Who Is Icarus?

Icarus is a lucky man.

I was blessed to be born into a home that had two loving parents, a community that valued education, and a country where opportunity was limitless.

Throughout the 90’s and for the first half of this decade, my personal and professional life seemed to follow the trajectory of the Republican Party fairly closely. Through hard work, a proper foundation, and seizing the right opportunities, I remained upwardly mobile by capturing success and quickly moving on to the next goal. During this time, the Republicans managed to seize control of Congress for the first time in over a generation, and 6 years later, the White House as well.

I helped the Republicans build their state presence during this time as a member of the grass roots, an officer of the county party, an occasional delegate to District and State Conventions, a campaign operative, and even as a candidate myself.

At the beginning of this decade, I began to dedicate more time to my business affairs, mostly in real estate development and construction, and spent less time with politics. With my party firmly in control at the national and state levels, most of my political goals had been accomplished, and the Republican Party and I continued separate but similar paths.

Forgetting the strengths that got us where we were, and a bit blinded by arrogance, we each began believing our own PR instead of making sure we were really taking care of the things that needed our attention. Our failures were swift and dramatic. Those of the Republicans are fairly self-evident, though many of our own are still in denial. Mine was a total collapse of business and personal financial interests, loss of virtually all material possessions and many friends, a strain on most remaining personal and family relationships, and at the risk of sounding trite, a true appreciation for the term “rock bottom”.
I had an advantage that the Republican Party did not, as I was able to lower my public profile, regroup, and re-establish myself in relative anonymity. The Republican Party continues to struggle to find itself publicly.

“Icarus”, named after the Greek who had a pair of wax wings but died because he chose to fly too close to the sun, was born on this site as an outlet for expression during this time, as well as a way to stay involved in the political process when my personal, professional, and financial circumstances weren’t conducive to active participation. What began as a wisecrack-dropping alias has morphed into a vehicle that enables me to own up to the mistakes of the past, from both myself and the party, and insist on better performance in the future.

By refusing to discuss my occupation, college degrees, or most personal details about myself, I have been able to focus political discussion on the ideas themselves, where they must live or die on their own merit, and are not buttressed by any extraneous resume credentials. I further discovered that by stripping away most other labels – Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative – that people of differing ideologies can come together and discuss pragmatic solutions and find common ground.

When you lose everything, you find out what you really have. And in my anonymity, I have found I have a voice. It is a voice that is now used to challenge my party to choose solutions over sound bites, faith over fear, perseverance over pandering, and humility over hubris.

The American people are a forgiving people when you own up to your shortcomings. For that I am grateful.

I am a lucky man.

But that still doesn’t answer the question of “Who am I”, at least in the sense of “who writes Icarus?”

My real name is Charlie Harper. Most of you have never heard of me, and I would guess that very few of you even know more than one or two people that know me. My days of involvement in the Republican Party structure were when we were the party was a deep minority party in the state. Those that wanted to curry favor didn’t suck up to us. In fact, we were often outright mocked by them.

I did a little political work on the South side of Atlanta, centered around my home county of Fayette. I served various levels within the local party structure up to First Vice Chairman. In 2000, I primaried a sitting Republican State Senator because I didn’t think he was conservative enough. That race resulted in Mitch Seabaugh being elected to the State Senate. I’ve worked on many campaigns from local levels to Presidential campaigns, but always in a volunteer (or at least, unpaid) capacity.

I graduated Fayette County High School in 1987 (Go Tigers!) and the University of Georgia with a B.B.A. in Economics in 1989. I spent 7 years as a retail and commercial banker, and had great success in that field, but wanted self-employment. After about a year of various consulting assignments with former clients, I started a building and development firm with my Dad, who had been among the original builder’s group of Peachtree City with his Dad over 30 years prior. It was great being able to spend the last couple of years of Dad’s life as his partner and his friend, but I continued on after his passing in a field I really didn’t want to be in. I fooled myself into believing that I was invincible, ignored all of what I knew about sound lending from my banking career, and made several crucial mistakes and lapses of judgment for which I’ll be paying for a long time.

