and Democratic national committee rules ban Georgia and other states from joining the January kickoffs.

Feb. 5: More than 20 states, including delegate-fat California and Florida, are planning primaries for 2008's Super Tuesday. Not all states have formalized the date, but many, including Georgia, seem headed in that direction. More than half the delegates will be chosen.

If Georgia decides to join the Super Tuesday throng, the Peach State can forget about making a splash. Candidates will concentrate on the big states (Florida and California) to capture sizable delegate blocs. They also will focus on smaller states (Delaware and Utah), which can be won with the least amount of money. The middle-sized states such as Georgia will be left out. Don't believe me? Take a look at the 1988 primary season and a race without an incumbent president running. Democrats and Republicans zeroed in on states like Florida and Texas and all but snubbed Georgia.

Feb. 26: This is the ideal date . . . . Candidates would have spent two weeks working the state in person and on TV and the Internet. Both parties in Georgia offer a decent number of convention delegates - enough that could make or break a donkey or an elephant.

March 5: Our primary is currently set for this date, which might turn out to be a good day, but we'll never know. Great minds in the General Assembly are determined to change it.

Of course, the nominations could be decided on Feb. 5. Only a bit of mopping up would remain. If that occurs, whether Georgia moves its date won't matter. On the other hand, if the nominating game is still going after Super Tuesday, the process could run right into the summer conventions.

A likely story line goes like this: Two or three candidates will emerge from Super Tuesday with hefty delegate numbers, but no one will be close to a majority. This is especially true for Democrats, whose rules mandate proportional delegate selection. Conceivably, a Democrat could win a state but only pick up a few more delegates than the second- and third-place finishers. The GOP holds winner-take-all primaries, which makes life simpler but less thrilling.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Today my hat is off to Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown of Macon

From the AJC's Political Insider:

Hours before Cagle announced that he would back a statement of regret for Georgia’s role in slavery, Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown of Macon took the well to defend the author of S.B. 283, the bill to have April declared Confederate history month.

Brown, who is African-American, gave an eight-minute defense of state Sen. Jeff Mullis, a Republican who hails from Chickamauga — the site of the battlefield.

Mullis’ bill had become the subject of strong comments, essentially for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Republican leaders had rejected calls for an apology for slavery, saying they were too focused on the future.

Then came Mullis’ bill. A version of it has been an annual ritual in the Legislature for years. This time, it didn’t look so harmless.

“I don’t want to get into the content of the bill, talking about the issue itself. The thing that I’m concerned about is the tenor and the tone of the debate that seems to be evolving,” Brown said.

Brown spoke up for Mullis’ character . . . .

“I think we have an obligation to be candid in our debate. I think we have to be above-board,” Brown said. “But I think we do ourselves, both individually and collectively, a disservice when we unnecessarily impune the character of an individual because we disagree with what they may be proposing.”

We caught up with Brown later Monday. And asked if he was trying to tamp down the hot talk so that the statement of regret could be worked out. He scoffed.

Brown said he didn’t want anything to do with a statement of apology for slavery. It wasn’t worth a moment of his time. But he said he’d heard Mullis called a racist. That was wrong, he said.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Some sage advice from the Dean: Georgia legislators moving toward deepening the racial divide.

I hope every Georgia representative and senator will read and ponder Bill Shipp's following column. As I have said many times, they don't call him the Dean for nothing.

From Bill Shipp:

The governor is flapping around like a headless chicken begging the feds for money to keep alive Georgia's health insurance program for needy kids. The transportation nightmare in metro Atlanta could not get worse. Water polluters and land despoilers are pushing enough legislation to fill two freight cars. Loan sharks with fresh ideas for predation are circling the statehouse. The tax code, the criminal defense system and flagging economic development require immediate attention.

So what issue has many legislators most riled up this year? For too many lawmakers, it is none of the above. Instead, the hubbub concerns a demand for an apology for slavery and a proposal to set aside April to remember the Confederacy. Then, of course, widespread concern has emerged about the delay in putting up the portrait of a civil rights icon in the Capitol rotunda.

Are the point people for these irrelevancies nuts or just plain stupid? Or are some lawmakers, black and white, intent on replaying the race card to divert attention from legislative laziness or crookedness on a half-dozen fronts?

An apology for slavery? How about something a little more current? How about an apology for the highest infant mortality rate in the civilized world? Or maybe one for a life expectancy among black males that is lower than the life span of most Congolese? How about saying "I'm sorry" to whites and blacks for some of the worst public schools on the planet, and a capital city that is becoming best known for murders, home invasions and bank robberies?

