Friday, July 10, 2009

10 JUL 09: He's Walkin'

Thursday was a nice day in Columbus, especially considering it's July. The high temperature was 88 degrees F. - and if that wasn't enough motivation to keep my air conditioner turned off, the arrival of my monthly electric bill was.

It was a great day to go outside and exercise - and Austin Scott did exactly that. Not only did he walk around Columbus, he walked INTO downtown Columbus from Harris County. And unlike most people who make that walk, Scott had no plans to stage a protest at the Fort Benning gate.

Georgia State Rep. Austin Scott did NOT walk across Columbus to raise money for some sort of cause. He did it to promote his campaign for Georgia Governor. And when he.... oh wait. Scott WAS raising money for a cause, wasn't he? It's called his campaign fund....

Austin Scott clearly is making a "Walk of Georgia" as a political publicity stunt. But the web site promoting the walk says one of his goals is to give voters "a chance to be heard." Scott could have saved a lot of time and shoe leather, simply by posting a phone number.

(This is an interesting twist on the old saying - as Scott walks the walk, but lets other people talk the talk.)

Austin Scott stopped his hike long enough to talk with reporters outside the downtown Burger King. But the TV coverage disappointed me a bit - because I would have asked Scott if all that walking proves he's against state public transportation funding.

Austin Scott told WLTZ he's trying to show Georgians he's "willing to feel their pain." Wow - do THAT many residents have athlete's foot and ingrown toenails?

Austin Scott's family is with him on parts of his 1,025-mile walk. But updates on his web site indicate he has campaign aides following him in a car. Scott refers to the aides as "men in black" - but you wonder if a better description might be "men out of shape."

The web site also reveals a few drivers north of Columbus have stopped to offer Austin Scott a ride. Scott is turning them down, of course -- since he's a Republican, and only Democrats would embrace the concept of freeloading.

As of Thursday night, Austin Scott's web site and Twitter account had NOT been updated to reflect his impressions of Columbus. Of course, one big issue for him should be the quality of the sidewalks....

The idea of a gubernatorial candidate walking across a state is nothing new. I lived in the Kansas City area when "Walkin' Joe Teasdale" trudged across Missouri in 1976. He won the Governor's race - but amazingly, he needed a car to get around the state four years later at re-election time.

The idea of walking across Georgia isn't really new, either. Remember the Blog of Columbus team which took part in the "Walk Georgia" exercise campaign last year? [30 Apr 08] One of these days, I might actually try assembling the team together - for low-fat sandwiches at Subway, of course.

A map is posted online, showing Austin Scott's projected walking path. For some reason, he's going around the border counties - as if voters in Albany and Macon already have decided to vote for John Oxendine in the Republican primary next summer.

It's also interesting that Austin Scott's walking path will end at the state capitol, apparently by heading down Georgia 400 through north Fulton County. From the way it looks, he wants to avoid running into Roy Barnes in Cobb County at all costs.

Let's see what else was fun to talk about, on a Thursday when sad local news seemed to be everywhere....

+ Evening newscasts showed a church group from Tennessee, which is repairing homes on Fifth Avenue for a summer mission project. This group apparently decided a prayer for healing through the "laying on of hands" works on humans, but not roofs.

+ Georgia insurance investigators raided the McDougald Funeral Home in Butler. A search warrant shown on the late-night news accused the owner of persuading people to sign life insurance policies with the funeral home as the beneficiary. Now there's a clever way around waiting for the credit card bills to be paid.

+ CNN visited West Point, to check on the city's economic growth. Mayor A. Drew Ferguson confessed he sometimes calls his town "Kia-Ville." Conservatives who have fled to Heard County probably pronounce it a bit differently - Korea-Ville.

+ Auburn University provided a media tour of its new basketball arena, midway through its construction. Project manager Randy Byars said the arena will have 80 TV screens on the concourse. Wow, how times have changed - because when I was in college, the student union's "TV room" had only one.

(Randy Byars told WRBL sound from Auburn Arena will be "pumped into the bathrooms." Parents should NOT be concerned about this. During non-conference basketball games in December, it still should be quiet enough to rock your baby to sleep.)

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