|chrisishardcore.com||Diving for your collective memory.|
Welcome to my old politics blog.
In 2003, I worked at the Georgia General Assembly. Like many other people, I found the quality and quantity of information written about Georgia politics online and in print to be lacking. At the end of the legislative session, I created this blog to add to the information available to the public.
Starting in 2005, I became busy with a new job and being a new homeowner in Chamblee. I chose to buy my first home in the community where I grew up, about 2 miles away from the rest of my family and right next to Chamblee High School, my alma mater. I was writing fewer entries on this website (http://www.chrisishardcore.com), and when I did comment on politics, it was mostly on a bi-partisan assortment of Georgia political blogs, including Peach Pundit (a Republican-leaning blog) and Tondee’s Tavern (a Democratic-leaning blog).
In the blogging world, when an author stops updating a site, it is customary and expected that they take the site down and direct readers to other websites that are still being updated. That’s just what I did.
Jill Chambers, my Republican opponent in my current campaign for state House, decided to send a mail piece clearly intending to make this blog appear somehow sinister or otherwise inappropriate. I’m now bringing it back so the voters of the 81st District can judge it for themselves. Take a look around. Although many of the entries are a bit out-of-date, I hope you find at least some of them informative and/or entertaining.
As for the picture of me on Ms. Chambers’s mail piece, that was taken and posted by my younger brother when I was around 20 years old. Despite her allegation that I was “drunk,” I can assure you that is not the case. I personally believe the fact that Ms. Chambers would use a picture posted on the Internet several years ago as proof that I “post pictures of myself drunk” says a lot about her character, or lack thereof.
During the course of this campaign, you will be hearing more from both Ms. Chambers and me. Her campaigns have unfortunately been full of these types of tactics. I believe our state is facing major issues, and this campaign should be about those issues. When I talk about Jill Chambers, it won't be baseless accusations. It will be about the issues that matter to you, and I'll document everything I say.
Should you have questions or comments about this site or any other matters, please feel free to call me at (404) 372-8632, or send me an email at email@example.com. I also invite you to check out my official campaign site at www.chrishuttman.com to learn more about my stances on the issues that actually matter to Georgia voters.Posted by Chris at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)
One thing I guess I don't understand is the obsession Republicans have over pointing out that Mark Taylor's father is wealthy. So what! Good for Mark. But even if they thought this was some sort of wedge issue, I'd advise them to look in the mirror. Sonny Perdue entered office in 2002 as a millionaire. His net worth was around $4 million. Since then, it has more than doubled to $8 million. Of course, that's what we've deduced. He reported it only as $6 million, but then we learned that he paid $2 million for a piece of land next to Disney world that he was claiming was only worth $200K. Fat chance.
My point isn't that Sonny Perdue might actually be worth $20 million, for all we know he is. The point is that both Mark and Sonny are well off individually. Their families, like the families of many politicians on both sides of the aisle, do not worry about where their next paycheck is coming from or whether their children will get a good education. The biggest difference between Mark and Sonny is not the difference between their families' net worth, it is the difference between what each has done since they've been in office.
Mark has dedicated his entire life to helping the less well off. From sponsoring the HOPE scholarship, to fighting for Peach Kids and the two strikes out law, to his landmark HEROES legislation which supported Georgia Guardsmen at war and at home, to his DNA database which helps to solve crimes against women and makes sure that wrongly accused Georgians are out of jail and the person that actually commits the crime is serving the time.
Sonny, on the other hand, can't really point to a landmark piece of legislation that he introduced when he served in the legislature. He rose to the top of the Senate, and then switched parties because of personal differences with his fellow Democrats. Once he became a Republican, he challenged a Democratic governor who rubbed some people the wrong way because he was a little too bold. He made the flag change the centerpiece of his campaign.
