Monday, June 18, 2007



When right wing extremist Charlie Norwood succumbed to cancer in March, Georgia's governor set up a special election for June 19th-- tomorrow. It's a deep red district, although when Athens was gerrymandered into it-- in order to knock out reactionary and quasi-Democrat John Barrow (which didn't work)-- GA-10 looked a little less red and a little reddish purple. But mostly reddish.

You haven't heard much about the campaign, mostly because there hasn't been much of a campaign. Everyone assumes tire salesman/state Senator Jim Whitehead (R), who's been endorsed by the GOP establishment and the Widow Norwood, will win the seat. There's been some speculation that if the Democratic front runner, Jim Marlowe, does respectably well it harbingers ill for the Republicans in 2008.

I was looking over the campaign platforms yesterday and it was pretty astounding. They're all so extreme right back there. Each one tries to out-loon the other-- especially when it comes to immigration, where you just can't be crazy enough. One kook, Paul Broun, Jr., wants to build a wall not just from California to the Gulf of Mexico but one separating us from Canada too. And one of the other GOP maniacs, Bill Greene, claimed "we don't know whether they're here for a job or they're here to slit our throats." Meanwhile no one knows precisely what Whitehead stands for since he's refused to debate the other candidates.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution compared his shying away from the public forum to vampire-like behavior. They claim it might be because if he appears in public he might be asked to defend his bizarre comments.
His handlers have apparently advised him that the less he says in public, the better off he'll be, and given Whitehead's record, there's wisdom in that advice. At one point, for example, Whitehead charged that "left-wing political activists" were "intentionally registering illegal aliens to vote, including known al-Qaida terrorists." He has also argued that the war in Iraq isn't a big deal in the 10th District, and in 2004 joked that liberal Athens, which is in the district, should be bombed while saving the University of Georgia football team.

Whitehead's website doesn't really say much except that illegal immigration is a threat and he'll never vote for amnesty and that he'll protect "Georgia values," a dog whistle which can mean whatever one takes it to mean. In fact it looks like the whole campaign is about the dangers of illegal immigration. I live in L.A. but it sounds like all the problems are in rural Georgia. According to Whitehead "Venezuelan President Cesar [sic] Chavez is 'teaching al-Qaeda and people like that, terrorists, how to come across the border, look like Mexicans, act like Mexicans and understand how to talk in this country. They're coming across just as fast as the Mexicans cross.'... Terrorists receive training in Venezuela before crossing the border, Senator Whitehead said. But it's more of an educational system than training camps, which would be targets for military action, he said. He said he would support a pre-emptive strike on Venezuela if facts justify it." Congress needs another one like this, right?

Democrat Jim Marlow sounds rational compared to these insane Republicans. Unfortunately, what he sounds like is a mainstream conservative, not like a Democrat. That's an improvement over the half dozen kooks to the right of mainstream conservatism. And, unlike them, he does at least acknowledge that there is a war going on-- and going badly, in a place called Iraq. I guess he'd be another John Barrow or Jim Marshall, better than a Republican but... not much better. Except these Republicans are so much worse than most Republicans that... well, it's like this toxic downward spiral. Damn, I'm glad I don't live anywhere near that place!

No one expects Marlow to win. But... if Whitehead doesn't get 50% tomorrow, there'll be a run-off in a month. And... well Whitehead would probably win at that time. At least Whitehead will bring some good belly laughs to the House.


Georgians-- the caucasians who aren't from the Caucasus-- have always been more susceptible to rabble-rousing and demagoguery than most people. They may like the cheap labor but they can't abide the dark-skinned foreigners living among them and talking a strange and incomprehensible language. Did you ever notice that when most people from Georgia hear someone speaking another language, they immediately assume that something bad is being said-- about them? And besides they just know every immigrant only has one thing in mind: despoiling Georgia. One more thing-- would it surprise you to know that the turn-out for this repulsive set of candidates will be in the vicinity of 10%?

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At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with your view of Marlow (spelled without the "E"). You should check out his blog: He's a conservative dem, but he supports a phased withdrawal from Iraq, sensible immigration reform and significant increases in healthcare coverage.

He's also been active with the blogosphere, including posting a few diaries and having a few discussions with the Kossacks (who have contributed, locally, to his campaign).

At 3:46 PM, Blogger TRex said...

Damn, I'm glad I don't live anywhere near that place!

Rub it in, Klein.

At 5:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a lefty living in NE Georgia, I'm in the trenches, on the front line, fighting hand to hand, face to face combat with crazy ultra-righties every day. You might be glad you are safely esconced in deep blue on the west coast, but be thanful for us less fortunates toiling to overcome the tyranny you complain so eloquently about. If you moved to Georgia and fought the good fight, maybe these candidates wouldn't keep cropping up.


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