John Barrow has represented the 12th district in Congress since 2005. He’s clearly done right by his constituents because they’ve sent him back five times already. They appreciate the efforts of bringing $6.7 million in FEMA aid after the winter storms. They appreciate his willingness to cross over party lines to vote his conscience and the will of the district. Even many Republicans are supporting him.
Which is why all the NRCC ad buys to unseat Barrow aren’t about Barrow at all – they are all about Barack Obama. Part of this is that the NRCC makes essentially the same ad for the entire country and then slaps their candidate’s name on the end. Here it is Rick Allen (who sadly, is NOT a member of Def Leppard), but it might as well be any guy who is against stimulus finds and demonstrated that by selling himself out to get them.
Because to the NRCC the reality of Barrow is not important. All they have is [insert D incumbent name here]=Obama and they are determined to make Barrow fit into that box. But he won’t, because reality. In the 113th Congress, John Barrow voted with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy 60% of the time, with Speaker John Boehner 52% of the time, with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise 55% of the time, and with 2012 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan 57% of the time. After that NRCC/Allen ad came out saying Barrow “votes with Obama on every issue”, Congressional Quarterly noted that Barrow supported Obama’s position on legislation around 30% of the time in the last Congress. That’s less than the support Barrow gave Bush in 2005 and 2006. [USA Today, 8/19/14]
So after that ad, the NRCC/Allen dropped another ad today. It is called “Lied”. I only have the script, but I am going to guess at the visuals. A leering, black and white photo of Obama. Ominous string music. “Obama said you could keep your health insurance and it was a lie. And John Barrow voted to keep it.” Or thereabouts. It doesn’t matter that Barrow actually voted against Obamacare when it counted, back in 2009. What the NRCC is talking about is the silly posturing of repeal votes that meant nothing.
This is a guy that doesn’t accept Congressional Healthcare, doesn’t accept pay during the shutdown, donates his frequent flyer miles to veterans, and voted against his party nearly 200 times. He’s the guy who lead the House to condemn the Obama administration for its release of Guantanamo prisoners just this week.
But to the NRCC, he’s just [insert D incumbent name].
The National Journal ranked Barrow the most bipartisan member of the House up for reelect. There was once a time when Congress wasn’t dysfunctional, amazingly. When good ideas rose to the top. When bipartisanship wasn’t rare. We say that’s what we want. It is certainly what we need. And in a country divided, 12th District voters have again and again have voted to send a Democrat back to Washington even though they are Republicans. It may be the last bipartisan place on Earth. Maybe we should relocate the Capitol there.