Nov. 24, 2002: Of Max & Scouts & Babs & Bill

Some leftover political observations to go along with all the leftover turkey….

Here is a good example of why Sen. Max Cleland is history. One constituent, a lifelong Democrat, called Cleland’s office for help with the Veterans Administration. He was told the senator couldn’t help, even though Cleland once ran that organization. In frustration, his constituent called Republican Congressman Johnny Isakson’s office. The VA phoned the next day wanting to know what they could do to resolve his problem. We’ll forgive our elected officials a lot of things, but not poor constituent service. That’s why we sent them there in the first place….

A couple of readers have challenged my assertion that Cleland voted against the Boy Scouts. He did. Here is how it happened. North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms offered an amendment in May 2001 to refuse government funding to any public facility that refused to allow Boy Scouts to meet there. This legislation was offered in response to the BSA’s position that, as a private organization, it could refuse to consider gays in positions of leadership. Cleland voted against it.

In June 2001, Sen. Barbara Boxer, from the People’s Republic of California, offered an amendment to allow access in schools for any group regardless of their “sexual orientation.” It was backed by the Human Rights Campaign, which describes itself as “the largest national lesbian and gay political organization in the nation” and would have allowed schools to charge the Scouts, but not necessarily others groups, exorbitant fees to use public facilities. Cleland voted for that amendment. It was another case of Cleland playing Mortimer Snerd to Tom Daschle’s Edgar Bergen, instead of listening to the folks back home. And now you know the rest of the story….

A fact for the old state flag proponents to chew on along with their warmed-over turkey: There has never been a referendum on changing the flag in our state’s history. That word comes from Ed Jackson at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Government. You can go to the bank on what he says because UGA people are smarter than anybody, including the snobs at Harvard….

If you are an Atlanta business mogul, I have some unsolicited advice for you: You blew it big-time. This crowd insisted the state flag be changed, one of the issues essential to Governor Roy Barnes’ defeat. Business leaders gave governor-elect Sonny Perdue the cold shoulder – and little money – during the campaign because they were so sure Perdue was going to lose. Now people all over the state are raising hell about the old flag and the new flag, and the suits have a new governor with a long memory. Nice going, guys. Business is good at being self-important but lousy at politics ….

I am tired of being patronized by self-important weenies like Bill Moyers. After the recent elections, Moyers said on – where else, public radio – that Americans should get ready for “God in government.” Republicans will have ”monopoly control” of the government, and will ”turn their radical ideology into the law of the land.” They will force “pregnant women to surrender control over their own lives,” and “transfer wealth from working people to the rich,” as well as ”giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment.” This blather is coming from a guy that makes over $200,000 a year slurping from the public trough. Do you think he is going to transfer his wealth to anybody but his stockbroker? Would somebody tell this elitist that these were free elections and that the people have spoken? ….

Please spare me the bromides about recently defeated House Speaker Tom Murphy. The man was a dictator. We have to wear seatbelts, but he would not. Murphy didn’t like his local high school getting whipped by the private schools in Atlanta, so he had the high school classification system changed. The Speaker didn’t want strong ethics laws, so he refused to allow legislation on the issue. His sycophants may miss him, but a progressive state doesn’t need his kind of wool-hat arrogance.

This most recent election was a good reminder for our politicians as to who is really in charge. It is the people. Not Tom Murphy and not Bill Moyers.