The Georgia Senate race is one of the closest races this election cycle. Democrat Michelle Nunn has found herself in the complex situation faced by so many other red state Democrats this cycle of being a member of Obama’s political party while trying to get the votes of a conservative electorate greatly dissatisfied by the President’s performance in office.Thus far, the polls indicate that she has done that rather well, but Georgia voters ought to be aware of the consequences of a Nunn victory. Unlike other red state Democrats, she’s been pretty open about her association with Obama. The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank even ran a column about her titled, “Meet the one Democrat who is not running from Obama“. In his piece, Milbank writes:
“The president himself said, ‘make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot,’” [Republican Senate candidate David] Perdue said in a TV ad last week. As a photo of Obama with Nunn filled the screen, Perdue continued: “That’s why he wants her in the Senate.”
It was typical of Perdue’s campaign strategy of trying to run against Obama. What was not typical was Nunn’s response: She ran a spot of her own, featuring the same photo of herself with Obama.
“Have you seen this picture?” she asks viewers. “It’s the one David Perdue has used to try and attack me in this campaign.” As the image shifts to a photo of George H.W. Bush with his hand on her shoulder, Nunn goes on: “But what he doesn’t tell you is that it was taken at an event honoring President Bush, who I worked for as CEO of his Points of Light Foundation. Throughout my career I’ve been able to work with Republicans and Democrats, and that’s the same approach I’ll bring to the U.S. Senate.”
Nunn, daughter of the legendary Senate Democratic centrist Sam Nunn, may yet lose the race. But she is doing far better than expected in her run despite the hostile year and terrain for Democrats. A big reason for this: She’s showing authenticity and courage at a time when both are in short supply among Democratic candidates.
Nunn’s comfort in her own skin is in sharp contrast to other Democrats on the ballot, who are making awkward maneuvers to distance themselves from Obama and much of the Democratic Party.
In other words, Michelle Nunn might make some awkward attempts to dodge questions about Obama’s agenda,, as she did on the question of Obamacare in a recent debate, but she is ultimately loyal to President Obama once we get past the campaign rhetoric. Milbank’s decision to single out Nunn’s ad on her picture with Obama is an obvious example of this, but there are others. We shouldn’t forget Michelle Nunn’s non-response at a Democratic Primary on the Veteran’s Affairs medical care controversy. When posed a question about the scandal, she said, “I defer to the President’s judgment” about fixing the problem, and she would not call for VA Secretary Shinseki’s resignation. As Jim Geraghty noted, Nunn is deferring to the judgment of a man who purportedly only learned about the problem through media reports.
But the clearest indication of what a Michelle Nunn victory would mean for Georgia and America came today while Obama was being interviewed on the Atlanta radio station V-103 (103.3 WVEE) this morning. Here’s what he told morning show host Ryan Cameron:
The Washington Times gives us the fuller context of the quote:
“Michelle Nunn will win the Senate if there’s a high turnout among Democrats,” Mr. Obama said. “If there’s low or ordinary turnout, she won’t win… If folks in Georgia vote at the same rate in the midterms as they do in the presidential election, Michelle Nunn will win.”
The president said fewer than half of registered Georgia voters vote during the midterm elections.
“When you think about the tradition of Georgia, when you think about Dr. King and you think about John Lewis and you think about what the civil rights movement meant in Georgia, the notion that less than half of your people vote doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,” he said.
It’s hard for the truth to be stated any plainer that this. A vote for Michelle Nunn is a vote for Barack Obama’s agenda. The control of the Senate could hinge on the race in Georgia. This means that it’s as important as it ever was for Republicans and conservatives to get out and vote for David Perdue. Let’s get him elected and turn both houses of Congress red this November.