Posted: 6:00 pm Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Class warfare breaks out in the GOP race for U.S. Senate 

By Jim Galloway

A fundraising email from Karen Handel’s Republican campaign for U.S. Senate arrived this week, describing GOP frontrunner David Perdue, the richest candidate in the race and former head of Dollar General, as “an out-of-touch, multi-millionaire CEO who lives in a gated oceanfront community.”

It was a retaliatory blow.

A first-time candidate, Perdue had made the mistake, in far-away January, of noting that our former secretary of state’s formal education had ended with a high school diploma – a matter that was much discussed during Handel’s unsuccessful run for governor in 2010.

“I mean, there’s a high school graduate in this race, OK? I’m sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex,” Perdue had said during a discussion of global economics.

A video of his remarks surfaced last week. The Handel campaign wasn’t the source of the leak, but has taken full advantage of the misstep.

Eighteen months ago, Republicans howled when Democrats tagged Mitt Romney as an unsavory elitist for asserting – in the mother of all leaked videos — that 47 percent of Americans were too dependent on government to pick up a GOP ballot. We in Georgia are now experiencing the sequel to that debate, ironically conducted within the confines of the Republican race for U.S. Senate.

At an impromptu press conference in south Fulton County, the irrepressible Sarah Palin, with Handel at her side, turned up her blue collar. “There are a lot of good, hard-working Americans who have more common sense in their pinky finger than a lot of those Ivy League pieces of paper up on a wall that represent some elitism,” said the Chief Momma Grizzly, possibly alluding to Perdue’s master’s degree from Georgia Tech. “Not all of the time does a college degree matter.”

But it was the Monday email from the Handel campaign, sent over the signature of former banker and Georgia GOP chair Sue Everhart, that best captured the tone of the debate.

“I’d rather have a U.S. Senator who pulled herself up by the bootstraps, than one with advanced degrees who thinks he’s better than the majority of Georgians,” Everhart wrote. The Handel campaign now promises a set of bootstraps for every $10 donation. Then there’s this radio ad that will air Thursday:

A riot of subtext churns beneath this brouhaha. Handel is the only woman in the GOP field – who fled a dysfunctional family at age 17. One also catches a whiff of gunpowder from the tea party vs. establishment battle that’s raging nationally among Republicans.

But it is the language of class warfare that stands out. And Handel isn’t the only one using it against Perdue. At last month’s GOP Senate debate in Savannah, hometown candidate and congressman Jack Kingston told the crowd that “no gate separates your house from my house” – another reference to Perdue’s house on Sea Island.

Eric Tanenblatt, a senior managing director at McKenna Long & Aldridge in Atlanta, was Mitt Romney’s chief operative when the “47 percent” video wreaked its havoc on the Republican’s presidential campaign. Tanenblatt doesn’t think that painting Perdue as a member of a silver-spoon elite will ultimately work.

“[Perdue] grew up in middle Georgia. I think both of his parents are teachers. He’s self-made. And in the party of opportunity, we should be celebrating success stories like that, and celebrating the fact that he’s willing to give back,” Tanenblatt said. “That’s what I said about Mitt Romney. Why should we be vilifying someone who’s been successful?”

There’s another reason why a blue-collar assault on Perdue might fall short – at least from Handel’s perspective. While only 36 percent of Georgians hold a two-year or four-year college degree, it is a pool that skews racially toward whites – and thus, more than likely, Republicans.

Fifty-eight percent of whites over the age of 25 in Georgia have at least some college or an associate’s degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And according to a recent national Gallup survey, 93 percent of those with some college view a bachelor’s degree as “somewhat” or “very” important.

We may not want to hear a candidate tell us that he or she is our better, but we tend to be aspirational when it comes to picking who we vote for. Sarah Palin is right – a college degree doesn’t matter all of the time. But in politics, at the Washington level, it matters most of the time.

