Maybe it's the rigors of the campaign season. Maybe it's the flood of messages from candidates. Maybe it's because I'm like a vegetarian who despises vegetables: I'm a political observer who detests politics.
Whatever the case, I am sick of messages from candidates clogging the airwaves.
It's bad enough that we have to endure wall-to-wall propaganda for Roy Barnes and Mark Taylor. But be-cause Augusta is a border community, we also are hit with ads from Lindsay Graham and Alex Sanders and Jim Hodges and Mark Sanford in South Carolina, races we can't vote in.
Columbia County residents can't even get jazzed up for a congressional race because native-son Charlie Norwood will win re-election in a landslide. (Good line from Norwood, referring to his hapless opponent, Barry Irwin: "I could drop dead tomorrow and they still wouldn't elect that boy.")
Instead, we get pounded with messages about Charles Walker Jr. and Max Burns, and don't even get a vote in that race. We champ at the bit over Charles Walker Sr. vs. Randy Hall, but that race is across the county border, too.
e can, however, be intelligent observers. That includes taking a skeptical view of all candidates - especially when they proclaim themselves saviors of popular programs that aren't even threatened.
The HOPE scholarship fits this bill in Georgia. Atlanta columnist Jim Wooten recently took a shot at the candidates claiming to defend HOPE even though it has no political enemies - as he puts, it, "saving something not at risk from villains not in existence."
That hasn't stopped Barnes from taking all the credit for HOPE. And it hasn't prevented Barnes' opponent, Sonny Perdue, from bravely offering a "lock box" to keep HOPE safe.
Safe from exactly what? Well, there is no actual threat to HOPE, except for the increased demand and dwindling supply of money that none of them admit, much less talk about. (Remember: The more education, the less you play the lottery, the less money to HOPE. As scholarships boost education, fewer people play the lottery, leaving less money for HOPE. "Success" may kill it.)
Only slightly more ridiculous is Walker Jr.'s contention that Burns wants to end Medicare. Junior bases this baloney on a pledge Burns signed from the Republican Liberty Caucus.
The pledge asks the signer to agree to conservative positions - lower taxes, less government, more freedom. The signer does not have to agree with anything advocated by the Caucus itself.
Nonetheless, Junior is trying to scare old people into believing Burns is going to end Medicare. He distorts language about government privatization from the Liberty Caucus' Web site to make the allegation. Burns, of course, will not try to end Medicare, and even if he wanted to, no other lawmakers would agree to it, either - so any "threat" is laughable.
The only thing we can be sure about is that Junior didn't discover this issue on his own. After our forum on "The Augusta Report" the other day, in which our panel quizzed Junior and Burns, I am more convinced than ever Junior is not just a product of his daddy's connections, but would be helpless without a herd of handlers.
Junior's literature touts his creation of a student organization "in his first year in college." What it doesn't tell you is Junior dropped out in that "first year." Why finish school if you've got daddy's money to bail you out?
lease: The shameless ads from all the candidates are bad enough. It would be unbearable if Junior won, and we had to put up with his cluelessness all the time.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to bpaschal@ newstimesonline.com, or call 863-6165, extension 106.)
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