Each election cycle, candidates try to look for that one message that sticks with voters.
Often times they’ll use a prop, to varying success.
Staff writer Darryl Welch pointed me to U.S. Rep. Bo Ginn’s 1982 commercials with the slamming jail cells.
“If you a pusher, meet the shover,” Ginn said as he slammed the iron bars shut. (Joe Frank Harris must have been one heck of a politician to beat a message like that. Harris beat Ginn in the Democratic runoff and went on to two terms as governor.)
Watch Bo Ginn's 1982 "Meet the Shover" ad on YouTube.
This time around, Brian Kemp is trying to make himself out to be the true champion of the Second Amendment in the Republican primary. His “Jake” ad, in which he makes sure the young man interested in dating one of the secretary of state’s daughters is appreciative of Kemp’s healthy respect for gun rights, got nationwide attention.
Of course, that was the point. Kemp — or at least his campaign — had to know it would get mileage on the right every time the left was critical. They took the bait too and Kemp made sure Georgians knew which national media outlets accused him of pointing the gun at the teen.
Kemp released a follow-up ad in which he says his chain saw “is ready to rip up regulations” and his Ford truck is ready “just in case I need to round up criminal illegals and take ’em home myself.”
One candidate though decided he had to outdo Kemp’s F-350 and got his own old school bus, battleship gray, called the “deportation bus.”
Former state Sen. Michael Williams took said bus on the road this week from Gainesville to Clarkston to Decatur — “sanctuary cities,” he called them. The tour was supposed to go on to Athens from Decatur but couldn’t due to what his campaign described as “Antifa protesters and radical liberals.”
That’s a shame for him because Athens is lovely this time of year when the college students have gone home and the restaurants downtown aren’t nearly as crowded. I’d suggest Pouch, but it’s got an international menu and might not be the look his campaign is going for here in the final days.
(And if he can’t overcome a few protesters in Decatur, how’s he going to get past real challenges?)
This is the same guy who weighed in on the Boy Scouts allowing girls because — well, I don’t know why he weighed in as it has nothing to do with the challenges facing Georgia. He did suggest that if such “politically correct bedwetters” were in charge during World War II, “You’d be reading this in German.”
“Our great nation desperately needs more John Waynes and fewer Pajama Boys,” he said.
Actually, what our great nation needs is politicians who can discuss actual problems and work out solutions for them, not just call names.
I know Williams has the training to do these kinds of things because he has a liberal arts degree. He got it at the University of Montevallo, the same place I got my degree. Our time in Shelby County, Alabama, didn’t overlap, but we didn’t miss each other by much. We would have had many of the same professors and been taught in much the same way — to value collaboration and to appreciate the different perspectives people bring to a project.
Name-calling like he’s doing would have been a no-go, not because of being politically correct for the sake of being PC, but because we’re expected to be better.
Montevallo is where I learned not everyone was like the people who grew up with me in a small, rural community. I’m better for that experience.
In the final weeks of this GOP campaign, I’ve heard from several classmates in Georgia and others who have read about Williams’ antics. None have been impressed.
More than one has asked if his degree can be revoked.
I wouldn’t suggest going that far, but I do hope he’ll lose Tuesday. I hope he loses so badly that future candidates won’t think of pandering to voters’ worst inclinations as he’s done.
I’ve heard privately from people in the Republican Party, even elected officials, who have said they are disgusted by some of his tactics. You should be too. Georgia, we’ve got to be better than this.David Clemons is the editor and publisher of The Covington News and a 2003 graduate of the University of Montevallo. His email address is email@example.com. Twitter: @scoopclemons.