According to the Congressional Research Service, within the current Congress, 21 of 435 members of the U.S. House (including Lynn Westmoreland, R-Coweta County) have no educational degree beyond a high school diploma. But only one of 100 senators lacks a college education — Mark Begich, a Democrat from Palin’s Alaska.

Up in Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker has been widely talked about as a possible 2016 presidential candidate. In his senior year, Walker walked out of Marquette University to take a job with the American Red Cross.

At the time, Walker’s decision was no doubt of the bootstrap variety. It hasn’t seemed to hurt him. But he has decided not to stand pat. Over the weekend, the Wisconsin governor announced that, two decades later, he would be going back to school.

94 comments
GaBlue
GaBlue

So... pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is a GOOD thing? Well, unless that includes working hard to get into Ivy League universities (when you have no family-member legacies to front you), and scraping together the scholarships and other funds you need to stick it out and graduate. (Like Presidents Clinton and Obama.)  Then you're a "liberal elitist" who wants to be handed everything.  Makes perfect sense. 

WeRunTheEast
WeRunTheEast

I watched Michele Nunn's TV campaign add on Sunday, and it seems she is running as a Republican also. The major point of her tv add is to inform the voters that Michele Nunn served as Chairman of President Bush's Point of Light campaign. No mention of Obama and no mention of her being a Democrat. The word "Democrat" never appears or is mentioned. Only President Bush. Tell me why Democrats will not ID themselves as Democrats? Seems odd that they would not want to be linked to this Great Young Black President (barf)! Or is it that only shallow souls and shallow minds believe this President is doing well? Those of use that are COLOR BLIND see the damage his low character, low standard policies are doing to this country. Wallow in you own inferiority, Dummycrat voters!

NO WAY A Dummycrat wins the Senate seat or the Governors office. Black turnout (essentially the Democrat Party in Ga) will be low without Obama on the ticket. Keep on dreaming Galloway and other liberals.

Bernie31
Bernie31

I would ask of you to inquire with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to see if a College Degree a Necessary requirement for Upper Level Managment Team members.

Unfortunately for that Organization they learned the Hard way with Karen Handel.


Karen's advocacy of her conservative Ideas were costly to the Foundation Financially. A Huge Financial Loss was Karen's impact. 

wE JUST CANNOT afford Karen Handel.


keithbusting
keithbusting

In politics, if a college matters most of the time at the Washington level, why is Washington dysfunctional? The way some of these elected officials act, their alma mater should revoke or recall their degrees. The food that Mitt Romney eats or the food that David Perdue eats won't fill any empty stomachs but their own. "Celebrating success stories" isn't exactly the "trickle down theory." Too often in the Republican camp, it has been an "if you got it, flaunt it." This only reinforces the warped sense of what defines success in America. 

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Hope the Pubs do not beat the you know what out of each other in this primary season  like the Pubs did in the presidential primaries in 2012, and wore poor old  Romney into a frazzle before he had to face Obama in the main event. 


The Pubs, the Tea Party, and the Libertarians will need to unite in November in a big way to keep Saxby's seat. Assuming the Tea Party and Libertarians really care about that. Or care about it at least as much as they do about going on Fox News and such and howling endlessly at the moon about how their far superior sacred cow conservative principles are being ignored -- after effectively eliminating their kookie selves  from winning in the the electoral process,  and actually getting into an elected office and leading, and making policy. But perhaps the Fox News spot light is just too tempting for them, and it is one heck of a lot easier to howl at the moon than it is to lead a diverse electorate. 


Why all of that? Because the Dems are going to turn out in droves and ask for Republican ballots in the primary elections, and vote for Broun. And Broun, with the Tea Party, Libertarians, and the fringe right  types (like the old guys who gathered at the Waffle House to plan chemical warfare attacks) will get  the nomination. 


Then, it will be deja vu all over again. Just like Delaware, Indiana, and Nevada in 2010, where shoo-in Pub seats were lost to the Dems, and Harry Reid survived an election he should not have survived (which would have made a lot of difference if he had not) because the vast majority of voters, who don't occupy just a narrow niche on the far conservative Right, would have nothing to do with the Tea Party candidates who got nominated to run for those Republican Senate seats. And the Dems got three seats they never should have won. 


