Let's put Ruthless Ralph Reed's Insurgency in a Body Bag – Commentary by Woody Highsmith
and Steve Scroggins
The Ralph Reed for Lieutenant Governor Campaign is cranking up.
Let's take a look what he has done for himself so far.
Reed was instrumental in persuading conservative members of Congress to
support permanent normal trade relations with China, he got paid, and
Georgians lost textile plants and jobs. Reed has Chinese yuan coins among his 30 pieces
of silver, but let's look at what it cost Georgia.
Textile plants recently closed by Chinese competition...
Springs Industries, Hartwell, Towel finishing plant - Closed 2005
Springs Industries, Ellijay, Manufactured accent rugs - Closed 2005
Galey & Lord, Shannon, Garment manufacturing supplies - Closed 2005
Shaw Industries, Dallas, Carpet - Closed 2004
Mount Vernon Mills, White County, Textiles - Closed 2004
Fleetwood Draperies, Coffee County, Mobile home draperies - Closed 2004
Shaw Industries, Rome, Carpet - Closed 2004
WestPoint Stephens Dixie Plant, Troup County, Textiles - Closed 2004
WestPoint Stephens Dunson Plant Troup County, Textiles - Closed 2004
Flint River Textiles, Albany, Textiles - Closed 2004
Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Cartersville, Tire cords and fabric - Closed 2003
Dan River Inc., Fort Valley, Textiles - Closed 2003
Darwood Manufacturing, Pelham, Shirt manufacturing - Closed 2003
We would be remiss if we didn't mention that fact that Georgia politicians
(NOT the People!!) adopted a new State flag in 2003---the beginning of the recent hemorrhage of Georgia jobs. Is there a connection?
No, of course not. We mention it only because in October 2002 former Governor Barnes tried to use the Chrysler-Daimler plant as his
excuse for changing the State flag. It was about at that point that Barnes realized that his blunder on changing the State
flag was the ONLY thing keeping the Perdue campaign afloat. Of course, it really was a non-issue for the Daimler people; their
interest was ONLY the deal---what kind of tax-breaks, incentives and give-aways could they get.
At that point, it was believed
that they were leaning away from South Carolina and toward Georgia (Pooler) to build a new auto plant. South Carolina Governor
Hodges said the issue of the flag (the controversy about the flag on their Capitol grounds) "never came up." Barnes suggested
that his change of the Georgia flag was responsible for Georgia's being favored (at that time) in the Daimler deal.
Daimler has said repeatedly that local flags had NOTHING whatsoever to do with their decision and we find it very credible
that money (taxbreaks) were the driver in their decision. As it turns out, Georgia botched the deal or someone else offered
a sweeter deal. The flag was a non-factor in that.
But it was NOT a non-factor in Perdue's 2002 election. Any claim that it was a non-factor is NOT credible. Barnes himself and
virtually all credible political analysts (including the University of Georgia) agreed it was a decisive factor.
Who would suggest the nonsense that the flag was a non-factor? It was the boy wonder, Ralph Reed. Here's
what he said in a story published by
"Ralph Reed, chairman of the state Republican party, called the Confederate flag a 'non-factor' Tuesday in the
Republican breakthrough victories this month."
While we have no use (other than mild amusement in the sideshow clown sense) for
the Massachusetts Kennedys, they evidently believe (correctly) that Barnes' defeat was directly caused by
the flag issue. On their website,
they write: "While the flag controversy was not the only issue in the race, it
was likely a decisive one and contributed to Barnes’s defeat in 2002."
They brought Barnes up to Boston to give
him a "Profiles in Courage" plaque for the "courage" he showed in defying the will of the Georgia people. When you KNOW
that you're right and that everyone else is wrong---like certain yankees are prone to be----then you show "courage" when
you just thumb your nose at them and "do what's best for them."
From the name of President Kennedy's book,
"Profiles in Courage" they call their trophies by the same name and give them to people who share their political
agenda. It gives Teddie a good excuse for a party. In any event, Profiles in Arrogance would be a more accurate prize in the case of
Barnes himself said on several occasions that it was the flag issue that led
to his defeat.
So, we've established that Reed is a liar prone to making statements with
no credibility whatsoever. Let's get back to the beginning and look at what Reed has done for himself...at the expense
Enron paid Reed more than $300,000 to garner support for energy
deregulation. Would it be a stretch to suggest Reed was instrumental in the higher prices you pay for natural gas
in your home? For gasoline at the fuel pump? You be the judge.
