Fear Mongering and Voting in Georgia

[UPDATE Aug 20 2010] After some requests, I’m bumping this post back to the top of the page this morning while I work on another post on this topic that I hope to get up over the weekend. -Jeff

Republicans for several years now have consistently played the “fear” card when it comes election time. They consistently set up some Democrat – be it Al Gore, Roy Barnes, John Kerry, Mark Taylor, or Barack Obama – as some kind of Big Evil that is out to destroy us all, and then try to make us so afraid that we HAVE to vote for the Republican to avoid the Boogie Man. They tell us that if we vote for some “third” party that is more in line with our personal values rather than Their Candidate, the Boogie Man will win and all hope will be lost.

The problem is, Georgia is a “Runoff State” in every election other than the actual Presidential Election. In every race in this State other than President of the United States, a single candidate MUST receive 50% of the votes plus one vote in order to win the election.

It is due to Georgia being a Runoff State that the case for third parties is actually made EASIER, upon any amount of thought.
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Libertarian Enters State School Superintendent Race

Full disclosure up front: I am actively working with the Kira Willis for State Superintendent of Schools campaign.

Kira Willis, a 17 year veteran classroom teacher from Roswell, has entered the State School Superintendent race and is seeking the nomination of the Libertarian Party of Georgia.

Kira is running on what she calls the “ABCs of Education”: Accountability, Budget, and Community.

As a classroom teacher, Kira knows that accountability cannot just mean more regulations on teachers and schools, but that each stakeholder in education should be held accountable for their own products. These stakeholders are students, parents, teachers, schools, and communities.

From her website:

What was once a partnership between the school and home has become a disenfranchised blame game. Parents have been disregarded by the schools and the state as irrelevant to their children’s education. All parents have both a right and a responsibility to their children’s schooling. I can’t think of any parent who does not want his child to succeed. As State School Superintendent, I want to help mend the bridge between the school and the home. This means having parents accountable for their children coming to school ready to learn. It means that parents must help the school in teaching their young people.

Kira wants to eliminate to as much a degree as possible positions that have little to no contact with students. This means minimizing the bureaucracy of the State Department of Education and making it a servant of the local schools rather than a tyrant over them. She will also work to encourage local school systems to follow her lead and eliminate much of the central office bureaucracy that serves as little more than patronage and cronyism. This will help ease Georgia out of its budget crisis as well as help local school systems avoid having to furlough teachers.

Finally, Kira stresses community. Again, from her website:

We need to give the schools back to their communities! What’s best for students in Atlanta may not be best for students in Rome or Valdosta. Our job as educators is to ensure that we are teaching students to reach a specific standard of learning, not to ensure that we teach them exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. Who knows better how to teach students: the state or the teachers within community itself? Taking away the community school was a disservice to the students and to the school community.

“Meaningful” Ethics Reform

At the very front of what I’m about to say, let me note that this is just an idea I’ve been thinking about that may or may not work. Based on my own thinking right now, I think it might, and it is certainly a different approach than what we’ve got right now, which is largely a paper tiger. Obviously, the point in writing this at all is that I would like public discussion on it, so feel free to have at it!

Sam Olens told me a couple of weeks ago that if the Cobb County Commission violates the State’s transparency laws, they can be fined a whopping $100 per occurrence, and suggested that for the laws to have any real teeth, there needed to be an extra zero on that number.

That was the quote in particular that has stuck with me since that interview, floating in the back of my mind. As with many of my solutions, after percolating back there for a while, it finally comes to me, as this one has:
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Walking With Austin Scott: The Day After

Yesterday, I walked 10 miles with State Rep Austin Scott for his ‘Walk of Georgia‘ campaign event. Apparently, I am the ONLY person so far to walk an entire day’s journey with him, and thus my challenge to all Georgia media and political bloggers.

The day started out with me running late – I didn’t leave my house in Leesburg until about 6:10a, and I was to meet Rep Scott in Bainbridge at 7:30a. Fortunately, I made it in time and changed shoes once I got there into my old, trusted hiking boots.
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Walking With Austin Scott

Today begins Week 4 of Austin Scott’s Walk of Georgia, and I am in Bainbridge meeting Rep Scott as this post goes live at 7:20 this morning. We are starting off in front of the Post-Searchlight offices in Bainbridge, and I’ve been told to expect roughly 15 miles today. I’ll be tweeting the experience from my Blackberry, and I’ll update this post after I get home later today with a review of the experience – and hopefully some pictures.

For now, you can follow my live tweets via my twitter page or the twitter search hashtag #walkofga, and I will aggregate them here when I update this post later.

Now let’s be honest here ladies and gentlemen, what other political blog out there gets out and gets involved in campaign events – and lets you tag along for the ride? It may prove so boring we never do it again, or it may prove interesting and something we want to try to do with any candidate that will let us. Such is the nature of experiments, and as always, PLEASE let us know what you think! 😀

My Plan to Solve Georgia’s Voter Verification Problem

Thursday, I wrote about Karen Handel’s problems with the US Department of Justice, specifically the face that DOJ ruled some of the procedures her office as Secretary of State put in place for voter verification purposes. In fact, the DOJ had found that sixty percent of those people the Secretary of State’s office had listed as ‘non-citizens’ were, in fact, citizens.

I’ve been asked by some, including Peach Pundit’s Icarus and others connected to Ms. Handel’s Governor campaign, about what specifically I would do differently.
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SWGAPolitics.com Interview with Austin Scott, Part 2: Democratic Candidates and The Question

After Rep. Scott talked about why he was running for Governor and what he thought about his GOP Primary opponents, we discussed his potential Democratic Party challengers in the General Election and The Question on everyone’s minds – will he drop out of the Governor’s race to challenge Jim Marshall for the 8th Congressional District instead?
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SWGAPolitics.com Interview with Austin Scott, Part 1: Why Governor and Other GOP Candidates

After Carlton’s article on State Rep Austin Scott (R-Tifton) ran this past Sunday, I contacted his campaign via its website to ask about interviewing him for this site. To my surprise, I not only heard back from them within 24 hours, but I was sitting down with Mr. Scott himself by the middle of the week.

Talking to the man, he came across as very sincere, honest, and open. He is a man deeply committed to his family before his political career, and that came across as very genuine in my talk with him – not just the cliche that you would typically associate with a politician mentioning his family.

Note: I will post the full, unedited audio once this series is complete. I wouldn’t want to ruin any surprises, but I have said I will post it for transparency, and I will. Note that I am already posting the audio for each segment and that this was recorded in a local Starbucks here in Albany, hence the various background noises. It was also the first interview I’ve ever conducted, and first time I’ve ever attempted to transcribe anything, so please forgive any goofs on my part. 😀 [Continue Reading]