Oh, that can't happen in Georgia. Really? Ever been to Indiana? A very, very conservative state. It happened there. Richard Lugar's seat, of all people, was lost because a fringe right kook got nominated to run against the Dem. Do you think the Pubs in the Senate could have used 3 more Republican Senators during the last 4 years?  


And Nunn, who, compared to her fringe right opponent,  will look down right normal, reasonable, fair, and obviously like someone who has a lick of sense, Plus, her name won't hurt.  And,  Saxby's seat will be lost. And chances are, Deal will go down too, for obvious reasons, if you have been keeping up. Deal and Broun on the same ticket is not going to be helpful for the Pubs. 

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

They need to batter the hell out of each other...leaving 'one nut standing', for Nunn to squash.

DS
DS

I don't care what kind of strap Handel used to pull herself up. Her statements show that she's just reciting stock talking points she doesn't really understand. And her lousy advice to the Susan G. Komen Foundation brought an otherwise good organization to its knees. She's in way over her head.

Joeleejohnson
Joeleejohnson

I can tell with only a glance that Karen is equipped to make arbitrary decisions with the best of 'em.

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

Karen Handel was the Chair of the Fulton County Commission for four years, and she never set foot in South Fulton County.  She must have met Sarah Palin on the tarmac at Charlie Brown Airport during a flyby.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

Heck the mayor of Atlanta has two degrees but he is as smart as a sack of potatoes and is walking around with his knocked-up girlfreind.

Bernie31
Bernie31

Calling Karen Handel Out because she is only a High School Graduate in 2014. She is a Woman and White and that is CLASS WARFARE?  Only in the Republican World.....

btn
btn

I would think after nearly destroying a successful charity, but instead merely seriously damaging it with her foolish ideas that Karen Handel would realize that her time in the public sector is over.   I could care less about her educational background, it is her incompetence that is the greatest barrier to her being elected to higher office.

EdUktr
EdUktr

Odd how Jim Galloway seems to parrot Democrat talking points? Even odder that this will continue right up to the November election?

NOlongerRepublican
NOlongerRepublican

My beef today is not about any of the Republicans running...mine is with Michelle Nunn. I still TOTALLY support her and she will definitely get my vote over any of the nut jobs running as Repub...but today she came out in favor of Keystone Pipeline. Really??? That is a total Republican issue that stands to make the Koch Brothers $100M and endanger the drinking water of millions of Americans...why...all so the Canadians can sell the oil to China! We won't benefit from this pipeline! It won't affect our gas and oil prices. It will create a whopping 35 permanent jobs! That's right 35! All to make the Koch's a ton of money and help the Canadians sell oil! What's up with that Michelle!!!!

honested
honested

@WeRunTheEast

Just like republican doesn't occur in most of the wrong-winger's commercials, only conserrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrvative.

The major point of her tv ad is to show she has a long, effective, productive history in public service leading a non-profit organization.

I know that's hard to absorb by people who make their decisions based on who's dog whistle is the loudest.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

They will, Dawg.

Love it when cons eat their own....

Bernie31
Bernie31

@DS - Karen One lady Wrecking Ball...and she cannot Wait until she can tear Up America like W. did. Then walk away with a Big Fat Retirement Parachute like Hollywood Saxby. Not a Bad deal for a Vietnam Draft Doger from Georgia.


Karen just wants to thumb her Nose to all of those SMARTY PANTS COLLEGE DEGREE HOLDERS!! 

I can Beat them at Their Own Game. Just Watch me....

honested
honested

@Nathan_Deal  

Is the bootstrap long enough to give unethical wrong-wingers a good floggin?

