“We have factions,” said Hickey, a Mableton resident who owns The Etiquette School of Atlanta. “I say that Republicans eat their young and we shouldn’t. We should just get behind the candidate. I mean, we should work really hard for the candidate of our choice, but that didn’t happen with Romney. They got behind their candidates and when it wasn’t their candidates they took their toys and went home.”
Hickey said she watched the phenomenon while serving on a Republican nominating committee.
“When I interviewed them to go to county and state, and I knew they were Ron Paul people, and I said, ‘Now if your candidate doesn’t get the nomination will you support the Republican candidate?’”
Failing to support Romney gave Obama 2nd term
The Ron Paul supporters’ answer, Hickey said, was, “Well, I have issues,” to which she responded, “Well, you probably have issues with President Obama,’ and they went, ‘Well ...’”
Yet a lack of support for Romney only gave Obama a second term, a move that doesn’t further the goals of Republicans or libertarians, she said.
“They’re so bent on Ron Paul and maybe his son, Rand Paul, that they can’t see,” Hickey said.
The etiquette instructor said she can’t think of a single Republican ideal that Obama shares.
“Not one,” she said. “Strong defense? No, we couldn’t be weaker. Fiscal responsibility? Definitely not. The Constitution? He plays with the Constitution, and he’s a constitutional (lawyer), apparently.”
Hickey mentioned how Dinesh D’Souza, director of the documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” was arrested and indicted on campaign finance fraud charges this week.
“(Democrats) go after people who disagree with them. The IRS scandal, they went after people who disagree with them. We don’t do that,” Hickey said.
Acknowledging the battle that unfolded last year when Joe Dendy was re-elected chairman of the Cobb Republican Party in a 163-102 vote against Ron Paul supporter Oleg Ivutin of Smyrna, an ally of state Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw), Hickey said she plans to meet with Gregory, Ivutin and others and talk things out.
“They’re going to sit down with me, and we’re going to talk about values, and they’re going to say, ‘This is my value and this is what I’m upset about.’ See, they’re not upset about the whole big picture,” Hickey said. “They’re upset about — the money thing is always a problem. I understand Charles Gregory is the only one who voted against the bill today at the Legislature that would I think have given $500 million to the schools. He voted against. I have to find out why he did it.”
Hickey called Gregory “a thinking man” who was under a lot of pressure.
“There’s this group, and it’s all about the money,” she said. “There’s still a faction that still doesn’t want the Braves to come even though I truly believe the people in south Cobb will get to have a second job and make a little extra money or they’ll have a first job because of the Braves coming.”
Gregory confirmed Friday afternoon he cast the sole vote in the Georgia House that day against the supplemental budget. But he said it had nothing to do with teachers.
“It’s riddled with stuff that exceeds what the proper role of government should be — programs and (federal) block grants and all sorts of stuff,” Gregory said of the budget.
Hickey said she will rely on her team of new officers who were sworn in by Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley over lunch at the Hilton Marietta Conference Center on Friday to help in the mission to bring the factions together.
Surrounded by Democrats
The Cobb Republican Women’s Club was founded in 1964 by Lee Ague of Marietta.
“She was surrounded by Democrats, but she kept finding women who were interested in getting together with Republicans, like-minded people, and they started the grassroots movement right there,” Hickey said.
The group’s mission is to promote Republican values and educate the public about the history of the Republican Party. Once the primary decides who the Republican nominee will be, “Then we go crazy,” Hickey said.
“We hit the ground running for the candidate, regardless of whether he was our candidate or not. That’s a true Republican. You know, we don’t hold grudges, we just go and do it.”
With 317 members, Hickey said it is the largest Republican women’s club in the state and the sixth largest in the nation.
Another goal Hickey has this year is to let people know that Republicans represent the party of Lincoln. Republicans were the first to establish an anti-slavery party in 1854. They were the first to issue the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to set all slaves free, she said.
The Democratic Party’s superior PR machine has claimed the civil rights issue as its own, but Hickey vows to take it back.
“We’re going to educate, we’re going to take back the Senate, and we’re going to help any of the nominees once they pass the primary, then we’ll jump in,” she said.
The blessing of the women
Wrapped in a mink coat with a string of pearls hanging from her neck, former Georgia GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart of east Cobb beamed as she shared why the Cobb Republican Women’s Club was special to her.
“I would never have been chairman of the party had I not come here and learned at the feet of people that were my age back then — Tommie Howard (mother of Cobb State Court Judge Melodie Clayton) and Frances Page and all of those women when I was what they called a young buck,” Everhart said.
Everhart was chairwoman of the group in 2000.
“There was a time in Cobb County that you would not dare run unless you got the blessing of these women, and we still are a driving force behind a candidate,” Everhart said. “We don’t endorse candidates but we do as individuals get behind them, and they can depend on us to know what we’re doing to be ready, willing and able to work for good government.”
That message clearly wasn’t lost on the current crop of candidates who filled the room from Bob Barr and Barry Loudermilk to Bill Byrne, David Pennington and Karen Hallacy.
“We opened the door in Cobb County to good government,” Everhart said. “In 1964 when we started, you couldn’t find a Republican in Cobb County. But we went out and found Republicans.”