Then there's the idea of setting aside April to commemorate the Confederacy and, as Republican Sen. Jeff Mullis puts it, "the cause of Southern independence." I've got a better idea. Let's set aside April to conjure up the ghosts of Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, Robert Toombs, John B. Gordon and similar souls and ask them a few simple questions such as: "What in tarnation were you thinking? Why would anybody engage in a war that he knew the smaller, poorer, agrarian Confederacy could not win - a war that would cost the South hundreds of thousands of lives and leave our region destitute and laggard for more than a century?"

I am a fairly well-schooled fifth-generation Georgian, and I am still baffled about leadership that marched us into a disastrous, unwinnable war and why we continue to honor those leaders for doing so.

Even so, I think I understand where Mullis is coming from. He is slapping back at black lawmakers for demanding an apology for slavery. The slave-apology Democrats and the hooray-for-the-Rebs Republicans are succeeding in digging the ditch deeper between blacks and whites not only in the legislature but also the state. Shame on both sides.

Considering the tactical politics of the debate, the slavery issue is more troubling. It is a replay of the change-the-flag controversy of a few years back. For blacks, the outcome of the apology issue could be as calamitous as the flag-changing campaigns. The Democratic black leadership in the General Assembly must have lost their institutional memory.

Then-Gov. Zell Miller in 1993 stirred up a firestorm of controversy when he tried briefly to remove the Confederate battle symbol from the state flag. The fuss nearly cost him re-election to a second term.

Then along came former Gov. Roy Barnes with an active agenda for reforming schools, improving transportation and enhancing the economy. Black leaders wanted more. They demanded that the Confederate cross be dropped from the Georgia flag. They threatened boycotts and promised to make a national issue of their cause. The white business community panicked and insisted that Barnes move quickly on the flag issue. He did. The flag was changed, and the black-white racial divide returned in the Gold Dome.

Barnes' political career collapsed. A biracial coalition of Democrats that had ruled Georgia for 40 years disappeared overnight. The GOP became Georgia's white majority party. Black lawmakers lost nearly all political influence. Legislative and congressional districts were redrawn to maximize white Republican voting strength and squeeze out Democrats of all colors. However, black activists, led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, proclaimed proudly that they had prevailed in the flag fight. Georgia's new state flag includes no Confederate cross, though it is a virtual replica of the official Confederate national flag.

Now in 2007, the slavery apology debate is traveling a parallel course. If a floor debate occurs, Georgia will be back in the national headlines, and our races will be further divided. Blacks might even get an apology for slavery, but, in the end, they will be further than ever away from acquiring the power and influence needed to confront their constituents' real problems.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Georgia Christian Coalition head Jim Beck: "You almost have to be a member of the group to understand how important this is to us.”

The AJC's Political Insider correctly notes the location of the religious conservatives who so adamantly oppose the Sunday sales of beer and wine in grocery stores:

[A]nyone who knows anything about this most recent rise of fundamentalism in America — and Christian conservative clout in the Republican party — knows that it isn’t merely a rural phenomenon. It’s largely a suburban thing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A great post from the Political Insider: The conservative Christian agenda, and whether global warming should be on it

From the AJC's Political Insider:

For those who keep track of the intersections between religion and politics, which in the South is as necessary as monitoring the politics of race, the brewing fight among evangelicals for control of the conservative Christian agenda has gotten downright fascinating.

Early this month, the top leaders of the Religious Right drew down on the National Association of Evangelicals, condemning the organization for its stand on global warming.

The protest was signed by those most active in rallying congregants for national Republican causes: James Dobson of Focus on the Family; Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council; Gary Bauer of Coalitions for America; and 22 others.

The only local signature came from Tim Echols of Alpharetta, founder of TeenPact, who’s been active in several recent Georgia campaigns.

Read the entire letter here. But in summary, it makes three points:

• The broadside condemns the NAE’s top Washington lobbyist, Richard Cizik, for waging what it calls a relentless, individual campaign to highlight the dangers of global warming.

“The existence of global warming and its implications for mankind is a subject of heated controversy throughout the world. It does appear that the earth is warming, but the disagreement focuses on why it might be happening and what should be done about it,” the letter said.

“We believe it is unwise for an NAE officer to assert conclusively that those questions have been answered, or that the membership as a whole has taken a position on a matter. Furthermore, we believe the NAE lacks the expertise to settle the controversy, and that the issue should be addressed scientifically and not theologically.”

• A focus on global warming distracts from issues like abortion and gay marriage. “We have observed that Cizik and others are using the global warming controversy to shift the emphasis away from the great moral issues of our time, notably the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage and the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children.”

