Around Town caught up with retiring U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, on Thursday during a Vinings Bank luncheon celebrating legendary Coach Vince Dooley, where he held forth on the issues of the day.
Around Town: Let’s talk about Syria. What do you make of the president’s withdrawal and now Turkey’s attacking the Kurds, our allies?
Isakson: This is my opinion. I don’t understand why it was so spontaneous, so quick and so counter to what everybody thought the policy of this country was. I’m no big (Turkish President Recep) Erdoğan fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think that by precipitously doing what he did in pulling our troops, he put a lot of the people who we’ve helped in danger, and put some of our people — we’ve got 1,000 people in Syria, America does, who have knocked out a lot of the bad guys who now are going to let a lot of the bad guys out of jail, and we’re going to have to confront them on the battlefield again. I don’t know what the strategy is. I don’t know what the reasoning was. I don’t know if it’s tied to what’s going on politically or not, but I think it’s too quick and too fast for what I know. Now he may know something that answers all those questions, that’s fine, but I don’t know it.
Q: On the impeachment, do you feel it’s appropriate for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate their election opponent?
A: As a United States senator, I’m going to be a juror in that trial. So I can’t discuss what I may or may not do or whatever the evidence may or may not be.
Q: You first ran for office in 1974 for commissioner. You lost that race, but at that time, Cobb County was majority Democrat and you were Republican.
A: Except for George Lankford and Carl Harrison. And then Ken Nix two years later.
Q: Now Cobb County in the Trump/Clinton election and the Abrams/Kemp election has gone blue again. You’ve lived through a full circle.
A: It’s my time to go I guess.
Q: What do you make of that? Is this a cycle that another person will live through? Is Cobb pretty much blue for the foreseeable future?
A: Well, if we have another cycle like this it will be somebody else, because I obviously won’t be around by then, but it’s politics at its purest, best form where the people have spoken. People got tired of Democrats running the state, and they got tired of liberal spending policies, and so they elected some Republicans. Then they got tired of us when we didn’t take the responsibility and do what we ran for to start with, so now they’re paying us back, and they’ll pay us back again if it doesn’t work. It’s the American system at its best. Everybody acts like its some super mysterious thing that’s happening. It’s American politics at its best.
Q: So are Republicans going to see Lucy McBath for the foreseeable future?
A: There’s no way to answer that question without taking the bait. I’ll just say she got elected on her own merit and she’ll get reelected on her own merit, if she gets reelected — that’s up to her and not me.
Q: Five hundred people have applied for your job. What do you make of that?
A: Nobody has ever done this before — said ‘apply.’ So I don’t know if this is a high number or a low number, but the number that’s going to be picked is one, so the governor is in a position of making 499 people mad and 1 person happy. That’s the problem with leadership. With it comes the responsibility of picking the winner.
Q: And you’ve said you’re not going to get involved unless asked?
A: Unless asked.
Q: Have you been asked yet?
A: Not yet. I imagine I will be but I may not be. I’ve done my job that people have asked me to do as well as I could and I trust this governor to do a good job.
Q: What’s the agenda for the rest of your year?
A: Unfortunately, the rest of the country’s agenda is whatever Nancy Pelosi and ... (U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.). They’re calling the shots right now. Now when it comes to us, two thirds of the Senate has to vote to impeach. I don’t see now how you get two thirds of the Senate to do that. But you never know. There may be something that causes them to. I was here when this started under the Clinton administration. When I ran for the House, Clinton was being impeached. Now as I leave Congress 21 years later they’re trying to impeach President Trump. When somebody replaces me, 20 years from now somebody will try to impeach them. Like I said, it’s politics as usual and politics at its best. The good thing is in other countries they kill each other. In ours we just run against each other.
DISTRICT 37: State Rep. Mary Frances Williams, D-Marietta, has started her 2020 campaign with a reception Oct. 3 at the Bouldercrest Drive home of Tammy Clabby. The campaign event attracted 40 neighbors, friends and supporters. Hosts included Clabby, Cathy Pleake Brown, Nancy Davies, Cathy Bruning, Mike Binns, Janis Lemieeuz, Linda Spiers, Nancy and Steve Steele, Shelia and Mike Manely.
Williams’ Republican opponent, Rose Wing, meanwhile, will have a campaign kickoff from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday with hosts Sens. Kay Kirkpatrick, Bruce Thompson, Lindsey Tippins; Reps. John Carson, Matt Dollar, Ginny Ehrhart, Ed Setzler, Don Parsons, Jan Jones and Bert Reeves, County Chairman Mike Boyce, Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnnn Birrell, Nancy Bodiford, Bill and Babe Byrne, Vince Clanton, Joseph Cortes, Sue Everhart, Janet and Scott Johnson, Dawn and Tom McEachern, Jim Rhoden, Jason Shepherd, Sheila and Paul Brower, Brad and Michelle Carver, Chuck Clay, Nancy Coach, Rosan and Jim Hall, Reva Schuster, Toria and Bob Morgan, Elizabeth Rhodes, Kim and Paul Sherk, Leo Smith, Wendy Bunch, Tom Charron, David Connell, John Delves, Ed and Lydia Hammock, Bob Maynard, Sam Olens, Millie Rogers, Marsha and Howard Stemme and Johnell Woody.
To join the host committee, contact Cam Cameron at 404-368-3047. Address upon RSVP.
The primary will be May 19, 2020, and the general election is slated for Nov. 3.
HEAD & SHOULDERS: In her weekly newsletter, Commissioner Keli Gambrill shared how she started donating her hair many years ago when a young lady she had known since she was an infant was diagnosed with cancer.
“Losing hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy or medical hair loss can be devastating – in addition to the challenges of overcoming the diagnosis. This year, I chose to donate my hair to Wigs for Kids, an organization that provides free wigs primarily to pediatric cancer patients,” Gambrill said, sharing before and after photos of her hair and giving a shoutout to Kaitlyn at A&J Hair Salon for the great new style.
To learn more, visit www.wigsforkids.org/