Hey, flaggers: Get your Confederate battle emblems, your "Let Us Vote" and "Sonny Lied" signs and other protest gear ready: Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is coming to town.
In spite of the tremendous number of Republican votes Columbia County delivered to Perdue in the 2002 election (nearly 20,000 votes, double the number incumbent Roy Barnes received), Perdue has never visited the county in the two years since winning.
As the state's first Republican governor, Perdue has been in demand around Georgia. But the biggest GOP stronghold outside metro Atlanta surely is overdue for a visit.
This summer, we'll be getting two of them.
Perdue has been here before, of course. Former state Rep. Bill Jackson brought Perdue to his Appling farm for a big barbecue fund-raiser before the Republican primary in 2002. That shindig was a not-so-subtle poke at Jackson's fellow Appling resident and Perdue's fellow Republican gubernatorial contender, Linda Schrenko.
That was three years ago. For his return visit, Perdue will be the featured speaker at a Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy forum from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. The topic of the forum is management of the Savannah River resources in Georgia and South Carolina.
A little more than a month later, Perdue is scheduled to be back at the Pavilion, this time for a July 30 breakfast with the Republican Party. Undoubtedly, Perdue will probably have more interesting comments before the party faithful than he will while addressing a group of environmental experts.
Because Perdue hasn't visited since his election, our home-grown flag protesters - all of whom remain unwaveringly convinced that they are entirely responsible for Perdue's election - have been deprived of the opportunity to protest Perdue on their own turf.
While the flaggers hated Barnes because of his backroom deal that removed the Confederate battle emblem from Georgia's flag, they perhaps are even nastier toward Perdue. They accuse him of reneging on what they believe was an agreement to allow a statewide vote on the Georgia flag with the pre-Barnes version as one of the choices.
Instead, Perdue signed the compromise measure that the Legislature approved, which put only the Barnes flag and Perdue's redesign on the ballot. Voters approved Perdue's design overwhelmingly.
That should have ended it, but the flaggers are probably the world's most committed soreheads. So they'll undoubtedly be clearing their calendars for June 21 and July 30, preparing to once again take their flagpoles and tilt at the gubernatorial windmill.
Walker helped GOP
For Georgia Republicans happy that their party is in control of the Legislature and the Governor's Mansion for the first time in state history, there is one man they need to thank:
Here's why. Walker was so awful as Senate majority leader that Perdue jumped the Democrat ship and switched parties rather than serve under him. That set up Perdue's successful Republican run for governor.
Then, once Perdue had won and Walker was voted out in 2002, Don Cheeks knew he no longer needed to be in the Democratic Party to serve as a check on Walker's authority - so he switched parties and gave the Senate to the GOP.
The rest is history, as is Walker's political career.
Thurmond, not Thurbert
When I made passing mention recently of a new book written by Michael Thurmond, I referred to him as Georgia's attorney general. Former state Sen. Frank Albert set me straight: I confused the name of Georgia labor commissioner Michael Thurmond with Thurbert Baker, the attorney general.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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