How Lindsey Graham Stomped the Tea Party – Molly Ball – The Atlantic

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Kicking the crap out of the Tea Party is the most fun Senator Lindsey Graham has ever had.

“More fun than any time I’ve been in politics,” Graham tells me at the YMCA here, where he’s about to address a couple dozen supporters. Little kids are streaming through the halls to their gym classes, and a smell of sweat hangs in the air. “Because people are being uplifting,” Graham continues. “People are really saying, ‘OK, enough already.’ They’re starting to push back from trying to define conservatism in a fashion where there is no room for solving problems.”

Ever since the rise of the Tea Party, Graham—a politician who seems to delight in sticking his finger in the eye of the Republican base—has been on the front lines of the struggle for the soul of the GOP. For years, right-wingers have heckled him and called him names. But now he is having the last laugh. Facing six no-name opponents in Tuesday’s primary, Graham needs 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff, and he is confident he will get it.

“This has turned into a referendum not just on me, but on you, right?” Graham tells his supporters. Winning the primary outright, he says, “will not only get me back to the Senate. It will legitimize everything I’ve tried to do for you. It will be a statement heard all over the country—a statement about the Republican Party moving forward, not backward.”

On paper, Graham is the right wing’s juiciest target. An unapologetic champion of bipartisanship and compromise, he has worked with Democrats on initiatives such as immigration reform and climate legislation. Conservative blogs and talk radio have nicknamed him “Flimsy Lindsey” and “Grahamnesty.” Even as South Carolina has turned into a right-wing hotbed—with a Tea Party-aligned governor and legislature and perhaps the country’s most right-wing congressional delegation—Graham has refused to follow his party’s rightward drift. He has been censured by nine separate South Carolina county GOP organizations and heckled at his state party convention. For years, a local activist has driven around with a Graham effigy stuffed headfirst into a toilet, leading a brigade of self-styled “RINO hunters.” In 2012, the president of the Club for Growth said Graham would be the fiscally conservative group’s top target this year.

via How Lindsey Graham Stomped the Tea Party – Molly Ball – The Atlantic.

Michelle Nunn stumbles in new Georgia Senate polling | WashingtonExaminer.com

Poll results released by SurveyUSA on Monday bode ill for Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn in Georgia.

In head-to-head matchups against the two Republican candidates who qualify for a July 22 runoff election, Nunn comes out behind. According to the SurveyUSA poll, Nunn trails Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., by six points among likely voters; she trails businessman David Perdue by five points.

SurveyUSA found Kingston ahead of Perdue by 11 points, possible indication that high-profile endorsements of Kingston are having the expected effect.

The SurveyUSA poll indicates these advantages may not be enough to win the general election, especially once Republicans close ranks behind a nominee. Nunn could also be hurt by her anodyne performance on the campaign trail. She has done cartwheels to avoid thorny issues like Obamacare.

There is hope for Nunn, however. Previous polling has her ahead against both Republican candidates, and SurveyUSA conducts polls differently than other polling firms. Subsequent polling could prove the most recent results anomalous.

via Michelle Nunn stumbles in new Georgia Senate polling | WashingtonExaminer.com.

Senate dreams: Voting trends belie parties’ hopes – Northwest Georgia News: National

WASHINGTON (AP)€” With most of this year’s Senate primary elections complete, Democrats talk boldly about their chances in Kentucky and Mississippi, while Republicans gaze hungrily at Oregon and Colorado.

Time for a reality check.

Both parties face big hurdles in achieving such against-the-grain triumphs. Studies show it’s increasingly difficult for Senate candidates to win in states their party lost in the previous presidential election.

That leaves Republicans, virtually assured of keeping control of the House, hopeful about gaining the six seats they need this fall to control the Senate for President Barack Obama’s last two years in office.

Democrats are defending Senate seats in seven states that Obama lost, some of them badly. All of those races are leaning Republican or are considered highly competitive.

The only Republican seeking re-election in an Obama-won state is Maine’s three-term Sen. Susan Collins, whose seat is considered safe.

Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz agreed. Senate races are becoming increasingly “nationalized,” he said. That means voters’ presidential sentiments are more likely to match their Senate choices.
The trend poses problems for Democrats in states such as Georgia and Kentucky, where Obama is largely unpopular, Abramowitz said.

Georgia is a bit more worrisome for Republicans, Walsh said. Democratic political novice Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, is running in a state where GOP Senate victories are almost routine. Two establishment-backed Republicans, businessman David Perdue and Rep. Jack Kingston, are competing for the GOP nomination.

