Saturday, July 22, 2006

Democrats: 'Deus dementat ...'

The sock puppetry of Greenwald -- viciously dismantled by Ace of Spades and Dan Riehl -- is further proof, were it needed, that the rapid rise of the left-wing blogosphere is bad news for Democrats.

Almost from the instant YearlyKos drew national attention to this phenomenon, the Moonbats have demonstrated that they are not ready for primetime. Like the dot-com bubble of the 1990s, the left side of the blogosphere attracted a bunch of get-rich-quick schemers who saw an opportunity to exploit the ignorance of others.

Because the average reader of liberal blogs knows even less about economics than he knows about politics, the first clever guys to tap the market were able to establish themselves as kingpins. It was rather like being at the top of a pyramid scheme.

The left blogs represented different things to producers and consumers. The producers saw an opportunity to earn money and gain influence; the consumers were dazzled by the promise of political success.

Guys like Kos and Jerome made a big show of being political analysts, of possessing some special insight that would enable the "people-powered movement" to defeat Bushitler and the Repugs. Some four years into this enterprise, the Ayatollahs of Kosola are "0-for-eternity," and yet their visitors keep coming back. Why? Because, sad as it is for Democrats to admit, the crackpot paranoid politics of the Kos crowd is their only hope for regaining the power they've been steadily losing since 1994.

The desperation of the Left in the post-Clinton age created a huge market of would-be suckers to be tapped by the likes of Kos, Jerome and Glenn Greenwald -- faux-sophisticates with a knack for articulating the grievances of the hard-core true believers.

Right v. Left

Outside the Beltway points out important differences between Left and Right on the blogosphere. But the biggest difference is this: The Right has been rolling up political victories since 1980.

With the (not insignificant) exception of the Clinton presidency, conservatives can look back on nearly a quarter-century of unprecedented electoral success. From their post-Watergate ebb of 1974, conservative-led GOP has risen to almost complete domination of the political landscape so that, even in 2006 -- with scandals, internal dissent and a discouraging war to hinder them -- Republicans are still odds-on favorites to maintain their congressional majorities.

The Right side of the blogosphere, therefore, doesn't have to offer any "bold new ideas" or esoteric strategies for conservative victory. Conservatives know a thing or two about winning in politics, and so there is no single genius-guru, nor even really an oligarchy, atop the Right side of the blogosphere. Conservative blog activity is diverse in form, content and ideology.

But the Left, grasping at any straw of hope, has thrust wealth, influence and even something like fame onto a relative handful of individuals whose names were unknown before 2000. The estimated annual ad revenue of DailyKos is $631,800; previously it was $832,000, but it seems that Kos has (a) reduced his ad slots from 8 to 6; and (b) increased the price per ad from $2,000 to $2,025 per week.

After less than a year of blogging, Greenwald's ranked in the Technorati Top 100 and his book is a New York Times bestseller. The guys on top of the Left blogosphere are making out like bandits.

Hustling trust

What the Left side of the blogosphere has been hustling for the past 5 years is not merely entertainment (like Michelle Malkin in shorts on a trampoline). They're not jokers like Ace, or online sleuths like Dan, they're not even "proud members of the MSM" like Don Surber.

No, the Blogonistas are faithful leaders of the flock. Like Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggart, their stock-in-trade is piety and trust.

How is that trust gained? Flattery:
"Oh, you are so smart and generous and noble, my fellow anti-war liberals. Your politics is destined to triumph over the evils of Bushitler, but you have been betrayed and sold out by the Lieberman-worshippers and the DLC. They are dishonest cowards, not courageous fighters like you! Let's all band together and really FIGHT HARD for our cause!"
Thus, by a sort of a populist sycophancy, trust is gained. And to what use do they put that trust? To enrich and exalt themselves.

And what does the average Kossack get from this transaction? Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. The ordinary Kossack is like Erin in Flagstaff: Paying money to hang around losers.

What the Kossacks can't seem to comprehend is this: The advertisers at DailyKos are buying traffic. In other words, every time anyone clicks onto DailyKos, that generates a "visit," the aggregate of which then is translated into revenue for Kos. And this kingpin status then creates other income-generating opportunities for Kos and Jerome, and likewise for Greenwald, et al.

Armageddon looms

All of which would be perfectly fine if the Big Box bloggers of the Left were actually directing the Democratic base toward victory. But they have not delivered victory in the past two elections, and it does not look as if they will deliver victory anytime soon.

