That’s also the impression shared by the conservative editors of National Review magazine, who posted a devastating account of Barr’s shifting political stances Monday on the influential National Review Online website.
Its headline says it all: “Weather vane Bob Barr.”
Write the editors, “The good news is that whatever you think about the major issues of the day, at some point in the past two decades, Bob Barr agreed with you. The bad news is he may set a record for the most pieces of legislation a congressman voted for and then later renounced.”
Barr represented Cobb in Congress from 1994-02 and is one of a crowded field of Republicans seeking to succeed Rep. Phil Gingrey, who is running instead for U.S. Senate. Other major candidates for Gingrey’s seat include state House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey, state Sen. Barry Loudermilk and businesswoman Tricia Pridemore.
As most local political-watchers are aware, Barr left the Republican fold to run as the Libertarian candidate for president in 2008.
The Review’s story includes a laundry list of Barr’s position shifts through the years, starting with his advocacy of the War on Drugs while U.S. Attorney for northern Georgia in the late 1980s.
“By 2007 he had changed his thinking on drugs so dramatically that he became a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project,” the Review writes.
THERE’S ALSO Barr’s well-known authorship of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 that barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage that was passed and then signed by President Clinton. The Review recounts how 12 years later Barr told the Libertarian national convention that the DoMA “has been abused, misused and should be repealed, and I will work to repeal that.”
And after the Supreme Court ruled the Act unconstitutional earlier this year, Barr wrote on his Facebook page that the issue is one that would have been “best left to the states.”
Wrote the Review, “Barr could argue that he’s always believed that marriage should be defined as one man and one woman, but states should make that determination, not the federal government. Yet his emphasis conveniently shifts depending upon whether his audience consists of socially conservative Republicans or pro-gay-marriage Libertarians.”
THE REVIEW correctly notes that Rep. Barr voted for the Patriot Act in 2001 but has spent much of the time since then denouncing it.
“At the Libertarian convention in 2008, he said of the Patriot Act that he wanted to ‘drive a stake through its heart, burn it, shoot it, [and] burn it again,’” the Review writes. It also reports that he said that year that some of President Bush’s counter-terror surveillance measures “might have warranted impeachment.”
And while Barr voted for the Iraq War, he later said he regretted that vote — although he’s probably got plenty of company on that one.
THE REVIEW also notes that Barr was generally a hard-liner on immigration reform, but by 2008 had come out against building a fence along the southern border and favored open borders.
“If there is economic opportunity, people should be free to come into this country and participate in the market,” the Review quotes him as saying, adding, “This summer he changed his mind again, denouncing the Senate’s version of immigration reform and labeling it ‘a pathway to amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.’”
He’s been all over the map on abortion, too, according to The Review. He was consistently pro-life as a congressman, “avoided the issue entirely and deflected questions on abortion” as the Libertarian nominee, and now has declared on his campaign website that he favors “protecting the sanctity of human life.”
Speaking of that website, the magazine notes that it does not mention his time as a Libertarian, his work for the ACLU or for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Concludes the article, “If the candidate wants to be conservative, he should be conservative. If he wants to be libertarian, he should be libertarian. But he shouldn’t shift around based on the electoral prospects before him.”
To read the full story go to www.nationalreview.com.
MORE POLITICS: Former Gov. Roy Barnes and wife Marie will headline a fundraiser for Ward 4 Marietta Council Councilman Andy Morris from 5-7 p.m. Sunday at “Tranquilla,” the home of Greg and Beth Griffin at 435 Kennesaw Ave. Other hosts are Patsy and WellStar CEO Reynold Jennings, Christie and Tyler Morris, Kathy and Georgie Trend publisher Neely Young, and the Griffins.
U.S. SENATE candidate Paul Broun of Athens and Georgia GOP Chairman John Padgett will speak at Saturday’s 8:30-10 a.m. Cobb Republican Party Breakfast at the local party HQ, 799 Roswell St. Admission is $10, reports Cobb party Chair Joe Dendy.
PEOPLE: Retired syndicated MDJ columnist Bill Shipp will be honored as one of five inductees in the Atlanta Press Club’s Hall of Fame at an Oct. 8 dinner at The InterContinental Buckhead in Atlanta. Shipp will be introduced by former Gov. Barnes.
Other members of the Club’s third class of inductees are Atlanta Business Chronicle publisher Ed Baker, Atlanta Journal reporter/author Margaret Mitchell, anchorwoman Monica Pearson and investigative reporter Dale Russell. ...
Bob Babcock of east Cobb, president of the National 4th Infantry Division Association, presided over the 1st Sgt. David McNerney Medal of Honor Enshrinement Ceremony at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., Sept. 22. During the ceremony the Smithsonian Institution accepted McNerney’s Vietnam-era Medal of Honor into the National Postal Museum collection. Also on hand for the small ceremony was Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.
SICK BAY: MDJ Associate Publisher Jay Whorton is still undergoing tests at WellStar Kennestone but has been moved to a regular room from ICU.
BULLDOG NATION: Retired UGA football Coach Vince Dooley will headline next week’s First Monday Breakfast of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce at the Cobb Galleria Centre. General admission tickets are $60, or $25 for members. The Chamber’s Public Safety Awards also will be handed out that morning.
THIS FALL’S BYOB “Sip n Stroll” put on by the Marietta Tree Keepers will feature a walk led by a certified arborist, forester and a landscape architect through the gardens and fields surrounding historic “Ivy Grove” on Cherokee Street. The free event starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the yard of the mansion, with parking along Freyer Drive. For info call Holly Walquist at (770) 424-4664.
BLUE & GRAY: The War Between the States will be front-and-center at 9 a.m. Oct. 12 as The Civil War Center at Kennesaw State University and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park cohost the symposium “1863: The Struggles Continue” at the KSU Center on Busbee Parkway. Taking part will be historians A. Wilson Greene on “Burnside’s ‘Mud March,’” George Rable on “Jackson the Christian Soldier” and KSU’s Dr. Brian Wills on “George Thomas: The Rock of Chickamauga.” ...
The Cobb Cobb Civil War Roundtable meets at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Kennesaw State University Center on Busbee Drive to hear Clark Otten, whose program will focus on the role of Sandy Springs during Sherman’s invasion.
FORMER Smyrna City Councilman Forster Puffe will present a talk titled “An Immigrant’s Story” at Sunday’s meeting of the Friends of the Smyrna Public Library. The talk is based on a diary his German grandfather kept when traveling from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to this country in the early 1890s. The original diary is on permanent exhibit at the Ellis Island Museum. The talk will begin at 3 p.m. at the library.