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.

I have a little talk with Kelly Nguyen who is running for the 5th district seat currently held by John Lewis:

If Ga-4 is an uphill race Ga-5 is a mountain but you don’t climb a mountain without trying. Putting up a fight makes a huge difference, anything can happen in a campaign and if you aren’t running then you can’t take advantage of it. This is a lesson that republicans need to learn. It’s also not a bad idea to have young energetic candidates learning the ropes in a campaign.

In a year when a series of excellent black conservatives are running in state after state Cory Ruth is a man with a future.

Cory Ruth at Arizona's
Ruth is one of four Republican candidates in the very democratic 4th district in Georgia. Last Friday my friend Vinnie and I sat down with Cory, we sat and ate and talked. His favorite topic; individual liberty.

We are only as free as we allow ourselves to be.” he declared as he talked about how the government takeovers tended to make people less free. He had managed at the age of 32 to make him self successful as a consultant through initiative. He thinks that this is the message that the black community needs. Particularly this black community which is the second wealthiest in the nation. He believes that if the African American community can be weaned from the government there are no limits to how far it can excel.

For some it might not be an easy sell but he feels younger African Americans of a new generation like himself have moved beyond the old conflicts. Not that they don’t owe a debt to those who have gone before, they should be remembered but his activities within the community as a minister illustrates not so much that old debt but the debt that he feels any man should pay to the community he lives in.

In his youth he saw an African American Supreme court justice nominated by a republican. The two black secretaries of state he saw serve were appointed by George Bush who he declared had “the most diverse group of appointments in history.” Although he applauds this diversity he thinks republicans missed a chance by not running a Powell/Rice ticket saying while scanning the overwhelmingly black clientele at the restaurant that “Not a person in the room would not have voted for Powell.”

Although an African American ticket was not in the cards for republicans in 2008 blacks candidates for congress certainly are. From Col Allen West in Florida, to Les Phillip in Alabama to Vernon Parker in Arizona a slew of credible black candidates have risen up in the republican party.

Cory and a voter
As for if the community might resent a black Republican in a district where the president is so popular: “The problems will be there long after he (President Obama) is gone.” He worked in the community before the 2008 election and will still be involved when this administration is over. He knows the communities needs and problems, as he put it; he is the candidate who listens to 1380 AM and knows the voters he needs to attract.

That certainly seemed evident after we finished our meal different customers talked to him and seemed encouraged by his candidacy and at least once person at the Tysinger breakfast the next day thought he was the best chance for the district to go Republican.

One thing is certain at the age of 32 no matter what the results of the primary or the general election he will be around for a lot of years to be a force in the party. If he continues to preach the gospel of individual liberty to his community they and the country will be the better for it.

The spread looked great.

There was a sandwich the size of 5 larges at Mighty Subs, cakes, chicken and when that started to run out Pizza. A steady stream of people came in to greet Doraville’s newly returned police chief.

John King had been had spent his time in Afghanistan training Afghan police, trying to change the a group from a society that is tribal in nature.

The Civic center was filled to hear his presentation and a great chunk of that group walked down the hill past the library to the City hall to join in the celebration.

It was the single most diverse group I had seen in my entire time in Georgia, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Mixed, all paying tribute to the chief who had returned alive from the war zone. I was told that the stereotypes of the south often portrayed in the North isn’t the reality. That day I saw a group of young white children gathered around an elderly black veteran of World War 2 talking about his time on the beaches of Normandy. The only thing I saw in their eyes was awe.

It was a good moment for a town that had come on some hard times. With the closing of the GM plant a source of jobs and tax funds had been cut off. The current mayor Ray Jenkins had high praise for his predecessor who had during those good times stockpiles millions for the city in CD’s in case of a rainy day. It had kept them going but with the county government also in tight straights the city was finding itself taking care of more and more duties that the county normally would.

It meant some hard times and people disagreed on how it was best to be handled, but those disagreements would be for another day. Today was for celebration and welcomes. the official one for Col King, but the people there were so friendly, so accommodating, and just so nice to a stranger with a strange accent who had come 1000 miles away to report on a political race that I it was almost as if the party was for me.

The Party went on for two hours after I left, I’m sorry I couldn’t stay but I look forward to seeing Doraville again someday.

You know looking at this picture at Atlanta’s airport I think it totally encapsulates the new media:

Writing the latest examiner column

Don’t need a desk don’t need a chair, give me my laptop bag, little battery life and some airport floor space and a stranger willing to take the picture and presto and an Examiner column and a blog post comes into existence.

Juan of the Tea Party joins the Axis of Fedora
My latest Examiner Article Looking for a cup of Peach Tea is about my unsuccessful attempts to get a handle on the tea party movement in Georgia while I was there.

On the Plus side however Juan Did join the Axis of Fedora!

If you are not familiar with my examiner articles (and if you are one of my new Georgia readers you likely aren’t) the old articles are available here.

Remember the only money I make off of any of this other than direct reader support (thanks) is the nearly penny a hit I get on the Examiner articles, so if you are in a position to check them out please do so. To give you some perspective the 27,000+ hits already generated this year (thank you to all who have read btw) is not enough to cover the plane ticket to Georgia and back