Will the Reed Break?


Today is the first day of the rest of Ralph Reed's career. If he wins the primary for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, as some expect, he's on track (argues John Nichols) to become president of the United States. If he loses, he becomes the most powerful victim of the Jack Abramoff scandal—a cherubic has-been who'll not only look like Dave Foley, but get more laughs. (My interview with Abramoff scandal chronicler Matt Continetti is here.)

The LA Times' Richard Fausset has a good backgrounder on the race.

His opponent, conservative state Sen. Casey Cagle, has hammered Reed over his connections to Abramoff, the once-powerful Washington insider who in January pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and bribery.

Specifically, Cagle has criticized public relations jobs in which Reed rallied Christian conservatives to thwart regional gambling initiatives. In some cases, that work was funded by competing gambling interests represented by Abramoff, according to the conclusions of a U.S. Senate committee.

"Reed said gambling is immoral, but took millions of dollars from convicted felon Jack Abramoff to help casinos," a recent Cagle TV ad said, referring to Reed's "record of betrayal."

Sean Flynn's GQ profile of Reed is worth reading, too, but I'm having trouble finding corroboration of the anti-Reed spin I've heard recently. Spin #1—As head of the Georgia GOP in 2002, Reed coasted on the success of ticket and claimed responsibility for organizing skills that an earlier 1998 race showed he didn't have. Spin #2—Gov. Sonny Perdue, who won an amazing upset in 2002, never forgave Reed for steering money away from his race and into the (also successful) race of now-Senator Saxby Chambliss. Reed was dislodged from the Georgia GOP after Perdue won, and Perdue obviously is interested in helping Casey Cagle prevent Reed from becoming his new running mate.

The Hotline's Jonathan Martin argues that Democrats, not evangelical conservatives, should be rooting for a Reed victory. With any luck, the Georgia Dems will be as lucky tonight as they've been for the past four years. (Read: Completely luckless.)

Reason's Charles Oliver tackled Reed's political manifesto 10 years ago here.


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  1. Ralph Reed will never be President of the United States. Never.

    He looks like Bud Court and he talks like Pat Robertson.

  2. I object to your insinuation that Dave Foley wasn’t funny on Kids in the Hall. Where are your limits, man?

  3. joe,

    You are absolutely right. I have mupets that more presidential acting than Reed.

  4. I second zero. Furthermore, Newsradio was a very good and underrated show.

  5. So, nobody’s getting the Dave Foley point? Foley is funny – his funniness can be denoted “X.” Reed, if elected, will be a laughingstock. His funniness will be X+1.

  6. A touch swishy for president. He always struck me as one of those Lavender Mafia republicans who run the show on the campaign side. (See, Rove). Plus he has looked 12 years old for a couple decades.

  7. How dare you denigrate Dave Foley, Mr. Weigel. Go straight to hell.

  8. “So, nobody’s getting the Dave Foley point?”

    Arguably, by saying Reed would get “more laughs” than Canada’s finest living actor/comedian, you’re suggesting that Dave Foley is not getting 100% of the available laughs, and thus is inferior to a hypothetical perfect comedian.

  9. I’m cancelling my subscription. This Canadian comedian bashing has gotten to be just too much for me.

  10. I’m thinkin’ he’s not presidential material, barring some major, major changes in our political and social cultures.

    And Dave Foley is funny. I loved NewsRadio.

  11. Any more of this abuse and I’m going to start crushing heads while blasting the sounds of Rod Torfulsen’s ARMADA featuring Herman Menderchuck.

  12. I just looked at Reed’s website and it says he’s “100% Pro-Family”. Does that mean he’s going to demand compulsory marriage and child-bearing for all unmarried singles?

  13. SR

    Actually this would also include returning to the Georgia of yesteryear
    -anti-sodomy laws
    -banning interracial relationships
    -outlawing any sexual behavior not explicitly endorsed by the bible
    -burning down that gay bookstore in midtown atlanta

    stopping at compulsory marriage, down here we would call you a liberal.

  14. Agreed about Newsradio, it was a great show. I still catch late-night reruns on Nickelodeon sometimes.

  15. SR,
    No, being 100% pro family means that until you get married and create your own spawn, Ralph Reed is against you.

  16. joe:

    Ralph Reed will never be President of the United States. Never.

    I’d really like to believe you on that one, but there are moments where I don’t know.

  17. If what is happening in the Middle East is not enough, a Reed victory on any major scale (well, I’ll grant that GA is “different”) is a sure sign of the Apocalypse.

  18. I suggest that the intended Dave Foley point can be clarified by simply adding the word “even”:

    a cherubic has-been who’ll not only look like Dave Foley, but get even more laughs.

    (I’m here to help.)

  19. Voted against Reed today, and my wife’s about to as well.

    I somehow feel much less dirty voting Republican for it.

  20. all I know is: Dave Foley was a bad doctor. and he’s still funny on Celebrity Poker, although the other night it looked like he was doing to show drunk.

    actually, my cousin was an intern/extra on Kids in the Hall, and took care of Dave’s house in Toronto when he went to LA. so we’re practically friends. get off his back.

    none of which has anything to do with Ralph Reed. here’s hoping he does something funny.

  21. joe sez

    Ralph Reed will never be President of the United States. Never

    .. that has a certain air of whistling past the graveyard, doesn’t it??

    RE: 100% Family

    .. I have been married to my (thus far) first wife for 34 years and have raised three now-grown daugthers but apparently my support of marriage rights for gays makes me “0% Family” ..

    .. Reed and the rest of his ultra-right cronies can take a long pull off my ass, as far as I’m concerned ..

    .. Hobbit

  22. To Brian: Ralph Reed doesn’t look 12 years old any more. He truly looks his years in the political ads, which, by the way, is the only glimpse we voters have gotten of him.

    While not going so far as to vote Republican today, I have taken the opportunity to implore a number of Republican friends and relatives (there are quite a few in our once again one party state) to vote for Cagle. Sent them everything I found on the internet, including the GQ article. Too bad it didn’t come out earlier.

  23. I’ve been liveblogging from Casey Cagle’s event- rjhatl.livejournal.com. Reed conceded at 10pm (rumors of a concession call went out about fifteen minutes before Reed took to television. Looks like the republic is safe.

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