We are now within weeks of the 2006 elections. A third consecutive GOP victory over the "people-powered movement" should suffice to disillusion all but the most deranged Moonbats. A well-funded team of political professionals is now hard at work to accomplish such a victory.

Maybe Greenwald can explain away his apparent sock puppetry -- although Allah Pundit isn't buying Glenn's "my Brazilian lover is as obsessed with my blog as I am" argument. Jerome and Kos have managed to keep up their hustle despite their various post-YK embarassments. But what will they say after a crushing defeat in November? Even if the Democrats come close to recapturing Congress but fall short, that kind of horseshoes-and-hand grenades stuff isn't what the Kossacks really want.

And the Right blogosphere isn't going anywhere. On Nov. 8, the whole gang will still be online, to highlight how much money the Kossacks poured into losing campaigns at the behest of the Moonbat Mullahs. Conservative bloggers will remind everyone that Kos and Jerome and Greenwald got paid big bucks for their political insights, and that those political insights were revealed to be entirely bogus.

I'll bet if you clicked over to DailyKos right now, you'd see them almost SCREAMING LIKE THIS about the need for their readers to give, give, give to Democrats. The Left bloggers are within weeks of their own little Armageddon. Those Democrats, like Howard Dean, who have delivered the party into the hands of the Kos crowd are proving once again the ancient maxim:
Quos perdere vult deus dementat prius.
Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. When Democrats surrender their party to stock scammers, astrologers and "patriots" who've decamped to Rio -- well, don't blame us for reading the omens and portents.

Ace of Spades finds himself enjoying it too much, hammering some nicey-nice "blog civility" hall monitor like Mark Gastineau in full-blown 'roid rage, sack-dancing over a fallen quarterback:
PS, your blog sucks and always has. Just wanted to point that out.
Oh, good luck on getting linked on this obvious, contrived bit of Insta-bait.
"Oh, look at me, I preen about what good manners we should all have! Let’s stick to the substance, guys!" ...
And then Ace adds this "update":
No one looks cool when they lose their, um, cool.
Serenity now. Perspective. Putting the computer down.

LOL! While Ace looks for his Zen space, I'll say in his defense that there's nothing quite like the feeling of strutting around with a fresh bloody scalp, and it's easy to get carried away. I know. I've done it myself.

I'm thinking maybe Ace ought to consider the Ned Flanders option: Just stop hatin' on Glenn. The man has been exposed as a vainglorious fool, his pride and reputation assaulted. Now everybody else is dogpiling on the guy. If you keep up the attack, you look sadistic. So be the big guy, say "God bless you," and walk away.

I discovered the bliss of Flanders-ism with Cynthia McKinney. Having spent 15 years hatin' on McKinney, I lost my joy just about the time everybody jumped on the anti-McKinney bandwagon. Having been demonized myself, I have some empathy for people who find themselves cast in the "Villain of the Day" role.

McKinney screwed up. Patrick Kennedy screwed up. Glenn Greenwald screwed up. Once somebody like that is exposed for their screw-ups, the continued piling-on is just overkill. Call in Ned Flanders and let it drop. ...

But never mind that -- Dan's got video!


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Reality-based insanity

It's official: Tree-huggers are crazy.

And if you ever wanted to see video of Michelle Malkin, in shorts, jumping on a trampoline, this is your chance.

Remember: She fed me lunch!

Moonbats have their own video heroes. Is that Markos leading the chant?


Erick on Cagle

Nice post at Red State.


Armageddon for Moonbats

Matt Stoller, ignoring pleas from friends and family, drank the Kos Kool-Aid and is now hallucinating about a Ned Lamont victory.

If and when the effects wear off, maybe Matt will consider some facts:
  • Lieberman has led every public poll in this primary.
  • Lieberman stomped Lamont in the TV debate.
  • The Moonbats are about to be taught a lesson that Hezbollah is currently learning: Genesis 12:3.
So tell me, Matt, how come Jerome Armstrong's astrology charts didn't warn him about the IDF's plans to boost the Joe-Mentum?

The Jihad Johnnies are lobbing missiles into Haifa, sparking talk of World War III, and the Moonbats think they're going to defeat one of the staunchest Zionists in the Senate?

Good night, Ned!


