Wednesday, July 09, 2008



Today the first of Blue America's ads rolls out in Georgia's 12th congressional district where the Democrat who votes most frequently with George Bush on substantive matters, slippery Athens Blue Dog John Barrow, faces state Senator Regina Thomas. The two couldn't be more different. Barrow gobbles up special interests money and votes for... special interests. (Example-- he's once of the top recipients of Telecoms bribes and he was instrumental in helping Bush get enough support from right-wing Democrats so that the Republicans have been successful in hobbling the Fourth Amendment protecting all Americans' reasonable right to privacy.) Senator Thomas, who recalls the wiretaps used against Martin Luther King, is passionately opposed to warrantless wiretaps and retroactive immunity.

She doesn't take money from corporations, their PACs or lobbyists. Barrow is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate special interests money into winning the race. Regina has raised a total of $43,406 online from 1,742 netroots donors. That's it. Barrow has accepted money from a far right, anti-union PAC, the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), the only Democrat they have endorsed this year. Blue America decided to even it up a little with some newspaper ads that start running all over the district this morning. Here's one that's running in the Savannah Tribune

Click on the reactionary to read the ad

Although Inside the Beltway folks--even strong progressives-- have already declared Barrow the winner, astute observers in Georgia say... "not so fast."
Days before qualifying began, feisty, flamboyant Regina Thomas announced she would run against Barrow in the July 15 Democratic primary.

Thomas was colorful but not out of character when she wore a lime-green hat, almost matching pants and a T-shirt to a recent political event.

Underneath such garb lurks a veteran state senator described by herself and others as a "voice for the voiceless."
Oh, by the way, she's black.

So are 69.4 percent of the 12th District people who voted in the Feb. 5 Democratic presidential primary.
Barrow has tried to offset that by touting his recent endorsement by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Then there's the matter of Barrow's voting record.

He has supported - among other things-- the war in Iraq, banning gay marriage and President Bush's tax cuts.

The nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly found that he voted against his party last year more often than any House Democrat.

That likely can't hurt him in a general election in the 12th, where voters split almost evenly between Bush and his Democratic foes in 2000 and 2004.

But it might not sit well with the strong partisans who dominate Democratic primaries. In any case, Thomas is betting that it won't.

"The current congressman votes with Bush and the Republicans," Thomas said. "He ... prefers to fund a war instead of helping children and families."

Charles Bullock is a professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia. He says that in a conventional race-- the way the Inside the Beltway crowd likes them, all nice and neat and easy to figure out, Barrow would be a runaway fave."But if it turns out to be an unconventional race where grass-roots organizing matters most, it could get interesting." So far it has. Today's Savannah Morning News, the biggest paper in the district, reports on the Blue America ad and mentions that Barrow's proof that it is "ridiculous" is that Republicans "spent $2 million telling voters that I don't support ... Bush's policies." We don't care what Republicans say to win. We care about how Barrow has voted since he was elected. And, whether he wants to recognize it or not, the very nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly analyzed every vote from every member of Congress and declared Barrow to be the Democrat who most votes for the toxic and catastrophic Republican agenda that has been so damaging to his constituents-- and to all Americans. Every year since Barrow was elected, the Congressional Black Caucus proposed an alternative to Bush's budget, a budget that was designed to make the rich richer at the expense of working families, and every year Barrow voted against the Congressional Black Caucus' alternative budget that attempted to ameliorate the excesses of Bush economics. Instead he voted with Bush and the GOP. That's why the CBC Monitor rates John Barrow a failure for working and middle class families.


Barrow is hysterical about the ads Blue America ran this week. He told AP: "Apparently the only way to persuade some people that I'm not a rubber stamp for George Bush is to become a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi." My friend Lucas had a better suggestion: "He might want to start by trying to be a rubber stamp for the Constitution."

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At 10:13 PM, Blogger Matthew Saroff said...

Anyone have any polling numbers in this race? Anyone?


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