Bernie31
Bernie31

@CuriousPrime - I Never heard that one before...but why am I Not surprised....Such an Act is SO Karen Handel, Arrgorant, Know it all, mEAN gIRL, Condescending, Fake Smile, Fat sausage like fingers, looks like a Munckin from the wIZARD oF oZ...OTHER THAN THAT SHE IS  perfectly a Total waste of Time. Karen brings nothing to the Table, but she will be the First one to TURN It OVER! 

If any of you want more WASHINGTON GRIDLOCK and Do Nothing...Karen is Yer Girl. You may want to keep a Good supply of Hard Liquor and anti-acid tablets on Hand...You are going to need it!

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

@MiltonMan  Classy...Real Classy, Especially if we are comparatively talking about the intellectual acumen and family values of Sarah Palin.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@btn - Karen is one empty Wagon. If you ever see one of her Campaign events you would swear a AARP meeting is ongoing. The only other sign is the overwhelming fragrance of heavy flowery perfumes,ben gay and the smell of Vinegar. There are more wrinkles in the Room than you have ever seen in your entire LIFE!

CuriousPrime
CuriousPrime

@EdUktr  Just quit.  Galloway is parrotting Republican talking points! Handel is running in the Republican primary, and just like the 2010 Republican governors primary, her "friends" w are the ones who continue to bring up the fact that she is a graduate of Fredrick Douglass High School. 

The_Centrist
The_Centrist

He's a Democrat, plain and simple.  Just like his protege's Bluestein and Malloy.  And all of the other reporters and editors at the AJC.
And most of the posters here - but many of them are even further left.

td1234
td1234

@NOlongerRepublican  It is only going to take "35" people to build a pipeline? Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?


Have you actually seen a pipeline being built? How many jobs to manufacture the pipe? the heavy equipment? How about how many jobs to house and feed these employed workers?

NWGAL
NWGAL

I asked her at a fundraiser about her opinion on climate change. She agreed with me that changing to a green system was an opportunity to create jobs. And then this. Have to say my enthusiasm crashed. She will get my vote since the Republicans are off the deep end of crazy but the enthusiasm dropped markedly.

honested
honested

@td1234 @DirtyDawg 

tiny dog,

What passes for discourse among the modern conserrrrrrrrrrrvative take me back to Bob Dylan in the '60s...

"I heard 10,000 whisperin' and nobody listenin'"

td1234
td1234

@NOlongerRepublican @EdUktr  No need too go to Kyle's the best and brightest conservative are on this very blog cleaning the floor with progressives. 


We play on your field written by your own and we still make your philosophy look silly on a daily basis.

NWGAL
NWGAL

Permanent jobs rather than temporary jobs.

td1234
td1234

@honested Bed wetting ed,


I doubt that you remember much about the 60's.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@td1234 @Bernie31@MiltonMan- Kasim has Lost Stock in the Black Community. he is now considered one of yer Boys. Being how he just love to French Kiss ole yellow Teeth. You can hive Him...Trust me! No one Cares.


honested
honested

@td1234 @NWGAL 

Again you refuse to allow facts and reality to wedge in between your ears.

Self-delusion is still delusion.

honested
honested

@NWGAL  

Don't confuse the tiny dog....

He thought it was all gawd's idea.

NOlongerRepublican
NOlongerRepublican

@td1234  nahahahahahaha...you think you are all that...got some news for ya right wing wacko nut job...ain't nobody listening to you. I used to be where you are. I was a Bible-thumpin right winger who got sooooooooo pissed when Robert Bork couldn't get onto the Supreme Court and absolutely loathed the Clintons. But guess what...I woke up and realized how stupid all of that crap is that you and others like you push. You and your ilk are what is wrong with this country. 

NWGAL
NWGAL

Should not be implemented statewide? It was and it worked quite well throughout Massachusetts. Mitt himself credited the Heritage Fundation. Google it. Do remember that Republicans stated categorically that Medicare would never work. It has. It does have flaws and does need tweaking, but overall it has been a huge blessing.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL  Yet more left wing propaganda. Heritage. There is no where you can actually point to Heritage and see where they advocated subsidising insure for people making up to 400% of the poverty level nor can you find where they favored expanding Medicaid. 


