Years ago, back when Dan McDuffie was our sports editor and copy editor, he and I had a running joke about what life would be like “in Danny’s World.”
Danny’s World would have none of this and plenty of that, and basically it represented whatever daily rant I was on. For example, if I was complaining about some injustice in the community, Dan might say, “In Danny’s World…” and follow with some kind of over-the-top response to the situation I was describing.
Danny’s World was a decidedly smoke-free zone (except for good cigars on a chilly front porch, which I must admit smell fantastic), a swear-free zone, and a non-violent zone except for the rare occasion when somebody needs a good whoopin’ as determined solely by me.
A lot of our Danny’s World discussions centered around politicians. Danny’s World was established in 1996, my first full year in the newspaper business, and that was an election year. It is the year Bill Clinton was re-elected president. Zell Miller was in his second term as governor of Georgia.
I had forgotten about Danny’s World until earlier this week when I was thinking through how to approach this opinion column about more political nonsense. As a tip of the cap to my ol’ buddy Dan, I’m going to revisit Danny’s World and tell you what I see there.
In Danny’s World, candidates for jobs that require the utmost honesty and integrity, like district attorney, for example, wouldn’t make stuff up in their campaign literature hoping that voters would either be to busy or too stupid to figure out the truth.
While candidate Rudjard Hayes had for months been touting impossible statistics to make himself seem more experienced as a former prosecutor than he really is and to push his opponents down, he has apparently now changed strategies and is instead claiming in his mailers than rival Ben Coker, who is presently an assistant district attorney, plans to move the DA’s office out of Fayette County, split the Griffin Judicial Circuit, “grow the size of government,” and “has campaigned aggressively against Fayette County.”
So, what are the facts?
First of all, Coker cannot move the DA’s office out of Fayette. That’s beyond ridiculous. He can choose to set up his headquarters in another county, but Fayette will ALWAYS have a DA’s office. It’s on the second floor of the Fayette County Justice Center, and it ain’t going anywhere, and Hayes knows that.
Here’s the truth: The DA and all four Superior Court judges have offices in all four counties, which include Fayette, Spalding, Pike, and Upson. They may have a main office, but they can’t just decide to not have an office in one county or another. They all serve the whole district.
So why make up something like that?
Next, what is this about splitting the judicial circuit?
Here’s a news flash: Almost everyone agrees that Fayette itself would be better served if it was its own district. Clayton County is its own district. Fulton County is its own district.
I believe Fayette should be its own district. In Danny’s World, it would be its own district.
Here’s another news flash: DAs can’t split districts, only the state legislature can, so it is a moot point at best to be talking about this with a DA candidate. There is zero evidence to suggest there is any plan to actually split the district.
One part of Hayes’ flyer actually made me “LOL.” It’s the part that said, “Ben Coker’s plan to split the judicial circuit will cost an ‘astronomical’ amount of money.” Not only is this incredibly vague (no actual number) and misleading (Coker never said he had a plan), but putting the “astronomical” in quotes is literally Hayes quoting himself. Elsewhere in the flyer, the Hayes campaign reprinted a news story from another newspaper that openly endorses Hayes, and they lifted a quote from Hayes speaking to why he says he wouldn’t push to split the district.
What they failed to reprint in this flyer was the part of that story that said Hayes WOULD go along with splitting the district. Here’s that quote you won’t see in the flyer: “If I’m district attorney and all four counties want to split, I’m not going to stand in the way.” That was Hayes, not Coker.
They demonize Coker for wanting to do what Hayes himself says he would go along with doing. Except Coker never said he wanted to split the district. Even in the article, it clearly points out that each time Coker talked about the possibility of splitting the district, he was answering questions from other people.
Finally, that claim that “Ben Coker is an Upson County resident who has campaigned aggressively against Fayette County” takes the cake.
You’re telling me you’ve got evidence that Coker actually “campaigned aggressively against Fayette County” and you’re not going to use even one tiny bit of your flyer to share it? You’re going to leave us hanging?
What did Coker do to campaign “aggressively against Fayette County”?
Again, it makes no sense for Coker to have been campaigning against any people group who might vote for him. It’s absurd.
Elsewhere in Danny’s World, Drew Ferguson and his campaign handlers would also get a collective slap upside the head for trying to convince people that Mike Crane hates police and wants to see them shot dead. Crane’s own father and grandfather were police officers.
However, Crane would get a thump on the noggin for not issuing a written statement addressing his disapproval of no-knock warrants, which is really what he was addressing in that viral YouTube video. Crane should have been more sensitive to the national news cycle, but Ferguson shouldn’t have jumped on it like he did in order to stir things up.
Incidentally, the Ferguson campaign has sent numerous press releases to our office that we couldn’t use because they contained little to no actual facts, and one that was even intentionally fake in order to point out how stupid they think Crane is. And I quote: “None of it is true except as a reasonable approximation of Mike Crane’s hatred of tax cuts to create job growth.”
Several days before receiving the satirical release, Ferguson’s campaign sent another release that leads out with a below-the-belt insult in the sub-headline. I honestly don’t have a dog in that fight, especially as I don’t live in that district, but that so called press release was in such poor taste (though not as bad as the ones to follow) I called the campaign’s media contact to offer my advice. I said if they have actual facts newspapers could use, please send those, but please quit sending stuff that would be beyond biased to run.
Nope. It’s disappointing.
Crane’s campaign materials also take hard swipes at Furguson, but… and this is a journalist’s dream come true… they actually cite sources for the material they use in their flyers and commercials.
And then I’m reminded again that we’re not actually living in Danny’s World. Nor are we humans living in God’s world system anymore.
If the Bible is true, and I’m banking on it’s being true, there will come a day when there will be no more need for political mailers and television ads. Jesus will be on his throne ruling the New Earth.
God speed that day.