Posted: 5:38 pm Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

In GOP race for Senate, ‘outsider’ no longer means what you thought it did 

By Jim Galloway

GOP candidate for U.S. Sen. Karen Handel concedes her U.S. Senate race with her husband Steve beside her at the end of an election-night watch party last week  in Roswell.  AP/Phil Skinner

GOP candidate for U.S. Sen. Karen Handel concedes her U.S. Senate race with her husband Steve beside her at the end of an election-night watch party last week in Roswell. AP/Phil Skinner

As far as Jack Kingston is concerned, the era of the Washington outsider in Georgia politics ended within a few hems and haws of 1:11 p.m. Wednesday, high in a tower on the spine of Buckhead.

Presumably, the altitude of the press conference was intended to starve participants – journalists, in particular — of not just oxygen, but memory as well.

Post-election endorsements are always awkward affairs in which the losing candidate must find a way to retract all the nasty things uttered about one’s new BFF.

The gathering that highlighted Karen Handel’s embrace of Kingston, a 20-year member of Congress, over political neophyte David Perdue in the GOP runoff for U.S. Senate was no different.

Possibly, somewhere in ancient history or a few weeks ago, Handel did condemn Kingston and two other members of Congress in the race as ineffective lumps of inside-the-Beltway clay.

“Are you happy with the way Washington is functioning? Well, the surest way to get more of the same is to keep electing the same people,” she just might have asked, as she sought – and won – much of the tea party vote.

But on Wednesday, the former secretary of state said her doubts about Kingston’s lengthy D.C. resume were pushed aside by 74 percent of Republican voters in the Savannah congressman’s First District – who voted for their man, and knocked Handel out of the race.

“An extraordinarily positive job performance rating,” Handel declared.

Clearly, Perdue’s January gaffe, in which the former CEO of Dollar General publicly noted that Handel’s formal education was limited to a high school diploma and some college courses, also played a role in her choice. Handel wouldn’t say as much, but Kingston did.

“Her achievement and her ownership in the American Dream should never be dimissed and never should be belittled,” Kingston said.

But the real turn came after the formal remarks, when a reporter asked Handel how she squared her campaign as an outsider with her endorsement of the only Washington veteran left in the race.

“First, I’m not sure what that really means – quote, outsider,” she said, punctuating the word with her fingers. “Secondly, I’m pretty sure I never used that in my campaign.”

Actually, you can see that Handel’s campaign website used the phrase “outsider” at least once, to describe her unsuccessful, 2010 race for governor. But her favorite cudgel was the phrase “career politician,” which apparently has also been pushed into retirement.

Kingston, she said, is now “someone who has the experience to hit the ground running.”

So what’s all this about?

In fact, you are witnessing one of the more admirable maneuvers of the 2014 campaign. Elsewhere in the nation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and tea party forces in open war.

The Kingston campaign is attempting to knit the two enemies together. Handel and her followers represent a good chunk of the tea party movement in Georgia. The U.S. Chamber has already endorsed Kingston over Perdue, who on the surface might seem the more natural fit.

The business group spent nearly $1 million on Kingston in the primary, and has already reserved more than $500,000 in airtime through mid-June.

“This is a family discussion, and we’ve got to stay united,” Kingston said Wednesday.

To unite his family, the Savannah congressman is executing a shift in Georgia’s political vocabulary. Heretofore, “outsider” has meant someone who resides external to the evil confines of the District of Columbia. A good thing.

Witness the word from Perdue campaign spokesman Derrick Dickey, after Handel’s endorsement of Kingston: “David has always been the only true outsider in this race. He’s providing a real alternative to the typical politicians that have created a mess in Washington.”

But to Kingston, this definition is now outdated. In his camp, “outsider” now means someone beyond the GOP fold. A bad thing.

Despite the fact that his cousin is a former governor, David Perdue’s recent history in Georgia stretches back only to 2009. His voting history includes only two GOP presidential primaries.

GOP runoffs have traditionally been low-turnout affairs populated by hardcore, dues-paying activists. Kingston noted that he and Handel are both members of that club.

“She and I came up through the precinct level as Republicans. We have stuffed envelopes. We have made phone calls. We have put up yard signs,” Kingston said. “We have voted in Republican primaries and have been in the Republican trenches for many years.”

