Well, so much for that coronation. Jeepers Creepers. Give me $10.5 million in campaign contributions and the endorsement of one of our most popular governors in recent times and I could have gotten Cameron Charles Yarbrough elected Pope.
Instead, with all that money, Gov. Nathan Deal’s endorsement, very high name recognition, two decades of collecting politics IOUs and an early and sizable lead in the polls, you barely got a third of the vote in the Republican primary runoff in Georgia and less than 50 percent in your home county of Hall. Unbelievable.
If you want to know how you lost the race, go look in the mirror. Your opponent, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, didn’t win the runoff as much as you lost it.
Much has been made of Kemp’s television ads where he intimidates a little dweeb who wants to date his daughter by reminding him that he has a gun in his lap. I was hoping the little dweeb would tell Kemp that he, too, had a gun and was bad-prone to kneecap trash-talking daddies that got on his nerves.
In fact, Kemp could have read recipes out of a cookbook (“Y’all cook up one of these here taters and whup it to tarnations and then go find you some pappy ricker and throw it on the tater. Yum! Yum! Them’s some good eatin’.”) and he still would have waxed you.
Your undoing was your intemperate comments sprinkled with salacious locker room language to former Republican gubernatorial rival and fourth-place finisher Clay Tippins (or rather to Tippins’ hidden cellphone) which were absolutely stupefying.
You said you were trying to secure his endorsement. So much for that good idea. The guy is a Navy SEAL, for Pete’s sakes. You just don’t mess around with Navy SEALs. They are different hombres. You are lucky he didn’t rip out your jugular vein and feed it to you for lunch.
Yours was one of the worst political gaffes I have witnessed in my long life except for that dodo-head legislator in Woodbine who got duped into yelling racial epithets, pulling down his red underwear (yuck!) and showing his ample behind on national television. That one defies all logic.
I am still trying to figure out what compelled you to say the things you didn’t need to say to a guy you didn’t even know that well. Did you consult with your crack staff of political consultants prior to the meeting? If so, did you tell them you were going to discuss having forced the passage of a private school tax credit bill that you called bad “in a thousand different ways” so that special interest groups who have nothing but disdain for public education wouldn’t dump a few million on your rival, former state Sen. Hunter Hill?
If you did consult with your political consultants about the fact you were going to open your verbal kimono to this guy and they said, “Brilliant idea, chief. And don’t forget to mention that the whole campaign has been about ‘who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck and who could be the craziest.’ Ha! Ha! Ha! You da man!” you need to ask for a refund.
Obviously, they didn’t pass along my advice that in politics you should never write what you can say and never say what you can nod and never nod what you can wink. Had you chosen to wink-wink your way through your meeting with Clay Tippins, we might be talking about you being our next governor and not our soon-to-be former lieutenant governor and the consultants might still be gainfully employed instead of trying to explain to potential clients why they let you blow an almost insurmountable lead.
OK, what’s done is done. The good news is it looks like you are going to have lots of free time on your hands. If you are looking for some fun stuff to do, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I owe you that much for not telling you earlier that you were running the wrong kind of campaign. Trying to out-mud wrestle your right-wing opponents was a big mistake. Talking too much instead of wink-winking was a fatal mistake.
In the meantime, if you do decide to take some much-needed R&R, I would strongly suggest you avoid the Georgia Aquarium. That place is full of seals and we know the kind of damage they can do.
All the best, Dick.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and at gainesvilletimes.com/opinion. Contact him by email or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; via his website; or his Facebook page.