News - Later, Roy

And be sure to leave the keys under the mat

Democrats have lived in the governor's mansion for some 130 odd years, and now Roy Barnes has to hand over the keys to Republican (and former Democrat) Sonny Perdue. That in mind, a panel of former legislators, one possible Perdue appointee and one human beatbox debated the issues surrounding Barnes' surprise eviction at Nov. 13's Political Party town hall meeting. D.R.E.S. Tha Beatnik and DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones say Barnes forgot about the people who voted him into office. Republican politico Vernadette Ramirez Broyles suggested that Barnes' ego got in the way of what was supposed to be a smooth sail to another term. InsiderAdvantage.com's Matt Towery pointed at the Democrats' poor campaigning. Here's some of what went down:

On why Roy Barnes lost:

Broyles: I have one word: hubris. It's a word I haven't used since the SATs. Barnes either had policies that ticked people off, or that didn't work. He just thought he could buy the election. He sat back and he didn't articulate his policies in a way that would win something. He didn't explain why they didn't work or why they will ultimately work.

D.R.E.S.: Gov. Barnes didn't take into account that he is a servant for the people. He didn't talk to the people — and that will lose the vote every time.

Jones: I don't think Sonny Perdue got elected because he's a nice guy. Most people don't know Sonny. This was strictly an anti-Barnes vote. There was a combination of things that drove people out at presidential levels. Those folks that were mad, they galvanized, they organized, and they came out and sent Roy a message.

On the Democratic campaign:

D.R.E.S.: Everyone tonight is talking like it was Roy Barnes against the Republican Party. I want to know, where the hell was the Democratic Party? Are they to blame for Barnes not being re-elected? Bush flew down on behalf of Sonny Perdue. He came down, said, "This is my guy; he's a Republican; vote for him." I feel like the Democratic Party should have rallied around Roy Barnes instead of leaving his ass out in the wind.

Jones: I represent the largest block of Democratic voters in the state of Georgia [DeKalb County] and not one time did the Democratic Party say, "Vernon Jones, we want you to be involved on the get-out-the-vote efforts."

On changing the state flag:

Broyles: Many Republican leaders were for changing the flag. They saw the problem with how the state emblem disenfranchised a large portion of the population. But what was done caused a fracture that didn't need to be there. Roy missed a golden opportunity to see racial reconciliation.

Jones: Having served in that body and knowing how sensitive that flag was, every time a flag bill got introduced it went into the Rules Committee and it never came out. Now it's easy to say they could've done it another way. But everything in that body is about timing. If Barnes tried to tackle that flag any other way, it may not have happened at all. If Sonny messes with that flag, it will create the same type of animosity.

On the Perdue administration:

Jones: Sonny went to anyone who was mad at Roy and said, "I'm with you." Now he has to live with that.

Broyles: Sonny's passionate and principled. With his ties to the Democratic Party, I think he'll be able to work with Democrats very effectively. And that's what he needs to do.

Edelstein: Sonny's campaign didn't have a lot of money from big business, and some people think that's going to free him up.

Jones: Sonny's smart enough to know that he's going to run again in four years. In this business, you can't try to punish your enemies because they didn't support you. You have to reach out to them and bring them in. They know they screwed up, and now they're writing checks of forgiveness.

Creative Loafing and Hands On Atlanta host Political Party the second Wednesday of every month at Dad's Garage, 280 Elizabeth St. The next installment is Wed., Dec. 11, at 8 p.m.??

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