In the 2000 GOP primary, Reed justified his big Enron fee by helping to
smear John McCain during the South Carolina primary and was paid almost $3.7
million for helping with Bush's election campaign.
Federal investigations of long time friend Abramoff shows he paid Reed
more than $4 million to help organize Christian opposition to Indian casinos in
Texas and Louisiana, using money from other Indians with rival casinos. A subpoena has been issued for Reed from the
U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Blogger Jesse Berney had this to say about Reed's exploitations to enrich himself:
Reed has amassed a political and financial fortune selling himself as a spokesman for the religious right. After retiring as president of the Christian Coalition, he opened up a political and communications consulting firm, offering his services to clients like Enron. He worked closely with superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, a close friend whose business currently under investigation by the Senate and who has close ties to several of the scandals currently embroiling Tom DeLay.
Reed's financial leverage of his religious bona fides have surprised even some of his allies on the right.
"Most of us in the movement are where we are because we believe in what we are doing," said the Rev. Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association. "I don't know any of us trying to get rich."
But Reed kept his religious credentials burnished lobbying for a campaign to close down Indian casinos in Texas and Louisiana, a job he was hired by Abramoff to do. Reed didn't reveal, however, that the money came from rival Indian tribes who wanted to shut down the casinos to improve their own business.
Reed exemplifies the Republican Party's approach to religion. While appealing to Americans with empty religious rhetoric, their own actions prove that values are meaningless to them — nothing more than political capital to be exploited.
We don't think that Republicans of integrity or anyone with a moral compass
wants to be associated with this type behavior. Reed is giving Republicans a bad name...which is compounded with Sonny
Perdue's reputation that made SONNY
LIED the Official Georgia State sign and the recent Secrecy Front that passed through
Georgia. Are these folks taking "stealth" and "covert ops" lessons from Reed?
this casino scandal is no surprise to his mother, Marcy Reed, who was quoted as saying,
"I used to tell people he was going to be either President of the United States or Al Capone." It appears to us that
Reed wants to be both.
Jack Newfield, writing in The Nation closes his story of Reed's casino scandal with this pithy line,
"In 1995, when he was still exploiting intolerance and fear, Time did a story on him that included the cover
line 'The right hand of God.' Today God's right hand seems to be holding dice and a bloody political hatchet."
If we were editing Newfield, we would have suggested "tomahawk" instead of "hatchet."
Reed fancies himself as a crusader in the warrior sense, and describes himself
as a stealthy special forces 'guerilla' warrior. Since he does it for money, we think the term "mercenary" is very fitting.
Reed was quoted in the 11/9/91 Norfolk Virginian-Pilot as saying:
"I want to be invisible. I do guerilla warfare. I paint my face and travel
at night. You don't know it's over until you're in a body bag. You don't know until election night."
Reed reportedly bragged to Newsweek about his stealth strategies:
"We've learned how to move under the radar in the cover of the night with shrubbery strapped to our
helmets," the Christian Coalition's Reed told Newsday. "It's like being a good submarine captain: You come up, fire
three missiles and then dive."
Given how Reed has comingled his religion and politics and how his interests all seem to focus on the
worship of Mammon, we would refer Reed to review the Ten Commandments, especially the ones about idolatry and bearing
false witness. From the New Testament, we'd refer him to the story about Jesus and the money-changers.
"Jesus entered the Temple area and drove out all who were buying and
selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches
of those selling doves. 'It is written,' he said to them, 'My house will be
called a house of prayer but you are making it a den of robbers.'" --(Matthew 21:12-13)
We trust that the people of Georgia will see Reed for the hypocrite and liar
that he is. Reed is a sellout, a sleazy merchant in the Temple, hiring out his Christian reputation to the highest bidder. We certainly hope that
Republicans with any semblance of integrity will distance themselves from Reed. Reed is scary
enough as a stealthy political mercenary, so, we hope to soon see his quest for personal political power...in a body bag.
Woody Highsmith, a longtime heritage activist, lives in Augusta. Steve Scroggins contributes
commentary and political parody for Georgia Heritage Council and he lives in Macon.
Ralph 'Roll them Dice' Reed gets his just desserts
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Reed, Perdue the new Whopper Kings
Ralph Reed at the Pearly Gates
Reeds Casino adventures