David Poythress, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor, is running a basic smash-mouth political play with his demand that Republican candidates sign a loyalty oath to the United States of America.
He might gain some yardage, but General Poythress is skirting close to the sidelines.
Poythress, a former secretary of state, labor commissioner, and National Guard adjutant general for the state of Georgia, has plenty of credentials for his patriotic smack down of gubernatorial candidate Congressman Nathan Deal and the Republican fringe who are mumbling secession when they think it’s just the good old boys around.
Poythress has got Deal cornered using a technique similar to the one Virginia Senator James Webb used against Republican George “Macaca” Allen – record what they are really saying when the network news cameras aren’t around and expose it for all to see. Allen blew up his campaign by appealing to the most vulgar component of his base.
General Poythress, who makes extensive use of photos of himself in uniform and points out that he is the only candidate who has actually served in the armed forces, is trying to make Deal and other Republicans choose between being loyal Americans and talking trash on the side about state’s rights.
Here’s the center of Poythress’ argument, taken straight from his campaign website: “There are certain matters of bedrock American Patriotism that are command performances, and standing proud under the American flag and Pledging Allegiance are among them.”
Here in the flat woods, we believe in standing up for the flag and saying the Pledge of Allegiance – with or without the commas around the phrase “under God” and with our without all of General Poythress’ Excessive Capitalization. But is it a “command performance?” Saying the pledge and standing up when the flag goes by is not the definition of being a good American.
Poythress needs to take off that uniform and stop commanding. There is good reason most voters prefer civilians over soldiers or preachers in political life. There is also a streak in native Southerners that reveres the old Confederacy and it has not to do with slavery or equal rights but rather the colors under which your great-great uncle or grandfather bled to death with a mini-ball in his heart. It is reasonable, if not logical, for a person to fly both the American and Confederate flags.
And while Piney Woods Pete has no tolerance for secessionists, that battle being long ago decided in favor of union, he gets a little weary of national patriotism in state politics. Call Pete an old-timer, but he’s a Georgian first. This great union is made up of fifty individual states with their own rights and powers. Were it not so, the president might appoint the governors.
On the other hand, Poythress isn’t wrong. There are secessionists afoot. The term they prefer to talk, though, is nullification, the supposed process by which a state declares a national law, executive order or judicial judgment invalid.
If you like fanciful reading, check out Georgia State Senate resolution 632 which passed 43-1 on April 9, 2009 affirming state’s rights.
The resolution, sponsored by Chip Pearson, Chip Rogers, Tommie Williams and a few more of their brand of grey-coated after-dinner speakers, waxes eloquently upon Jeffersonian democracy before detailing the laws they will not, by God, tolerate. Among them — one more word about religion or guns or ammunition from the U.S. Congress, the president or any of his agencies, or the federal courts.
The resolution concludes that if any act that the Georgia Senate doesn’t approve is put into force by any arm of the federal government, the union is immediately dissolved.
That’s better than secession, eh, boys? We’ll declare the U.S. Government unconstitutional and be done with it.
Oh, mercy! Now I hope General Poythress stays in bounds.