Friday, July 26, 2019

Meet Teresa Tomlinson: One Cannot Lead If One Is Afraid... Including On Impeaching Trump


Civiqs just released some fascinating state by state polling data on how registered voters view the way Trump has been performing in office. Nationally, 54% say they disapprove and 43% say they approve (July 23). Predictably, Trump's strongest approval comes in very red states-- North Dakota (67%), Wyoming (66%), West Virginia (64%), Oklahoma (63%), Arkansas (62%), and Idaho (61%) and the states where his disapproval is highest are in very blue states-- Massachusetts (70%), Vermont (70%), Hawaii (69%), California (68%), Maryland (68%), Rhode Island (68%), Washington (64%), New York (63%), Oregon (62%), Illinois (61%), Connecticut (61%). None of the 2016 swing states that gave Trump the electoral college win are looking good for him. His job performance is viewed negatively in all of them:
Michigan- 53%
Pennsylvania- 52%
Wisconsin- 52%
But there's even worse news for the GOP in Georgia, where Trump beat Hillary by 5 points. Now Trump is underwater 49-48%. And that's bad news up and down the ticket for all his spineless enablers... like Senate freshman David Purdue, whose Trump adhesion score is an unbalanced 94.9%, among the 6 worst in the Senate.

In 2014 Perdue beat "me too" Republican-lite centrist Michelle Nunn 1,358,088 (53%) to 1,160,811 (45%). She had nothing to offer Georgians other then identity politics-- woman + famous name = zzzzzzz. This cycle, there's another candidate like Nunn, except without the famous name, Sarah Riggs Amico, who recently switched parties from GOP to Democrat. A reactionary, anti-union corporate CEO, Riggs Amico was still intensely anti-Choice-- and sketchy on racial equality-- until very recently... and in 2012 was still contributing to Mitt Romney against Obama. She has even less to offer base voters than Nunn did and can't win against Perdue.

Fortunately, Georgians will have a much better choice in their primary: former Columbus mayor Teresa Tomlinson who enacted a host of progressive policies which successfully increased the quality of life for Columbus residents while saving citizens tens of millions of dollars. When we spoke a couple of weeks ago she told me how she reformed the city budget-- including the employee healthcare and pension plans-- while decreasing unemployment; instituted the Rapid Resolution Program to expeditiously resolve non-violent felony charges and reduce holding times for lower-grade crimes; turned around struggling neighborhoods, lowering crime by more than 40%; reduced homelessness; created 66 miles of an interconnected alternative transportation system, made the public transit system more energy efficient, removed an environmental threat from the banks of the Chattahoochee River-- and all this while providing services at the lowest per capita rate of any major cities in Georgia. As she was recently preparing to leave office, Columbus was named one of the 25 Best Run Cities in America. I bet Mayo Pete wishes he had that kind of record.

One of the things I talked about with Teresa is why it's taking so long for Georgia to throw off the yoke of right-wing Republican politics. and one of the things she brought up was fear. Since we're always on the alert for courageous candidates, I asked her to expound on the idea for a guest post. She just sent me this short piece I recommend highly. In fact, if you like it enough, consider contributing to her campaign here.

Crippling Political Fear
by Teresa Tomlinson

It’s fear that cripples the Democratic Party. Fear of our policies, fear of who we are, and fear of the Republicans. Yes, fear is what has politically cost us in the last many election cycles.

One cannot lead if one is afraid. The thing about leadership is that people want their leaders to be brave. They care less about what you think on the issues than whether you have the moxie to fight for them and the strength of conviction to tell them what you really think.

I first ran for Mayor of Columbus in 2010-- the Year of the Tea Party. Though the position was non-partisan, it was no secret that I was a Democrat. The more radical, conservative forces of our region thought that needed to be “exposed.” So, the Tea Party, Constitution Party, and Conservative Party sponsored a mayoral debate with that objective in mind. To this day, that debate was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had in politics. I felt like it was the final, marathon rally of Wimbledon. I dismantled Tea Party talking points, explained how their proposals were actually inconsistent with their mantra of so-called small government and pointed out how progressive principles were the better governing, more cost-efficient policies. After the debate, I inadvertently ran up on two older gentlemen who didn’t know I was right behind them. One said, “Well, I don’t like her, but I’ll give her this-- she has balls.” Yep, regardless of the errant anatomy reference, indeed, I had shown up, demonstrated political spine and earned his begrudging respect.

The moral of this story is not that I won his vote. I am certain I did not, but he didn’t work against me. The moral of the story is: Tell people who you are and what you believe. They may not agree with you, but they will respect your courage, and that will inoculate you against the single most effective propaganda that Republicans have against Democrats-- that we are cowards.

That’s what the Right can’t stand about The Squad. Those women are fearless about their beliefs. They refuse to be bullied, and that is dangerous to the Republican playbook of shaming scared Democrats into milk toast, mealy-mouthed, baby-splitting positions that are equivocal and stand for nothing. American voters revile those who won’t tell the people what they think. Even if you don’t support the policies-- or certainly some of the statements-- of The Squad, you can’t deny that you appreciate that they unabashedly tell the world what they think.

