Jim Barksdale embraces Bernie Sanders, and GOP reacts with glee

U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Jim Barksdale. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)

U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Jim Barksdale. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)

Democrat Jim Barksdale gave Republicans a bit of bulletin-board material when he told WUOG  that “capitalism just doesn’t work very well.”

The investment manager, who has echoed some of Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ policies, said “reckless policy” from Wall Street and Washington led to mounting income inequality.

“It’s not just that the people suffer from that, capitalism just doesn’t work very well,” Barksdale said. “You can’t grow when wages are declining. You can’t keep growing when people keep getting more in debt. They don’t have the money to spend. These are bad policies where all the benefits of trade and productivity have gone to increasing profits for corporations.”

Ryan Mahoney of the Georgia GOP, which has been mounting attacks on Barksdale on behalf of U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, quickly pounced.

“Capitalism ‘worked’ for Barksdale, who now has millions of dollars to fund his ill-fated run for U.S. Senate,” Mahoney said. “What ‘doesn’t work’ is Barksdale’s ‘Man of the People’ act and the radical, left wing agenda he’s trying to sell to Georgia voters.”

Barksdale, meanwhile, fired back Monday in his first ad of the general election cycle with a very Sanders-ian theme. It targets Isakson’s support for what he called “every bad foreign trade deal” since he was elected. He reserved airtime for the ad last week in markets across the state.

Both Sanders and Donald Trump earned populist support for their opposition to trade deals, though Sanders barely topped one-quarter of the vote in the state’s Democratic primary.

Here’s the script:

I’m Jim Barksdale and this hat has become a symbol that I’m not a politician. It’s also a symbol of what I’m fighting for. Try finding a hat that’s made in Georgia. Democrats and Republicans keep supporting bad trade deals that send our jobs overseas. And it’s a lot more than hats. Johnny Isakson has voted for every bad foreign trade deal since he got to Washington. I approve this message because I’ll vote no on bad trade deals if you’ll vote no on Johnny Isakson.”

***

He’s back: Jim Cooley, and his campaign to bring his AR-15 to an array of provocative places in Georgia, was featured in The Washington Post over the weekend.

The open-carry advocate had to do a bit of convincing to persuade his wife, Maria, to accompany him and his sidearm to the local Wal-Mart in Winder. From the Post:

“Yeah,” she says, giving in. “I might as well get this travesty out of the way.”

Jody Cooley, of Barrow County, with his AR-15.(Channel 2 Action News screenshot)

Jody Cooley, of Barrow County, with his AR-15.(Channel 2 Action News screenshot)

“What travesty?”

“You carrying a big ol’ rifle in the store, scaring the hell out of all the Walmart shoppers.”

“There’s no difference between carrying a rifle and carrying a handgun,” he says.

“You tried that last time, remember?” Maria says, stepping into a pair of flip-flops and running her fingers through her hair. “And what happened? Barrow County sheriffs. Three or four of them.”

You may recall that Cooley raised some eyebrows – and probably a few calls to the cops – last year when he carried his weapon to the baggage claim area in the Atlanta airport.

***

Georgia’s overhaul of the troubled call-in system for food stamp and Medicaid problems is starting to improve the beleaguered program.

The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services recently released data that showed 97 percent of food stamp recipients received their benefits in a “timely manner” in April 2016, compared with 77 percent the year before.

And wait times for residents calling the state’s Office of Family Independence fell from highs of more than six hours in 2014 to less than one hour this year. The average wait time was about 15 minutes.

“You have done an admirable job of improving these programs in a short amount of time,” Gov. Nathan Deal wrote in a letter to the staff.

***

As the race for the White House tightens, Donald Trump is beginning to pull away in Georgia.

A raft of new battleground polls came out over the past three days, and the Real Clear Politics average shows the Republican leading Hillary Clinton by about 4 points in the Peach State.

***

Georgia Democrats are targeting Republican House candidate Meagan Hanson for a series of 2011 tweets that appeared to back Donald Trump’s now-abandoned argument that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.

Hanson had no comment on the tweets.


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