I voted for John Barrow as Georgia secretary of state in the general election. Yes, I voted for a Democrat. But in the runoff, I voted--emphatically--for Republican Brad Raffensperger. I suspect I'm not the only one.
I don't know Raffensperger from Adam's housecat. He's a relative nobody who represents the Georgia House district neighboring mine (if I drive past the local Publix a half mile away, I'm in Raffensperger's territory). But now Raffensperger will be our secretary of state.
Traditionally that position is a low profile administrative walk in the boondocks, akin to commissioner of labor or insurance. Now, the Georgia secretary of state is going to be a lightning rod for Stacy Abrams to prime her money pump, shake her cash tree, what have you, in her "voter suppression" grift operation. Abrams shamelessly used John Barrow, who POLITICO described as the "last Deep South white Dem" in 2011, as fodder for her own gain.
I have met Barrow. He's not a rabid, progressive, race baiting identity politician. He's more like a Zell Miller, Max Cleland Democrat. A Blue Dog Democrat who served in the House of Representatives, who was thrown from office in the Republican sweep of Georgia's House delegation. He seemed competent to me.
Barrow's voting record of progressive litmus issues like abortion, while certainly not pro-life, is not a shining star for Planned Parenthood either. He voted for the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act in 2005/2006. He voted to prohibit federally funded abortion services in 2009. He voted against Obamacare in 2010.
I could live with Barrow as secretary of state. I figured he was probably trying to set up a run for governor or senator (like Karen Handel did, or our current governor elect Brian Kemp).
But then Stacey Abrams made her horrid, self-serving non-concession speech, and threw Barrow under the bus. She knew she was doing it. She didn't care. She knew Barrow was not a progressive shining star and could not counterpunch, so she made him a tool. If he won, he'd be her sock puppet. But I'm sure she didn't expect him to win.
By 11:05 p.m. last night, New York Magazine's Intelligencer had already unveiled a thousand-word-plus eulogy for the man "who inspired no one." I'm sure it was written weeks ago.
Barrow’s brand, simply put, was to excite nobody — including those who might constitute something resembling a base. If Tuesday’s runoff was a referendum on this approach — whether the white moderate could build a winning coalition out of demoralized black Democratic stalwarts, progressives, and right-of-center whites in a kind of election where, historically, only a sliver of the electorate shows up — it failed.
They may as well write an ad for Abrams "Fair Fight Action" organization.
Abrams will stomp on the grave of Barrow, and continue to focus on whatever brings the rain for her. Certainly, Blue Dog Democrats do not bring rain. Not anymore.
I'm sure Raffensperger will be a decent secretary of state. I also thought Barrow could have. Maybe they should make that race non partisan. Barrow, when we met, told me that would be a good idea. I'm beginning to agree.