Club For Growth “Warns” Bob Barr Against Running For Congress

Thanks to redistricting and the fact that it gained one new Congressional seat from reapportionment, there are apparently some rumors circulating in Georgia that former Congressman Bob Barr, most recently the 2008 Libertarian Party candidate for President, is considering a bid for a return trip to Congress. Barr hasn’t said publicly whether he’s running or not, he hasn’t announced a thing or formed any committees. Nonetheless, the Club For Growth is already firing warning shots:

“Tom Graves is a champion of economic freedom and deserves re-election,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “He has been an outstanding member of Congress and a leader in the pro-growth cause. The Club for Growth PAC will work hard for his reelection and we are confident Club members will enthusiastically support his campaign.”

“Bob Barr’s record has significant flaws,” added Chocola. “Bob Barr voted for No Child Left Behind, to raise the debt limit, and to raise his own pay. If Bob Barr runs against Tom Graves, the Club for Growth PAC will work to educate Georgia voters about Bob Barr’s record of supporting bigger government.”

As far as Graves is concerned, it’s worth noting that it took him four elections (a Special Election followed by a runoff, then a General Election followed by a runoff) to even win his Congressional seat to begin with, so he was vulnerable even before his district was redrawn. But that’s not really the purpose of this post.

Who exactly is the Club for Growth to be “warning” people against running for elective office to begin with? If they choose to support Graves in a primary, that’s certainly their choice, and the voters will decide whether Graves deserves to return to Congress. Engaging in these kinds of pre-emptive attacks, though, strikes me as just a little bit arrogant. Moreover, it’s worth noting that much of what the Chocola criticizes Barr for during his time in Congress are things he’s already admitted were mistakes on his part, most particularly NCLB. I’m not sure what the point is of criticizing someone for doing something they already admit was a idea.

In any event, maneuvers like this demonstrate the extent to which outside groups have started to exert control over what ought to be internal Republican Party matters, the selection of a candidate for office. Let them back whoever they want, but trying to bully people into not running? That’s just absurd.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    I met Bob Barr a few times while living in Charleston. I disagreed with quite a few of his ideas, but he struck me as someone genuinely interested in the public good, and was extremely interested in the issues of that general northern Georgia/southern Tennesee/Carolina area.. I know nothing of Graves, but Bob Barr would be a good Representative to have.

  2. Engaging in these kinds of pre-emptive attacks, though, strikes me as just a little bit arrogant.

    You mean like how you waited until Sarah Palin declared her candidacy to begin criticizing her run for president?

  3. Palin had spent the last year on the national stage making comments, she was a legitimate subject for commentary and criticism. And CfG is free to say whatever they want, I’m free to comment on it.

  4. anjin-san says:

    Thinking of congressional seats as personal property by members of Congress and their supporters is a serious problem for both parties. Ellen Tauscher (D) and Richard Pembo (R), both former member from Northern California, seemed to be quite outraged that anyone dared to challenge them.

  5. @Doug Mataconis:

    Shorter Doug: it’s completely different when I do it.

  6. anjin-san says:

    You mean like how you waited until Sarah Palin declared her candidacy to begin criticizing her run for president?

    Not sure I see the equivalence. Palin worked tirelessly to keep her name out there and create the (false) hope in her supporters that she would run. She desperately wanted to be in the mix, and I think we all know what her real motives were.

    I see no evidence that Barr’s situation is similar. As Neil pointed out, he seems to be someone who is serious about public service.

  7. @anjin-san:

    The idea Bob Barr hasn’t been trying to get his name out there is ridiculous. The only difference is that Palin, for all her faults, was much better at getting attention then he is. They’re both people who, while not officially candidates, are clearly positioning himself for a run. This is just a hypocritical attempt at well-poisoning on Doug’s part.

  8. anjin-san says:

    The idea Bob Barr hasn’t been trying to get his name out there is ridiculous

    Well, since that is not what I said, I will not argue the point.

    To repeat. Barr is someone who is serious about public service. Palin is a professional celebrity who is gaming presidential politics to make more money for herself. (not an uncommon thing in the GOP these days, after all).

    Still don’t see equivalence.

  9. @anjin-san:

    Doug’s argument had nothing to do with Barr’s suitablity as a candidate. He made a blanket statement that it’s somehow wrong to go after a political opponent unless they’re officially running.

  10. Ernieyeball says:

    SD Sez: “They’re both people who, while not officially candidates, are clearly positioning himself (sic) for a run.”

    It’s been almost two months since Princess 1/2 Term announced she is not running for President USA in 2012. I am not sure what this sentence means.

  11. @Ernieyeball:

    I am not sure what this sentence means

    It means I’m not a professional writer and thus came up with a rather clumsily constructed verb phrase for equating a past event (Sarah Palin investigating a run and Doug criticizing her for it) and a current event (Bob Barr investigating a run and Club for Growth criticizing it).