• Cizik’s “disturbing views” have contributed to confusion over what it means to be an evangelical. The letter quotes an article from USA Today, which stated that “the word may be losing its moorings, sliding toward the same linguistic demise that ‘fundamentalist’ met decades ago because it has been misunderstood, misappropriated and maligned.”

It’s no wonder that leaders of the Religious Right are nervous. The keys to success for Christian conservatives in GOP politics over the last 25 years have been twofold: a simple and uncomplicated message, and intensity of belief.

By picking up an important element of the Democratic agenda, a topic subject to nuance and debate, the NAE has jeopardized both.

G.O.P. Voters Voice Anxieties on Party’s Fate

From The New York Times:

After years of political dominance, Republican voters now view their party as divided and say they are not satisfied with the choice of candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

In a survey that brought to life the party’s anxieties about keeping the White House, Republicans said they were concerned that their party had drifted from the principles of Ronald Reagan, its most popular figure of the past 50 years.

Forty percent of Republicans said they expected Democrats to take control of the White House next year, compared with 46 percent who said they believed a Republican would win. Just 12 percent of Democrats said they thought the opposing party would win the White House.

Even as Republican voters continued to support President Bush and the war in Iraq, including the recent increase in the number of American troops deployed there, they said a candidate who backed Mr. Bush’s war policies would be at a decided disadvantage in 2008. And they suggested that they were open to supporting a candidate who broke with the president on a crucial aspect of his Iraq strategy.

Republican primary voters have a definite idea of what they are looking for in a candidate: They want a presidential contender who will make it more difficult for women to obtain abortions, who opposes same-sex marriage and who will push for more tax cuts, the poll found.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dem Congress Haunted by Dukakis, Mondale and Carter

Excerpt from an article by Peter Brown in RealClearPolitics:

You can see the ghosts of Michael Dukakis, Walter Mondale and Jimmy Carter hanging over the Democratic Congress. Their past presidential standard bearers' image of weakness on national security is giving today's Democratic lawmakers pause.

Even as Democratic leaders try to cut off funds for U.S. troops in Iraq, they are pulling their punches to avoid evoking those memories, which have been political poison for the party.

There is strong support in the Democratic caucus for quickly phasing U.S. troops out of Iraq and redirecting U.S. foreign and military policy around the globe. Yet, the potential political ramifications have their leaders gingerly taking on the issue, even though most Americans say they want the troops out.

Even though current polls reflect public confidence in Democrats' ability to deal with America's enemies, history has not been kind to them.

* Democrats in the late 1960s and 1970s forced the phase-out of U.S. troops in the unpopular Vietnam War. But in the aftermath, voters viewed the party as reflexively wary of using force in U.S. interests;

* Carter presided over the Iranian hostage embarrassment that frustrated Americans for a year;

* Mondale and Dukakis opposed Ronald Reagan's "peace through strength" policy that most analysts credit for victory in the Cold War

That is why until public support for the Iraq war soured, for decades polls had generally shown American voters wary of trusting the Democratic Party and its candidates with national security. Bill Clinton was elected at a time after the Cold War and before 9/11, when domestic issues were paramount.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The country has moved to the center. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi understands that, and she listens to the Blue Dog Democrats.

Four of Georgia's congressmen are members of the Blue Dog Democrats:

Representatives John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Jim Marshall and David Scott.

See AJC here and here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Democrats' new leader Jane Kidd hits the road

Jim Galloway has done a splendid job in an article on our Party Chair. From the AJC:

Democrats' new leader hits the road -- Whether it's to replenish party coffers or to make sure every county has a grass-roots Democratic presence, state Chairwoman Jane Kidd travels the state to rebuild party.

Seven weeks into her new, unpaid job as chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, Jane Kidd's to-do list is already daunting.

There's a candidate, possibly sacrificial, to be found for a North Georgia congressional race in June, the first federal contest in the nation since the 2006 elections.

Women must be lured back to the fold, having been chased away by a brutal primary for governor last year between Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox. "I have talked to both of them. We haven't really gone over what happened," Kidd said.

Then there's a once-mighty party to be rebuilt from the ground up. Atrophied first by 130 years of success —- sitting governors never liked the trouble that came with close-to-the-ground networks —- then by four years of numbing defeat, Democratic organization has disappeared from nearly two dozen counties.

Most important is the fund-raising necessary simply to keep the lights on at the 10-person, $750,000-a-year state office. "We made the payroll this week," Kidd told a group of supporters in Atlanta recently. "But we can't do it again."

And so this former state lawmaker and daughter of a governor, when not making her daily Athens-to-Atlanta commute, has hit the road to Augusta, Macon, Rome and points in between —- searching out the checks that Republicans haven't already vacuumed up.