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Primary hangover

Kind of worn out after blogging the Georgia primary from 2 p.m. Tuesday until 3:45 a.m. Wednesday. So let's hit some quick highlights:

Casey Cagle's victory in the GOP primary for lieutenant governor of Georgia is probably destined to be one of those things that the liberal media never understand. The MSM is so focused on Ralph Reed as an icon of the (eee-vill!) "Religious Right" that they just don't get it, although I tried to explain part of it.

Good to see Erick at Peach Pundit giving props to DONKEY CONS (BUY TWO!) as being the first to call the LG race for Cagle at 9 p.m. Tuesday. Of course, without the insight derived from reports by the Peach Pundit gang, even a certified wingnut like me wouldn't have dared call with just 1/5 of the precincts tallied.

Peach Pundit forever remains the best place to find the inside scoop on Georgia politics. Erick did me a huge favor by helping me connect with Republican activists during my 4th of July visit to Georgia. They helped fill me in on the political background, so I could get a good feel for the LG's race, and to all of y'all, I say a big thanks. Next time you're in Washington, look me up. Always good to see home folks.

Rob Huddleston has a great take on the Georgia primary. Rob's a Tennessean, and they've had a particularly brutal 3-way GOP primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Frist's retirement. When the mudbath is over, Tennessee Republicans are going to have their work cut out for them this fall to defeat a united Democratic Party behind Harold Ford Jr.

McKinney's runoff

If you are a normal human being, the news that "Jihad Cindy" McKinney has been forced into a runoff is a "Ren & Stimpy" moment:

There may be crazier liberals in America, but few are so ostentatiously idiotic as the Democrat from GA4. Adorably, and predictably, McKinney's campaign (and a Moonbat or two) saw her embarrassment as the work of a Diebold conspiracy.

Hank Johnson -- who just became Neal Boortz's favorite Democrat -- is to be commended for running an excellent campaign. Yet some Republicans may be asking themselves whether keeping McKinney in Congress might not have some partisan value.

Jihad Cindy's outbursts of idiocy -- as predictable as clockwork -- are the gift that keeps on giving to the GOP. All Republicans have to do every fall is to ask Americans: "Do you really want to vote for the Cynthia McKinney party?" No way 51% of Americans will ever answer "yes."

In a narrow partisan sense, then, it would be a loss for the GOP if McKinney were defeated in the Aug. 8 runoff. But there are times when patriotism requires that we do what's good for our country, regardless of partisan interests, and so ...
Give 'til it hurts!

And God bless America.

Some extra stuff

Just in case you thought Democrats were the World's Worst Political Party, Blonde Sagacity has news for you.

Hat tip to Jeff Emanuel for this from the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald:
Cagle’s against-all-odds, David-versus-Goliath victory in this race was a parallel of his life story to this point. A living embodiment of the American dream, Cagle was raised by a single mother, who often had to work multiple jobs to provide for them—but who “never took a dime of government assistance.” A public school product who never graduated from college, Cagle rose from unskilled laborer to successful self-made business owner.
Jeff's just posted his own column about Cagle's victory:
Ninth-generation Georgian Casey Cagle defeated his Miami-raised opponent — who was running for elective office for the first time amid rampant speculation he was seeking the office only as a steppingstone to the governorship — both by communicating his positive vision for Georgia, and by convincing voters Reed's values were "for sale to the highest bidder."
The thing about Republicans, they can sometimes manage to look classy even when eating a big ol' steamin' plate of fresh crow, as Georgia state Sen. Cecil Staton shows:

Here we are on the morning after a long bruising campaign and one job remains to be completed. We must pick up the broken pieces and put back together the Republican family in order to form a winning strategy for the general election.

I know it will not be easy. I have never been involved in a more emotional campaign. ... My candidate for Lt. Governor did not win. But I have never for a moment supposed that his opponent was evil or unworthy. ... I am pledging my complete support to our Republican nominees. There is more at stake than my personal feelings or yours. If we want Republican principles to be lived out through state government then we must come together and work for a total victory this fall, from top to bottom.
I only wish Sen. Staton had explained which "Republican principles" were involved in Ralph's pimping for the Louisiana Coushatta tribe and sweatshops in the Northern Marianas islands. But let's let bygones be bygones, and there's no need to bring up Reed's brilliant political advice at this late date.

