Well, I spoke a little too soon -- or not soon enough.
Just as I get the words out of my, um, fingers that the Republicans need to crack down on illegal immigration, a Washington newspaper reports that President Bush is resurrecting a plan to grant legal status to aliens who came to the U.S. illegally.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
The good news is that Republicans in Congress are calling any amnesty idea "dead on arrival." And with Republicans now controlling the Georgia Legislature, illegals aren't going to get driver's licenses, either.
Bernes here Saturday
I also spoke too soon on Georgia Court of Appeals candidate Debra Bernes' visit to Columbia County. She's coming this Saturday, Nov. 20 -- not this past Saturday -- to speak at the 9 a.m. breakfast meeting of the Columbia County Republican Party at Dye's Southern Grill.
Bernes is on the ballot for Tuesday's lonely runoff election. I took advantage of early voting this week to give her my support -- and cast the 12th vote in Columbia County just after noon Monday. There are no lines for this vital race. So there's no excuse for not voting, either.
The Atlanta paper's Political Insider column made note of Columbia County's sudden surge in influence in state government:
"Georgia Speaker-elect Glenn Richardson on Tuesday named members of his House committee on assignments, who will help him name GOP colleagues to the leadership of powerful standing committees from education to transportation to appropriations.
"Consider this Richardson's inner circle: Members include ex-rival Mark Burkhalter of Alpharetta, soon to be speaker pro tem; Jerry Keen of St. Simons, soon to be majority leader; Barry Fleming of Harlem; Sharon Cooper of Marietta; Sue Burmeister of Augusta; James Mills of Gainesville; Jay Roberts of Ocilla; and Vance Smith of Pine Mountain."
The membership of Fleming and Burmeister in the group that decides committee assignments and chairmanships boosts state Rep. Ben Harbin's chances of getting a powerful assignment.
What then? For years, Columbia County officials have told folks here at home that certain projects lacked funding because the mean ol' Democrat majority wouldn't lift a finger to benefit Republican Columbia County. That roadblock is no longer there; too bad, in these tight budget times, the money's not there, either.
Our best hope? We get the money for the tech school, and Columbia County school officials piggyback onto it with a hybrid high school. Some money for Department of Transportation projects would be nice, too.
New maps, again
Meanwhile, don't expect a political status quo to settle in after the recent elections. This vote was held under maps drawn by a three-judge federal panel that threw out unfair maps drawn by then-majority Democrats. Those Democrats wouldn't act before the election to draw their own maps, so the judges' districts were used for the General Election.
The result is that Democrats are out of power in the House and part of a dwindling Senate minority. Republicans are preparing to draw new maps that continue that trend.
The likely local result? Democratic state senators J.B. Powell and Charles Walker are thrown into the same district; Columbia County lawmakers gain influence in Richmond County politics; and newly elected Democrat congressman John Barrow gets shuffled out of his district.
The details are still far away from being worked out, but the Republicans had better not get greedy like the Democrats did. If they do, voters can take away whatever they give.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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