Opinion: Karen Handel’s experience vs. Jon Ossoff’s lack thereof

Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff prepare for their debate Tuesday night. (Branden Camp / Special)

The first debate between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel was Tuesday night, and it’s pretty clear there are two reasons Ossoff didn’t want to be in a debate that would have been sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club and nationally televised on CNN.

The first is that he surely didn’t want too many of his supporters back in California, Massachusetts and New York to see him playing budget-and-defense-hawk. But the second, and more important, is that none of his act makes up for the fact his promises to work across the aisle and be fiscally responsible look pretty gimpy next to Handel’s list of things she’s actually done on both counts.

After using a “make Trump furious” slogan to gain national notoriety and then quietly backing away from it — he even said Tuesday night he’d be willing to work with President Trump on some issues — Ossoff has recast himself as the “independent” in the race who is “willing to work with anyone.” One supposes it’s only a coincidence he has benefited from at least $5 million in spending by Nancy Pelosi’s PAC and raised well over $1 million through the efforts of the left-wing Daily Kos.

Perhaps even in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where Trump famously struggled to beat Hillary Clinton despite other Republicans’ track record of comfortable wins there, joining “the resistance” to the president isn’t really a winner.

Thus, Ossoff’s talk about bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle. Which might play better if Handel didn’t have an actual record of doing so.

Handel’s biggest mistake Tuesday night — and I don’t mean the one most liberals are harping on, which I’ll get to soon enough — was not hitting this theme earlier or more often. As chair of the Fulton County Commission, she came into office facing a Democratic majority and a proposed budget that included tax hikes. She wound up passing a balanced budget that didn’t include tax hikes anyway, by working to win over Democratic commissioners.

Ossoff? He apparently had to be goaded last month into saying he’d support a House Republican bill to block funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it stopped providing aid to terrorists. He initially said he’d introduce his own measure, but retreated after proving unable to describe how it might differ from the GOP legislation. Perhaps he means he’s willing to work with almost anyone?

Likewise, Ossoff talks about what he’d do in Congress to develop industry in the district. Handel, on the other hand, first rose to prominence in the area by turning around a struggling North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. Time and again, the contrast was between what Handel has done and what Ossoff claims he’ll try to do.

That point alone should score the debate as a win for Handel. If I had to guess, however, I suspect no one watching at home changed their mind about the race. Someone who already backs Ossoff won’t have been surprised to hear him speak in slick generalities without really answering the question (on three — three! — occasions, moderators had to ask him to clarify his answer to what amounted to yes/no questions).

***

Now, if I had to guess which moment from the debate Democrats will try to highlight, it would be the one where Handel said this about Ossoff’s support for a higher minimum wage — which he said should be a “living wage”:

“This is an example of the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative. I do not support a livable wage. What I support is making sure that we have an economy that is robust with low taxes and less regulation, so that those small businesses — that would be dramatically hurt if you imposed higher minimum wages on them — are able to do what they do best: grow jobs, and create good-paying jobs for people in the 6th District.”

The supposed gaffe here is saying she doesn’t support “a livable wage” … which in turn is portrayed as if she doesn’t want people to make good money … which would be pretty ludicrous if that were at all what she meant … which wasn’t the case, based on the rest of her answer. Her mistake was adopting Ossoff’s phrasing when the subject — and, clearly, her answer — was about the minimum wage. And she’s correct that conservatives believe the answer isn’t to raise a government-imposed pay rate on businesses, but to get out of the economic stagnation of the past eight years that has caused more people to depend on the minimum wage. That pay rate was never intended to apply to household breadwinners — and it wouldn’t today, if economic growth hadn’t been so anemic for so long.

In any case, Ossoff was much more wrong on the substance of this issue to invoke “someone working a 40-hour work week.” The statistics show that applies to just 1 in 4 of those earning the minimum wage. Less than 1 percent of all hourly workers a) earn the minimum wage and b) work at least 40 hours a week. They number about half a million out of nearly 80 million hourly employees (see Table 9 here). Ossoff’s phrasing sounds more sympathetic, but it’s classic left-wing sleight-of-hand about the issue.

Reader Comments 0

290 comments
quickdigits
quickdigits

I am sick and tired of seeing that John Ossoff ad on TV showing Dr. Mindy Fine who goes on and on about how Karen Handel blocked funding from the Susan G. Komen foundation to Planned Parenthood for mammograms and pap tests for women. What a Crock that is! Doesn't everybody know that Planned Parenthood does One Thing and One Thing Only?? Abortions! That's It, Folks!

quickdigits
quickdigits

Ossoff looks like an Automoton. He really doesn't Look Human. His eyes are weird. He has no emotion. I don't trust the guy. If you have Any Sense at All, you Wouldn't vote for this creep.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Duh duh da duh da duh de duh, duh da duh duh da duh, duh de duh de duh duh, pop goes the comey.


halfwits.

