Friday, December 17, 2004
The World According to Diebold?
With the various issues surrounding Diebold voting machines I have done some digging into their use throughout the election.
From the Diebold website:
Over 75,000 Diebold electronic voting stations are being used in locations across the United States to assist voters in exercising their most fundamental constitutional right: The right to vote.
They also mention a report by the State of Georgia Secratary of State, Cathy Cox which states in part:
". . .Diebold system produced a significant reduction in the residual vote rate throughout the state of Georgia. Just as important, the implementation of the new machines removed gaping disparities in voting machine reliability that could have raised serious questions about the fairness of Georgia’s electoral system. . ." Source: GA Press Release
We might also mention that when you visit the Cathy Cox webiste the tag ine is, ". . .advancing the e-government revolution.".
Why the Republicans want Cox to switch parties
The secretary of state is easily the most attractive Democratic officeholder to survive the last election. Along with Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, she is the only Democrat with a prayer of winning the 2006 election against Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Perdue’s competence and personality (or lack thereof) are not the essential ingredients in his re-election bid. His strength lies in the growing popularity of Republicanism that cuts across nearly all segments of Georgia’s electorate.
Except for black voters, Georgians are enthralled by the GOP. Look at the Nov. 2 election results. President Bush triumphed. Republicans won a House majority and expanded their Senate majority. Republican Congressman Johnny Isakson ran away with the Senate election. The GOP-backed gay-marriage ban carried the day. What Republicans wanted, Republicans mostly got.
Still, something is missing. The party includes no single commanding presence, no one who can rally the elephants round the flag, no one who stands above all other politicians to call for action. No one with star power.
Bo Callaway is off the scope. Newt Gingrich has vanished. Linda Schrenko is under indictment. As a magnetic leader, Perdue won’t do. Nor will Insurance Commissioner John “Mystery Merger” Oxendine.
So what are Republicans to do to fill that yawning personality gap in their leadership ranks?
Some leading Republicans have a surefire answer. Induce Secretary of State Cox to forget her Democratic rescue mission and join the GOP. She has not quite rebuffed their advances.
Here is the deal they have proffered:
n Cox would switch to the Republican Party and immediately announce for lieutenant governor in 2006. She would run to succeed Democrat Mark Taylor, presently a wide-open candidate for governor against Perdue.
n In exchange for switching, Cox would be richly rewarded. Top-rung Republicans — the ones with the fattest wallets and most generous hearts — would discourage other GOP members from entering the lieutenant governor’s fray.
Commissioner Oxendine, who has hinted he will run for lieutenant governor, would be pressed to seek re-election to his present post. State Sen. Casey Cagle of Gainesville would be offered goodies to keep him from moving. Cox would be the toast of the Georgia GOP. She would campaign right alongside Gov. Perdue, who once tried to evict her from the Capitol. She would lead an onslaught against the remaining Democratic officeholders Attorney General Thurbert Baker, Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin, Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond and, of course, Lt. Gov. Taylor, the candidate for governor.
n When the dust settled, Georgia government would be fully under GOP control. Lt. Gov.-elect Cathy Cox would prepare to run for governor in 2010. A re-elected Gov. Perdue, who cannot legally seek a third term, would be ready and willing to help Cox raise campaign funds and discourage other Republicans from making the 2010 governor’s race.
Nearly overnight, Cathy Cox could become the Joan of Arc of Georgia Republicanism, the American Idol of the Deep South — the bright light the GOP needs to guide it to permanent power. For instance, Cox’s value in attracting more women voters to Republican ranks would be unsurpassed. She also is a favorite of the elderly, the state’s other king-sized voting bloc.
We called Cox to see how thrilled she is at the invitation to switch parties and move up the electoral ladder. “Who knows where this might lead?” we mused. “The governor’s office could turn out to be just a temporary stopping place. Cathy could keep going, on to Washington. Why, heck, she could be the Republican equivalent of Hillary.”
On the phone, she didn’t sound as jubilant as we expected. Instead, she seemed sort of blah about the whole thing. She confirmed that Republicans had offered the above-described arrangement. And, yes, she has a number of Republican friends who like the idea of her switching. She mentioned GOP state Chairman Alex Poitevint, who lives in Bainbridge, Cox’s hometown. No, she would not confirm whether high-powered lobbyist Joe Tanner had acted as a go-between.
She also mentioned that her cell phone connection was fading. She said she’d talk to me later. She wanted to think.
She may have remembered the Great Republican Deal of 1986 when GOP leaders promised not to back any high-powered candidate against Democratic Gov. Joe Frank Harris. In return, Democrats would decline to put up a viable candidate against Republican Sen. Mack Mattingly. All parties said OK. The deal fell apart anyway. Harris won; Mattingly didn’t. Georgia’s first elected Republican senator fell to the most liberal Democrat in the state, Wyche Fowler, who had plenty of support.
Then there was the time Republicans crossed over and flooded the 1966 Democratic primary to vote for Lester Maddox. They were certain that Maddox could never be elected governor. Ergo, the Republicans would win automatically. Didn’t happen. Maddox became governor.
As she reviews those arcane ploys of yesteryear, she may think of the one enduring characteristic of the Grand Old Party of Georgia: Its deals never work. That is part, albeit a small part, of the reason that Cathy Cox will remain a Democrat and challenge Perdue for governor in 2006.