The Jackson Herald
May 28, 2003
The party of the clueless
Draft Zell Miller. Rehabilitate Roy Barnes. Find Max Cleland. Hes looking better by the minute. Do something. Quick.
If youre running the national Democratic Party, you ought to be having a nervous breakdown about now. Youre in a corner, and your options are running out.
The presidential election is closing in fast. President George Bush looks strong, but he has weak spots. The economy is stagnant. The Iraqi war went OK, but just OK. We didnt get the guy we were after. Again. With the right candidate, you could beat Bush - or at least give him a run for his money.
But youve got nobody, right? Oh, nine certified Democrats are running. Theyre already out there mixing it up on the C-SPAN debate circuit, trying to make voters believe theyre real. Take a close look, and youll realize: Theyre a frightening group.
This is the weakest pack to seek the Democratic nomination since George McGovern carried the flag against Richard Nixon in 1972. On second thought, McGovern would seem a giant among these pygmies.
Check out this list: Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, Howard Dean of Vermont and Al Sharpton of New York.
With the possible exceptions of Edwards and Graham, no one stands a chance of taking a Southern state, and those two are long, long shots for winning the nomination.
Perhaps this lineup looks all right from a national perspective. But from a Southern viewpoint, these are lost lambs. The national Democratic Party has purposely severed its Southern roots and lost the South, probably forever, unless it can find a candidate with moderate to conservative credentials.
For the sake of argument, lets say Sen. Zell Miller, even at age 71, decided to go for the Democratic nomination. Great choice. Instant credibility with Southern voters. Advocates more tax cuts and smaller government. With Bush on the war and on the federal budget. Favors helping the elderly and battling poverty among African Americans. Solid record as senator and governor. Among the most popular figures in his home state. But he would not stand chance of winning the nomination. He is too Southern and too moderate in a party that has drifted so far to the left that only certified liberals need apply for nominations.
This trend is not brand new. Former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn coulda been a contender in his heyday in the Senate in the 1980s and 1990s. But he was an expert on military matters and, therefore, unacceptable to the party of doves. He also was Southern, a trait that caused many leading Democrats to turn up their noses in contempt.
Former Gov. Roy Barnes might have been Democratic-ticket material if he had won re-election as governor. On second thought, he wouldnt pass muster either. He subscribed completely to President Bushs No Child Left Behind education program. The national teachers unions, an essential part of the Democratic coalition, would have destroyed a Barnes campaign before it could start. The teachers unions hate all this accountability talk.
Remember Sen. Max Cleland? His defeat is instructive in studying the collapse of the Democratic Party in the South. He lost his Senate seat because he couldnt say no to the Senate Democratic leaders who demanded he oppose the Bush administration on every important issue, even as President Bushs popularity soared in Clelands native Georgia.
The national Democrats are so far out of touch that they have been trying to recruit an Atlanta-based African-American candidate (either Attorney General Thurbert Baker or Mayor Shirley Franklin) to run statewide for the U.S. Senate next year.
Neither has a chance of winning. In the case of Attorney General Baker, Democrats would lose their most powerful state office if he chose to heed the Democrats siren call. National Democrats dont care about local matters. Losing a toehold in the Georgia Capitol wouldnt faze them, as long they make a show of unity among their liberal constituencies. Win or lose, an African-American senatorial bid in Georgia would make wonderful national headlines.
Just how and when the Democrats lost their Southern compass is uncertain. One could argue that Republicans have played the race card repeatedly and subtly since the 1960s to lure majority whites away from the Democrats. But it is more than that. Democrats are so out of step with their own past that is hard to imagine that towering figures such as Harry Truman and Franklin Roosevelt were traditional Democrats of their time. Or that a Democratic Jimmy Carter could run and win in the South, at least once.
Americans deserve a strong alternative to an incumbent president, no matter who, in every election cycle. The present-day rudderless Democrats, so far, show no sign of coming up with that alternative for 2004.
You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160 or e-mail: email@example.com, Web address: http://www.billshipp.com
By: Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
May 28, 2003
Fortunes for graduates
Imagine, young graduate, this newspaper as a large oriental meal.
Whether it be sweet and sour chicken, happy family or kung po king prawn doesnt really matter. But just imagine The Jackson Herald as your favorite dish.
And then, young one, think of this page as a giant fortune cookie. As you crack it open you find this column. With any fortune cookie, you get a fortune. In this case, you graduates get a whole list of fortunes.
You may attend a party where strange customs prevail. Remember Friday night? Im sure this one came true for a lot of you.
Appearances are often deceiving. Be careful who you associate with. The most innocent things now can have a big impact two or three years down the road.
A job well begun is half done. Never feel shameful for being diligent, hard-working and prompt.
You simplify your life in many ways and find great rewards. Dont take life so seriously. Be young and be happy.
He who climbs a ladder must begin at the first step. Be careful. Shortcuts will often cause more trouble than theyre worth.
The superior man is modest in his speech, but he exceeds in his actions. No one likes a bragger. And those who have real accomplishments and skills dont have to brag about it. Everyone already knows.
Keep up the good work; you will be rewarded. This one is real hard once you start in the working world. Just remember, eventually, something good will come of your efforts.
Dont give up; the best is yet to come. Never settle. Go after what you want and keep going until you get it.
Happiness is an attitude. It isnt, however, money, fame or fortune. You can make yourself happy in any situation.
Others look up to you. Theres always someone watching and theres always someone affected by your actions.
We can learn from everyone, especially from our enemies. Never think that youre the smartest one around. Youll be destined for a fall.
Time makes one wise; ask advice from someone older than you. No matter what youre going through, someone out there has gone through it before. Remember that those trying to help you are doing just thathelping.
If the shoe fits, its probably your size. Go with your instincts. If it seems right, believe it.
Dont let friends impose on you. Dont give in because your friends want you to. Youll be better off making your own decisions.
You have an active mind and a keen imagination. Stay young at heart.
Your efforts will be worthwhile. If accomplishment was easy, everyone would be accomplished. Sometimes, you do have to work a little. But...
Youll accomplish more later if you have a little fun this weekend. Enough said.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.