Matt Towery

Searching for more tangible similarities Mayor Reed, like Obama, served in his state legislature. Reed served much of his time in the Georgia General Assembly, with Republicans in control of parts or all of state government. While clearly a Democrat with Democrat policies, Reed managed to gain a comfortable relationship with his GOP colleagues and a strong reputation for displaying a willingness to work with Republicans when possible.

As Atlanta's mayor, Reed has built a strong relationship with the city's business community and continues to work well with Georgia's Republican governor and legislature. Even Young would likely admit that his protege's experience in the state legislature has allowed Reed to have a stronger relationship with state government than most, if not all, of his modern-day predecessors.

So for most of the nation the question remains: Why is Reed potential presidential timber? After all, he's not been a governor, U.S. senator or even a member of Congress.

The answer can be found in the Sunday morning talk shows, such as "Meet the Press," where Kasim Reed has become a "go to" guest. Add to that visits to the Oval Office, like the one Reed had with President Obama and another civil rights icon, Rep. John Lewis, in late July to discuss the Voting Rights Act. If politics had an early radar detection system for likely fast-moving stars, Reed would be showing up and climbing fast.

And as for that other qualification of holding high state or federal office, make no mistake that when and if the day comes that any number of powerful Democratic congressmen in Georgia, such as Lewis, retire, Reed could waltz into the seat. Many observers believe an open gubernatorial seat in Georgia could be a Democrat's in 2018. Reed could fit that bill, as well.

Ironically, many lament the days when the archconservative Speaker Newt Gingrich and the steadfast Democrat President Bill Clinton took strident stands on issues, but managed to reach compromise. Where the GOP's future Gingrich will be found is anyone's guess. But Reed may well find himself in Clinton's role in years to come, particularly if the GOP can't field a winning ticket or stop eating its own.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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