JIM MARSHALL... DEMOCRAT?
Jim Marshall, (slightly) left of Zell Miller
Jim Marshall voted for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker and for a Democratic Party reorganization of the House, putting committee chairmen like Henry Waxman, Barney Frank, Louise Slaughter, George Miller, Ed Markey, and John Conyers into place. What more could you ask? Well, unless you like a lot of "sorry, no" answers, you'd better not ask much more. Unless, you're a Republican. Then Jim Marshall's voting record should make you pretty happy. The Georgia Democrat has one of the most reactionary records-- across the board, of any member of the House Democratic caucus-- not as horrible as Dan Boren's (OK) or Gene Taylor's (MS), but worse than Jim Matheson's (UT) and Henry Cuellar's (TX)-- and far worse than primaried faithless Dems like Al Wynn (MD) and Jane Harman (CA). Marshall is in a fairly Republican district; Bush beat Kerry with 55% of the vote and his voting patterns seem to be popular among his constituents, although he was one of only a small handful of Democratic incumbents who almost lost out in the midst of the anti-GOP tidal wave last year. He pulled 51% of the vote, less than 2,000 more than his opponent, ex-Congressman Mac Collins.
Collins probably isn't running again next year. Retired Maj. Gen. Richard Goddard is. Inside the Beltway Democrats are already worried. The DCCC has added Marshall to it's Front Line list, congressmen they ask grassroots, rank-and-file Democrats to contribute money to. I asked DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen if it's kosher to ask Democrats to donate to guys like Marshall when they consistently vote for Republican positions on key issues-- like Iraq, equal protection for minorities, women's right to choice, etc. Van Hollen suggested it was up to bloggers to let people know about Marshall's record. DWT reporting for duty.
Marshall's Republican opponent will attack him from the right and, ironically, call him a liberal and a supporter of Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats' agenda. If it were true, I'd urge people to come to his aid. The illegal partisan marching orders Karl Rove sent to government departments urging them to sabotage certain incumbent congressmen, made it clear that the GOP is hoping to pick up Marshall's seat-- as well as that of fellow Georgia reactionary Democrat John Barrow (voting-wise, pretty much a Marshall clone, albeit without the right-wing fervor).
Assuming you'r a progressive and not some kind of treacherous Liebermanoid freak, how exactly should this type of situation be handled? Let's say there are 40 GOP-held seats Democrats are serious about contesting in the House and let's say the Republicans are seriously going after 30 Democratic-held seats. That's 70 seats in play. If you max out contribution-wise, that'd be $150,000. If you don't want to donate quite that much, let me suggest you target your funds to Democratic incumbents who vote for progressive ideals and principles-- like Steve Cohen (TN), John Hall (NY), and Carol Shea-Porter (NH) for example-- and for progressive grassroots challengers like Victoria Wulsin (OH), Eric Massa (NY), Angie Paccione (CO), and John Laesch (IL). Let the Inside the Beltway folks take care of the Jim Marshalls and John Barrows, guys who may support them on procedural matters but who we can never count on when it comes to substantive issues. One stop
Will Marshall just give up on GA-08 and run against Saxby Chamberpot instead? This makes no sense at all, of course. Marshall is unlikely to fire up the Democratic base and he apparently doesn't have much support from independents or moderate Republicans (judging by his last House race); so why run statewide?