Democrat Joe Biden is now President of the United States. Two Democrats defeated two Republican incumbents to represent Georgia in the U. S. Senate, swinging the balance of power in the Senate to the Democrats who already control the House of Representatives. Therefore, you would think Georgia Republicans have figured out by now who the enemy is. Chances are you would have thought wrong.
To quote the sage of the Okefenokee Swamp, Pogo the Possum, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” It seems once again Republicans are showing their penchant for eating their dead.
This one you can lay at the feet of Donald Trump. He has split the party as wide open as a coconut. Angry Republicans who believe the election results were fraudulent write me and avow they intend to get Gov. Brian Kemp defeated should he seek a second term next year. Not to mention Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and beleaguered Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – all Republicans. Trump supporters hold them and Attorney General Chris Carr responsible for the president’s defeat.
They seem to be assuming their actions won’t create such a rift among Republicans that they will be handing the governor’s office on a silver platter to Democrat Stacey Abrams, who will have her party solidly behind her should she seek the job. Bad assumption.
For the angry Trumpsters vowing revenge, I will let you in on a little secret: The governor of Georgia, whoever he or she might be, has a lot of political clout. They have a big say in who gets what plum appointments on various boards and state agencies, how state monies get allocated and whether or not potholes are going to get fixed in a certain state legislator’s district. All of this translate into loyalty and votes.
Over in the state Senate, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan in his role as president of that body has shown some muscle of his own, stripping Sens. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta and Burt Jones of Jackson— both of whom vigorously pushed Trump’s claims of election fraud — of the chairmanship of two very influential committees. Beach will no longer lead the Transportation Committee and Jones is out as chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee.
Duncan also removed Sen. Matt Brass, of Newnan, who likewise claimed election fraud as head of the influential Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee that will have a major role in redrawing Georgia’s political maps for the next decade.
My point is if you plan on taking these guys out, good luck with that. They can play hardball, too.
I would recommend instead that Republicans put the past behind them and look at broadening their base by appealing to more young people and minorities before next year’s elections in our state. Like it or not, the presidential election is over. Time to get over it. Do you spend your time and energies defending Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud or do you move on?
No less an authority than former three-term conservative Republican Georgia Congressman Bob Barr said in a recent column that Donald Trump’s leadership over the past year, “was clumsy and unclear, as Democrats and media gadflies baited him into distracting squabbles.” He adds that the president “never appeared able or willing to stop his emotions from getting the best of him and in so doing allowed pivotal moments to be defined not with rising rhetoric and strong resolve, but with tweets and ultimately unhelpful symbolic stands.” Like the Capitol Hill violence?
Barr says, “Such antics may be excellent for whipping up a political base but not for achieving long-term victory.”
The GOP “must demonstrate clearly and consistently its values to voters by showing true leadership,” Barr suggests, “that eschews emotional reactivity and childish theatrics in favor of calm, deliberate and uncompromising focus on the values that made America great – not the slogan, but the substance.” Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him?
In the meantime, Georgian Republicans had better get their act together quickly and decide who is in fact the enemy. Hint: It is not state officials who did their duty as they saw it and had their decisions upheld without exception despite being bullied and harangued as well as being threatened by anonymous scumbags.
I would suggest it might just be the Democrats who are rubbing their hands in gleeful anticipation at watching a bunch of angry Trump supporters winning an ideological battle and losing the political war.
•Dick Yarbrough is a four-time winner of the Best Humor Column by the Georgia Press Association. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.