Georgia Congressional Candidates Spar on How Government Should Work
In a debate on Sunday morning, Georgia Congressional candidates Bob Christian and Rich McCormick laid out radically different visions of how government should work.
Christian, the Democratic nominee, defended the Biden administration’s performance and advocated for the federal government doing more in areas like the economy, health care, and abortion.
The Republican nominee McCormick argued that federal government has a good record of messing up most things it touches, making a case for the private sector and local government as being those best informed for fixing problems.
Christian said the problem behind inflation was corporate price gouging. He cited the example of 18 eggs now costing $3.69—and a grocer telling him the cost won’t go down even if inflation drops.
The two met at the Atlanta Press Club’s Loudermilk-Young series of debates for Georgia’s statewide and congressional races. They are competing for Georgia’s 6th District in the north Atlanta suburbs and outskirts, left open after the redistricting when Democratic incumbent Lucy McBath chose to run in the 7th District instead.
Press questioners bore down on their positions on hot-button issues like abortion, the second amendment, and voting.
Asked by Sandra Parrish of WSB Radio if Congress should pass a federal law to allow abortions across all states, Christian agreed. He accused the Republicans of trying to pass a national abortion ban. “We need to codify Roe v. Wade. It’s been the law of the land for 50 years.”
McCormick said he wouldn’t vote at the federal level to ban abortion outright because the repeal of Roe v. Wade leaves the issue to the states. “Let’s keep away from federal mandates,” he said.
Talking to reporters afterward, he said one good reason to do that was to keep the law from flipping back and forth every time Congress changed hands between the parties.
Asked about “gun control,” McCormick said that restrictions of Second Amendment rights haven’t worked in most places and that cities with the highest gun violence tend to be controlled by Democrats who oversee strict gun control regulations.
Christian said he thought the key words of importance in the Second Amendment are the words “well regulated.” However, permitless carry laws, like the bill Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp passed in 2021, have led to a massive increase in gun violence, including among people who hadn’t previously committed crimes. He cited cases of young people who had committed murders, apparently at random, after getting hold of a gun. He is urged to raise the legal age for gun buying to 21.
Health care access is an issue in Georgia, as many rural hospitals have closed, and now Atlanta Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals in the city, is in the process of closing. Christian decried Republican resistance to Georgia expanding Medicaid eligibility, which he said would cover 500,000 more Georgians and create 50,000 well-paying jobs.
But McCormick pushed back, saying that the federal Medicaid program was the source of the problems.
“There you go again, Bob,” the emergency room doctor retorted. “I live with this stuff every single day … The reason AMC is closing is that they are heavily dependent on Medicaid reimbursement, which does not pay the bills.”
It was an example, he said, of failed government intervention in private-sector health care. He said others included the troubled Veterans Administration and the Affordable Care Act.
The two also split on military policy. McCormick decried the distractions of critical race theory and diversity policies on the military, with the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle showing the price of the government’s misguided focus.
Christian said these were good for a military where, he said, “white supremacy” was a problem and which is being asked to perform mainly peacetime missions around the world. He blamed the withdrawal debacle on the Trump administration, which had been out of office for eight months when it transpired, saying they’d committed to it without planning for it and left Biden holding the bag.