Oct. 12, 2003: At First Look at the 2005 Governor’s Race Dan. Vs. The Big Guy

According to political pundits, the Big Guy is gearing up to challenge incumbent Gov. Sonny Perdue for governor in 2006. The Big Guy is Democrat Mark Taylor, who is your lieutenant governor. No one seems to know what a lieutenant governor does, but as near as I can tell, he sits around and watches Republicans run the state senate, cuts a few ribbons here and there and doesn’t miss a lot of meals.

You say you don’t care about who runs for governor in 2006, because that is a long way off. You first have to elect a president, and if Dr. Strangelove, aka Howard Dean, is elected, you are going to leave the country anyway. Okay, that is a valid point, but let’s assume Dean decides he would rather spend his time in anger management class instead of leading the free world. Then, we are back to the governor’s race, and perhaps you should prepare a little more for that choice than you did last time.

I have a theory that, if proven true, would have a tremendous impact on the 2006 election. I’m not sure Sonny Perdue is in charge anymore. Think about it. When did you last see a decision come out of the governor’s office? I believe there is a guy named Dan running things. Isn’t it strange that you rarely ever see Gov. Perdue quoted in the newspaper anymore? It is always this fellow Dan who says things like, “The governor wants this,” or “The governor doesn’t like that.” You say this sounds far-fetched and that you don’t believe me because you have seen Gov. Perdue on television. Don’t be fooled by one of the oldest tricks in the book. Those appearances could have been pre-taped like the messages from Saddam Hussein exhorting his warriors to fight the good fight while he was sipping espresso in his Baghdad bunker.

On the other hand, maybe Gov. Perdue has outsmarted us all. Maybe he is Dan. Maybe he changed his name to throw off the flaggers, who are mad at the governor and at most of the rest of the planet. The flaggers are running all over the state raising hell and trying to harass some guy who looks like Sonny Perdue, while the governor, aka Dan, is sitting in his office chuckling to himself. Whichever theory is correct, it is still going to make things tough for the Big Guy or any other Democrat who might get into the race. Who do you run against, Sonny Perdue or Dan?

If the Big Guy feels that he can safely relinquish the awesome powers of lieutenant governor to run for governor without throwing our state into a tailspin, he might want to check with Roy Barnes first. Running for governor as a Democrat isn’t the advantage that it once was. If you will recall, Barnes was the incumbent Democratic governor from a long line of Democratic governors in Georgia, stretching back in time to the Pharaohs. In fact, most Georgia governors thought they were Pharaohs.

Barnes and his crack staff had $20 million to spend on his re-election last year. To get prepared, they decided to anger all the schoolteachers in the state, create a new state flag uglier than Susan Sarandon, and for good measure, poke voters in the eye with heavy-handed redistricting. Barnes even had a much-beloved columnist predicting that — and I quote — “People say that Barnes will have a tough re-election. Forget it. Roy Barnes will easily win a second term.” Today, Roy Barnes has been relegated to having his picture taken with Ted Kennedy. His crack staff is doing whatever a crack staff does after it has blown $20 million down a rat hole. The much-beloved columnist is still trying to locate all the copies of that particular column, and Sonny — or Dan — is running the state of Georgia.

The moral of this story is that if someone wants to be our governor, it might be in their best interest to do nothing. That is why Dan vs. the Big Guy could be a very interesting race in 2006.