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Political pumpkins growing a bit early
Dick Yarbrough
Dick Yarbrough - photo by File photo

Can it be? Is it September already? One of my favorite tunes, “September Song,” was written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for a Broadway musical in 1938 called “Knickerbocker Holiday.” The lyrics could apply today to the current political season in Georgia: “For it’s a long, long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September.”
Fortunately for us, the days to endure the campaign promises we know candidates won’t keep grow short, and December isn’t all that far away. (Yes, I know the election is in November, but work with me here. I’m trying to make a point.)
However, the days are still too long for the tedious television ads accusing Democratic senatorial candidate Michelle Nunn of being chummy with Barack Obama and Republican candidate David Perdue of closing plants and costing people jobs. Enough, already.
No matter what the season, you can count on the Republicans to make things interesting. Their latest antic involves the recent forcible ejection of a videographer and self-described “citizen journalist” named Nydia Tisdale from a Republican rah-rah meeting in Dawson County held at the site of a pumpkin patch. (You can’t make this stuff up.)
When State Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens reported to the assembled throng that something Michelle Nunn had said made him want to “puke” — the guy has a way with words, doesn’t he? ­— some stiff-neck evidently decided that wasn’t the kind of thing you want to see or hear from a high-level government official. So he asked Tisdale to turn off her camera. She said no. Organizers claimed it was a private gathering, but media reports said it was open. The pumpkins tell me they felt strongly both ways.
A burly county Mountie hauled Tisdale kicking and screaming out of the room to the chuckles of the crowd. The police confiscated her camera. A spokesperson for the pumpkins said the whole place went bananas.
Attorney General Sam Olens took umbrage at the spectacle and rightfully upbraided the attendees.
“What are we saying here that shouldn’t be on film?” he asked. “What message are we sending? ’Cause it’s private property they shouldn’t be filming? What is the harm? The harm that this poses is far greater than her filming us. What are we hiding? If we are telling you why we are running.”
The pumpkins gave him a standing ovation and then puked on Hudgens’ shoes.
The brouhaha happened in front of Gov. Nathan Deal and his wife, who were invited guests. I can’t believe the governor was very happy watching a live performance of the Keystone Kops. If I were him, I’d have the whole crowd sit in the pumpkin patch and read aloud the part in the U.S. Constitution that talks about freedom of the press.
Speaking of Deal, I would suggest a bit of urgency might be in order for his campaign as the days dwindle down to a precious few. Most people I hang with are neither liberal weenies nor tea-party conservatives. They are average Georgians who care about the state of their state. To them, Nathan Deal seems like a nice man but the current ethics controversy is beginning to stick like the ice from last winter’s snowstorm and shows no signs of thawing. Whoever is running his re-election campaign had better take heed. Incumbent governors have been known to lose elections. Ask Roy Barnes.
As for Deal’s opponent, Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter, I wonder if he would be running if his name was Jason Smidlap? He is going to have to fight the perception that he is not attempting to cash in on his grandfather’s name. That may not be as big an asset as some believe. It sure isn’t with me. I like Jason Carter personally, but I won’t forget Jimmy Carter’s shameful gubernatorial campaign against former Gov. Carl Sanders in 1970.
Note to Jimmy Carter sycophants: Spare me your righteous indignation. Otherwise, I’ll dredge up the details of that campaign again.
The more I think of “September Song,” the more I am convinced it defines precisely the 2014 political season in Georgia and the candidates who seek our vote. Check out these lyrics: “But if you could examine the goods they bring, they have little to offer but the songs they sing. And a plentiful waste of time of day. A plentiful waste of time.” Now, aren’t you glad the political days grow short? Even the pumpkins grow weary.

Contact Yarbrough at; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; online at; or on Facebook at

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