Ron Barber Has Already Proven Unworthy Of Democratic Votes; Blue America Is Endorsing Arizona State Rep. Matt Heinz
I'm in this whacky club, the Elders of Beltway Wanna-Be Progressivism. We had a meeting right after Gabby Giffords announced she wouldn't be running again this year. A substantial number of the members are also in cahoots with the DCCC so almost everything progressive is doomed from the start but nonetheless there was a discussion. Her conservative hack of a district director, Ron Barber, was promising that he just wanted to finish her term and if he won the special election, we were promised, he wouldn't run in the general. So the other Democrats who had been expressing interest-- including several progressive legislators-- decided not to run against him in the special. I mentioned at the time that this was bullshit and an obvious tactic to get a clear shot for himself and that he would immediately run in the general.
Barber outraised a right-wing crackpot, Jesse Kelly, $1,193,698 to $756,173 and the DCCC and their allies outspent the NRCC and their allies. Barber ran by beating a fringe lunatic whose campaign literature had him posing with a machine gun. The Republican running in November is a far more attractive and mainstream (for a Republican) candidate, Martha McSally. That 20% of Republican voters that went for Barber will probably not vote for him in November. The district he just ran in-- the old 8th CD-- is significantly different from the new 2nd CD. In 2008, Obama wound up with 38% of the vote (against McCain's 61%) in the 8th and Giffords was reelected that year with 55%. Even in the face of the Great Blue Dog Apocalypse of 2010, she won again with 49% (against Kelly, who got 47%). The new 2nd district is considerably more Democratic. McCain would have still beaten Obama, but with 50% of the vote, not 61%-- and that's his home state.
So Barber beats the crackpot extremist, takes his seat-- and immediately lines up to start voting with Boehner and Cantor. His first vote in Congress set the tone when he joined a small pack of 16 reactionary Blue Dogs and New Dems to vote to trash 36 environmental, health, and tribal laws (including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Superfund Law, and the Clean Water Act) within 100 miles of U.S. land borders-- in other words, much of his own district. Democrats who had worked so hard to elect him were dismayed and angry. And it didn't end there.
Darrell Issa and Eric Cantor were desperate to find some easily corruptible right-wing Democrats who would give them the cover so that Issa's witch hunt against the Obama administration wouldn't look as grotesquely partisan as it is. They always want to be able to crow that even their most insane extremist legislation is "bipartisan." And they found Barber. When Issa introduced one of his witch hunt resolutions to authorize "the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings to enforce certain subpoenas," 21 Democrats went along with it-- Barber being one of them. I wonder if the DCCC is happy their SuperPAC spent $700,000 to win the seat for this guy. (I don't really wonder; I know they're delighted. He's their kind of "Democrat.")
Meanwhile, back in Arizona, progressive state Rep, Doctor Matt Heinz, who campaigned for Barber in the Special, is running hard against him for the primary. He's the newest Blue America candidate and he'll be joining us for a live blogging session at Crooks and Liars tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11am (PT). This is what he had to say about Barber's treachery on the move against Eric Holder:
“The recent civil contempt vote against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in no way helps Arizona with its border security issues. The congressional investigation into the scandal has revealed systemic flaws that should be the focus of a national discussion. Instead of working to solve the problem, Barber crossed over to support a partisan attack, placing the seal of Southern Arizona voters’ approval on this political circus.
“We need to put politics aside and confront the root of the gun smuggling problem. We should be creating a clear federal mandate to crack down on gun trafficking that funnels thousands of weapons daily to violent drug cartels. This political distraction is exacerbating the problem-- while the ATF has been under political attack, gun seizures in Arizona have dropped by 90 percent.”
We'll be talking more about Matt and this August 28 primary campaign starting tomorrow.