Max Cleland spoke at tonight's Democratic Party of Georgia's Jefferson Jackson Dinner. He actually awarded the Hope Award to a Georgia Democrat. His second standing ovation was when he let us in on a little secret. He said, as closely as I can remember:
"I am going to let you in on a secret. For years I have said I was injured in Vietnam. That is not true. I actually was duck hunting with Dick Cheney...."
His first standing ovation was when he rolled onto the speaker's platform. He is well loved.
Cleland as well received.
Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor both spoke on their upcoming primary battle. Cathy Cox gave an "Are You Hungry" speech. Mark Taylor talked about what he has accomplished, and alluded to Cathy Cox voting against the Hope Scholarship Fund and Lottery back when Taylor was pushing it in 1992 or so. I did not know that. So the paper trail thing and the Hope Scholarship vote have really soured me on Cox. (The Hope Scholarship has allowed 1.6 million kids go to college tuition free.)
John Lewis is amazingly short. Shirley Franklin is even shorter. Some guy who is running for Lt. Governor is even shorter and looks like a 7th grader.
I sat near one of the wealthiest men in Georgia, who has been supporting the Democratic Party for decades and decades with big bucks. I watch Mark Taylor, Shirley Franklin, Cynthia McKinney (who I do not care for), Cathy Cox, and so many other Democrats walk by without even saying hello. A few old timers and the 7th grader stopped for a moment. I could not believe it. He has heavily supported many Democrats.
Evan Bayh gave the Keynote Address. Wow! Very impressive. First he spoke highly of Max Cleland, telling how days after "that disgusting and horrible" election battle with Saxby Chamblis, Max asked for permission to come speak with Bayh. Bayh wanted to tell him how sorry he felt for him. Cleland wanted to talk about how Bayh could prevent that from happening to him and any other Democrat in the future.
Bayh discussed running against the GOP by confronting them on national security, the budget and values. He feels we can win by attacking them on these. He sold me, and is my top primary contender right now. He spoke about how Georgia and Indiana are very similar and how he won by a higher percentage in 2004 than Bush did. I think he is nailing it.
Except for the vegetables sucking, the dinner seemed to be a great success!
From an incredibly GOP biased AP story:
Bayh said the GOP has been "a heckuva lot better at national security politics than national security policies."
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. -- Democrats can win elections in Republican territories like Georgia and Indiana but not by "selling out and becoming Republicans," Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., said Monday night at a state Democratic Party fundraiser here.
But they'll be successful by "reaching out" to convince independents and liberal Republicans that Democrats have what it takes to bring them better times, the potential 2008 presidential candidate told an audience of hundreds of Georgia Democrats.
"(Republicans) are not unbeatable if we go about it the right way, and the time has come to go about it the right way," Bayh said.
Bayh, the keynote speaker, said Democrats need to focus on getting the nation's fiscal house in order, reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil and letting people know that Democrats share their values, instead of coming across as "cultural elitists who can't relate."
But the first thing Democrats need to do, Bayh said, is take Republicans on in an area they've dominated: national security.
"It's a threshold issue for us, and it's a threshold issue for America," Bayh said. "People aren't going to trust us with anything else if we first can't convince them to trust us with their lives."
Before he spoke, Bayh told reporters that he does not support efforts by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., another potential 2008 presidential candidate, to censure Bush for authorizing domestic eavesdropping. Bayh said it's not clear whether the law requiring court approval before surveillance was broken, and he instead favors revisiting and possibly updating the law.
I really like that he is stating that we cannot win by being GOP lite. This is very important.
I dislike him saying that we need to revisit the NSA law when it is obvious Bush did break the law by not following it. If he cannot stand and fight for what is clearly the law then how much will he stand and fight for other things that matter as well. Funny he did not mention this during his speech.
One point for him, and one point against him. After reading about his NSA comments, I am still open to other candidates.