By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sonny's national strategy
Placeholder Image
No one chuckled, hooted or even applauded much when Gov. Sonny Perdue started his spiel. By the time he finished, I am told at least two guys had to leave the room to keep from falling down laughing. That may be an exaggeration, but our governor did say some pretty funny things.
As chairman of the Republican National Governors Association, he recently told the online news service that he wants to help make over Republican election campaigns across the country. He hopes to recast the party in a different light to restore Republican appeal and credibility, he said in an interview with Politico reporter Jeanne Cummings.
He wants every candidate to adopt this theme: “Do what you say you’re going to do.”
He says he thought it up himself. Quit snickering. Read on.
Obviously, Perdue is a member of the John Mitchell-Glenn Richardson school of politics, the motto of which is  “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say.” If he were not an adherent to that Nixonian ideology, he could not get through his keep-all-promises speech with a straight face.
Suppose Georgia’s citizens applied Sonny’s “Do what you say you’re going to do” pledge to his own doings as governor. Look what they might find.
Sonny promised:
• To give Georgia the most ethical administration in history. He reorganized the state ethics commission, created a post of inspector general and clamped a ban on gifts from lobbyists.
So what happened? Not much. Sonny was first in line to accept gifts — plane trips, tickets to sporting events and plenty of fancy dinners. The inspector general quietly faded away after spending three years and a couple of million dollars on projects that mostly involved saying, “Gov. Perdue has done nothing wrong.” The Perdue ethics commission may have established the Guinness record for discarding complaints of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance.
One other thing: Sonny used the Legislature to pass a customized tax bill that gave him special treatment on deferred income taxes. He exploited his connections as governor to enhance his real estate holdings. And he helped mightily in a plan to accelerate development of Jekyll Island, the jewel of Georgia’s publicly owned barrier islands.
• To restore “local control” to school districts and allow local officials to make most of the spending decisions. Instead, after he was elected, he established a statewide set of hard-to-live-by rules, slashed $1.4 billion from local school budgets and forced nearly 100 school districts to raise property taxes to comply with state mandates.
• To abandon former Gov. Roy Barnes’ complex plan for solving traffic congestion. He kept his word there all right. He sat on his hands. Growing congestion and attendant air pollution are threatening the quality of life for much of the state.
• To make certain his buddies from the Old Confederacy had an opportunity to participate in a referendum that could restore the Rebel battle emblem as the centerpiece of the state flag. At least that is what the flaggers thought he said. They must’ve been wrong. Georgia got a new flag, but that sacred symbol of bubbas, bubbettes and bikers everywhere is nowhere to be found on it. The Chamber of Commerce thought restoring the St. Andrew’s cross — or even voting on the idea — might be bad for business.
n To use the state’s bonding capacity “very sparingly” (that’s Perdue’s phrase) to finance public projects. In fact, his administration has set new records for debt service on bonds — more than $1 billion each year for four straight years — and adopted record-spending bills during every year of his tenure. When the legislature passed a bill to give taxpayers back some of their cash, Perdue vetoed it.
Let’s not be too harsh. He did make arrangements with a Korean businessman of questionable background to build a car-assembly plant near LaGrange. The cars would be called Kia. Many members of my generation and the Greatest Generation still think Kia stands for Killed in Action. Small wonder the Kia plant still hasn’t been built.
Some Capitol observers believe Sonny’s sudden burst of interest in the national scene may be related to his desire to be tapped for vice president. That is a worthy ambition, and we wish him well. It would get him out of Georgia and the Governor’s Mansion two years early. It also would put him within a heartbeat of the presidency. Oh, lordy! Don’t even think about it.

Contact Shipp at P.O. Box 2520, Kennesaw, GA  30156, or e-mail:
Sign up for our e-newsletters