Along the way, I picked up a Masters in Economics at Georgia State University, and occasionally teach Econ as an adjunct professor. I also kept consulting for various clients, mostly in the field that bridges management consulting and government affairs. Many of my clients were small businesses that did business with the government, but didn’t understand the environment, or were otherwise having some sort of problem that they needed outside help in overcoming.

I am not a lobbyist, nor do I currently plan to become one. I only point this out because the occasional question has arisen as to my unknown identity versus my motives for my post. I’ve kept Erick informed when I had a client working in a certain area or field, and my general rule of thumb has been to avoid certain topics altogether. This has not been so much out of fear of being accused of posting for pay, but so as not to have some of my more “over the top” comments come back to bite my clients in the butt.

As of January of this year, I accepted a full time position with a mid-sized IT outsourcing company with regional offices here in Atlanta. Though the role was originally thought in concept to be somewhat of a Government Affairs role, we’ve taken a different turn with it. I have the title of “Capture Manager” in a proposal development group.

While most of my target customers are Government entities, my role is not political in nature. Most of my days are spent playing a sort of internal “traffic cop”. My company does have a specific blogging policy, which actually encourages blogging. The caveat is that, and let me make this clear, all opinions expressed are mine and mine alone, and do not reflect the opinions of my employer.

So what’s next for Icarus?

Short answer is, I’m not sure. Being Icarus has been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself, a lot of you, and politics in general. In a weird way, Icarus has had a higher profile than I ever had as just me, and I’ve also frankly just enjoyed having an alter-ego. Thus, at least for now, I’ll keep writing as Icarus.

But while being Icarus has opened many new doors, it has also been quite limiting. During the debate over SB 31, I wasn’t able to just call the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and try to work through the issues there. I look at that as part of a major opportunity lost. I’ve fielded inquiries from various media outlets that wanted a “real name” to be quotable. And believe it or not, I’ve actually turned down speaking engagements (?!?). This is a whole weird world that I had little appreciation for what I was starting when I decided my screen name in less than 1 minute in order to drop a wise-crack here two years ago.

So while there is relative safety in staying somewhat anonymous, there is new opportunity in stepping out from behind the moniker and being “me” again. With that comes new direct lines of attack, as any idea I post going forward now comes from an admitted failure. It’s taken some doing, but I can live with that. After all, I don’t believe I have ever claimed to be an expert on anything here. I’m not about to start that now.

So, there it is. Apologies to those of you who are disappointed, or feel that you were misled into thinking I was “somebody”. That wasn’t my intention, though I will again admit to enjoying that. I’m just a nobody, and am content to stay a nobody. I have no political aspirations, either within the party, or as a candidate. None.

But I still have strong opinions. And those I’m willing to continue to share.


  1. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    HAHA, so you were behind the downfall of Rick Price…that’s cool. But how do you know so much about the dangers of DeKalb County?

  2. odinseye2k says:

    “As of January of this year, I accepted a full time position with a mid-sized IT outsourcing company with regional offices here in Atlanta.”

    I very much hope that means just “outsourcing” and not “offshoring.” Otherwise I can draw another analogy to the Republican story.

  3. Doug Deal says:

    The opening of Al Capone’s vault
    Comet Kohoutek
    Project Ginger, AKA, The Segway,
    Episodes 1-3 of the Star Wars Saga
    Icarus’s Reveal

    My list of the 5 greatest disappointments of all time is now complete.


  4. John Konop says:

    Charlie I have a few tough questions. What happen between you and Denise Richards? Why did you go on the Ellen show? And will this Richards issue hurt your chance at being our next Governor?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    Charlie Sheen talks Denise Richards to Ellen

  5. Skyler Akins says:

    Welcome to life out of the closet, Charlie..

    At lease you don’t have to fight for your rights everyday! 😉

  6. Bill Simon says:

    Episodes 1-3 of the Star Wars Saga

    I’m with you there, Doug. Lucas lost me with that Jar-Jar character in Episode 1, and I dind’t bother 2 or 3.

  7. Vic says:

    you left out the part about all the extended drunks you had to go on in order to remold your character and see the light.

  8. IndyInjun says:

    No, Vic, He actually reads my postings.

    After 250 or so, I begin to meld their minds.

    After 2 1/2 years they all sound like me in 2006.

    Welcome to my world.

