They're not. There has been plenty of corruption in African-American politics. Since I've lived in Atlanta I have seen my city's mayor convicted of it, watched a succession of city councilmen and school board members resign in shame over it. Even our sheriff shot his deputy, for the crime of running against said sheriff, and winning.
To a degree today's Tea Party rising in Georgia is a reaction against all that. They see the Clayton school district lose its accreditation, the Atlanta schools mired in a cheating scandal, and the DeKalb Schools run so badly the board has to be replaced. They have a lot to be angry about, and figure they, from their exurban lairs, can run things better than those who live and vote in the affected areas can. Thus we have the spectacle of the state trying to take over the city's transit system, which local taxpayers pay for, and basically sell it off to private interests, believing that private is always better than public, and never mind Halliburton.
But what has been most surprising about this crowd is how easily they're corrupted.
When I was covering Georgia politics for Voic.us, Chip Rogers was rising from the Georgia mountains like a sunrise. I was following the money, and nearly every Republican in the state was being heavily corrupted by real estate money. There were limits on what one person could donate to a race, so the developers simply found legislators who faced no real competition, doubled their donations by assuming a primary, and then multiplying them by having family members, other executives, and their corporations match. Since legislators were allowed to take unused campaign donations and retire on them, it was pure gravy.
Chip Rogers was an exception. Chip Rogers didn't take that money. He didn't take the money from the title pawn crowd, either. He took money from activists, mostly in his own district, and he won. Big. By the time I left the beat he was a power in the legislature, a threat to become governor.
Trouble is, just like the civil rights marchers, Rogers couldn't really eat on that. And he wanted to eat. So Gov. Nathan Deal, who wanted to get rid of him politically, did the smart thing, as well as the corrupt thing. He gave Rogers some fancy title at the state's Corporation for Public Broadcasting, something about economic development.
Rogers now writes a blog, linked to above, and it's unintentionally hilarious. It's the kind of thing a college freshman, fresh off the Young Republicans' bus trip, might write.
The job is a crock. Deal doesn't like pubic broadcasting, no good Republican does, so anything Rogers can do to destroy it is all to the good. He doesn't have to do a good job -- he's making six figures for doing a bad one. And while he's doing a bad one, he's taking those six figures and getting discredited, thoroughly, by his own actions.
Cut-rate corruption. Gotta love it. Now excuse me while I make another cup of tea.