Now Nunn is running as a centrist Democrat in Georgia, which is kind of mandatory for her re-election chances so not all of her ideas are great but she still has some other great ideas:Democrat Michelle Nunn said Wednesday that if she's elected to Georgia's open U.S. Senate seat that she would introduce legislation implementing a lifetime ban on members of Congress from becoming registered lobbyists, pledging she'll never become a lobbyist.
The proposal was among a handful of what she called "good government" policy reforms that she plans to campaign on. Nunn, the former CEO of a Points of Light, a major volunteer organization, is the most prominent Democrat running to replace Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss who's retiring at the end of the year.
"They are all ideas for making Congress work for Georgians and people across the nation," Nunn said in an interview. "As I go around the state, there is so much frustration about the polarization and dysfunction in Washington, and I want to actually propose a set of ideas to start a conversation to address that." - AP, 1/14/14
Now I admit, these aren't the most original ideas:Nunn's other proposals included legislation to block lawmakers and the president from receiving a paycheck if an annual budget isn't passed. That's similar to former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who called on Congress to return their pay during last year's government shutdown.
Nunn also proposed a requirement that each piece of federal legislation include a coast estimate at the time of introduction, pledged to meet with every senator in her first year if elected and expressed support for a constitutional amendment limiting special interest money in elections. - Independent Mail, 1/14/14
But they're still good ideas and they all fit her campaign platform:Most of these ideas have floated around Capitol Hill before to no avail. Sens. Jon Tester and Michael Bennet pushed the lobbyist ban in 2012 and the Senate has passed a version of the “No Budget, No Pay” proposal. Requiring a price tag for every bill is a perennial push by transparency advocates in Washington.
Nunn, though, urged her supporters not to be tempered by the past.
“I know we have in this room the kind of optimism and idealism and creativity that we need to unleash across the nation.” - Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/14/14
Speaking of her dad, don't expect to see former Senator Sam Nunn (D. GA) on the campaign trail:Nunn also promised to work to restore civility and bipartisanship if elected to a six-year senatorial term.
“I would meet with every single senator,” looking for ways they might work together no matter their differences, she said.
And she would work to get real campaign finance reform, supporting legislation and a Constitutional amendment to stop “secret undisclosed dollars that are unlimited” from pouring into political campaigns.
“Ultimately, they’re fairly simple ideas,” she said.
Nunn’s campaign is focused on three overarching issues, she told her mostly student crowd Tuesday — jobs and economic development; long-term national debt; and education.
Nunn also talked about family values, including lessons learned from her father, former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn.
“People can work together to get things done,” her father taught her, she said. “We’re not seeing that today in Washington.” - Online Athens, 1/14/14
It might be a good idea for Sam Nunn to stay out of this race because Nunn's trying to run a campaign that makes her stand out of her father's shadow:“Basically, I just respond when they ask me questions and show up when I get invited, and have learned to grin and bear it when they don’t take my advice. … And so it is an adjustment when, basically, you’ve got a whole group of young people who look at things a little different, and a lot of times they end up being right and I’m wrong. But, you know, sometimes I have to think that my advice is better than anybody else’s, but that’s something I’m getting accustomed to.”
Michelle Nunn has raised large sums of money since her entrance into the race in July, drawing partly from her four-term father’s network. For example, former Republican colleagues and close pals of Sam Nunn — John Warner of Virginia and Richard Lugar of Indiana — have written checks to the Michelle Nunn campaign.
Sam Nunn said he did not solicit either donation, but he thanked both men for their gifts. He said the support from the pair of moderate Republicans likely indicates their desire for more consensus-building in the Senate.
Sam Nunn said he does not think it’s a great idea for him to go out stumping with his daughter:
“Having me with her — some audiences may be OK, but [with] others it would be a liability. I think it’s very clear that she’s her own person and that will become even clearer as she goes along, and I think that’s very important.
“I don’t think people are going to vote for Michelle because they know her last name. I think that may give her some attention to begin with and that’s a good thing, but I think she’ll have to convince them that she is the independent, commonsense kind of thinker that’s going to go to Washington and work with people on both sides of the aisle.
“They’re going to find the John Warners and the Dick Lugars of the Republicans in the Senate, and I’m sure there are some.” - Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/8/14
But Nunn has been joining other red state Democrats in bashing Republicans for refusing to extend unemployment benefits and talking about the safety net:Supporters acknowledge that Nunn is not a conservative southern Democrat of yore. “The question that comes up is, ‘Is she more liberal than her old man?’ I think the answer is yes. But certainly the Georgia Democratic Party is too,” said Democratic strategist Ed Kilgore, a long-time friend of Michelle’s. “He self-identified as a conservative, not as a moderate or centrist. That kind of Democrat barely exists in the state anymore.”
Kilgore still believes she is a natural dealmaker, and Nunn herself insists that her professional track record proves she’s willing and able to extend a hand to Republicans. But of all policy issues, volunteer service may be among the least controversial and most anodyne—the thing that most everyone can agree upon.
The 2014 political landscape is a minefield for red-state Democrats like Nunn. Obamacare is the ultimate test of her determination to run as a no-nonsense, above-the-fray independent.
Nunn is quick to point out that she was “one of the first people to come out” for a delay of the individual mandate after problems emerged with the website. When asked whether Obamacare can ultimately succeed, she neither defends nor attacks the law wholesale, declining to cast judgment on it one way or the other.
“My focus has been on what we can do to actually fix this. We need to make health care work for Americans, and we need to do whatever it is to do that.” But she believes Georgia should embrace Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, which the GOP governor turned down. - MSNBC, 1/12/14
Nunn may not be perfect but I'm liking where her campaign is going and emphasizing the need for campaign finance reform and fighting the lobbyists' influence on the legislation. If you would like to get involved with Nunn's campaign, you can do so here:This is a reminder that the safety net is going to be front and center in many races this fall, even in red states. To read much of the commentary, you’d think Dems have two choices: either sink under the weight of Obamacare, or run away from it. As Charlie Cook put it, Dems are talking about inequality to “shift the focus” from Obamacare, because it has become a “sore subject.”
That’s true in some ways, but the nuances of what Dems are up to are worth appreciating. Dems aren’t simply looking to shift away from Obamacare, but to shift the terms of the debate over it, by putting it in the context of a larger debate over the safety net, an argument Dems are already engaging pretty aggressively.
Red state Dems are taking a more nuanced approach to Obamacare than some of the coverage suggests. An Atlanta Journal Constitution poll finds a majority supports repealing all or part of Obamacare. But 57 percent support the Medicaid expansion. This informs how Democrat Michelle Nunn is talking about the law.
Given Obamacare’s deep unpopularity in red states, Nunn does not go out of her way to talk about Obamacare, and neither does Grimes. Neither of these Dems are members of Congress, so neither voted for the law, and so they will avoid the Obamacare debate partly to avoid getting tainted by the Washington argument over it. This is also because both will face Washington politicians this fall (Grimes faces McConnell; Nunn will face a Georgia member of Congress).
But when they do have to talk about the law, they shift the discussion to a broader one — over the safety net. Nunn embraced the individual mandate delay, which would have badly undermined the law if it had any chance of passing. But she says we should fix the law, rather than repeal it. And she supports the Medicaid expansion, arguing that it would, among other things, allow uninsured veterans access to health coverage. Grimes has struck a similar balance, criticizing the rollout but also standing up for its safety net component by arguing we should not cut off a route to health coverage for several hundred thousand Kentuckians. - Washington Post, 1/14/14