Up until now, I've largely ignored the fringe folks in such groups as the Southern Heritage Political Action Committee, or SHPAC, as they have railed against legislators who kept the 1956 Georgia flag off next Tuesday's flag referendum.
With nothing but time on their hands and gristle of imagined wounds to gnaw on, SHPAC printed a 'Deck of Shame targeting Georgia politicians with whom they disagree.
The playing cards are a shameless rip-off of the United States deck generated as hand-held wanted posters for the war in Iraq. Equating Georgia lawmakers with Iraqi war criminals is as ludicrous as animal-rights nuts comparing chicken processing to the Nazi Holocaust.
But I let it go, preferring to leave the one-track minds to rail on, preaching to their choirs as they told themselves, over and over, that they singlehandedly defeated Roy Barnes and would now trample any other politician who didn't put the Confederate battle flag to a vote.Li
ke all those who travel down a path with blinders on, however, SHPAC was bound to eventually stumble. And boy, have they.In an e-mailed message last week, SHPAC announced that it 'has targeted its second politician to work to remove from office in the 2004 elections: state Sen. Randy Hall of Augusta.Hall is listed in the SHPAC's deck as the 'four of diamonds for voting against putting the Confederate battle flag-dominated Georgia banner (what SHPAC loftily calls 'the 1956 Veterans Memorial State Flag) on the state referendum. SHPAC describes Hall as having 'Democratic opposition.Hall doesn't just have 'opposition; he's being challenged by the man he narrowly defeated in 2002, ex-state Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker. By targeting Hall for defeat, SHPAC is affirmatively supporting Walker. Amazing. For a group with 'heritage in their name, you'd think these folks would remember that Walker was the right-hand man of Barnes, spearheading the removal of the '56 flag and now they want to help him?Conversely, though, this could help Hall. His district is evenly split along racial lines, and he has to work hard for every black vote. A supporter jokes that he's thought about buying the 'Deck of Shame in bulk; black voters would perhaps like to know that Hall is opposed by an organization many of them view as racist.SHPAC has announced a press conference at the state Capitol for the day after the flag vote to denounce the results as 'meaningless. Takes one to know one.Brush with rumor millWhile state Sen. Randy Hall of Augusta may be the target of 'flaggers, state Sen. Joey Brush of Appling is the target of a pro-homosexual Atlanta tabloid angry over the state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.Creative Loafing Atlanta last week snipped hard at Brush, accusing him of 'hypocrisy for favoring the amendment to strengthen marriage, while himself suffering marital problems. (Brush and his wife have been separated for more than a year.)The paper went much further, accusing Brush of adultery with two married (and anonymous) Columbia County women. 'I've never claimed to be perfect, Brush says. 'I've done some things that are wrong. But it's bad when they bring up things you didn't do. I'll do my confessions to the good Lord and ask His forgiveness, and try to struggle on with that and my family.This sordid tale can't help Brush's re-election chances this year, even in a redrawn state Senate district. Some Republicans are quietly hoping Brush resigns rather than risk what would be a bruising, ugly campaign.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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