Obama lost Georgia by only 7 percentage points in 2012 without seriously campaigning there, and Democrats say the state is trending their way. Privately, however, top strategists say a true Democratic tilt is probably several years away, and Nunn faces a tough battle.

via Senate dreams: Voting trends belie parties’ hopes – Northwest Georgia News: National.

WASHINGTON: To win or not to win: Campaigns can hang on a few words | National Elections | The Bellingham Herald

People were asked about Republican positions on volatile issues such as energy policies, student debt and school choice. The party then organized groups of specific constituencies _ unmarried women and bilingual speakers _ that it has had trouble wooing. And it tested ads.

The final result: “Create Your American Dream.”

“It embodied what a lot of the focus group participants were telling us _ that they wanted the opportunity to succeed and there was no single path to get there or one agreed metric of success,” said Kirsten Kukowski, Republican National Committee spokeswoman.

Democrats also are pushing to motivate unmarried women, who tend to vote heavily for their candidates.

Effective messaging reduces complex issue positions or candidates’ images to easy-to-remember, easy-to-like slogans or catchphrases. The trick is to keep the message positive while suggesting the other guy’s brand is inferior.

Republican strategist Frank Luntz helped promote this new kind of political language nearly 20 years ago. In his 2005 commentary, “The Lexicon of Political Clout,” he explained, “Admittedly, in these times, most political language has taken a partisan tone. But my suggestions are meant to help reach that crucial, nonaligned swing voter.”

Luntz helped popularize phrases such as “death tax,” instead of the more arcane, tilted-to-the-rich “estate tax.” After all, he reasoned, people pay income tax on income and sales tax on sales. Or “energy exploration,” a smoother way of discussing drilling for gas or oil.

“They work to the extent they tap into existing thoughts and feelings,” said Atlanta-based Republican political strategist Todd Rehm.

Key catchphrases this year have become “1 percent” for Democrats and “Obamacare” for the Republicans.

via WASHINGTON: To win or not to win: Campaigns can hang on a few words | National Elections | The Bellingham Herald.

State dusts off Dodge County election investigation | State Legislature | Macon.com

The Georgia State Election board wants state prosecutors to look at seven names in 2008 Dodge County voter fraud allegations, despite a plea deal that may have closed the case when it sent two of the people to prison.

State allegations vary among the seven people, including unlawful possession of ballots and vote buying in the 2008 general primary.

via State dusts off Dodge County election investigation | State Legislature | Macon.com.

Will Georgia’s Senate Race Follow The Eric Cantor Upset Script? – Business Insider

Business Insider has a story questioning whether the Cantor loss provides a model for David Perdue in the Georgia Senate runoff.

One race where a similar dynamic could play out is Georgia’s hotly-contested U.S. Senate primary runoff between Republican Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue. Like [Dave] Brat, Perdue has run a campaign branding himself as an “outsider” and attempting to appeal to the conservative grassroots while running against an incumbent congressman.

Perdue is clearly eager to capture some of Brat’s mojo for himself. In an email to supporters Wednesday, he referenced Cantor’s shocking loss.

“As we saw last night in Virginia, our outsider message is powerful. The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives was defeated in the primary by a conservative outsider who won with the simple message that 14 years in Washington was enough,” said Perdue. “I believe the improbable victory was a clear rejection on the establishment and career politicians. The same anti-establishment sentiment is being felt all across the country, and on July 22nd we have an opportunity in Georgia to say 22 years in Washington is enough for my opponent Congressman Kingston.”

Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist who was National Southern Regional Director for the campaign of President Barack Obama in 2012, told Business Insider Wednesday Perdue could be the next Brat.

“Perdue is appealing to people who voted against Cantor, who are just tired of career politicians in Congress. If I’m Perdue, I look at the results last night, and I see that there’s hope there for me to emulate what happened in Cantor’s district here in Georgia, label Jack Kingston as the establishment candidate,” Johnson said.

My opinion differs:

Georgia-based Republican political consultant Todd Rehm disagrees. Rehm told Business Insider he sees little to no potential in Perdue’s future even after Cantor’s loss.

“One lesson from Cantor’s loss is that politicians who lose touch with the voters are more susceptible to attack. Perdue is running, I would argue, the most-detached campaign I’ve ever seen. It’s all TV with little actual voter contact,” Rehm said. “Contrast that with Kingston, who has quickly developed a reputation as being at all the party events, and whose CD-1 constituents thought highly enough of his time in office that they voted for him for Senate at a level of roughly 75%.”

