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Silly season is nearing its end

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POSTED: August 19, 2010 11:27 a.m.
By Dick Yarbrough

 Congratulations, dear reader. Silly Season, aka, the 2010 political campaign, is nearing the end. Most of the wannabes have been shunted aside and we are in the short days of the campaign. On Nov. 2, it will all be over. Can December come soon enough?
Georgia will soon have a new governor, perhaps a new lieutenant governor, a new attorney general, maybe a new secretary of state, a new insurance commissioner, a new labor commissioner, a new state school superintendent and a new public service commissioner.
For the past year, we have been bombarded with promises of more jobs, less taxes, better schools, more economic development, less crime, tougher illegal immigration policy, improved transportation, stronger ethics, enhanced water management, school vouchers, no school vouchers, some school vouchers, a chicken in every pot and a partridge in every pear tree.
The only two things I have not heard promised thus far are more concrete fish ponds and any thoughts regarding whether or not to microchip our body parts. But there is still time. Stay alert.
The only thing not new will be our low expectations of whoever wins what office. Never in my years around politics have I seen people more jaded than they are today. Our U.S. Congress has an approval rating of 11 percent. I have a higher approval rating than that with the Stuck-in-1860 flaggers. (OK, maybe I exaggerated that one, but you see my point.)
I’ve not seen an approval rating for the Georgia Legislature, but my sense our state lawmakers are about as popular as red ants at a church social.
In the governor’s race, Roy Barnes will be attempting to return to the governor’s office after losing to George E. Perdue eight years ago in what was – to put in mildly – a shocker. Today, Barnes says he is “humble.” Losing to George E. will do that to a person.
Former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal of Gainesville survived a long campaign and a bruising runoff with former Secretary of State Karen Handel and now we will see if the Republicans can put aside their differences – not something they do particularly well.
Barnes will have to convince Georgia voters that he doesn’t even know the first name of any liberal Democratic dingbat in Washington. Deal will have to fend off questions of unethical behavior that have plagued his campaign since he resigned from Congress to run for governor.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the 2010 general election is the dearth of statewide candidates south of the Gnat Line. The Democrats have only two: Carol Porter, the candidate for lieutenant governor is from Dublin. Ken Hodges the party’s choice for attorney general is from Albany. J.B. Powell, the Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner is from Blythe in Richmond County, but the gnats aren’t sure what side of the line Blythe is on. Gnats don’t spend much time worrying about that kind of thing.
Libertarian gubernatorial candidate John Monds is from Grady County and Don Smart, the party’s attorney general nominee, is from Savannah.
All the Republican candidates for statewide office hail from north of Macon.
This is a far cry from the days when south Georgia Democrats dominated the political landscape, courtesy of the county unit system. Before it was abolished in the early 1960s, rural counties in Georgia accounted for only a third of the state population but controlled almost 60 percent of the total vote – all of them for Democrats and all of them for white males.
Today, our statewide candidates are black and white, male and female. That is as it should be. May the most qualified win.
Now all they have to do is to convince us they really mean what they promise. Don’t hold your breath. Most of it is pettifoggery designed to get them in office where they hope you will forget what they said or assume you won’t care because you didn’t believe them in the first place.
At this point, all I can predict about November’s election is that right-wingers will remain convinced that I am a closet Democrat and liberal weenies will swear I am a redneck Republican. I plead guilty to both charges.
In the meantime, just hang on a little while longer. Thankfully, the days of the political campaign grow short and soon it will be December.

You can reach Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Ga. 31139.

 

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