Today down at the mall a the initial wave of Tea party activists who had attended the Liberty XPO symposium were on the mall for an event including speakers, song and some good times. I got there around 1 p.m. and the program had already begun. Here are my shots from the event:

If the left was taking comfort from the small numbers, they are going to be very disappointed tomorrow when the full contingent shows up and start to fill the area.

Many of the various groups were planning to stay for this event and the Freedom Works tea party event tomorrow. My own twin city tea party is unfortunately only here for the day. There is a lot of video and I’ll upload it as soon as time permits.

Cannoli, business card and a book in happier times in Boston before takeoff
Landed in Washington tonight without incident but as I met my friend at the metro to head off for my first overnight in Burke to my horror I found that the Box of Cannoli that came with me all the way from Boston was missing!

I scanned the area, no luck, I checked at the police stop, no luck, I checked with TSA since it was an unmarked box nothing, although one TSA agent’s eyes lit up when I said the missing box contained fresh Cannoli (that’s what you would call a bad sign).

I had asked some baggage handlers if they wished to be interviewed, they declined, but they remembered me and said I had the box when I left their area. It’s possible that I put it down when I was giving a gentleman change for a two and someone grabbed it thinking it was some kind of valuable gift.

In the end it is a straight loss for me and my own fault. There is an outside chance that either Delta or the Police will give me an holler but I’m assuming that some officer, some thief or some average person is now enjoying a box full of the best cannoli that Dutch Kitchen can provide.

Yet I have no business complaining, on the way to the house we gassed up and at the station two police cars had pulled aside a young man and two of his friends. He had been stopped for a taillight but was driving with a suspended license so he had to wait while the police arranged to tow the vehicle. Compared to him I”m doing much better.

If losing that box of cannoli is the worst thing that happens to me in Washington then I’m doing fine, but I do apologize to my blogger buddies that I am not able to provided the cannolli. I feel guilty particularly since I’m sipping 18 year old Chivas Regal with a good friend as I type. I’ll wager the person who is eating that cannoli tonight might be jealous, at least a little bit.

Civil War Monument at Monument Square
When I attended and covered the Twin City Flag day event in Monument Square in Leominster something that I had thought of a few days a go struck me.

If you do any amount of driving in Massachusetts and New Hampshire it is totally impossible to pass through any city or small town without seeing monuments to civil war vets or any others for that matter. In Fitchburg for example we have monuments to Civil War vets, Spanish American War Vets, WW 1 vets, WW 2 vets and Vietnam vets.

WW 2 Monument in Fitchburg

I spent a week in Georgia, I drove through many towns, other than the large Stone Mountain Memorial I didn’t see a single statue in a single square. Not one, zip zero nada. The only marker of any type I saw was a marker for the grave of unknown confederate dead at a cemetery as I passed in Stone Mountain

Unknown confederate dead at Stone Mountain

Now I presume that the people of Georgia once they were done rebuilding from General Sherman’s war, found the funds to put up some kind of monuments in towns etc. Am I wrong about this or were the monuments once there removed for the sake of better relations once the political winds changed? Was a compromise reached where monuments at graveside and significant historical ones such as Stone Mountain would stay and the rest go? I have no idea

I’m sure something like that must be the case, but it just struck me as odd. Does anyone out there know for sure?

The genesis of my trip to Georgia was a short phone interview concerning the IRS chief revelation that the government would seize tax refunds of people who fail to buy insurance.

the World of Coca-Cola

Cheryl who remembered me from CPAC is her Chief of staff and arranged the interview. It was during that interview that something amazing was said.

Even more incredible was their reaction concerning the Media. The were fed up with it, they concluded that they were not getting the true picture from the MSM. As they put it: “Truth Matters!”

If you are getting the NAACP deciding that the Mainstream media can’t be trusted then the seminal change I was discussing is upon us. The same issues, regardless of race, face all.

Here is my take on the trip:

The District:

The district includes North Atlanta, Tucker, Rockville, Decatur, Lithonia, Stone Mountain, it is overwhelmingly Black and democratic, and located to the East of the city.

The People:

The People of district 4 that I ran into were primarily middle class regardless of race. They seem a deeply religious people although

Richard Thompson at Mamie

]there is a vast choice of religion to deal with. Mostly protestant but with some Catholic, Islamic and Orthodox in the mix They are friendly, and once comfortable with you are willing to speak about what is on their mind. They are polite and will usually do their best to not offend. They will not,

Daniel in the Lion

particularly in public talk about the personal faults of others. It is not a community that is hurried. There is a large amount of folks who are transplants from other locations. It is very hard to find people above the age of 40 who have lived there all their lives.

The Issues:

The Issue on every set of lips was jobs jobs and oh jobs. People who don’t have them want them, people who have them are

Stone Mountain memorial, one of only Two confederate memorials I saw

worried about keeping them. Above all other issues this is paramount. Keeping things easy for business to grow is also an issue. There are some other issues such as water that are significant but to more to the politicians. Bottom line for everyone is the economy. Until the jobs issue is addressed everything else is on the back burner.