* * * * *
Here's another poor fellow smitten with desire for Ann Coulter.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cagle win: We called it first

Just in case anyone cares, at 8:55 p.m. Tuesday, I sent out the following e-mail:
-- Original Message ----
From: Stacy McCain
Sent: Tuesday, July 18, 2006 8:55:18 PM
Subject: CAGLE WINS!
CAGLE leading by 2,300 votes in Cobb County with nearly 2/3 of precincts reporting. Cagle is running strong in North Georgia, and his strongest counties -- Hall and Gwinnett -- have yet to come in. If Reed can't win Cobb County, he can't win, period. I'm getting ready to call it for Cagle. ...
One of the recipients replied:
"I'd hold off for just a bit longer, Stacy...there's a good bit more of Metro Atlanta, and a whole lot of the rural areas of the state to go. Just need to keep up this double-digit lead..."
Another recipient replied:
"The Cobb numbers haven't moved in a while. It could tighten up. Not likely but possible."
But by the time I saw either of those, I'd already updated the blog:
9 p.m.: CAGLE WINS
Hate to risk a "Dewey Defeats Truman" situation, but the early returns clearly point to a Cagle victory. With Hall and Gwinnett yet to report, and Cagle leading in Cobb, Paulding and throughout North Georgia, this one is an easy call:
Peach Pundit called it at 9:14 p.m.

Erick asks a good question: "Does Insider Advantage offer refunds?" Matt Towery had Reed leading right up until about a week ago, when Cagle pulled even.

I remember when Brad Alexander told me the Cagle campaign's internal polling showed their guy up by as much as 9 points.

That seemed like braggadocio, but -- wow! -- Cagle won by 12 points. So score one for Cagle's pollsters.

Primary Day

Towery had said (a) Cagle did better among "leaners" but (b) the high level of "undecided" voters meant that a low turnout would help Reed. So when my first call today (from Darryl B. in Cartersville) indicated a low turnout, I figured it would be neck-and-neck.

But as the results started coming in, Cagle established a steady 55%-45% lead, with strong numbers throughout North Georgia. I'd traveled through West and Northwest Georgia over the 4th of July holiday and knew Cagle would be strong there. But Reed, who was supposedly stronger in South Georgia, wasn't getting any really impressive numbers there.

With about 1/5 of the precincts reporting statewide as 9 p.m. approached, Cobb County was breaking against Reed. Knowing that Cagle would win big in Hall County and do well in neighboring Gwinnett, I couldn't see any way Reed could win, so I went out on the limb and called it.

Why Reed lost

Last year, my brother who lives in Douglasville called my attention to the Atlanta newspapers' reporting on Reed's involvement in the Abramoff scandal. At the time, like a lot of other people, I dismissed it as just so much smear-mongering by the liberal AJC.

If you've ever been to the Capitol in Atlanta and seen former Gov. Lester Maddox's official portrait -- featuring a fish wrapped in a copy of the Atlanta Constitution -- you know what most people think about what Maddox always called "those lyin' Atlanta papers." No amount of scandal reporting by the AJC was going to stop Reed from winning the GOP primary. Being attacked by the AJC is routing for Republicans in Georgia.

But in December 2005, as Lynn and I were approaching deadline for DONKEY CONS (buy TWO!), we felt we had to address the Abramoff scandal -- which eventually formed the concluding chapter of the book. And that's when I came across Matt Continetti's article, "Money, Mobsters, Murder" in The Weekly Standard.

After reading that, I felt sure that Reed would have to quit the race. No way, after head sold his soul to the casino lobby, could Reed count on the support of conservative Christians in Georgia. I remembered how they'd fought all-out against the Georgia lottery, and I felt sure they'd resent Reed's involvement in that wretched scandal. And that feeling was reinforced when I read a Bloomberg News article in January:
Campaign-finance reports filed this week show that Reed, 44, lagged behind opponent Casey Cagle in fundraising for the July 18 Republican primary during the past six months, after collecting more than twice as much money as his rival before that. Cagle raised $667,000 from June 30 to Dec. 31 to Reed's $404,000. ...
"There are concerns as to whether Ralph will continue to make headlines that are harmful to the party,'' said Eric Johnson, who as the Georgia Senate's president pro tem is a top Republican. ...
The young Republicans following in Reed's footsteps -- students, budding activists and campaign managers -- now don't want him to run, said Charles Bullock, a political scientist at the University of Georgia in Athens.
"Without exception, they are hoping he's not on the ticket,'' Bullock said.
With his fundraising drying up and the young GOP activists embarassed by Reed, the handwriting was obviously on the wall. And yet, against all logic, Reed stayed in the race.

