More Jackson County Opinions...

June 18, 2003

By:Bill Shipp
The Jackson Herald
June 18, 2003

For Democrats, two bright hopes, maybe
State Sen. Mary Hodges Squires, D-Norcross, may never be elected to the U.S. Senate. But she probably deserves a medal from the Democratic National Committee for sending a wake-up call from Georgia.
While the national Democrats coyly flirted with a couple of Georgians as possible high-profile but unelectable candidates to replace Zell Miller, Squires announced out of the blue she would go for the Senate. She was not exactly the kind of candidate national Democrats had in mind.
Her most notable act as a state legislator: Calling Gov. Sonny Perdue a racist in the midst of a teary fit of anger in the debate over changing the state flag.
Her announcement for the Senate may have shocked the donkeys back to reality. They have stopped badgering Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin to run. They have decided finally that Attorney General Thurbert Baker cannot win the Senate seat, no matter how much national cash is sent his way.
They have come to realize that the Republicans — probably Johnny Isakson or Mac Collins — will certainly win the important Senate seat, unless Democrats can come up with a credible candidate. And credibility for a white Georgia Democrat these days means acting like Zell Miller.
So the nationals are putting a full-court press on two Miller-like Democrats, freshman Congressman Jim Marshall of Macon and veteran District Attorney J. Tom Morgan of Decatur, to shoot for the Senate seat.
The resumes of both men suggest that, with a little luck, either could be a tough competitor against the GOP. Both fit the profile of what Georgians seem to like most in their politicians these days.
Morgan, a native of southwest Georgia, is a hard-nosed prosecutor, having served as DeKalb DA since 1992. He recently made headlines in gaining a guilty verdict against former DeKalb Sheriff Sidney Dorsey for the assassination of Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown. When the courts moved the sensational murder trial to Albany because of excess publicity in Atlanta, Morgan received near rave reviews across South Georgia for his courtroom performance. The patrician-looking Morgan began his career prosecuting crimes against children — a big political plus with all groups but especially among suburban mothers.
Marshall is the tax-cutting former mayor of Macon, a decorated Vietnam War hero, a certified gun nut (the NRA likes him) and an enthusiastic supporter of a constitutional amendment to outlaw flag burning. The former Mercer University professor also was one of seven Democrats in the House to support President Bush’s tax cut. The lone white Democrat in the Georgia House delegation, Marshall toured Middle Georgia last spring speaking to civic clubs to make the Bush administration’s case for going to war against Iraq — a position that may not be so wildly popular by this time next year.
Despite Morgan’s prosecutorial triumphs and a long list of civic achievements, some national Democrats believe Marshall may have the better chance of leading a party comeback in the Peach State.
A well-known Democratic operative, who asked not to be identified, recently sent this e-mail touting Marshall as the party’s best bet in Georgia:
“The 2002 elections showed that Democrats have a big problem when it comes to issues of national security. Marshall might just be the tonic for that. The son and grandson of Army generals, he dropped out of college to volunteer for service in Vietnam – as an enlisted man. As an Airborne Ranger, he led a reconnaissance platoon, winning two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. And, perhaps just as importantly, he has retained his commitment to a strong defense. Republicans won’t be able to do to Marshall what they did to Max Cleland. Marshall may have one strength even Zell lacks these days: Marshall’s credentials with the Democratic base are sound. In charge of minority recruiting for Mercer University law school for many years, Marshall headed up Andy Young’s campaign for governor in Bibb County in 1990 and counts among his best friends African-American state Senator Robert Brown, who managed his 2002 campaign.”
By the way, here are a couple of small issues Democrats may wish to consider before they start rehearsing “Happy Days Are Here Again”: At this writing, neither Marshall nor Morgan has agreed to run. And if Marshall decides to gamble on a bid for the Senate, a Republican will likely succeed him in the House.
You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160 or e-mail:, Web address:

Jackson County Opinion Index

By: Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
June 18, 2003

Circle the wagons
The rancid stench of a presidential election is already wafting through the nation.
The candidates gearing up to run against George W. Bush in 2004 are clambering over one another to accuse the President of lying about Iraq. They’re stating quite publicly that Bush either lied about or exaggerated intelligence reports linking Iraq to Al Quida and weapons of mass destruction. It’s wrong for anyone to take a situation in which lives were lost and cities were destroyed and say that situation was created in the mind of one man when those pointing fingers haven’t been privy to the first intelligence report. I know mudslinging has been around since Thomas Jefferson, but there’s mudslinging and then there’s willful and permanent destruction of the image of the President of the United States, the reputation of our country and the credibility of our nation’s intelligence agencies. And for what? To sway a few votes in an election that will only merit a paragraph in history books?
There are really good reasons why Presidents can not be sued. In essence, the President is an office, not a human being and the office should be infallible. We know humans make mistakes and that is why we have judicial and legislative branches of our government which act with the executive branch as a check and balance system. Furthermore, there is the watchdog for the American people—the press. What we don’t need are presidential hopefuls trying to oust Bush by playing McCarthy, “I know he did wrong, but I can’t prove it till I’m elected.” And here is why I say this. This was the first war to be televised. Literally 24 hours of war coverage with up to the minute by-blows. Even before the war, the world would sit up and take notice of the rumblings going on here. This is not the eighteenth century. We can not bicker among ourselves any longer. When someone says the President lied, it plays on the evening news across the world. In France they are cheering. It is time to circle the wagons if we expect any country to aid us in the future. Do not point fingers of blame without all of the facts.
Some people who remember my defense of free speech a few months back may be thinking I’ve changed my tune, but I have not. The Gulf of Mexico lies between saying you disagree with the President’s course of action and saying the President lied so he would have reason to wage war.
Our government is working out its checks and balances system right now. There will be a hearing and an inquisition, but party lines are being drawn and I wish it would not come down to that. Democrats want a public hearing while Republicans want a committee composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to review all of the information available to the top decision makers and to evaluate whether there was any wrong doing or misinformation. As a Democrat (who will vote Republican until abortion is made illegal), I side with the Republicans. All of the information available to decision makers would not be aired during a public trial. It couldn’t be. To do so would compromise the intelligence gathering process. The public trial would be a bunch of politicians guessing at what was known and not known, posturing in front of cameras carrying the news to every nation on Earth. It would be an absolute disgrace. Why can’t we trust in the people we’ve elected to review the information and make judgments about what was and what was not done? To do less than this will only further damage the United States’ international reputation.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.
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