A classic example of this crippling Democratic political plague of fear is 2014 Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes, who refused to say whether she voted for the leader of her party, the two-term first black president, Barack Obama. And, the legion of Democratic candidates that year who refused to say they supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA), because the polling showed it was unpopular. Did we think any voter believed that a Democrat running for federal office didn’t fundamentally support the notion of providing healthcare coverage for millions of previously uninsured constituents? Our citizens could have used a little leadership from Democratic candidates during that cycle. Our president would have benefitted from the leadership of those Democratic candidates because fear begets disrespect and that disrespect spilled throughout the party and weakened Obama as its leader. Maybe if we had all spoken out and pushed back against the Republican political propaganda machine, we would not have allowed the bell-curve to slide so far right.

The nation has had its share of politically lukewarm Democratic candidates-- structured by the national party for perceived winnability not leadership. Even if they had a tagline of-- “Fighting for you”-- no one believed it.  How could they if they didn’t fight for the ACA or weren’t willing to admit America has a gun violence problem?

Imagine if Lucy McBath had taken some poll tested pro-gun proliferation position during her historic run to win Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. No one would have believed her. She had lost her precious son to gun violence perpetrated by an irresponsible gun owner with ready access to a deadly weapon-- no mother thinks that’s ok. So, she viscerally and authentically responded with the unmitigated truth and the courage of a woman who has nothing to lose in spreading it. As a result, the voters in an R+8 Republican district believed in her strength, in her earnestness and said-- I want you to lead my community.

When Democratic leaders believe that beginning impeachment proceedings is about polls or election results, they, too, are giving in to fear: they are afraid that following the Constitutional checks and balances and leading will cost them their job, so they mitigate and delay. Unfortunately, their job is to lead by upholding the Constitution, not to get re-elected.

Impeachment is not about undoing the last election or impacting the next. It certainly is not about the polls as the Founding Framers made perfectly clear in Federalist Paper, No. 66. It is about stopping a president who would abuse and misuse the power of the presidency so that not another day passes-- not another circumstance presents itself-- where a president, unfit for duty because of the commission of High Crimes or Misdemeanors (defined as misdeeds) can inflict his/her poor judgment on the office, the country, or the people. Oh, if only impeachment proceedings had been instituted sooner, the damage that might have been averted.

Instead, Democrats are afraid of what the Republicans will say about it-- what the bullies will do to us on the way home. So, we cut through the alley to avoid the fight and controversy. We detour our duty of leadership and good government. Commencing impeachment proceedings is about employing the constitutional duty that our elected leaders were sworn to do-- not about mitigating to the finish line and hoping no one notices that we wouldn’t use the tools entrusted to us to keep the American system on the rails. All Democrats, and many Independents and Republicans, understand that Donald Trump has committed High Crimes or Misdemeanors, so if this conduct doesn’t warrant the commencement of impeachment proceedings, then what would? We must seriously consider the example of tolerance for harmful conduct at the highest levels of our government we are creating.

The key to winning is that you don’t aim to win, you aim to lead. If you lead, the winning takes care of itself-- or at least you move the needle so profoundly you set up the next winner, as did Stacey Abrams in Georgia with her heroic non-loss in Georgia. She was who she was and voters responded to that.

That’s not fear, that’s winning.

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At 5:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One cannot lead if one is afraid. The thing about leadership is that people want their leaders to be brave."

Wrong. Scummer "leads" and is perhaps more cowardly than Pelosi. He leads because his caucus took his money and handed him all of their potential influence for it.

Yes, voters would prefer to elect people who are brave and have the courage of their convictions. But, if you've paid any attention at all over the past 4 decades, voters will easily settle for whatever pos the party offers them.

Voters, it turns out, really don't care that much that their candidates are worth a shit. It only matters that they are not a Nazi... or at least claim they are not. Once the votes are "counted", they stop paying attention.

Did you ask Teresa who she would be endorsing for senate "leader" and why? Because if it isn't her, this whole 'bravery' thing is irrelevant. If that 'leader' is in the party, he/she won't be brave but he/she will "lead" such that Teresa's influence will be zero.

Democraps pander for votes but ANSWER only to their big donors. remember that.

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least she assessed the necessity for impeachment correctly.

Not only is it needed to remove an actual criminal from the office, it must be done so that future office holders will hesitate to commit crimes, at least out in the open.
It also must be done in order to "support and defend the constitution".

By refusing to honor their oaths of office they not only render the foundation irrelevant, they also normalize the meme that a president is above the law. WAAAAY above.

I hadn't voted for a democrap for several years by 2007. But I had always felt that if the party got better and a good candidate was there, I could vote for one again some day. Once Pelosi normalized the crimes of cheney (IMO worse than trump) by refusing to impeach him in 2007, I decided to never even think of voting for another democrap again. EVER!

And here we are again. lather, rinse, repeat. Americans cannot learn from their own mistakes.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Speaker said...

I vote in Georgia and because of her incumbent opponent, I will support and vote for her.


I have 3 questions:

1)Who is paying for your candidacy? If we know to whom you are in debt, we will know for whom you work.
2)Will you support prosecution of the criminal activities of the Trumpites, or their pardon? The Trump area is directly related to the lack of consequences from the "let bygones be bygone" of the Obama administration.
3)What will you do to deal with climate change? 2030 the tipping point year (& perhaps sooner) is only 11 years away.

JJ Hayden
Covington, GA


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