Toe-to-Toe with Rep. Coomer

Friday I wrote a blog on third-party voting which focused on poor messaging tactics and an inability to drive voters to the polls. Nowhere in the article was a specific candidate mentioned negatively by name. All of this sparked a colorful and lengthy dialogue in the comments section. In said comments section, Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville) took to a full-blown monologue for Governor Deal, essentially using my blog as a platform for the Governor, mostly because he is a Floor Leader. The retort below is a simple attempt to illustrate how people become symptoms, and then causes, of this vicious cyclical problem we call politics.

In his diatribe, Rep. Coomer covered many things but what struck a nerve with me was his applause of Governor Deal’s signature on language in the comprehensive gun bill which essentially removed power from the Governor’s office during a declared state of emergency. Within the banter, he first said the media had nothing to do with this language passage and then later acknowledged that he and I discussed it in an [uncomfortable] face-to-face meeting before again saying the media pressure never happened. I know his claims to be false because I am the person who wrote the article right here on Peach Pundit which, within 18 minutes of publishing, prompted a text message from the Governor’s office to the sponsor of the bill to schedule a meeting about HB 100 (after years of ignoring the bill and the sponsor). I know all of these things to be true and so does Rep. Coomer – despite his attempt to tell me otherwise publicly. To be clear, this is not about me getting credit. It’s about being honest with The People, because the normal everyday people never know the inside baseball. It’s, again, about shaping a campaign message to be something that it is not. These types of things create a breakdown in trust between elected officials and citizens.

Additionally, Rep. Coomer indicated that I erred in implying that he and I differ philosophically because he and I have only had one in-person conversation. To that, I offer this: Legislators have voting records. I watch many, including his. Voting records, in turn, reflect one of two things: 1) That you’re principled and your ideology is consistent, or 2) That you’re not principled and your votes reflect yet another colorful amalgamation of who you’re accountable to. This leads me to my next point.

In my blog, I also made mention of plans to skip races on the ballot in November. Rep. Coomer took me to task saying,

“I really do believe that if any person, especially a conservative or libertarian, has a mature sense of responsibility to their state and community, has enough raw information…and has the mental capacity of critical thinking…then he or she will come to the conclusion that Nathan Deal should be reelected…”

Basically, if you don’t agree with Rep. Coomer, you’re a complete idiot that lacks the mental capacity for critical thinking. I propositioned him, asking why he had the right to sit on the House Floor and abstain from casting a vote but I was not granted that same privilege. He didn’t respond, but records show me that since being elected, Rep. Coomer has missed over 100 votes in 160 days of legislative service.

I’ve watched from the gallery as Rep. Coomer sat idly in his seat during votes, but this photo of Rep. Coomer sitting on the House Floor during the vote of Senate Bill 65 in 2014 – watching, waiting to see what everyone else is doing is quite compelling, mostly because this was controversial legislation that dealt directly with the freedoms and liberties of the mentally ill.

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In this photo, you can see that Rep. Coomer (indicated by the yellow arrow) is deeply intrigued by the vote of SB 65 (red arrow) and his name on the voting board (green arrow). When looking at the House Clerk website, you can see that he ultimately did not cast a vote, despite the fact that he was sitting in his seat. Now THAT’S intriguing.

Consider House Rule 133: “When the question is put, every member within the chamber shall vote unless the member is immediately and particularly interested therein or unless the member is excused by the House. A motion by a member to be excused from voting must be made before the House divides or before the call of the yeas and nays is commenced, and it shall be decided without debate. The member making the motion may briefly state the reason why it should prevail. In every case where the seat of a member is being contested, the sitting member and the contestant shall both retire from the House before the vote is taken.”

Coomer was also the sponsor of a bill (HB 516) during the 2014 session where the entire House Leadership got up and walked out during the vote so they wouldn’t have to be on record casting that vote. Did the gentleman from Cartersville speak up? And why not? What did he have to lose? Is this adequate representation for the people of his district?

It is a fact that in the monologue above, I made a complete example out of Christian Coomer. But that is a consequence of opening Pandora’s box. He engaged the conversation with me on my blog.  It’s not one-sided. And never did I say I wasn’t voting for his guy. I simply opened the conversation about voting tendencies this cycle. When elected, you have to be willing to answer the tough questions and I offered him every opportunity to do so while he made baseless implications against me and continued to blur the Deal campaign message into some irrelevant sloppy essay.

Elected officials are supposed to represent The People. More importantly, they are to be the example. This elected official, and a floor leader for the Governor no less, had no problem glossing over my factual points, shaming others, shifting blame and furthering the distrust and nasty image Georgia Republicans are battling right now. The image that we are out of touch, care only about ladder-climbing, and will try to squash any opposing opinion at any cost. People just want the truth and to know what to expect. Principles. If we can’t do things in a principled way, we shouldn’t do them and we don’t deserve the positive results.

