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Greg BluesteinTamar Hallerman
Jim Galloway

Suddenly, trade becomes a hot topic for Nathan Deal

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Gerry Del Rio, a project manager, briefs Gov. Nathan Deal on the expansion of the Panama Canal in Colón, Panama in 2013. Greg Bluestein, gbluestein@ajc.com

Gerry Del Rio, a project manager, briefs Gov. Nathan Deal on the expansion of the Panama Canal in Colón, Panama in 2013. Greg Bluestein, gbluestein@ajc.com

How’s this for timing? Nathan Deal is headed out on a trade mission to Germany this month, even as the continent continues to struggle with Britain’s vote to ditch the European Union, and as the Georgia governor’s own endorsed presidential candidate ramps up an attack on trade deals that benefit a “leadership class” over American workers.logo-all

The trip was planned six months ago to meet with potential firms and investors and thank German-based companies that have relocated to Georgia. (Think Mercedes-Benz, which is building its U.S. headquarters in Sandy Springs, and Porsche’s fancy new digs at Atlanta’s airport.)

On Monday, questions for the governor were merely about the Brexit. From Johnny Kauffman and WABE (90.1FM):

Gov. Deal said the U.K. departure could benefit the economy here.

“The United States fairs better in bilateral trade agreements than in trade agreements with broader coalitions of countries such as the EU,” Deal [said].

The Republican governor said he trusts the party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump to negotiate those trade deals with individual countries.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson has said much the same thing. But beginning on Tuesday, at an aluminum recycling plant south of Pittsburgh, the Republican presidential presumptive began an assault on U.S. trade deals that included threats to pull out of NAFTA, impose tariffs on Chinese goods entering the country.

Trump named Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, but included Republicans in his condemnation of “a leadership class that worships globalism over Americanism.”

We wanted to ask Deal what he thought of Trump’s remarks, but apparently the governor thought this a poor idea and declined the opportunity. He may not have that choice in Germany, Europe’s largest economic power, or on his return trip back to the U.S.

Deal’s Germany trip, from July 9-16, includes meetings in Dusseldorf, Nuremberg, Munich, Linz and Regensburg. At the Munich stop, Deal will participate in a Regional Leaders Summit meeting with the leaders of Quebec, Bavaria, Sao Paulo and other regional economic powers.

As we told you earlier, the two-term governor is swinging by Cleveland for the Republican National Convention. Now we know exactly what he’ll be doing.

Deal will join Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin for a panel discussion on criminal justice reform on July 19, hosted by the U.S. Justice Action Network and GOPAC.

But with Trump and a new Republican platform on display that week, you can bet Georgia’s governor will be asked about trade.

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Speaking of criminal justice reform: Hopes are fading on Capitol Hill that lawmakers can pass federal criminal justice reform legislation this year. Per Real Clear Politics’ James Arkin, top backers of the Senate initiative are admitting that time is running out.

The Senate legislation has backing from across the ideological spectrum, including White House, the Koch Brothers and the ACLU, and is not unlike some of the reforms shepherded by Gov. Nathan Deal on the state level. But a group of Senate conservatives, including David Perdue and Ted Cruz, has dissented, arguing that the measure could lead to the early release of violent criminals (a claim backers have vehemently denied).

***

And also speaking of that gathering in Cleveland later this month. From U.S News:

Strict rules in place during next month’s Republican National Convention ban Coke cans, glass bottles, tennis balls and “any projectile launcher,” specifically BB guns, paintball guns and water guns from a broad swath of downtown Cleveland. But actual guns are allowed in public areas of the restrictive 1.7 square mile event zone.

And at least some people traveling to the convention are expected to seek to exercise their right to bear firearms in full view of the public, as allowed by Ohio law, following violent clashes this year outside Donald Trump rallies in cities across the country.

“You can take my string and you can take my duct tape, but you can’t take my gun – it’s open carry,” says Tim Selaty, director of operations at Citizens for Trump, a coalition of groups including bikers and truckers who support the presumptive GOP nominee.

***

In normal election years, July 5 is considered a proper starting date for the general election. That may not be the case in Georgia’s race for the U.S. Senate. The Georgia GOP on Thursday moved this attack on Jim Barksdale, the Democratic rival to Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson:

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson . Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson . Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com

While unassuming and soft-spoken, liberal moneyman Jim Barksdale holds dangerous policy views that -if implemented – would endanger our homeland while sending the Middle East into a tailspin.

 Following the Orlando terrorist attack, Georgia voters got a taste of Barksdale’s radical ideology when he told a room of Hall County Democrats that America should “step back from the violence” because “we are the ones that are in the wrong.”

 Barksdale’s pacifist tone isn’t surprising.  He actually left the Republican Party when the United States invaded Iraq but made millions by making the “obvious” decision to invest his client’s money in companies that earned defense contracts in the occupied country.

The reply from Barksdale that arrived this morning is somewhat Trumpish – Bernie-ish? – in tone. And, closing the loop with the first item above, notice that the Barksdale campaign has apparently settled on trade as a hot topic:

Senator Isakson’s war in Iraq cost thousands of American lives and added trillions to our debt while creating the power vacuum and chaos that gave rise to ISIS.

But Isakson didn’t stop there.

May 6, 2016:   U.S Senate democratic candidate Jim Barksdale reviews his notes before the taking part in the Atlanta Press Club Loudermilk Young Debate Series at the GPB studio in Atlanta May 6, 2016.  BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

May 6, 2016: Jim Barksdale, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com.

Isakson’s support for bad foreign trade deals, tax breaks allowing corporations to outsource our jobs, and votes to deregulate Wall Street has hurt our economy. His bad policies and eight votes to increase the debt ceiling has helped drive up the national debt to over $18 trillion, threatening our nation with a more economic decline.

Jim Barksdale believes ISIS terrorists are our enemy and should be dealt with accordingly.

Jim also believes if our nation grows any weaker economically thanks to more of Isakson’s destabilizing decisions, we’ll have a lot more enemies and it will be a lot harder to fight them.