When I allowed myself to be talked into supporting Barack Obama for president– I had been an early enthusiast when he was a longshot state Senator in Chicago running in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate– I warned the young man urging me to abandon my post-Edwards neutrality and forget that Hillary Clinton had a more progressive voting record, that he (and his generation) should steel themselves for some tremendous letdowns that Obama would surely be serving up. He laughed at me. But when I was his age I would have laughed at me too.
So today when I heard that Obama had endorsed John Barrow, the most reactionary Democrat in Congress, in a primary pitting him against Regina Thomas, a progressive state Senator, I wasn’t in the slightest bit surprised. No one who recalls Obama’s enthusiastic endorsement of Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont could possibly be surprised. Obama, like McCain and Clinton, is a professional politician. One of their basic tenets is the Incumbency Protection Racket. That Barrow is running ads everywhere in the district is a tribute to the powerful grassroots campaign Regina Thomas is waging… and to the polling his campaign just completed that shows he’s going to get his head handed to him by constituents who know he represents the corporations and the elite power structure, not everyday Georgians. Look at his first TV commercial and how he chooses GOP talking points to lean on– eliminating "the death tax" and scapegoating immigrants.
A friend of mine says that Obama taped the ad not realizing there is a primary. I don’t believe it. He’s a smart guy and knows exactly what he’s doing. And he has nothing to lose– at least nothing he cares about. Still, when Obama is president he may well regret that he taped an ad that says “We’re going to need John Barrow back in Congress to help change Washington and get our country back on track,” since the moderate Obama and the ultra-conservative Barrow differ on most important issues that Obama will have to face starting in January. Let’s start with this one:
As far as the current contretemps over retroactive immunity and warrantless wiretaps which Senator Obama opposes, Barrow is a major supporter– one of the original 22 Blue Dogs who signed the letter to Nancy Pelosi demanding that Bush’s policies be adhered to. Of course that forces one to notice that while Obama is refusing the corrupting influence of PAC money– and insisting the DNC follow his lead– and then you realize that his endorsee, Rep. Barrow, is a typically corrupt Blue Dog scarfing up whatever he can get from the companies who need his help. So… Obama refuses to take money from the telecoms and he is opposing– like most Democrats– granting them retroactive immunity for breaking laws. Barrow, on the other hand counts the telecoms, particularly AT&T, Comcast and Verizon– the very ones who broke laws and demand immunity– among his most generous supporters. He’s taken tens of thousands of dollars from these shady characters and rather than recusing himself from voting on their special interests, he becomes one of their biggest supports… against Senator Obama’s principled stand.
Regina, of course, whose candidacy may be harmed by Senator Obama’s endorsement, has been working hard in the Georgia state Senate for the same exact principles and values Obama claims to represent. So while Barrow has publicly bragged about being a rubber stamp for Bush (watch that top video again), Regina has been opposing the war and working hard for the well-being of her constituents. As for the FISA bill Bush and Barrow want so desperately for their campaign donors… Regina and Obama are on the same page. "After reading the bill," she said, "the first thing I thought was that this was not good for any American citizens– and it seems like a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. It doesn’t look like what the Bush Administration wants is just the power to eavesdrop on terrorists– I think we all agree that’s his job– but to also monitor any communication he wants to between any American citizens he wants to and without any lawful judicial supervision."
Like I told my young friend, be ready for lots of this kind of thing from President Obama– or President Anyone Else; just don’t be fooled… again. He really is just like all the rest. Meanwhile, we are not powerless, we’re making a real effort to help Regina overcome this latest obstacle. Please contact her campaign to volunteer, and donate to the campaign directly or to our PAC.