Rehm also pointed out many voters in last month’s Republican primary voted for candidate’s who previously held elected office.

“Perdue’s ‘outsider’ schtick was obviously enough to get him into the runoff, but more than 66% of GOP Primary voters chose one of the ‘typical political insider’ candidates,” Rehm explained.

via Eric Cantor Upset Georgia Senate – Business Insider.

Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for June 12, 2014

The first Georgia-Florida war game weekend began on June 12, 1740, as Georgia founder James Oglethorpe led 400 soldiers landing opposite the Spanish fort at St. Augustine.

The Virginia Convention adopted George Mason’s “Declaration of Rights” on June 12, 1776. From Wikipedia:

The Declaration was adopted unanimously by the Fifth Virginia Convention at Williamsburg, Virginia on June 12, 1776 as a separate document from theConstitution of Virginia which was later adopted on June 29, 1776.[2] In 1830, the Declaration of Rights was incorporated within the Virginia State Constitution as Article I, but even before that Virginia’s Declaration of Rights stated that it was ‘”the basis and foundation of government” in Virginia.[3] A slightly updated version may still be seen in Virginia’s Constitution, making it legally in effect to this day.

It was initially drafted by George Mason circa May 20, 1776; James Madison assisted him with the section on religious freedom.

The Virginia Declaration of Rights heavily influenced later documents. Thomas Jefferson is thought to have drawn on it when he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence in the same month (June 1776). James Madison was also influenced by the Declaration while drafting the Bill of Rights (introduced September 1789, ratified 1791), as was the Marquis de Lafayette in voting the French Revolution‘s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).

The importance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights is that it was the first constitutional protection of individual rights, rather than protecting only members of Parliament or consisting of simple laws that can be changed as easily as passed.

That means Liberty, y’all.

Delta Airlines began passenger service from Monroe, Louisiana to Atlanta on June 12, 1930.

On June 12, 1961, Ben E. King hit #1 on the R&B chart and #4 on the pop chart with “Standy By Me.”

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan spoke in then-divided Berlin and challenged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

[If that excerpt is not enough for you, here's a link to the entire speech.]

Kennesaw State College became Kennesaw State University on June 12, 1996.

Carol Hunstein, appointed by Governor Zell Miller to the Georgia Supreme Court, was elected Chief Justice by her peers on June 12, 2009.

Happy Birthday to former President George H.W. Bush, who turns 90 today.

#TBT to 1995

TBT10032013

Today, Jack Kingston is locked in a Runoff for the Senate seat currently held by then-Rep. Saxby Chambliss. John Linder has retired to Mississippi, though he made several endorsements in this year’s GOP Primaries. Newt Gingrich is on the new “Crossfire” after an unsuccessful run for President in 2012; Gingrich has endorsed Kingston for the Senate. Bob Barr is making a comeback bid in the 11th District. Mac Collins is frequently seen on the campaign trail supporting his son Mike Collins, in the Primary Runoff for CD-10. Paul Coverdell and Charlie Norwood passed away.

More on the Cantor loss and Georgia

InsiderAdvantage CEO (and sometimes my boss) Matt Towery writes for Creators Syndicate that the real culprits in Eric Cantor’s Primary loss were the out-of-touch consultants, pollsters, and political staffers who led his campaign and his Congressional office.

The Washington D.C. political class of arrogant aides, out-of-touch consultants and dim-witted pollsters has been slowly destroying the Republican Party in America for years. This cottage industry of self-important slicksters is finally being stripped bare and left without its blue smoke and mirrors. And inside their small echo chamber, where the slicksters talk only to one another and believe citizens in “the rest of the country” are easily understood — and easily fooled — the money and the high-five compliments are endless.

Maybe the embarrassing butt-kicking that Cantor received will trigger a second thought in the minds of those politicians who treat the words of their own advisors, consultants and pollsters as divine dispensation.

This collection of political “experts” and high-and-mighty staffers needs to consider the consequences of their gross underestimation of the mood of their constituents, and of the manner in which they have been trying to reach out to them.

The real problem was that Cantor and what is described by many as a very haughty staff (imagine that in D.C.) began to believe that they truly were “national.” You know, big deals that really did folks back home a favor by letting them be graced with the Majority Leader’s (occasional) presence in their district.