'Mene, mene, tekel upharsin'

Because of my friendships with several conservative evangelicals in Georgia, I knew that the Abramoff revelations would make it hard for Reed to mobilize his old Christian Coalition "base" for the campaign. That's why, when Erick posted something at Peach Pundit in late February, showing that Reed had the big-money Chamber of Commerce crowd on his side, I was intrigued:
Having alienated his Christian conservative base by prostituting himself to Indian Jack, now Reed is prostituting himself to the same Chamber of Commerce crowd that backed Johnny Isaakson (R-Youkiddingme), who is such a notorious RINO he should be in the Atlanta Zoo instead of the U.S. Senate.
(Apologies to Isaakson, who had a RINO reputation back home but has emerged as a staunch conservative in Washington.)

Most of the media, both nationally and in Georgia, seemed to take for granted that Reed would retain his Christian conservative support, and so interpreted Reed's play for the Chamber of Commerce crowd as an expansion of Reed's campaign. What I saw was Reed attempting to pull in the big money boys to make up for the erosion of his support within the conservative grassroots. (Of course, it was easier for Reed to get the big money during the months when the General Assembly was in session and Cagle was forbidden by Georgia law from raising money.)

That was the same time when WORLD Magazine came out with an article examining Reed's Abramoff connections. People outside the evangelical world don't understand how much impact that had on Reed. WORLD is to the Christian homeschooling community what Newsweek is to the rest of America. I don't know what their circulation is, but they've got a real strong readership among homeschooling leaders, and those people would otherwise have been expected to be strong activists for the Reed campaign.

That was what led me to wonder whether Reed needed Aramaic lessons.

The campaign unfolds

All along, Reed's strongest asset was the sense of inevitability: He was the leader, he had the connections, he had the endorsements, he was going to win. That was the whole point of the big Atlanta fundraiser with Rudy Giuliani: To create an aura of invincibility.

There is a certain bandwagon effect in politics. People like to vote for the winner. So by bringing in Giuliani and basking in a warm media glow, Reed was seeking to create that winning impression. I was almost alone in suspecting that, when the expenses were considered, the Giuliani "fundraiser" was actually a money-losing event.

Yet Reed, because of his service as chairman of the Georgia GOP, still had strong support, and because the public polling showed him leading, the "Fear Factor" was in play. I started picking this up from some of the comments at Peach Pundit: Some Republicans were afraid to stand up and denounce Reed because, if he won the primary, they might become pariahs within the party apparatus. So if there was some kind of anti-Reed backlash among hard-core Republicans, it was going to be a quiet backlash.

One of the reasons Reed was so fear was because of his reputation for being able to mobilize an "army" of volunteers. That just didn't pan out on Tuesday. Why?

Simple: In the past, Reed was always organizing conservatives against liberals. It's one thing to get Georgia Republicans fired up to go campaign against Democrats. It's another thing altogether to get them to go campaign against a conservative Republican like Casey Cagle.

Cagle has a rock-solid conservative record, without being offensive or frightening to suburban soccer moms. Sure, Ralph could always get an "army" to volunteer against whatever liberal menace was represented by John Kerry or Max Cleland. But what's the menace of Cagle? It just doesn't work, see.

Attacks fail, and backfire

Matt Towery explained the strategy of why Reed, in June, began rolling out a series of ads attacking Cagle. Both because of his Christian Coalition background and the Abramoff scandals, Reed had "high negatives." By attacking Cagle, Reed sought to drive up Cagle's negatives to the point that Reed would not be at such a disadvantage.

Negative campaigning also tends to drive down turnout, and a low-turnout race -- where most of the Republican voters were hard-core party regulars -- would be to the advantage of Reed, the former state GOP chairman.

The problem is, Cagle's record and reputation were so solid that Reed couldn't make an honest hit on him. Instead, Reed tried to distort Cagle's record on property rights and other issues. But the Cagle campaign was able to fire back with the facts, and anyone who cared to investigate the claims would surely see that Reed's attacks were misleading.

Reed's negative attacks thus made him look dishonest and unfair. Furthermore, after two or three weeks of attack ads on TV, Reed had no room to complain when Cagle finally unleashed what Towery called "the hydrogen bomb," an ad highlighting Reed's Abramoff connections.