And when he got into office, the first thing he proposed was a property tax increase. Under Barnes, Georgia's state government had been subsidizing local property taxes on a phased in schedule, and Sonny tried to eliminate the planned increases. You see, when you own $4 milllion worth of land, an extra couple of hundred dollars of property tax relief doesn't mean much to you. But it does to the average Georgian, and thankfully the Democrats in the legislature and a number of Republicans as well told Sonny that his plan was DOA.
And what has he done since? Well, he's underfunded education. Georgia has one of the worst educational systems in the nation, and it was previously one of the worst funded. In the 1980's legislators instituted an act called the "Quality Basic Education" act that mandated that, at the very least, a certain dollar amount would be spent per student no matter where they lived and a portion of state money would pay part of that amount. But Sonny cut the state's share. Some counties and cities, nearly 100, raised local property taxes to make up the difference, so that they could keep offering electives, AP courses and the like. But some just cut their budgets and increased tax sizes. When enrollment statewide increased, Sonny touted the "extra billion" he was spending on education, but in truth he still managed to find $170 million in cuts to the QBE formula. There were more students, and more overall money, but the per student average has gone down every year from the amount the state spent when Barnes was in office.
Children are often the most in need of protection in our society. In the 1990's, Democrats passed landmark legislation that would guarantee a minimum amount of health care coverage for Georgia's neediest children. These children didn't choose to be born into poverty, and Georgia had made a commitment to their future by creating the Peachcare program. But Sonny proposed something almost unthinkable. If their parents were even a day late on their payment to the program, he'd remove the child for 90 days. Just think about that for a minute. Fortunately, many doctors in the state would continue to honor the program and often work without compensation.
So, Sonny, what gives. You're rich, Mark's rich. Seeing how little you've done for the average Georgian, it makes sense that you'd rather talk about Mark's dad then your own actions in office.
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powered by performancing firefoxPosted by Chris at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)
Sometimes some good points get lost in the comments. Over on Peach Pundit, they are mostly throwing their hands up in the air wondering what exactly Sonny could have done wrong. Hey, every Governor gets rich without trying, seems to be the consensus opinion.
Well, some comments deserve to be highlighted. One is from a fellow named Fishtail. I have no idea who Fishtail is, but I pass on his comment because he seems to have a pretty good grasp of the issue:
I am encountering a lot of the mentality that says "well everyone does this" and Sonny is rich afterall. But while the rich are often let in on other investments by the other wealthy, they are usually not the governor who can in turn appoint the person that helped them out to a powerful board, take them to Korea with them to negotiate massive deals with the state, and even oversee state boards and authorities that can make decisions one way or the other, which if made the correct way can yield their wealthy friend hundreds of millions of dollars.Posted by Chris at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)
I am always amused by the antics of people who try to use a random occurence to make a broader point about something. Global Warming is a great point. Today the Drudge Report linked to a story about the hottest days on record. Here's the link, which tells you that the highest ever recorded temperature was in 1922, and for the USA it was 1913. I guess that's an interesting piece of trivia to know, but it tells you nothing about an overall trend.
For example, it is well documented that humans continue to get taller with every new generation. In America, over the last 40 years the average person is 1 inch taller. However, the tallest man ever died way back in 1940 and the current tallest man is a full 7 inches shorter than the record holder.
So, are we to believe that people are getting shorter because the tallest man alive right now isn't as tall as the tallest man alive in the 1940's? No, and when it comes to global warming and climate change, just because the hottest day ever recorded was in 1922 does not mean that we are currently in a period of years where the average yearly temperature has broken records almost every year.
We are experiencing climate change, and you can either accept that and figure out what you can do to make a difference, or you can treat it like any other political game and try to score cheap points.Posted by Chris at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)
Republicans are sharpening their knives in this state, and one Democrat they'd really like to take out is Thurbert Baker, our attorney general. It's not surprising why they want to take him out -- for obvious reasons but also because he's been non-partisan in defending the state and Republicans will not be happy until they have a political hack doing this job instead who will side with Republican leadership 100% of the time instead of the AG's true client - the people of Georgia. They look to the Alabama model of Roy Moore as Supreme Court justice and Bill Pryor as Attorney General and they want to replicate that here.
