The Jackson Herald
April 2, 2003
Lynn may be looking at wrong office
So Lynn Westmoreland wants to run for the Senate. He may be considering a campaign for the wrong office. Its not the first time this House Republican leader has had the Washington itch. He considered trying for Sam Nunns Senate seat in 96, but the party brass told him the time was not ripe.
Westmoreland waited. A Democrat, Max Cleland, won the election. Looking back, state Rep. Westmoreland might have prevailed. But who knows? Instead, he stayed in the Georgia House, labored in the vineyards of GOP politics and ousted Bob Irvin as Republican leader in 2000.
Now Westmoreland is edging toward running for the Senate again. Or he thinks he is. He says a lot of folks are calling him, telling him they need him in Washington. Besides, the Legislature has turned into a nightmare. A wartime Senate in Washington might be less stressful than an anarchy-ridden Statehouse in Atlanta.
Westmoreland has a lot going for him. He was a co-chairman of Republican Saxby Chambliss successful campaign for the Senate last year. He also campaigned for Gov. Sonny Perdue. He made a lot of friends across the state.
But his timing is a bit off. Congressman Johnny Isakson jumped into the Senate race weeks ago, almost as soon as Zell Miller announced he was quitting. Isakson captured the political spotlight for several days and nailed down bundles in campaign contributions before anyone else could announce.
Now the fog of war has closed in. Local politics is lost in the avalanche of news from Iraq. If Westmoreland danced the hula under the state rotunda, he would be lucky to get coverage on the obits page. Interest in the 2004 Senate primary is nil. No one cares much about what the Legislature does until it starts pondering tax increases or switching the state flag back to the anti-United States cross. And not many folks are interested in giving cash to an iffy Senate primary race 16 months away.
Those circumstances work against a Westmoreland senatorial bid. Even so, the lawmaker from Tyrone has made his mark in this years session of the Legislature, emerging as one of the stronger leaders in either party. In several ways, he has exhibited more endurance and determination in standing up for party principles than has Gov. Perdue.
Westmoreland held nearly intact his 71-member GOP House caucus to support a Democrat, Rep. Larry Walker of Perry, for speaker because Perdue wanted Walker, and Walker said he would represent both parties fairly.
Before the final vote on speaker was taken, Perdue blinked. Walker went down in flames, and Westmoreland mounted a doomed-to-fail token race for speaker in the Democrat-dominated House.
He has been blindsided a couple of other times by the governor on such issues as changing the flag and raising taxes. Privately, Westmoreland may grumble about Perdues two-steps-forward, one-step-backward style of government. Publicly, he claims to be a Perdue stalwart, though he pointedly joined the mob of Republicans and Democrats in voting against Perdues tobacco-tax increase last week.
In these economic hard times, who wants to vote in favor of raising taxes of any kind? says one leading Republican (not Westmoreland). The governor just doesnt get it.
Republicans in both the state Senate and House are becoming increasingly piqued at Perdue. And the governor has not hidden his dissatisfaction with the many Republicans who have resisted his leadership.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, two Republican congressmen - Jack Kingston of Savannah and Mac Collins of McDonough - also are taking a close look at the Senate primary race. And speculation increases that Isakson may emerge as the White House favorite with President Bush siding with him in the primary, as the president did with Chambliss in last years GOP Senate shoot-out.
Where does that leave Lynn? Westmorelands politics matches many Georgia Republicans views. He is pro-life, pro-gun and anti-taxes, and he is a favorite of religious conservatives. He is probably much more conversant with local transportation issues than with topics relating to the Middle East or our delicate relationships with France and Russia.
Some anti-Isakson consultants, desperate to find an opponent for the moderate congressman, are pressing Westmoreland to make a quick decision to go for the Senate nomination. But he has time. He marks his 53rd birthday Wednesday, which is youthful in terms of modern politics. Westmoreland has already proven his leadership at the state level. In three years, a much more interesting primary contest might be shaping up - hopefully without the shadow of war obscuring the campaigns. By then, some Republicans undoubtedly will be seeking a more conventional member of the GOP to replace Gov. Perdue. Lynn Westmoreland, considered by many as a model Georgia Republican, could be the top prospect on the 2006 challengers list.