Towery said Cagle should have gone negative earlier, but I think the Cagle campaign played it right. Cagle had a good reputation and strong backing by Republican state senators. He could afford to play a "rope-a-dope" strategy: Take the hits, and wait for the sixth round.

So Cagle waited until July 3 and then lit it up, having hoarded enough money to be able to keep the ads playing in steady rotation as the campaign hit the home stretch. The ad ensured that the Abramoff issue would be a central focus of the televised debates and -- though Cagle supporters felt he spent too much time emphasizing Abramoff in the debates -- in the end, Georgians saw that Reed had no good explanation for his actions in the Abramoff affair.

A solid campaign

The Cagle team deserves credit for keeping their cool and holding back their biggest trump card until the last two weeks. And Cagle, personally, is a strong candidate. An old city editor pal taught me a basic truth of politics: Good candidates win elections. A good campaign, therefore, begins with a good candidate.

If you've met Cagle in person -- as I did on July 2 in Stockbridge -- you know that he is very friendly and approachable. With his boyish blue eyes and his "American dream" story of growing up as the son of a single mom, Cagle is really strong with women voters (as Towery's polls indicated). And as a former football standout, he also has that "one of the guys" quality that most male voters relate to -- he doesn't seem stiff or stuck-up. With 12 years in the state senate, Cagle is very well-informed about the issue, and can sit and talk politics with either "insiders" or ordinary voters.

Cagle's down-to-earth qualities helped him win over one key supporter: My brother. Kirby accompanied me as photographer for the July 2 Henry County event for Cagle, and spent several minutes talking to the candidate and came away convinced that Cagle is a good man. So Kirby got himself some yard signs and became a one-man campaign team for Cagle. (Now, Mr. Cagle: About those highway projects ....)

Reed's future

Reed now will go through the 7 stages of grief over his defeat, but his future is still bright. He's still got his career skills as a political pro and those skills are worth money. I don't think he'll face criminal charges over the Abramoff affair. Not now. He's no longer the kind of "ham sandwich" a Democrat D.A. would find appealing.

Were I Reed, I think I'd spend the next few months out of the limelight, working behind the scenes to help the Republicans win in November. And then I'd start going around to megachurches in Georgia, giving "testimony" about the evils of corruption. I'd take as my text Proverbs 14:12, "There is a way that seems right unto man ...."

Meanwhile, Reed could start doing some charitable work (with a net worth of $4.6 million, he can afford to be charitable) in support of Christian education in Georgia. Reed is a prodigious fundraiser, so why not put those skills to good use, raising money for scholarships at church schools in Georgia? What most evangelical grade schools lack is an endowment -- a pot of money earning interest to pay for improvements, to hire faculty, to give scholarships to deserving students.

If Reed would work to become a benefactor to Christian education in Georgia, he might go a long way toward repairing his reputation among conservative evangelicals. He might also convice more secular Georgians that he is something other than a political hustler. But he would definitely be doing the Lord's work by helping kids escape the toils of the government school establishment.

And who knows? In 2008 or 2010, maybe Reed could run for office again. It might not be the kind of thing that would be a stepping-stone to the presidency -- as it was said Reed viewed this year's lieutenant governor's race -- but America needs congressmen and senators, too.


And if anybody cares, I'm looking at a clock that says 3:35 a.m. But now it's time to go home to the Missus.

Judgment Day in Ga.: Reed v. Cagle

When news of Reed's concession reached Cagle's Victory party in Gwinnett County, Clint Murphy reports, the crowd went "out of control." Clint called me back on his cell phone so I could hear the speech live.

When Cagle took the stage for his victory speech about 10:15 p.m., the crowd screamed for about 5 minutes.

"We are so excited," Cagle said, beginning with thanks to "my heavenly father."
"I also want to thank my family. ... They've seen my name dragged through the mud."
Cagle said he was "so humbled" by the victory and added: "It wasn't just for Casey Cagle, because we believe in hope, we believe in opportunity, we believe in the American dream."

He thanked "my senators" and other elected officials "who put their necks out on the line for me."

"The good guys won tonight," Cagle said, prompting cheers from the crowd.

Cagle said, "I do wish Ralph Reed well. He was very gracious when he called." Cagle said Reed pledged his support in November.

"There's another guy we've got to make sure gets elected in November, and that's Sonny Perdue," Cagle said, drawing more cheers. He concluded by telling his supporters: "We've still got one more hurdle to overcome, and that's November, so let's work hard."

