Last Friday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 31-28 to advance health care legislation. Five Democrats — Reps. John Barrow (D-GA), Charlie Melancon (D-LA), Bart Stupak (D-MI), Rick Boucher (D-VA), and Jim Matheson (D-UT) — joined Republicans in voting against the legislation, despite the inclusion of a number of concessions in the bill made to placate conservative Democrats.
Now, MoveOn is targeting Barrow and two other Blue Dog Democrats with a series of radio advertisements that will air in their districts starting Wednesday. Listen to the one directed at Rep. Barrow here:
At the time, the Savannah Morning News noted that Barrow supported policies “such as the war in Iraq and President Bush’s tax cuts, which Obama and Thomas oppose.” Yet in a radio ad he cut in support of Barrow, Obama was insistent that Barrow would fight for his agenda:
OBAMA: He’s already standing up to the lobbyists and the Republicans who go right down the line with George Bush. Now we need him in Congress to help reduce gasoline prices, provide access to affordable health care for every American. … John’s not afraid to take a tough stand to do what’s right.
Not only has Barrow failed to provide support for health care reform, but he has also lined up with conservatives to oppose legislation pushing for a clean energy economy. In June, Barrow and other conservative Democrats succeeded in watering down climate change legislation that he ended up voting against anyway.
While it’s possible that Barrow is simply ideologically opposed to progressive legislation, he also has a financial incentive to continue to vote the way he does. A number of powerful corporate interests have invested in his campaigns. According to data from OpenSecrets, 60% of the PAC money recieved by Barrow during the 2008 election cycle was from business interests. Barrow has already collected $27,500 from the energy industry and $19,500 from the health care industry for his 2010 campaign, with generous contributions coming in from Exxon Mobil, Georgia Power, Merck & Co, and Monsanto.