William1952
William1952

When one throws it against the wall enough, eventually it will stick. Looks like this is the time for Broom Handel. Her saying is "Open seat? Will run." Mercy, I wonder how long she might stay in this office before quitting to run for higher one. Can you spell Isakson? She can, and will. Just watch. Dang, what a piece of work.

time2stopthemadness
time2stopthemadness

You should be ashamed of yourself Kyle, don't know what debate you were watching but seriously? All you do is spread lies and more lies. Jon was by far the better debater and hands down the better person for the job. She has never done anything for anyone in her life - except herself and on tax payer $. She was smug, condescending and basically out with the fairies. What a disgraceful public servant she has proven herself to be. We need a young, progressive, INCLUSIVE, honest and ethical Congressman - Jon Ossoff is that person.

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

Was on a college debate team years ago. All the rules of performance are simple. Handels condescending attitude, "against fair wages per hour, etc. Made her the looser...Ossoff was not perfect (needed to smile at least once), repeated himself too much, but if you look at the facts he spoke about things like "pre-existing conditions"...Handel showed she did not understand the topic and Ossoff politely tried to explain it but received a hostile response....Ossoff won hands down. Kyle is putting Party before country, but probably does not even know it.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Kyle has posted new sheets on the Comey prepared remarks. 

DerekGator
DerekGator

Wow, could we possibly have two worse candidates to choose from?  Handel was very disingenuous about her time at Komen and Ossof was was very deceptive about his funding.  Basically we have 2 liars that will say anything.

Well Hello There
Well Hello There

@JohnnyReb


Yep, he's already admitted that there's nothing there. The dems (mainly the media and the left) are gonna be crying soon. 

Doomy
Doomy

@JohnnyReb


Dim's hopes of nailing Trump are evaporating again? 


So saddy sad sadz. The Dims must have the sadz. 

time2stopthemadness
time2stopthemadness

Your "source" though 😂😂😂😂 get a life dude, the enquiry is only just getting under way darlin.

Doomy
Doomy

So eyesore wanted to talk about the Seattle minimum wage did he? LOL!


"Their final verdict was that: “The major conclusion one should draw from this analysis is that the Seattle Minimum Wage Ordinance worked as intended by raising the hourly wage rate of low-wage workers, yet the unintended, negative side effects on hours and employment muted the impact on labor earnings.” 


That’s not the only bad news regarding Seattle’s minimum wage. The authors additionally note that the “negative unintended consequences…[are] concerning and need to be followed closely in future years because the long-run effects are likely to be greater as businesses and workers have more time to adapt to the ordinance.”

Indeed, research published in 2015 by economists Jonathon Meer of Texas A&M University and Jeremy West of MIT found that the long-run disemployment effects of minimum wage increases were considerably larger than the much smaller short-run effects. In all likelihood, Seattle has not fully experienced the negative consequences resulting from its decision to raise the minimum wage.


The University of Washington study authors caution that these findings are not generalizable to other cities or regions, because “Seattle’s strong economy may make it capable of absorbing higher wages for low-wage workers, and this capacity may not be present in other regions.” Thus, it’s quite likely that other cities following Seattle’s lead would experience even worse outcomes than Seattle’s less-than-stellar results."

Well Hello There
Well Hello There

@Doomy


You may have posted something that is well beyond eye sore's level of thinking. 

Well Hello There
Well Hello There

The private school that Ossoff graduated from is a far left school. Jay Bookman's daughter teaches there BTW. I know someone whose kid is in her class. Kind of ironic. 

Well Hello There
Well Hello There

"Thus, Ossoff’s talk about bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle. "

The only aisle that clown has ever reached across is the one where he picks up his medication. 

Well Hello There
Well Hello There

The 6th district is a very wealthy district. Not sure what Ossoff would do to improve it. 

Doomy
Doomy

Eyesore, 


Feel free to reference the empirical results of a Fed study on the results of the DC minimum wage hike. I posted last year next door and kicked back and laughed my tail off. 


My statement was that the minimum wage law reduced employment for people working minimum wage jobs. And man were the results hilarious. 


All the progs next door looked at the Fed data I posted and were howling about my data. Ya see- the Fed data showed that employment was surging in DC big time. And sho nuff- employment was indeed surging. So why was I laughing? I was laughing hard because the progs were too stupid to understand the data they were reading. 


You see employment was surging everywhere because after all everyone knows that most jobs pay well above minimum wage to begin with. Everywhere except of course in the sector(s) that was particularly susceptible to the minimum wage- hospitality and leisure. And that sector lost 2400 jobs. That's 2400 people at the bottom that lost jobs that are now most likely on the dole. 



That's real people that no longer had a job at any wage because of the short sighted, foolish, and just plain effing stupidity of high minded folks like yourself who don't understand the unintended consequences of their policies. Here's some more schooling for ya. 


https://fee.org/articles/dc-minimum-wage-up-jobs-down/ 

Well Hello There
Well Hello There

When Ossoff loses what will the GA democrat voters do besides cry?