9:55 p.m.:
“Tonight my candidacy for lieutenant governor comes to an end,” Reed said.

10:10 p.m.: Just got off the phone with Clint Murphy, who's at the Cagle victory party. Will blog the victory speech in minutes.

9 p.m.: CAGLE WINS
Hate to risk a "Dewey Defeats Truman" situation, but the early returns clearly point to a Cagle victory. With Hall and Gwinnett yet to report, and Cagle leading in Cobb, Paulding and throughout North Georgia, this one is an easy call:



Cagle 56%
Reed 44%

9:50 p.m.: With 40% of the precincts in, the steady Cagle lead is becoming too much for even Ralph's vaunted spin capacity to deny. I'm looking at Troup County, on the Alabama border north of Columbus, and Cagle's up 1,040 to Reed's 677 with 12 of 18 precincts in. And now Bartow County comes in (12 of 19 precincts) and it's Cagle 1,223 to Reed 1,074. Like I said: Cagle wins.

9:30 p.m.: Just got off the phone with Erick Erickson of PeachPundit/Red State. He's more cautious, and says the Reed people say it's going to be a long night, but Erick agrees that the electoral math looks bad for Reed.

And I got this e-mail tonight from my truck driver brother:
Early last week I went to north Georgia, the latter part of the week I went through south Georgia.
I didn't drive through, I delivered in Hahira, Valdosta, Perry, Waycross, Alma etc. The leaners were leaning Cagle. Casual observation but often times I spoke with the owner.

BTW: My brother took the photos of Cagle and Reed that are featured in this blog post.

8:30 p.m.:
Cagle obviously is running stronger in North Georgia (Fannin, Dade, Gilmer counties, etc.), Reed's stronger in South Georgia. Cagle is ahead in Cobb County -- reputedly a Reed stronghold -- with nearly half the precincts reporting. Nothing yet from Hall or Gwinnett, which should be Cagle strongholds.
8 p.m.: Very low turnout was evident in early returns. With 1% of precincts reporting, only 1,664 ballots cast in the Reed-Cagle race. A Peach Pundit blogger wonders what this means.
7:50 p.m.: Mood at Cagle HQ in Gwinnett County is reported to be "optimistic."
7:40 p.m.: Just got off the phone with a Chatam County (Savannah) Cagle supporter who says he saw no evidence today of Reed's vaunted "army" of volunteers.

The AJC is liveblogging the primary, and remember to check PeachPundit for inside scoops.

Taylor 51%
Cox 44%


Hecht 36%
Martin 42%
Miles 14%
Lotson 5%
Terrill 3%

Runoff for McKinney
With 98% of the precincts counted in District 4, Rep. Cynthia McKinney had 47% to Hank Johnson's 45% and will face an Aug. 8 runoff -- a huge embarassment for McKinney, who had been expected to coast to victory in the Democratic primary.

You've got to envy Hank Johnson. He just became Neal Boortz's favorite Democrat!

* * * * *
UPDATE 6 p.m. Tuesday
Linked at Hotline's "On Call" blog.

Polls will close at 7 p.m. EDT.
Some precincts -- especially in Fulton County -- are expected to extend voting hours, but none past 7:30 p.m., the AJC reports.

UPDATE 5 p.m. Tuesday

Turnout "predictably light" in Douglasville, our correspondent reports. "I feel very confident that Casey will take the day," says the Cagle supporter, offering what he calls " the most hair-brained reasoning I've ever articulated":
You see ... the elderly will turn out in their usual numbers. They're the bingo players and those bingo players who aren't particularly informed will vote for the first name on the ballot. I think you might find some experts who will validate my rather casual observation. My prediction is that the bingo players will push Cagle past Reed.
The scary thing: He might be right!

UPDATE 2:15 p.m. Tues. 7/18
Turnout reported light statewide. Georgia pollster Matt Towery has said a light turnout would work to Reed's advantage. We will see.

Our first exclusive Primary Day report comes from Cartersville (exurban, 45 mi. NW of Atlanta), where Darryl B. says about 50 people were on hand at 7 a.m. when the polls opened at Mission Road Elementary School. Darryl voted for Cagle.

