Saturday, October 18, 2008

Freeman Flyer Flap

Rep. Allen Freeman (R-Macon) is in trouble with a veteran for misleading voters about his own military service, and this is not the first time. In today's Telegraph, a local veteran, Jerry Fincher, calls Freeman's hand for a misleading campaign mailer that he says implies Freeman was deployed to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm. He was not. He was in the National Guard but did not go to the region. The mailer says that Freeman is a "decorated veteran of Operation Desert Storm" and includes a photograph of him in uniform in the desert-the California desert. It's printed on the picture, if you look closely. Most people do not look closely-most spend less than 20 seconds looking at a piece of campaign mail.

As I said, this is not Freeman's first trip around this rose bush. I recall seeing the exactly same picture-or one very, very similar-in his campaign material before. I believe that it was during the 2004 cycle, and he drew very similar criticism. It seems that either he did not learn, or he decided the potential political benefit was worth the risk.

Frankly, I have never understood his approach on this issue. It just makes no sense. Serving in the National guard is an honorable thing to do, but it's not honorable to fuzzy-up the truth about what the service included. Why not just be proud enough of what you did to be completely clear about it?

What's the truth? This is what I found, and much of it is from his own biography. After high school, Freeman initially attended North Georgia Military College and then attended Georgia Southern. Freeman served in the Georgia Army National Guard from 1988 until 1993, the same year he graduated from Georgia Southern. According to his "Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty" he had "Foreign Service...0 Years, 0 Months, 0 Days" and "Sea Service...0 Years, O Months, 0 Days. Freeman was a Medical Supply Specialist and his highest ranking was Private First Class.

His claims of being a "decorated" "veteran of Operation Desert Storm" are misleading. He was never deployed to the Middle East, or anywhere else out of the country. He did receive two ribbons: the Army Service Ribbon, a ribbon given to any member of the U.S. Army, including ROTC or the Army National Guard, who complete initial entry training-as in, basic training. He also received the National Defense Service Medal. According to Wikipedia:

The National Defense Service Medal is awarded to anyone who serves on active duty in the United States military during the above time periods. For service in the Gulf War and War on Terrorism, it is also authorized for members of the Reserves or National Guard ordered to active duty or who are performing "reserve service in good standing" which normally translates as regular attendance at monthly drills and performance in yearly training.

Fincher also takes issue with Freeman's claim in the mailer that he "stood up" to members of his own party regarding the War Veteran's Home closure. Freeman claims to have called the Governor to "protest how the matter was handled." Call the Governor? He couldn't even call a press conference, and we know he knows how to call a press conference for really important things, like attacking his opponent. Now, he wants the vets there to just be happy that they won't be homeless before Christmas. Maybe he figures that in 2009, this is going to be someone else's problem, and the way this race is shaping up, he might be just about right about that.


Red Man said...

I posted the following comments on Erick Erickson's PeachPundit website this morning--in response to a write-up about Epps/Freeman:

Even if Allen’s allegations are true, for the following reasons, I see no problem:

1. There are five county commissioners not just one; any decision made by the commission must carry a majority vote. Therefore, even if Bubber Epps had not abstained from voting on paving contracts, which he did, there are four other commissioners that could have out voted him.

2. Epps paving provides local jobs in Middle Georgia Area. I had much rather see a local paving contract go to a local company than to an Atlanta or an out of state company.

Additionally, I am a Republican. I have voted for Allen Freeman in the past. However, Freeman has made a drastic change since he first took office. Freeman is a yes man for Glenn Richardson and everyone knows it. No one I know respects Allen Freeman. Some of my family members and neighbors actually support Freeman and they have no respect for him at all —they keep voting for him because they know Freeman will do anything they ask him do (personal favors). As a Freeman supporter recently told me, “Allen is a yes man, he is a paid politician.”

On the local level, I try to vote for the person and put partisan politics to the side. Knowing both men, I can tell you that Mr. Bubber Epps is much more ethical and educated than Allen Freeman. Epps has a Masters degree while Freeman’s degree is in “leisure services.” Mr. Epps also has educational and business experience—things that are very important to Middle Georgia right now. Freeman, well he was a park ranger—not really relevant in today’s economy.

As far as the Twiggs County Commission goes, Mrs. Epps is the best and most ethical commissioner in Twiggs County. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is attend a Twiggs County Commissioner meeting—the rest of the commissioners act like hyenas and bow down to “the great” Ray Bennett.

Anyone who knows both Epps and Freeman should not have a hard choice in this race. Mr. Erickson I know you have to be loyal to your party, but you know that Mr. Epps is best for Middle Georgia.

Amy said...

Hello, My name is Lucy.
Allen Freeman does not care anything about district 140 - when The Twiggs County BOE was in process of closing Dry Branch Elementary (which by the way, was one of the TOP elementary schools in GEORGIA) We asked him to help us. He shooed us away, and told us that he would not help us unless we promised to VOTE for him when election time came around... MR FREEMAN it is your JOB as our elected official to help out the people that worked to get you where you are --- I do not care that you and our SUCKIE State superintendent Kathy Cox are buddies.. she is not in your district. You have the ethics and morals of a slug. Your own party is turning against you...

By the way, last night on channel 24 when you and Mr. Epps were on the Fox Files -- boy did you have those hands held tight, for a minute there i thought that they would turn blue. You were nervous about something, and it showed.

Mr. Epps you are AWESOME, I cannot wait to vote for you. The way this country is going,it is good to know that there will be someone on our side...

Mr.Freeman -- what can i say, even dirt has a purpose, what is yours?