Happy Ronald Reagan Day.
What, you thought it was just Ash Wednesday?
Guess again. Thanks to a resolution passed by the Georgia Senate - co-sponsored by our own state Sen. Bill Jackson, among many others - Feb. 6, 2008 is Ronald Reagan Day in Georgia.
Nope, sorry, you can't have the day off. It isn't that kind of holiday. This one is designated by a Senate resolution (SR 705, to be precise). It is intended simply to honor what would have been the 97th birthday of the late ex-president referred to in the resolution as "one of the most influential presidents of our nation."
Considering the amount of our national debt and the size of our trade deficit, perhaps Thursday's holiday is more significant: Chinese New Year.
In any event, Ronald Reagan Day also is fortuitously timed because today we're getting all the coverage and mind-numbing analysis of Super Tuesday, where the whole idea of a Reagan legacy has been stood on its head.
With the exception of Ron Paul, none of the Republican presidential candidates are particularly "Reaganesque." It doesn't seem to hurt them, nor help Paul - who likely is showing up no better than fourth or even fifth place in Georgia's vote-count.
Conversely, the only Democrat lately to praise Reagan, Barak Obama, most likely is being shown today as the winner in Georgia. That's just weird.
Betting on turnout
Incidentally, I'll be settling up with Deborah Marshall today on our predictions for Columbia County voter turnout. The elections director expected 30 percent; I predicted 20. Through the miracle of technology endorsed by the Slowskis, this is written the day before the election and published the day after - so you know the outcome before I do.
If early voting statewide is an indicator, my prediction will be wrong. Secretary of State Karen Handel said the turnout for early voting last week was unexpectedly big.
This past week also was big for Chamber of Commerce boosters. Not so much for one chamber speaker.
The shindigs started last Monday with the Columbia County Chamber's annual meeting. Two days later, the Chamber put together a modest but very successful Columbia County Chamber Day at the state Capitol.
Two more days later, it was Augusta's turn. The Metro Augusta Chamber celebrated its centennial with a gala at the Augusta Museum.
Columbia County gave its Lifetime Achievement Award to George Deuhring; Augusta gave its Lester S. Moody Award of Excellence to Lee Smith. In both cases, they really could not have picked nicer guys.
In all of the events, there was one minor faux pas. U.S. Rep. Paul Broun presented a proclamation to the Augusta Chamber - but referred to the gathering as the "Athens area chamber of commerce."
Ouch. For a guy who constantly has to fight the Augusta-vs.-Athens aspects of the 10th District, Broun had better hope nobody caught the gaffe on tape.
It's been a tough couple of weeks for some old Columbia County families.
Preston Blanchard, one of the sons of the late school superintendent John Pierce Blanchard, passed away a couple of weeks ago.
Then, this past weekend, the former superintendent's sister, Kathryn Blanchard Bartles, also left us.
Mrs. Bartles is thus reunited with her husband, Mack Bartles - who died two years ago Thursday.
May those extended families find comfort in each other, and may the departed find eternal delight.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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