For some reason, they seem to think the way to attack Baker is to focus on the fact that he does not personally argue controversial cases in court. In a story in the AJC Glenn Richardson complains that "You'd think the attorney general would be the one there in the courtroom...[because he's not] I don't think his heart's in it the same as ours."
Richardson was talking about such cases as the gay marriage ban appeal (where Baker's office obtained a verdict that Richardson alleges to desire) and the defense of the state's new sex offender law.
Let's think about the standard Glenn Richardson and other Republicans are wanting to apply to Baker. The AG, like any other officer, is an administrator who directs policy and is responsible for adequately staffing his department to do it's duties. Republicans would never suggest that John Oxendine perform fire safety inspections himself, or that Kathy Cox move to an underperforming school district and start personally instructing the students there. And I don't think they'd like for Democrats to start offering that up in return. But they better be careful, because Baker's record administering his office is strikingly better than Kathy Cox, for example.
They should think about the standard they are setting, and whether they can personally meet that standard. Sonny Perdue, as Governor is required to write and submit the first draft of the state budget. Does Perdue personally author the budget, up late at night pounding away on a word processor with a spreadsheet open in another window at the Governor's mansion?
Richardson is himself an attorney, although he lacks the prestige that Baker has acquired both in private practice and as our Attorney General. And they know that a diverse range of groups including the NRA will once again endorse Baker's re-election, so they are fishing for an issue. I think it says a lot about Glenn's own capabilities as a lawyer that he thinks the job of AG should be an opportunity to personally grandstand in a court of law instead of assembling a team of the best professionals on certain issues and having them advocate for the state when those issues need to be litigated.
It's ironic, if you think about it. When a black Democrat has proven himself to be an exceptional administrator who assembles a top notch team with a diverse range of specialties, he's criticized for not being personally involved. But just a few years earlier, we were told that Bush's best attribute was the fact that he was a manager in a similar vein who would assemble the best experts and let them work on the issues that they know the best. Seems like there is a different standard for me than there is for thee, eh Glenn?Posted by Chris at 02:24 AM | Comments (0)
Interested in the Dem Governor race, here you go:
SEE THE MAP
Note: You must have Firefox 1.5+. If you don't have it yet, what a wonderful opportunity for you.
A lot of people have made comments similar to the fact that they are sick of our Democratic primary but will support the eventual winner in November, even if reluctantly. These people say that even if they vote in the Democratic primary, they won't vote for Cox or Taylor.
In the interest of not harming our eventual nominee, if you are voting in the Democratic primary but don't want to vote for Cox or Taylor, please just skip the race instead of casting a protest vote for one of the other lesser known candidates.
The reason to do this is to help prevent a costly runoff. The eventual nominee needs all the resources they can to go against Perdue (and recent Strategic Vision and Zogby polling shows that either candidate would be competitive against Sonny). Let's imagine an example scenario.
50 votes for Cox.
49 votes for Taylor.
1 vote for other candidates.
You cast a protest vote for a third party candidate instead of voting for Taylor or Cox. Cox gets more votes than any other single candidate, but received only 50.0% of the vote, not enough to cross the 50% + 1 threshold to avoid a runoff.
However, let's say you skip the race instead of casting a protest vote. Then Cox gets 50, Taylor gets 49 and Cox would be the outright winner. No need for a runoff. People will still be able to tell how many people voted in the primary but skipped the race (in 2004 Democratic Senate primary it was close to 100,000) so your protest can still be registered, but you won't harm the eventual nominee.
Something for people to consider. Another thing for the candidates to consider doing is if there is a runoff, suspend their campaign like Lewis Massey did in 1998. Now, Massey's race was not very close, Barnes beat him by 20 points and nearly missed winning outright. But Massey's suspension allowed Barnes to focus immediately on the general election, which he went on to win.
