In a TV ad released today by Barker's campaign (video below the fold), cardboard cutouts of Barker are flashed on screen next to the hip visual meme of the day (wordclouds: State Senator Phil Puckett's campaign is also in on the action). The narrator intones that Barker's an effective legislator "by working with Republicans, Democrats, and Governor McDonnell to create jobs".
It's no accident that Democrats are grumbling that DPVA has failed miserably at articulating a coherent attack on Governor Bob McDonnell's dismal record of job creation--why would they, when "Democrats" like State Senator George Barker feature Govenor McGimmick in their television ads, standing right next to them in duotone blue and white, as a vaunted hero of job creation? Barker faces a stiff challenge from Republican Miller Baker in a race destined to confuse the dyslexic. Unfortunately, it seems Barker is trying his best to minimize the differences between Republicans and him.
Hapless DPVA chairman Brian Moran can only watch as frontline members of his caucus, in the only chamber where his party holds control, take any attacks on "Jobs Governor" Bob McDonnell and pour cold water on them. Just 10 days ago, DPVA put out a video mocking his job creation! Democrats in Congress cowered from underneath their desks trying to avoid Barack Obama's jobs bill before it went down in flames, and the previously mentioned Senator Puckett announced he's not supporting Obama in 2012. Small wonder Moran seems more interested in his day job at the Association for Private Sector Colleges and Universities...every time he walks near the Senate, the Brutuses of Clifton and Tazewell are waiting for him with knives in hand.
I'm a proud Democrat and always will be, but watching DPVA and its candidates implode is more than painful. Instead of countering Republican austerity, Democrats like George Barker are falling into the trap of running right into the arms of Republican raiders. In contrast, former Governor Tim Kaine had the bright idea to actually articulate a Democratic message earlier this week by saying "nobody has ever cut their way to prosperity".
Earlier this year, Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw and Sen. Janet Howell handed Barker a map of the Commonwealth and a box of Crayolas (the 64-color one, with a sharpener in the back!), and told him to color in new Senate districts as he saw fit. After spilling apple juice on it a few times, he drew some borders around the stains, and redrew himself a district that picked up heavily Democratic parts of Alexandria City. Even after drawing himself a district with more Democrats--a district that voted for Barack Obama by a full 15 points--he still can't bear to articulate an anti-McDonnell message! I'm sure base voters in the West End of Alexandria will fall all over themselves to vote early after seeing this claptrap on their televisions.
What we in the activist, volunteer, and donor base deserve for the effort we put in is a state party with good infrastructure that supports candidates, and a coherent message that says what we stand for, not trying to glorify and villify Governor McDonnell at the same time. It's a schizophrenic strategy. Is this the kind of lily-livered codswallop we knock on doors and donate money for?
When will we ever learn? If you don't stand up for something, you'll fall for anything.
Barker's campaign has slapped signs in medians all around Fairfax, Alexandria, and Prince William with a cutesy slogan--"BARKER NOT BAKER." If it seems like it's hard to tell if there's a difference or not, he's not eager to help you.
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