Sunday, June 21, 2009

21 JUN 09: Talking vs. Doing

Imagine if Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck stepped away from the radio microphone - and instead of criticizing the government, they actually tried to become part of it. It sounds absurd, I know. I suspect most right-wing talk show hosts are conservative because their substantial bank accounts are at risk from liberal tax plans.

But suddenly a veteran Columbus talk show host is willing to jump the moat, and enter politics. WRBL reported the other night that Jerry Luquire plans to run for a Georgia House seat that becomes vacant this week. At least we'll have a candidate who's used to giving speeches before large groups of people - only this time he'll actually see the people.

Not counting the September school sales tax vote, this is supposed to be an "off year" for Georgia elections and political races. But that changed this past week, when Rep. Vance Smith was named Georgia Transportation Commissioner. He'll surrender his House seat, because it's hard to lobby yourself for road work in your district.

Rep. Vance Smith is giving up a seat which stretches from northwest Columbus across Harris County to the LaGrange area. At first glance, it seems to be a safe Republican seat - and the candidate who puts the most pictures of President Obama next to his opponent may be most likely to win.

Jerry Luquire makes occasional appearances on WLTZ's "Rise N Shine." But long-time Columbus residents remember him as the former fill-in host of WRCG's "Talkline." That means Laquire is likely to win the endorsement of Doug Kellett - which Kellett could promote on radio stations in Charlotte and Salt Lake City, but not around here.

Jerry Luquire also hosted an evening call-in talk show on TV-16, back when it was WCGT. Even though he comes across as a right-wing conservative, his show vanished when Christian Television Network bought the station. Maybe that's why Luquire is running - he has to win a seat to get a show like Ed Harbison's "Public Agenda."

We were surprised to do a Google search for "Jerry Laquire," and find very few mentions of him. In fact, there are more links to old blog entries than anything else. Talk about laying low, to wait for the right moment to enter politics....

But we mentioned Jerry Luquire here a number of times, when he was a TV talk show host. That's because he said a number of outlandish things on the air -- things which a campaign opponent could throw against him. For instance:

+ Luquire dismissed Atlantic hurricanes as "little," several weeks before Katrina hit New Orleans [1 Jan 06]. I suppose that means he'd support bills putting skyscraper condos on Jekyll Island.

+ Luquire accused Rep. Calvin Smyre of promoting disunity, in the wake of the Kenneth Walker shooting [16 Dec 03]. Imagine the fights they could have over where to improve Veterans Parkway.

+ Luquire reportedly spent an entire evening mispronouncing the first name of U.S. House candidate Dylan Glenn [11 Aug 04]. Josh McKoon should be thankful he's already committed to a State Senate race.

BLOG UPDATE: Are retired generals allowed to cry? Jerry White choked back tears, as his long dream became reality -- the grand opening of the National Infantry Museum's centerpiece exhibits. White told WLTZ it was his "happiest moment." If only The Fife and Drum restaurant served "happy meals" to go with it.

A crowd estimated in the thousands attended the grand opening ceremony for what we've dubbed NIM-SCAPP (fixing our hyphen). The ribbon was cut by Rep. Sanford Bishop with a bayonet, while Mayor Jim Wetherington stood behind him. Of course, the mayor would have used nothing more lethal than a Taser.

Former Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell was the guest speaker at the grand opening. He told reporters the National Infantry Museum is unique, because it honors the individual soldier. And unlike that memorial in Washington, these soldiers actually are known to somebody.

WRBL noticed an appearance at the grand opening by three "USO Liberty Bells" from New York. Why didn't someone tell me those attractive young women were coming? I might have rented a soldier's outfit for the weekend.

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E-MAIL UPDATE: The weekend crime report didn't get overlooked by one reader....

I think I seem to remember "someone" predicting that lowering the standards of the Police Department would lead to problems. Hmmm..who could it have been?

Chief Boren is a sorry Police Chief. He says that he will not tolerate Police Officers breaking the law, but yet I have a list of officers who have broken the law and have been allowed to resign WITHOUT prosecution. Some even still working on the force. You are so full of cr*p Ricky!

This message included an online news story about the arrest and firing of two Columbus police officers. One reportedly was flown back to Georgia from "military leave" and duty in Iraq. When Baghdad suddenly seems like a refreshing change of scenery, is that a good sign or a bad one?

One former Columbus officer is accused of changing the identification number on a stolen motorcycle. The other is accused of joining in a scheme to falsely report a different stolen motorcycle, to gain insurance money. Those bikes may hide well in traffic, but not other places....

By our count, five Columbus police officers have faced trouble with the law so far this year. One lost her job for actions before joining the force, and one apparently remains on the job after a DUI arrest. Does this mean Chief Ricky Boren is getting tough with violators? Or does it mean officers need yet another big raise, because they're more tempted than ever to break the law?

Let's see what else is making news on a busy Father's Day weekend....

+ The Saturday high in Columbus was 98 degrees F. Days like this make me wonder whatever happened to the old pop music group 98 Degrees - and if a reunion tour would require changing the name to 100 Degrees, to allow for global warming.

+ An estimated 10,000 people defied the heat to attend "Family Day in the Park" at Cooper Creek Park. But did you see on the evening news what Columbus Police brought - a portable tower, to watch over the event? I guess it's not police intimidation until they open the tower windows and throw out tear gas canisters.

+ Standard & Poor's lowered the credit rating of Synovus Financial to "junk" level. That's strange, considering a stock analyst from SunTrust raised Synovus from "neutral" to "buy" only days before. Is this some kind of stunt to make SunTrust's stock price double by mid-July?

+ Auburn University trustees voted to raise in-state tuition six percent. The money will pay for a new "health and wellness center" - as if a center on living within a budget wouldn't be more appropriate.

+ The Columbus Woodbats' Saturday night game at Golden Park was canceled, because the opposing team didn't have enough available players. I thought this was a "summer college league," where keeping up your grades didn't matter.

+ Instant Message to WHAL-AM and WEAM-AM: It's Friday night. The Woodbats are playing at home. The Lions are playing at home. And you two "sports radio" stations are offering talk shows from hundreds of miles away? Both teams probably would pay you right now, for a little nice publicity.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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CORRECTION 1/11:05am

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