At least for the next eight weeks, it’s cool to be an insider again.

21 comments
honested
honested

You know what they say about 'honor among thieves'.

SamTheSham
SamTheSham

Perdue wants his first political experience to be US Senator?  Are you kidding me?  Perhaps if he'd proven himself (like Kingston HAS) as a mayor, or councilman, or in the State capital or even US House first, then maybe.  But there is NO WAY I vote for a complete unknown who outsourced thousands of American jobs to a 6 years run in the Senate.  I hope enough others feel the same.

Crankshaft
Crankshaft

Hopefully David Perdue doesn't have any relatives stashed away in a nursing home.  Trespassing and taking unauthorized photos of opposition candidate's vulnerable family members is all the rage for Tea Party supported candidates.

MHSmith
MHSmith

 “She and I came up through the precinct level as Republicans. We have stuffed envelopes. We have made phone calls. We have put up yard signs,” Kingston said. “We have voted in Republican primaries and have been in the Republican trenches for many years.”

Reading between the lines Jackie Boy is saying you owe him your vote. 

What it is says to the politically astute is that Jackie Boy is another life-long lousy politician. 

And, Perduedo is definitely the "outsider"( the one truth he actually told), in fact, he's so far out of touch with the average voter in this state he is irrelevant to common people - particularly those who only have  beggarly high school edumocations(sic)    

You bring nothing to the table GOP. Absolutely nothing.   

Jke
Jke

Never fear, Perdue is here. Like his opportunistic cuz, Go Fish Perdue, he'll buy whatever he wants because he can look you in the eye and fake sincerity with the best. Ever met a multimillionaire or billionaire CEO? How many of them act like Warren Buffett?

And for sure Perdue is a one-percenter, and like the last out of touch with the common man robber baron, Mitt Romney, the smart money is betting Perdue is going down to a left-leaning opponent. The only ones who don't know this are those who drank his Kool-Aid.

The Perdooers should ask themselves why their messiah is getting a pass from the AJC and other left-leaning media outlets. And they should ask why, even with a compliment, the press keeps pushing Kingston into the tea party camp, when it's the tea partiers that surprisingly have become more pragmatic and are pushing themselves in Kingston's camp. It's clear the tea party folks know Perdue's chances are less than Kingston's and that the Dems and their PACs will go out whole hog from the out of touch, greedy corporate CEO, job stealing, make off like a bandit class warfare playbook. While they'll do a number on Kingston if he wins, the tea party connection doesn't compare to the emotions driven by class differences.

The irony here is the the tea party is trying to help the GOP and keep Georgia red, while the Perdooers unknowingly are hurting the GOP and are helping Democrats turn it purple.

Quandry
Quandry

Outsider - Insider

We need a candidate that can build bridges and develop relationships across the political isle.

The American people are so tired of the partisan bickering.

Give me a candidate who will:

1.  Tell me they know how to compromise (work with others) to get the job done.

2.  Tell me that we are all in this together - so we must work together.

3.  If you are going to repeal Obama care - then what the hell are your going to replace it with?

4.  Tell me how you are going to improve our education system - create jobs and make us proud of AMERICA again.

5. Tell me how we can compete globally?

6.  Why do our top Fortune 500 companies continue to give special visas to overseas workers because they believe the brains belongs to non-American workers.

That's the type of candidate we need - someone who will fight for all of us and not some of us.

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.

Pistol66
Pistol66

The real "Insider" is Michelle Nunn.  Once the primary is over the Republicans will unite behind the nominee and Michelle will have a terrible time running from her close connection to the President and his policies!  The Independents have had enough of President Oblamer and his complete disaster of a presidency and they will unite with the Republicans to take back the Senate and get this country back on track!  The President will have no choice but to come off the campaign trail and cross the street and finally ask Congress politely for a real budget to restore some fiscal sanity to the situation.  I hope he is smart enough to realize that he is a lame-duck and try to work with our elected leaders after so many years of failure on his part to lead! His track record does not indicate this flexibility, but we must all hope for better days ahead and that the country has learned its lesson by electing an inexperienced community organizer!

DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

I don't think Karen Handel, nor Jennifer Husley, can simply summon enough Tea party supporters to the polls on election day to make much of a difference for either candidate. The Tea party doesn't work that way. In fact, most Tea party supporters are waiting to see which one of the two can best articulate their political platform, including a strong anti-amnesty, or an 'anti -pathway to amnesty', component.



ex animo

davidfarrar

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

@Quandry

The bridge building has stopped since the GOP banned earmarking. Figuratively and literally, the bridge building has ceased.


I largely agree with your list, but you are in a red state so none of that will happen...because:

1) The right-wing believes the word 'compromise' is an evil...and the tea-party is an insurgency, so it is not even in their lexicon.

2) That is a bunch of socialist talk...we are all in this for ourselves.

3) With Obamacare...the ACA was originally a GOP idea (response to Hillarycare) and you have seen no alternatives because they spent decades building a legislative item they ended up opposing.

4)  Improvements? They don't want improvement. They want to transform schooling into a work-training system in which students do not learn to think, but just to do some task for a company.

5) Common Core and reinvestment.  Oops...I forgot they flip-flopped on that one recently.

6) I think you need to reword this one. Those special visas are given because the US is not producing as much academic talent as it used to.  That and US policy is to take those bright minds away from our enemies and hold onto them ourselves.


Nevertheless, you are talking like a Democrat and that doesn't work for GA...while they may agree with all of those things, the voters in this states neither think nor will they support anything with a (D) next to it.

Crankshaft
Crankshaft

@Quandry  In response to your Item #6 just look at those Strom Thurmond wanna-bees arrested in Calhoun.  Fortune 500 companies were tired of hiring from this pool of alcohol abusing thugs.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

Wow...I now feel dumber having read that nonsense.

Thanks, pistol, for reminding everyone how misinformed the right-wing is. What is it like to be delusional?

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

Stop pretending teapartiers think about these things.

Most will not vote in the run-off but will show up enough masse to vote straight republican tickets in November.

Kingston has this election in the bag.

td1234
td1234

@DavidFarrar Conservative fiscal Republicans or Tea party will come to the polls in November enmass not because of Handal, Kingston, Perdue or Deal but because of the Constitutional Amendment to cap the state's income tax rate at its current level. 

Yankee23
Yankee23

@DavidFarrar Agree with your statements.  David Perdue is the only outsider as far as we are concerned and we had the pleasure of meeting him recently.  Until he entered the race, we were not sure who we could support.  In the past, we had supported Karen Handel except for the Governor's race.  So what is she being promised for her support? Waiting to see what the other 2 will do and they should all be careful in the upcoming primary; otherwise, we have  another Nunn in the Senate. Michelle is not Sam Nunn!

ramroc11
ramroc11

@Baumer_1  How has the president been a leader? He is a dictator and does not believe in the Constitution. He is his own constitution and changes laws as he sees fit.rrr

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Yeah I could feel the brain cells dying too - and when you're as old as I am that's a problem.

Kind of amazing to hear the same talking points from all the tp crowd - lame duck, failure to lead, community organizer, complete disaster, campaign trail - kind of like chatty kathy dolls - just blindly repeat what they hear on Fox and talk radio.

Sad.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

I have to be a little more optimistic than you are, Baumer, but you're sure right on with your main point.

Most people don't pay attention to things like td's oh so important constitutional amendment.  Of course when they show up at the polls, they will likely vote for it, even though it means that the cost of government will shift more towards sales taxes - in other words, higher taxes for the middle class and lower taxes for the 1%.

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

@td1234 @DavidFarrar But, maybe a few of them are astute enough to recognize that to preserve that top rate for the wealthiest among us will continue to require those with an AGI of as little as $7,000 to pay it. I am ever the optimist even when it comes to ignorance "en masse".

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

@CherokeeCounty


And since when is community organizing pointless or easy?


They pretend it is at every turn, using the term 'community organizer' as a pejorative. If only they knew that many of our Nation's Founders were community organizers maybe the would change their tone...probably not since they really hate the Founders.


The irony in all of this comes from how many tea-partiers do not feel empowered in our political system.  Or perhaps it isn't ironic...perhaps the tea-party is as hateful as everyone else sees it: they are opposed to community organizing because they only want their followers organized and the rest of the community systematically oppressed.  


Either way you are right...it is sad.


Very sad.