Race:

I know this is a tired old horse but if I didn’t mention it people would be wondering why. From what I saw it reminded me of

One of many wing wagons you will find

Fitchburg back in the 60’s and 70’s. You had an Italian Section of Town, a French Section, a Finn section a Yankee section etc, there would be some crossover but not a lot. It seemed to be pretty much the same, different ethnic groups tended to congregate together while various areas were mixed. In terms of jobs and entertainments people work side by side. In terms of taste people have their own cultural and culinary tastes but there is cross over. As a rule the younger the people were the less history bothered them. This is a very good thing but because of the history people are still very aware and sensitive.

And now the Meat and Potatoes of the Matter:

The Democrats:

There are three democratic candidates. The first being congressman Hank Johnson, he is the prohibitive front runner. In terms of policy his positions are standard left and pretty much in line with both Cynthia McKinney and Denise Majette who followed her but with none of the abrasion that McKinney was famous for. In my time in Georgia I did not meet a person who personally disliked him. This includes republicans. The big question on Johnson is his health. Depending on who you talk to he is either “courageous” in publicly dealing with his illness that isn’t slowing him down or practically on death’s door. Usually the answer is based on who you are supporting. He does have a new committee assignment on the transportation committee which considering the issues concerning MARTA certainly can’t hurt.

Next comes Vernon Jones. There are two constants concerning Vernon Jones. Every voter I talked to says he is smart and dynamic and more than capable of doing the job. Also every person I talked to in Ga-4 had the same reaction when I said his name. Everyone smiled a big wide grin like there was an inside joke that everybody knew but nobody wanted to say aloud. The adjectives used to describe him included “interesting”,

This is the 2nd wealthiest African American community in the country

“active” and quite a few more. Of the democratic candidates He has the best chance of unseating Johnson but in a district that is a very religious one Jones issues might be too much to overcome but his message of Jobs First is exactly the right message in this district and has played well with business owners.

Quite a few Vernon Jones signs in the area

Connie Stokes: Most voters I talked to didn’t even remember her name. This is a bad sign if you want to go to congress. Her campaign has nobody talking, at least nobody I heard.

I think this primary turns on Congressman Johnson’s health. The most knowledgeable unbiased source I talked to said he is clearly not himself but didn’t think it would be enough to derail him. A healthy Johnson beats both Jones and Stokes without much trouble, all indications are that a Johnson even with health questions will win this race unless those questions become so pronounced that he can’t function. Jones is known as a street fighter but he wasn’t able to take DeKalb county during the democratic primary for Senate. With tougher times his jobs message is a good sell but Stokes gives people who are unsure of Johnson another place to go if they are not comfortable with Jones.

My prediction: Johnson wins without a runoff.

Republicans:

The most interesting fact about this race according to people experienced in Ga-4 is that there IS a race. This is one of the “majority-minority” districts that has been a double edged sword for liberals. The fact that four candidates are going for this

Liz Carter

nomination is a sign of what his happening all over the country.

Liz Carter has been campaigning hard in the district, and has impressed a lot of people even on the other side of the aisle. She has a strong presentation, a good grasp of the issues and is utterly fearless. Her willingness to fight to get her message out to the black community shows a fearlessness that is necessary if you are going to be a republican and win in such a district. Her push on financial issues and jobs is an excellent message for the times and it is no secret that I was and am impressed by her.

Cory Ruthis exactly what the Republican party needs more of. A young self made black man who is enamored with basic conservative principles, who looks to the future rather than the past. His mantra that if the government would get out of the way of people in general and of the black community in particularly it can excel. Ruth also has deep connections within the black community that would be a big advantage in a general election but in a district where most of the black community are registered democrats doesn’t help much in the primary but as I saw, his support is not confined to the

Cory Ruth at Arizona

southern part of the district.

The two other candidates: Victor Armendariz and Larry Gause have not made much of a splash and like Connie Stokes on the democratic side do not seem to be a factor.

The race really comes down to Carter and Ruth, both have strengths for the general election, both are impressive candidates but Liz Carter has run the stronger campaign and it has gained notice even with those on the other side. With an open primary system in Georgia, Cory may be able to draw on independent black voters particularly those who are concerned about Johnson’s Health

Signs at the Tysinger breakfast

and Jones’ reputation. There is also the pragmatic factor in terms of both winning the general election and re-election in 2012 in a majority black district that has driven some republican support his way. Liz however has already demonstrated willingness to fight for black voters and the contested contest on the democratic side may be too much of a draw for voters. I think Carter’s efforts here pay off.

My Prediction: Carter wins without a runoff.

I will not make a prediction in the general election as it is too far away, although just as you had to favor Coakley in Massachusetts early so must give Johnson the advantage in this district. You can’t count out a candidate like Liz Carter who is willing to fight for the black vote. The off year election with President Obama not on the ballot and the economic woes favor her. I’d say his has an 70% shot at re-election but the fact that any republican has a 30% shot in this district is at least as incredible as Scott Brown in Massachusetts. If Johnson’s heath takes a turn for the worse all bets are off.

