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
Textile plants recently closed by Chinese competition...
Springs Industries, Hartwell, Towel finishing plant - Closed
Springs Industries, Ellijay, Manufactured accent rugs - Closed
Galey & Lord, Shannon, Garment manufacturing supplies - Closed
Shaw Industries, Dallas, Carpet - Closed 2004
Mount Vernon Mills, White County, Textiles - Closed 2004
Fleetwood Draperies, Coffee County, Mobile home draperies -
Shaw Industries, Rome, Carpet - Closed 2004
WestPoint Stephens Dixie Plant, Troup County, Textiles -
WestPoint Stephens Dunson Plant Troup County, Textiles -
Flint River Textiles, Albany, Textiles - Closed 2004
Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Cartersville, Tire cords and fabric -
Dan River Inc., Fort Valley, Textiles - Closed 2003
Darwood Manufacturing, Pelham, Shirt manufacturing - Closed
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
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 redandblack.com:
"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 of others.
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
Blogger Jesse Berney had this to say about Reed's
exploitations to enrich himself:
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
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
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?
All 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
"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."
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
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.
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Reed, Perdue the new Whopper Kings
Ralph Reed at the Pearly Gates
Reeds Casino adventures