THE BIG EVENT of the week in the much-watched race to succeed Phil Gingrey as 11th District Congressman representing most of Cobb was Tuesday’s Cobb Republican Women’s Club-sponsored forum at the County Administration Building. The tightly scripted format seems designed to ensure the candidates “play nice,” and are shown to their best advantage, and that’s what happened.
Former Congressman Bob Barr is the most experienced debater of the six candidates, and it showed in his forceful, almost angry delivery. Responding to a question from Rosan Hall about Obamacare, he responded, “That bill is 2,000 pages long and there’s not one good piece of anything in it. I say kill it, drive a stake through its heart, burn it and scatter the ashes!”
He also repeated, almost mantra-like throughout the evening, “I plan to work to shrink the size, the scope, the budget and the power of the federal government.”
Barr, who never smiled once, noted that during his 1990s stint in Congress that Republicans had “brought Bill Clinton to his knees on taxes and the budget and welfare reform. Now we’re saddled with Barack Obama, who’s like Bill Clinton on steroids.” He added that he knew how to do battle with “forces of evil” like Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Speaking of Obamacare, candidate Allen Levene, a native of the U.K., pointed out he was the only one of the six who was raised under a National Health Care system, “and I know how bad it is. It must be stopped.”
FORMER state House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey of Buckhead, by contrast with Barr, was low-key, talking to the crowd as if he were sitting on your living room couch. He also took a sly dig at Barr’s well-known penchant for self-promotion, noting at one point that, “I’m not a rock-thrower or someone who steps in front of a camera at every opportunity.”
Candidate Tricia Pridemore of Marietta played up her lack of elective experience by pointing out “not all good ideas come from under a Dome. They also come from board rooms, cubicles and kitchen tables.”
Candidate Barry Loudermilk of Cassville drew approving murmurs from the crowd when the topic turned to national defense.
“We need to stop using the military as a social-engineering lab and put them back on the line defending our freedom,” the Air Force veteran said.