The real interesting question in this race is Vernon Jones. If he wins the primary it shakes things up tremendously. If he loses does he look to 2012 and act accordingly? And what about Cory Ruth? Say I’m wrong and he wins the primary, does he have the gravitas to beat Johnson? Does his reputation in the community outweigh Jones’ street smarts in a general election? And if he doesn’t win, is he a stronger candidate in 2012 with one campaign under his belt?

For a district and a race that should be all but settled, a lot is going on and I’ll tell you what. It won’t be boring.

Here is my complete collection of posts on the Georgia Trip:

Calling all Atlanta Area Conservative Bloggers: A suggestion that we have a night out together, I’m free tonight (Tuesday) and/or Friday

Fedora now in Dixie (the I’ve arrived post)

Voices of Georgia: Rochelle (my first interview and I comment on sedition back home)

Breakfast in America Mamie’s Kitchen ga-4 (I talk to patrons of a local coffee shop)

A talk with the Crossroads News (The Rather extraordinary Jennifer Parker talks to me about the district)

Voices of Ga-4 my pal Vinnie: (He looks nothing like Joe Pesci!)

A Few Photos from tonight: Photos from the United PeachTree Corners Civic Organization candidate’s forum. on May 24th.

Individual interviews on camera with Angela Moore, Liz Carter, Brooke Nebel, Jeffery Meek, and Dr. Mary Kay Murphy from the UPCCA forum.

My quick take on the UPCCA Forum.

Various uninformative opining on stuff

The Curse of the Fedora or how the Red Sox went on a winning streak when I left

Video from the Varsity (onion rings awesome, burger so/so)

A very good sitdown with the Champion Free Press

My old friends and me

A Doraville thankyou post.

A church Tale where I talk about some of the churches I visited

Two posts about the one unpleasant moment of the trip

Chief/Col John King’s Afganistan deployment post. (MUST WATCH!)

A Thanks to Hank Johnson’s staff

Liz Carter in Doraville

My funny CNN post (well I thought it was funny)

The Republican Ga-7 candidate forum (had a very bad time uploading them for some reason)

Matthews’ cafeteria roundup

A busy day

Indictments in the 4th district

My Cory Ruth video

A photo illustrating the one thing wrong with Tysinger’s forum.

Looking for a cup of Peach Tea: My link to the examiner article on what I saw (or rather didn’t see) of the tea parties

A Reception in Doraville: The reception for Chief King after the presentation.

My Lunch with Cory Ruth: A rundown of my long Lunch with candidate Cory Ruth

Voices of Ga: Kelly Nguyen (r) Ga-5: Kelly Nguyen makes her case for ga-5

Latest Examiner Article: Breakfast without Tea: My Examiner article on the Tysinger Breakfast

The Tysinger Breakfast a great idea: My blog post on on the Tysinger Breakfast including several video clips

Voices of Ga Allen Williamson (I) Ga-82: My final Georgia voice from the trip

And of course my posts about the forum in Ga-4 that I did from here:

Ga-4 Forum: No Irish Whites need apply? The initial post on the subject

Ga-4 Forum: Statement of Newsmakers live Journal: Posting the forum’s hosts statement on the matter.

GA-4 Forum: Cory Ruth Statement: Cory Ruth’s statement on the matter

Liz Carter allowed to participate… the resolution.

The Ga-4 Forum story makes the news: and the coverage by the MSM

And that is what I did on my Georgia trip.

My last video interview from the Georgia Trip was with Allen Williamson at the Tysinger breakfast

I have two final posts planned, my big round up and a selection of photos from various places I saw. They will go up this weekend as time permits.

In DeKalb country there is weekly political event that for 42 years has informed people about the issues and the candidates. That is the Tysinger breakfast.

Gene Wise Tells us of it’s origin

The years may have slowed Mr. Tysinger but it hasn’t stopped him from holding his weekly event.

How many pols today still quote Cicero? At the breakfast I attended there were several speakers candidates for State offices, house, senate and Attorney general.

People made their presentations and took questions from the audience. The biggest issue of the day was the School district indictments and Tom Bowen of the board gave an overview and took some questions.

The best line of the day belonged to Seth Harp running for Georgia State Insurance Commissioner: “Sacred Cows make great Hamburger!”.

To say this is a great idea is an incredible understatement. An event like this gives people the chance to touch on the issues and talk to candidates and pols of all levels, even more importantly said pols have an incentive to show up and be responsive to the needs of the people that send them to office.

I can not recommend this type of thing enough. It should be emulated in every state, maybe in every country in the Union. Perhaps if there were more of these breakfasts the Tea Party Movement would not be necessary.

My latest article for the Examiner Breakfast without Tea is now up at Examiner.com

The topic is the Tysinger breakfast about which I have a standard post coming up about 7 p.m. tonight.

As always my examiner articles as a group are available here and considering the inauspicious start to the Am I worth as much as Andrew Sullivan drive every penny generating hit you can give is most appreciated.