When I worked on my first real campaign, I had to learn that my actions –good and bad- reflect upon my candidate. The same goes for those most closely aligned with leaders in the political realm. It’s why endorsements are tricky. But if your glass house is actually Saran Wrap, you shouldn’t throw stones. Because that’s even messier. And perhaps those stones illustrate that you aren’t the best messenger for this particular message. Perhaps some time needs to be spent evaluating the symptoms and causes of ‘the demise of the public servant’. Perhaps you should sit back quietly and graciously knowing that your constituents haven’t yet noticed that you are only carrying the torch of political expediency.

14 comments

  1. Lea Thrace says:

    Oh snap. This is a Charlie level get-off-my-lawn post. Love it!

    I watched that original exchange on your post and needless to say it did not even remotely help Deal in my eyes. Only showed that some people are really gungho about voting R no matter what the quality of that R is.

  2. I want to commend you for further clarifying something I’ve observed for quite a while.

    1. partisan politicians do not care what you have to say as a voter, unless you large donations or power, or might have a negative and public impact on the status quo. (See Burt’s Farm, et al)

    2. Because of this, their private rhetoric (meanness) amongst peers translates to typewritten words on social media. Their arrogance and condensation sound perfectly fine in their head because this is how they all view us in the privacy of their meetings (See Romney Secret Tape et al). When called to task, they issue a regret, but we all know what they regretted.

    3. The internet is full of interesting facts, such as the post about Barrow being Obama’s bytch. Even a nice person like OP can shred the carefully crafted personality of a “good Christian and Caring Man”. To us, he looks like a condescending bully. To his peers, he gets a reinforcing back pat for putting that uppity female in her place.

    If you ran for office, ma’m, I’d support you.

  3. JeffD says:

    Why has PP become a forum for what is obviously an argument you have with the Rep. that started on your personal blog? I disagree that you should be allowed to use PP as your bully pulpit.

    • Charlie says:

      As the Editor, I am responsible for who is given this bully pulpit. Part of that invitation explicitly includes the contributor’s ability to cross post from their personal blogs. It’s one of the ways we can get the greatest contribution from a diverse mix of contributors.

  4. An American says:

    It seems to me that Rep. Coomer responded to your post claiming Republicans lack tangible reasons on why to vote for them with a multitude of policy reasons on why you should at least vote for two Republicans on the ballot. Personally, I believe that this subsequent post blasting Rep. Coomer for not acknowledging an alleged text message that prompted a meeting on HB 100 and for not responding to your questions concerning his abstention from votes seems a little hypocritical. You started with wanting Republicans to stray away from personal attacks, and ended by posting one yourself.

    • Jessica S. says:

      While I respect your ‘personal opinion’ about what incited the response, it is not correct. The entire post was about messaging, tone and honesty. Please point me to the first personal attack I made against Rep. Coomer.

      My understanding of personal attacks is family, employment, education and physical appearance.

  5. An American says:

    Personal attack may have been the wrong phrase. My point was that you started by wanting policy answers and when you got them, you responded by framing them as an “irrelevant sloppy essay,” wholly turning away from the Republican policy discussion I thought you were asking for and towards his abstention from votes and failure to publicly acknowledge your influence on HB 100.

    • Jessica S. says:

      My influence on HB 100 is irrelevant. The fact that it originated in the legislature and was eventually executed by the Governor BECAUSE of pressure tied into the great point of inflating Deal’s message which Rep. Coomer was trying to relay. And my point was that he knew better and was being disingenuous.

      As you can see in this, and any comment section, folks take a tangential direction on almost every post. And generally speaking, when a new topic is addressed, people respond. I didn’t bring about any new issues that weren’t first brought to my attention in some form or fashion. The incident mentioned above took place during session, on the House floor while a vote was being taken – a point of contention by Rep. Coomer when discussing the mental capacity of voters.

  6. red state says:

    After reading Peach Pundit for ages I have never found myself as disgusted as I am with this. It appauls me that Peach Pundit would be used as an outlet and arena to bully a State Representative much less anyone else this undeserving.

    A vicious attack on a State Representative is not a worthy contribution for this site. I think many readers would agree. Take your beef to your social media account Jessica Szilagyi and let us enjoy some worthy contributions to Peach Pundit!!!

  7. ricstewart says:

    I think we’re missing the bigger question here: Why does Christian Coomer hate quotation marks?

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    Post by Christian Coomer.

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    Post by Christian Coomer.

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