The truth be known, Cantor and his advisers were caught up in their obsession game of cat-and-mouse in whether or not to stage a coup to topple Speaker John Boehner. Alternatively, they wrestled with how to help preserve Boehner’s position, lest another member leapfrog over Cantor and become Speaker. As a result of all this, they really couldn’t be too bothered with the folks back home and some local college professor opponent.

Yes the “tea party” movement is not dead in the GOP. But even with half the national tea party leaders taking credit for an upset defeat in which they played no part whatsoever, the real message from Eric Cantor’s defeat can be found in how the candidate and his advisors lost touch with their voters.

Business Insider has a story questioning whether the Cantor loss provides a model for David Perdue in the Georgia Senate runoff.

One race where a similar dynamic could play out is Georgia’s hotly-contested U.S. Senate primary runoff between Republican Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue.  Like [Dave] Brat, Perdue has run a campaign branding himself as an “outsider” and attempting to appeal to the conservative grassroots while running against an incumbent congressman.

Perdue is clearly eager to capture some of Brat’s mojo for himself. In an email to supporters Wednesday, he referenced Cantor’s shocking loss.

“As we saw last night in Virginia, our outsider message is powerful. The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives was defeated in the primary by a conservative outsider who won with the simple message that 14 years in Washington was enough,” said Perdue. “I believe the improbable victory was a clear rejection on the establishment and career politicians. The same anti-establishment sentiment is being felt all across the country, and on July 22nd we have an opportunity in Georgia to say 22 years in Washington is enough for my opponent Congressman Kingston.”

Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist who was National Southern Regional Director for the campaign of President Barack Obama in 2012, told Business Insider Wednesday Perdue could be the next Brat.

“Perdue is appealing to people who voted against Cantor, who are just tired of career politicians in Congress. If I’m Perdue, I look at the results last night, and I see that there’s hope there for me to emulate what happened in Cantor’s district here in Georgia, label Jack Kingston as the establishment candidate,” Johnson said.

My opinion differs:

Georgia-based Republican political consultant Todd Rehm disagrees. Rehm told Business Insider he sees little to no potential in Perdue’s future even after Cantor’s loss.

“One lesson from Cantor’s loss is that politicians who lose touch with the voters are more susceptible to attack. Perdue is running, I would argue, the most-detached campaign I’ve ever seen. It’s all TV with little actual voter contact,” Rehm said. “Contrast that with Kingston, who has quickly developed a reputation as being at all the party events, and whose CD-1 constituents thought highly enough of his time in office that they voted for him for Senate at a level of roughly 75%.”

Rehm also pointed out many voters in last month’s Republican primary voted for candidate’s who previously held elected office.

“Perdue’s ‘outsider’ schtick was obviously enough to get him into the runoff, but more than 66% of GOP Primary voters chose one of the ‘typical political insider’ candidates,” Rehm explained.

Maybe Lindsey Graham’s cruise to victory in the South Carolina Primary last night is a better model for the Peach State runoff. Graham, first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 and elevated to the Senate in 2002 was targeted by Tea Party activists for being too moderate.

Back to Matt Towery’s column for a word on Lindsey Graham:

Graham never swallowed the story that he is bigger than the people who elect him. He has remained approachable to his constituents and has never come to believe that people from his state were simply “the masses” to somehow be placated on his road to power.

That sounds more like Jack Kingston’s approach to the voters than Perdue’s. Kingston has earned the reputation as an indefatigable campaigner, and some days, I’ve seen him at more local GOP events than I’ve seen Perdue at all year.

Kyle Wingfield on the Shafer Amendment

AJC conservative columnist Kyle Wingfield writes about the “Shafer Amendment,” which will prohibit the Georgia legislature from raising the top income tax rate.

A number of people, particularly those who want to see tax rates fall, have questioned whether the amendment is worthwhile or just a fig leaf for legislative inaction. I agree it would be better if we not only capped the rate constitutionally but lowered it. So did the economists, representing 10 of of our state’s colleges and universities in all, who signed Shafer’s statement.

But they also agreed that, in the meantime, the amendment “provides a large and important measure of long-run certainty in Georgia’s business environment.” Why?

“I think we know for sure that … increased risk assessment really holds down investment activity, especially when you’re going state to state,” says Christine Ries, professor of economics at Georgia Tech. “One of the risk assessment problems is political risk.

“Companies do this all the time, (judging) whether a particular political climate is inherent in a state or is going to change over time. Right now, Georgia is seen as a fiscally conservative state, and I don’t think most analysts are looking at it and saying Georgia might turn around and change tomorrow. … But anything that makes the public policy more reliable is going to lower the risk assessment and increase investment in the state or country.”