Sign wars
Darryl mentioned something that I noticed during my visit to Georgia over 4th of July weekend. Outside metro Atlanta, Cagle has a strong advantage as measured by campaign signs. You see a good many Reed signs in suburban areas like Cobb County, but once you get out into the sticks, Cagle signs are far more numerous.

Towery explained this to me: Cagle has the active support of 3/4 of the GOP state senators, and these senators have combined their campaign-sign work with Cagle's. So if you are a supporter of a pro-Cagle senator, you're probably also a Cagle supporter, so when you put up your sign for the senator, you also put up a Cagle sign. And on roadsides and street corners , the senator's campaign crew also puts up a Cagle sign every time they put up a sign for the senator.

I suppose, then, that Cartersville's state senator is a Cagle man, which is why Darryl reports that Cagle signs outnumber Reed signs "about 10 to 1" up there.

* * * * *
As of Tuesday morning, the word from WXIA-TV in Atlanta:
(Video here.)

I've been blogging the Georgia Republican primary race between Ralph Reed and Sen. Casey Cagle since March. (For archives of our coverage CLICK HERE.)

As the only blogger outside Georgia to have paid this much attention to the Reed-Cagle race, I'll try to keep this site up-to-the-minute Tuesday with news of Primary Day in Georgia. I'll be phoning and e-mailing friends in Georgia to try to get their take on the election.

Our friend Joe at NoVa TownHall has praised DonkeyCons' coverage of the Reed-Cagle battle. However, from the beginning, the absolute #1 source for inside news on this race -- and for all Georgia politics -- has been the excellent Peach Pundit site. So if you can't find it here, be sure to check there.

The AJC reports that the candidates spent Monday making their final campaign tours of the state:
On the Republican side, Reed's whirlwind tour began in Savannah and stopped in Augusta, Macon, Valdosta, and Columbus, before wrapping up in Atlanta. ....

Cagle kicked off his tour in Albany, and then stopped in Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Augusta, Lawrenceville and Madison. He and Reed nearly bumped into each other in Macon; both had scheduled a news conference at the city's small airport at just after noon. ...

AJC's Baxter and Galloway give you a taste of the last-minute campaign battle going on in Georgia:

“You’ve probably heard that Ralph Reed worked for casinos and gambling interests. Reed even used Christian groups as a front to do that.

“But did you see that Ralph Reed was paid to lobby against protecting women in the Northern Marianas Islands from employers who pushed them into prostitution and even forced them to have abortions? Is that what you believe in?

“And to this day, Ralph Reed remains unrepentant and refuses to admit he was wrong. Paid for by Campaign Money Watch.”

No idea who pays the bills at Campaign Money Watch. But considering they're "trying to get the money out of politics," you can bet that if it's not George Soros, it's a bunch of other rich people. It's weird: Rich people against "big money" in politics.

Here is one former Reed employee explaining why he can't support Reed vs. Cagle:

Ralph Reed remains one of the most magnificently talented men I have ever met. ...

Luke 17:3 says “Take heed to yourselves: if your brother trespasses against you, rebuke him, and if he repent, forgive him.”

It is time for Christians to confront and rebuke Ralph Reed, not make apologies for him. If he truly repent (not just at election time), he can be a leader of unlimited potential.

Like I've said before, Reed's political skills -- in terms of organizing, tactics and communications -- are top-notch. But if you talk to people in conservative politics who've watched Reed in action, you get the definite impression of a man with a certain "whatever it takes to win" tendency that is way too common in politics today.

Dear Sadie ...

Here is Sadie Fields, head of the Georgia Christian Coalition, delivering the Reed campaign's talking points:
We don’t need outsiders or the media telling us who we should support. Try as you might to influence the outcome, the grassroots of Georgia will choose their own leaders.
Dear Mrs. Fields:

I was born in Georgia. Ralph wasn't.

Except for when I went to college in Alabama, I lived in Georgia the first 38 years of my life. Ralph didn't set foot in Georgia until he was 15.

Twenty years ago, while Ralph Reed was working in Washington, D.C., I was driving a forklift on Fulton Industrial Boulevard.

My brother -- also a Georgia native who lives in Douglasville and drives a truck for a living -- is about as "grassroots" as you can get. And he's doing everything he can to support Cagle. We've got close family in Cobb County, Fayette County, Carroll County and Troup County, and I don't know of a single one of them who supports Reed.

So please, Mrs. Fields, don't pretend that the opposition to Reed comes only from liberals, from the media, and from "outsiders." It's simply not true.