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November 12, 2013 5:08 PM “Take MARTA To Cobb and Rob”

By Ed Kilgore

In some more Georgia news—this time, via Charles Pierce, who spotted the story as part of his continuing coverage of things that are “not about race because nothing is ever about race”—it seems Republicans in suburban Cobb County are willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to buy an unnecessary new stadium for the Atlanta Braves as long as they don’t bring those people with them from the Big City. Here’s the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman spelling it out for those unfamiliar with Atlanta geography or politics:

I just got back from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s press conference on the Braves’ move to a transportation-challenged site in Cobb County, and will have a lot more to say on that later. But I can’t let this pass without notice:
Joe Dendy, chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party, says that he has two conditions for supporting the Braves’ proposed move (h/t Jim Galloway):
1.) That Cobb County citizens won’t have to pay higher taxes as a result, and
2.) “It is absolutely necessary the (transportation) solution is all about moving cars in and around Cobb and surrounding counties from our north and east where most Braves fans travel from, and not moving people into Cobb by rail from Atlanta.”
Again, that’s from the chairman of the Republican Party in the state’s wealthiest, most sophisticated GOP stronghold. If you want to know why the Atlanta region has trouble acting and thinking like a region, why we have abandoned mass transit options that every other major urban area in the country is pursuing, and why we have forfeited the economic dynamism that once made this city/region the envy of much of the nation, there you have it.

It’s also, of course, about how Georgia Republicans have inherited the racial attitudes of the Dixiecrats. When I was in high school in Cobb County, my state representative (a Dixiecrat/Democrat) offered as his perennial campaign slogan: “Stop Atlanta at the River!”(i.e., the Chattahoochee River, which divides Cobb from Atlanta). Everyone knew exactly what he was talking about. Years later, when there was very brief talk of Cobb County joining the regional MARTA rapid transit system, bumper stickers sprouted in Marietta and Acworth and Kennesaw that said: “Take MARTA To Cobb and Rob.” Again, everyone knew exactly what that was about.

Now I don’t live in Georgia any more, but I am reasonably sure no one thinks MARTA is going to be expanded into Cobb County any time in the near future. So Dendy’s statement was a gratuitous racial slur aimed at assuring his constituents he and the GOP were ever-vigilant about protecting Cobb from those people.

But I’m sure if confronted Dendy would deny it, because, as Pierce says, “nothing is ever about race” unless it’s some terrible slur on the attitudes of conservative white folk.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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