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  Ralph Reed
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« on: June 15, 2005, 09:16:48 am »

This opinion piece appeared in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bob Irvin is a former House minority leader and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2002.


Reed an Albatross for GOP
Party stands to suffer in 2006 if candidate doesn't withdraw

By Bob Irvin

This is an open request to Ralph Reed:

Please withdraw your candidacy for Georgia lieutenant governor, in order to avoid a grievous, majority-wrecking split in the Republican Party. If you should win the nomination, many thousands of Republican voters will desert us for the Democrats in 2006, defeating not only you but also many other good Republican candidates, maybe even Gov. Sonny Perdue.
 
Consider 1998, when Mitch Skandalakis — who was your client — lost the lieutenant governor's race so badly that he pulled under Guy Millner and David Ralston, as well as a dozen legislative candidates who otherwise would have won.

If you are defeated in the primary, that too will create bitter divisions in our base, badly weakening us for years. You are simply too divisive for our new majority. The ongoing scandal over casino money in Alabama is only the latest, but not likely the last, scandal to surface. You run the risk of destroying our majority coalition before it has had time to mature.

I make this request because Reed is four things that Georgians do not elect:

• A professional contract lobbyist, someone who is available for hire to influence political outcomes. This has been Reed's very lucrative business since he left the Christian Coalition, and even Pat Robertson has recently been quoted as saying that it raises doubts in his mind about Reed. Reed took millions of dollars from gambling interests in Louisiana and Mississippi to stop competitive casinos in Texas and Alabama. He took money from Enron to lobby the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission to deregulate electricity.

These three instances happen to have been in the newspaper, but they are three among who knows how many causes he has been glad to hire himself out to promote. His M.O. is to tell evangelical Christians that his cause of the moment, for which he has been hired, is their religious duty, and therefore they need to write regulators, turn up at meetings, or whatever. As an evangelical myself, I resent Christianity being used simply to help Reed's business.

• A Washington man, not a Georgia man. We've elected some great people who became very important in Washington, from U.S. Rep. Carl Vinson to Sen. Paul Coverdell. But they all started as Georgia politicians. They were our representatives to Washington, not the other way around.

Reed is the exact opposite: He built his career in Washington before ever evidencing the slightest interest in Georgia. His approach to politics is pure Washington: harsh partisanship, shady funding, "plausible deniability" and spin. While he was Georgia Republican Party chairman, he said to me, speaking of the Washington crowd, "Remember, I work for them, not the other way around." Georgians by and large don't want to replicate the sleaze, gridlock and ideological warfare of Washington here in Georgia.

• An ideologue. Georgians have elected pragmatic problem-solvers, from George Busbee to Sonny Perdue. A point of view doesn't rule you out (Newt Gingrich is an example). But an ideologue is somebody whose sole "reason" for being elected is what he says he believes, rather than what he has done or can do to solve problems. The last ideologue Georgia elected was Gov. Lester Maddox. Like Maddox, Reed is a politician whose main selling point is his opinions, not his accomplishments or his plans. He never evidenced any interest in Georgia issues until he starting running.

And everybody knows that he doesn't have the least interest in being lieutenant governor. The Republican state senators, who would be his "team" if he were to win, have almost unanimously endorsed his opponent, Sen. Casey Cagle (R-Gainesville). Reed wants to be governor, and this is just the steppingstone.

• A person whose only career is politics. Georgians like for their officials to have made their way in the real world. Former Gov. Roy Barnes is a lawyer. Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn is a lawyer. Even ex-governor and former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller is a college professor. Not in modern times have we elected somebody who has no connection with the real world. Reed has never made a dime outside the overheated, overcompensated, overperked world of politics. What kind of personal appreciation can he have for the problems of average Georgians?

In the last few weeks, I can't tell you the number of people who have come up to me and volunteered something like, "I'm a Republican, but I'm not voting for Ralph Reed." Generally, they live in the suburbs, the decisive battleground in this and future elections, but some of them are in South Georgia.

They are mostly long-time Republican activists, people I have known for 30 years or more in the finally successful effort to build a two-party system. Reed's nomination will alienate them. His defeat will alienate his naive but devoted supporters. Either way, we're left with a minority.

The only solution is for Reed to withdraw his candidacy. Please, Ralph, do it, before it's too late.

Bob Irvin, a former Republican state representative and House minority leader, is an Atlanta management consultant.
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Filuwaúrdjan
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2005, 10:07:41 am »

Very interesting
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AuH2O
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2005, 11:04:28 am »

This is pure politics from someone not very smart.

Let's keep in mind, Reed is a legitimate genius. As with Bill Clinton, usually tactics that you think will work either fall flat or backfire. This guy basically has issues with Reed over the 2002 primary, since it was Reed's job to win the seat (which he did-- but with Saxby Chambliss).

It's also hilariously stupid to claim a Lt. Gov. candidate is going to destroy the GA GOP-- WHICH HE HIMSELF BUILT. I mean look at the party before Reed arrives. Then look at the party after. Then think about your chances of stopping this guy when he runs.

Low, very low. But the campaign might be dirty for that reason.
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WalterMitty
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2005, 12:26:00 pm »

This is pure politics from someone not very smart.

Let's keep in mind, Reed is a legitimate genius. As with Bill Clinton, usually tactics that you think will work either fall flat or backfire. This guy basically has issues with Reed over the 2002 primary, since it was Reed's job to win the seat (which he did-- but with Saxby Chambliss).

It's also hilariously stupid to claim a Lt. Gov. candidate is going to destroy the GA GOP-- WHICH HE HIMSELF BUILT. I mean look at the party before Reed arrives. Then look at the party after. Then think about your chances of stopping this guy when he runs.

Low, very low. But the campaign might be dirty for that reason.

im agreeing with auh2o much too often lately.  it is kind of disturbing...

but anyway, i agree, reed is a genius and he built the republican party in ga.  he will win easily.

that being said, i dont personally care for the man.
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