Well Hello There
Well Hello There

@JohnnyReb @Well Hello There


Hilary went on her blame everyone tour last week. Not much mention of Russia. Kind of funny that the democrat party has gone silent on "impeach Trump" rhetoric. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Well Hello There @JohnnyReb

Yea, apparently they realized the heads of their base were about to explode over unrealistic expectations.

Now they hope to show Trump obstructed justice, but today's hearing did not go their way so the Dim senators became indignant.

DerekGator
DerekGator

@Well Hello There I am voting for Karen Handel but I do not think that she will win.  The libs are organized and extremely motivated to vote, while many Handel supporters like myself see her as a bad choice.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

BTW LibProgs....the only people for paying more taxes are the ones who don't have to pay any, and a few millionaire celebrities who don't know the meaning of truly earning money.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Dem senators got indignant with the two main guys from the NSA testifying today.

Dems did not hear what they have longed, almost begged to hear, so they became smart a s s e s with our intelligence leaders.

The Dems apparently did not understand Admiral Rogers telling them he has not received a request or demand that has been illegal, immoral or otherwise inappropriate.

Dems should be prepared for similar disappointment tomorrow when Comey testifies. 

Doomy
Doomy

@JohnnyReb


Another fail for the Dims. They should be getting used to this by now. 

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Doomy @JohnnyReb

US Senators have always been held in high regard if for nothing more than attaining the office.

The current Dem bunch with McCain thrown in with them are an embarrassment.

They demanded today public testimony on subjects they were told could only be discussed in a closed session.

Desperation does not begin to define their pathetic demeanor.

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

Kyle and Cons support  corporate welfare in form of earned income tax credit paid by  taxpayers rather than paying a higher minimum wage. And this from a bunch of phony small government people like Handel.

Doomy
Doomy

@skruorangeclown


And that, sir, is where you are wrong. Because when you introduce high minimum wage laws you hurt employment among the youth and in particular among minorities You simply end up putting those newly unemployed people on the taxpayers dime. 


Why do you guys hate poor people and minority people?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Doomy @skruorangeclown

LOL. You so funny, Doomy.  Care to tell us what happened when Seattle hiked its minimum wage?


PS: you may wanna do some homework before answering; ya know, so you don't have another epic faceplant.

skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

@Eye wonder @Doomy @skruorangeclown Takes a reading and research capability which is lacking in members of the stupid party and its psychotic leader. They have no clue how the  earned income tax credit works to subsidize low wages paid big employers who could afford more.

SK60
SK60

Do you not find a little hypocritical to complain about outside spending for Ossoff when most of Handel's money AND advertising is coming from Washington and all this super secret money from these conservative PACs such as the Koch Bros., etc. 

Doomy
Doomy

@SK60


"and all this super secret money from these conservative PACs such as the Koch Bros."


If this money is so "super secret money" than how do you know about it? 

SK60
SK60

@Doomy @SK60  Are you really serious in that question?.  We know about the PACs but we don't know who contributes to them.  I assume you know how to read. 


Doomy
Doomy

@SK60 @Doomy


Aaaah. So its "super secret money" that must be tied to nefarious and sinister aims if it goes to R candidates. Got it!

Well Hello There
Well Hello There

@SK60


More money has gone to Ossoff than Handel, cupcake. When the dems lose there will be a lot of pissed off democrats.

TammyClabby
TammyClabby

Pretty funny headline-NOT-since you guys are the ones who elected the inexperienced idiot now trying to destroy the country.

But hey-Covfefe!

Eye wonder
Eye wonder



PP is no longer needed for routine women's health care anyway. We've got county health depts, charities, a number of places that already accept federal dollars that in turn offer low cost care(Medlink up here for example), mini clinics, medicaid, and oh, yeah,I almost forgot-Obamacare.


Lottsa choices out there. Lots.  



Isn't it great when single, unattached, right wing male trolls think they know everything about womens' health needs?

SK60
SK60

@Eye wonder  Yep!  Just like these old white guys in Congress!  All Republicans I might add.

Doomy
Doomy

@SK60 @Eye wonder


Yeah. There's no old white guys in the Dim party in Congress. Yawn...


Interesting that its so fashionable in proggy circles to complain about white males. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Doomy @Eye wonder

Did you flunk your ESL class, Doomy?  What I said had nothing to do with the PPACA and everything to do with the fact that it is wonderful when single, unattached, right wing male trolls think they know everything about womens' health needs.

On the plus side, glad you didn't dispute the fact that you are a single, unattached, right wing male troll who thinks he knows everything about womens' health needs.

Doomy
Doomy

@Eye wonder @Doomy


"On the plus side, glad you didn't dispute the fact that you are a single, unattached, right wing male troll"


Meh. Your words. Not mine. Just your same old, tired litany of name calling and insulting when you can't make a valid point. Yawn...

Well Hello There
Well Hello There

@Eye wonder


I think it's great that Ossoff is running pro PP ads all over tv. You know, since PP is so popular in red states.