Loudermilk claims Barr has reversed himself on such positions as whether to impeach President Barack Obama and the fitness of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
“You’ve got the Defense of Marriage Act that Bob authored, then he goes to work for the ACLU, and he sues the Defense of Marriage Act,” Loudermilk said. “He helped author part of the Patriot Act, and then voted for it, and then comes back and says that was a very bad idea. I think the biggest thing that concerns people is that after being in Congress and fighting for all these things, then he works for the ACLU, fighting against some of the things that he fought for in Congress.”
Loudermilk recalled a debate Barr had with radio personality Neal Boortz when he was still in the Congress. Barr opposed legalizing marijuana while Boortz favored it.
“Bob was adamantly opposed to it. Now, Bob is in support,” Loudermilk said. “I think there’s many, many instances of flip-flopping, and that’s where we contrast ourselves. Look, I’ve been very consistent with my stance on things, whether you agree or disagree.”
No to Speaker Boehner
If elected, Loudermilk said he would vote no on the re-election of House Speaker John Boehner.
“I think speakers have a term limit,” Loudermilk said.
“They have a shelf life. And nothing personal against Boehner. He’s probably a great man, but I think we’ve got to have some leadership. Really, the deciding factor for me was allowing the bill to give Obama the ability to raise the debt ceiling at his will without any congressional constraints whatsoever for over a year. I think that was irresponsible. That was irresponsible for the American citizens, and so it’s nothing personal, I think it’s just time for rotation in the leadership.”
Serving as speaker, Loudermilk believes, is about a person’s willingness to lead and sacrifice.
“That’s just one of the things Republicans as a whole have not done well over the past several years is being willing to put the policies and principles above politics,” Loudermilk said.
“The Democrats got Obamacare passed because Nancy Pelosi was willing to sacrifice her speakership for a cause. They achieved something historically unprecedented by doing that. No one wanted Obamacare. I think we’ve got to have leadership that is willing to do those types of things to start turning the nation around.”
Dobbins Air Reserve Base
One of the top economic priorities of the Cobb business community is seeing Dobbins remain open. A deciding factor in that is the budget process where the House speaker plays a role. Loudermilk was asked whether his opposition to Boehner could hurt the chances of Dobbins remaining off the chopping block.
“Dobbins is a very important aspect of this community, and I would hope that the speaker would look at doing what is right,” Loudermilk said.
“If Boehner is still the speaker — I’m hearing he may not even run again — but this is exactly what I’m talking about, putting policy above politics. I’ve expressed that I wouldn’t vote for him because I think we just need better leadership, and I think there’s other leaders out there. But when you look at something as important as Dobbins not just to the local area, but for our national defense, I would think that they would prioritize that above everything else. But it’s not just his sole decision.”
Pushing back on Barr’s point that he has zero congressional experience, Loudermilk said it’s good to bring in new blood.
“The most effective legislators I have seen in legislative bodies have been the new guys that came in and they didn’t know they couldn’t do the things they just accomplished because they haven’t become accustomed to the culture,” Loudermilk said.
He cited Thomas Jefferson as an example.
“Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the document that changed the entire world. He was the youngest, newest freshman in the Second Continental Congress, and so I think it’s a good idea to bring somebody new.”
Loudermilk cited the 1996 Olympics as an example where metro Atlanta made the right decisions about traffic. While gridlock was expected, drivers ended up having no trouble getting around during the Olympics, Loudermilk said.
“We managed it better,” he said. “We gave incentives for businesses to do telecommuting. Flex work hours. We had a traffic management war room that if there was an accident, that thing was cleared almost immediately. These are the types of things that I think the state Legislature can do on the demand side is how can we work to reduce the demand. We have the technology.”
As for county Chairman Tim Lee’s proposal to build a bus rapid transit line between Kennesaw State University and Midtown, Loudermilk said, “I haven’t seen that much about the BRT because it’s still a local issue at this point. If it’s something that the local government determines that they need, then I’d definitely take it to the table and consider it, but I’m one of these guys that I don’t even commit to a piece of legislation until I read it, and so I’d really have to know more about it before I could give you a solid answer.”
Loudermilk does not support extending the MARTA system from Atlanta into Cobb.
“We’ve got that urban sprawl because people want to be away from where they work, they want to have bedroom communities,” Loudermilk said.
“They also want to be able to stop at the QT and get a drink on the way home. They want to have the freedom to stop by a gun shop. Americans want their freedom to be able to schedule themselves. And so, when you’re talking about going from Cherokee County into Atlanta, and you’re going to go by the schedule of that rail, and you’re going to have to pay extra taxes to do that, they’re just not willing to do it. If we were in a more condensed environment I think you would see more utilization, and you would still have a heavily subsidized system, but the revenue would probably be there to offset it enough to make it viable.”
Loudermilk was asked whether the U.S. made the right decision to invade Iraq.
“It’s still hard to tell whether it was the right thing to do or not because were there weapons of mass destruction? You and I don’t know what our military still knows and may not even be able to divulge to clear the name of George W. Bush because it would reveal intelligence gathering operatives that we have in that arena. We don’t know,” Loudermilk said.
Moving forward, he said the U.S. must show that there is a national security risk to U.S. citizens or its allies before American lives are placed in danger.
“If we took out the terrorists’ training camps, if we were able to take out weapons of mass destruction that could be used against us, against Israel or any of our allies, yes, we should be there,” he said.
“But you go in, you do your job, you go back home. I don’t think we need to be engaged in nation building in nations that don’t want us there. It was different in World War II. In World War II, we went back, we rebuilt nations and we handed it back over to the people.”
Loudermilk believes the U.S. should have left Afghanistan before it left Iraq.
“We should have pulled out of Afghanistan before Iraq. We didn’t learn the lessons from the Soviets. What is our objective? What is our objective in Afghanistan? The Taliban still exists.”
The trouble is, the objective is mostly unknown, he said.
“We’re spending an awful lot of money over there, so I think we have to reassess carefully what our objective is. If you can show me that being there is securing American citizens, the lives we’re putting at risk daily, that we are protecting Americans, our rights, our liberties, our freedoms, then we can justify being there. I just don’t think personally that we’re at that point anymore.”
Loudermilk, 50, and his wife, Desiree, have three children. They live in Cassville.