Obviously our candidates both feel very strongly about their chances in this race and so an outsider calling on them to suspend if their opponent doesn't win outright may seem selfish. But it is something to think about, especially if many Democratic voters who don't like either candidate act in good faith and just skip the race, essentially doing their part to avoid a runoff.Posted by Chris at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)
I've talked to a few candidates who have filled out their AJC questionaires and one of the most interesting questions that I'll be looking forward to seeing answered asks the candidates what TV character do you identify with?
This is a tough question for female candidates to answer in particular, becuase so many women on television shows are either "bitches or hoes" as one candidate told me. Some intrepid blogger should take the inevitable candidate cast of Law and Order (or ER or CSI) and compare the candidates to the actual cast. We'll see who's really ready for prime time then!Posted by Chris at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)
Here's a few things I've been thinking about lately.
1. Lamont excitement has gone a little overboard I think. Party activists (who voted 33% for Lamont and 67% for Liebermann at the CT state convention) are generally more extreme/enthusaistic than the overall primary electorate. Look no further than the Howard Dean chairman race -- a guy who couldn't get more than 30% in a primary (except for his home state) easily won a vote of party activists. I think Liebermann will win pretty handily (55% or so at least) and you should save your money. Lamont's probably more credible than Ciro Rodriguez, but you'll still be wasting it.
2. As the netroots is want to do, they enjoy spinning a loss into a win. They are already setting the bar very low for the Liebermann race, but winning a contested primary if you are an incumbent Congressman or Senator is nothing to be ashamed about. Walter F George, first elected to the US Senate in 1922, faced a tough primary challenge in 1938 from Eugene Talmadge and the FDR backed Lawrence Camp. It was a close race, but he won and then continued to serve in the Senate until 1957. Liebermann is an idealist on the war. I disagree with his current position of support for the status quo but I can certainly understand the idealism that gets him there. Defeating him in the primary would, I think, send a bad message to Jewish voters at a time when their loyalties are more up in the air than they've been in over 50 years.
3. I enjoyed The DaVinci Code. Tom Hanks had a pretty bizarre look in the movie. I think he's prepping himself to one day play Al Gore in a movie. Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth was also very good. I just moved into a new house, which unfortunately came with old fashioned light bulbs. As they burn out, I'll be replacing them with compact flourescent bulbs. Good news for CFB fans, they are starting to make models that work with dimmer switches and track lighting. If you have a 100 watt light bulb in your house that you keep on for 4 hours a day, it will take 119 pounds of coal to power it over the course of a year. That equates to 1 pound of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide going into the atmosphere and, incredibly, 309 pounds of carbon dioxide! A 26 watt CFB can produce the same amount of light, which reduces your emissions and electricity cost by nearly 75%, and because the lightbulb design is more energy efficient, less heat is produced, which keeps your home cooler in the summer meaning you don't have to run the A/C as much!
See you soon.Posted by Chris at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
Charles Bullock told the Macon Telegraph:
While they're [Taylor/Cox] stuck catering to political extremes in their own party - before the winner tries to make a dash back to the middle - Perdue can play things mainstream, Bullock said.
I'm not sure what Cathy Cox's television ads will highlight, but judging from the new covenant posted on her website, it seems they will also be healthcare and education heavy.
I guess it's no secret that the African American share of the primary electorate will be about twice as large as that in the general election, and as far as I can tell this is what Bullock and other commentators must mean when they talk about pandering to extremes, because on an issue basis both Democratic candidates are so far very in the mainstream of what an overwhelming majority of voters want to talk about. If they don't see the irony in thinking that one or two candidates in this race have pandered to racial extremes while Perdue won't have any such baggage, then I guess that says a lot about the state of political commentary in Georgia.Posted by Chris at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)