“Interestingly,” says Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of agricultural and applied economics at UGA, “I had done some research on how communities can attract jobs. And we found that sticking to your plans is pretty much the best thing you can do.

“It’s the credibility thing: If businesses feel like they can trust you, then they’re more likely to create jobs in your community. So this cap signals to businesses, we promise we’re not going to become New York or California or Illinois. We’re going to stay a good place to do business.”

Dodge County: where the voters, like the past, are never dead

William Faulkner wrote in Requiem for a Nun, that The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” I mentioned earlier this week that Dodge County might be the most-haunted county in Georgia, if the number of votes cast by dead people is any indication.

Five years ago, a number of Dodge County locals pled guilty to vote fraud that included zombie votes.

More than two dozen people including several county officials either were convicted or pleaded guilty to charges that included vote buying and that people voted under the names of the dead.

This is just the 2004 election,” said Greg Harvey, agent in charge of the GBI office in Eastman. “We’’re still investigating the 2008 election.”

Earlier this week, the State Elections Board heard allegations about 2008.

The Georgia State Election board wants state prosecutors to look at seven names in 2008 Dodge County voter fraud allegations, despite a plea deal that may have closed the case when it sent two of the people to prison.

State allegations vary among the seven people, including unlawful possession of ballots and vote buying in the 2008 general primary.

Adoptable Georgia (Wiener) Dogs for June 12, 2014

In honor of the long-suffering First Lady of the Second District Georgia Republican Party’s birthday today, we are presenting dachshund and dachshund mix dogs from the greater Columbus metropolitan area.

Copper

Copper is a young male dachshund mix whose face makes him look like a little yellow lab. Copper is available for adoption from Safe Haven Animal Rescue in Hamilton, GA.

Dudley

Dudley is a young male Dachshund, whose snout makes me think he might have had a Chihuahua parent. Dudley is available for adoption from Safe Haven Animal Rescue in Hamilton, GA.

Tommy

Tommy is a young male Dachshund who looks pretty much like a Dachshund to my untrained eye. Tommy is available for adoption from Safe Haven Animal Rescue in Hamilton, GA.

Why Eric Cantor Lost To Dave Brat – Business Insider

A new Public Policy Polling survey conducted in Cantor’s district Tuesday night provides some insight into the reasons for Cantor’s loss. The survey was conducted for the liberal group Americans United for Change, which supports immigration reform, and the questions described the immigration reform plans being debated in Congress in highly favorable terms.

But the poll suggests Cantor’s stance on immigration is overrated as a factor and, generally, that he had simply become deeply unpopular in his district.

Overall, only 30% of respondents from Cantor’s district approved of his job performance, a dangerous level for any incumbent. And 63% disapproved. Among Republicans, Cantor’s approval-to-disapproval split was just 43-49.

House Republican leadership is even more unpopular in Cantor’s district — just 26% of voters approve of it, while 67% disapprove. Among Republicans, the approval-to-disapproval split sits at 41-50.

“Cantor didn’t lose because of immigration,” PPP director Tom Jensen wrote in a memo accompanying the poll. “He lost because of the deep unpopularity of both himself personally and of the Republican House leadership.”

The results also suggest Cantor’s district supports the immigration reform plan that passed the Senate last year — though it was described in the poll in highly favorable terms that sometimes as pro-immigration reform talking points.

via Why Eric Cantor Lost To Dave Brat – Business Insider.

Might Not Be Jewish Republicans In Congress – Business Insider

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Tuesday night primary loss is also a defeat for another group: Jewish Republicans.

Cantor is the only Jewish GOP lawmaker in Congress. Unless at least one Jewish Republican wins his or her congressional race in November there will be no Jewish Republicans on Captiol Hill for the next legislative session. In contrast, Democrats have around 30 Jewish members of Congress.

Jeff Ballabon, a Republican operative who has reportedly helped presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and George W. Bush do outreach to the Jewish community, told Jewish Insider he was especially struck by Cantor’s loss.

“He’s a good friend, a dedicated public servant, a trailblazer and an outstanding role model. While his leadership in Congress most surely will be missed, he’s a great patriot and a proud Jew who will continue to be an influential leader,” Ballabon said. “Sorry to see a friend go, but in the big picture, it high time the GOP paid more attention to its conservative base.”

via Might Not Be Jewish Republicans In Congress – Business Insider.

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