You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160 or by calling (770) 422-2543, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web address: http://www.billshipp.com.
By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
April 2, 2003
Putting things in perspective
For several weeks now some 200 University students, faculty and staff have gathered at the UGA arch to protest the war with Iraq.
That means that some 30,000 University students, faculty and staff have not gathered at the arch to protest.
Some one million Americans have gathered throughout the nation on weekends to protest the war with Iraq.
That means that some 246 million Americans have not gathered throughout the nation to protest.
* * *
I am writing this on Tuesday, March 25, five days into the war with Iraq.
Twelve Americans have died. Seven are being held as prisoners of war.
Many in the media are talking about heavy casualties.
Just one casualty if he or she is your son or daughter, or your grandchild, your spouse, your father or mother, your brother or sister is a heavy casualty. And we should grieve with the bereaved as though the casualty were our own. They are fellow Americans.
On Sept. 11, 2001, in a matter of minutes, approximately 3,000 people died when terrorists hijacked American planes and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
Those were heavy casualties, too.
* * *
There is a lot of talk and worry about collateral damage in the war with Iraq. A few civilians have died, and their deaths along with the deaths of military personnel are tragic.
Virtually all of the 3,000 people who were killed on 9/11 were civilians.
Talk about collateral damage.
* * *
Saddam Hussein has been known to make human shields of Iraqi women and children, placing them among his soldiers and adjacent to military targets.
Some of these innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed. It is likely that many more will die.
Before you cast blame on the American soldier who fired the bullet or the airman who dropped the bomb, put things in perspective and ask yourself: Who put those innocent civilians in harms way? And where does the blame really lie?
* * *
Five days into the war with Iraq, everything did not go well. There were setbacks. As Secretary of State Colin Powell pointed out, this is not a game; it is war.
If you listen to some journalists or read their stories, you might begin to think that the war is over and Iraq won in just five days.
At approximately 7:55 a.m. (Hawaiian time) on December 7, 1941, about 360 Japanese planes began dropping bombs on Pearl Harbor. They sank eight battleships, three light cruisers, three destroyers and four other vessels. Approximately 3,700 people, including civilians (collateral damage) were killed that day.
On December 12, 1941, five days later, that war was not going well, either.
* * *
In front of a University professors house, on the street where I walk, is a sign that says, War is not the answer.
Now, I am not much into political, religious, military or diplomatic signs, but if I had one saying that Appeasement is not the answer, Id be tempted to place it alongside the professors.
I doubt that many of the University students who gather at the arch to protest the war with Iraq have ever heard of Neville Chamberlain. But perhaps the professor has. If so, I hope he will refresh his memory.
* * *
Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940) served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1937 to 1940. He was closely associated with the policy of appeasement toward Nazi Germany.
In 1938, Chamberlain went to Munich to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. The result was the Munich Agreement.
Chamberlain, Hitler, Benito Mussolini of Italy, and Edouard Daladier of France drew up the Agreement on September 29, 1938. It was signed the next day.
This document forced Czechoslovakia to give up Sudetenland, a part of its territory, to Nazi Germany. As a result, Germany got a fifth of Czechoslovakias land, 800,000 Czechs, over 3 million persons of German descent, and most of the countrys industries.
Furthermore, the Munich Agreement set up an international commission to mark off the new boundaries. People in some of the disputed areas were given the right to choose between the Czechoslovakian and German governments.
When the commission drew the frontiers, more land passed into Germanys hands than the agreement provided. Germany soon took over all of Czechoslovakia.
* * *
Great Britain and France believed that the Munich Agreement would keep Europe at peace. Neville Chamberlain, Britains Prime Minister, declared that it had brought peace for our time.
On September 1, 1939, German troops invaded Poland.
Some of you know the rest of the story. Would that all of you did.
* * *
Take heart, America. We have a strong president who doesnt believe in appeasing dictators. And thank God, Tony Blair aint no Neville Chamberlain.
But that French guy (Whats his name?) is somewhere lobbying for more inspectors and more time. After 12 years of appeasing Saddam Hussein, he wants the appeasement to continue.
* * *
I wish I could put that in perspective (make some sense of it), but I cant.
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.