    I like the new, improved Icarus, and the rest of our little clan.

  9. bowersville says:

    I for one am glad that Icarus turned out to be one of us. A nobody grassroots activist without an arrogant attitude of self righteous superiority. The arrogant attitude when displayed, demonstrates that some live on a postage stamp existence of condemnation with a full array of talking points that polarize, alienate and otherwise demonstrate that only issues that separate, rather than unite, are the most important.

    Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all Charlie Harper to one degree or another.

    Icarus through Peach Pundit has demonstrated that ideas work and ideas promote a following of their own.

  10. IndyInjun says:

    Ah, and we are now united behind the TRUTH that the party we enabled stabbed us in the back.

    Unity in treachery received.

    The knife in my back turned up in everyone else’s back who is truly a Republican.

    Icarus, by any name, is a credit and an asset to this blog.

  11. Romegaguy says:

    Someone not getting paid to post on here? What? We should hire Andre to post about this…

  12. Dash Riptide says:

    The arrogant attitude when displayed, demonstrates that some live on a postage stamp existence of condemnation with a full array of talking points that polarize, alienate and otherwise demonstrate that only issues that separate, rather than unite, are the most important.

    Don’t judge me.

  13. Icarus says:

    O.K., let’s see what we’ve got here…

    (left work, went to dinner, the gym, met a few friends, purposely avoided this to see what we’ve got…)

    @ Loyalty: I get around. And I’ve lived in metro Atlanta all my life, with the exception of a few quarters in Athens. You learn things.

    @OD2K: Usually that’s what outsourcing means in my company’s case, but we have global operations. Most of our contracts involve management of IT or telecom infrastructure, call centers (domestic), etc.

    @ Skyler: Anyone who doesn’t fight to protect the rights they have is taking them for granted.

    @fishtail: Reading is fundamental

    @Rick Day: WTF?

    @Vic: No, I didn’t get into my many moral failings above, but I’ve had quite a few of them too. And I’ll have more. Including an occasional good drunk. Only two gin & tonics tonight, just a few more days of Lent left.

    @ Indy: As I’ve said many times before, we agree on a lot more than we disagree. Most of my suggestions to you have been about form, not substance. You can reach a lot more people if you tighten up the message. But that’s my arrogance talking, to be addressed in an upcoming comment. But above all, thanks for the kind words.

    @ Bowersville: Thanks, I think. But you get my overarching point. I want a political enviornment where ideas matter. Labels mask many bad decisions under false ideology these days. This has to change.

    @ Dash: I can, and I will. 🙂

  14. Icarus says:

    I have a long history of women and their disappointment. I’ll just add her to the list now.

  15. Dash Riptide says:

    @ Dash: I can, and I will. 🙂

    I can’t believe you pulled it off. Clearly you created this fictional Charlie Algernon (or whatever) character, and no one is bothering to check and see if this is a real person. I’ve got to say, Mr. Tush, as troubled as I’ve always been by your insensitive treatment of Tina Seldin, your secret is safe with me.

    PS – If you still talk to him, say “Hi!” to Jerry Royster for me.

  16. Bill Simon says:

    The arrogant attitude when displayed, demonstrates that some live on a postage stamp existence of condemnation with a full array of talking points that polarize, alienate and otherwise demonstrate that only issues that separate, rather than unite, are the most important.

    Quit talking about ProgressiveDem, Chrisishardcore, and Decaturguy like that. They can READ this you know!

  17. John Konop says:

    More about Charlie!

    Charlie Harper is a 30-something bachelor who lives in his beach house in Malibu and gets his housekeeper, Berta, to pick up after him in the mornings. He gets to go to sleep with a different woman every night, and wake up to an empty bed, which he cherishes, as he’s afraid of commitment. But that all soon changes when he gets a call from his brother, Alan, asking for a place to stay until he and his wife, Judith get back together. Charlie meets his 10-year-old nephew, Jake. Alan moves in with Charlie and Jake stays over on the weekends, as Alan and Judith are getting a divorce. Charlie’s not at all happy with the arrangement until he finds out that Jake’s a pretty cool kid. Charlie and Jake become pretty tight friends, and Charlie becomes a ‘role model’ for Jake by teaching him ‘the ways of life’: don’t just taste one cupcake that one girl has baked, try other cupcakes that other girls have baked. There’s always plenty of cupcakes in the world -that’s of course until they run out and you have to buy your cupcakes. Before Alan and Jake moved in Charlie tried to avoid his family (especially his mother) as much as he could, but now Evelyn Harper comes over to see her sons and grandson almost every day. While Jake is in therapy and they’re waiting in the waiting room with Judith and Alan, Charlie admits to Judith, his controlling and unbearable sister-in-law, ‘I mean, you’re a little kookoo, Judith, but compared to my mother, you’re like a fart in a hurricane.’ (From the episode ‘Hey, I can pee in the dark’, #1.20)


