Saxby and Bubba are back

Published 4:46 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

I know you have been awaiting my observations on the recent political runoffs in Georgia. Sorry to be late, but I was afraid anything I said would encourage Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin to start running those abominable ads again. I would just as soon have my fingernails ripped out.

First, I am happy to report that Bubba is back. Frankly, I was concerned that we had become too sophisticated in Georgia to ever again elect a politician named Bubba, seeing as how we have rap stars like Sir Lucious L. Lightfoot and Ludacris living among us, in addition to professional ice hockey. I thought we might worry that when people in Massachusetts dug themselves out of the snow next July they would laugh at us and destroy our self-esteem. I don’t know about you, but I care deeply what Massachusetts thinks of us.

Bubba, of course, is Democrat-turned-Republican Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, who has won back his seat on the Georgia Public Service Commission after a too-long absence of six years. He wants to be called Lauren now, but he will always be Bubba to me. I have missed him. As noted previously, when I used to gently tweak him in this space, he would call executives at BellSouth and complain. I would tweak him harder and he would complain louder. Round and round it went. Somehow, even though he was a public service commissioner, he could never find my telephone number. That remains one of the great mysteries of my life.

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Please don’t tell Bubba, but now that he is back on the job I may tweak him again just to see if (a) he can find a real live human being at the “new” AT&T to complain to, and (b) they will have a clue what to do when he calls. That would make Bubba my hero, because I have been spectacularly unsuccessful in getting either accomplished.

As for the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss saw his political life flash before his eyes. He almost got his tail whipped by charisma-challenged Democrat Jim Martin, who might possibly be the dullest person ever to run for public office anywhere on the planet. I’ve seen doorknobs more exciting. Chambliss has no one but himself to blame for his close call. He seemed strangely out of touch with his constituents after six years in office.

The senator needs to write a thank-you letter to the state Democratic Party, whose primary featured a dull guy, a black guy who touted his influence with George W. Bush and a former Atlanta television reporter who sat atop a 320-foot tower for a week for reasons that totally escape me.

Even with weak competition, Chambliss needed a runoff to win. If this hasn’t humbled him, nothing I can say will. I have been distressed at his staff’s lack of attention to detail, as noted in this space on other occasions. Jasper Dorsey, my boss and mentor in my early days at Southern Bell, once upbraided me over a simple typographical error. “If I can’t trust you with the little things,” he said, “I sure can’t trust you with the big ones.” Maybe that can be the subject of Sen. Chambliss’ first staff meeting when he gets back to Washington.

On another subject: Georgia Tech people have been chiding me to comment on some football game that may have been played somewhere in the state recently. They reminded me of my trash talk in the past when UGA won, and now they want to see a little humility. It is just like those people to have a long memory.

All I can say is that maybe God isn’t a Bulldog after all. It can’t be coincidence that after our Yellow Jacket grandson Zack Wansley got to heaven and had a chat with God, Georgia Tech went 9-3 and defeated UGA for the first time in eight years. Wayne Hogan, Tech’s associate athletic director, said it best: “This entire season has had the look and feel of some Divine intervention. It proves that Zack is some kind of special guy!” Amen to that.