Romney said clearly that his plan was fine for Mass but should not be implemented statewide. 

NWGAL
NWGAL

ACA was based on the Heritage Foundation's health care plan, on Mitt Romney's health care plan. Both are Republican. Any attempts to expand it were rejected by the White House. But you made my point. No Republicans would vote for what was a Republican solution to the health care problem. They would rather vote against the President than vote for their own solution.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL  Obamacare was a compromise between the far left progressive Democrats and the moderate Democrats (most of which lost their jobs for voting against the will of their constituents) . Not a single Republican voted for the bill. NOT ONE REPUBLICAN vote not even the RINOS.  

NWGAL
NWGAL

ACA was a compromise. The sensible liberal solution was universal Medicare. That didn't happen. Every attempt to pass any legislation requires both sides of the aisle to work together. That the Republicans require 60 votes in the Senate for any bill to pass is a new development and is counter to our heritage of majority rule with the Constitution protecting minorities. You don't seem stupid. Even you must see that since the Tea Party assumed ascendency, government has ceased to function. The top leaders of the Republicans have stated repeatedly that their goal is to make Obama a failure. We need to work together.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL  O' please, Can you name one thing Obama has offered as a "Compromise" to Republicans? 


Clinton and Newt compromised on a balanced budget and reforming welfare. 


Bush and Kennedy compromised on NCLB.


GHWB and Democrat leadership compromised on budgets.


Reagan and Tip compromised on cutting taxes and building the military.


Obama is the only President in the past 40 years that has shown ZERO leadership and who has refused to compromise.  

NWGAL
NWGAL

I do think that a group of people working together can come up with better ideas than an individual alone. That is is idea behind creating a Congress and a Senate and separating powers so no one individual has all the power. I am a liberal but what irks me about the conservatives is that they don't want to compromise. It's their way or the highway. We need to work together. Work,not whine.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL  Who id Whining? Not agreeing with conservatives just proves you are a collectivist and do not really like or want personal freedom or personal liberty.


Hey if you think government can think better and make better decisions than you can then by all means keep being a progressive. 

NWGAL
NWGAL

Oh boo hoo. Not everyone agrees with you and you think your whining makes us look silly?

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty  Why did she get divorced? Was it her fault or was it the man's fault? Did she do everything in her power to keep the marriage together for the benefit of the children (and insurance)?


One can not make much of a moral opinion without all the facts unless you are just trying to use a woman's death to make a political point. 

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

The article talked about one woman who died - and left three children behind - because Florida chose not to take federal money for Medicaid.

But I guess in your world she just made poor decisions.  If you actually read it, and weren't moved by it, the extent of your moral depravity knows no bounds.

And you're a Sunday School teacher???

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty  Georgette, I read the entire article and not one word of the amount of jobs that will happen with the expansion of Medicaid (in Florida) and not one word about the additional long term cost to the taxpayers. 

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty  That 70,000 jobs is pulled out of magical air by the left Georgette, especially since Doctors are already not accepting Medicaid patients. The long term cost, when the state is gong to cap the income tax, would result in massive education cuts.  

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

And of course, this from a guy who doesn't care about the 70,000 jobs that would be created - IN GEORGIA - by simply accepting federal dollars for Medicaid.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL  LOL. Move those goal posts when the spin is shown to be a total lie. 

NWGAL
NWGAL

I am self employed so I can work until I drop. Three years doesn't allow a worker to put down roots. Migrant workers.

NWGAL
NWGAL

Since I'm self employed, I can work until I drop. But those who have three year jobs don't have roots in a community. Migrant workers.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL  Most constructions jobs are temporary. When the job is over the worker moves to the next job. I read where it would create more than 11,000 jobs for more that 3 years. 


Are you guaranteed 3 years on your current job?

NWGAL
NWGAL

Blue dog Democrats. That some think she is a liberal really is just the silliest thing I've heard.