Kidd, elected in January, is the first leader of the state Democratic Party not to have been anointed by the state's top elected official. Her victory was in large part the result of a partnership with state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, an African-American who was elected first vice chairman of the party.

Kidd replaced Bobby Kahn, a Marietta attorney known for his sharp elbows and sharper tongue when it came to dealing with Republicans.

Kidd, by trade a public relations consultant, wants a kinder-but-still-firm face for the party, the better to appeal to independents. Upon the death of U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, a Republican, she issued a gracious statement of condolence: "While we sometimes disagreed with [him] on ideology and policy, we all agree that he was a man of principle and ideals."

But when Gov. Sonny Perdue decided to delay the special election to pick Norwood's replacement so that two Republican senators interested in the seat wouldn't have to resign during the session, Kidd was quick to denounce the decision as "political partisan maneuvering."

Supporters say Kidd was elected because of several strengths: her gender, her experience as a member of the Legislature and a candidate, her family pedigree, and her connection to small-town Georgia. "I can take her to Laurens County, I can take her to Buckhead, and everywhere in between," said House Minority Leader Dubose Porter (D-Dublin).

Amy Morton is a family therapist in Macon, an active Democrat and a blogger —- at georgiawomenvote.com. One day last month, Morton heard Kidd on the local talk radio station in Macon and caught her buttonholing Bibb County commissioners. "It seems like such a small thing, but it's not," Morton said.

Kidd, 54, may be the only person in Georgia who can say her interest in politics started with a stint in the Governor's Mansion —- the old one in Ansley Park. She's the daughter of Ernest Vandiver Jr., who was governor from 1959 to 1963 —- his political career ended by his decision not to oppose the integration of the University of Georgia. (He died in 2005.)

"It was at a time when Atlanta was different. We went to Spring Street [Elementary] School, which is where the puppet theater is now, and walked home and rode our bikes all over Atlanta," Kidd said. "It was a different Atlanta then, when you could do that. Mama's only rule was that we had to be home by five o'clock."

She can still remember Ku Klux Klan members protesting outside the mansion. She nearly drove them down with her bicycle. "I didn't have a real horn, but I pretended like I did and went beeep! beeep! and ran them off the sidewalk. They were just twirling around," she said.

After the Vandivers left the Governor's Mansion, they returned to their ancestral ground in Franklin County in northeast Georgia, where Kidd graduated from high school. From there, it was on to Queens College near Charlotte.

"That was Daddy's rule," Kidd said. "All the girls had to go to a girls' school for a year, and then we could go anywhere." Anywhere meant Athens and the University of Georgia. She graduated with a degree in journalism in 1975 and quickly married her high school sweetheart.

She and David Kidd are coming up on 33 years together. He's in property management, and they have two grown kids. Most of Jane Kidd's professional life has been spent doing public relations work for UGA and a variety of other universities.

Of three Vandiver offspring, Kidd was the only one to follow in the footsteps of her father —- and those of her great-uncle, U.S. Sen. Richard Russell.

She broke into politics with six years on the Lavonia City Council. After that came 1992 service as campaign manager to Democratic congressional candidate Don Johnson. He won —- though he lost the district two years later to an Augusta dentist named Charlie Norwood.

Kidd served a single term in the state House, representing Athens and Clarke County. Last year she abandoned that safe position to make a run for an open Senate seat. The Republican-controlled Legislature had packed the district with GOP voters. She lost.

Republicans weren't solely responsible for Kidd's defeat. When she began campaigning in next-door Walton County, newly added to the district, she found there wasn't a Democratic organization to show her around.

"We're really going to concentrate on building the grass-roots county parties, making sure they're energetic and active. There are about 20 counties in Georgia that don't have parties, so we're going to make sure every county has one," Kidd said.

Candidate quality is another area for Democratic improvement. Part of this is simply sticking with young political ingenues in election after election until they win. As Republicans have done.

But the most controversial part of Kidd's to-do list is to somehow discourage multiple Democratic candidates in the big matches —- like the contest in the 10th Congressional District in June, or the '08 race for U.S. Senate.

Expensive intraparty primaries, exemplified by last year's suicidal battle between Taylor and Cox, must be avoided in an era of shrinking contributions, Kidd said. "We're going to have to behave like adults. It's important for Democrats to have one qualified candidate. For the first time, we're going to have to say no," she said at last month's meeting in Atlanta.

Exactly how she'll do this, the new chairwoman is not sure. A wealthy party can wield its clout by threatening to deny funding to uncooperative candidates. But Democrats have very little money to withhold.

