Dick Yarbrough: Sept. 25, 2019
A potentially great senator declines the opportunity
Dear Gov. Kemp:
I hope all is well with you. I first want to tell you that you and your team did an excellent job during the recent threat from Hurricane Dorian. Fortunately, Dorian decided to skip the Georgia coast — including my personal slice of heaven on Saint Simons Island — but there is no question we were ready, thanks to a lot of solid preparation on your part.
I also want to thank you for your role in getting the field at Sanford Stadium named for Coach Vince Dooley. I spent a decade and a half spitting in the wind on that one and had a lot of people tell me it wouldn’t happen. But it did, thanks to you.
I recently observed that victory has a thousand fathers and defeat is an orphan. Now that it has come to pass, folks are coming out of the woodwork modestly taking credit and I no longer feel like Little Orphan Annie. That’s OK. The main thing is that this good man is around to enjoy his long overdue tribute. But deep down inside, I know and they know they would be spitting in the wind with me today had you not been elected governor. There were several previous governors who could have made this happen but didn’t. You did. A thousand fathers and an almost-orphan thank you.
My main reason for writing is to say that I will not be a candidate for the U. S. Senate to replace the inimitable Johnny Isakson. I wanted to tell you personally before you started wondering if my application was lost in the mail.
I know this is a major disappointment for you. I would have been a great senator. I know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff and people are always mistaking me for Brad Pitt. I would be a slam-dunk to be elected.
The problem is that when I got to Washington, I would likely pull a Zell Miller and be my own man and not a kiss-up party man. You will recall that Zell was a liberal Democrat when he was governor but when he was appointed to fill out the term of the late Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell, he went all conservative on us and became a strong supporter of President George W. Bush. He also threatened on national television to beat up that smug guy on MSNBC who looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy, only isn’t as smart. Next to creating the HOPE Scholarships, that may have been Zell Miller’s finest hour.
In truth, I might ruffle a few feathers inside the beltway. I find it hard being nice to people I don’t like and that includes a lot of politicians. When I told New York Sen. Chuck Schumer that he looks like a condescending snob with those little glasses perched on the end of his nose preening for the television cameras, that might be a bit of a problem for me getting major legislation through the Senate.
My forte would be foreign affairs. The next time one of those jive-talking mullahs — or whatever they call themselves — in Iran started rattling sabers and threatening to do us harm, I would turn that place into a backyard barbecue and offer to do the same to anybody else that thinks twice about messing with us.
There were a lot of other initiatives I would have pushed had I been senator, like trying to talk Mexico into taking California back although I’m not sure Mexico would be interested if San Francisco was a part of the deal.
As for building the wall, I would have suggested we move it to the Mason-Dixon Line. This would discourage undocumented immigrants coming here from where it snows 10 months a year and all the buildings are rusted and then proceeding to make fun of the way we talk.
Obviously, you are going to have a challenge finding a visionary like me to fill Sen. Isakson’s seat. But now that I am not a candidate, perhaps this will encourage others to come forward and apply for the job. Just don’t tell them they have to spend a lot of time in Washington. That could be a deal-breaker.
The good news is that I will still be around and available to help you run the state of Georgia. Don’t hesitate to call when you need me. Otherwise, I hope I run into you at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium. (Lordy, I do love saying that!)