Maybe everybody's right. Democratic Party politics has fallen off the edge.
Dale Cardwell, the best-qualified Democrat running for the Senate this year, may have proved it on Jan. 1. He allowed himself to be hoisted up a 300-foot tower in Atlanta, where he remained for a week. He said he wanted to spread his message for good government and believed tower-perching was the best medium for the job.
Once he settled down in his below-freezing skyscraper nest, Cardwell phoned would-be supporters, who were watching football bowl games, to ask for their votes. Some said such interruptions proved Cardwell was nuts. Others said breaking up football matches sure beats GOP posters featuring Osama bin Laden schmoozing Max Cleland.
As playoffs begin for the Wacky Trophy of 2008, we find that Cardwell and his Democratic buds and his plans are not alone in the top tier of dumb stuff. Several Republicans reside high on the roll for cuckoos. Here are a few other names and topics worth considering Turkeys of the Year, which still has a lot of room left for craziness:
Day one of a new era in the Gold Dome: The House began the 2008 legislative session by overriding a dozen of Gov. Sonny Perdue's vetoes from last year. The Senate sided with the governor and shelved the House's work.
The General Assembly is now unofficially deadlocked on its first day, setting the stage for a record do-nothing legislature. Good work, ladies and gentlemen. We'll be waiting for you at the ballot box.
State Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, handles broadcasts of football games for Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. Although he is an officer of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Staton doesn't see any conflict of interest between his legislative functions and his radio station's football games. Wonder where the legislative Ethics Committee is. Probably hiding behind the shredder again.
Accused multiple murderer Brian Nichols may walk out of jail a free man and the feds take charge of Georgia's judicial system, unless the screwed-up Fulton County court system is unscrewed, and funds are found for substantial judicial relief.
You think things have gone plum nuts? Look at this: The chief justice of Georgia makes $167,000 a year compared to the $600,000 a year drawn by the director of the Georgia Lottery.
Who gripes about the quality of Georgia judges? The legislature, of course. And who is in a position to improve judges' salaries and resumes? The legislature, of course. (The judicial salary scale makes perfect sense when one considers that the president of the University of Georgia devotes much of his efforts to preparing a momentous reorganization of the Southeastern Conference and wastes only a few yawns on faculty raises and mindless academics.)
Despite what state officials have told you, there is no "statewide water plan." It is, instead, a two-Georgias water plan: One North Georgia-Metro water plan with special laws and regulations to cover its area's interest and a second plan diced and chopped to cover the rest of the state. Scrap the present dopey plan, which no one understands anyway, and draw up a new outline based on watersheds.
Membership of the new state water council would represent all Georgians equally instead of giving overwhelming favoritism to the metro Atlanta area.
Prepare South Georgia for secession. Call for proposals for a new state capital south of Macon. Change the charter for the current capital to include the words "scalawags" and "carpetbaggers." Some observers contend secession is not a dumb idea at all; it should be among the most creative notions mentioned in the Peach State since HOPE scholarships brought Georgia colleges back to life.
A couple of other "delete" items are included on the legislative agenda:
Speaker Glenn Romeo Richardson's GREAT plan to eliminate property taxes and replace them with a sweeping sales tax on all goods and services.
Speaker Romeo's other bill (called the BRIDGE plan) to establish a "trade school" route to graduation. It would decrease the dropout rate and substantially increase the issuance of diplomas, for technical high schools.
Neither plan has much chance of passage, though the BRIDGE plan beats the pointless GREAT by a country mile. And the water plan just won't wash.
Bill Shipp's column on Georgia politics appears Wednesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com. First published Jan. 16, 2008.