  18. bowersville says:

    Dash, you know the routine around here.

    When Vic offers a sweet potato recipe, it’s a cooked deal.

    When someone responds with another sweet potato recipe within 24 hours, you know it’s cooked. In this case, it was Icarus that responded with a recipe.

  19. Chris says:

    After Icarus did the 1000 marbles thing one night I was convinced he was a college kid. Now I find out he is a creepy old guy.

    On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog.

  20. Icarus says:

    Ah yes,

    The “night of 1,000 marbles” was the best $5 I’ve ever spent at Trader Joe’s.

  21. IndyInjun says:

    This is the WORST NEWS EVER… I’m older than Icarus,.. F%^$!!!

    My thoughts, too. He fooled me with his intelligence and maturity and I say this despite our constant early clashes here.

    I am older by a MILE but felt like I was in a discussion with someone nearer to my age.

    Where is Donkey Kong? After my many postings warning how bad the coming financial calamity was, once it got here, he went away. I don’t think him whimped out. He just is emcamped among the folks that destroyed America and wants to stay incognito. Besides, it will take all hands on deck to untangle the mess and he is probably too busy. Anyway, HE is way younger than Icarus.

    No one respects their elders anymore.

  22. TPNoGa says:

    I am most disappointed that you graduated High School 2 years after me, yet managed to get your BBA a full year ahead of me.

  23. IndyInjun says:

    Uh, have we been reading the same posts?

    Hahahaha…..that hit home…….I plead to being a mite co-opted that he now agrees with me [b]some[/b] of the time, but not enough to become complacent about it.

    Ah, being the resident paleocon is life as a human pinata.

  24. Icarus says:

    I am Demonbeck. (I wish)


    I’m at that weird age where I’m neither old nor young, but often both. At Abercrombie and Fitch they either call me “sir” or “perv”, but I don’t yet shop at Sears for Sansabelt slacks, either. One of my close group of friends is now mostly in their mid 50’s and older. The other is mid-20’s to early 30’s. I live in many worlds.


    Why stay around at a school that doesn’t appreciate jorts? Dumbest thing this guy ever did was to finish school as quickly as possible so I could get on with my life. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.


    I try to write for all audiences. Especially when threads dare to dream.

  25. Icarus says:

    I would never, ever, give anyone a “yam” recipie.

    I posted the sweet potato recipie in the appropriate thread.

    Enjoy looking for it/Happy Easter.

  26. PolarisKale says:

    Ok. So I knew the time would come when you would drop the cloak and dagger bit, but I respected your need / desire for it at the time. I enjoyed your postings when you were the mystical Icarus, and connected with what you were saying. When you told me that we had met before, it didn’t take long before I paired the voice of Icarus with the words of wisdom which I heard from Charlie Harper 5 years ago. My, how time flies.

    I am glad that your journey has led you to a place where you could be reborn as Charlie, and I hope that your travels under the moniker of Icarus have given you opportunity to find your voice once again. I look forward to seeing what happens next, and I’m sure you’ll make the most of the second chance to fly – this time with stronger wings.

    Oh, and I’m younger than you. Nahner-nahner-boo-boo!

  27. Vic says:

    that link was truly impressive thanks but i have planted the sweet potatoe eyes in mushroom compost and squash has gone on sale, so now i’m digging for the squash casserole recipe from a few months back.

  28. Bill Simon says:

    i’m digging for the squash casserole recipe from a few months back.

    Is it the Aunt Fanny’s Cabin recipe? If so, please post it on here… 🙂

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