Civil rights leader Joseph Lowery likely did John Barrow a favor.
Recently of Savannah, Augusta resident Barrow is fighting for his political life in a newly redrawn 12th Congressional District.
In 2008, fellow Democrat Barack Obama lost in what’s now the new 12th by about the same double-digit margin he carried the old one.
The National Republican Congressional Committee plans to spend $900,000 on TV ads that portray Barrow as an Obama clone. Barrowbama, they call him.
It’s not nearly that simple, but the NRCC has ample ammunition. To cite just their favorite example, Barrow told voters in the then Democratic-leaning 12th he worked “hand in hand” with Obama.
These days, of course, it’s — as far as Barrow’s concerned — “Barack who?”
Barrow’s skipping the national convention that will re-nominate Obama. Gonna chill with his constituents at home, he says.
Enter Lowery, who blasted Barrow for backing the GOP’s successful bid to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Holder rejected a demand for more records showing how feds let guns flow into Mexico. Some ended up with thugs who killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2010.
Barrow said he wants justice for Terry’s family. No doubt he does.
But the powerful National Rifle Association, which has backed him in the past, watched the vote closely.
Little likely will come from the contempt vote other than embarrassment for Obama, Lowery lamented.
“He doesn’t count in the Democratic column,” he told the Associated Press concerning Barrow. “He might as well ... be a Republican.”
But that’s the perfect breeze for Barrow’s political sails. These days, he wants to be seen as the Good Ship Independent, steering between the shoals of hyper-partisans on both sides.
He’s been candid about his belief that it’s a course that sits well with voters. Maybe he’s right. We’ll see.
In any case, the Good Ship tacked the same way after the a U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obama’s health care law. Of course, the seas were treacherous; Barrow had voted both against passing the law and repealing it.
Barrow said the ruling “won’t fix the problems the law doesn’t solve, and it won’t fix the problems the law actually makes worse.
“We have to cut spending and cut health costs, but it starts with rejecting the false choice being offered by both parties, that it’s all or nothing.”
Meanwhile — speaking of not all or nothing — while not thrilled with Barrow’s voting record, that’s the way major national Democratic groups view him.
Holding the 12th is a key to their hopes of retaking the House in November. Better Barrow than someone who’ll vote to keep John Boehner in the speaker’s chair.
So several such groups have bought TV ads for him or reserved air time. The most recent reservation will cost about $210,000.
By the same logic — it’s not all or nothing — some business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, see plenty to like in Barrow.
He recently joined something called the Fix Congress Caucus. At last count, it had 11 members, just three of them Democrats.
Sort of like being an honorary Republican, wouldn’t you say?