Zell Miller: A Man Who Had All The Friends He Ever Needed

Zell Miller: A Man Who Had All The Friends He Ever Needed

  I appreciate Phil Kent asking me to write about Zell Miller. So many people knew him so well that to have the chance to share “Miller Times” is a true privilege. If you know names like Keith Mason, Gordon Giffin, Ed Sims, Rick Dent, Mary Beazley or Toni Brown (not to mention Joan Kirchner Carr or Steve Wrigley), then this piece is for you. You could add hundreds of names to that list and you would still be listing true friends of Zell Miller at one time or another and, in reality, forever. Miller’s career veered from liberal to conservative. In between it had a strong twinge of populism. But, contrary to what to detractors would suggest, that was not because he zigged or zagged to meet political expedience. Instead, it was because Miller was truly evolving throughout his entire life. At heart he was an author constantly in search of what reflected those “Corps Values” he learned as a Marine and he set forth in one of his many books. He could be feisty, wily, and even “a little bit crazy.” Those were his words, not mine. He once told me that part of the secret to success in politics was “to make people think you’re a little bit crazy.” I guess he felt comfortable saying that to me, knowing that most folks thought that I was as well. He explained this by describing the time the Department of Transportation board didn’t want to name his man as its new commissioner. “I gathered them all out at the (governor’s) mansion, carried some rolled up sheets of paper...
Newsvesting for a Trump Bump…and Eventual Slump

Newsvesting for a Trump Bump…and Eventual Slump

In anticipation of what I openly declared ahead of time as a likely Donald Trump win November 8th, I steadily bought shares of the S&P index fund SPDR (SPY) but hedged by buying shares of one of the many ETFs that track volatility in the market (the VIX), in my case choosing the fund traded as VIXY. The strategy was simple. Ride the side of the market that would take off with a Trump victory and dollar average into the ETF that lost ground as a result. At first blush it seemed that a Trump victory would send the U.S. financial markets into a tailspin. Indeed the pre-markets for the late hours following the apparent victory for Trump lost significant ground, only to rebound by the time of the opening bell the following morning. The S&P had already been rising in the days prior to the election, based on the inaccurate assumption that the Hillary Clinton would be elected our next president. But the weeks that followed showed that Wall Street’s fear of Trump’s temperament and his dislike for some financial institutions, withered as investors considered the implication of future tax cuts, investment in infrastructure, a boost to defense spending, and the likely end to many an anti-business regulation. So the S&P rose creating what has been dubbed the “Trump Bump.” That provided some immediate gratification financially in short term profits in those purchases of the S&P index. But what of the VIX? That side of the equation started an equally significant ride to the downside. And this Newsvestor has been more than happy to purchase bits and pieces...
Yes Donald, You Really Did Win — And Here’s Why

Yes Donald, You Really Did Win — And Here’s Why

It was June of this year. About 150 of my fellow Georgians were gathered around the grand staircase in the home of Atlanta business legend Charlie Loudermilk. Speaking to the group, Donald Trump put me on the spot. “Matt, whose going to win in November?” Trump had reminded my friends there that I predicted he would win the GOP nomination even before he entered the race, having written so in my December 2014 syndicated column. One thing I had learned over the years is that the New York businessman reads a lot and is never hesitant to give you his thoughts. He writes on a copy of the column and has it scanned and emailed by his assistant. I also learned that he never forgets. I was on the spot. How did I answer him? I’ll leave that for the end. Instead, I’ll first focus on the beginning. America has become a nation captivated by celebrity. Many years ago I penned a piece stating that, based on polling, reality TV would die a quick death. Boy was I wrong. Trump took his celebrity and unabashed entertainment style and brought to politics a rough and tumble and often raw style which captivated the imagination of those who came to love him, hate him or who were simply stunned or shocked by his presentation. And he coupled that brazen style with simple messages of a wall, of America “winning again,” of law and order and a promise of a return to prosperity for the average working man and woman. He spoke in simple sentences deliberately aimed at a listener with the...
Now We Are in this Mess and Someone Will Have to Fix It

Now We Are in this Mess and Someone Will Have to Fix It

In the autumn of 2013 a story literally blindsided the press and public. The Atlanta Braves were moving to Cobb County. More specifically they were locating at the epicenter of Northside Atlanta traffic— the critical juncture where I-75 and I-285 “meet and greet” motorists commuting to and from work and intermingling with travelers desperately trying to weave through the massive jams and delays that are routine. This is not an anti-Braves commentary. Having been to enough Braves games over five-plus decades I am a longtime fan of the team. I have very personal reasons for supporting major league baseball. They made a move that is not only prudent but financially a huge win for the team. As for the taxpayers in Cobb and the adjacent Sandy Springs, the verdict is still out. Cobb will take on the greatest brunt of the costs and fuzzy math suggests that a day of reckoning may come to pass for its residents. Sandy Springs has far less skin in the game but its footsy games with Cobb concerning traffic routes will place more burden on its police force and could damage home values in what were posh areas of the still-relatively new city. Again, the stuff of speculation. What is not speculation is the clear fact that the area will not be prepared for the traffic onslaught that will hit much of Northside Atlanta next April on opening day. The “coincidental” widening of some roads and I-75 and I-285 improvements, all moving at a rapid pace, simply will not solve the traffic disaster that residents in a radius that goes well beyond Vinings...
Instant Analysis: Trump Speech Draws Nationalistic Line in Sand

Instant Analysis: Trump Speech Draws Nationalistic Line in Sand

By Matt Towery – In a speech that attempted to touch every possible political base, Donald J. Trump drew a literal nationalistic line in the sand during an impassioned acceptance speech of his party’s nomination in Cleveland Thursday night. Trump’s comfort with the teleprompter clearly grew with every increasing line of a speech that bordered on being too long. But by the time the former reality TV star hit his stride, he had reached out to military veterans, low-income Americans, union workers and the LGBT community in an amazing display of both stamina and, for Trump, discipline. The result was the most blatant appeal to “Americanism” since Ronald Reagan in 1980 and more likely since Barry Goldwater in 1964. And therein lies the question that will not be answered until November. Will such a brash degree of nationalism, coupled with a dose of the law and order message of Richard Nixon’s era, result in a Reagan victory of 1980 or a crushing defeat such as Goldwater’s 1964 effort? Anyone who pretends to have that answer following Trump’s energetic and virtually flawless presentation of his multipronged combination of attacks on his opponent and promises of economic and foreign policy improvements would be a foolish and biased pundit. The truth is, with Donald Trump, nothing is ever normal and anything is possible. Trump’s performance, which left previous plastic and predictable GOP nominees such as John McCain and Mitt Romney in the dust, was much needed after a GOP convention that lurched from one controversy to the next. Perhaps the most important result of his address was the obvious enthusiastic response from...