No good deed goes unpunished.  I started this project to help make the process fair and equitable.  I should have known better.  Corruption hates fairness.

In every campaign there are the public issues and the “dirt” or gossip that the candidates (or their supporters)  spread person-to-person.  Dirt like this is usually not relevant to the office, but relate to bad “character” of the candidate.  Dirty campaigning is done this way because the candidate never gets a chance to dispel the rumor while the candidate who starts the rumor can disavow it. The disparaged candidates sure aren’t going to talk about it to the press or at a debate without directly being asked. My goal was to eliminate the power of this gossip by asking the candidate directly. That would leave the candidates free to address the relevant issues. I was shocked at the results.

I was first shocked at how many people were upset about my endeavor. Within a day of me informing the Executive Committee what I was going to do, someone close to Congressman Tom Grave’s office called Chairman Kris Yardley to head me off.  This person–not a member of the Hall GOP–had a copy of the internal email I sent out. I believe Executive Committee member Carl Liggett released the email to her with his concerns about my project.  I don’t even know this person. I have been friends with some of the candidates for years, and it was like they though I was attacking them to support their opponent. There is no valid, legitimate excuse for the vehemence of their responses. This behavior confirmed my theory about the corruption in our political process. Some say the party should stay out of the primary process to make it “fair.”  In fact, they want the process corrupted, not fair. They want to disparage candidates by rumor and innuendo, not by party platform. The want to win at all costs. They don’t want to be measured by any criteria but their own. The party wants the best candidate and a fair process for the public to decide, and once elected the party wants the officials to adhere to a basic platform of behavior in office.  We criticize Democrats for having no standards, but corrupt politicians (and candidates) hate objective standards just as much.

Next I was surprised about the responses themselves.  Some answered right away with no inhibition.  Some were mad.  Some ignored the questions.  None were the responses that I expected from the candidate.  I should not have been surprised but I was. The targets of the worst gossip where quick to respond in comprehensive detail.  Others, who I frankly had to dig to even think about what questions to ask, pitched a fit and acted like I was attacking them. In retrospect, it appears that my hypothesis was right about gossip: Those who use it, are uncomfortable about being questioned.  Gossip is just another form of bullying, it is a one-way street.  The humor is that they saw an “attack” in what was a “soft ball” question, and answered in a way that drew my concern instead of alleviating it.

Instead of an easy task, it became hard.

(I should note that “gossip” is not malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, voting for tax increases (including the hospital bed tax or the TSPLOST), who you take money from, or conflicts of interest (like the Regions Bank Property).  Those are all valid issues in the public record and deserve strict public scrutiny.  The GOP has been roundly criticized for failing to conduct even this cursory examination.)

Republican Credentials:

To paraphrase Mr. Foxworthy: If you are old enough to vote, and you are from Georgia, then you “might be a Democrat.”  Very few people in our jurisdiction will admit to being a Democrat today, so the task of determining who is a Real Republican is harder and harder.  I believe that it is the duty of the Republican Party to identify the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) in our midst.  I am, admittedly, a minority.

Nothing tells more about a candidate than their participation in party politics. Those who start as volunteers have a true servant’s heart for conservative politics and they have lots of experience to determine what a Real Republican would do when faced with a particular political question.  Those who come after determining they want to enter politics, are welcome, but their motives are suspect until the prove their intentions–and their knowledge of the Real Republican platform.  Some do, some disappear after the vote is tallied–until they need the party’s credibility again.

No one else in the field can compete with Richard Mecum and Charles Lewis–both former Hall GOP chairmen.  They have both been a part of the party for years and years, they attend, donate, participate, volunteer, and advise. They are Republican leaders deserving of our respect.

Coming up next is Ashley Bell.  A “new” Republican, he has jumped in with both feet.  He attends many local party events, he meets with Republican officials, and he provides advice to the party.  He has not just been a friend of all the Chairmen since (and maybe before) me, but he has been a asset.  Once on the national Democratic stage, he is firmly in our camp and has appeared on our behalf on the national Republican stage.

Steve Gailey came all the time when he was in office before, and then returned to private life.  He came back once he decided to run for office.

I can’t find any reason to question the Republican credentials of those candidates listed above.  Ashley scared the pants off me by voting to allow publication of the tax increase last year, but he voted against the tax increase in the end.

Jeff StricklandJon P. Strickland Eugene Moon & Paul Wayne Godfrey all have attendance once the political battle has been joined. However their comparison ends there. These candidates can prove their credentials by continuing to attend and participate after the election cycle.

Billy PowellTom Oliver, & Craig Herrington, all incumbents, almost never attend any functions until they run for office or when they are invited to speak.  All have supported or voted for a tax increase during their last term of office.

The remainder of the candidates were complete strangers to the party.  While they might say they voted Republican, or supported Republican candidates (and they may well have), they have not participated in any party functions.  Their Republican credentials are completely unknown.