There is also the matter of how handpicking a single candidate will be greeted in a party divided neatly along racial lines.

"It's a challenge to find the right candidate and make sure no one feels like they're being excluded. That's what we're going to try to do," Kidd said.

While Democrats are still searching out candidates for June's congressional race, the new chairwoman asks to be judged by the party's performance in the '08 U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss.

"It would be wonderful if we could win. But it's critical that we run a great candidate and a great race. I do think it's an opportunity to win, because Chambliss has a record, and plenty that Democrats can talk about," Kidd said.

Jane Vandiver Kidd

Age: 54

Degree: Bachelor of arts in Journalism, University of Georgia

Occupation: Public relations specialist

Family status: Married 32 years to David Kidd; two grown children

Political experience: Six years on the Lavonia City Council; managed one congressional campaign; served one term in the state House; ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2006. Currently: Elected chairwoman of the state Democratic Party in January

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

“There is a cloud over the vice president,” the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, told the jury in summing up the Scooter Libby case.

From The New York Times:

In legal terms, the jury has spoken in the Libby case. In political terms, Dick Cheney is still awaiting a judgment.

“The trial has been death by 1,000 cuts for Cheney,” said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist. “It’s hurt him inside the administration. It’s hurt him with the Congress, and it’s hurt his stature around the world because it has shown a lot of the inner workings of the White House. It peeled the bark right off the way they operate.”

Saturday, March 03, 2007

From the Cracker Squire Archives: W -- Reprising a war with words; But I still miss his Daddy's Veep.

From a 8-17-04 post:

The malapropisms that adorned George W. Bush's 2000 campaign before going into remission during much of his presidency have reemerged to garnish his reelection bid.

"I hope you leave here and walk out and say, What did he say?"

But all this does is make me miss Dan Quayle:

It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.

This election is about who's going to be the next President of the United States!

One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.

If we do not succeed, then we run the risk of failure.

Let me just tell you how thrilling it really is, and how, what a challenge it is, because in 1988 the question is whether we're going forward to tomorrow or whether we're going to go past to the -- to the back!

What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.

Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.

The loss of life will be irreplaceable.

The string of firings is raising questions about just who is being held accountable as the nation prepares to enter its fifth year of the war in Iraq.

From TIME:

The string of firings [pertaining to outpatient care at Walter Reed] is raising questions about just who is being held accountable as the nation prepares to enter its fifth year of the war in Iraq. . . . [A]s the war the Bush administration predicted would be a "cakewalk" before it began has bogged down, not a single civilian boss or top military commander has taken a similar fall.

The contrast seems stark. Tommy Franks, the Army general who as chief of Central Command scuttled Anthony Zinni's more robust war plan and agreed with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that invasion-lite was the way to go, got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. So did former CIA chief George ("Slam Dunk") Tenet and L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer, who as Iraqi viceroy fired the entire Iraqi army, a move now widely seen as laying the groundwork for a sustained insurgency.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Most Americans Support U.S. Guarantee of Health Care

According to The New York Times:

A majority of Americans say the federal government should guarantee health insurance to every American, especially children, and are willing to pay higher taxes to do it, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

While the war in Iraq remains the overarching issue in the early stages of the 2008 campaign, access to affordable health care is at the top of the public’s domestic agenda, ranked far more important than immigration, cutting taxes or promoting traditional values.

Americans remain divided, largely along party lines, over whether the government should require everyone to participate in a national health care plan, and over whether the government would do a better job than the private insurance industry in providing coverage.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gov. Bill Richardson: "I'm a grass-roots candidate, an issues candidate and I'm an underdog. Those are three qualities Iowans like."

Don't ignore this guy. I have always been very impressed with him, and he just might catch on.

From The Des Moines Register:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is scheduled to make his first campaign foray into Iowa on Friday in pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination.

Richardson's a sitting governor. He's a former U.N. ambassador, energy secretary and member of Congress. He's one of the nation's leading Hispanic politicians, who has shown an ability to win votes in Republican areas.

Richardson's background also gives him expertise on issues that concern voters - like foreign policy and energy security.

Richardson was born in California to an American father - a banker from Boston - and a Mexican mother. He grew up in Mexico and attended high school and college in New England.

Politically, "I can deliver some real estate" to the party. "I can deliver parts of the West that weren't Democratic before. So I bring something to the ticket."

Richardson promises a vigorous effort here. "I'm not going to attract a thousand people in gyms. But in New Hampshire, a lot of my house parties were packed with people. They're curious and they want other options. I think a lot of Democratic primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are tired of the media telling them who the frontrunners are."