Sunday, October 6, 2013

More "everyman" opinions on the government shutdown, this time from "rural" Georgia

Today's story by Trip Gabriel is dateline Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, population 9,623, and it features a photo of middle-ageish man in front of a large gun display on the wall behind him.  Turns out the man, Jeff Epperson, sells Civil War memorabilia, and his shop is just down the road from the historic Chickamauga battlefield.  The closure of that site due to the government shut down is hurting Mr. Epperson's business, but he doesn't mind, Gabriel reports, because Epperson supports his Republican congressman's strong stance linking government funding to Obamacare.  That congressman, Tom Graves, is the author of the Defund Obamacare Act.  Gabriel describes Graves district, the 14th, as  "newly created by Georgia's Republican-controlled Legislature." Graves enjoys strong support in his district, having won 73% of the vote in November. The district is 85% white and has a 16.6% college graduation rate, about half the national average.  Obama lost the district by 49 points last fall.

Gabriel reports that Mr. Epperson is among many staunch supporters of Graves.  Epperson "said the only thing that would weaken his support for Mr. Graves would be if the congressman caved in now. In that case, he might vote for a more conservative choice in the next Republican primary."  Epperson says:
If he backs off, then I would say absolutely I’d be inclined to look for someone else. 
Other quotes are pretty extreme, too, and for me hard to stomach.  They include this one from an 82-year-old antiques store owner from Dallas, in Paulding County.
Obama should not be so dogmatic.  He wants his way and no other.
Peggy Newsome, 73, said of Obama:
Everything he’s put his hands on, he’s screwed up.
Interestingly, Gabriel describes Newsome offering this opinion as she picked up bags of groceries at the Paulding County Helping Hands food bank.

But that isn't the only irony or contradiction in the comments of Mr. Graves's constituents.  Read the full story for more. And here's yet another contradiction:  Graves was sued in 2011 for defaulting on a $2.2 million business loan.

Fort Oglethorpe is in nonmetropolitan Catoosa County, population 63,942.  Paulding County, population 142,342, is metropolitan, and it appears to be an exurban part of the greater Atlanta Metro area.  (The county grew from a population of just 81,678, in 2000).  The county seat of Paulding County, Dallas, has a population of just 11,544, which tells me that Paulding County probably has a rural core--or perhaps I should say, retains its rural heart, rural culture.  The county's largest population cluster is Powder Springs, population 13,940, and it is also home to fast-growing exurb New Hope.

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